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The Inside Track | The Hot Corner

A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, played, heard, observed, worn, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here.

November 02, 1998|TIM KAWAKAMI

What: The Purina Incredible Dogs 1999 Calendar; 1999 Boxing Calendar.

Price: For dog calendar--a donation to Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation, 1-800-567-1ARF; for boxing calendar--$16.95.

There are probably many other glossier sports-related 1999 calendars floating around, eager to be pinned to the walls in January or when the last Mark McGwire commercial is aired, whichever comes last.

These, however, are the two that ended up on my desk, and they are not without their individual (if not completely compelling) charms.

You may admire La Russa, the St. Louis Cardinal manager, and his drive to keep stray pets off the streets and into loving homes. It is a good cause, the kind of thing so few sports figures actually use their PR clout to do.

This calendar features McGwire with his Great Dane, Christy Turlington with her German Shorthaired Pointer and Greg Norman with his Labrador Retriever. All fine, solid things.

But does that mean you want January dominated by a scary-looking, over-scrubbed picture of Wayne Gretzky reclining with his (less-scary-looking) dachshund?

Is there a reason, other than morbid curiosity, to spend all of November looking at Brett Favre cuddle with his Yorkshire terrier, Jazzmin?

I would, however, understand being bedeviled by December, which features Martha Stewart with her two spectacularly-manicured chows, Paw Paw and Chin Chin.

An editor has informed me that one of those animals has since passed away. We are not entirely sure which (but I think it wasn't Martha).

The boxing calendar, pardon the pun, is a far different species.

It features tight action photos of recent TVKO/HBO televised fights, including Oscar De La Hoya vs. Hector Camacho and Roy Jones vs. Virgil Hill.

Each day also provides a boxing factoid: Bet you didn't know that both Angelo Dundee and Mike Tyson were born on June 30, 45 years apart; or that De La Hoya was born Feb. 4, 1973, exactly six years before his hero, Alexis Arguello, scored a 13th-round knockout of Alfredo Escalera.

And for boxing aficionados only: Can it possibly be true that both Don King and his HBO arch-nemesis, Seth Abraham, were born Aug. 20, 13 years apart?

Now a picture of those two guys with their dogs, that I would buy.

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