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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

He Might Have Set Homer Bar a Little Too High

May 06, 1999|MAL FLORENCE

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post Dispatch writing on Mark McGwire, who hit "only" five home runs in April:

"McGwire's problem is rather simple. . . . He can't hit a ball far or high enough to reach the epic standard he established during last year's summer of thunder, when he smashed the home run record to smithereens.

"If McGwire doesn't hit a homer, the at-bat is considered a failure. If he isn't atop the home run leaderboard, we wonder what's wrong.

"We want brute strength. We want raw power. We want the long ball. We want to see the big man raise his bat and knock down bleachers, light towers, scoreboards, stadium windows and tall buildings.

"We want a cartoon hero."

May is another month and McGwire on Tuesday hit a grand slam against Atlanta.

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Trivia time: Since 1900, who is the only player to hit a grand slam in his first major league game?

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The Jones factor: San Antonio Spur guard Mario Elie says Houston will have the edge on the Lakers in their first-round NBA playoff series.

"They [the Lakers] don't have any guys who will do the little things for them," he said. "Eddie Jones would do the little things. He would play defense, make a big steal. I know Glen Rice is a great player, but I think Jones does more. I don't remember Rice being all-defense."

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Get real: Tony Kornheiser in the Washington Post: "A few days ago Rod Strickland called the current edition of the Washington Wizards: 'torture.'

"Hey, Rod you signed a $40-million contract. If this is torture for you, whaddya think it is for us?"

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Slow motion: Dave Baker of Atlanta's WSB-AM, describing the first triple of Greg Maddux's career recently:

"It replaced the Kentucky Derby as the most exciting two minutes in sport."

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Thirsty and angry: Ron Rapoport in the Chicago Sun-Times: "No smoking in the bleachers? Fine. But no-drinking sections? That's what's happening at Yankee Stadium, where half the right- and left-field bleachers are beer-free zones.

"Some regulars are mad--especially at the mean-spirited souls in nearby reserved seats who hold up beers and taunt them--and they've got a big protest planned: milk-and-cookies night."

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Joe would be proud: Times staff writer Thomas Bonk reports that his daughter, Jordan, 8, said she was busy at school learning about the holiday, "Cinco DiMaggio."

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Trivia answer: Bobby Bonds of the Giants, in his third at-bat against the Dodgers on June 25, 1968.

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And finally: Skip Bayless of the Chicago Tribune commenting on Bull Coach Tim Floyd's ordeal without Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman:

"Floyd defused resentment with his humility, patience, class, charm, candor and self-deprecating humor. He settled comfortably into the bench seat as neither a clueless bumpkin nor a know-it-all genius. He knew just enough to win the respect of veteran Bulls and opposing coaches."

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