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Morning Briefing

The Return to England of Mr. Congeniality

June 16, 1986

Are the English sure they want to encourage American tourism?

Here are some recent comments by a U.S. visitor named Jimmy Connors, interviewed after a routine early round rout of France's Guy Forget in the Stella Artois Grass Court Championships in London.

"Keep it short today because of the sub-par interpretation of the last time I was in here. Just keep to 'Yes' and 'No' answers if you don't mind."

Did he feel he had played well?


Then Connors broke his own limitations and expanded.

"I thought I played well today," he said.

Connors was upset by press coverage of a prior appearance in which he lashed into the tennis Establishment, adding that he might some day pull an umpire from the chair "and take the consequences."

Add visitors, or take that, Western Hemisphere: Mexico must be wondering what it got into by hosting a World Cup and encouraging English tourism.

In Monterrey, several young English soccer fans, often in Union Jack T-shirts and wearing yard-wide Mexican sombreros, were reported to have caught the fancy of the local population.

"Marriage! Honeymoon! Babies!" a 24-year-old London resident identified only as Vince asked a Mexican woman, Diana Ramirez Tamez.

On a street, a small group formed around Andy Boocock from Halifax, England, and a local woman, Rosi Avila, who tried to break the language barrier in broken English and Spanish.

"Their language doesn't need translation," said one onlooker.

Dr. No: Dwight Gooden, who has accomplished just about everything he's attempted, has mastered another challenge: stop striking batters out.

The Mets, concerned that he'll tire himself, have asked him to back off. Gooden's ratio of strikeouts per nine innings is down from last season's 8.72 and off his rookie mark of 11.39. Going into the weekend, he ranked sixth in the National League with 71, 44 fewer than the leader.

"I could still do it," Gooden said. "But I don't want to. Strikeouts don't win games. I only go after the ones I need. With a man on third in a tight game. But I don't have to when we're up four runs and a guy's leading off.

"Every time I had a big game with 12 or 14 (strikeouts), I'd get real stiff. It was tough to throw between starts. My arm was tired by the end of the season. It happened both years. The big strikeout games were fun, but I didn't like the way I felt the next day."

"Last year, if I was throwing 90 (miles per hour) and got to two strikes. I'd go up to 92 and go after him. Now, I just stay at 90. If he hits a ground ball, that's OK. It would be better if he'd hit a ground ball on the first pitch. I can still throw hard, but if I get it done without getting tired, why not?"

Gooden is still known as Dr. K. On May 12, though, when teammate Sid Fernandez struck out 10 Braves in seven innings, Gooden said, "Take the K off the Doctor and give it to that man."


Singer Willie Nelson, asked what par was on the Texas golf course he had built for him: "Whatever I want it to be. For instance, today it was 108."

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