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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Dodger Fans Hope He Can Overcome Giant Mistake

December 26, 1999|GRAHAME L. JONES

Orel Hershiser's reappearance in Dodger blue hasn't set well with everyone. It wasn't that long ago, after all, that he was pledging his allegiance somewhat north of Chavez Ravine.

Gary Peterson of the Contra Costa Times was quick to point that out.

"Two years ago, Orel Hershiser stood before a group of San Francisco Giant boosters and humbly asked their forgiveness and acceptance."

" 'My name is Orel,' he said, 'and I'm a recovering Dodger.' "

San Francisco fans will no doubt find his relapse less amusing.

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Road games: Bemoaning the way players' loyalty to teams disappears at the first flourish of a fat checkbook, Peterson had some advice for Los Angeles.

"Dodger fans would be well advised to enjoy it while they can--it will provide them little warmth next year, when Hershiser is pitching for the Cubs."

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Trivia time: Who holds the USC record for longest punt?

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The indifference bowl: Brigham Young Coach LaVell Edwards, 68, is not in awe of having to play undefeated Marshall in the Motor City Bowl on Monday.

"I'd probably feel different if I were younger," he said. "I'm at the point where if we win, it's because of mature leadership. If we lose, the game has passed us by."

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Faulty memory: Miami Heat Coach Pat Riley has an odd way of looking at his career.

"I don't remember wins," he told the Miami Herald, "but I remember the losses."

Getting his digs in: One of the more memorable comments made by Juan Antonio Samaranch, the 79-year-old International Olympic Committee president, during his recent testimony before Congress concerned his own value, or lack thereof, to the IOC.

"The graveyards are full of indispensable people," he said.

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Engine block: Trace Armstrong has a thing about old cars. The Dolphin defensive end just can't seem to stop acquiring them.

"It's a disease for me," he told the Miami Herald. "If it's old, has chrome and a motor, I have to have it. I've bought a bunch. More than 10. Less than 30."

Boo birds: Just how hapless were the New Orleans Saints before they beat the Dallas Cowboys on Friday?

Bad enough for Baltimore fans to have berated their team after it walloped the Saints by 23 points last Sunday.

"You're making progress when you put up 31 points and the fans are booing you," Raven Coach Brian Billick said.

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Trivia answer: Ernie Zampese, 85 yards against Wisconsin in 1956.

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And finally: Craig Daniels' description of the NBA in the Toronto Sun will not have added much festive spirit to the league office.

"The NBA, like any league," he wrote, "is at once an old boys club and a filthy cesspool, a strange, intertwined network of alliances that would do pre-World War I Europe proud. Deals happen in back rooms, everyone spies on everyone else, and power lies in the hands of those who can call out favors and get help whenever needed."

Happy holidays.

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