The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 21, 1998 · Page 23
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 23

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Salina, Kansas
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Thursday, May 21, 1998
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Page 23
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THE SALINA JOURNAL SPORTS THURSDAY, MAY 21. 1998 P3 ATTACK Cardinals slugger says off-field work the key to home runs By JOHN F. BONFATTI The Associated 1'ress • Ipfe'-V* HILADELPHIA — *$£ ",' 'r ,3 People see the as•/,%: ::•„'• '• tounding home runs '$&' — long ny balls that .&.< travel record distances. They don't see how Mark McGwire prepares to hit them. "It's not easy to do," said McG- wire, who has a major league- leading 20 home runs in 41 games. "I've worked very, very hard at what I do." It just looks easy. McGwire hit three homers in the St. Louis Cardinals' 10-8 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies Tuesday night. The total distance traveled: 1,360 feet, more than a quarter mile. The three homers put him on a pace to hit 75 this year, which would easily surpass Roger Maris' 37-year-old major league record of 61. McGwire isn't ready to talk about that this early in the season. "It's a long way to go, and a lot of hard work ahead of me," said McGwire, whose 52 RBIs is also tops in the National League. "We'll see how it goes. I'll never stop working, I know that." Even though he had the day off, McGwire arrived at Veterans Stadium at 2 p.m. Wednesday, more than five hours before the Cardinals game against the Phillies. One of the first things he does when he gets to the park is check hi with the Cardinals' video coordinator, Chad Blair. Unlike some hitters, Blair said McGwire isn't big into studying his own swing. Instead, he said, McGwire spends his video time analyzing pitchers. First, McGwire has Blair show him the types of pitches the pitchers he'll face throw. "He'll see the way the guy's ball moves, how his slider moves, the way his sinker moves, does he throw a straight fastball, or is it moving," Blair said. "If he sees those things visually, then he's got a mental picture in his mind." McGwire said that work helps him build a mental file on each pitcher, and usually gives him an idea of how he thinks a pitcher will pitch him. "It gives me a better chance every time I get in the box," he said. "It doesn't mean I'm going to get a hit every game. Pitchers are going to get me out — that's a given — but it gives me a better chance and I think that's one of the big reasons why I've come a long way as a hitter." Blair said McGwire "has got great memory recall on pitchers. He has the ability to remember what a pitcher has done to him." For instance, the Phillies' Tyler Green struck out McGwire on a changeup in his first at-bat Tuesday night. McGwire was ready his next time up, and hit the same pitch for his first homer of the night. "He'll come to me after an at- bat to talk about the at-bat," Blair said. "We'll talk about pitches and where they were." Manager Tony La Russa said McGwire's ability to make ad- T AUTO RACING The Associated Press Cardinals first baseman Mark McGwire belted three home runs Tuesday against the Philadelphia Phillies to run his total on the season to 20. McGwire says the game Is "99 percent mental." justments between at-bats is one just the pre-game sessions where of the keys to his success. "He's an advance scout's nightmare," he said. "Somebody will throw a fastball by him, so you tell your club, Throw him a fastball,' and he hits a home run," La Russa said. "Or you see him get out on a breaking ball, and you say, That's the way to get him out, throw him a breaking ball,' and he hits it out." La Russa said there's no one way to pitch McGwire. "He really has no holes," he said. In addition to the video work, McGwire spends a lot of time taking batting practice. And not his drives draw a rapt audience of early-arriving fans, teammates and opponents. "He doesn't miss a day where he swings in the indoor cage to refine his stroke and make sure his mechanics are right," La Russa said. Mostly, though, McGwire said it's his mental preparation that has him on a historic pace. "This game is 99 percent mental," he said. "I'm more mentally burnt out than I am physically burned out when the season's over, but that's a good thing. It means I've really been using my mind." Griffey will skip home run contest Mariners star says he won't take part in this year's all-star event By The Associated Press ARLINGTON, Texas —Ken Griffey Jr. says he won't take part in the annual home-run hitting derby the day before the All-Star game at Coors Field. "They don't know it yet, but I'm not doing it this year," Grif- fey told the Eastside Journal of Bellevue, Wash. Griffey, who also told The Denver Post he will not participate, has been in the contest five times, missing 1995 and 1996 because of injuries. He won it four years ago in Pittsburgh. Griffey and teammate Alex Rodriguez are tied for the AL home-run lead this season so far with 16 apiece. "I talked about it yesterday and I don't want to talk about it today," Griffey said Wednesday. "I don't want to have to keep repeating myself." This would be the second straight year he would have to play a night game (at Texas) the day before the contest. Griffey also said that home-run