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TOTALLY RANDOM

Injecting a more serious note into spring training

In the wake of the latest steroid revelations, those involving Alex Rodriguez, fans appear more skeptical than ever about baseball's annual rite of renewal.

February 10, 2009|Robyn Norwood

Those feel-good spring training stories won't play so well after New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez's admission he took performance-enhancing drugs as a Texas Ranger.

You know, the smell of fresh-mown grass, the crack of a bat, the limitless possibility of another spring . . .

Initial reader reaction to a story on a Philadelphia TV station's website about the World Series champion Phillies' trucking 15 cases of chewing gum, 12 cases of sunflower seeds and 15,000 baseballs and other spring-training gear to Clearwater, Fla., was pointed:

"To supply the Phillies? The same thing it takes to supply any major league team . . . a case of needles and steroids," wrote an anonymous reader on NBCPhiladelphia.com.

Trivia time

What Florida city is home to the Yankees' spring training site? In other words, where will the media circus soon pitch its tents and satellite trucks?

Mouth of the South

Steve Spurrier's mouth got ahead of him -- again -- in a controversy over what number South Carolina football recruit Alshon Jeffery will wear for the Gamecocks.

The Ol' Ball Coach told Jeffery -- a receiver who originally committed to USC's Trojans before signing with the Gamecocks -- that he was seeking to put retired numbers back into use, in part so Jeffery could wear Sterling Sharpe's retired No. 2.

But an athletic department policy said a retired number can be used only if the player who was honored gives written permission. Sharpe said no -- though he took a few more words to say it, telling a radio interviewer last week he would go into mourning and his "guts will definitely be ripped out" if South Carolina took his number out of mothballs.

Jeffery will wear No. 1 instead, South Carolina announced Sunday.

He probably couldn't have worn No. 2 for the Trojans, either. USC All-American safety Taylor Mays has it, and we say he'd win that wrestling match.

No stiff arm here

The numbers of USC's seven Heisman Trophy winners are all retired, but Athletic Director Mike Garrett allowed safety Darnell Bing to wear his No. 20 while he was a Trojan.

"Pete Carroll came to me and said, 'You've got to give up your number,' " Garrett said later in Bing's career. "I said, 'Really.' I said, 'If Bing's that good, let him have it. But if he's not, I want my number back and retired.' "

Bing became an All-American in 2005.

Trivia answer

Tampa.

And finally

Here's what can happen when a nickname goes from A-list to tabloid and blog fodder.

A Google search Monday for entries containing both the terms "A-Roid" and "A-Fraud" returned 212,000 items.

--

robynnorwood@verizon.net

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