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Pete Sampras, with six tennis tour victories and a 30-3 record already this year, is so far ahead in the race for No. 1 on the ATP computer, he could probably go fishing until the fall and still retain the top spot. His 2,000-point bulge over Michael Stich is the largest since the Tour rankings began several years ago.
* When Bernie Williams whacked one into the center-field bleachers at Yankee Stadium last week, it was only the ninth time it had been done since they poured about $100 million into refurbishing the joint in 1973. First to do it was Ken Singleton in 1977, who smoked some balls as an Oriole but was never known as the John Daly of the diamond.
* Add Daly: The field for the Kemper Open at Avenel in Potomac June 2-5 keeps getting better and better, Daly joining winners of five of the past seven U.S. Opens, Tom Kite, Curtis Strange, Scott Simpson and Payne Stewart. For years, the big guys didn't like the relatively new course and avoided it, but maturation has set in.
* Amazingly, since they started the World Championship tourney of basketball in 1950, the United States has won just twice, 1954 and 1986. That figures to go to three this summer in Toronto (Aug. 4-14) when Dream Team II goes to work. The former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia split six of the last seven titles, the latter being the defending champ. The women's World Championships will be in Australia June 2-12.
* "When you've endured the pains of a losing season," says Washington Bullets general manager John Nash, "you've got to make sure you reap the rewards, which is hopefully a top-quality player."
Still, even with decent drafts the last two years (Tom Gugliotta and Calbert Cheaney), the team continues as the butt of jokes and no one seems to have any idea how to correct the situation, or at least get it started in the right direction.
* If Michael Jordan can't hack it as a baseball player, perhaps philosophy is his next calling. He has a book out entitled "I Can't Accept Not Trying" and, as the publisher points out, "in an amazing feat, it was simultaneously No. 1 in both hardcover and paperback."
* Those average costs to take a family of four to a baseball game surveys are a gas. Seriously, with ticket prices always going up, food and drink prohibitive unless you're about to pass out, who's going to buy a couple of baseball caps for $15 apiece for the kiddies?
* The lad fighting Jason Waller atop Stu Satosky's card at Martin's West tonight, Vincent Boulware, has been in with some good ones while winning 28 of 34 bouts. Probably the best was Prince Williams, who whipped him for an IBF title a couple of years ago.
* During an Orioles telecast the other evening, play-by-play man Mel Proctor asked analyst Jim Palmer if he had ever been told he looked like someone. Yes, it was sort of a dull game. "Ted Danson," replied Palmer. Come on, Jimbo, the proper answer should have been Peter O'Toole.
* Hey, I'm all for keeping tabs on the president. But when Bill Clinton takes a toss on a mud slick during his morning romp around the Tidal Basin, best the poor guy's embarrassment be confined to a few witnesses, not millions via the media.
* They surveyed a bunch of college newspaper sports editors, asking them which sport's athletes are considered the worst to work with and football came back a huge "winner" at 39 percent. Speaking of surveys, another one had 58 percent of college basketball players responding trash talking is acceptable . . . yeah fellas, it works wonders in the business world, too.
* When the NFL gets around to its annual college draft April 23-24, in all likelihood Notre Dame and Southern Cal will get around to snapping their tie of having provided 51 first-rounders apiece since the show got started way back when. Ohio State ranks third with 40 selections.
* You can catch a heckuva crew race on the Severn River April 23 when the Navy heavyweights vie for the Adams Cup against Harvard and Penn. It's coach Rick Clothier's 20th season with the Mids and, over 19 seasons, Navy has run up a 101-42-1 record.
* With all due respect to the ability and competitive fire of Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, who belted Martina Navratilova and went on to win a tournament the other day, watching her play tennis is akin to scraping and painting windows.
* Remember Grant Jackson, the lefty reliever who did some nice work here in 1971-76? His game-worn Phillies jersey from the 1969 season went for $1,200 at an auction show. The bidder must have thought it belonged to Shoeless Joe Jackson.