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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

If Stricker's Really a Winner, They Sure Can't See It

July 14, 1996|EARL GUSTKEY

When golfer Steve Stricker cruised to victory in the Western Open last weekend, his hometown fans in Edgerton, Wis., watching on cable television could barely see him.

And the problem apparently stemmed from a local golfer's shot that damaged a microwave dish atop the water tower in the city that recently named a street in Stricker's honor.

"Oh my gosh, we got complaints," said Scott Behn, Marcus Cable district manager. "People were able to watch him win, but the picture was fuzzy."

Cable company engineers traced the trouble to a shattered window on the microwave dish.

The water tower is near the Towne Country golf course. Behn said golfers apparently have been taking aim at the tower.

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Trivia time: Have two hitters ever had 50-home run seasons in the same season?

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Don't blow it, Shaq: Shaquille O'Neal, one of the NBA's dominating players, is a superstar off the court too. He makes movies and earned about $14.5 million in endorsements last year, second only in sports to Michael Jordan.

But sports marketing people are saying that if Shaq goes to the Lakers and doesn't win, that figure could drop to $14.50.

"If he goes to the Lakers and they don't contend, forget it. Shaq will disappear," said David Murphy, managing editor of the Connecticut-based Sports Marketing Letter.

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Leprechaun cops: Those cold, heartless people at Notre Dame have killed the beloved leprechaun . . . at Catholic Central High in Springfield, Ohio.

The school adopted Notre Dame's nickname, Fighting Irish, and its mascot, the leprechaun, in the mid-1970s.

Not a word was heard from South Bend--until 7-foot Jason Collier of Catholic Central became a big-time basketball recruit last season.

Collier signed last November with Indiana.

In February, Notre Dame's general counsel, in a letter, advised Catholic Central to stop using the leprechaun. Something about trademark and copyright protection.

Catholic Central now has a new leprechaun--in new duds, and wearing a black beard, not red, like Notre Dame's.

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Greekgate: Greece's Parliament is in an uproar over the country's Olympic basketball team.

Seems some players refused to quit smoking Tuesday on a nonsmoking flight from Athens to New York. Opposition party members in Parliament are demanding the team be brought home.

A Delta Airlines spokesman described the athletes' behavior as "disruptive to fellow passengers."

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Trivia answer: Three times, but not in the last 35 years: Hank Greenberg of Detroit hit 58 and Jimmie Foxx of the Boston Red Sox 50 in 1938; Ralph Kiner of Pittsburgh hit 51 and Johnny Mize of the New York Giants 51 in 1947, and Roger Maris hit his record 61 for the Yankees in 1961, the same year that teammate Mickey Mantle hit 54.

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And finally: Golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez, when asked about woods: "For most amateurs, the best wood in their bag is a pencil."

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