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The Inside Track | MORNING BRIEFING

Stripping Down to the Basics of Hitting

March 21, 2005|Pete Thomas | Times Staff Writer

If the Minnesota Twins struggle early this season, Mike Redmond has just the thing to get them rolling again: nude batting practice.

Seems the catcher warmed up wearing only turf shoes, socks and batting gloves to spark his former team, the Florida Marlins, out of various slumps during their World Series run in 2003.

"It worked for the Marlins; I think it can work for us," Twin centerfielder Torii Hunter told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "But I don't think I'm going to go out and watch."

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That's rich: Phil Mickelson, who earned $1.08 million for his triumph in last year's Masters golf tournament, can already taste another victory. Or is it the Champions dinner he tastes?

"My favorite meal is lobster ravioli, so it'll probably be that, with some garlic bread and Caesar salad," he told Golf Magazine, when asked what he'll have put on the menu.

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Trivia time: What do Mickelson, Arnold Palmer, Sandy Lyle and Mark O'Meara have in common?

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Name dropping: Sportswriters have to be hoping Kalaika Kahoohalahala never makes it big, simply because he has one of those names that are difficult to spell correctly on deadline. The Maui High pitcher is pretty good: He's coming off a five-hit win over rival Lahainaluna.

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Mark who? Columnist Mike Downey of the Chicago Tribune implied that because Mark McGwire chose not to talk about the past during last week's congressional hearing, baseball fans should do likewise.

"I think we can all still agree, at least, that 1998 was a wonderful year for baseball when McGwire hit all of those home runs to make us cheer and.... Oops, I did it again," Downey slipped. "My apologies, Mark. I didn't mean to speak of your past, and I will never bring it up again."

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Would you believe ... : The Cone of Silence never worked for Maxwell Smart and the Chief in the 1960s sitcom "Get Smart," and it didn't work for Australians Jamie and Jenny O'Neill in the 2003 Trans-Pacific Yacht Race from Los Angeles to Honolulu.

Their vessel of that name broke down 500 miles at sea -- the work of KAOS, they presume -- but they've recently entered this summer's race, citing a determination to complete their objective.

Whatever that is.

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Looking back: On this day in 1953, rookie Bob Cousy set an NBA record with 50 points to lead the Boston Celtics to a 111-105 quadruple-overtime playoff victory over the Syracuse Nationals. Cousy scored 30 points from the free-throw line.

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Trivia answer: They're the only players to make birdie on the final hole of the final round to win the Masters. Mickelson's birdie putt on No. 18 at Augusta National was 18 feet.

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And finally: Greg Cote of the Miami Herald, blaming Kobe Bryant for the demise of the Lakers and the rise of the Heat:

"On behalf of South Florida, please consider this a thank-you note, Kobe. We would throw in a bottle of Cristal or Dom Perignon, but we're on a sportswriter salary here. Besides, money you have in ample supply. If only common sense were for sale."

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