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Thursday, May 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports

Cheap Seats

Randy Johnson should be so mature

The way Alan Benes is pitching, he could be on his way to a 20-victory season.

That he’s one game above .500 instead hasn’t caused much concern for the St. Louis Cardinals’ right-hander, who seems wise beyond his 1-1/2 years in the major leagues.

“Every now and then, you get a little frustrated when you look up in the eighth inning and you’ve given up one run or no runs and you’re in a tie game or you’re losing the game,” Benes said. “That’s the way baseball is.”

Benes is fourth in the National League with a 2.68 ERA. He’s the second-toughest starting pitcher to hit, holding opponents to a .209 average. He’s third with 153 strikeouts, 23 more than he had all of last season.

But he’s only 9-8.

Call the pope, we’ve been robbed

Steffi Graf has left the Roman Catholic Church to avoid church taxes, according to a radio station in Manheim, Germany.

Germans registered with a recognized church must pay a church tax equal to 9 percent of their income tax.

While Graf should have paid the church between $167,000-$280,000 annually since 1990, she paid only a third of that, Sueddeutscher Rundfunk said.

It’s safe to assume she won’t become a Mormon, because members of that church are expected to tithe 10 percent of their gross.

Isn’t this a little early in the season?

Defending national champion Florida is favored to defeat its two biggest rivals, and Michigan is favored to extend its dominance over Ohio State, according to early lines set by a Las Vegas oddsmaker.

Early point spreads for the 1997 college football season as published by SportsFax News make Florida a 3-1/2-point favorite at home against Heisman Trophy favorite Peyton Manning and Tennessee on Sept. 20.

“Even with Manning in there, they don’t have a shot against the tenacious Florida defense,” said oddsmaker Larry Adleman of SportFax, a sports gaming news service.

The Gators are also favored against archrival Florida State, giving three points when they host the Seminoles on Nov. 22.

The oddsmakers also installed Michigan as a 2-1/2-point favorite to continue its mastery over Ohio State when the Big Ten powers clash in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Nov. 22. The Wolverines have won seven of the past nine meetings.

The college football season starts Aug. 23 when Northwestern plays Oklahoma in the Pigskin Classic in Chicago. Northwestern is a touchdown favorite.

What, no Boston College lines?

Trivia time

Four of the last nine overall No. 1 picks in the NFL draft have been from the Pacific-10 Conference. Who were they?

Answer: Troy Aikman, UCLA (1989), Steve Emtman, Washington (1992), Drew Bledsoe, Washington State (1993), and Keyshawn Johnson, USC (1996).

The last word …

“Troy has three Super Bowl rings. Elway has three losses.”

- Veteran wide receiver Anthony Miller of the Dallas Cowboys, when asked to compare current teammate Troy Aikman and former teammate John Elway , DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

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