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Portable Beets

By JAMAL THALJI, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 19, 2002

For 19 years, coach Larry Beets has filled his players' heads with wisdom and sportswriters' notebooks with wit. The ever-quotable Beets has provided the Times with plenty of verbal gems. Here now is a sampling of the best of Beets.

* * *

"If that boy is not a Division I prospect, I'll hand you the keys to my El Camino."

On Ridgewood standout Dana Meyers, April 7, 1987

* * *

"They put their britches on just like we do, one leg at a time. If they jump into them any other way, I want to know about it."

-- On playing Dunedin, the top-ranked team in the nation, in the Class 4A state semifinals, May 15, 2002.

* * *

"There will be women screaming and men crying at that one."

-- On the Ridgewood-River Ridge rivalry, April 20, 2001.

* * *

"We think it's Christmas."

-- After Ridgewood's 17-9 loss to East Lake, allowing runs on errors, walks and wild pitches, March 23, 2001.

* * *

"I'm sitting right here where the manager of the World Series champions sits. Maybe if I rub my butt on the bench, some of their success will rub off on us."

-- At Dunedin's Grant Field, on why he chose the Toronto Blue Jays' spring training bench, April 9, 1993.

* * *

"I'm going to send them a bill for hitting the paint off the wall."

-- After an 11-3 loss to Zephyrhills' home run record-setting squad, March 14, 2000.

* * *

"I wish I could fail them and have them back, but I can't do that."

-- On seniors Ronny Lowe and Richie Hittel after they played their final game in a 13-0 loss to Jacksonville Bishop Kenny in the Class 4A state championship game, May 17, 2002.

* * *

"My wife hasn't been getting too close lately."

-- On telling his players he would not shave during their playoff run, May 3, 1991.

* * *

"We talk about road rage, about not letting your bulldog mouth get your chihuahua butt in a sling and we don't give 100 on a driving test. The highest I give is a 94. I wouldn't give anyone a 100, because I don't think there is a perfect driver."

-- On his philosophy as a driver's education teacher, May 14, 2002.

* * *

"Elvis left the building."

-- After being ejected in the fifth inning of an 11-2 loss to River Ridge, March 20, 2000.

* * *

"The difference between being great and being good is when you've given up on being good."

-- After a dramatic 6-4 win over Gulf secured the Rams' first district title in a decade, April 28, 2001.

* * *

"It's like how many shopping days until Christmas. This is one of those days."

-- Anticipating a big Ridgewood-Gulf game, April 16, 1993.

* * *

"Tell me where he lives so I can tie him to a chair and keep him from the ballpark."

-- On Sanford Seminole centerfielder Tim Raines Jr., May 8, 1998.

* * *

"My hair was black."

-- On the last time his Rams were held to one hit, as they were in a 1-0 loss at Land O'Lakes, April 6, 2001.

* * *

"We tell them that you open the door for everyone, not just for the pretty ones."

-- On how he expects his players to act off the field, May 14, 2002.

* * *

"That performance set baseball back in time. Man, it was not pretty."

-- After 11 walks, eight errors, three hit batters, a wild pitch and a passed ball in a 15-10 loss to River Ridge, March 7, 1997.

* * *

"Oh, you hate to lose. Playing tiddlywinks, you hate to lose."

-- After losing the state title game, May 17, 2002.

* * *

"I told them if we don't do something we're turning the lights on and running a full practice."

-- After four errors put the Rams down 5-0 to Pasco; they rallied for a 14-8 win, March 17, 2001.

* * *

"We left enough fertilizer there that the field should be nice and green where we played at."

-- After going 0-3 at the Dunedin Easter Tournament, April 20, 2000.

* * *

"You can dream about it. Shut your eyes and maybe you're going to put the bat on it."

-- On his team's futile efforts against Land O'Lakes pitcher Cory Doyne, who struck out 16 Rams in a 5-0 win, Feb. 29, 2000.

* * *

"I think I'll get it tattooed on my butt, but nobody'd see it."

-- On his team's motto: Hit the top step running, or "HTTSR," May 14, 2002.

* * *

"No, I wasn't in drag."

-- When asked if he snuck into a game during a one-game suspension, like New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine, April 7, 2000.

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