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INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

And You Thought Europeans Were Nuts Over Soccer

September 16, 1996|MAL FLORENCE

It isn't news that Canadians take their hockey seriously. But to get a measurement of how seriously they take it, here's Christie Blatchford of the Toronto Sun previously writing on the importance of Team Canada defeating the U.S. in the World Cup of Hockey:

"It occurs to me now, not too late I pray, that we can't hope to save the country if we can't save the game that holds it together and is so central to our self-image, and that we're going to need to be as strong and as fierce and as single-mindedly driven as Mark Messier himself."

Since the U.S. won the best of three series, Blatchford might be on a suicide watch.

Trivia time: Who is the only Angel player to pitch a perfect game?

Please RSVP: When University of North Texas football players filled out an "Ask the Eagles" questionnaire, one of the questions was: What guests would you invite to your fantasy dinner party?

Said defensive back Tony Gates: "John Lennon, John Dillinger, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and Shania Twain."

Now, that's a party.

Low profile: People often mistake Bill Giles, president of the Philadelphia Phillies, for look-alike Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy's.

"When I walk around, sometimes people come up to me and say, 'I've seen you somewhere on TV,' " Giles said. "When the team is losing, I say I'm Dave Thomas, the guy from Wendy's. When the team is winning, I'm Bill Giles."

Since the Phillies are mired in last place in the National League East, Giles makes hamburgers most of the time.

Worse than New York? Baltimore owner Art Modell has an aversion to Pittsburgh and deliberately stayed away when his Ravens played there on Sept. 8.

"Pittsburgh was hostile long before we moved from Cleveland," Modell said. "It was always a frightening adventure to go down there. It's a hard-drinking, menacing crowd. It's been ugly for over 30 years going there."

Looking back: On this day in 1978, O.J. Simpson rushed for 250 yards to lead the Buffalo Bills to a 31-13 victory over the New England Patriots.

Trivia answer: Mike Witt, on Sept. 30, 1984 against the Texas Rangers.

And finally: Kevin Mitchell of the Cincinnati Reds was shocked to learn recently he had been named National League Player of the Week.

"No way," he told the Cincinnati Post. "Must be Keith Mitchell. I didn't do nothing. He was then informed the winner gets a watch. "OK," he said. "I guess I deserve it."

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