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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Reggie Designates His Latest Hits for the Media

July 20, 1998|MARK HEISLER

Regrets, he has a few but then again, not so few he can't mention them over and over.

Like Mark McGwire, Reggie Jackson had 37 home runs for the Oakland A's by the 1969 All-Star break. Reggie didn't go on to break Roger Maris' record and isn't quite over it yet.

"I'm 52 now and I'm enjoying life," Jackson said, "but I have to tell you that I really regret the fact that the media attention bothered me so much in 1969 that I couldn't get that record.

"I hope the same thing doesn't happen to these players this year, because, trust me, you don't want to be in a position to say 30 years later that it was the media that bothered you. The media isn't as important as hitting 62 home runs."

That media must have done some job on Reggie. He only hit 10 homers after the break.

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Fun Bunch: New York baseball writers have gone to war--with each other. Newsday's Mets writer, Marty Noble, sent a letter to the Baseball Writers of America, alleging the local chapter chairman, Joel Sherman of the New York Post, told Met General Manager Steve Phillips he would rip the team "if Phillips didn't 'take care of' " his newspaper.

The letter was obtained by the New York Daily News, which broke the story.

Sherman acknowledged complaining to Phillips about a Newsday story on Todd Hundley.

"I was trying to tell him that we have power that I don't think you, and other people in your organization, recognize," Sherman said. ". . . . If Steve said I threatened him, what can I say? I clearly wanted him to understand our power. But it wasn't like I was standing there with a sledgehammer."

Think of what these guys could have done to Reggie.

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Trivia question: Who was the last independent to win an NCAA basketball title?

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It's Morning in America: Anyway, our kids could beat their kids.

U.S. youth soccer teams played on even terms with European teams in the recent 15-and-under competitions in France.

"The U.S. national team did a bad job representing us," Chris Corridon of Northport, S.C., a 14-year-old whose team blanked France, 4-0, told the New York Daily News' Filip Bondy.

"Maybe it was bad coaching. You're looking at the 2002 World Cup team, right here."

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Their lives for soccer: The U.S. Soccer Federation aims to win a World Cup by 2010.

The federation has plans to snatch promising preteens and get them to forgo college to concentrate on soccer. However, this may not be what America's soccer moms had in mind.

"This hardly ranks as a constructive priority," writes Bondy, "considering only a small percentage of participants will succeed."

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Trivia answer: Al McGuire's Marquette Warriors, which won in 1977.

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And finally: Phoenix Sun Coach Danny Ainge, asked if his team was getting the respect it deserved: "You can't beg for respect. You have to earn it."

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