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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

This Might Not Be the Best Way to Get the Ball

May 21, 1997|MAL FLORENCE

New York Jet quarterback Neil O'Donnell, criticized by teammate Keyshawn Johnson in his book, "Just Give Me the Damn Ball!", told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that it was "a kick in the groin."

"I've got to play with this guy. What am I going to do? Drag this all out. . . . But am I going to hold things against him and not look for Keyshawn? No, you can't play this game that way."

Nonetheless, Johnson may not be O'Donnell's primary receiver.

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Trivia time: Who holds the major league record for home runs in a career by a catcher?

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Fishing note: A sign in the stands at a Bull game in Chicago urging better treatment from the officials for Dennis Rodman: "Let the Worm Off the Hook."

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Add Rodman: Minolta reportedly has signed him to do ads for its laser printers. The theme of the ad is: "There's no image we can't improve."

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Spartan shower: Michael Jordan is coming out with his own line of toiletries for men, including a Michael Jordan shampoo, prompting Jay Leno to say:

"Does Michael Jordan even need a shampoo? He can get by with a washcloth and a bar of soap."

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No alternative: Colorado pitching coach Frank Funk on talking to Rocky pitcher John Thomson after the 23-year-old player made his debut against Philadelphia:

"[Thomson] told me he was a little nervous in the first inning. I told him, 'If you're not, you should be embalmed.' "

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Stuck with it: Philadelphia Eagle third-round draft choice Duce Staley, explaining his first name: "I was the second born. I guess my mom ran out of first names."

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How do we know? Matt Bullard of the Houston Rockets on Kobe Bryant's four airballs in the Lakers' elimination loss to the Utah Jazz:

"By the time I was 18, I had not shot four airballs in my life."

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Short season: Deion Sanders' contract allows him to leave the Reds and join the Dallas Cowboys as soon as Cincinnati is eliminated from playoff contention.

Cowboy defensive back coach Mike Zimmer left a message on Sanders' answering machine: "We might have you for the mini-camp."

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Yo, touchdown! Name of the week: Yo Murphy scored on a 50-yard pass play to give the defending champion Scottish Claymores a 10-6 victory over the Amsterdam Admirals in a World League of American Football game in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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Looking back: On this day in 1952, the Brooklyn Dodgers scored a major league record 15 first-inning runs and coasted to a 19-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds at Ebbets Field.

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Trivia answer: Carlton Fisk with 351, while playing for the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox.

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And finally: Seen in Wayne Gretzky's locker at the New York Rangers' practice facility: an autographed baseball bat with these words:

"To Wayne--give me a call if you need help with the Bad Boy image!" The signature beneath? Albert Belle.

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