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INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Invisible Man Has Nothing on Cleveland Browns

August 28, 1996|CHRIS BAKER

The Cleveland Browns may be no more but their fans remain.

Michael Mercer, for instance, is selling a photo of Cleveland's professional football team.

The black-and-white photo shows several pairs of shoulder pads, football shoes and a helmet on an empty bench in front of a goal post.

"I've been a Cleveland resident and a Browns' fan all my life and all those years I've looked forward to collecting team photos," Mercer said. "This year, when all the publicity started on the upcoming season, I just couldn't get excited."

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Trivia time: How many unseeded players have won the U.S. Open?

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Happy birthday: Leading the Cleveland Indians by a run in the seventh inning of a game last Sunday, the Milwaukee Brewers intentionally walked Jim Thome, loading the bases for Albert Belle.

Belle, on his 30th birthday, showed the foolhardiness of that by hitting a two-run single as the Indians won, 8-5.

"I don't ever remember anyone walking anybody to get to Albert Belle," Cleveland Manager Mike Hargrove said.

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Can't get much worse: Being released by the Denver Broncos was bad enough for kick returner Jeff Campbell. But things got worse anyway.

After learning that the Broncos had terminated his $275,000, one-year contract Saturday, Campbell left the team's training facility and discovered burglars had stolen about $35,000 worth of jewelry from his home in nearby Littleton.

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A monumental hit: In less than six weeks, the statue of Arthur Ashe, the late African American tennis star, has become a prime tourist attraction on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va., according to Donald P. Baker in the Washington Post.

"Night and day, small groups of people--from tourists of all races to native blacks who seldom before had ventured onto the city's most famous street--gather at the base of the statue to gaze and record their visits by camera or by leaving flowers at the statue's base," Baker writes.

" 'It's become the most photographed monument on the avenue,' said Lt. Bob Gray, the Richmond police community relations director. 'The statue's popularity has eclipsed that of the monuments to five Confederate heroes--Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davis, J.E.B. Stuart and Matthew Maury--from which the wide, divided avenue took its name.' "

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We don't miss you: It's taken awhile, but they're finding out certain things about the Rams in St. Louis.

Consider this assessment by Jim Thomas in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

"The Arch may tumble before the Rams make it to the Super Bowl."

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Bottom line: With all the multimillion-dollar player signings, are you waiting for some NBA teams to start crying poor?

Financial World magazine reports that the average NBA team made about $14.7 million in 1994-95.

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Trivia answer: Three. Andre Agassi in 1994, Fred Stolle in 1966 and Mal Anderson in 1957.

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And finally: Paul Much, a sports valuation expert for the Chicago investment banking firm of Houlihan, Lokey, Howard & Zukin, expects to see so-called "smart stadiums" fairly soon.

Much said the features would include interactive computer merchandising and a cellular phone at each seat, so fans can order food, or ask the valet to deliver the car. Or maybe call the coach and tell him to take a timeout.

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