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Morning Briefing

Sooners' Tubbs Turns Into Billy the Talking . . .

March 09, 1986

After Oklahoma beat Missouri in the Big Eight tournament Friday, Missouri Coach Norm Stewart did not shake hands with Oklahoma Coach Billy Tubbs.

Earlier this season, Stewart called Tubbs a jackass. Tubbs responded by calling Stewart Francis the Talking Horse.

Correcting himself Friday, Tubbs said: "I got Mr. Ed, the talking TV horse, mixed up with Francis the Talking Mule from the movies. I meant to say mule because a mule is not a thoroughbred. A jackass is a thoroughbred, but a mule is a cross, I think, between a jackass and a horse. I think a mule is worse than a jackass."

Got that?

Good-news, bad-news dept.: Wallace Matthews of Newsday, on middleweight challenger John (The Beast) Mugabi, who faces Marvelous Marvin Hagler Monday night: "Mugabi has become master of the one-liner. Unfortunately, he has only one line."

The line: "I will knock him out."

Add Matthews: Unimpressed with the challenger's workouts, he wrote: "It is apparent that Mugabi's silent-killer image is being cultivated to mask his ring deficiencies as well as his difficulties with English. Despite his obvious power, he has looked slow and one-dimensional. His punches loop so wide that Hagler may have time to visit his corner for a drink of water before they arrive. What happens upon their arrival will decide if Mugabi is truly a beast--or a bust."

Add Fight: A sign on the wall at Johnny Tocco's Ringside Gym in Las Vegas, where Hagler has trained for the bout:

"On Feb. 18, the Nevada State Athletic Commission will meet at City Hall. Subject: Brain scams."

Trivia Time: Twenty years ago, the Dodgers had an all-switch-hitting infield. Who were they? (Answer below.)

Now-it-can-be-told dept.: Buddy Ryan, new head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he was interviewed last year for the Indianapolis Colts job.

"I believe I could have had it, but I didn't think I could get along with the owner," Ryan said. "I didn't feel Robert Irsay and I were a match made in heaven, if you know what I mean."

Minnesota Twins pitcher Bert Blyleven, asked if he could remember his first start as a 19-year-old rookie in 1970, said there was no way he could forget it.

It was against the Washington Senators at RFK Stadium, and the first batter, Lee Maye, hit a home run.

"That didn't bother me," Blyleven told Bob Fowler of the Orlando Sentinel. "But their third batter was Frank Howard. As Maye circled the bases, I saw Howard stepping out of the dugout and thought, 'How far is that big guy going to hit it?' "

Blyleven survived, and the Twins won, 2-1.

Add Fowler: Writing about Calvin Griffith, he recalled that the former Twin owner had few peers in the malapropism department. A couple of Griffith specials:

On how he would pick a manager to replace Billy Martin: "I can't tell you exactly what I intend to do, but I can tell you one thing, it won't be anything rational."

On how he decided to give Roy Smalley and Butch Wynegar long-term contracts: "I sat down and I mean I did a lot of soul-searching. I talked to myself like a Dutch oven."

Trivia Answer: Wes Parker, 1b; Jim Lefebvre, 2b; Jim Gilliam, 3b; Maury Wills, ss.


Dominique Wilkins of the Atlanta Hawks, after a run-in with Bulgarian native Georgi Glouchkov of the Phoenix Suns: "That Bulgarian dude came over, and I couldn't understand a word. He was talking a mile a minute. And besides, I don't even talk German."

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