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THE INSIDE TRACK | THE HOT CORNER

December 19, 1996

In the spirit of public service, and holiday gift-giving, the Hot Corner recommends:

* "You Don't Know Jack! Sports" CD-ROM for IBM, Macintosh. Not your typical sports trivia computer game. Features a trash-talking host and such whimsical, irreverent categories as "Ouch! That's Gotta Hurt!" and "Brady Physics and Baseball." Answer correctly or be prepared to bear in-your-face ridicule. Retails: $39.99.

* "FIFA Soccer '97" for Super Nintendo, IBM or Macintosh. Want to take Arsenal all the way to the championship? Think you can coach the United States to a World Cup? Try this game, where you can coach or play as anyone from Valderrama to Wynalda. Over 200 teams from 12 countries are represented. $49.99 for computer, $64.99 for Nintendo.

* "Full Court: A Literary Anthology of Basketball" (Breakaway Books). John Updike, John Sayles and an impressive roster of literary PTPers wax on hoops, life and the pursuit of the perfect jump shot. The perfect palate cleanser for post-"Bad As I Wanna Be" cottonmouth. $23.

* "Double Hatter" Reversible NFL Cap (Pro Player). Two caps for the price of one. Change your favorite team's colors, if not its on-the-field fortunes, with a flip of the wrist. $20.

* "Football America" (PolyGram Video). Heartland--and hinterland--football is the focus of this deftly crafted pigskin travelogue, revisiting the game at its roots and reminding us why baseball has been eclipsed as the national pastime. $19.95.

* "NBA at 50" (Park Lane Press). A slick, artsy pictorial look at the history of the NBA. Edited by Mark Vancil, forward by David Halberstam. $50.

* "APBA Baseball Blast" for IBM, Macintosh. Every player on every major league team is represented. You can either manage or play arcade style. Pretend you're Mike Piazza in Coors Field, or call a hit-and-run where Bill Russell fears to tread. Added bonus: Each game is broadcast by legendary Detroit Tiger announcer Ernie Harwell. $59.99.

* "My Sergei: A Love Story" (Warner Books). Poignant and revelatory retelling of Olympic skater Ekaterina Gordeeva's life and career with partner and husband Sergei Grinkov, who died of a heart attack last year at 28. Written with Sports Illustrated's E.M. Swift in a style simple enough to appeal to young girls. $18.95.

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