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Rays tales

By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times
published May 26, 2002

A DIFFERENT VIEW: Spending a lot of his free time on the road in his hotel room, manager Hal McRae has developed something of a guilty pleasure: watching The View, the topical talk show featuring an all-women panel of Barbara Walters, Star Jones, Meredith Vieira, Lisa Ling and Joy Behar.

"There's nothing on TV to watch," McRae said. "You watch SportsCenter, but you can only watch that three or four times. Then you watch CNN and all they talk about is fighting. So I watch them because at least they change the subject and you laugh a little bit and they have interesting people on. I kinda like it."

HOOP DREAMS: With the Dallas Mavericks and dual supporters Ben Grieve and Randy Winn out of the way, the fiercest rivalry in the Rays clubhouse is between Sacramento Kings season-ticket holder Greg Vaughn and Los Angeles Lakers backer Chris Gomez.

Vaughn has had Kings tickets for nearly a dozen years, "back to when they were winning 15-20 games a year. I've taken a lot of heat for being a Kings fan."

Gomez, who grew up in suburban L.A., is a fan of all his hometown teams: "The only true fans."

When Vaughn went to Monday's game, he brought back a souvenir -- a small towel printed in Kings purple with the words Beat L.A. that he eventually pinned above Gomez's locker. "He was waving that thing like a little girl," Gomez said.

As for any bets they might have on the series? "This," Gomez said, "goes beyond money."

FROM THE HOME OFFICE: The Rays have become such regulars on David Letterman's Late Show Top 10 list that they soon just might have a list all their own. Here are the latest two mentions from the late-night wise guy:

Of the May 16 Top 10 Signs You're Dumb, No. 2 was "You're a Tampa Bay Devil Rays season-ticket holder." (At least the Rays were in good company since No. 1 was "You Choke on a Pretzel.")

And of the May 22 Top 10 Least Impressive David Blaine tricks, No. 10 was "Sitting through a Tampa Bay Devil Rays doubleheader."


From Art Thiel's column Friday in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: The Mariners finally beat dreaded, formidable and seemingly invincible Tampa Bay, ending a four-game losing steak as well as muscle tension in the region that threatened to snap bones."


A 5-inch long Ox Spoon Rays fishing lure had a high bid of $4.95 on eBay Saturday morning.


An occasional update from 23-year-old rookie pitcher Steve Kent on his first tour of the major leagues:

Pitching against the Mariners, whom he played for in the minor leagues, and pitching in Seattle, where he'd hoped to get to, was something of a thrill.

"Fun stuff," Kent said.

Pitching against Ichiro Suzuki, however, was akin to renewing an old acquaintance. Kent met Ichiro when he went to Japan a few years ago with a team of Mariners minor-leaguers. "He was hurt then and he was hanging out where we were staying," Kent said. "I have an Ichiro shirt from Japan. It's like my favorite shirt."


"He had my season so far in one day."

-- GREG VAUGHN, on Dodgers outfielder Shawn Green's four-homer, six-hit, 19-total-base day

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