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PAGE 2 OPENING ESSAY

"That's the last time I step in against Randy Johnson's illegitimate son." WireImage

Ouch. You have to feel for Braden Wells of Oregon State, who took a pitch on the cheek in the Beavers' recent 3-2 victory over Arizona.

Pain comes in all forms (see the spread this issue online). There's the physical, like the various hurts of the 10 Texas Rangers on the disabled list. There's the psychic, like the bruised egos suffered by all those NBA coaches who are getting fired. There's the communal, felt by the fans of the teams that are being eliminated from the NBA and Stanley Cup playoffs. And there's the visceral, like the agony felt by all of us who watched Eight Belles break down after finishing second in the Kentucky Derby.

Every time you hear "That's the way the ball bounces," keep in mind that sports is also about the way people bounce. Byron Scott, fired by the Nets four years ago, is the NBA Coach of the Year for his work with the Hornets.

Cliff Lee, sent to the minors last season by the Indians, leads the majors in ERA. Chris Lofton kept his cancer to himself and kept pouring in three-pointers for the Vols. There was even something heartening in the grace shown by the Thoroughbred community after the Derby tragedy.

By the way, Wells brushed himself off and took first base. And next time up, he hit an RBI single up the middle.