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Text messages from press row...

June 23, 2009|JERRY CROWE

If not tonight, when fans in Albuquerque will be all agog, Manny Ramirez soon will have to face the music. . . .

Fans don't like drug cheats who play for opposing teams. . . .

Says Joe Torre, "I think it's going to be a little time before he feels comfortable, but I don't think in the long run it's going to be an issue for him. He's pretty good at blocking out." . . .

The blocking-out starts July 3 at San Diego. . . .

Thanks to Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, etc., fans outside St. Louis must wonder, 'Do we celebrate Albert Pujols or suspect him?' . . .

Pujols has batted four times with the bases loaded this season and three times has hit grand slams. . . .

In his only other at-bat with the bases loaded, the St. Louis Cardinals slugger delivered only a two-run single. . . .

Sadly, it makes you wonder. . . .

Phil Mickelson, who was a bridesmaid once again, couldn't quite give the people what they wanted but still gave them a show. . . .

The U.S. Open is the only one of golf's four majors that Tiger Woods has not won in consecutive years. . . .

Judging by the numerous stories written about Kevin O'Neill over the last few days, USC's new basketball coach has managed to rub quite a few people the wrong way. . . .

Jered Weaver, unbeaten at Angel Stadium before Saturday, apparently is not the same pitcher when big brother is looking over his shoulder and breathing down his neck. . . .

Hall of Famer Phil Niekro, by the way, was 4-5 in nine starts against younger brother Joe. . . .

You probably could have made a fortune betting that Russell Martin wouldn't hit his first home run until June 20. . . .

Watching 34-year-old Vladimir Guerrero run these days, it's hard to believe he stole 40 bases in a season. . . .

It's mystifying why Chase Utley and the defending World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies are so dreadful at home. . . .

Thursday's NBA draft probably won't produce three most valuable players, as the 1984 draft did with Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon and Charles Barkley, or the 1996 draft did with Allen Iverson, Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant. . . .

Reader Barry Levy of Hawthorne e-mails to note that admission to the gala 25th anniversary celebration of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, July 18 at the Coliseum, is not free. . . .

Tickets are $184 each. . . .

One possible reason for tennis' waning popularity in the United States: No American male has won a Grand Slam tournament since 2003, when Andy Roddick won the U.S. Open. . . .

How much longer must we endure the Nike puppets? . . .

With Tony La Russa's notching managerial victory 2,500 on Sunday, reader Ethan Kramer of Hermosa Beach e-mails to suggest that Connie Mack's record of 3,731 is another of baseball's seemingly unassailable milestones. . . .

A manager averaging 100 wins a year over 37 years, Kramer notes, would still be 31 short of the mark. . . .

You probably know the voice, even if you can't place the face: David Courtney works more than 150 events a year as the public address announcer for the Angels, Kings and Clippers. . . .

During the day, he provides traffic reports on KABC 790. . . .

Congratulations to Azusa Pacific, winner for the fifth consecutive year of a Directors' Cup as the NAIA's No. 1 all-around athletic program. . . .

Among major college athletic programs, Stanford won a Directors' Cup for the 16th year in a row. . . .

Taylor Griffin, older brother of soon-to-be top NBA draft pick Blake Griffin, was drafted No. 1 by the Harlem Globetrotters, who know a publicity stunt when they see one. . . .

A banquet July 2 at Phil Trani's Restaurant in Long Beach will honor influential former Cerritos College baseball coach Wally Kincaid, whose teams won six state championships and nearly 700 games during his 22-year career. . . .

Information: (310) 341-3392. . . .

Noting that major leaguers wear their pants just about any length they wish, "from the time-honored just below the knee to the laughable just under the heel," reader Gary Weaver of Upland e-mails to suggest that Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig consult a "Funk & Wagnalls" and look up the definition of uniform. . . .

As in, "always the same, unchanging, without fluctuation."

--

jerome.crowe@latimes.com

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