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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Johnson Large and In Charge on the Mound

May 14, 1999|SHAV GLICK

Randy Johnson, the Arizona Diamondbacks' 6-foot-10 left-handed pitcher, is an imposing sight on the mound. Cincinnati Red first baseman Sean Casey describes how it feels to face him:

"I looked up and he was standing 10 feet away, giving me this frightening serial-killer stare and I said to myself, 'My God, what is he going to throw me now?' Man, I ain't seen anything that big on a pitching mound."

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Another perspective: Cincinnati pitcher Steve Avery, after giving up a base hit to Johnson: "The pitch was over the head of anyone else, but with Randy, it was right above the knees."

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Trivia time: Who is the only other 6-10 player who made it to the major leagues?

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From the top: When Yevgeny Kafelnikov reached the world's No. 1 tennis ranking, he received a congratulatory telegram from Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

"For the first time in the 122-year history of tennis, a Russian sportsman has become the world's top player," it said. "This victory is a great achievement for our sport. . . . As a person who plays tennis, I understand how difficult it is to achieve such a result."

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New priorities: Dana Quigley is one of a growing number of players on the Senior PGA Tour who did not do much on the regular tour, but is blossoming after turning 50. He and others also take little time off from the tour. Why?

"I used to drive all over New England for $5,000 purses, so do you think I'm going to miss a million-dollar event?" he said.

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Just asking: Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune asks, "Why was it that, when Baltimore played in Havana, not one member of the Orioles delegation defected?"

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More from Canepa: "Now that Churchill Downs is purchasing Hollywood Park, could this mean that Al Davis is going to move his Raiders to Louisville?"

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Social note: Olympic gold medal figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi and hockey player Bret Hedican, now of the Florida Panthers, plan to marry in July next year. They met at the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, France, where she won her medal.

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Not a closer: Tiger Woods, after an unbelievable start on the PGA Tour, has won only two of his last 30 tournaments. Jim McCabe of the Boston Globe thinks he has the answer.

"While his putting has been suspect [he has hit nearly 70% of his greens to rank fourth, but is 98th in putting], most glaring has been his poor final-round scoring: 71.78, ranked 44th," he wrote.

So McCabe probably wouldn't be too excited about that first-round 61 that Woods shot at the Byron Nelson Classic on Thursday.

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Chat-room champ: Bob Knight has another championship to go with his three NCAA titles, adding fuel to his claim that he has forgotten more about basketball than sportswriters will ever know.

The Indiana basketball coach's Internet Web site--including trivia questions, interactive games, game previews, screen savers that can be downloaded, a fan chat room and player biographies--received the sports "Best of Category" award at the recent International Web Page Awards in Sunnyvale, Calif. Knight's site, http://www.coachbobknight.com, was among 22 category winners from among about 450 entrants.

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Trivia answer: Eric Hillman, who pitched for the New York Mets from 1992 to 1994.

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And finally: Veteran Orlando Magic forward Horace Grant, on playing with Darrell Armstrong, named the NBA's best sixth man:

"I don't know how to explain it, but when he runs by you, you can feel like an electric shock. It just gives the whole team a lift at the right time."

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