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Rays tales

By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times
published July 21, 2002


HEY TEX: Aubrey Huff wasn't always so Florida cool. Before he went to the University of Miami, Huff was about as Texas as they come, from the cowboy town of Mineral Wells wearing boots and hats like everybody else. After stops in Fort Worth and at Vernon Junior College, he earned a chance to go to Coral Gables, and it changed his life ... as well as his wardrobe. "Talk about culture shock," Huff said. "A country boy from Texas going to Miami. I had no idea what I was getting into. After about two weeks my roommates took a trash barrel and put all my clothes, my flannels, my cowboy boots, all that stuff in it and burned it. They told me it was time to upgrade to Miami gear."

* * *

MR. NO NO-NO: Five times in the past two seasons, John Flaherty has broken up a no-hit bid in the fifth inning or later:

DatePitcher Action

6/16/00 Brad Penny, Fla. Two-out single in 5th

8/29/00 Pedro Martinez, Bos. Leadoff single in 9th

9/1/00 Brian Meadows, K.C. One-out single in 6th

9/2/01 Mark Mulder, Oak. Two-out double in 5th

6/15/02 Ted Lilly, Oak. Two-out single in 5th

* * *

LAWS OF PHYSICS: Of 44 fair balls that have struck the Trop catwalks, 22 have been hit by the Rays, 22 by the visitors.

* * *

DEER CROSSING: If Greg Vaughn returns to the lineup in the next couple of weeks and maintains his first-half pace, he will earn a dubious mark: the worst average for a player who qualifies for the batting race (currently 502 at-bats for a season). The post-1900 low is .179 by Rob Deer in 1991, Mickey Doolan in 1918 and Bill Bergen 1901. Vaughn is hitting .163 through 251 at-bats.

* * *

EXCERPTED

From Bob Hohler's story in Friday's Boston Globe: Think the weekend showdown between the Red Sox and Yankees in the Bronx could get wild? Wait until those devilish Devil Rays arrive at Fenway Park Tuesday for a four-game series that could have all the ingredients for a good old-fashioned donnybrook. Opening another chapter in their chippy -- and potentially explosive -- rivalry, the Sox and Rays (Thursday) slipped yet again into a war of hit batsmen and harsh emotions as Manny Ramirez became the latest Boston target of a Tampa Bay pitching staff that is plagued either by strange lapses of control at the oddest junctures or is just plain nasty.

* * *

ONLINE ITEM OF THE WEEK

A 2001 Princeton (W. Va.) Devil Rays jersey was listed on eBay Friday with an opening bid of $85.

* * *

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"They should have been routine plays and I turned them into not very routine plays."

-- JASON SMITH, Rays shortstop on the three errors he made Friday, leading to his demotion

-- Compiled by Marc Topkin.


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  • Ready or not, here's Crawford
  • Creek bids farewell with sights on future
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