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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

The Scales Aren't Tipping in His Favor

May 25, 1999|MAL FLORENCE

Cathy Harasta in the Dallas Morning News: "When pole vaulter Jeff Hartwig moved into his new home [at Jonesboro, Ark.] on May 11, he brought 84 of his closest friends with him.

"That is his latest snake count as he guides a visitor through the 600-square foot reptile room that dominates the lower floor. . . .

"Hartwig, 31, hears the word play over and over--how he slithers over the crossbar at meets and puts the squeeze on the competition."

"He knows few share his idea of creature comforts; a former neighbor feared a tornado someday would level Hartwig's house and release his reptilian menagerie."

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Trivia time: Who holds the record for the highest rebound average in an NBA playoff series?

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Ripped in absentia: Peter Vecsey in the New York Post: "I was a guest last week on John Thompson's D.C radio show, and got on him right away for not having me on sooner.

"'Oh, you've been on plenty of times before,"' Thompson replied. "'You just haven't been present to defend yourself.' "

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More Vecsey: "If you're keeping score at home, Latrell Sprewell is almost even. He tried to kill one coach, P.J. Carlesimo, and is attempting to save another, [Knick Coach] Jeff Van Gundy."

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Hey, cheer for us: Toronto outfielder Shawn Green on the Blue Jays' irritation when SkyDome fans erupt in cheers at inappropriate moments because of scoring updates from the NHL's Maple Leafs:

"We love it when everyone gets into the game, as long as it's our game."

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Who's right? Forbes magazine calculated which baseball teams in 1998 made and which lost money.

The report was challenged by many clubs wanting it known they're in the red so they can justify their payrolls and better position themselves for the next labor negotiations.

Players take another view for obvious reasons.

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FYI: Colorado Rockies' outfielder Larry Walker was batting .420 through Sunday. He is trying to become the first player since Al Simmons in 1929-31 to put together three consecutive seasons with averages of .360 or better.

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Now we know: Chris Haft of the Cincinnati Enquirer, answering a question about the slugfest last Wednesday when Cincinnati routed Colorado, 24-12: "Yes, pitchers from both teams threw overhanded."

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Come again? Philadelphia catcher Mike Lieberthal on resuming play after suffering a pelvic injury: "I was only going three-quarters to 75%."

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Trivia answer: Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia 76ers, 32, against Boston in 1967.

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And finally: Blackie Sherrod in the Dallas Morning News: "There has long been a debate if golfers qualify as jocks. From Ernie Els:

" 'I don't think we're athletes at all. You don't have to be anything to be a golfer. You just go out and hit balls.' "

Those aren't comforting words for frustrated hackers.

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