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THE INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO / RANDY HARVEY

Collins Wins--Does That Count in Disney's World?

June 03, 1997|RANDY HARVEY

Congratulations to Donald T. Sterling. The Vista Del Mar Children and Family Services advertised in the Sunday paper that he is their humanitarian of the year.

Quite frankly, I was tired of seeing Mother Teresa win all the time.

That does, however, create an inconvenience. Out of respect for the humanitarian of the year, I believe a temporary moratorium should be declared on making fun of the Clipper owner.

A week ago, I wouldn't have felt a void. We had Tony Tavares to kick around. But the Duck and Angel president is undergoing a remarkable rehabilitation. Even though he is a nincompoop for firing Ron Wilson, we have to concede Tavares' brilliance in hiring Angel Manager Terry Collins.

After one-third of the season, the Angels, who looked like a candidate for last in the American League West, are three games over .500 and stalking Texas for the division lead.

Of course, that is hardly relevant. As we were reminded when Wilson was fired after leading the Ducks to the fourth-best record in the NHL's Western Conference, wins and losses are not a gauge to a coach's success.

Here are some questions we have to consider in judging Collins' ability to succeed at Disney:

How does he get along with his Russian players?

I haven't heard one complaint.

Is he developing young players?

Here's the one area in which he might be vulnerable. Garret Anderson and Jim Edmonds lead the team in at-bats, no doubt at the expense of a young outfielder like Orlando Palmeiro.

Let's hope Anderson and Edmonds don't develop into MVP candidates. That would tempt Collins to play them more, as Wilson foolishly did with Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne.

Is Collins a good quote?

He's cooperative with the media, adept at analyzing games without putting himself at the center of attention. But I haven't heard him offer one particularly memorable anecdote, family reminiscence or quip. I'm not even sure he has seen "The Wizard of Oz."

When it comes to good quotes, he's no Wilson. Or Tom Kelly. After a 3-hour 52-minute, 5-4 victory over the Angels on Sunday, the Minnesota manager told reporters, "We won a battle of nutrition."

*

Bruce McNall, paying his debt to society in Lompoc, complains he hasn't been able to watch the NHL playoffs. His fellow prisoners have the TV fixed on the NBA games. . . .

Maybe McNall can put his imagination to use by calling the play-by-play for the NHL games, like Jack Nicholson did when Nurse Ratched wouldn't let the inmates watch the World Series in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." . . .

The 49ers wouldn't leave San Francisco? They're buying television ads for today's stadium vote that display their helmets with the SF insignia and a question mark beside it. . . .

Another Bay area resident who could be moving south is Oakland's Mark McGwire. A free agent at the end of the season, he might be interested in moving to Anaheim so he can be closer to his off-season home in Costa Mesa. . . .

Larry Walker is having a monster year for Colorado, but I'm guessing the only Triple Crown winner we'll see this year will be Saturday in the Belmont. Trainer Bob Baffert is telling friends, "Bet the farm on the Charm." . . .

Alex Solis, who chased Silver Charm to the wire in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness on Captain Bodgit, is asking for divine intervention in helping fellow jockey Gary Stevens win the Triple Crown. . . .

Solis recently asked Stevens to autograph a picture of them on their respective rides in the Derby and told him, "I'll light a candle for you." . . .

Buried under the Donovan Bailey-Michael Johnson hype was the incredible 8:01.8 two-mile run Saturday by Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassie. Forty-three years after Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile barrier, Gebrselassie almost did it twice in the same race. . . .

The showdown for the NCAA pole vault title this week in Bloomington, Ind., is expected to be between UCLA's Scott Slover and Long Beach State's Jason Hinkin. . . .

Anyone who thinks Utah won a moral victory by playing the Bulls close at Chicago in Game 1 of the NBA finals has a short memory. The Lakers beat the Bulls at Chicago in Game 1 in 1991 on Sam Perkins' three-point basket, then lost four in a row.

*

While wondering if Wilton Guerrero was reading a revised version of "The Dodger Way to Play Baseball," I was thinking: now Jorge Campos can go on vacation, it would be just our luck to get the 49ers just as the Jim Druckenmiller era begins, I am Annika Sorenstam.

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