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MORNING BRIEFING

He Was Trying to Sweat It Out While It Was on the Way In

September 30, 1991|ELLIOTT ALMOND

Bob Hertzel of the Pittsburgh Press recently caught up with Buck Rodgers, the new Angel manager, who recalled the Angels' first spring training camp in Palm Springs 31 years ago.

Rodgers, then a 22-year-old catcher, was rooming with Steve Bilko, a paunchy home-run hitter from the Pacific Coast League.

"I went all spring without taking shower in our room," Rodgers said.

Why, asked Hertzel.

"First day in camp, Steve hired a bellhop to keep the bathtub filled with ice and beer. He'd close the bathroom door, sit on the toilet drinking beer with hot water running over the ice. It was like being in a steam room. He thought he was sweating off all the beer he was drinking."

Trivia time: What was the Oakland Raiders' original name supposed to be?

A real handicap: In attempting to explain what the Ryder Cup matches meant to them, European rookies Paul Broadhurst and Steve Richardson recalled watching golf on TV.

"As a child, I remember watching Tony Jacklin and Peter Oosterhuis and Brian Barnes," Richardson said.

"As a child," Broadhurst said, "I watched some of the great Americans, (Jack) Nicklaus and (Lee) Trevino and (Arnold) Palmer."

"When I was a child," veteran Mark James intoned, "television wasn't around."

Cry me a river: NBA superstar Charles Barkley, for one, is tired of those whining about the U.S. selection process of the 1992 Olympic team that is expected to dominate at the Barcelona Games. Most of the complaining has come out of Detroit, where Pistons Isiah Thomas and Bill Laimbeer were left off the star-studded team.

Laimbeer said officials should have held tryouts.

Barkley: "If they did, Bill Laimbeer wouldn't have even been invited."

Weird science: The lengths people go to win something. Michael DeBaere was disqualified from the Lake Erie salmon derby for entering a first-place fish caught from Lake Ontario. Scientists at a private research firm and the Ontario Environment Ministry concluded the culprit matched the chemical profile of the Lake Ontario species and could not have grown up in Lake Erie.

One giveaway was the presence of Mirex, an insecticide and fire retardant manufactured at a Niagara River plant. Lake Ontario fish carry the contaminant, but Mirex is not detectable in Lake Erie chinook salmon.

Before the fall: Nadia Kadochnikova, a middle blocker/outside hitter from the Ural Mountains in the Soviet Union, is playing for fourth-ranked University of the Pacific's volleyball team this season. She once played in Yekaterinburg for Coach Boris Yeltsin, now the Russian Federation president and considered the country's most powerful political leader since the failed coup in August.

Kadochnikova, for one, is a Yeltsin supporter. "He's a good coach," she told USA Today.

Trivia answer: The Senors.

Quotebook: Charles Barkley on the Philadelphia 76ers' new uniforms: "They look like my daughter got ahold of some crayons and designed them."

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