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THE INSIDE TRACK | T.J. SIMERS

Fixing Clippers Is More Complicated Than Ever

August 02, 2000|T.J. SIMERS

You know the type, the kind of people who are always negative, can't find anything nice to say and just generally make fun of everyone.

Look in the mirror--you should be ashamed of yourself.

Instead of trashing the Clippers, I called MIT and the Research Science Institute, where 70 of the world's greatest young minds have gathered this summer to work on some of the universe's greatest unsolved mysteries.

If they can handle the "Integral Products of Laguerre Polynomials and their Discrete Analogues," you have to believe it won't be that tough to read Elgin Baylor's mind.

"The Clippers, huh? Now that's a tough one," said Dr. John Rickert, associate professor of mathematics at Rose Hulman Institute of Technology. "There's an answer there, I am sure, but it won't be easy."

The Seattle Mariners called on Dr. Rickert to determine the likelihood of a ball hitting the home plate truss in their new ballpark. Piece of logarithm cake. One to three times with the roof closed, maybe once a year if left open.

But the Clippers? "Basically, you're probably looking at (F X,Y)=A+BxX+CxY," he said. "You'd want to look at the linear regression. . . ."

You mean factor in Donald Sterling?

"There's a continuing spectrum in some things," said Ben Rahn, assistant director for the Research Science Institute. "You know, like the number line between any two numbers that stretches into infinity."

*

HOLY STERLING, IS there no end to Clipper infinity?

These kids at MIT are bright, as detailed in a USA Today story Tuesday, and they've already gotten to the bottom of the "Design and Implementation of a Neural Network for the Evaluation of Prote in Secondary Structure Prediction Using the DSSP Chou-Fasman Algorithms." But you think they wouldn't come away from one of Sterling's "dress all in white parties" shaking their heads?

"Me, I'd just hire a good coach," Dr. Rickert said.

Thank you, and let me return the favor: One plus one equals two.

Now that Bob Huggins has turned down the Clippers, I'm guessing that leaves only the inmates at Lompoc Federal Prison, who are in line for parole so long as they have a job lined up, willing to work for Sterling.

There's one possible exception. The Clippers don't open training camp until Oct. 1 and the Dodgers' season ends the same day, and while he should be available, I'm not really sure how much Davey Johnson is up on his basketball.

*

IT'S TIME FOR Johnson to drop by the owner's box, maybe bring some candy or a six-pack, whatever Kevin Malone has been showering on Bob Daly.

After trading for Tom Goodwin, an encouraging nine for his last 77 tries at the plate, on the heels of reacquiring the Tin Man from Chicago, Malone earned high praise from Daly.

"We had enough to win the division before Kevin made these trades," Daly said, "and what he accomplished only makes us better."

Is that Kevin Kennedy I spotted in the owner's box? My mistake. Just an usher, but the resemblance was uncanny.

*

THE USC FOOTBALL program will welcome 17 freshmen and half a dozen more walk-ons to the campus today, and before the remainder of the team checks in Saturday, the coaching staff will put them through a pair of practices. As part of the initiation ceremonies, the players will be staked to a 21-0 lead in the first practice, and if unable to keep it in the second, they will become full-fledged members of the varsity squad.

*

IT'S THE JOB of every newspaper person to protect their sources, and so while I'm told I can get a "Rally Monkey" for the media rate of $7 and you must pay $12 at the ballpark, I cannot divulge the name of the woman working in the Angels' public relations department who offered such a discount.

OK, Nancy, but I don't know her last name. Dark hair. Loves talking up the Angels. Refuses to laugh when a reporter makes fun of Disney. Call (714) 940- . . . well, I really can't be any more specific than that.

Now anyone who hasn't been sentenced to time in Anaheim recently has no idea what a Rally Monkey is, but looking at the Angels' pitching staff and an anemic No. 2 hitter, the monkey must be the only reason the team has had any success.

On a nightly basis, the Angels fall behind, rookie Manager Mike Scioscia makes some good moves and some bad moves, but none of them really matter, because the fate of the team rests with the Rally Monkey in the ninth inning.

When the ninth inning begins, an animated monkey starts jumping up and down on the Edison Field big screen and the Angels start grinding. The fans in Anaheim start shaking-- remember they stop serving beer in the eighth inning--and wave their Rally Monkeys, and this explains why the team has come from behind 27 times and won 15 games in its last at-bat.

The team sold 700 Rally Monkeys on Saturday and 300 more Monday night--150 after Scott Spiezio's homer capped a four-run rally to win the game. To date more than 2,500 have been sold at $12 a furry little critter, unless of course you know Nancy.

*

I DID THE homework for you, because the question was an obvious one after Sedale Threatt's name resurfaced this week in stories about his failure to pay child support. He was not the inspiration for Britney Spears' "Oops! . . . I Did It Again," although he fathered illegitimate children in Georgia, Ohio, Washington, California and Massachusetts.

*

TODAY'S FINAL WORD comes from jmoeller@lakings.com:

"The Los Angeles Kings have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with defenseman Philippe Boucher, who was scoreless in one game with the Kings last season."

Stop sending junk mail.

*

T.J. Simers can be reached at his e-mail address, t.j.simers@latimes.com.

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