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THE INSIDE TRACK | Morning Briefing

The Play to Make Is a Diving Catch on a Shallow Fly

April 29, 1998|MAL FLORENCE

Rick Donnelly, Florida Marlin coach-wit, commenting on the swimming pool beyond the fence in right-center field at Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix:

"They should make that pool in play because it's only three feet deep. Then if a guy hits one in there, the outfielder has to go in and get it. Then you'd have some action.

"But since it's not that deep, you know how pitchers say after they give it up, 'He took me deep?' Well, if they hit one in there, they'd have to say, 'He took me shallow.' "

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Trivia time: What is the oldest men's meet record of events now contested in the UCLA-USC track and field series that resumes Saturday at UCLA's Drake Stadium?

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Dream on: Undaunted that his team trails Chicago, 2-0, in their NBA playoff series that resumes tonight in New Jersey, Net center Jayson Williams said:

"I don't want to act like I'm bragging, but as I told Michael [Jordan], 'We are one or two players away from kicking your behind.' "

Yo, Jayson, you might need four or five.

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Dangerous vehicle: Mark Sweeney, a reserve for the San Diego Padres, was unavailable to play first base in place of the injured Wally Joyner on Sunday, having been injured the previous night in a freak accident.

Sweeney was knocked unconscious and bruised his left shoulder when he fell out of a golf cart while being given a ride from the clubhouse to the parking lot after the game.

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Now we know: Oliver Stone will direct "On Any Given Sunday," a film about pro football. Said comedy writer Jerry Perisho: "He will support the theory that the Jets' upset of the Colts in Super Bowl III was a government conspiracy."

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Lazy but effective: Jerry Magee in the San Diego Union-Tribune: "How to Succeed in the NFL Without Really Trying":

"Be like Sean Gilbert. Absent yourself. Lounge through a season of complete and utter inactivity. Do that and some people will come along and award you a seven-year, $46.5-million contract, as the Carolina Panthers have Gilbert."

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Bus depot: Utah's Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala, a 250-pound running back, wore No. 6 because running back Jerome "the Bus" Bettis had worn that number at Notre Dame.

Now they'll be teammates with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who drafted Fuamatu-Ma'afala in the sixth round.

"They can call me the Samoan bus," he said.

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Looking back: On this day in 1986, Roger Clemens set a major league record by striking out 20 Seattle batters as the Boston Red Sox defeated the Mariners, 3-1.

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Trivia answer: Bruin James McAlister's long jump mark of 27 feet 1/2 inch set in 1973.

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And finally: As the Denver Nuggets look for a coach to replace the fired Bill Hanzlik, Woody Paige of the Denver Post suggests Calvin Natt, who played for the Nuggets and now owns a mortuary in Denver:

"He's accustomed to dealing with stiffs."

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