THAT'S MR. K.A. KELLY: His baseball career is just getting started, but minor-league outfielder Kenny Kelly already is looking ahead to the business world. Kelly has started a Tampa-based record label, So Serious Records, hoping to become a big-league player in the hip-hop music scene. "It's something I've wanted to try," Kelly said. "I've always loved hip-hop music." During his days at the University of Miami, Kelly got to know some of the key folks at south Florida-based Slip-N-Slide Records, which features hip-hop/rap artists such as Trick Daddy and Trina. He has big plans for his company, claiming to already have signed a number of groups and being close to releasing the label's first record. "I want to leave it a surprise for now," Kelly said. "But we're going to take Tampa by storm."
ULTIMATE SACRIFICE: ESPN's Jayson Stark, as he is wont to do, came up with an interesting statistic about Fred McGriff: It has been 1,490 games and more than 10 years since the last of McGriff's two career sacrifice bunts. More amazing, that's not the longest streak among active players. Bobby Bonilla (1,912 games), Andres Galarraga (1,886), Ruben Sierra (1,643) and Frank Thomas (1,530) all have gone longer. In case you were wondering, McGriff's bunt was Sept. 19, 1990.
ALL THE KINGS MEN: Greg Vaughn is a major fan of the NBA Sacramento Kings and close friends with several of their star players, including Chris Webber and Jason Williams. Vaughn went to Orlando for the Kings-Magic game last week and has four seats on the floor for every game at Sacramento's Arco Arena. While the Kings have become one of the league's trendy teams, Vaughn said he is not a bandwagon jumper. "I've been a season-ticket holder since they were winning 15 games a year," he said.
Rookie outfielder Josh Hamilton is trying to make it to the majors at age 19. Here are position players who, since 1980, made it before their 20th birthday, and how many games they played:
Year Player Team Games
2000 Rafael Furcal Braves 131
1998 Adrian Beltre Dodgers 367
Aramis Ramirez Pirates 163
1996 Andruw Jones Braves 666
1995 Karim Garcia Dodgers 254
1994 Alex Rodriguez Mariners 790
1991 Ivan Rodriguez Rangers 1,260
1989 Juan Gonzalez Rangers 1,363
1988 Gary Sheffield Brewers 1,449
1985 Manuel Lee Blue Jays 922
1984 Junior Noboa Indians 317
1983 Jose Oquendo Mets 1,190
Gilberto Reyes Dodgers 122
1981 Fred Manrique Blue Jays 498
1980 Ricky Seilheimer White Sox 21
_ Source: Elias Sports Bureau
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
Columnist Hal Bodley, writing in USA Today: "Baseball, it seems, made a huge mistake in placing an expansion team in St. Petersburg. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays are a major disappointment for a sport with too many ailing franchises. Let's face it. This area is an oasis with a rich history for spring training. It's always been a winter escape for snowbirds to gawk at teams preparing for a new year _ and then leave Florida behind. Regular-season baseball is another story."
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
"Some guys walk in, they played American Legion ball last year, and they're signing their name with their number on it already. We just didn't do that before."
_ GREG VAUGHN, on young players in the game
BY THE NUMBERS
78: Home runs by Fred McGriff as a Ray.
235: Players in the Rays organization this season.
498: Pages in the Rays 2001 media information guide.
Here is the fourth of our weekly guesses at what the 25-man opening-day roster will look like:
PITCHERS (11): Albie Lopez, Paul Wilson, Ryan Rupe, Bryan Rekar, Travis Harper, Tanyon Sturtze, Esteban Yan, Doug Creek, Ken Hill, Jeff Wallace, Dan Wheeler.
CATCHERS (2): John Flaherty, Mike DiFelice.
INFIELDERS (7): Vinny Castilla, Felix Martinez, Damian Rolls, Fred McGriff, Steve Cox, Russ Johnson, Ozzie Guillen.
OUTFIELDERS (5): Greg Vaughn, Gerald Williams, Ben Grieve, Jose Guillen, Randy Winn.