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INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Stengel's Mets Were Always In Over Their Heads

August 20, 1996|SHAV GLICK

The New York Mets, who played a series in Mexico last weekend, had been south of the border once before. It was in 1964 when they played a spring exhibition series against the Mexico City Reds prior to starting their regular exhibition schedule.

After the Mets lost the opening game, a news conference was arranged for foreign correspondents in Mexico City to interview Manager Casey Stengel.

One of the questions asked of Stengel was whether the altitude in Mexico City affected his players. "My players are affected by the altitude in the Polo Grounds [in New York City] and we play below sea level there," Stengel said.

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Trivia time: Frank Thomas of the Chicago White Sox became only the fourth player in major league history to reach 100 runs batted in in each of his first six seasons last Sunday. Who are the three others?

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Gulp Glove Award: Jaime Navarro (12-9) of the Chicago Cubs committed three errors in the third inning of Sunday's game against the Astros, but still won his fifth consecutive game.

Said Cub manager Jim Riggleman: "He threw pretty good. He just didn't field his position."

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Short people: Scott Strasemeier, Navy's sports information director, thought he had the shortest player in Division I-A football this season, but his research turned up Kent State wide receiver Kahlil Byers--all 5 feet 3 and 143 pounds of him. Next is Navy's own Willie Smith, a 5-4, 175-pound slot-back.

In the best traditions of a Navy man, however, Strasemeier changed his tack, pointing out that Smith is the shortest starter.

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Barely speaking: The Buenos Aires media, understandably unhappy about Argentina's 3-2 loss to Nigeria in the Olympic gold-medal soccer game, had few kind words for the game's Italian referee.

"Pierluigi Collina and his sweaty bald head [are] always going to be remembered easily," La Prensa said.

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Taking a stroll: The National Sporting Goods Assn. ranked exercise walking as the top participation sport in the country last year. According to the NSGA, 70.3 million people age seven or older took a walk.

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Under-standable: Columnist Woody Woodburn of the Ventura County Star recommends bungee bridge jumping for the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

"You can bill it, 'Flying Down Under Down Under,' " he wrote.

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Trivia answer: Al Simmons, who did it in 11 seasons, 1924-34; Joe DiMaggio, seven, 1936-42, and Hal Trosky, six, 1934-39.

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And finally: Touring golf professional Patrick Burke, of Azusa, hit a spectator with his second shot on the par-five eighth hole during the recent Sprint International tournament at Castle Rock, Colo. His ball ended up under a pine tree, after which he chipped badly, about 40 feet from the pin. Then he dropped the long putt for a birdie. Burke's analysis: "I hit everything: driver, people, eight-iron, seven-iron--just another perfect day in Colorado."

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