derbies, especially in a homer-friendly ballpark like Coors, can mess up a player's swing. Griffey said he tried to back out of last year's event. But he said Gene Orza, the No. 2 offi- cial of the players' union, told him, "This is bigger than you." Griffey said he didn't debate whether Orza's comment was true. "I looked at him like he was crazy," Griffey said. "I just looked at him like, That's not the case. You're not in my shoes. You didn't take the six- hour flight here. You didn't have the press conference here.' ... I didn't think that was a fair statement." T PRO FOOTBALL: OWNERS MEETINGS But replay will be used sparingly and not carry over into regular season By The Associated Press CORAL GABLES, Fla. — The NFL will again experiment with instant replay in the preseason, but it will not carry over when the games count. NFL owners, wrapping up three days of meetings, approved the use of TV re- NOteS plays during this year's preseason. Club owners voted replay down for regular-season use at a March meeting in Orlando. "We'll have the coach's challenge system and we'll do a replay experiment like we did several years ago, with a few new wrinkles," said commissioner Paul Tagliabue, adding that regular- season use will be addressed again in the future. The replay will be used sparingly and the experiment will only cover 11 exhibition games televised by the networks. Each team will be allowed two challenges a game at the coach's discretion. The league used instant replay to help officiate its games from 1986-91 before owners got rid of it, citing long delays in making calls among the reasons for dropping it. Each year, a proposal to bring it back has been introduced to the competition committee and then to the owners. But none of them have received the votes necessary for passage. Tagliabue also announced the NFL will allow its teams to purchase Arena Football League teams in their territories. The NFL didn't take any action on awarding future Super Bowls. Kansas City made a presentation to be the host of Super Bowl 40 in 2006, but it didn't get the required three-fourths vote. Close the book on Clancy Tom Clancy's disjointed pursuit of the Minnesota Vikings officially ended Wednesday morning when he dropped his bid to buy the franchise. Clancy informed Tagliabue by fax. In just four simple, declarative sentences, the novelist concluded the one of the strongest chapter in Vikings history, but it left the future of the franchise uncertain. Clancy's former point man, Marc Ganis, still was attempting late Wednesday to put together an investment group. Among the other potential buyers are current Vikings CEO Roger Headrick, Minnesota Twins owner Carl Pohlad and former San Antonio Gordon turns in another top lap at Coca-Cola 600 After embarrassment at The Winston, Gordon wins pole at Charlotte By JOE MACENKA Tlte Associated Press CONCORD, N.C. — Jeff Gordon's crew put plenty of gas in his car this time, and he rewarded them with another pole at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Gordon turned a fast lap of 182.976 mph Wednesday night to edge Ward Burton for the top starting spot in Sunday's Coca- Cola 600. "That's half a second faster than anything I did in practice r»r»Qnr»M today. I just ran GORDON as hard as j pos . sibly could," Gordon said after he won his fifth consecutive Coca- Cola 600 pole and his sixth in 10 career Winston Cup races at Charlotte. Gordon's 18th career pole came four days after he ran out of gas while leading on the final lap of The Winston, the circuit's annual all-star race at Charlotte. The miscalculation by Gordon's crew translated into a 12th place finish for their driver and an improbable victory for Mark Martin. "Maybe we had a little bit of fire in us from Saturday night," Gordon said. If the embarrassment of Saturday night wasn't enough, Gordon got even more incentive Tuesday night when he and his wife, Brooke, went to a parade in downtown Charlotte. "There were plenty of gas cans and plenty of jokes going around," he said. Crew chief Ray Evernham, who took responsibility for the fuel mixup, tried to make light of the matter Wednesday night wtien asked if the team was using the same car from Saturday night's all-star event. "We couldn't bring that one out," a grinning Evernham said. "It didn't have any gas in it." Gordon said no one should.be fooled by Evernham's attempted humor. "Ray's been taking this hard — real hard," he said. "Ray has had a real tough week. We've all had a little bit of a tough week trying to get over the disappointment." Gordon's redemption overshadowed an evening of posturing by five drivers who will be chasing a $1 million bonus in Sunday's 600- mile race, the longest on the Winston Cup circuit. The Winston No Bull 5 is open to drivers who can win any of five selected races after finishing in the top five of the previous No Bull 5 event. Hughes / Both sports captured NSCAA titles FROM PAGE D1 Replay is back for exhibition games Spurs owner Red McCombs. Assistants express unrest Assistant coaches who planned to walk out of an NFL symposium on Career advancement chose instead to walk in late on Wednes- Day morning. Before the start of the 8 o'clock session, about 75 coaches huddled in the lobby of their hotel to discuss concerns and the direction of the NFL Coaches Association. The group entered the symposium at 8:15 a.m., the tardy entrance a symbol of unity and unrest. Commissioner