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THE INSIDE TRACK | Morning Briefing

The President Comes Up With a Capital Idea

April 12, 1998|MAL FLORENCE

Michigan and Nebraska had to share the college football national championship last season in the Associated Press and coaches' polls, and because the schools didn't play each other, debate raged as to which was the better team.

"For the entire season, especially the last month, everyone wanted Michigan and Nebraska to meet," President Clinton said Thursday from the East Room of the White House. "I'm the only person to pull it off.

"Since the sun's shining outside, we ought to go out and settle the whole thing. We'll call it the Rose Garden Bowl."

The teams were there on a White House visit, and the players roared their approval of the idea. However, they had to settle for a tour and pictures during their visit.

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Trivia time: Who was the first foreign player to win the Masters?

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Like ice: Woody Paige of the Denver Post describing the greens at Augusta National, site of the Masters:

"They're cut to the length of Michael Jordan's hair. They undulate, escalate and aggravate. Three-putt greens are as common here as pines.

"Four-putts are routine, five-putts too occasional. Seve Ballesteros was asked to describe how he [once] four-putted the ninth, and following some deep thought, he replied: 'Miss . . . miss . . . miss . . . make.' "

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Understatement: After hitting a two-run double and beating the Chicago Cubs, 3-2, last Tuesday, New York Met pitcher Al Leiter said:

"Considering I'm a .100 lifetime hitter and I'm probably the most pathetic hitter that ever entered a major league stadium, I'm very pleased that that double won the game."

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Also, more boring: Chicago White Sox third baseman Robin Ventura, on playing his first game this decade without chatterbox Ozzie Guillen (now with Baltimore) at shortstop and next to his locker:

"It's a lot quieter, and there's not as much voodoo paraphernalia hanging around."

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League of his own: San Diego Padre Manager Bruce Bochy on Mark McGwire: "You can feel the intensity and the electricity in the stands when he comes up, and rightfully so. He hits a baseball like no other human being."

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Heaven can wait: Chi Chi Rodriguez in an interview with David Casstevens of the Arizona Republic: "You know what Gary Player calls the senior tour? God's Waiting Room."

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Trivia answer: South Africa's Player in 1961.

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And finally: Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe while traveling in the Pacific Northwest with the Red Sox:

"A Seattle cabby strained to remove a heavy suitcase from the back of his cab outside the Kingdome. When a Boston sportswriter expressed his apologies, the driver said: 'No problem. I had a worse one of these last week. It turns out the guy was a marble collector.' "

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