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From Home Plate to Eternity, It Was a Hack of a Time

May 29, 1997|MAL FLORENCE

Fourteen minutes. That's two minutes longer than an NBA quarter, not counting timeouts. It's also a decent time for a college 5,000-meter runner.

However, one at-bat in a May 18 Kansas City-Detroit game lasted 14 minutes and it seemed like an eternity. The Royals' Bip Roberts kept fouling off pitch after pitch thrown by the Tigers' Felipe Lira.

"He fouled them off everywhere," Tiger pitching coach Perry Hill told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "A couple over the third base dugout. A couple down the left-field line. He hooked four or five off the tarp down the right-field line. That at-bat was spread all over the park. It was the longest at-bat I've ever seen."

Mercifully, for everyone concerned, Roberts finally grounded out to second base.

Trivia time: Who holds the Dodger single-season record for pinch-hits?

Running wild: Florida Marlin pitcher Pat Rapp, after recently hitting his first career home run: "I never stopped sprinting the whole way around the bases. I never hit one before. I didn't know what to do."

Panic in the north: San Francisco 49er owner Edward DeBartolo has threatened to move the franchise to Los Angeles if voters don't approve a new stadium-mall complex on Tuesday.

"The Los Angeles 49ers sounds blasphemous," writes Art Spander of the Oakland Tribune. "I sort of like the Los Angeles Freeway Shooters. Seems more appropriate."

Chow hound: In his new book, "The Hoop," New York Times columnist Ira Berkow recalls asking chubby Chicago Bear lineman William "Refrigerator" Perry what he ate for Thanksgiving dinner.

"A little bit of everything," replied the Fridge. Berkow: "A little bit of everything or a lot of everything?" Fridge: "Both."

Wishful thinking: If Michael Jordan makes good on his threat to retire if Chicago Bull Coach Phil Jackson leaves, Miami Heat Coach Pat Riley vowed: "We'll throw [Jordan] the biggest going-away party anyone has ever seen."

Painful to watch: Royal Manager Bob Boone, after his team gave up Ken Griffey Jr.'s 22nd home run:

"The strategy is: Throw it over the plate, and hide my eyes. From now on, I'm going to the bathroom while he bats."

Sergei Jones? Detroit Red Wing center Sergei Fedorov, a native of Pskov, Russia, thinks he's a victim of bias and hasn't gotten the credit he deserves.

"If my name were Sam Jones, I would be a superstar here forever," he told the Detroit Free Press. "People judge me differently because I am Russian."

Trivia answer: Dave Hansen, with 18 in 1993. Runner-up is Mitch Webster with 17 in 1992.

And finally: Track & Field News reports that Andrey Abduvaliyev, the 1992 Olympic hammer throw gold medalist for Tajikistan, has been cleared by the IAAF to represent Uzbekistan.

Public-address announcers are warming up everywhere.

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