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Highs and lows

By KEITH NIEBUHR, ANTHONY PEREZ, ALAN RITTNER, MIKE STEPHENSON and JOHN STRICKHOUSER

© St. Petersburg Times,
published July 8, 2001


Highs

JENNIFER CAPRIATI: Her dreams of a Grand Slam ended with a shocking semifinal loss at Wimbledon, but the Saddlebrook resident certainly made quite a run.

ROGER FEDERER: The Swiss teen stunned the tennis world by halting Pete Sampras' 31-match Wimbledon winning streak and ending his chance to match Bjorn Borg's record five consecutive singles titles. Federer culminated the upset with a blistering return of a Sampras serve, something unheard of in years past, and more than anything may have signaled the end of King Pete's reign.

BASEBALL FANS OF THE WORLD: Is there a single questionable starter on this year's All-Star teams? Okay, John Olerud's a reach, but he's hardly a stiff. And Cal Ripken is batting in the .220s, but who's going to argue against him? Best of all, Jefferson High's Luis Gonzalez picked up enough votes in the final week to earn an NL starting spot, a just reward for his MVP-caliber performance. The fans did themselves proud.

RAYS OF HOPE FOUNDATION: The Devil Rays charitable arm made a $20,000 donation to the Reviving Baseball in Inner cities, or RBI, program to benefit youth teams in the Tampa Bay area. Maybe they can lay a foundation of hope for the Rays.

Lows

TONY ENSOR: Lawton Dean, an 80-year-old Birmingham Barons usher, tried to do something nice by retrieving a home-run ball hit by top prospect Joe Borchard and asking for permission to give it to him. Ensor, the Barons president and general manager, said the ball belonged to the club. When Dean refused to hand it over, he was fired on the spot.

RAYS OF NONHOPE: Manager Hal McRae removed couches and recliners from the Rays clubhouse to motivate players to work harder. If some of them had been strapped to the furniture as it was disposed of, this would have been a HIGH.

SERENA WILLIAMS: After losing to Jennifer Capriati at Wimbledon, Williams told reporters that she was sick and, among other things, full of gas. More like hot air.

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