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Mientkiewicz, unassisted

The Red Sox have the title. Now they want the ball. Backup first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz caught the ball for the final out of the World Series, ending Boston's 86-year championship drought. He then put the souvenir in a safe deposit box. Only one problem: The Red Sox say the ball should be in their hands. "Of course I want Red Sox fans to see the ball," Mientkiewicz told WEEI radio. "The main reason why I hung on to the darn thing is because I want people to see it." Red Sox president Larry Lucchino sees it differently. "We want it to be part of Red Sox archives or museums so it can be shared with the fans," he told the Boston Globe. "We would hope he would understand the historical nature of it." Mientkiewicz, who played at Florida State and didn't join the Red Sox until July 31, said the ball was "my retirement fund," the Globe reported. On Friday, he said he was kidding. Carmine Tiso, spokesman for MLB, told the Globe that Mientkiewicz owns the baseball.


WAY TO WORK THE CROWD: New York Yankees fans are used to team owner George Steinbrenner delivering a good product on the field. Friday morning he delivered a different, but welcome, product as more than 500 people waited in line to buy Yankees single-game tickets for spring training. As the ticket windows opened at 9 a.m., storm clouds rolled in and rain started to fall. Moments later Steinbrenner appeared with members of the Tampa staff and handed out umbrellas to fans, some of whom said they had waited overnight in their cars outside the Legends Field complex. As the rain fell harder, several fans offered their umbrellas to Steinbrenner, who stood without one talking with people in the line. He politely declined each offer.


"My helmet comes off every game. That helps for marketing. I do that on purpose. The cheerleaders and the fans, they think I'm cute, you know what I'm saying? I try to show the face off a little bit."

_ DARNELL DOCKETT, Arizona DT and former FSU star who says he purposely keeps his chin strap unfastened so his helmet comes off easily.


Brett Favre is 38-2 at Lambeau Field when the game-time temperature is 34 degrees or below. A different record was given in Friday's Times.