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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Well, the Umps Warned They'd Be Much Tougher

March 18, 1997|MAL FLORENCE

A sign promoting a fertilizer used on the field at the San Francisco Giants' spring training home in Scottsdale, Ariz., read: "This field is so green, even the umpires can see it."

Umpires quickly gave the sign the thumb in a complaint to the National League office. The sign was taken down on Friday.

"I have seen bunt and steal signs changed at the ballpark but have never seen a fertilizer sign changed," said Heinz Brungs, president of Ironite Products Co.

Then, he added, perhaps appropriately, "This stinks."

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Trivia time: Who holds the record for most blocked shots in a game in the NCAA men's basketball tournament?

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Floor man: Purdue freshman forward Brian Cardinal is known for his fearless play and the resulting bumps, bruises and floor burns. His nickname? "Citizen Pain."

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Tell it like it isn't: Scott Ostler in the San Francisco Chronicle: "Lou Holtz, TV football analyst. I guess Lou earned this job with two decades of insightful, dead-honest evaluations of Notre Dame opponents."

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Add Ostler: "I began to suspect that the prime Iditarod stock was getting thin when I saw a news clip of the race and one of the sleds was being pulled by Schottzie O2, Goofy, Garfield and Rudolph."

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Gangway! After his team practiced at a New York health club, Golden State Warrior Coach Rick Adelman was talking with reporters while a pickup game was in progress.

One player drove the length of the floor, into five defenders and threw up a wild shot. Said Adelman: "Hey, they're running our offense."

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Quiver quip: Andy Van Slyke started spring training exhibitions by going four for four, then broke his bat. Asked how he would survive after losing his magic wand, Van Slyke replied, "Even Robin Hood had more than one arrow."

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Commercial appeal: Dallas Cowboy owner Jerry Jones is one of the opponents of instant replay. Former Cowboy general manager Tex Schramm said the best way to change Jones' mind is to sponsor the vote:

"In true Jones' fashion, I'm sure you could get him to support it if you call it, say, 'RCA Instant Replay.' "

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Short season: Tom Van Arsdale is the all-time NBA leader in a most unusual category. He played in 929 games and never participated in the playoffs.

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Looking back: On this day in 1953, sophomore Don Schlundt scored 30 points in leading Indiana to a 69-68 victory over Kansas for the NCAA basketball championship.

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Trivia answer: Shaquille O'Neal of Louisiana State, with 11 against Brigham Young in a first-round West Regional game in 1992.

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And finally: After 14 years of lighting up, former Laker center Vlade Divac has quit smoking.

He said he stopped last summer after his 5-year-old son found a pack of cigarettes at home and asked to try one.

"I said, 'You got me, little fellow.' "

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