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Morning Briefing

For Lasorda, a Most Painful Blow

February 15, 1986

It's a new season, but Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda is still hearing the same old question: "Why did you pitch to Jack Clark?"

Sure, he's tired of answering it, but he says it just goes to prove that baseball is the greatest of all games.

He told Richard Justice of the Washington Post: "You didn't hear anyone saying Don Shula had his cornerbacks in the wrong place after the AFC championship game, did you? No one said he should have played the nickel defense more, did they? Or the $15 defense or $64 defense or whatever they call it. No one questions it because they don't know either. I watch football, and I don't know where those guys are supposed to be.

"But baseball, ah, baseball is different. Everyone has played. Everyone knows that when Jack Clark hit that home run (for St. Louis in the decisive National League playoff game last October), I made a bad move. I'll tell you this, no one hurt worse than me. I don't think it'll ever hurt more than that one hurt."

Add Lasorda: Recalling a decision he made that turned out better, he said he once walked Joe Morgan, the potential winning run, to get to Dave Collins. Collins grounded out.

"Oh, God, I was scared," Lasorda said. "Later, the press asked me why I did it, and I said I'd looked up their salaries. Morgan was making $170,000, Collins $19,000. Morgan wasn't making all that money to pop up."

Trivia Time: What do Dick Vitale, Dave DeBusschere and Red Rocha have in common? (Answer below.)

From lightweight champion Livingstone Bramble, who defends his WBA title Sunday at Reno against Tyrone Crawley: "They call me crazy. No problem. I don't care. I know I am a little strange at times."

A little ? Bramble is a Rastafarian who follows a vegetarian diet and marches to the reggae beat of the late Bob Marley. He has three snakes and five pit bulls, and a cat skin hanging on the wall of his home in Hampton, N.J. His favorite dog is named Snake. His favorite snake is named Dog.

From Hubert Mizell of the St. Petersburg Times: "49ers Coach Bill Walsh, who does Volvo commercials on San Francisco radio and television stations, was ticketed recently for speeding . . . while driving his Porsche."

Add Recruits: Writes Buddy Martin of the Denver Post: "This was the week that Nebraska signed Tom Punt, not a punter, but a 6-8, 245-pound defensive lineman. Oklahoma State signed Sim Drain III, a 6-2, 205-pound linebacker. And Memphis State signed Rusty Trail, a 6-1, 185-pound quarterback.

"You understand, of course, that I have no idea whether Punt, Drain or Trail are any good. Their names just caught my fancy. Some people go by 40-yard dash times and number of pounds the players can bench press, whatever that means. I go by names. My all-time favorite is Wonderful Monds, formerly of Nebraska."

Trivia Answer: All three are former head coaches of the Detroit Pistons.

Quotebook

Shirley Povich of the Washington Post, on Gerry Cooney: "He is the Halley's Comet of heavyweights."

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