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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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By MARC TOPKIN
Published June 26, 2005
DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN
As the Devil Rays were blowing another huge lead and carving another big notch in the history books on Tuesday, first-base coach Billy Hatcher got a sick sense of deja vu.
Watching a 10-2 lead slip away and turn into a 20-11 loss was bad enough, but it didn't take long for Hatcher to realize he had seen the Rays do it once before - May 7, 1999, at Cleveland.
"Lou (Piniella) said, "I haven't ever seen anything like this,' " Hatcher said. "I said I had. He said there was no way. And I said, "I swear to God.' "
He did, all right.
Tuesday, the Rays gave it away all it once, giving up 13 runs in a 35-minute bottom-of-the eighth. The 1999 debacle was more of a drawn-out affair as the Rays slowly built their lead to 10-2 and the Indians worked their way back, scoring four in the sixth, then after the Rays got one more, racking up seven runs in the seventh and another seven in the eighth.
"The only difference is that the Indians put it together over a couple of innings and the Yankees did it all at once," Hatcher said.
At the time, the Rays became the first team in the 100-plus year history of the major leagues to lead a game by at least eight runs and lose by at least nine. Now it's happened twice, and the Rays did it both times.
Hatcher is the only person who was in a Rays uniform for both games, but there were some other common threads including John Flaherty, who caught for the Rays in 1999 and was behind the plate for the Yankees on Tuesday, and umpire Larry Young, who worked first base in 1999 and third on Tuesday.
Other Rays personnel who were at both games include PR chief Rick Vaughn, TV voices Dewayne Staats and Joe Magrane, and trainer Ken Crenshaw, who was an assistant then.
Until flying home from Seattle for a day to attend his son's June 5 high school graduation, Hatcher had been in uniform for every game the Rays played.
"I've just about seen it all," Hatcher said. "But I was just telling Dewayne, there are some things I wish I hadn't seen."
Jonny Gomes is a Californian by birth, but he seems to be a New York kind of guy. Gomes made his major-league debut at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 12, 2003, and went 2-for-3 including a double off David Wells. Then last week he homered on Tuesday and Wednesday, becoming, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, the first visiting rookie to go deep in consecutive games at Yankee Stadium since Seattle's Shane Monahan in 1998.
With Scott Kazmir pitching against the Yankees and Victor Zambrano pitching for the Mets on the same day last week, the New York media couldn't help but revisit the fact that they were traded for each other. Here is how each has done since the July 30, 2004, deal: