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Morning Briefing

Yogi Was Confused by a Real Live One

March 01, 1987

Catfish Hunter, recently elected to baseball's Hall of Fame, told The Sporting News that in the twilight of his career with the New York Yankees he and Yogi Berra, then a coach, used to eat breakfast together because they both were early risers.

"One morning," Hunter said, "we're sitting at the table in the coffee shop and Yogi whispers, 'Don't look now, Fish, but there's someone famous at the table behind you.' I said, 'Yeah, Yogi, who is it?'

"He said, 'Well, I'm not sure. See, he's one of two brothers, but one of them is dead. I can't remember which one died, so I can't figure out which that one is--the one that's alive or the one that's dead.' "

Dennis Johnson of the Boston Celtics suffered a sprained Achilles' tendon Friday night in Atlanta but promises to play tonight against Detroit.

That's good news to Boston Coach K.C. Jones, who said, "I was very concerned. When they said 'Achilles' I had visions of Dennis Johnson sprouting wings and flying out the window."

Add Celtics: Greg Kite also was injured, requiring eight stitches above his right eye, and Atlanta guard Doc Rivers suffered a gash near his right eye after catching an elbow. Yes, it was rough.

Rivers told the Hartford Courant: "As they were putting on the bandages, Danny Ainge came by and said, 'Don't put those on, I'm just gonna open it back up.' But he's a good guy. I knew he was just kidding."

Add Hawks: Seattle Coach Bernie Bickerstaff on the acrobatics of Atlanta forward Dominique Wilkins: "He just keeps going up, just keeps pushing the buttons. There must be 20 floors on his elevator."

Trivia Time: Phil Linz is the answer to what trivia question? (Answer in column 2.)

Former Manager Earl Weaver, a clubhouse visitor at the Baltimore camp, was asked if he missed the game.

"You know what I miss the most?" he said. "Phil Itzoe and his brown envelopes."

Itzoe is Baltimore's traveling secretary who goes through the clubhouse once a week to distribute expense allowance money.

St. Louis Manager Whitey Herzog, on New York Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden: "Everyone talks like he had a bad year. I'll take him. I'll even drive him to and from basketball games."

Oops Dept.: In the brochure for the Pacific 10 basketball tournament at UCLA, a picture captioned, "Nearby Malibu Beach," is actually Santa Monica Beach. A picture captioned "Westwood Skyline" is actually the downtown skyline.

The blunders were caught by USC graduate student Arthur Verge, who added, "The picture of Santa Monica Beach is reversed--intentional or unintentional, I don't know--but I do know that's good old Santa Monica Beach, where I've been a lifeguard the last 12 years."

Trivia Answer: He was the New York Yankee infielder who incurred Manager Yogi Berra's wrath on a bus ride in 1964 by continuing to play his harmonica after Berra had ordered him to quit. Linz finally flipped the harmonica to Berra, who swatted it away. Yankee coach Frank Crosetti called it "the first case of open defiance by a player" in his 33 years with the club.

Quotebook

Len Dykstra of the New York Mets, on former teammate Kevin Mitchell, now with San Diego: "Mitch found God in spring training. Then every night he tried to find a goddess."

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