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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Oriole Manager Likes Japanese Pregame Ritual

June 18, 1996|MAL FLORENCE

Baltimore Oriole Manager Davey Johnson played for the Yomiuri Giants in the mid-1970s and recalled the respect that managers had in Japan.

"Before games, the players would line up, bow their heads and the manager would go down the line and say something to each guy," Johnson said.

"And, occasionally, he'd smack a guy on the head. That's something I wish they had over here."

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Trivia time: Who holds the record for most rebounds in an NBA championship game?

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Happy hour: Mel Allen, the lawyer-turned-New York Yankee broadcaster who died Sunday, talked often of his law school days and his fondness for cocktail time.

At Hofstra University's Babe Ruth Conference last year, he told a crowd:

"I did pass the bar . . . and as some have argued, I've never passed one since."

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Counting down: Paul Meyer in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "Somebody recently mentioned old-time pitcher Mordecai "Three-Finger" Brown. Question arose about which finger he was missing.

"Long-time St. Louis Cardinal broadcaster Jack Buck had an answer: 'I don't know which finger, but I'll tell you this--he always gave 60%.' "

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Compatible: Mike Lupica in the New York Daily News: "Who's Albert Belle's anger counselor, Sean Penn?"

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Escape from N.Y.: New York Yankee pitcher John Wetteland wants to return to Montreal to play for Manager Felipe Alou.

"Principles mean more to me than anything," he told the Toronto Globe & Mail. "I'd play for peanuts in Montreal. Being the highest-paid reliever is not important to me. I loved it in Montreal. Everything there was a lot simpler."

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Come again? Ralph Kiner, the master of the malaprop, is now doing it in writing. In his introduction to William Hageman's new Honus Wagner biography, Kiner writes:

"Wagner simply played the game without the fanfare Cobb and Wagner generated."

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Ouch! Headline in the Portland Oregonian after Seattle had won two consecutive games from Chicago in the NBA championship series: "Bulls are looking a lot like the Clippers."

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FYI: Bulls' Coach Phil Jackson now has an 81-31 coaching record in the NBA playoffs, a percentage of .723, the best in NBA history. Pat Riley is second at .646.

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Looking back: On this day in 1984, Fuzzy Zoeller won the U.S. Open at Winged Foot Country Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y. He defeated Greg Norman in an 18-hole playoff.

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Trivia answer: Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics, with 40 against St. Louis on March 29, 1960, and the Lakers on April 18, 1962, overtime.

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And finally: Dennis Rodman found time during the Chicago Bulls' week-long stay in Seattle to do some hat shopping.

Rodman reportedly spent $55 on a leopard flop-top hat and another $51.75 on a Thai wedding hat with beads, shells and other ornaments at a Seattle hat store. The Worm bought a scarf to go with the new chapeaus.

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