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Morning Briefing

Sparky Has to Walk a Fine Line

September 07, 1985

Last year, Sparky Anderson was telling everybody the Detroit Tigers were the greatest ever. This came as a surprise to Pete Rose who thought the 1975-76 Cincinnati Reds were the greatest.

Rose told Steve Jacobson of Newsday he was so upset he picked Kansas City to beat Detroit in the American League playoffs. Then, he picked San Diego to beat Detroit in the World Series.

"The last inning isn't over 40 minutes and my phone rings," Rose said. "Sparky don't say who it is; he just says, 'You still mad at me?' "

"I said I wasn't mad," said Rose, "but I said I still didn't think they were as good as our guys.

"He said, 'Petey, my boy, you know what I'm doing. You know we'll never be as good as that team in Cincinnati, but I can't say that.' "

Concluded Rose: "That's why he's so good. He can get a .180 hitter feeling like .350."

Illinois and Brigham Young are favored to beat USC and UCLA, respectively, in opening games today. It's the first time since 1972 that both the Trojans and Bruins have been underdogs in openers.

It could be an omen. USC beat Arkansas, 31-10, in 1972 and went on to an undefeated season and the national championship. UCLA upset heavily favored Nebraska, 20-17, at the Coliseum.

Trivia Time: In the World Football League, what was different about scoring touchdowns? (Answer below.)

Said former pitcher Dave Leonhard, one-time roommate of Jim Palmer, at ceremonies honoring Palmer in Baltimore: "He wasn't perfect. He caused me a lot of aggravation. He taught me to play golf, and introduced me to my wife."

40 Years Ago Today: On Sept. 7, 1945, Joe Kuhel hit the only home run by any Washington Senator in Griffith Stadium all season, and it was an inside-the-parker.

The Dallas Cowboys haven't forgiven Joe Theismann for what they thought was hot-dogging at the end of Washington's 30-28 win last year at Texas Stadium.

Instead of kneeling down to kill the clock, Theismann danced around and reportedly taunted the Cowboys.

Says John Dutton of Theismann: "He is very unlikable on the field and in the newspaper. He needs some humility."

Says Theismann: "Now is not the time to express my feelings. Maybe someday I will--in a bound copy."

When Milwaukee Bucks rookie Jerry Reynolds told Coach Don Nelson his nickname was Ice, Nelson told him he'd better low-key it in San Antonio.

Nelson: "George Gervin says there's only one ice. The rest are cubes."

Atlanta Hawks Coach Mike Fratello was so thrilled when Tom Lasorda made him an honorary batboy for a recent Dodger game, he's prepared to return the favor.

"We've set aside a special locker and we have a uniform for him if he ever comes to Atlanta for a game," said Fratello.

Lasorda in a basketball uniform? Think about it.

Trivia Answer: They were worth seven points, instead of six. Also, there were no extra point kicks. To make a point after touchdown, a team had to score on a run or a pass from the 2 1/2-yard line.

Quotebook

Tom Newell, player personnel director of the Indiana Pacers, on last season's 22-60 record: "We had 22 wins. Some of our players thought that was enough for a NIT bid."

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