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THE INSIDE TRACK | Morning Briefing

This Writer Has a Powerful Change of Mind

April 06, 1998|MAL FLORENCE

Tom Cushman of the San Diego Union-Tribune on Mark McGwire's home-run prowess:

"When I heard last summer that St. Louis had acquired him in a trade, my initial reaction was:

"Bad move, humidity and Busch Stadium's dimensions will reduce many of his local home runs to warning-track out.

"Only if the warning track is in Illinois, as it turns out."

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Trivia time: Who holds the major league record for home runs in a season by a rookie?

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Error binge: Pokey Reese of the Cincinnati Reds tied a major league record of four errors by a shortstop in a season opener Tuesday.

After Reese's fourth error in the first three innings, Manager Jack McKeon said: "I told him when he got to four, he might as well go for for six or seven and set a record."

In Wednesday's game, he got ovations after his two flawless plays.

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Come again? Charlotte Hornet forward Anthony Mason, claiming the team's offense works best when run through him in the low post: "I don't need the ball to score."

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One of a kind: Utah Jazz star Karl Malone on his lifestyle:

"I'm not the kind of guy who has a posse, wears jewelry on all of my fingers and all of that. I don't have bodyguards, I'm not a limo guy or a guy who every time you see him has on a double-breasted suit. I'm just Karl Malone."

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Al Davis clone: Pete Gillen, the new basketball coach at Virginia: "My contract is the shortest contract in the history of intercollegiate athletics. Three words. 'Just win, baby.' That's it."

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Golf misery: Blackie Sherrod in the Dallas Morning News: "John Daly's 18 on one Bay Hill hole isn't a PGA tour record. In 1927, Tommy Armour swang 23 times on one hole of the Shawnee Open."

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Into the sunset: Boston Celtic Coach Rick Pitino, the former Kentucky coach, is relieved and happy that the Wildcats won the NCAA championship:

"People can't be upset about me leaving because they won it without me. My stamp is gone. It's Tubby Smith's team now. Now I'm just another name on the wall there."

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Looking back: On this day in 1973, the American League's designated hitter experiment began when New York Yankee Ron Blomberg drew a first-inning walk at Boston's Fenway Park.

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Trivia answer: McGwire, 49, in 1987 when he played for the Oakland Athletics.

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And finally: McKeon was forced to take part in the cavalcade of animals parading around Cinergy Field on Opening Day, including an elephant and camel.

McKeon had to hold a homing pigeon until the final high note of the national anthem, then let the bird soar.

"I've released a lot of players," McKeon grumbled, "but never a pigeon."

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