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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Barry, Why Is It Always About You?

June 25, 1997|MAL FLORENCE

Larry Walker's much-discussed bailout from facing Randy Johnson, the Seattle Mariners' intimidating pitcher, in an interleague game didn't sit well with Barry Bonds.

Here's what the San Francisco Giant outfielder had to say to the Oakland Tribune about the Colorado Rocky outfielder's decision to avoid Johnson:

"If I did that, I'd be squashed. The public and media would eat me alive. If I did that, I'd be on 'Hard Copy' and 'Wide World of Sports.' I'd be booed every game I played in. You know, bro, the double standard."

He has a point.

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Trivia time: Who was the Lakers' first draft choice in 1961 after their first season in Los Angeles?

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Bronx reception: New York Met closer John Franco, reflecting on the team's motorcade to Yankee Stadium for a recent interleague game:

"Once we got into the Bronx, people started to figure out who we were behind those tinted windows. They flashed the finger and cursed us out a bit. It made me feel right at home."

Franco is a Brooklyn native.

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Food flap: Alan Truex in the Houston Chronicle: "As the 'road' team when they played the White Sox in Comiskey Park last week, the Cubs received $33.50 in meal money--half the usual allotment.

"But the Mets got the full per diem for their trip to the Bronx. Surely the players' union will file a grievance over this inequality."

Poor underfed Cubs.

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Appropriate: Deion Sanders' nickname is "Prime Time." The Cincinnati Reds call Deion's 3-year-old son "Half Time."

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Honest: Asked to explain what was wrong with his ailing knee, Philadelphia Phillie rookie pitcher Garrett Stephenson said: "It's a big word and I don't know any big words."

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Now you know: Blackie Sherrod in the Dallas Morning News: "At one stage in his career, Arnold Palmer smoked a cigarette a hole. Jack Nicklaus was a closet smoker, but never lit up in front of fans or photographers."

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No kidding! Suspended Cincinnati Red owner Marge Schott mumbling to reporters after she was ignored by Chicago White Sox outfielder Albert Belle:

"You guys are right. He isn't a nice man."

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Looking back: On this day in 1948, Joe Louis knocked out Jersey Joe Walcott in the 11th round in New York to defend his world heavyweight title.

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Trivia answer: Wayne Yates of Memphis State.

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And finally: Jayson Stark of the Philadelphia Inquirer says the honor of the worst first pitch in interleague history--or maybe any kind of history--goes to baseball's acting commissioner, Bud Selig.

Selig's "pitch" missed the strike zone and the batter's box--landing up the first base line. Said St. Louis Cardinal catcher Tom Pagnozzi:

"Somebody said that's why baseball is in the state it's in--because the commissioner can't even throw 60 feet."

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