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Beating This Little League Team Is a Tall Order

Times Staff Writer

One player stands 6 feet 8 and weighs 256 pounds. Another is 6-3 and 190. A third is 5-8, 226.

Three starters for Slovenia at the FIBA world basketball championships?

No, they are all members of the team from Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, at the Little League World Series.

The not-so-little Dhahran squad features a 6-3 pitcher-outfielder in Michael Knight and a 5-8 third baseman in Andrew Holden. But those players are dwarfed by teammate Aaron Durley, who towers over the competition at 6-8.

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Durley, who is listed as a 13-year-old first baseman, says his favorite big league player is Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, but it should be noted that Durley doesn’t look up to Big Papi.

That’s because Ortiz stands only 6-4 and weighs 230 pounds.

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Apple juiced? Not to start a controversy or launch an investigation or anything, but what exactly are they serving the Dhahran Little Leaguers as postgame snacks? According to an Associated Press report, “Team followers said it was just coincidence that there were so many tall players on the squad.”

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Trivia time: Who is the tallest person to have played in the major leagues?

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Bigger hitters needed: According to Monday morning’s standings, only four of 16 National League teams had winning records: the New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds and the Dodgers.

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You could call the rest of the National League a sorry study in mediocrity, a great argument against further expansion ... or a planned new division to be added to the NFC.

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Big hitter heeded: Everybody loves a winner, or at least 62.1% of the people do. Tiger Woods, winner of Sunday’s PGA Championship, was named “favorite male golfer” by 62.1% of respondents in a recent ESPN poll.

Phil Mickelson was No. 2 with 9.5%, followed by Jack Nicklaus, 4%; Arnold Palmer, 3.6%; Fred Couples, 1.5%, and Vijay Singh, 1.3%.

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Old-school opponent: After seven months of exasperation and frustration, Andy Roddick at last found an opponent he could defeat in an important match. Yes, that would be Pong, the old graphically challenged video game featured in a new “Roddick vs. Pong” commercial for American Express.

Roddick, who beat Juan Carlos Ferrero in Mason, Ohio, Sunday for his first tournament title of 2006, finds a way to defeat Pong in the television ad. But how would Pong, grizzled veteran that it is, fare against the likes of Andre Pavel, Julien Benneteau and Igor Andreev?

Pavel, Benneteau and Andreev are among the players who have beaten Roddick on the tennis court this year.

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Trivia answer: Washington Nationals relief pitcher Jon Rauch, at 6 feet 11. He achieved the distinction when he made his big league debut for the Chicago White Sox on April 2, 2002.

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And finally: Near the other end of the scale stands 5-foot-5 Freddie Patek, who spent 14 years in the majors from 1968 to ’81. Asked once about being so short for a big leaguer, he replied, “I’d rather be the shortest player in the majors than the tallest player in the minors.”

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