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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Well, At Least He Didn't Bite Head Off a Bat

June 06, 1996|EARL GUSTKEY

No, Metallica doesn't have anything to worry about, but it was still an interesting band that played at a restaurant on the Champs-Elysees in Paris the other night.

John McEnroe played guitar, Jim Courier was on drums and Gerard Depardieu, the French actor who starred in "Green Card," took a turn on vocals on "Johnny B. Goode."

Among McEnroe's songs was one dedicated to the late Vitas Gerulaitis and another one dedicated to his children: "Dig It, Anyway."

McEnroe was his usual amiable self, at one point telling someone in the crowd to "shut your mouth."

Later, McEnroe's live-in girlfriend, recording artist Patty Smythe, sang a set that included "Stand By Your Man."

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Trivia time: What baseball Hall of Famer started his career with a semipro team called the Baxter Springs Whiz Kids?

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Bearly scary: The mere sight of the NBA's biggest man, Washington's 7-foot-7 Gheorghe Muresan, is enough to frighten some NBA players.

Bears don't like him much, either.

According to Muresan's interpreter, Greg Ghyka, Muresan recently visited the Washington Zoo. At one exhibit, a bear, terrified at the sight of Muresan's approach, ran for his cave and hid.

"We tried it a few more times, and every time he showed up, the bear ran to his cave," Ghyka said.

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The setup: From FIBA Basketball Monthly, a European magazine, looking ahead to the Atlanta Olympic tournament:

"Overall, the [European] coaches were unanimous about one thing, that the Americans cannot be beaten.

"Whether this is a ploy to lull Team USA into a false sense of security and thereby render them vulnerable to a shock result is not known. But the composition of the USA squad suggests that anything but gold in Atlanta will be considered the greatest failure in sporting history."

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For what it's worth: Kovels Sports Collectibles newsletter reports Mickey Mantle's first home run ball recently changed hands for $41,250 and his 500th home run ball for $24,200.

Add Kovels: The newsletter also recommends taking a look-see for any old bicycles in your garage or attic.

A 1937 Western Flyer Shelby Speedline Airflow, Kovels reports, recently sold for $5,500.

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Name game: The crack staff of the Amateur Athletic Foundation SportsLetter has inspected all the rosters of the Women's Professional Fastpitch softball league and named four to its all-name team:

Tiff Tootle, Dorsey Steamer, Debbie Doom and Amy Windmiller.

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Trivia answer: Mickey Mantle.

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And finally: Kevin Mitchell of the Boston Red Sox, on what he learned while playing in Japan: 'I didn't learn nothing. I'll never take that long of a flight again."

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