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Morning Briefing

`Fantasy' felt real enough to Kent

October 10, 2006|Mike Penner | Times Staff Writer

You know fantasy baseball has gotten out of hand when a big league player asks a teammate to hit Jeff Kent with a pitch because it would help his fantasy team.

This actually happened ... more than a dozen years ago.

Former pitcher Tom Candiotti recently confessed to Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle about the sorry plot he concocted in the early 1990s.

"It's '92 or '93," said Candiotti, now a radio-TV analyst for the Arizona Diamondbacks. "I'm playing for the Dodgers, Jeff Kent is with the Mets. I'm in a fantasy baseball league. I don't have Kent on my team and he's off to a torrid start and he's killing me."

Before a game against the Mets in New York, with Ramon Martinez warming up for the Dodgers, Candiotti tells pitching coach Ron Perranoski, loudly enough for Martinez to hear, "Perry, I just talked to Bret Saberhagen and Sabes told me that if Kent gets drilled his first time up, he's mush for the rest of the series."

In the first inning, Candiotti said, "Ramon just absolutely buries one in Kent's ribs. It was so bad that he went down on one knee, and he had to come out of the game. I sat there thinking, 'What did you just do? You told a complete lie, you got this guy drilled!"

After that, Candiotti retired from fantasy baseball.

"That was end of my fantasy days," he said. "It was out of control."

Kent's revenge?

Ostler said he recently ran the story past Kent, who shrugged and replied, "Getting hit's part of the game. I've been hit for many reasons, so a rotisserie league" is no big deal.

Kent added, "Candiotti, eh? Heh-heh-heh. [Pause]. He walks around with a little dog."

Ostler wrote, "My god, what have I done? Candy, hide the dog."

Trivia time

Which pitching staff led the National League in fewest batters hit by pitches during the 2006 regular season?

Remote out-of-control

You know you're watching way too much televised sports when you decide to name your first-born son ESPN.

This actually happened last week ... and at least three times before that.

Leann Real of D'Iberville, Miss., said she promised her husband Rusty that if the couple ever had a boy, he'd get to pick the name. When Leann delivered a boy last week, Rusty delivered his verdict, naming the child ESPN Montana Real.

Rusty is also a big fan of Joe Montana.

The Associated Press reports that ESPN (pronounced Espen) Real is not alone. Three others were listed in a 2005 report on tivocommunity.com about the sports network's 25th anniversary: Espn Malachi McCall in Pampa, Texas; Espn Curiel in Corpus Christi, Texas; and Espn Blondeel in Michigan.

Further research uncovered thousands of additional children named after TV networks: Spike, Nick and at least one kid named Sundance.

Tampa Bay '76 Watch

Briefing takes a periodic look at the teams challenging to become the first to complete a winless NFL season since the 0-14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers of 1976.

Today's contender: Oakland Raiders.

Credentials: 0-4 after Sunday's 34-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, who were previously 1-3.

Notable: Andrew Walter will go down as the quarterback who was on the other end of Randy Moss' historic 100th touchdown reception.

Next defeat: This Sunday, at Denver.

Quote: "Just give them the first pick right now." -- NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders.

Trivia answer

Dodgers pitchers hit 41 batters with pitches in 2006, the fewest in the league and more than twice as few as the Washington Nationals, who led the major leagues with 92.

And finally

From David Letterman's "Top 10 Ways to Make the Major League Playoffs More Exciting":

"10. Play the games in Baghdad.

"8. No metal detectors at Detroit home games.

"7. Goodbye chewing tobacco, hello tainted spinach.

"3. Fine A-Rod a million dollars every time he chokes.

"2. Allow players to cork themselves.

"1. Centerfield Jumbotron shows steamy e-mails Mark Foley sent batboys."

mike.penner@latimes.com

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