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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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The Rays finally get to Boston this week, and this year they have quite a tour guide in Carlos Pena.
By MARC TOPKIN
Published July 1, 2007
The Rays finally get to Boston this week, and this year they have quite a tour guide in Carlos Pena, who grew up from age 12 on and went to college at Northeastern there. Here are highlights of Pena's suggested city tour:
"The first thing to do is visit Newbury Street. Wake up, go to one of the many cafes on Newbury Street and have some breakfast, then walk around the many shops. It's a beautiful walk.
"Another thing you must do in Boston is the duck tour. They'll take you along the Charles River and you'll see a lot of the Boston architecture, the old buildings and a little bit of the history.
"When you get a chance, walk through the Boston Common. It's a beautiful place.
"For dinner, you have to go to the North End and get some Italian food. No restaurant in particular, but if you want real Italian pasta, you have to go. It's awesome.
"You have to have New England clam chowder. If you think you've had good clam chowder, you haven't had it until you have it there. Anywhere in Boston. They get it right.
"After a game, you can go to Quincy Market. They have a great comedy club, and there's great restaurants there. Or right behind Fenway Park you can find some nightlife, there's so many awesome bars and discos.
"The core of young people there is a lot of fun. Another thing to do is go check out Harvard or Boston College. Those campuses are ridiculously beautiful.
"My favorite lunch place, you won't believe it, is Cappy's - it's a little place that's got the best steak and cheese anywhere.
"Ride the T (train system). It's so easy and takes you everywhere you want to go."
RHP Jason Hammel could someday end up with the Royals, but he found out last week he is not royalty.
For nearly 15 years, Hammel thought he was somehow, some way through his mother's side of the family distantly related to England's Princess Diana.
"I just remember I was really young talking to my mom and she was very, very connected with what Princess Diana did and she liked all the stuff she stood for and was really hurt when she died (in an Aug. 30, 1997, car crash) and she put together, I don't know if you'd call it a shrine, but a display case with all of her books and pictures and stuff to honor her, " Hammel said. "I asked her about it and I kind of created in my head there was some kind of connection."
So a couple of years ago when Rays PR assistant Jason Latimer asked Hammel for an interesting personal fact to be added to his bio, Hammel suggested the Princess Di connection, and it has been in the past two media guides and made it into a few newspaper articles.
Hammel was asked in connection with this weekend's celebrations of Diana's birthday for the genealogical details. When he checked with his mom he found he had been mistaken all these years.
"No connection, " he said. "I'm glad to finally get that cleared up."
Plus, according to his bio, Hammel still has the distinction of being the Treasure Valley (Ore.) Community College Chukar Bird mascot at basketball games. "How many guys got to be a mascot?" he said.
Monday is the Rays' 81st game, marking the halfway point of the season. Here's how they've done from the first half to the second in each season:
Year first half second half Overall
1998 34-47 29-52 63-99
1999 35-46 34-47 69-93
2000 32-49 37-43 69-92
2001 24-57 38-43 62-100
2002 28-53 27-53 55-106
2003 27-54 36-45 63-99
2004 40-41 30-50 70-91
2005 27-54 40-41 67-95
2006 35-46 26-55 61-101
Source: Times research
Internet item of the week
The lineup card from the June 26, 2005, Marlins-Rays game at the Trop, signed by then-Florida manager Jack McKeon, is listed on eBay with a bid of $15.51.