Paul Tagliabue later Said the protest "bordered on silliness" and contended that the league has talked with the group. Several black assistants expressed their unhappiness that Tampa Bay coach Tony Dungy was the only minority speaker on the eight-man panel. day afternoon. Head currently is a full-time employee in the school's admissions department. Jones said he intends to keep the two jobs together. "It's been said this is an impossible job. It's so impossible that (former Wesleyan coach) Tracy Rietzke took two teams to nationals seven years in a row (at Rockhurst College)," Jones said. "If one person doesn't accept the offer, we've got another person in line here in Salina who I think will accept it," he said. Jones declined to say who the other candidates are. Hughes initially came to Wesleyan as interim men's basketball coach. He was hired in October, 1994 after Dennis Wahlgren resigned to accept the head boys position at Salina South. Hughes coached at Wentworth Military School in Boonville, Mo., before coming to KW. Wesleyan finished the 1994-95 with a 1-24 record. Jones returned to Wesleyan the following year and Hughes was reassigned to the women's basketball and volleyball positions. He compiled a 41-50 overall record during his three years as women's basketball coach. His 1996 and 1997 teams won National Small College Athletic Association tournament championships, both played at KWU's Muir Gymnasium, but failed to win any Kansas Conference regular- or post-season titles. The Coyotes were 15-14 last season, the school's best record since 1988. Hughes compiled a 46-53 record as volleyball coach. The Coyotes won the NSCAA title last fall at Muir Gymnasium and finished the season 23-10 — three years following a 1-28 campaign. Ironically, Hughes' resignation came on the day he was named NSCAA volleyball coach of the year. Hughes' 1996 team won the KCAC tournament title and advanced to the NAIA Great Plains Regional tournament. "I have enjoyed my four years at KWU," Hughes said in his resignation letter. "I was originally hired as men's interim basketball coach. I did the best with the talent I had. I was asked to take over the women's volleyball and basketball programs. Again, I did the best I could. We recruited quality young ladies, who were student athletes in every sense of the word." Cub Cadet MTD American-Made, American-Owned i By MTD Since 1981 BRIEFLY KU's Earl to undergo surgery on left knee LAWRENCE — Kansas sophomore forward Lester Earl will undergo surgery on his left knee Friday afternoon at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. Earl, who averaged 7.6 points and 6.5 rebounds a game in 26 games last season, is expected to recover in time for the start of the 1998-99 season. "Lester is undergoing a knee operation for chondromalacia," said KU athletic physician, Dr. Ken Wertzberger. "This is an injury of the joint surface of the patella (kneecap). The operation performed is designed to take pressure off the area of the joint surface injury and to try and prevent further injury." Earl transferred to Kansas last season from LSU. He became eli- gible in late December. FHSU track athletes to compete at nationals HAYS — Thirteen Fort Hays State athletes will compete in the NCAA Division II Track and Field Championships Thursday through Saturday at Edwardsville, 111. Two Tigers met NCAA qualifying standards — Jeremy Hawks in the shot put and discus and Kristin Johnson in the javelin. Additional Fort Hays women's qualifiers are Lisa Case (javelin), Janet Eck (high jump), Regina Taylor (discus, javelin), Maisha Prewitt (long jump) and Sarah Brown (javelin). Other Tiger men's qualifiers are Matt Kuhn (discus), Rodney Mitchell (400 relau}, Lester Randall (400 relay), Nate Reed (400 re- lay) and Robert Spies (400 relay). Bethany golf team fails to make cut at NAIA TULSA, Okla. — The men's golf teams for Bethany and Kansas Newman failed to qualify for the final two rounds of the NAIA National Tournament held at Southern Hills. Kansas Newman finished 36 holes in 22nd place with a score of 641, while KCAC champion Bethany tied for 24th at 647. The top 17 teams and 40 individuals (plus ties) advanced to the final two rounds of the tournament. Joey Todd of Newman was the lone Kansas golfer to advance with a 36-hole score of 152 (74-78). Bethany's Sven Delin missed qualifying by a single stroke, shooting a 155 (77-78). The remaining scores for Bethany were Travis Engle at 157 (76-81), Kevin Hays at 167 (85-82), Vaughn Marshall at 168 (87-81) and Jason Ingersoll at 172 (87-85). Former OSU baseball coach takes over juco MIAMI, Okla. — Former Oklahoma State baseball coach Gary Ward, who retired two years ago citing health problems, will return to the sport as coach at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College. Ward spent 19 years as head coach at Oklahoma State, going 953-313 and making 10 trips to the College World Series. His teams won 17 Big Eight titles, including the last 16 in which he coached. A back problem led to his resignation in 1996. I From Staff and Wire Reports Model 2135 2599 13 HP Kohler Command OHV Engine 1 Full-Length Steel Frame 1 Shaft-Driven Hydrostatic Transmission with Cruise Control 1 Standard 38" High-Vacuum, Quick Attach Deck with Mulch Baffle 1500 S.Broadway 1-800-WIL-RENT 827-0847 Store Hours Daily 7:30 AM-6:00 PM Sunday 12:30-5:30 PMC,

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