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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Major Leaguers Today Are Too Into Tee-Ball

September 01, 1997|MAL FLORENCE

Davey Lopes, the former Dodger standout player and now a coach for the Padres, told Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune that the modern-day player isn't as dedicated as players were in the past.

"There are too many distractions now," he said. "When I played, we didn't even have a TV in the clubhouse. We didn't have laptops and cell phones. We shut things out to get ourselves mentally prepared to play.

"You go into a clubhouse now, and you'll hear about golf more than anything else, up to 15 minutes before game time."

Trivia time: Other than Maury Wills, which Dodger stole the most bases in a season?

A real veteran: From Gary Plummer, 37-year-old San Francisco 49er linebacker:

"I'm playing with kids who ask me when I was in college and when I tell them, they say they were 3."

Concession: Elmer Trawle, 82, of El Paso, plays golf three times a week. "A few years ago, I was content to shoot my age," he said. "Now I'm happy to shoot my body temperature."

Impatient: Mike Newman, vice president of player development for the New York Yankees, on the high expectations fans have of pitcher Hideki Irabu:

"New York is a marvelous place, the most exciting place I've been, but it's full of people who stand in front of microwaves and yell, 'Hurry.' "

Who needs him? Ron Borges in the Boston Globe: "Now that he has been enshrined in boxing's Hall of Fame, [promoter Don] King says he is going to dedicate his efforts to get Pete Rose into the Baseball Hall of Fame. That should really help Rose's chances."

Jawbreaker: Blackie Sherrod in the Dallas Morning News: "Dept. of Incidental Statistics: Ranger reliever John Wetteland once chewed 32 bubble gum pieces at the same time."

Concerned: From first-year Purdue football Coach Joe Tiller: "All spring I'd jog by the kickers and punters and I'd yell, 'How's it going boys?' And they'd say, 'Can't kick, coach.' That worries me."

Who cares: Erik Kramer has won the starting job for the Chicago Bears over Rick Mirer, but Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Sun Times writes:

"Worrying about who plays quarterback for the Chicago Bears is like worrying about the crease in General Custer's pants at Little Big Horn."

Looking back: On this day in 1931, Lou Gehrig of the New York Yankees became the third player to hit home runs in six consecutive games--a streak that included three grand slams in five days.

Trivia answer: Lopes, with 77 in 1975.

And finally: Oakland Raider offensive tackle Lincoln Kennedy and his wife, Crystal, have six birds, five dogs, three fish tanks and ferrets.

They recently purchased two blue-faced Amazon parrots, once of which has learned to mimic Crystal's voice to the point where it fools callers who are placed on the speaker phone.

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