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Thu., Oct. 3, 1996

Just like a runner in the headlights

You’ve heard about distance runners hitting the wall? Well, the one Andy Bitzer crashed into during a high school cross country meet in Evansville, Ind., had four hooves.

“I knew that either a deer had hit me, or Bigfoot. But I ruled Bigfoot out really fast,” said Bitzer, whose team from Central High School was running a quadrangular meet at the University of Southern Indiana.

He was about a third of the way through the course, with a teammate ahead and one behind, when he noticed a rustling in some nearby bushes. Bitzer turned just before the deer crashed into him, taking the hit on his lower back.

“It turned me around and I landed on me knees or my butt, I’m not sure which,” he said. “I momentarily lost the feeling in my right leg. But I got up, thinking it was kind of funny, and began hobbling back.”

The deer finished a non-scoring sixth.

Oooh, touchy

New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani is always ready to establish a bantering sports rivalry with out-of-town pols - but things turned a little chilly this week when Texas governor George W. Bush, a part-owner of the Rangers, said he wouldn’t attend Tuesday night’s playoff game at Yankee Stadium because he wouldn’t want to enter the Bronx unarmed.

According to Bush’s press secretary, the governor was joking about the reception he might face from partisan fans - but even the hint of an insult was enough for the mayor.

“The reality is that he would be safer in the Bronx than he would be in some parts of his own state,” Giuliani said, all traces of humor having vanished. He quickly assembled statistics showing that New York City has fewer crimes per capita than any of the 15 largest cities in Texas, including suburban Arlington, where the Rangers play.

Giuliani seemed to be on better terms with Richard Greene, the mayor of Arlington, who did show up for the game and made the obligatory bet over the outcome of the series.

If the Yankees win, Guiliani gets a pair of cowboy boots; if the Rangers win, Greene gets a police escort to the city limits.

The naked truth

Former Cleveland Indians pitcher Phil Hennigan remembered a trick pitch he tried out in 1973: “It’s called a nudist ball. It’s got nothing on it.”

Headlines we wish we’d written, dept.

After the 1-3 Giants had beaten the 0-4 Jets, the Monday headline in the New York Post read: “Giants Lesser of Two Feebles.”

The world’s fastest shrinking sport?

Attendance at soccer games in the United States has been dropping, which may not be as much a surprise as the fact that attendance is also dropping in Brazil. It’s an upsetting development for former star Pele, now his country’s sports minister.

“It worries me to know that more people attend rodeos than soccer matches in Brazil,” Pele told the Jornal do Brasil.

The last word …

“Good news for the 6-year-old accused of sexual harassment - he’s being scouted by several college football teams.”

- Craig Kilborn, on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

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