Archive for Monday, June 17, 1996

SOUND OFF

June 17, 1996

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Braves owner Ted Turner once crashed an ostrich-powered chariot into the visitors' dugout. What was that all about?

Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Dave Kindred explains: ``The Great Ostrich Race,'' as former Braves and Hawks sports promoter Bob Hope (no relation to the legend) billed it, was a stunt staged before a Braves game in 1976. Turner, Braves broadcasters Skip Caray, Pete Van Wieren and Ernie Johnson, deejay Skinny Bobby Harper and Atlanta Journal sportswriter Frank Hyland drove ostriches from sulky-like carriages pulled by the birds. Hyland won. To quote from Hope's memoir, ``We Could've Finished Last Without You'': ``When the gun was fired, Ted's bird took off, but not in the right direction. It sped across the outfield toward Chief Noc-a-Homa's teepee in left field, then turned and headed counter-racewise along the outfield fence. Finally it turned and charged directly into the Dodgers' dugout, scattering players like feathers. In the meantime, Hyland's ostrich was slow starting, but stayed on track. He guided it carefully around the path and passed Ted, who was still stuck in the dugout, on his way to victory.''

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