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Morning briefing

But don't try to pass the buck

June 09, 2008|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

Gerald Ford was a lineman for Michigan and George H.W. Bush played first base for Yale. The two are among the former athletes, collegiate and recreational, who became president of the United States.

Now is the time for a president who is a "point guard in chief," according to San Francisco Chronicle columnist Scott Ostler.

"Everything you need to know about being president of the United States you learn in basketball," Ostler wrote.

"I'm not saying Barack Obama, who still plays ball, is going to be our next president. I'm no political pundit, so I can't be writing off the chances of John McCain or Ralph Nader.

"All I'm saying is that if we wind up with a basketball player as our president, it's about time. Basketball is our national game and, better than any other sport, it develops the skills and values a person needs to thrive in the world's toughest job.

"(Disclaimer: I am not advocating the appointment of Dennis Rodman for secretary of Defense.)"

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Trivia time

Johnny Damon tied a New York Yankees record on Saturday with six hits, including the game-winner, in a 12-11 victory over Kansas City. Who was the last American League player before Damon to get six hits in a nine-inning game?

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Cup check

The Stanley Cup apparently incurred a slight dent Friday when some players from the champion Detroit Red Wings took the famous trophy to Cheli's Chili Bar, a restaurant owned by defenseman Chris Chelios.

An NHL spokeswoman said the dent had been smoothed out.

Players' feelings, however, sounded as if they were anything but when the Detroit Free Press asked them about a rumor that defenseman Brett Lebda had accidentally dropped the Cup.

"I don't know what you're talking about," Lebda said. "I didn't drop it. That's a bad rumor going around."

Chelios, when asked about the rumor, responded, "I'm not saying nothing. I looked at the Cup today -- there's no dings in it. There's nothing wrong with it. So it's a rumor. A bad rumor."

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Vintage players

Kids in the 1970s who spent their allowance on, and got brain freezes from, Slurpees sipped from collectible cups featuring baseball players, have grown up.

For those who pine for a more mature beverage featuring a ballplayer on the container, Hall of Famers Eddie Murray and Brooks Robinson have started wine labels for charity.

The "Eddie Murray 504 Cabernet Sauvignon" and "Brooks Robinson Chardonnay" are produced by a Paso Robles vineyard and available in Maryland at a suggested retail price of $18.99. Proceeds will support the Baltimore Community Foundation.

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Bare essentials

High school sports fans in Wisconsin will have to keep their shirts on if a recommendation banning bare or painted chests from indoor games is approved.

Tom Shafranski, assistant director of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Assn., told the Associated Press that the proposal was not intended to take the fun out of high school sports. But students can't bare their chests in class, so there is no reason for them to do it at sporting events, he said.

High school students copying fans at college and pro games have led to more of the behavior, Shafranski said.

"Many times we get some cross-dressing, when boys are wearing bikini tops that some people find to be offensive," he said.

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Trivia answer

The Angels' Chone Figgins had six hits in a 10-9 victory over the Houston Astros on June 18 last year.

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And finally

Ramon Castro, a backup catcher for the New York Mets, had been scheduled to start Sunday against San Diego, but he was removed from the lineup because he had not arrived at Petco Park an hour before the 1:05 p.m. game.

According to Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post, Castro said he thought the game started at 4:05 p.m. local time because it said 4:05 on the Mets' pocket schedule he carries with him.

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gary.klein@latimes.com

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