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MORNING BRIEFING

For a Nobody, He Sure Has a Nice Drive

April 17, 1999|LISA DILLMAN

Alone again, naturally.

The other day John Elway was saying he would give $100,000 to spend one day in Denver and not have anybody know who he is.

Yeah, right.

Wishful, and wistful thinking, certainly.

But the passing comment got the attention of columnist Bob Kravitz of the Rocky Mountain News.

"The way it would work is simple: For 24 hours, everybody in the six-county region would agree to leave John Elway alone," Kravitz wrote. ". . . He could take his kids to the Rainforest Cafe and wait in line for an hour and a half like the rest of us no-names without the restaurant managers making a fuss over him.

"He could play golf with no preferential tee times, however, without having the rest of his foursome fawning over him and giving him extra mulligans."

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Trivia time: What is the NHL record, set by Wayne Gretzky, for most goals in the first 50 games of a season?

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Patchy idea: Jerry Reinsdorf, Chicago White Sox owner, on the possibility of advertising on the uniforms of players:

"I don't understand this. I don't mind the little Nike swoosh or whatever that is, but I wouldn't want to see players wearing so many ads they look like race car drivers."

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Draft II: Oregon quarterback Akili Smith was drafted once already--six years ago by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"Sometimes you draft athletes and try to turn them into baseball players and it works. In this case, it just didn't work," said Woody Huyke, who managed Smith at rookie league Bradenton, Fla. "He didn't have real good baseball instincts. He found his calling, though. He's in the right sport now."

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Add draft: Louisiana Tech receiver Troy Edwards found it a waste of time to be interviewed by every NFL team--his time and the teams' time.

"It was stupid," he told the Dallas Morning News. "Don't interview me if you don't want me; interview the players you think you want. The only team that was upfront with me was Denver. They shook my hand and said, 'We know we don't have a chance of getting you. We just want to tell you we think you're a good player.' "

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He can bear it: Pittsburgh Pirate outfielder Brian Giles managed to strike a note of optimism after the Pirates lost their season opener, 9-2, to the Expos.

"Even the Bad News Bears stunk at the beginning, but they got better."

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Manic Thursday: The Ottawa Senators were caught in the swirl of Gretzky mania on Thursday.

It was all Gretzky, all the time. And goaltender Ron Tugnutt joked about the chaos.

"It's strange because it's crazy here, but then it doesn't have much to do with us," Tugnutt told Rachel Alexander of the Washington Post. "It's amazing, though, how everybody has a Wayne Gretzky story to tell. I think he's on the cover of every newspaper this morning--he must be a pretty good player or something."

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Trivia answer: Sixty-one goals. Gretzky did it twice: 1981-82 and 1983-84.

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And finally: Dallas Star Coach Ken Hitchcock on Gretzky: "He's like Edmund Hillary, the man who climbed Mount Everest. He brought attention to the mountain."

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