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Welcome to 'Duk's Dozen, a streamlined selection of 12 morning-fresh links, items and random thoughts to start your baseball day. It welcomes your email submissions and tips here or via Twitter.

1. I was under the impression that laser pointers reached their height in popularity some time back in 1996, most likely when I saw Independence Day on opening night and some clown thought he could get the attention of President Bill Pullman on screen. 

But either I am apparently wrong or my fellow moviegoer moved to Philadelphia, because Saturday's Cardinals-Phillies game was marred when some ballonhead shined a laser pointer at Julio Lugo(notes), Albert Pujols(notes) and at least three other Cardinals while they were batting late in the game.

Though the action was stopped and Citizens Bank Park workers searched for the person with the world's lowest IQ, the culprit was never apprehended.

Said Lugo to the St. Louis Post Dispatch:

"You first think somebody is going to shoot you and you (jump back). The umpire told me to try not to say anything because we're trying to catch the guy."

Said Pujols:

"Fans need to be more respectful of the players. Stuff like that, you don't do it. You don't mess with somebody's eyes."

Since the Phillies won the game 14-6, the disturbance didn't have a big impact on the final outcome. Tony La Russa blamed the laser for Lugo's strikeout, saying that he flinched on Chan Ho Park's(notes) breaking ball for strike three, but Pujols didn't have a similar problem, fighting through the distraction for a single. 

So let this be a lesson to you, oh Philly faithful: Try as you might, not even fans with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads are capable of stopping El Hombre. [The Fightins]

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2. On a much more serious note, a 22-year-old man was beaten to death in the CBP parking lot while Saturday's game was going on, an apparent result of an overheated argument between two groups. Philly police say they're ready to charge two men for the death. I don't have much to add to this, other than the ballpark should never be a place where someone loses his or her life. If you're looking to get loaded and fight, please go and do it somewhere else. [The 700 Level]

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3. The weekend's events have already sparked another round of national discussion about Philly's fan behavior and the majority of fans who behave themselves are sure to be unfairly caught in the crossfire. Still, it seems like the avalanche of criticism is inevitable, especially when the local paper is asking if Phillies fans are "the new Broad Street Bullies."[Philadelphia Daily News]

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4. On the bright side, at least the Phillies are still taking care of business on the field. Despite watching a rejuvenated Matt Holliday(notes) go 7-for-11 over his first three games with St. Louis, Philadelphia still took two of three from the Cards and showed that the path to the National League pennant still goes through the city's stadium complex. [Beerleaguer]

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5. Like me, I assume most fans were just waiting for Jim Rice to stop talking on Sunday so we could move onto Rickey Henderson's Hall of Fame induction speech. However, I just went back and read the transcript of Rice's speech and it was much nicer than I remember it being. He's not much of an orator, but it reads really well. [Extra Bases]

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6. Is Houston's Jeff Bagwell(notes) a Hall of Famer? One writer catches up with 2011 candidate himself and asks him. [Houston Chronicle]

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7. Yet another fantastic headline, this one concerning the recent troubles of Jason Bay(notes), who's hitting .203 with one homer in July —  "Bay-Bay's Skids" [Razzball]

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8. It's not being talked about on a national level, but the Giants' offseason signing of Edgar Renteria(notes) ranks as one of free agency's biggest busts. [Only Baseball Matters]

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9. Five fix-it suggestions for the Washington Nationals. [Federal Baseball]

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10. The Brewers gave away this little guy on Sunday. I'm searching eBay as I type ... 

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11. The Royals are converting Tony Peña Jr. from a hitter to a pitcher. To borrow a line from some of my favorite commenters: "Why is this news?!?!" [Walkoff Walk]

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12. Finally, Matt Cerrone of Mets Blog has devised a plan for the Mets to win the NL wild card and it involves the team going 45-20 to finish the year. The injury-plauged Mets playing .692 baseball until October? Yeah, I don't see it either. [MetsBlog]

Have a link or an item for 'Duk's Dozen? Email 'Duk here or send it along via Twitter

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