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THE UMP
July 25, 1995

RALEIGH - On a sun-streaked weekday evening at the playing fields of Laurel Hills Park, the bases are loaded, the game’s on the line, and Jon Shaw is following the ball.

From the moment the baseball leaves the pitcher’s hand, its red stitches spinning frantically, until gravity slams it down with a thump into the glove of the catcher kneeling before him, Shaw watches it.

In a split second, he’ll decide whether the ball came in too high, too low, too far to the inside or too far to the outside to be a strike.

At the same time, Shaw eyes the runner …

FRIDAY NIGHT AT THE BOWLING ALLEY
July 28, 1995

RALEIGH - Spare us the arguments.

You’ve seen everything that’s playing at the movie theaters. There’s nothing good on TV. The clubs are too crowded, the bars too boring.

So you go bowling Friday night.

Over on lane four of the Western Lanes Bowling Center, Terence Harding and T.C. Thomas are preparing for the latest installment of a competition that’s been going on since 1986. The stakes are bragging rights and an occasional "beer frame." They come to the bowling alley about twice a month.

"All of the bowling alleys are full on Friday nights," Harding says. "This is probably the only one you …