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THE INSIDE TRACK | SUNDAY SCENE

Unlike Baseball, in Hockey They Practice Fighting

May 11, 1997|BILL PLASCHKE

Scene and heard . . .

I have the perfect solution for the recent Dodger and Angel clubhouse problems.

Soap on a rope.

The dumbest thing about the shower spats was not that players and coaches were fighting.

Fighting is actually a good way to relieve tension in a deliberately paced sport like baseball.

The dumbest thing was when, afterward, somebody compared the fight to a tiff between a married couple or siblings.

Somebody always makes that comparison in baseball fights, and somebody is always wrong.

The majority of players in this selfish-by-nature game are not close. Many of them don't even speak to one another in the off-season.

These two teams fought because there are players among them who don't like each other. Which works as well as anything.

On the Dodgers, the selfish few are starting to get on the nerves of the rest.

On the Angels, Jorge Fabregas has been taking heat for dumb plays for several years and finally lashed back.

More fights later this year, thanks to two organizations that mirror this town in terms of chemistry.

This P.S. to any other Angels wanting to fight a coach: Mess with Larry Bowa and you're leaving in an ambulance.

Why do these things never happen in hockey?

"You're mad at somebody in hockey, you lay them out in practice," Ron Wilson said. "What are you going to do in baseball practice, wait until somebody gets in the right position and hit a line drive at them?"

So I've quoted Wilson 150 times this week. So sue me.

If Tony Tavares climbs on that Disney horse and tries to low-ball free-agent Wilson in upcoming negotiations, somebody ought to sue him.

Or at least, send him where they sent Michael Ovitz.

* You could walk onto the ice with a stick and a bunch of pucks and an empty net . . . and be there all week . . . still not shoot as many times as the Red Wings in their series against the Ducks.

* If you still think the Ice Dogs are irrelevant, you should have been at the Pond the other night when their goalie, Mike O'Neill, came within five seconds of replacing collapsed Mikhail Shtalenkov for the Ducks.

* Surgery or not, the Dodgers should give Brett Butler one more chance to step on the field and hear the noise that has accompanied his every move this season.

If they don't want to do it for him, do it for us.

* I love Jim Leyritz, and would love him even more if he taught me that little baton-twirl he does with his bat.

* Received a grossly obscene letter the other day, criticizing my attack on Keyshawn Johnson's book. It was unsigned. What a surprise.

* Baby-sitter who is totally oblivious to all sports was leaving the house the other day when she saw the new Dennis Rodman book that just arrived in the mail.

"Oh, him," she said.

A five-spot says that in two years, the only stories you're reading about Rodman are ones under the heading, "Where Are They Now?"

Appearing in USA Network movies and trying to get a gig with Jerry Springer, I suspect.

* Don't worry, Gary Adams. You've been ignored all spring, but get that Bruin team to your first College World Series later this month and nobody in this town will be bigger.

* Funny how Kirk Gibson is running around the country talking about a book in which he writes that you must conquer the beast.

In Dodger clubhouses, around women or interns or anyone powerless to fight back, that beast was always him.

* Earl Woods recently had the gall to cry racism in response to rumors that he and wife Kultida are separated.

Lemme see if I can figure that one out.

Earl is a wonderful role model in an age when many fathers possess spines of syrup.

But it would be nice if, when it comes to anything that doesn't involve his son, Earl would just shut his big fat mouth.

* I am not ashamed to admit I have been an emotional wreck since Keith Olbermann's suspension from ESPN.

This paper could have saved a lot of money by killing the Olbermann stories and phoning everybody who cares.

* Now that it seems he has been duped out of bringing a pro football team to Los Angeles, there is a chance Peter O'Malley could disappear from this city's sports scene faster than Jeff Hamilton. Congratulations, Mayor Riordan.

To those who think potential owners and King bosses Edward Roski and Philip Anschutz would be perfect to rally the city and the NFL around the Coliseum, this question:

When have you seen them? When have you heard them? How can they sell us and 30 NFL owners when nobody has any idea who they are?

* Coming soon to a theater near you, Rick Pitino starring in "Liar, Liar."

* Happy Mother's Day to all those moms who never asked who won.

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