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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

In This Case, Practice Only Brings More Pain

June 30, 1998|JIM HODGES

When the Montreal Expos played Pittsburgh earlier this season, Expo F.P. Santangelo sidled up to Pirate catcher Jason Kendall to bet a case of beer on which would be hit by more pitches this season.

Kendall was plunked 31 times last season, second-most in the majors, and Santangelo was hit 25 times.

So far, Kendall leads again, 20-14, but neither is exactly happy about the prospect of winning the bet.

Said Santangelo, who suspected a Cincinnati pitcher had hit him on purpose earlier in the season:

"I walked up to the guy the next day in batting practice and said, 'Did you hit me on purpose last night?' If he had said yes, I was going to deck him right there."

Said Kendall, "I don't practice this. It's not like I go home in the off-season and stand in the batting cage and try to get hit. This stuff hurts."

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Trivia time: On this date in 1962, Dodger pitcher Sandy Koufax tied a major league strikeout record in a game against the New York Mets. What was that record?

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Fashion statement: Payne Stewart, known for his, um, unusual attire on tournament days, has a new nickname in the locker room: Bozo the Golfer.

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Great campaigner: Peyton Manning, a three-year Tennessee graduate who was elected to Phi Beta Kappa before he was selected first in the NFL draft, enhanced his popularity when he said:

"Education has always been one of my top priorities. Football is extremely important to me, but it's not the most important thing. I've always stressed education, went to a good high school that really prepared me well."

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Just wondering: Manning spent his final season at Tennessee as a graduate student, and future Clipper Michael Olowokandi, the top choice in the NBA draft, has a degree in economics from Pacific. What was the last previous year the top picks in the NFL and NBA drafts graduated from college before beginning pro careers?

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They're Hornets, man: Iowa's Ricky Davis, chosen by Charlotte in the NBA draft, has a tattoo of a panther ripping open a basketball on his shoulder.

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Blood is thicker: Rhode Island basketball Coach Jim Harrick is trying to hire his son, Jim Harrick Jr., as an assistant, but may be running afoul of the state's nepotism laws.

Harrick wants Harrick Jr. to replace Tom Penders Jr. on the Rhody staff. Penders recently became an assistant at George Washington, joining the Colonials' new coach--Tom Penders.

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In case you missed it: On Saturday night, Tim Marcum became the first Arena Football League coach to win 100 games when his Tampa Bay Storm beat the Orlando Predators, 56-30.

Marcum's record is 100-24.

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Trivia answer: Koufax used only nine pitches in striking out all three Mets who batted in the first inning.

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And finally: Think everybody in France has gone nuts over the World Cup?

Writes William Gildea in the Washington Post, after French midfielder Zinedine Zidane had drawn a red card and was suspended for three games:

"From Lens to Marseille, there was outrage. This outrage, it must be said, did not manifest itself in every Paris cafe; some Parisians, at least those who haven't gone on vacation to avoid the World Cup, are so blase than if 'Zizou' sat down at their table, they might have him removed."

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