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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Less Time Behind the Plate Results In a Nice Squeeze

July 24, 1996|SHAV GLICK

After the death of 370-pound umpire John McSherry from heart failure on opening day in Cincinnati, fellow umpire and close friend Eric Gregg decided he had better lose some weight or possibly face the same fate.

Gregg--also well over 300 pounds--took three months off from umpiring and lost more than 50 pounds, trimming13 inches off his waistline. Gregg says he not only feels better, looks better and is better able to handling his umpiring chores, but the best thing about it was the reaction from his 10-year-old daughter, Ashley.

"She put her arms around me last week," Gregg told Jerome Holtzman of the Chicago Tribune. "And she said, 'Daddy, it's the first time I can touch both hands.' "

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Trivia time: What do Walter Cronkite, James Garner, Steve McQueen, Pete Conrad and Mario Andretti have in common?

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Profitable day: On the same day Dave Stockton won $5,000 in the Merrill Lynch Shoot-Out before the Senior Players Championship, his wife, Cathy, won the use of a Ford vehicle for a year. Wives of senior players were taken through an autocross course at Ford's Dearborn Proving Ground by Winston Cup driver Dale Jarrett.

Then they were given a chance to drive the course themselves and Cathy won use of the car by posting the fastest time of the group.

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Welcome addition: From Lesley Downey in the Times of London about Dodger pitcher Hideo Nomo: "For once, here is a Japanese export that the Americans are not complaining about."

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Not impressed: Cincinnati pitcher Dave Burba hit a home run to help his own cause in an 11-2 victory over Pittsburgh, but it didn't impress Reds' Manager Ray Knight.

"When he came out of the game I asked him if he was more proud of the pitching or the home run," Knight said. "He said the pitching. I told him that was good because he isn't going to make a lot of money swinging the bat."

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Perfectionist: How competitive is U.S. Olympic swimmer Tom Dolan, the 400-meter individual medley gold-medal winner?

According to the Hartford Courant's Jeff Jacobs, those who know him best call his attitude Zero Flat. In other words, Dolan won't be satisfied until he swims a race in no elapsed time.

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Short walk: Jim Thome of the Cleveland Indians drew a walk on only three balls when umpire Mike Everitt lost track of the count Monday night in Toronto.

"He said 'Ball 3' when it actually should have been 2-2. Since it was a ball, I wasn't going to argue. It was just one of those funky deals, so I let it go," Thome said.

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Let's all sing: Philadelphia Eagle Coach Ray Rhodes has issued a blanket ban on rookie hazing, including having to stand up on their chairs in the dining hall and sing their school fight song.

"Half of them don't know them anyway," Rhodes said.

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Trivia answer: All raced in the 12 Hours of Sebring.

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And finally: The St. Louis Rams are training on the Western Illinois University campus in Macomb. Punter Sean Landeta, who lives in Baltimore, is finding it difficult to adjust.

"I've never seen so much corn in my life," Landeta said after making the 170-mile drive from St. Louis. "Not acres of corn, but miles and miles of corn. I don't know what those people do every day. How do you pass the months and years by?"

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