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Five years later, he’s like a relic

Times Staff Writer

Thirty-seven is not that old.

Really, it isn’t.

But that sort of conventional wisdom hardly flies when it comes to baseball and spring training. Former Angels closer Troy Percival, all of 37, was in Angels camp Thursday in Tempe, Ariz., the first day for pitchers and catchers.

He will serve as the team’s roving pitching instructor and, naturally, Angels Manager Mike Scioscia was asked: “How does it feel to have Percival back in camp?”

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Scioscia: “Some young guys in camp were going up to him and touching him like he was the Holy Grail or something. A lot of these guys grew up watching Percy.”

Only in sports can the Angels’ 2002 World Series championship seem like another era. Of course there’s one positive way to look at Percival’s age: At 37, he’d probably be one of the youngest members of The Times’ sportswriting staff.

Trivia time

How many saves did Percival record in 2002?

Daily dose of me

Recently crowned Australian Open champion Serena Williams will be the voice of Queen Athena for an episode of the animated children’s show, “Loonatics Unleashed.”

One description has Queen Athena running an island colony of “beautiful, powerful women with devious plans for the planet and its men.” In other words, not far off from life on the WTA Tour.

“The character was described as being tall, strong, beautiful, so I guess that’s how I got the role,” Williams said, laughing, in an AP report. “I liked bringing my own character to the role. I’ve always thought of myself as a princess, but Athena is a queen. So I had to work it a little.”

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EHarmony, bring it on

Apparently there are other ways to hook up with the person of your dreams.

Playing poker.

This story would have been too painful to tell on Valentine’s Day. Russian poker player Andrei Karpov, apparently desperate to stay in the game, put up his wife, Tatiana, according to ananova.com.

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He lost the game -- and her. She ended up marrying the winner, Sergey Brodov.

“It was humiliating and I was utterly ashamed,” Tatiana said. “But as soon as my ex-husband did that, I knew I had to leave him. Sergey was a very handsome, charming man and I’m very happy with him, even if he did ‘win’ me in a poker game.”

It puts the phrase, “to have and to hold,” in a whole new light.

Daily dose of (Mrs.) Beckham

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Guess England’s recent soccer “friendly” against Spain was not exactly must-see TV.

Reading Manager Steve Coppell told reporters of his channel switching: “I watched a bit of the England game then turned over and watched a Victoria Beckham documentary instead.”

Is he sure he wasn’t watching the popular British show, “Footballers’ Wives?”

Trivia answer

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Forty. He had his career-high 42 saves in the 1998 season.

And finally

Doubles specialist Michael Llodra of France, to Tennis magazine, on what would happen if tennis stars Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal squared off in the boxing ring:

“Federer. He’s more crazy than Nadal. I know him since the juniors. Now he’s a little bit cool, but I see he can be more crazy than Nadal. And you have to be crazy when you want to fight.”

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lisa.dillman@latimes.com


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