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Baiting Knight Remains an Easy Sport

Times Staff Writer

ESPN is planning a six-episode reality series, to debut in February, that will feature Bob Knight selecting a Texas Tech student to join the basketball team as a walk-on.

With Knight, you never know what to expect. If there isn’t a chair around to throw, he’ll find something.

In “Celebrity Fish Talk: Tales of Fishing From an All-Star Cast,” host Jerry McKinnis tells author Dave Strege about the time Knight was a guest on his show.

According to McKinnis, after Knight let a largemouth bass slip away and a cameraman quipped, “Eddie Sutton would’ve caught that fish,” Knight glared back at him and picked up a paddle.

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“Coach threw it across the little bay at this cameraman,” McKinnis said. “That paddle went whizzing through the air.”

Trivia time: When was the first $1-million horse race, and who won it?

One viewpoint: Ron Gardenhire, manager of the Minnesota Twins, told Fox Sports radio that he didn’t agree with Frank Robinson, manager of the Washington Nationals, that all of Rafael Palmeiro’s statistics should be erased because he tested positive for steroids.

Gardenhire, a .232 career hitter in his five seasons with the New York Mets in the 1980s, said, “I could’ve taken steroids my whole life and never gotten 3,000 hits. I couldn’t get 10 hits a month, period.”

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Exclamation point: Little Leaguer Austin Smith, 13, of Davenport, Iowa, says in an ESPN promo, “My name is Austin Smith, and my favorite player is Rafael Palmeiro, period.”

The comment was a spoof of Palmeiro’s telling Congress, “I’ve never used steroids. Period.”

On ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” Smith, explaining a kid’s viewpoint, said, “We kind of make fun of the people who got caught, saying they never knowingly took it. I mean, if you didn’t knowingly take it, but you’re on it, how do you not know?”

Whatever it takes: Reader David Macaray recalls that former Angel manager Gene Mauch, who died Aug. 8, said of outfielder Gary Pettis’ reluctance to choke up on the bat: “You hit major league pitching the way you can, not the way you want to.”

Looking back: On this day in 1991, Mike Powell broke Bob Beamon’s seemingly unbreakable world record in the long jump with a leap of 29 feet 4 1/2 inches at the world track and field championships in Tokyo. Beamon’s record, set at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968, was 29-2 1/2 . Before that, the record was 27-4 3/4 . Powell’s jump ended Carl Lewis’ 10-year, 65-meet win streak in the event.

Trivia answer: The inaugural Arlington Million at Arlington Park in Arlington Heights, Ill., on this day in 1981. The race was won by John Henry, with Bill Shoemaker aboard.

And finally: President Bush threw out the first pitch at a Little League playoff game this month near his Texas ranch.

“Not sure he knew it was Little League,” Jay Leno said. “When President Bush reached down and shook hands with players, he said, ‘This is proof our steroids policy is working.’ ”

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Larry Stewart can be reached at larry.stewart@latimes.com.


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