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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Skip the Lottery; Grab Your Glove and Fly to Atlanta

July 31, 1998|ROBYN NORWOOD

So you're a loser.

You didn't win the Powerball jackpot.

But even though you blew it and didn't pick 8, 39, 43, 45, 49 and Powerball 13 to win the record $295.7-million payout, you still could win a million by catching No. 46, 47, 48 or 49 this weekend at Turner Field in Atlanta.

With Mark McGwire in town for the Braves-Cardinals series, Coca-Cola has put $1 million in a red cooler guarded by half a dozen off-duty policemen at Turner Field and will give it to any fan who catches a home run ball at its Sky Field attraction--435 feet from home plate and 80 feet above the stands.

As for Powerball, the 13 Ohio machine shop workers who claim to have the winning ticket stand to share a $161.5-million lump sum payment.

The fan who catches a McGwire homer--or any other home run ball--in Coca-Cola's designated area won't actually receive the $1 million in cash, but a 20-year annuity that pays $50,000 a year.

Anybody still remember when a million dollars was considered a lot of money?

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Trivia time: When Roger Maris set the home-run record with 61 in 1961, how many runs did he drive in?

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She's hired: It won't matter to Jamie Lynn Bence if she's fired after one game at Yankee Stadium.

Bence, a 10-year-old girl from Wisconsin, will sing the national anthem before the Yankees' game against the Angels on Aug. 26, thereby completing her goal of becoming the youngest person to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at all 30 major league ballparks.

Earlier, Yankee spokeswoman Deborah Tymon had said the team was fussy in its selection of singers, saying, "We have very strict requirements."

Sensing a public-relations disaster in turning Bence down, a spokesman for owner George Steinbrenner now describes the Yankee owner as delighted to have her sing the national anthem, calling it only fitting that she complete her goal with "the greatest team in baseball."

This year, it might be true.

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Going rate: Jim Courier, once the No. 1 tennis player in the world but now ranked No. 72, wouldn't step into the "rate yourself" quagmire when a reporter asked him to assess his game recently.

"I don't rate myself. I'm not Tiger," Courier said, drawing hoots of laughter.

Tiger Woods, you'll recall, raised the ire of tour veterans by rating his game only C-plus as he won the 1997 Byron Nelson Classic in Texas a month or so after blowing away the field in the Masters.

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Trivia answer: Maris had 142 RBIs in 1961. The major league record of 190 was set by Hack Wilson in 1930, a season in which he hit 56 homers.

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And finally: Courier doesn't rate himself--it wouldn't be pretty at this point--but he's quite the moviegoer, and happily rates the films he sees.

"Lethal Weapon 4?"

"Five out of 10," Courier said. " 'Out of Sight' gets a 9. Go see it."

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