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TOTALLY RANDOM

List of Shaquille O'Neal's nicknames gets longer

The former Laker tells the Associated Press he was called Shaqqie Robinson and the Big Black Unit when he played baseball when he was younger.

August 15, 2009|Ben Bolch

He's proclaimed himself the Diesel, the Big Aristotle and Shaq Fu, among other nicknames.

Now Shaquille O'Neal has a few more monikers for himself in advance of his home run derby showdown with St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols for the former Laker's ABC reality show.

When he was little, the 7-foot-1, 325-pound O'Neal said, he was known as Shaqqie Robinson. And when he pitched? The Big Black Unit.

O'Neal told the Associated Press he was once a T-ball All-Star and a high school first baseman with the "world's biggest strike zone."

Don't expect the normally chatty O'Neal to try to rattle Pujols during their confrontation, though.

"Usually I try to get into the mind of my opponent," O'Neal said. "But I don't think it's wise to talk smack to a man who always has a bat in his hands."

Trivia time

Barry Bonds finished his career with 762 home runs, 48 more than Babe Ruth. Which player had more triples?

Mascot memories

There were the usual suspects among a list of 25 things Sports Illustrated writers miss about baseball: stirrups, organ music (have they never been to Dodger Stadium?) and World Series day games.

And then there was Youppi! Ben Reiter longs for the days when he could go to Olympic Stadium and watch the 7-foot orange furball flit about during Montreal Expos games.

"Youppi! silently danced on the dugout," Reiter wrote, "pranked the opposing team, hugged terrified little kids, and, like the fiddlers on the Titanic, did everything to divert attention from the inevitable, which finally came on Sept. 29, 2004, when the Expos played their last home game."

Youppi! lived to cheer another day as the mascot of the Montreal Canadiens. The Washington Nationals hired what the writer described as "a generally charmless eagle mascot named Screech."

Unfriendly confines

Security personnel removed a fan after someone sitting in the bleachers at Wrigley Field doused Philadelphia center fielder Shane Victorino with beer Wednesday during the Cubs' 12-5 loss.

Only one problem: security identified the wrong fan. Victorino didn't find the mistake amusing.

"He's probably at home laughing right now watching all these replays, 'Ah, they got the wrong guy. I got away with it,' " said Victorino, who intended to file a complaint with the Chicago Police Department. "We're going to get the right guy."

Police said a man turned himself in after the game and have charged 21-year-old John Macchione of Bartlett, Ill., with one count of battery and one count of illegal conduct within a sports facility.

Trivia answer

Ruth had 136 triples to Bonds' 77.

And finally

Arash Markazi of SI.com isn't so sure that Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian won't attempt to reunite their sister Kim with New Orleans running back Reggie Bush since the duo is starting a new reality show and remains in touch with the former USC star via Twitter. "What are the odds that the sisters conspire to get Reggie and Kim back together on their show?" Markazi wrote. "Just saying."

--

ben.bolch@latimes.com

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