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Changing Their Stripes
David Epstein
August 20, 2007
Two LSU Tigers are turning DPs for the Cubs
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August 20, 2007

Changing Their Stripes

Two LSU Tigers are turning DPs for the Cubs

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How do sports stars fit in? James Bond or Jason Bourne Word that's totally out of style Favorite piece of clothing When I'm bored, I like to ... TV show I'm dying to appear on People say I look like ...
BRAD HAWPE Rockies RF James Bond (above, left) Totally Boots and a camouflage hat Go hunting The Family Guy My brother, Todd  
BRANDON WEBB D-Backs P James Bond Radical My Robert Graham shirts Play guitar Dancing with the Stars Owen Wilson (left)  
MARK MARTIN NASCAR James Bond Groupie Blue jeans Catch up on a nap MTV Cribs Mark Martin. Happens all the time  
SCOTT BAKER Twins P Jason Bourne (above, right) Bogus Shoes Watch a movie Lost An average white guy

Second baseman Mike Fontenot and shortstop Ryan Theriot, 27-year-old Louisiana natives who have formed the Cubs' middle infield since Fontenot was called up from Triple A on May 15.

They were also the keystone combo for LSU's 2000 College World Series champs. So when Fontenot (above, leaping) came up and bench coach Alan Trammell told the pair they should practice double plays to get used to one another, Theriot (above, left) recalls, "I looked over at Trammell and said, 'We really don't need to.'" Theriot estimates that including practice, time in the minors and some high school All-Star games, the pair have turned thousands of double plays together. "In college, we'd just turn 'em and turn 'em."

Fontenot, who was drafted by Baltimore in 2001 and came to the Cubs in the '05 Sammy Sosa trade, weighs 160 pounds and is listed at 5'8". That's generous. At LSU, says the 5'11", 175-pound Theriot, "we'd call him Mini-Me. Then he'd go out and hit three homers. And then he'd call us something." Fontenot still carries a big stick: He was hitting .297 with 27 RBIs in 185 at bats. The swift Theriot—also drafted in '01, by the Cubs—was at .289 with 21 steals in 25 attempts.

Initially drafted by the Devil Rays in 1999 out of high school, Fontenot nonetheless told LSU coach Skip Bertman he was coming to school. Back then, once a player attended a college course, he couldn't play in the minors. "The day he was supposed to start class, his dad called and said a Tampa Bay scout was coming to talk to him," says Bertman. "I rushed over and rushed him to class, and he stayed two years." That first class? "Anthropology," recalls Fontenot. "I was the last one in, and it was packed with about 400 people. I was like, What am I doing? But I'm glad I got to experience college life."

Fontenot, a bachelor, has been crashing in Theriot's guest room. "Sometimes he'll say, 'We're going out, so you have to watch the kids,'" Fontenot says. Theriot and his wife, Johnnah, have a son, four-year-old Houston, and a daughter, seven-month-old Macey. Theriot says the baby sitting works because Fontenot "and [ Houston] have the same mentality. I gotta tell Mike to quit jumping on the bed."

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