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Text messages from press row ...

Before the term “walk-off home run” was added to the sporting lexicon, blasts such as Nomar Garciaparra’s on Wednesday giving the Dodgers a 7-6 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies were known as game-winning home runs.

Obviously, that’s passe. . . .

Or is it old school?. . . .

Noting that Mark Teixeira fills his cheeks and lets loose an impressive blast of air from his lips when he steps into a pitch, reader Ivan N. Rodriguez of Lakewood proposes that the Angels newcomer be nicknamed “Blowfish.”. . . .

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E-mails Rodriguez, bemoaning a rash of nicknames such as A-Rod and T-Mac that are mere variations on players’ names, “Nicknames for today’s athletes are so lazily thought out -- not like the good ol’ days when you had the Hammer (Hank Aaron), the Say Hey Kid (Willie Mays) and Charlie Hustle (Pete Rose).”. . . .

Rodriguez, by the way, notes that he is no relation to Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez of the New York Yankees, who is also known, unfortunately, as “I-Rod.”. . . .

Volleyball legend Karch Kiraly seems to be getting more prime-time air time as a television commentator on matches involving Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor than he did as a three-time Olympic gold medalist. . . .

Maybe if he’d worn a bikini. . . .

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Mystery solved: Yahoo reports that Olympic divers go directly from the pool to the showers to keep their muscles warm because the air temperature inside the Water Cube in Beijing is eight to 12 degrees cooler than the water in the pool. . . .

Left unexplained is why the showers are out in the open. . . .

USC training camp 2008: “The Itchy & Scratchy Show.”. . . .

Noting that about 25% of the Trojans football team is suffering from jock itch, comedian Jerry Wolski wonders if USC might consider a sponsorship tie-in with (cardinal and) Gold Bond. . . .

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College football -- and NASCAR-loving Southerners (aren’t they all?) -- could be in for a treat if they make the trip for the UCLA-Tennessee game (and Rick Neuheisel’s Bruins coaching debut) Sept. 1 at the Rose Bowl. . . .

One day earlier, the Pepsi 500 will be run at Auto Club Speedway and UCLA is offering a package through uclabruins.com that includes tickets to the game and the Sprint Cup Series race, a guided tour of the Rose Bowl and admission to a Q&A; session with NASCAR driver and Tennessee native Sterling Marlin. . . .

UCLA fans also are welcome but might be outnumbered. . . .

Comedian Tommy Chong, co-author of the 1973 pop music novelty hit “Basketball Jones,” writes in his new book, “Cheech & Chong: The Unauthorized Biography,” that he once played basketball with Bob Dylan at Chong’s house in Malibu and that the rock bard had a “pretty good jump shot.”. . . .

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Clearly a fan, Dylan wrote a song called “Dignity” upon hearing of Pete Maravich’s untimely death in 1988 and noted in his autobiography that Pistol Pete was “the holy terror of the basketball world” and “could have played blind.”. . . .

Ricky Rubio, playing alongside Pau Gasol on the Spanish Olympic team that will take on Kobe Bryant and the Americans on Saturday in Beijing, is a floppy-haired 17-year-old point guard who has been compared to Maravich and Steve Nash and is projected as possibly the No. 1 pick in the 2009 or 2010 NBA draft. . . .

Not to say that New England sports fans have been spoiled of late, but a kid at the Boston Celtics’ victory parade held a sign reading, “9 years old, 6 parades.”. . . .

It might not match the San Francisco Galileo High baseball-football-basketball Hall of Fame trio of Joe DiMaggio, O.J. Simpson and Hank Luisetti, but reader Steve LaMar of La Verne e-mails to note that Oakland Tech produced soon-to-be baseball Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, college football Hall of Famers John Brodie and Harold “Brick” Muller and basketball Hall of Famer Jim Pollard, a starting forward for the George Mikan-era Minneapolis Lakers. . . .

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Bounced in Beijing, Roger Federer will lose his No. 1 ranking next week and might go winless in the majors this year for the first time since 2002. . . .

Roger, over and out?. . . .

Not including former USC flameout Mike Williams, cut last month by the Tennessee Titans, NFL rosters this summer are dotted with 36 players named Williams, according to researchers at STATS LLC, but no one with that surname has ever been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. . . .

By contrast, former Angels manager Dick Williams last month became the fourth Williams inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame (joining Ted, Billy and Smokey Joe), yet no one named Williams is currently active in the majors.

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jerome.crowe@latimes.com


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