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Rays tales

By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times
published August 25, 2002


STAR POWER: It's not quite a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but Ben Grieve will get his name on a bronze baseball-shaped plaque that will be embedded on Eutaw Street to mark his mammoth home run Tuesday in Baltimore.

Grieve's 435-foot blast was the 29th ball to hit on the street, which runs between a picnic area beyond the rightfield fence and the adjacent warehouse building, in the stadium's 11-season history. "It's pretty neat to know your name's going to be there," Grieve said.

Only three street balls have traveled farther. Montreal's Henry Rodriguez hit the longest, a 443-foot shot off Scott Kamieniecki in 1997. Mo Vaughn, then of Boston, hit a 440-foot shot off Scott Erickson in July 1996, and Cleveland's Jim Thome did the same off Mike Mussina a few weeks later.

* * *

SOUND OF MUSIC: Life in the minor leagues means learning how to adapt. It was only a few years ago that Toby Hall was a regular at the used CD shops, selling his old discs and buying other ones. "Typically you'd get $3 or $4," Hall said, "but sometimes if it was in really good shape you'd get $5."

As a result, Hall developed what could best be described as an eclectic taste in music. "I listen to everything," Hall said. "I'm a flip-the-channel kind of guy: country, rap, hard rock, techno, even a little Celine Dion. I've got to throw that in there because with a baby coming you need some soothing music."

* * *

GOOD HUMOR MAN: Steve Cox got some national pub last week for going deep -- deep into the freezer in the visitor's clubhouse in Texas. In detailing to Sports Illustrated the ice cream exploits of several big-leaguers, Rangers assistant clubhouse manager Kasey Terrell marveled over Cox eating three Choco Tacos in one sitting. "That was impressive," Terrell said. One problem. Cox said it never happened. "I never ate three of anything," he said. Plus, he doesn't even really like Choco Tacos.

EXCERPTED

From Steve Rushin's Sports Illustrated column: "Then I stepped inside the citric sarcophagus of Tropicana Field, the world's first fully catered sensory deprivation chamber. ... When it was over, we rose as one -- we damn near were one, give or take a few -- and filed out."

ONLINE ITEM OF THE WEEK

A limited edition commemorative ball from the inaugural 1998 game was available Saturday on eBay for a Buy It Now price of $4.99.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"I'll wear the same shirt over and over again. Just because I wear it to the field and the hotel doesn't mean it's dirty."

-- AUBREY HUFF, Rays first baseman on his techniques for getting through a two-week road trip


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Today's lineup

Rays
  • Rays continue predictable inconsistency
  • Baldelli could see bigs, barring strike
  • Rays tales
  • Flaherty takes flak for good of the team

  • Bucs
  • 'It was awful'
  • DE Jones felled by sprained knee
  • Offensive line crumbles as drives fall apart
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  • Other sports

    College football
  • Inches finally favor 'Noles
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  • Dungy is unnerved by Colts' scoring ills. Sound familiar?

  • Baseball
  • Owners blast union counteroffer
  • End will be merciful for Brewers
  • Hall of Famer Wilhelm dies
  • Sun shines in Dodgers' favor
  • Angels' Appier shuts out pain along with Red Sox
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