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MORNING BRIEFING

Braves Have This Giant Eating Crow

August 27, 1993|MAL FLORENCE

Before the significant San Francisco-Atlanta series began at Candlestick Park this week, Todd Benzinger, a former Dodger who replaced injured first baseman Will Clark of the Giants on Wednesday, had this observation:

"What the Braves do is irrelevant, as far as I'm concerned. In fact, the way they keep winning, I can't wait to play them. We think we can put an end to their winning ways."

Atlanta swept the three-game series.

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Trivia time: Between the bullpens in Yankee Stadium are monuments commemorating 19 former Yankees and the visits of two former cardinals. Who are the cardinals?

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Godzilla returns: Shaquille O'Neal of the Orlando Magic, who is in Japan on a promotional tour for a shoe company, gave fans in Tokyo what they wanted--a Shaq attack on backboards.

His first dunk in an exhibition game resulted in a twisted rim. When the game was switched to an adjacent court, Shaq made 20 more attacks on a rim, but it held up.

Nonetheless, Japanese fans were impressed, exclaiming, "Sugoi! , " which means, "Awesome!"

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Mean Mets: Steve Jacobson of Newsday, commenting on the New York Mets' on- and off-the-field problems:

"It is the worst season a baseball team has had in New York in a half-century at least. The original Mets were bad, and the Mets in the dark years of the previous owners, 15 years ago, were bad, but they weren't mean and hostile in the manner of this year's team."

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Overstated? Iowa State football Coach Jim Walden, on the Pacific 10 Conference sanctions against Washington that prompted Coach Don James, Walden's friend, to resign:

"They put the death penalty on Don James, one of the most highly respected people in our profession. They made him look just like a slithering thief."

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Cleveland Fats: More from Gary Allenson, the Boston Red Sox bullpen coach, on the worst bullpens in the American League: Cleveland Stadium: "It always seems when you get up to warm somebody up, there's only about 1,500 fans in the whole ballpark. But there's always some big fat guy in a white T-shirt, about 310 pounds, who stands right behind the pitcher, eating something and watching him throw.

"Just try to find the ball out of that guy's stomach. (Roger) Clemens almost killed me one day."

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All wet: John McEnroe, on the suggestion that golf is more popular than tennis:

"Is that a sport? I thought to be a sport, you had to run at some time."

What about swimming, John?

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Different breed: Denny McLain of the Detroit Tigers pitched 28 complete games in 1968 when he had a 31-6 record. Last year, no team in either league had that many.

"If Mayo Smith (McLain's manager) had come out to get me in the sixth inning, I wouldn't have given him the ball," McLain told Gene Guidi of the Detroit Free Press.

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Trivia answer: Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II, both former cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church.

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Quotebook: Woody Woodburn of the Ventura Star-Free Press on Quincy Watts' faulty shoe at track and field's World Championships: "Makes you afraid to buy Air Nike running shorts, doesn't it?"

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