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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Bases Not Only Thing Loaded at Wrigley Field

June 27, 1997|MAL FLORENCE

After the recent interleague series in Chicago, Frank Thomas of the White Sox and Brian McRae of the Cubs were asked which fans were more knowledgeable.

Said Thomas, diplomatically: "Chicago fans, period."

Said McRae: "Our fans are the drunkest, though. We've got the drunkest fans in baseball."

Hurry up: Cub first baseman Mark Grace on interleague play: "Those American Leaguers, they take their time. It's unbelievable how slow their game is."

Trivia time: Who holds the record for defending a boxing title the most times?

Less mustard: Oscar Mayer says it won't sponsor Super Bowl halftime shows anymore because this year's show with James Brown and ZZ Top was too sexy.

Comment from Jay Leno: "That's the first time I've ever heard a hot dog company coming out against buns."

Superman? Brad Faxon on fellow pro golfer Ernie Els, who won the U.S. Open and Buick Classic in successive weeks:

"What is his resting heart rate, like 35? I mean, he'll never die. He won't."

Jordan rules: Tiger Woods is the second-most-recognized product endorser in professional sports, and you know who is No. 1--Michael Jordan, of course.

Woods, the Masters champion, was recognized as a sports endorser by 8% of people surveyed by telephone over an 11-week period. Jordan, who led the Chicago Bulls to their fifth NBA title in seven years, got a response of 35.8%.

Easy for him to say: John U. Bacon of the Detroit News recalled that when Joe Louis fought former heavyweight champion Max Baer in 1935, Baer's trainer assured him during the fight that Louis hadn't really hit him yet.

Said Baer: "Then you'd better keep an eye on [referee] Arthur Donovan because somebody is beating the hell out of me."

Louis knocked out Baer in the fourth round.

Changing times: From Bret Lewis of radio station KFWB: "The proposed ban on outdoor cigarette advertising will have an effect on Winston Cup racing. Next year, it will be known as Nicoderm Patch Cup racing."

Looking back: On this day in 1939, the Brooklyn Dodgers and Boston Braves played 23 innings in more than five hours before settling for a 2-2 tie at Braves Field.

Trivia answer: Louis, with 25 title defenses from 1937 to 1948.

And finally: Dan Shaughnessy in the Boston Globe on the struggling Red Sox: "The Sad Sox don't have many players we want to see. Even in the early '60s, when they were truly bad, the Sox had Yaz [Carl Yastrzemski], Dick Stuart, Tony [Conigliaro], Dick Radatz.

"Now fans go to games to enjoy the decaying ballpark and get a glimpse of Ken Griffey, Albert Belle or Kenny Lofton.

"We are Boston--first in liberty, first in seafood, first in higher education--and last in hockey, basketball and baseball."

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