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THE INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO / RANDY HARVEY

Galaxy Goalie Among the Missing; So Are Fans

May 27, 1997|RANDY HARVEY

Galaxy management referred to Sunday night's game at the Rose Bowl against Columbus as Season Opener II, hoping the horrible start would be forgiven in the euphoria over Jorge Campos' arrival 10 games after Season Opener I.

No one bought it, least of all the fans.

Not even the Galaxy players arrived until the second half, finally motivated by boos they heard from the disappointing crowd of 13,186 as they left the field after a listless, scoreless first 45 minutes.

At least the team showed up for one half in its 1-0 victory, which is one half more than can be said for Campos.

The Galaxy's embarrassed general manager, Danny Villanueva, was unable to reach the AWOL goalkeeper at any of his six numbers in Mexico last week. He speculated Campos extended his vacation after his Mexican League team, Atlante, lost in the playoffs.

I would have been indignant if I had gone to a Dodger, Laker or Duck game and learned that Mike Piazza, Shaquille O'Neal or Paul Kariya couldn't be there because it interfered with their vacation plans.

I should have been when Campos exposed his lack of regard for Major League Soccer, his teammates and the fans. I think there's even a clause in the North American Free Trade Agreement to cover his transgression.

Instead, I was more amused than anything else.

So were most of Campos' teammates. They were wiser to his ways than management, saying they don't expect him until they see him.

"He kind of runs the show around here," goalkeeper Kevin Hartman said.

"I won't be surprised if he's not here next week either," Cobi Jones said.

My guess is that Galaxy majority owner Marc Rapoport and Villanueva would have been heartened by greater furor because it would have suggested the team is taken more seriously than the two-year-old it is.

Perhaps that will come with maturity. The league has several world-class players, a fair number of loyal fans and some promise that it can become major in stature as well as name.

It's asking too much, however, for anyone to take the team too seriously if the star player doesn't.

*

I don't know whether to applaud Pat Riley because of the success he's had with a mediocre team or admonish him for imposing an ugly, plodding, unimaginative style of basketball on those of us who used to enjoy watching the NBA playoffs. . . .

That kind of basketball is harmful to the NBA. I know that because Riley said it was when coaching the "Showtime" Lakers against Detroit's "Bad Boys" . . .

Miami's P.J. Brown claims he's not a dirty player. . . .

"I don't even know how to spell vicious," he says. His alma mater, Louisiana Tech, must be proud. . . .

Charles Barkley might want to reconsider his promised run for governor of Alabama. He lost half the vote when he expanded his criticism of NBC's Hannah Storm to say, "Women shouldn't be announcing men's sports, anyway." . . .

Barkley, however, probably would receive endorsements from Albert Belle and John McEnroe. . . .

She's 16. Therefore, Martina Hingis is yesterday's news. Tennis followers already have identified her heir apparent in Croatia's 6-foot, 15-year-old Mirjana Lucic. . . .

Eric Lindros has recovered nicely from the beating he took during the offseason from figure skating martial artist Elvis Stojko, who was incensed when the hockey player made fun of him for competing in a sport where the athletes have all their teeth. . . .

At least that was the story spreading throughout Canada last fall. The first Stojko heard about it was while touring with a figure skating show. He laughed. . . .

Wayne Gretzky is encouraging New York Ranger management to re-sign free agent Mark Messier so they can make one more run together at the Stanley Cup. . . .

That and the future of free agent center Patrick Ewing are the first major decisions for Cablevision Systems, the new corporate owners of the Rangers, Knicks, Madison Square Garden and the MSG Network. . . .

Will they be, uh, fiscally prudent like Disney? Or will they spend more like neighbor George Steinbrenner? . . .

It's not an irrelevant question for Los Angeles. Baseball owners no doubt will be watching for a clue as to how another cable cowboy, Rupert Murdoch, would operate the Dodgers. . . .

Dodger Vice President Fred Claire doesn't want anyone giving up on the Dodgers, saying, "The only thing that ends on Memorial Day is the Indy 500." . . .

Don't you wish?

*

While wondering if Eddie Johnson feels the thin air in Salt Lake City or that's just the cloud he's on, I was thinking: Barkley is feeling the thin air, Billy Ashley has earned some success, Campos should at least send a postcard.

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