Summer offers a harvest of sports information

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JOE KLEINSASSER
As harvest begins, a few gleanings from the always ripe field of sports.

I’m sure the Hillsboro High School girls’ track team would have liked to repeat as state champions, but kudos to the team for finishing second.

As coach Dennis Boldt said, “Looking at their accomplishments over the past three seasons, this is the most talented track team this school has seen.”

That’s saying a lot.

Three student-athletes led the way in all three title chases-JuliAnne Chisholm, Hannah Marsh and Tina Frick, all juniors, scored a combined 44 points in individual events.

Boldt was quoted as saying, “Finishing as state champions a year ago, many people would think only a repeat would bring the same feeling of accomplishment, but I am so proud of the girls and how excited they were to accept their trophy. They truly understand what it takes to compete at this level from an individual and team perspective.”

That’s a healthy perspective that few coaches and athletes are able to grasp. It’s OK to be disappointed at not winning it all, but if you did the best you could and performed well, there’s plenty to be proud of for finishing second.

Jayson Stark on ESPN.com writes, “Albert Pujols has knocked off five straight seasons with a .300 batting average and at least 30 homers and 115 RBI. Can you name the only other two active players who have even had three seasons in a row like that at any point?” Answer later.

Thirty-two years ago, Pat Summitt made $250 a month to coach the Lady Vols. Now, she’s clearing more than $1 million per season. Who says nothing ever changes?

Here’s something else I gleaned from Stark. The Royals infield is more than just a Boggle game waiting to happen. Someone wondered whether the Royals’ Mientkiewicz-Grudzielanek-Graffanino-Berroa infield, which covers 19 different letters in the alphabet, is a record for most letters used.

The Royals actually fielded a 20-letter starting infield on June 24, 1973 (Kurt Bevacqua, Bobby Floyd, Gail Hopkins and Frank White).

That Royals infield is more than just a Boggle game waiting to happen, though. It’s a continuing source of useless curiosity for many of you out there.

Answer to trivia question: Jason Giambi (four, 1999-2002) and Manny Ramirez (three, 1999-2001).

Stan Van Gundy quit one of the great jobs in sports (NBA coach) to spend more time with his family. So, when he takes the reins of another team, will he announce that he’s decided he wants to spend less time with his family? -ESPN.com

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