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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Bengals' Blake Gladly Travels a Bumpy Path

December 03, 1996|SHAV GLICK

Quarterback Jeff Blake and the Cincinnati Bengals aren't stirring up much excitement in the NFL, but Blake stands out from other quarterbacks in one respect. The legend on the back of his trading card says, "Jeff Blake is a star quarterback."

The message is significant because it is in Braille, the first for an athlete. Pacific Trading Cards has distributed Blake's cards in one set with the text in the type used for the visually impaired.

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Trivia time: What sport is involved in the following item from the Times of London?

"The first ball of the over was smoothly picked up over mid-wicket for six. The second beat Samuels comprehensively, but the third, too short, was pulled for four. Warne dropped the fourth short again and Samuels, too casual, flipped it straight to long leg, where Reiffel dropped it. Warne then left Samuels groping with a googly and the last ball of a remarkable over took the outside edge, flicked the pad of Healy and was safely pouched by Taylor at slip."

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Sound the alarm: Tampa Bay defenseman Rudy Poeschek, after the Lightning lost five consecutive NHL games and eight of nine: "It's like a nightmare. We keep waiting to wake up."

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Ladies first: The West Coast Conference has added two women's sports, rowing and golf, for the current academic year. The additions bring the number of conference championship sports to 13--seven for women and six for men.

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Straight talk: Sacramento King Coach Garry St. Jean doesn't mince words. After his team was buried by Detroit, 95-66, this was his comment: "It was a consistent performance--consistently bad. It was horrible, and it stayed that way all night long. It was a long night sitting on the bench, and I'm sure it wasn't any better for the players on the floor."

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Noteworthy: When the New York Rangers' Wayne Gretzky had a goal and an assist Sunday night in New York's 6-2 victory over Montreal, it enabled the Great One to pass the 3,000 mark in combined regular-season and playoff points. He has 2,639 in the regular season and 362 in the playoffs.

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Been done before: If anyone can relate to the meteoric rise of Tiger Woods on the PGA tour, it's Nancy Lopez. In 1978, when she was 21, Lopez won nine tournaments, including a record five in a row, during her rookie season on the LPGA tour.

"When I see how Tiger Woods is doing, I kind of feel proud because I want to kind of put myself in the same boat with him and say, 'He reminds me of me,' " Lopez told Brian Hilderbrand of the Las Vegas Sun. "It's exciting because I think I will always understand what he's going through."

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Trivia answer: Cricket, specifically Australia vs. West Indies.

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And finally: Finnish Formula One driver Mika Hakkinen, on what it feels like to drive his Mercedes V-10 on the Grand Prix circuit: "Sometimes when I am pushing to the limit, I feel as though I am no longer in the car. I feel as though I am flying above it."

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