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JERRY CROWE

Jackie Robinson Rotunda a nice gesture if a bit misplaced

Text messages from press row . . .

July 08, 2009|JERRY CROWE

FROM NEW YORK — Many of the New York Mets fans who came to needle Manny Ramirez at Citi Field on Tuesday night passed through a grand entryway honoring Jackie Robinson. . . .

It's a testament to Robinson's legacy -- and a little unusual -- that a team for which he never played dedicated the most impressive feature of its sparkling new stadium to the Brooklyn Dodgers great who broke baseball's color line. . . .

The Jackie Robinson Rotunda, inspired by the classic design of Ebbets Field, is an impressive memorial that would seem to fit better in a ballpark that was home to the Dodgers. . . .

It even includes larger-than-life photos of Robinson graduating from UCLA and competing in the high jump for the Bruins at the Coliseum, peristyle gleaming in the background. . . .

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday, July 15, 2009 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 National Desk 1 inches; 59 words Type of Material: Correction
Jackie Robinson: A note in Jerry Crowe's "Text messages from press row" column in Sports on July 8 said there was a photograph of Jackie Robinson graduating from UCLA at a memorial to Robinson at Citi Field in New York. Robinson left UCLA before earning a degree. The photo is of Robinson receiving an honorary degree from Howard University.

Mets owner Fred Wilpon, not surprisingly, is a Brooklyn native who played high school baseball with Sandy Koufax. . . .

Koufax, born Sandy Braun, is not believed to be related to All-Star Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers, who once noted of the possibility that he and the Hall of Fame pitcher might be kin, "There's no [family] connection that I know of, but it's kind of cool." . . .

Koufax took his stepfather's name when his mother remarried. . . .

Odd fact: The same wrecking ball that leveled Ebbets Field in 1960 demolished the Polo Grounds four years later. . . .

Ramirez has an answer for every steroid question: "Next." . . .

A trophy in his locker proclaims "Best Lover," but Ramirez in his current mood won't win any "Best Interview" citations. . . .

The Dodgers' acquisition of Andre Ethier for Milton Bradley looks better every year, but why so little All-Star love for the club leader in home runs and runs batted in? . . .

Or for Jered Weaver, the Angels' top first-half starter? . . .

Ron Artest, who wore No. 96 with the Houston Rockets last season, will wear No. 37 with the Lakers in honor of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" album, which topped the national sales chart for 37 weeks after its 1982 release. . . .

Artest also has worn Nos. 15, 93, 23 and 91 in the NBA, the latter two to honor Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman. . . .

Like Artest, Rasheed Wallace was once considered uncoachable too -- until the Detroit Pistons won the NBA title in 2004, reached the NBA Finals again the next year and made it to three more Eastern Conference finals after that. . . .

Thumbs up to the Lakers for re-signing athletic, fundamentally sound Shannon Brown, a diamond in the rough. . . .

When New York Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said this week that Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Ricky Romero, a rookie from Cal State Fullerton, "pitches a little like Santana," he was referring to Johan and not Carlos. . . .

That's high praise. . . .

Gatorade ads featuring Candace Parker and Kerri Walsh are more prominent in the New York subways than they are in Southern California, where the Olympic gold medalists live. . . .

Andy Roddick's career-long frustration against Roger Federer reminded New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica of the time Vitas Gerulaitis ended a 16-match losing streak against Jimmy Connors and opened a postmatch news conference by announcing, "Nobody beats Vitas Gerulaitis 17 times in a row." . . .

In a poll of USA Today readers asking which was the more exciting event, 62% voted for Federer's victory over Roddick on Sunday while 38% opted for Tiger Woods' playoff victory over Rocco Mediate at last year's U.S. Open. . . .

While Woods has won 14 majors over a 12-year span, Federer has won 15 Grand Slam event titles over a six-year span. . . .

Baseball symmetry: Warren Spahn finished his Hall of Fame career with 363 wins -- and 363 hits. . . .

The late Steve McNair was a 35th-round pick of the Seattle Mariners in the 1991 amateur draft but turned down a $10,000 signing bonus to play quarterback at Alcorn State. . . .

T-shirt spotted this week at Yankee Stadium: "New York 207 Miles: The only sign of life in Boston." . . .

Bikini model Joanna Krupa, basher of Terrell Owens on "the Superstars," is scheduled to appear Sunday at the Keep L.A. Running charity 10K at Dockweiler Beach in Playa del Rey. . . .

Not, however, in a bikini. . . .

The late Allan Malamud would be disappointed to learn that sports fans still practice the wave, which he despised.

--

jerome.crowe@latimes.com

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