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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Good Thing Atlanta Moves at Slower Pace

June 03, 1996|EARL GUSTKEY

Remember Anthony Hembrick, the U.S. boxer who managed to show up too late for his first 1988 Olympic Games bout, and was disqualified?

An Atlanta resident, Hembrick recently signed up for volunteer work at the Olympics.

He was asked to serve as an athlete escort, which means part of his task will be to make sure athletes get to their events on time.

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Trivia time: What Hall of Fame pitcher revealed in a 1977 book that an element in his success was a custom-made ring that had a rasp, which he used to cut baseballs?

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Honest! Montreal manager Felipe Alou told Paul Meyer of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that San Francisco Manager Alvin Dark had a rule that Hispanic players couldn't speak Spanish while in uniform.

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Alou: "I said, 'Wait a minute! I have two brothers on this team [Matty and Jesus]. How can I explain to my father that I'm forced to talk to my brothers in English?' "

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What a drag: Should John Daly be smoking during his golf matches?

Cut him some slack, he says.

"It's probably not a good thing for our image to smoke out here, but you can't be perfect," Daly said.

"Since I quit drinking, I smoke two or three packs a day," he said. "I probably smoke one every three holes, half a pack to a pack on the course. It's a hard habit to quit, and I haven't even tried."

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That crazy usher: Domenic Verratti was a retired Pittsburgh truck driver and a Pirates usher for decades, at both Forbes Field and Three Rivers Stadium.

So why did the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette publish a 14-inch obituary, with his picture, when he died recently at 73?

Because Verratti was the gleeful usher captured in a famous 1960 photograph, when he chased Bill Mazeroski down the third base line just after Mazeroski hit the ninth-inning home run that beat the New York Yankees in the seventh game of the World Series.

The photo hangs in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

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Skeetertown: Looks like Savannah, Ga., concealed a dirty little secret when it went after the yachting competition for the Atlanta Olympics.

From the Washington Post's Angus Phillips, recently sent to Savannah:

"My first shocker last week came minutes after arriving when I walked to a launch area to see racers come in and found skippers wearing full, hooded mesh suits. They looked like Martian beekeepers."

"Gotta have one of these," said top Soling contender Jeff Madrigali of his space suit, "or you get eaten alive."

The tiny flying bugs are so prevalent Savannah renamed its Class A baseball team after them--the Sand Gnats.

"Gnats are worst in the spring and fall," said Jingle Davis, a sportswriter who grew up nearby in St. Simons Island. "Trouble is, spring and fall here last a long time."

And in high summer, when the Olympics are in full swing?

"The gnats won't be so bad," she said. "That's when we get mosquitoes. Big ones. The mosquito is our unofficial state bird."

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Trivia answer: Whitey Ford.

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And finally: Mark Grace after the Cubs ended a six-game losing streak: "The music sounds better, the wine tastes sweeter and the girls look better when we win."

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