When the Dodgers were recently looking for a pitching coach for their rookie league team in Ogden, Utah, Tom Lasorda recommended former Dodger pitcher Charlie Hough.
One problem. Hough was already under contract as the pitching coach for the Fullerton Flyers of the independent Golden Baseball League.
Lasorda figured he had the answer. According to Ed Hart, the Flyers' general manager, Lasorda offered 10,000 baseballs for the rights to Hough.
"We turned him down," Hart said.
Hough, who wasn't offended, said, "In 1971, I was traded from the Caracas Leones to a Dominican League team for a bottle of wine and some cheese. Compared to that, 10,000 baseballs is a pretty good offer."
Trivia time: Hough first appeared in a major league game with the Dodgers in 1970. What year did he make his last major league appearance and with what team?
Another strange deal: Marketing people in sports are always coming up with deals involving naming rights and sponsorships, but here's one that's more than a little strange.
Zac Basch, the general manager of a semipro baseball team, the Anchorage Bucs, recently sought a sponsorship deal from PokerShare.com.
Why a gambling website? Because it had offered $100,000 to the tiny town of White Mountain, in northeast Alaska, for the naming rights to nearby Suicide Hill.
A town vote will be held and results will be known May 15. In the meantime, Basch is gambling that the website "might spend their dollars on a more worthwhile cause."
A good fit: According to the Santa Anita program, racetrack bugler Jay Cohen, named employee of the meet that ended last weekend and now working at Hollywood Park, began his career in 1987 "when the existing bugle player could no longer fit into the uniform."
Dual role: Deion Sanders, who last week became a part-owner of the Arena Football League's Austin Wranglers, is not your typical owner. He says he'll be ready to suit up and play if necessary.
"Jerry Jones goes to the sideline, Pat Bowlen goes to the sideline, Dan Snyder goes to the sideline -- they're not doing anything but making a cameo," Sanders said on FSN's "Best Damn Sports Show Period." "I have the ability as an owner to go to the sideline and really do something -- break up a pass, return a punt, return a kickoff."
Looking back: On this day in 1993, a disturbed fan, Guenter Parche, 38, stabbed Monica Seles in the back during a changeover at a tennis tournament in Hamburg, Germany. Seles missed the remainder of the 1993 season.
Trivia answer: 1994 with the Florida Marlins.
And finally: Of Kobe Bryant's changing his jersey number from 8 to 24 next season, Randy Hill of Foxsports.com wrote: "Kobe wore 24 in high school, but skeptics believe he's making the change to put himself one up on Michael Jordan."
\o7Larry Stewart can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.