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August 11, 2002
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[Times photo: Toni L. Sandys]
Rob Johnson is happy with his choice of the Bucs. "It's all about being on a good team," he said.
Choosing time is coming
Rob Johnson made his, now he's trying to force Bucs coach Jon Gruden to pick "flashy" ahead of "consistent."

RB looks like a good catch
LAKE BUENA VISTA -- While the coaching staff stressed it isn't reading much into Saturday's practices with the Dolphins, one thing is certain: Running back Michael Pittman has good hands coming out of the backfield.

Look for a livelier bunch of players
LAKE BUENA VISTA -- The first thing you will notice about Jon Gruden's team is players will show emotions.

Southern Fryed
This is a weekly update by Times NFL writer Darrell Fry on the Bucs' new opponents in the NFC South Division.

Gary Shelton
Forget anticipation, let's see what the talk's about
It's there. Just around the bend. Can you see it?

Hit Show returns for one game
RAYS 13, ROYALS 6: Tampa Bay emerges with the long ball, setting a team record with six homers.

McRae gives Escalona rest
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Sensing that second baseman Felix Escalona was beginning to struggle after seven consecutive starts, manager Hal McRae took the rookie out of the lineup Saturday and could leave him on the bench.

Rays tales
McRAE'S GUIDE TO KANSAS CITY: For 14-plus seasons as a player with the Royals and another four as manager, Hal McRae and family called the Kansas City area home. So the Rays manager knows the city about as well as anybody outside of Missouri. Here are a few of his recommendations if you find yourself headed to America's heartland:

Hubert Mizell
Crazed parents mar sports experience for all
It's nothing new. Daddies becoming monsters. Moms turning vicious. For generations, at sports happenings meant to entertain and enrich kids, short-fused parents and nauseating passions too often erupt.

Baseball: Is strike ahead?
Here are the negotiations essentials
Baseball's owners and players just can't seem to play nice. After months of on-and-off talks and a week of extensive negotiations, the game could be on the brink of another work stoppage, one that could have devastating repercussions. Player representatives are meeting Monday and could set a date for a strike.

John Romano
This is one deadly sin
Welcome to A Nincompoop's Understanding of Sports Law 101.

Which side do you believe?
Baseball players receive enormous salaries. The average player makes $2.4-million, a figure most fans won't earn in a lifetime. But do player salaries really drive up ticket prices?

The key players

Atlanta's magic number: 3.00
Home runs are what's happening.

Sosa gets three homers, nine RBIs
DENVER -- Sammy Sosa hit three three-run homers to tie a franchise record with nine RBIs then left in the sixth inning as Chicago routed Colorado 15-1 on Saturday.

A masterful performance for Martinez
BOSTON -- Pedro Martinez said he wasn't at his best. Try telling that to the Twins.

Ted Williams' son ends his pro career
John-Henry Williams, the son of late Hall of Famer Ted Williams, has given up pursuit of a baseball career.

Bonds' milestone lingers a day later
Giants' Barry Bonds gets blanketed with cheers and adoration after his latest achievement.

Security checkpoints could delay takeoffs
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The increased security measures in place at airports since Sept. 11 could begin to change the way the Rays and other teams travel during the final weeks of the season.

College football
AP poll makes it unanimous
But finishing No. 1 will be difficult for the Hurricanes and others thanks to tough schedules.

Seminoles hit by key injuries
TALLAHASSEE -- Florida State is worried about injuries sustained during the first scrimmage Saturday, including receiver Anquan Boldin, quarterback Adrian McPherson and defensive tackle Jeff Womble.

Predictions of downfall motivate Florida
GAINESVILLE -- With his 301-pound body tightly tucked into a small chair in the bowels of Florida Field on Saturday, offensive lineman Shannon Snell spoke with a hint of bitterness.

Local product eager to leave past behind
GAINESVILLE -- It has been more than nine months since Clint Mitchell played a game.

Houston loss opens door for L.A. in West
HOUSTON -- Tangela Smith scored 17 as Sacramento beat Houston 61-59 Saturday, the Comets' first home loss in 13 games.

Shaq to don many hats for charity
Expect to see Lakers star coaching, posing, partying during Celebrity Basketball Weekend.

Injured Dilfer exits Seattle's opener
SEATTLE -- Seahawks starting quarterback Trent Dilfer sprained his right knee in the team's preseason opener against the Colts on Saturday night.

Second look at Pickett seems better for Rams
The Rams can't stop talking about the improvement of Zephyrhills High product Ryan Pickett, a faceless defensive lineman a year ago who has become the talk of their training camp.

Park relieved to be back in contention
Steve Park climbed out of his car after the hottest Winston Cup race of the season and received congratulatory back slaps and high-fives from the members of the No. 1 Chevrolet team.

Little League
Late rally sends N.C. to Series
With four runs in the sixth, North Carolina defeats Virginia 4-2.

No Slam, but PGA has plenty to offer
No doubt, there were some long faces at Hazeltine National Golf Club three weeks ago as an all-but-frozen Tiger Woods flailed in the wind at Muirfield, his Grand Slam hopes blown away.

Daily fishing report
Two tropical systems and an early cold front have made running far offshore difficult. Though the grouper bite inside 20 miles has been slow, there's still some fun to be had.

Frisking fans at Bucs games an 'idiotic plan'
I am a club seat ticket-holder at Raymond James Stadium, and I am furious the Tampa Sports Authority is considering frisking everyone who goes through the gate. I pay too much money for my seats to be treated in such a manner.

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