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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Hitting Gets Lost in Details

February 22, 2001|ROBYN NORWOOD

The new batting coach for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays knows his stuff.

It's Wade Boggs, the five-time American League batting champion who finished his career with 3,010 hits.

The question is whether Boggs will be able to transfer his vast knowledge to less-talented hitters.

Some of the best batting coaches were not great hitters: Charlie Lau, for example, had a career average of .255.

Boggs' enthusiasm shows already, but Devil Ray catcher John Flaherty remembers talking hitting with him when both were players.

"Sometimes he was a little too . . . um . . . sophisticated," Flaherty told the Tampa (Fla.) Tribune. "He'd be talking about U's, and Vs, and glide paths, and I didn't know what he was talking about."

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Trivia time: What major league record shared by Vic Power and 10 others is unlikely to be broken?

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Do the right thing: Spike Lee was lying low at the New York Knick-Miami Heat game Tuesday.

Lee was wary of a payback call because singer Jimmy Buffett was ejected from a courtside seat for cursing referee Joe Forte on Feb. 4 when the Knicks played at Miami.

"I was told to chill it tonight, from way up high," Lee told the New York Times' George Vecsey shortly before the game, raising his eyes to the rafters and apparently referring to Garden management.

Lee pays $1,500 each for two courtside seats. His antics are well known, from stepping onto the court to taunting Reggie Miller.

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Not the golfer: There's only one Bobby Jones with the New York Mets now. Bobby M. Jones spent most of last season at triple-A Norfolk as the Mets, helped by Bobby J. Jones, won their first National League pennant since 1986.

Now Bobby J. is with the San Diego Padres and Bobby M. is trying to earn a spot in the Met bullpen after giving up three earned runs in eight appearances after being recalled last September.

That will be up to the manager--you've got it--Bobby Valentine.

"Bobby Jones is one of the most intriguing members of the cast here," Valentine said.

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Park your money here: The University of Arizona's new fund-raising plan includes a variety of giving levels, from the $100 Red and Blue Club up to the $20,000 Platinum Wildcat.

"Your name will be chiseled onto a close-in parking space," the Arizona Daily Star reported. "You will get to have a private dinner with [Athletic Director Jim] Livengood. You will be allowed to attend exclusive receptions with Lute Olson.

"You can even use the McKale Room or the Stadium Club to hold a business meeting or a birthday party. And you'll fly on the team charter to a football game each fall."

The Star's Greg Hansen boils the plan down to its essence.

"Essentially, it reshuffles the parking order in the parking-challenged area around McKale. The more you give, the closer you park."

For $20,000, we'd expect valet.

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Trivia answer: Most times stealing home in one game: two. Power was the last to accomplish it in 1958.

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And finally: Toronto's Carlos Delgado on former Blue Jay teammate David Wells, who said recently Toronto fans "stink" and the team "isn't doing enough" to win.

"Boomer can say what he wants because nobody listens to him anyway," Delgado told the Toronto Sun.

Excuse us, but apparently someone was listening.

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