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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Once Again, They Forgot Sanity Clause

March 01, 1998|MAL FLORENCE

Rico Brogna, the Philadelphia Phillies' first baseman, has a new one-year contract that includes a $50,000 World Series most-valuable-player clause.

It seems safe for the Phillies to have made that deal, since they finished 33 games out of first place last season.

Here are some other off-the-wall contract clauses agreed to in baseball this winter, as reported by Jayson Stark of the Philadelphia Inquirer:

* "Oriole DH Harold Baines, who played one game in the field last year, has a $50,000 Gold Glove clause.

* "And we'll all sleep better knowing that [pitcher] Jeff Juden--who allowed 56 stolen bases last year and committed errors on three of the 18 balls hit to him--has a $35,000 Gold Glove clause."

*

Trivia time: Wayne Gretzky is co-holder of the NHL record for assists, seven, in a regular-season game. Who shares that record with him?

*

Strange reason: Pirinya Kaibusaba, the transvestite kick boxer from Thailand, says he fights because he likes the "strange feeling" he gets in the ring.

"I don't think I'm fighting to be famous," he said. "I'd rather have a quiet life. I'll fight until I get bored with it."

*

Gutty prediction: Jim Armstrong in the Denver Post: "Go ahead and shoot me, but I'm starting to like the looks of the Chicago Cubs. I even like their pitching a little bit.

"In fact, I'm going out on the limb and say they're not going to lose their first 14 games."

*

Irritating redundancy: Bruce Keidan in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "I would retire tomorrow if I had a dollar for every time I've heard a sportscaster refer to a first-year player as a 'young freshman.' How many old freshmen are there?"

*

Also, it's too cold: Angus Phillips in the Washington Post, defending the Whitbread Round the World sailing race that has been ridiculed by his colleague, Tony Kornheiser:

"I can understand why marquee sportswriters have a hard time getting a grip on the Whitbread: no sex, no drugs, no multimillion-dollar contracts.

"What's to write about? Even worse, no press box, no parking pass, no lunch buffet and no public relations aides running quotes up from the locker room."

*

Looking back: On this day in 1995, the Lakers tried a team record 31 three-point shots against the Phoenix Suns, making 10.

*

Trivia answer: Billy Taylor of Detroit, on March 16, 1947, against Chicago.

*

And finally: Pitcher Eric Milton, Minnesota's key acquisition in the deal that sent Chuck Knoblauch to the New York Yankees, showed up in camp sporting a Twins' tattoo, along with previous tattoos honoring his service with the Yankees and University of Maryland.

Said Twin pitcher Mike Morgan, who is with his 10th major league club, "If he ends up with a career like mine, he'll have them all over his body. Hopefully, there will be some room for the sun to hit him."

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