A box of chocolates: Roger Clemens was quietly touring the Bureau of Printing and Engraving during the Red Sox trip to Baltimore last month when he ended up meeting President Clinton. The Secret Service agents accompanying Clemens took him to Arlington National Cemetery, where Clinton was speaking, and the two chatted for several minutes. This was Clemens' third meeting with a president. He met Ronald Reagan in 1986 and three years later, at the invitation of John Sununu, met with George Bush.
"It was a totally accidental, spontaneous thing," Sox traveling secretary Steve August said of the latest encounter. "Afterward, on the drive back to Baltimore, I said, "Clem, you're just like Forrest Gump,' and he said, "Yeah, I should have said: "I got to pee.' "
Music man: Braves OF Dwight Smith, an aspiring singer and songwriter, will perform the national anthem before the Sept. 4 game. Smith, who sang the anthem several times while with the Cubs, also is working on his first album. "It's Stevie Wonder-George Benson-type stuff," he said. Smith says his greatest thrill would be to hear one of his songs on the radio. "I'd love to see somebody else listening to my music and bopping along," Smith said. "It would be like coming up in the ninth inning with the bases loaded with a chance to win it. That would be the ultimate."
Hit man: Phillies OF Jim Eisenreich may not get enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title, but his .360 average has impressed teammates. "I'm not even sure he's human anymore," Lenny Dykstra said. Said pitcher Paul Quantrill: "He's Robo-Hitter."
A penny saved: In a move supposedly designed to save paper, employee hours and wear and tear on copiers, Reds president Marge Schott has asked the club's media-relations department to limit daily game notes to one page.
Numbers game: The Tigers homered in 11 straight games. The Red Sox are the only team that has not been shut out this season. The Marlins were 13-27 (.325) with star Gary Sheffield and then went 8-9 (.471) without him.
Halfsies: After he hit homers in three consecutive at-bats last Sunday, Colorado's Andres Galarraga's bat was in demand. The Hall of Fame wanted it to display; the Rockies wanted to showcase it at Coors Field. Galarraga solved the problem _ he broke the bat hitting a single Tuesday. "One piece goes to the Rockies. One piece goes to the Hall of Fame," Galarraga said. "And nobody gets mad at me."
Bomb squad: Pirates pitcher Denny Neagle had all of eight career hits (and a .118 average) when he stepped to the plate Tuesday night at Wrigley Field and crushed a game-winning grand slam. "I can't explain it," Neagle said. "The ball hit my bat. It must be the coffee or something. It'll never happen again."
Home sweet home: How long was the Giants' 13-game road trip? "We've been gone so long," manager Dusty Baker said, "Matt (Williams) might have grown hair by the time we get back."
_ MARC TOPKIN