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THE INSIDE TRACK | Morning Briefing

Tides' All-Star Didn't Need to Altar His Plans

July 05, 1998|JIM HODGES

Outfielder Benny Agbayani of the Norfolk Tides has had a good season, but he planned to pass up this week's all-star game in his home park between the International and Pacific Coast leagues to get married.

Then the Tides found a way he could do both.

Fiancee Niela Guigui agreed to a ceremony at home plate in Norfolk, which would allow Agbayani to get in a few innings for the IL during his honeymoon.

But Guigui had one reservation:

"Ben, what if between now and then you get called back up to the Mets?"

No way, Agbayani assured her, and the nuptials were on.

Except that the Mets called later in the day, saying Agbayani was needed in New York to replace Matt Franco, who had broken a toe.

All's well that ends at home plate, though, because the major league and triple-A all-star breaks coincide. So the wedding is on for Wednesday, although a honeymoon in the International League outfield is off because Agbayani is a big leaguer now.

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Trivia time: Who has won the most Olympic medals?

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Hit the road: Tony Kornheiser of the Washington Post writes: "[U.S. Soccer Coach Steve] Sampson made it clear his philosophy was 'My way or the highway.' It's ironic that he finds himself in need of transportation."

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And join me in unconsciousness: World Boxing Assn. light heavyweight champion Lou Del Valle figures he can beat World Boxing Council champion Roy Jones on July 18.

"Every night I dream about it," he told some writers. "My fantasy is to tell all you guys, 'Kneel, kneel. Bow your heads.' "

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Sole model: Aware that kids imitate what they see on television, former Boston Celtic Larry Bird knew he had started something when he saw players wiping off the soles of their shoes on the court.

Said Bird in the Boston Globe:

"It goes way back, long before high school. Back home, we wore our tennis shoes everywhere. You wore 'em to school. You wore 'em outside, on the playground. Then you wore 'em inside. You wiped your hands on the soles to keep 'em clean. Later on, I was doing it without realizing it."

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Carbo load: Former Olympian Eammon Coughlan offers plenty of reasons for people to compete in the Irish Festival 5K road race on Aug. 23 at Belmont Park:

"This is a good event for runners because after the race, they can listen to Irish music and drink all the Guinness they want."

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Trivia answer: Gymnast Larissa Latynina of the former Soviet Union, 18--nine gold, five silver, four bronze--from 1956-64.

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And finally: Miami Herald columnist Edwin Pope offers a "thumbs up for Payne Stewart. When a lot of golfers wouldn't be able to get out of bed the day after blowing such a U.S. Open lead, Stewart pranced right up and fulfilled a charity-tournament commitment to old pal D.A. Weibring."

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