Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

T-U 2

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

T-U 2

Article excerpt

BASEBALL STILL AMERICA'S PASTIME

Major League Baseball would like to send this message to David Beckham fans and all other soccer fans who have this far-fetched idea that soccer can become this country's summer-time sport. Attendance for Saturday's 17 major league games was 717,478, which easily surpassed the previous all-time record for 17 games in one day. That was set on July 3, 1999 when 640,412 fans turned out for the 17 games.

Baseball is averaging 32,258 per game through Saturday, up 4.4 percent from last year and is on track to break the record average of 31,632 set in 1994.

2 CENTS

Two events on Sunday reminded me that you never want to take things for granted.

Less than a month ago, Los Angeles Dodgers minor-league hitting coordinator Bill Robinson came through Jacksonville to get a look at members of the Jacksonville Suns, the Dodgers' Double-A affiliate. The Suns weren't hitting particularly well at the time, but four days later when Robinson left town to visit the next Dodgers minor-league club, the Suns were pounding out double-digit hit totals on a regular basis.

I had a chance to visit with Robinson and shared some of my thoughts on Suns players with him. More importantly, he shared his thoughts on certain players, some of which could be made public, some of which he asked that I not disclose. It was a worthwhile session, one that I'll remember as it was to be the last visit I'll have with Robinson. The former major leaguer died on Sunday while in Las Vegas to watch the Dodgers' Triple-A club.

The first week of July, I sat in the visiting dugout at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, talking with Brett Butler, in his first season as manager of the Mobile BayBears, the Double-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Butler talked about how much fun he was having, now that he had kicked two different forms of cancer into remission. …

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