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Morning Briefing

Leonard Not Fond of Lalonde : Quotebook : From Chicago Bears Coach Mike Ditka, telling reporters they were making too much out of the Bears meeting ex-teammate Doug Flutie in a game against the Patriots: "Why don't you try for a human interest story? Like how many of the players have dogs."

October 30, 1988

One lump or two? Sugar Ray Leonard apparently doesn't like Donny Lalonde very much. Lalonde seems to have annoyed Leonard, according to a Washington Post article.

"We did a commercial," Leonard said. "(It said) 'brought to you by . . . ' He wanted it to say 'sponsored by . . . ' What difference does it make what the dialogue is in the commercial?"

Then there was the airplane dispute. The Leonard and Lalonde camps leased a private jet for a promotional tour and Leonard says Lalonde's people took all the best seats and put their luggage on last so Leonard's luggage was crushed.

"Then it got to a point on those posters, banners, whatever. Like whose name is on what side, whether it's left or right, whether it's 'Golden Boy,' whether it's champion. I mean, that's the least of my worries.

"Then everything in the contract had to be 'champion.' . . .

"I don't want to hear anymore."

Shall we tell him that fighting this guy is probably worth $12 million to him?

More Sugar: Leonard said he isn't trying to psych Lalonde as he did Hagler.

"I don't need to try it," Leonard said. "I don't need psychology to beat him."

In Portland, it may soon be bye-bye for Kiki. The Trail Blazers fined Kiki Vandeweghe an undisclosed sum last week when he bolted the team without permission to have his sore back examined by Clipper team doctor Tony Daly.

Vandeweghe has indicated he wants to be traded. The Trail Blazers may oblige, but finding a team to take his high salary and his questionable health is not going to be easy.

While Vandeweghe said Daly told him not to play, the Trail Blazers' team physician, Dr. Bob Cook, had a much different diagnosis, Vandeweghe said.

"My back . . . felt like I was coming apart completely," Vandeweghe said. "He told me I was fine."

Orel Hershiser was all dressed up and had everywhere to go when a call went to the bullpen. "It was a fashion emergency," said Marti Devore of the Sy Devore clothing stores.

According to Devore, Hershiser's clothes were all wrong because they were all blue.

Devore enlisted an army of personal shoppers from the Best Dressed company to go on a buying spree for Hershiser, who didn't take part in the buying binge.

Among the purchases were a double-breasted gray suit and a black herringbone jacket.

Trivia Time: Who was the National Basketball Assn.'s Coach of the Year in 1969? (Answer to follow.)

Was he through playing the field? Miami Dolphins utility player Jim Jensen gave an engagement ring to Dolphin cheerleader Nerea Reid last week during pregame introductions.

"I wanted to surprise her," Jensen said. "She didn't say anything when I gave her the ring. I couldn't put the ring on her finger because I was shaking and she was shaking, so I just sort of flipped it at her."

Former Bear Doug Flutie is now with the New England Patriots. Flutie and the Patriots play the crushing Bears defense today.

Know how the game is being billed? "Bambi Meets Godzilla."

The Bears really like Flutie, right? Sure.

"I think everyone wants to squash him and eliminate him," said Emery Moorehead, Bear tight end. "We'd like to put him down early and get someone else in the game."

More Flutie: Bear quarterback Jim McMahon referred to Flutie as "America's Midget."

Ghosts of Yankee managers past continue to swirl. Lou Piniella may yearn to escape from George Steinbrenner--but not so badly as to take a pay cut.

According to Newsday, Piniella will not manage the Seattle Mariners or Houston Astros without at least a 3-year, $1.2-million contract.

Why? That is the same amount that awaits him if he chooses to remain in the Yankee organization.

Trivia Answer: Gene Shue of the Baltimore Bullets. Benoit Benjamin was 5.

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