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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Lakers' Problem? They're Playing the Wrong Sport

May 31, 1999|MAL FLORENCE

Most Laker critics contend that they are a talented, but underachieving team.

However, Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes that the Laker talent is overrated.

"I've been examining these Lakers. They have some wonderful athletes. The problem is, wonderful athletes are nice, if you coach a track team. I can't say they have one true basketball player on their roster.

"And here people are calling them a disappointment. Watching them play, I think they overachieved getting as far as they did."

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Trivia time: Who holds the Dodger record for RBIs in a season?

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Shame on you: Ray Ratto in the San Francisco Examiner: "The Dodgers are, as you well know, something special in the darker recesses of our hearts. The Rams preceded the Dodgers out West, but the Dodgers crystallized the Bay Area's combined feelings of insecurity and smugness.

"The Dodgers, though, rarely stooped so low as to finger a couple of coaches for their failings. I mean, coaches?"

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Stiffed: Ron Borges in the Boston Globe: "Roberto Duran recently went to Brazil to fight for $100,000. He was paid $20,000 up front but the check for the $80,0000 balance he collected after the fight allegedly bounced.

"Now Duran wants to sue. He's got a better chance of beating Roy Jones than beating the Brazilian promoter in a Brazilian court."

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Triple zero: Frank Luksa in the Dallas Morning News: "NFL experts claim Deion Sanders represents a triple threat, and sure enough, he does.

"He's too expensive, fragile and lately a candidate for a big-toe transplant."

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Grammar lesson: Reader Robert Carleson in the San Diego Union-Tribune, commenting on Bill Walton's recent remark regarding UCLA's Baron Davis leaving school early and declaring himself eligible for the NBA draft:

" 'If it was another school like USC or Notre Dame, I could understand.' Those of us who went to USC would know that he should have said: 'If it were another school . . .' "

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Hitting secret: San Diego Padre outfielder Eric Owens is apparently the superstitious type. He applies eye black to his face even before night games.

"I was in a slump last year," Owens explained, "and I wore it for a 7:35 p.m. game and I had four hits."

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Trivia answer: Tommy Davis, with 153 in 1962.

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And finally: Australian tennis champion Patrick Rafter can understand why Andre Agassi might want to split with Brooke Shields. Rafter recalls once playing Agassi and seeing Shields in the stands.

"She was out of control," Rafter said in Vogue magazine. "She'd grimace or put her hands on her face whenever he missed a shot.

"I would hate that. You look up there for support. If your wife or girlfriend is looking like they don't enjoy it, they should stay home."

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