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THE INSIDE TRACK | Morning Briefing

He's a Lock to Not Miss NBA Action

July 02, 1998|JIM HODGES

Don't count Woody Paige of the Denver Post among those who will miss the NBA during the lockout. After writing of the newest Nugget, "Gee, we may not get to see Nick Van Axel Foley, Beverly Hills Point Guard," he added:

"NBA Commissioner David Stern admitted that the entire 1998-99 season could be wiped out. To which Billy Hunter, the players' association executive director, responded, 'We spent all of this year urging players to save their money so they would be able to survive. . . . They are prepared to go the distance.'

"But, being professional basketball players, many of them didn't save their money because they had to purchase the basic necessities: a new Mercedes, gold chains featuring their uniform numbers, more tattoos and vacation villas in Palm Springs."

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Trivia time: How long did Babe Ruth hold the single-season home run record of 60 before Roger Maris broke it, and how long has Maris held it?

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What took so long? When Adam Petty won an American Speed Assn. race near Kansas City last weekend, the Petty family added a fourth generation of stock car winner. And each gets there a little faster.

No one is quite sure how old great-grandfather Lee was when he first won, but grandfather Richard was 22 and father Kyle was 19. Adam was 17.

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Man without a country: A week after one of Britain's hopefuls, Greg Rusedski, defaulted against Australian qualifier Mark Draper in the first round at Wimbledon, Rosie DiManno wrote in the Toronto Star:

"Sorry, Canada has a no-returns policy on expatriate tennis players. Which means Britain is stuck with Montreal native Greg Rusedski--he of the belated Union Jack preference and traitorous heart--even though most references in the past few days have referred to the hard-hitting left-hander as Canadian-born, as if to put some cautionary distance between this country [England] and that rotter."

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What incentive? Boston pitcher Bret Saberhagen itemized the $100,000 bonus he earned for his 15th start:

* 47% for alimony.

* 33% for taxes.

* 5% for his agent,

That left $15,000 or "a car payment," he said.

Yes, he's pondering retirement.

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Dress code violation: A World Cup volunteer was arrested in Lens, France, for allegedly selling 50 premium tickets, after some who bought them showed up in the VIP section in T-shirts, sans tie.

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Trivia answer: Ruth hit 60 homers in 1927, which remained the record for 34 years until Maris hit 61 in 1961--meaning Maris has held it three years longer than Ruth from the time he hit 60.

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Add trivia: Ruth actually held the single-season home run record from 1919, when he hit 29, and increased it to 54 and 59 the next two years.

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And finally: A sure sign Utah executive Frank Layden will never coach again came during a recent WNBA telecast, in which he talked about NBA officials being investigated by the IRS: "I don't know what the caliber of basketball played in the federal prison system is, but the officiating [there] is going to be of the highest. . . . I could have told you those guys were crooks a long time ago. I'm only kidding."

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