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THE INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO / RANDY HARVEY

Al Davis May Be Gone, but L.A. Still Feels His Bite

March 18, 1997|RANDY HARVEY

Mayor Richard Riordan and City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas are like Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, tilting at windmills in their crusade to bring an NFL team to the Coliseum.

Still, I applaud their efforts. A state-of-the-art stadium within the walls of the existing Coliseum, creating a futuristic environment while preserving history, is an attractive idea, as long as the $200 million-plus project doesn't come at taxpayer expense.

In bringing the NFL back to the L.A. area, however, there is another part of the equation that may prove equally problematic. Whether the site of the new stadium is Exposition Park, South Park, Hollywood Park, Elysian Park or a parking lot in Anaheim, there still has to be a team to play in it.

It's been presumed because of Commissioner Paul Tagliabue's positive statements that the NFL will provide one, perhaps not by the initial target date of 1999 but no later than 2001.

That was before we heard from our old friend, Al Davis.

Arguing that he owns the territory because he paid the league $25 million to move from Oakland to Los Angeles, he hinted during last week's NFL meetings in Palm Desert that he would take legal action before a team is allowed to come here without his approval.

It's hard to sympathize with Davis. He did, after all, desert us. But maybe he can't help his obstinacy.

He's like the scorpion in the story about the frog crossing the river. When the scorpion asks for a ride on his back, the frog says no, fearing the scorpion will sting him.

"If I did that, we'd both drown," the scorpion says.

So the frog relents, and, halfway across the river, the scorpion stings him.

"Why'd you do that?" the frog asks as both are drowning.

"It's my nature," the scorpion says.

So Davis is jerking us around again. It's his nature.

*

With his victory Saturday in the Florida Derby, Captain Bodgit replaces Pulpit as the East's leading Kentucky Derby candidate. Captain Bodgit's owner, Barry Irwin of Pasadena, would have preferred that kind of acclaim after the Kentucky Derby. . . .

"I was kind of hoping, in my fantasy world, that Pulpit would go unbeaten to the Kentucky Derby, be on the cover of Life, Time, etc., etc., and then we'd beat him there," Irwin says. . . .

Who is the West's best Kentucky Derby candidate? After the injury to Boston Harbor and the loss Sunday at Santa Anita by Silver Charm, it could be the filly Sharp Cat. We'll know more after the Santa Anita Derby on April 5. Trainer Wayne Lukas says he's leaning toward entering her. . . .

Corpus Christi, Texas, is a happening place. A week after the new movie about the late Tejano star, Selena, premiered there, Ghana's Azumah Nelson is defending his World Boxing Council super-featherweight title Saturday night against Los Angeles' Genaro Hernandez. . . .

I'm afraid Hernandez might not have the killer instinct for this one. In a prefight press conference, he asked Nelson for his autograph. . . .

David Reid, the United States' only boxing gold medalist in last summer's Olympics, begins his professional career Friday night in Atlantic City against Sam Calderon. . . .

Reid will be the first boxer to make his pro debut on HBO. He hasn't fought since Atlanta because of two eye operations. . . .

Bruce Jenner has been named to the advisory board of the Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission. . . .

Sheila Cornell, a softball Olympian from UCLA, is among 26 athletes nominated for the GTE Academic All-American Hall of Fame. Four will be inducted on May 6 in Los Angeles. . . .

The best basketball player enrolling at UCLA? Kobe Bryant, who plans to take classes this summer toward a major in international business. Unfortunately for the Bruins, he's not eligible to play. . . .

Jim Harrick and Mitch Kupchak are featured speakers today at the Newsmakers Luncheon at the Pond of Anaheim. . . .

The Ducks say they would feel better about their 11-game unbeaten streak if five of the games hadn't ended in ties. Too bad they're not in the International Hockey League, which has shootouts to determine winners. The league advertises, "No ties in the I." . . .

Because his client, Hideki Irabu, isn't getting his wish, to pitch for the New York Yankees, agent Don Nomura compares him to the Japanese held in North American internment camps during World War II.

*

While wondering if real internment camp victims, like the grandparents of Paul Kariya and Kristi Yamaguchi, would agree with Nomura, I was thinking: the USC-Florida NCAA women's game should have been televised here, Lindsay Davenport is ready to win a major, the Angels' Shigetoshi Hasegawa is no Hideo Nomo.

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