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10:27 AM Thu, Jan. 17th

Thomson memory still dear to one Prescott fan

Notes, quotes and anecdotes while wondering who's in first place in the XFL.


•Bobby Thomson's "shot heard 'round the world" has come under more than a bit of fire lately.

But Prescott resident and former New York Giants baseball fan-atic Rita Noto isn't about to put an asterisk next to one of the most dramatic moments in the sport's rich history.

Noto wasn't in attendance on that fateful day in 1951 when Thomson's game-winning home run off Brooklyn Dodger hurler Ralph Branca put the Giants into the World Series against the Yankees.

But she did see two games in that year's Subway World Series. She also witnessed Joe DiMaggio's final home run, Satchel Paige pitch with the St. Louis Browns and two young players named Willie Mays and Stan Musial.

"It was a great time for baseball in New York," remembers Noto. "It seems like everything was so much simpler then. There were only eight teams in the league and you got to see all the great players. I really fell in love with baseball."

Her favorite player ... Bobby Thomson. But the recent talk of Thomson's historic home run possibly being the result of the Giants electronically stealing signs is anything but Noto's favorite scandal.

"If they knew about it 10 weeks after it happened, why didn't they do something about it then?" Noto asks.

"Stealing signs was part of what they did in baseball. It was just part of the game."

This is one case where stealing signs was easier than stealing a memory.

•I caught about half of the first quarter of Saturday night's XFL opener in Las Vegas.

OK, so the quality of football isn't very good. But football isn't selling this product as much as slapstick entertainment.

My favorite had to be (besides the cheerleader closeups) the beginning of the game when the traditional coin toss gives way to two guys lining up and running a 10-yard dash before piling on the football, with Jesse Ventura analyzing every stride.

The XFL will serve its purpose - a humorous alternative to the sometimes stuffy NFL. I might even catch a game or two during the year.

As soon as someone starts the X-WNBA ... then I'll worry.

•In the "Everything is relative" department: A lot is being made of the Phoenix Suns' recent drop in attendance in relation to the team's string of off-court problems.

The Suns drew an all-time America West Arena low 16,502 last week against the Vancouver Grizzlies.

There's no doubt that the drop has Suns owner Jerry Colangelo concerned, and for good reason.

But do you know how many fans attended the first home game in franchise history back in 1968 at Veterans Coliseum?

A franchise opener is usually a cinch sellout, but the Suns and Seattle SuperSonics drew only 7,112 on that Nov. 18 evening. In fact, the Suns' second game drew just 3,474 and only once in 41 home dates did they draw 10,000.

Granted, Phoenix wasn't nearly as big of a city in 1969. But the Cardinals, Diamondbacks and Coyotes weren't around either.

More Suns: No matter how much lip service is paid, the bottom line is: There's still advantages to being a superstar.

Mediocre Seattle forward Ruben Patterson is convicted of assaulting a man in a barroom brawl and is suspended by the NBA three games without pay.

Kidd admits to busting his wife in face, doesn't deny her allegations that it has happened before and gets ... cheered upon his return to play.

The NBA might still suspend Kidd once the situation takes its legal course.

But don't bet on it.