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Rays tales

MARC TOPKIN
Published June 20, 2004

BOY PLAY: Robert Fick had what may have been the ultimate summer job. Especially for a 16-year-old boy.

Fick, through a buddy whose dad knew somebody, spent a summer doing maintenance work at Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion.

Fick mostly did things like resod the lawn, rake leaves and fix sprinklers. But he also got to swim in the mansion pool and help set up for Hefner's infamous pajama party.

"It was exciting," Fick said.

But weren't there some, um, distractions?

"There were a few," Fick said. "Just the sights."

WORLD SERIOUS: Aubrey Huff and Geoff Blum are two Rays who have played in the World Series - the College World Series.

Huff still raves about the good time he had in Omaha, Neb., with his University of Miami team in 1998. "The best part was the way you got treated," Huff said. "You felt like a big-leaguer for a week."

Blum, who played at Cal, had a slightly less enjoyable experience at the '92 Series. He was an 18-year-old freshman in the starting lineup against a powerful Hurricanes team that starred catcher Charles Johnson. His parents made the trip from California to see him play, and he was feeling pretty good about things.

Until he stepped in the batter's box.

"They introduce me as GEE-of BLOOM," Blum (as in glum) said. "That was it. I was demoralized right there. I went 0-for-6 in a 13-inning game and we lost 3-2."

GOING DEEP

Fred McGriff on Thursday extended his record by making San Diego's new Petco Park the 43rd stadium he'd homered in.

YOU DON'T SAY

"We were walking zombies the first month and a half of the season." - AUBREY HUFF, on the team's rough start

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