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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Is This Only a Ploy to Get Bulls Pumped Up?

June 03, 1998|MAL FLORENCE

Bernie Lincicome of the Chicago Tribune writes that the Bulls are figuratively running out of gas as they prepare to meet the Utah Jazz tonight in the first game of the NBA finals:

"Smell the fumes. The Bulls might have emptied the tank against Indiana. Is there a filling station between here and Utah? One with retrograde youth on the pump? Are the Jazz a series too far?

"Never have the Bulls looked older in victory [over Indiana], never has tomorrow looked so unrelated to yesterday. Never have the Bulls looked so NBA finals beatable."

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Trivia time: Who holds the record for most free throws made in an NBA finals game?

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Tiger's troops: Reader Mike Peck responding to Tim Keown, of the San Francisco Chronicle, questioning whether Tiger Woods draws large crowds to watch him practice the way Mark McGwire does:

"Uh, yeah, Tim, actually, he does. Stop by the Olympic Club [where the U.S. Open will be played this month] and see for yourself."

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Fun player: Outfielder Ruben Amaro of the Philadelphia Phillies on McGwire's appeal: "He's like an amusement park ride, even for guys who play."

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Generous: Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Thomas of the Kansas City Chiefs recently donated $61,000 to the city's library system to cover the overdue fines of city children.

In addition, Thomas plans to purchase children's books for the library from the sale of limited-edition footballs this summer.

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Entertainment note: On July 5, Mike Ditka is going to lead the Wrigley Field crowd in "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." The Chicago Cubs have been bringing in celebrities to sing in place of the late Harry Caray.

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Water world: Laura Davies had her share of adventures in winning the LPGA Skins Game recently in Frisco, Texas. Four of her shots found water, one into a private swimming pool along the 16th hole.

Said Davies: "A lady told me she was glad to watch me hit it all over the place like she does."

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Odd Oz attire: A favorite T-shirt at the College World series in Omaha: "Dear Aunt Em. Hate You. Hate Kansas. Took the dog, Dorothy."

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Looking back: On this day in 1932, Lou Gehrig became the first major league player to hit four consecutive home runs in a game, helping the New York Yankees to a 20-13 victory over the Philadelphia Athletics.

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Monotonous: Bob Kravitz in the Rocky Mountain News: "Watching the Jazz run that pick-and-roll to death, I'm reminded of Nebraska football, where they run the same play over and over, and nobody can stop it."

Except, maybe, for a Lincoln process server.

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Makes sense: Phil Mushnick in the New York Post: "Here's a money-saving idea. From now on, why not hold the Boston Marathon in Kenya?"

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FYI: The Belmont Stakes has halted 13 potential Triple Crown winners after their triumphs in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness:

Pensive, 1944; Tim Tam, 1958; Carry Back, 1961; Northern Dancer, 1964; Kauai King, 1966; Forward Pass, 1968; Majestic Prince, 1969; Canonero II, 1971; Spectacular Bid, 1979; Pleasant Colony, 1981; Alysheba, 1987, Sunday Silence, 1989 and Silver Charm, 1997.

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Trivia answer: Bob Pettit of the St. Louis Hawks, 19, against Boston on April 9, 1958.

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And finally: Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe on Mo Vaughn's dugout tirade Sunday as the Yankees rallied from an 11-0 deficit to 11-7 before losing, 13-7, to the Red Sox:

"It was a first-class, five-star, Jack Nicholson nutty. It will go down as the water cooler-flyin', F-bombs flyin', dugout-roof-shakin', don't-be-jakin', buns-toastin', rump-roastin' Mo Vaughn slam."

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