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THE INSIDE TRACK | T.J. SIMERS

West Will Take Another Trip Down a Lonely Road

August 10, 2000|T.J. SIMERS

You cannot make this stuff up.

To just say Jerry West is the nervous sort apparently was not enough for politicians in Morgantown, W.Va., who voted to change the street name of Beechurst to Jerry West Boulevard.

Jerry West Boulevard will run directly into Don Knotts Boulevard.

"Oh, Andeee," picture a shaky West swerving down Don Knotts Boulevard while listening to the radio as the Lakers try to repeat.

West, who was boarding an airplane at LAX about the time of his understated farewell news conference earlier this week, will be at Monday's ceremonies in Morgantown, along with the state's governor, the federal government's assistant transportation secretary and the University of West Virginia president.

So much for the argument that West didn't attend his own farewell news conference because he shuns the spotlight. Had someone thought of naming an El Segundo alley after the guy, he would have been there.

But just like Laker owner Jerry Buss and Coach Phil Jackson, who skipped the West news conference, Don Knotts will be a no-show at Monday's festivities. It just makes you wonder if anybody really likes the guy.

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A HEADS-UP to area gang members updating their monthly planners.

When considering potential riot dates, do not make the mistake of basing it on a traditional best-of-seven-game format: the WNBA championship will be a best-of-three series, wrapping up Aug. 27.

Also note, there will be no big-screen TV outside the Forum, because it's the desire of WNBA officials that someone go to the game.

As for the Sparks' victory parade, the team has yet to designate which Ralph's parking lot the rented pickups will circle. Rest assured, we will stay on top of the situation.

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SOMEONE ELSE MIGHT consider it ostentatious, but after her team won the Super Bowl, Georgia Frontiere had a ring made to fit over two of her fingers. I was thinking this might prevent her from making an obscene gesture at a certain sportswriter, but a club official pointed out she still has another hand.

At the same time Frontiere has told her team that if they win another Super Bowl this season she will provide each player with a double-sized ring like her own. She can do this by melting down all her old wedding rings.

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MY FAVORITE LINE in the Michael Irvin "has been arrested" story for marijuana possession beyond the usual "he was with an unidentified woman," was the one that quoted a police spokesman as saying, Irvin was "very cooperative."

It's not a surprise to me that someone would find him so mellow.

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IT'S GOING TO take a lot for Ismael Valdes, who lacks only heart and a fastball, to regain the confidence of teammates, but there is a way.

"Survivor" producer Mark Burnett is looking for 13 to 15 gutsy people to go through physical and psychological screening with the winner joining two Russian cosmonauts and being launched on a Soyuz rocket into outer space.

If it counts for anything, I think Dodger fans would be pulling for him.

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THIS HAS THE potential to be a very rare positive note, lacking any kind of punch line, cheap shot or mention of Kevin Brown being blasted by the Cubs.

The pitching performance of Angel Ramon Ortiz against Pedro Martinez, while awesome, was not as thrilling as the opportunity to witness the unbridled joy he showed in the team's clubhouse after the game.

The kid was playing a kid's game and reacting like a kid, loving every minute of it, while extending nothing but respect and admiration for Martinez, his longtime idol. If only he could remain that fresh . . . do you think Brown was ever like that? Sorry, I tried.

The kid's poise, especially after Garret Anderson dropped a lazy fly ball in center for a two-base error--remember, I said the ball was lazy, not Anderson--was big-league impressive.

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P.S. TO THAT once-in-a-lifetime positive note. The kid probably wanted to send a copy of The Times to his family back home, and had to be a little mystified when he saw Martinez's picture instead of his own.

I know for a fact The Times runs irate letters to the editor, and Ramon, I would be happy to pass it along.

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THE DODGERS PASSED up a chance to provide Todd Hundley, who had struck out 10 times in 15 at-bats, the unique thrill of bat making contact with ball.

But instead of taking advantage of Family Day, and running a bunch of 6- and 7-year-olds to the mound, which would have allowed Hundley to unload on the little wannabes, the dads didn't bat. Instead they had Chad Kreuter pitch to the tykes. What did you want him to do--teach the little ones how to go after the fans in the stands?

Hundley, meanwhile, recovered on his own, becoming only the third Dodger in team history to hit a home run in the loge level. It could not be determined from replays if he had his eyes open.

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I DON'T THINK anyone has jumped to the ridiculous conclusion that Lesley Visser, 46, was replaced by Melissa Stark, 26, on "Monday Night Football" just because Stark is 20 years younger and has never been seen wearing a hideous hat.

I think that's pretty clear now that CBS has claimed Visser off waivers, and while it's uncertain what her duties will be, I wouldn't read anything into it if they have her introducing nightly reruns of "The Golden Girls."

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TODAY'S LAST WORD comes in an e-mail from Richard:

"When did you learn there was another baseball team in the area? The one called the Angels? You never cease to surprise me."

The credit really goes to Dodger owner Bob Daly, who suggested I spend more time with the Angels. I thought it was a nice gesture on his part.

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

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