Three very thankful groups heading into the next Pac-10 football season: • Opposing linebackers, who no longer have to tackle Oregon...

Three very thankful groups heading into the next Pac-10 football season:

• Opposing linebackers, who no longer have to tackle Oregon running back Jonathan Stewart.

• Kick-coverage units, who no longer have to tackle Cal return man DeSean Jackson.

• Headline writers, who no longer have to tackle Washington State kicker Romeen Abdollmohammadi.

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Cement Cleats Dept.

Construction crews foiled a co-worker’s plans to hex the Yankees by digging up a Red Sox jersey that he’d buried in the foundation of the new Yankee Stadium, the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger reported.

According to a New York mob news release, Jimmy Hoffa was wearing it.

Not even cold cash

Sign spotted on the back of the San Jose Sharks’ Zamboni: “Driver carries no cash.”

3 swings, 6 outs

Angels outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. racked up an unusual hat trick in an 8-3 loss to the Mariners on Saturday night, hitting into three 4-6-3 double plays.

Alert statisticians immediately credited him with a reverse triple-double.

Royal flash

Kauffman Stadium boasts a 105-by 85-foot high-definition video screen, the world’s largest. “I’d say it’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Royals fan Trevor Hamilton told the Kansas City Star, “but that would make me sound like a loser, wouldn’t it?”

Tryst and shout

Ex-Dodgers shortstop Maury Wills once wrote he had a 1960s love affair with a certain singer-actress, and now in a new biography, writer David Kaufman is claiming she had a 1962 fling with Yankees center fielder Mickey Mantle.

So who would’ve ever guessed that Doris Day — not Bud Selig — was the first to try interleague play?

Talking the talk

• David Thomas of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, on the Speedo ultrafast LZR Racer swim suits: “They’re not exactly the kind you see in Sports Illustrated. Fortunately, they also are nothing like the Speedo you wish your Uncle Louis would quit wearing to the city pool.”

• Thoroughbred owner John Ed Anthony, to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, on trainer D. Wayne Lukas’ competitive bent: “Hell, he thinks he’s going to win every race. He thinks he’s going to win the rerun, even though he got beat.”

• Former Irish hockey coach Lefty Smith, 78, to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, on Notre Dame’s plans to name its planned arena after him: “The nicest part is that I didn’t have to die to get it.”

• CBS’s David Letterman, on the most stunning revelation in Jose Canseco’s next book: “In 1998, he introduced John McCain to Metamucil.”

Slice out of crime

And from The Punishment Fits The Crime File comes word that Penn State receiver Chris Bell pulled a knife on a teammate, so he was cut from the team.

Good thing it wasn’t a gun, or they might have given him another shot.

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