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April 14, 2002
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[Times photo: Michael Rondou]
Brent Abernathy sits in the dugout and ponders a tough night.
Rays' malaise worsens with defeat
JAYS 5, RAYS 4: Tampa Bay avoids getting blown out by the big inning, but its skid hits 1-6 after leaving 13 on base.

Rays extra

McRae: Lack of complete games is not a concern
ST. PETERSBURG -- If Wilson Alvarez leaves today's game before the final Rays pitch -- and it's pretty much a lock that he will -- it will mark the team's 162nd consecutive game without a complete game.

Rays tales
KARMA CHAMELEON: Minor-league trainer Chris Tomashoff did a fine job singing the anthems Friday, and minor-league coach Dwight Smith has sung at other ballparks, leading us to wonder who among the major-league staff or players would be worthy of stepping up to the mike.

McRae: Best way to learn is by winning
ST. PETERSBURG -- Hal McRae's one-year anniversary on the job is Thursday and, trust us, he'd like a victory much more than a card or a cake.

No early picks give Bucs different feeling
There will be a lot of waiting before GM Rich McKay drafts a player.

Height becomes latest team fashion statement
TAMPA -- The Bucs failed to advance beyond the wild-card game the past two seasons, but beginning this season, they no longer will come up short.

Feaster set to make his move
The Lightning GM says a desire to win now could mean dealing Tampa Bay's top pick.

Hubert Mizell
M.J. and Pete: Time to make final bows
Great athletes seldom quit on top. Great, a term I use more sparingly than jalapenos. Jim Brown and Rocky Marciano did it decades ago, retiring as jock epitomes. Joe Montana did not badly overstay.

The Masters
Tiger roars, soars to top
Tiger Woods finds himself on familiar ground, atop a major after three rounds, this time tied with Retief Goosen.

Palmer's finale at the Masters
Colleagues and fans pay their compliments to Arnold Palmer.

TV coverage will be complete, early today
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Masters viewers get a treat today: 18-hole coverage of the final round on Channel 10.

College football
Pierson puts on a USF spring show
TAMPA -- Memo to Arkansas and Southern Miss and Oklahoma and East Carolina and every other South Florida opponent this fall.

Drafting QBs early has been risky proposition
As the debate rages over who is the best quarterback in the draft, Fresno State's David Carr or Oregon's Joey Harrington, consider something. During the 1990s, there were 20 quarterbacks drafted in the first round, but, arguably, only six (Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb, Daunte Culpepper, Peyton Manning, Steve McNair and Drew Bledsoe) can be considered successful.

NFL Draft
Team-by-team analysis

A Frenchman's reel makes U.S. history
Trolling offshore a few weeks ago, the conversation turned to fishing reels.

Daily fishing report
April has brought an endless bounty of fish to our area. Amberjack, Spanish mackerel, kingfish, blackfin tuna, cobia, barracuda, goliath grouper, bonito and giant jack crevalle were available during recent offshore trips.

Give drivers a brake at this bullring
But they'll need more. Martinsville tests one's ability to stop 1,000 times.

Waltrip's truck gets tired before he does
MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- The concern was that 55-year-old Darrell Waltrip might not be physically prepared to step out of retirement for one NASCAR Craftsman Truck race.

5 drivers to watch

Et cetera
Highs and Lows

Rays favor the wealthy with seating changes
I am a Rays fan. Management's new ticket and seating policy, however, has gone too far. Upper deck seats were cheaper and better than many of the expensive tickets lower down, so management closed it.

Indians win without lost stars
Juan Gonzalez is on the 15-day disabled list. Roberto Alomar is hitting .170 with the Mets.

It's Venus and Henin in the final
AMELIA ISLAND -- As Venus Williams was to begin a semifinal match against Anne Kremer on Saturday, Justine Henin, who minutes earlier beat Jelena Dokic in the other semifinal, entered her postmatch news conference.

More cash wasted in nation's capital
The biggest flop of the season is, without a doubt, the Capitals.

Mustangs cruise behind big inning
ST. PETERSBURG -- Shorecrest pitcher Sean Wiggins managed to keep his team within striking distance of Class A No. 1 Northside Christian for five innings Saturday, but he tired in the sixth and the Mustangs scored 11 times on 12 hits to win 16-2.

Crusaders' mistakes prove costly
Errors on the basepaths and in the field lead to an 11-8 defeat to Mosley.

Two days, two runs, Cougars win
PALM HARBOR -- In any game against a nationally-ranked opponent, execution is key. When that opponent is also rival Countryside, it becomes everything.

Boys and girls tennis tournament breakdowns
Matches are Monday and Tuesday. Singles quarterfinals and semifinals, and doubles quarterfinals are Monday. Finals are Tuesday. Admission is free.

Green Devils rely on pleasant surprise
Imagine the self-discipline St. Petersburg tennis coach Alan Turnquist needed when Alamgir Wali approached him about the possibility of playing on the team. Wali, a transfer student from Pakistan, was ranked 286th in the world and had already won several junior tournaments since arriving in the country eight months ago.

Wildcats tough, top to bottom
Undefeated Wharton and its five strong players will face their toughest challenge of the season at the Class 4A, District 5 tournament Monday.

Hittel hits, pitches Rams to win
NEW PORT RICHEY -- Ridgewood starter Richie Hittel didn't need any help against Class 4A, District 8 rival Hudson on Saturday night.

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