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It’s Harder for Umps to Hear No Evil

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Times Staff Writer

Heckling baseball umpires is a long-standing tradition. But some of the old mainstay lines -- “You’re blind!” and “Kill the umpire!” -- are outdated.

Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times found heckledepot.com, a website that offers more modern rips. They include:

* “I’ve got Internet stocks in better shape than you.”

* “They’re putting your strike zone on the back of milk cartons!”

* “That’s a bad call .... Telemarketer! Telemarketer! Telemarketer!”

* “Hey, ump, is this your cellphone? Because it has three missed calls!”

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Trivia time: What incident inspired Bernard Malamud to write the book “The Natural,” which led to the movie starring Robert Redford?

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Overly charitable: Of Baltimore Oriole pitcher Daniel Cabrera’s having walked 16 batters in only 6 1/3 innings this season, Dan Daly of the Washington Times wrote: “Too bad Cabrera can’t write off the walks on his tax return -- under ‘charitable contributions.’ Of course, the number is so unbelievable that he’d probably get audited.”

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Priorities in order: Mike Brown, coach of the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers, was a recent guest of James Washington, the former UCLA and Dallas Cowboy defensive back, and Craig Shemon on Fox Sports radio.

Washington, mentioning that Brown is a coach-of-the-year candidate, said, “Will we be adding that to your resume?”

Said Brown: “Not that, though I would like to see in my bio: ‘Coached LeBron in his first MVP year.’ ”

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Safe answer: Asked by Time magazine to make a prediction about what she was going to do this year, Michelle Wie said, “I’m going to turn 17 in October. That’s not much of a prediction. Hey, it’s true! OK?”

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Strange name: Racehorses sometimes have the oddest names. One example is the Tom Grether-owned Tontine Too, who won the eighth race at Santa Anita on Saturday and, as a 45-1 shot, paid $95.80.

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A tontine is an investment scheme involving a group of investors; it dates to 17th-century France. As each investor dies, his or her share is divided among the surviving investors. But tontines have been banned in Britain and the U.S. due to the incentive for investors to kill one another.

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Looking back: On this day in 1939, Joe Louis knocked out Jack Roper in the first round of a scheduled 15-round bout in front of 21,675 at Los Angeles’ Wrigley Field. It was Louis’ only heavyweight title defense in California. The gate was $87,679 and Louis’ purse was $34,850.

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Trivia answer: In 1949, Eddie Waitkus of the Philadelphia Phillies was shot in a Chicago hotel room by an obsessed fan, 19-year-old Ruth Ann Steinhagen.

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And finally: Jay Leno, on Florida’s victory over UCLA in the NCAA championship game: “Florida got a congratulatory phone call from President Bush. UCLA shot so poorly, [the Bruins] got a phone call from Dick Cheney.”

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Larry Stewart can be reached at larry.stewart@latimes.com.

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