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Midseason Jersey Switch Spells Trouble in Toronto

THE World Series champion Toronto Blue Jays now reside in last place. Their fans, obviously, are eager for a turnaround, but none anticipated that it would come on the jersey of Joe Carter, last season's home-run-hitting Series hero.

In Toronto's first game following last week's All-Star Game, Carter sported a uniform that at first glance looked identical to those of his teammates. Upon closer examination, however, the word Toronto on the front of his jersey was misspelled, with a ``T'' and an ``N'' transposed so it read: ``TOROTNO.'' An American uniform maker was guilty of butchering the spelling of Canada's largest metropolis. The error was due to be rectified, the team reported, when called last week.

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The jersey that Carter wore during the first half of the season had an All-Star Game patch affixed to it. After the game, he and the other all-stars on the Blue Jays - Paul Molitor, Roberto Alomar, and Pat Hentgen - were issued new jerseys. Only Carter's bore the misspelling, and since the team was on the road (in Texas), Carter had no spare. US golf slump

With three ``major'' men's golf tournaments down and just one to go - the PGA Championship in Tulsa, Okla., Aug. 11-14 - Americans are staring at a possible year-long shutout from the victory circle of the game's most prestigious tournaments. Nick Price, a native South African who carries a British passport but lives in Florida, scored a one-shot victory in the British Open on Sunday, this after Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal won the Masters in April and South African Ernie Els the US Open in June. Price sank a 50-foot eagle putt on the 17th, the stuff of dreams that sent him leaping about the green in Turnberry, Scotland. Jesper Parnevik of Sweden mistakenly thought he needed a birdie on the 18th to win, when a par was all that was required for victory. Perhaps as a result, he pressed too hard and wound up with a bogey. Touching other bases

* Scott Cooper's presence on the American League roster last week during the annual All-Star Game may have convinced some observers that Boston is the cradle of major-league third basemen. Cooper patrols third for Boston, and a pair of former Red Sox were also named to the All-Star roster, Wade Boggs of the Yankees for the American League and Jeff Bagwell of the Houston Astros for the National squad.

* Though only a niggling issue, there is a definite ``you say po-tay-to, I say po-tah-to'' dichotomy in baseball over how to make the plural of RBI, the abbreviation for run batted in. One camp opts for 56 RBI, another 56 RBIs. To these ears, the latter sounds more natural. Any grammarians want to tackle this one?

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