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The Inside Track | Morning Briefing

There's Not Much Unity of Opinion About This Guy

April 04, 1999|MAL FLORENCE

Greg Hansen of the Arizona Star, writing about the Arizona Diamondbacks' intimidating pitcher:

"There are few neutral opinions about 35-year-old Randy Johnson. In Seattle, he is viewed as moody and petulant. In Arizona, he's viewed as a savior.

" 'In the end,' wrote Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times, 'Johnson didn't have a friend on the team. He fought with teammates. He hunkered by his locker stall. He sank into a dark hole. He lost his fire.' "

Wrote Hansen: "In the first six weeks with the D'Backs, Johnson has been the model superstar. He has been a clubhouse joker, accepting public appearance requests with punctuality."

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Trivia time: Who was the last player to win the Masters in a playoff?

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No clue: Johnette Howard of Newsday is not too impressed with Latrell Sprewell's adjustment to becoming a New York Knick:

"They needed Latrell Sprewell, their big off-season acquisition, to provide steady scoring and show he wasn't the stat-mongering, coach-killer he was accused of being in Golden State.

"And the longer this season goes on, the more Sprewell convicts himself of such charges with his obsession about starting, or knuckleheaded statements."

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Or, Eat at Joe's: Baltimore Oriole pitcher Mike Mussina, on the news that baseball may allow teams to sell ads on players' uniforms:

"So it's going to be my name, my number and 'Joe's Bail Bonds'?"

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Special streets: The Cincinnati City Council is considering naming streets for two of the city's sports Hall of Famers, Anthony Munoz and Johnny Bench.

Bench was a catcher for the Big Red Machine of the 1970s; Munoz, the former USC standout lineman, was a tackle for the Bengals in the 1980s and 1990s.

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Worm unwanted: Red Auerbach, the former Boston Celtic coach and general manager, and now vice chairman of the board, said the Celtics are two players away from being a good team, including one "Charles Oakley type of rebounder. But not [Dennis] Rodman.

"If they go after him, I'll retire."

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She can't win: Heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield has filed for divorce, and Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News says: "Tip to Mrs. Holyfield. If the bailiff announces that the 'Honorable Eugenia Williams' is presiding, ask to settle out of court."

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Trivia answer: Nick Faldo. He defeated Raymond Floyd in 1990. Faldo also beat Scott Hoch in a playoff in 1989.

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And finally: Connie Dierking, John Kerr's teammate with the former NBA Syracuse Nationals, dreaded plane trips. So Kerr tried to put him at ease while airborne.

"Connie," Kerr said, "it's the safest way to travel and it's the fastest. It's a lot more dangerous on the ground.

"Why I just read the other day about a train that derailed--eight cars overturned, 132 injured, 15 killed."

Said Dierking: "What happened?" Replied Kerr: "A plane fell on it."

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