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THE INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO

With Shaq It's Abdominal, Rodman's Just Abominable

March 09, 2000|RANDY HARVEY

While wondering if you were as shocked as I was when things didn't work out for Dennis Rodman in Dallas, I was thinking:

The biggest difference in Shaquille O'Neal this season is that he finally is free of the pain he suffered for two years from a pulled abdominal muscle. . . .

"That's it," O'Neal says. "I don't think a lot of people understand that injury. Sometimes when I was lying down I couldn't even lift my legs. It was extremely, extremely painful." . . .

There's also the Phil Pfactor. . . .

"We had a lot of indecisiveness on the bench [before]," O'Neal says. "Like how to play the pick and roll. It was, 'Do this or do that.' With Phil, it's, "Play it like this. If you don't do it, you're going to be sitting next to me.' We never had that before." . . .

Whether those are Phil Jackson's exact words when he talks to the Lakers, I suppose we'll know soon enough. . . .

Too soon, as far as NBA coaches are concerned. I don't blame them for being upset at the NBA's edict that they have to wear microphones during nationally televised games. . . .

I know that NBC's ratings are down 14%. But the NBA should find some other way to promote how fan-tastic its game is. . . .

"You're going to have to say, 'Please, I'm asking you to please run back on defense. It would behoove us if you would run back,' " New York's Jeff Van Gundy says. . . .

Utah's Jerry Sloan says NBA officials will have to fight him to get him to wear one. I wouldn't want to be the one to test him.

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The Dodgers use one off-color word in an advertisement and there's controversy. The Avengers of the Arena Football League place offensive ads on billboards throughout the city and hardly anyone notices. . . .

The difference is that the Dodgers are supposed to exemplify class, whereas no one knows yet what to expect from the Avengers. . . .

Based on their billboards, I'd say the answer is not much. . . .

I'd like to see Juan Castro at shortstop for the Dodgers. . . .

But when you consider that the New York Mets are down on Rey Ordonez because he hit only .258 last season, the Dodgers must not believe they can carry a starting shortstop who hit .195 during his last extended stay in the major leagues. . . .

You'd think Davey Johnson would remember how effective former teammate Mark Belanger was at shortstop for the Orioles even though he hit only .228. . . .

Those Orioles, though, didn't need to score many runs with pitchers such as Jim Palmer, Dave McNally and Mike Cuellar. . . .

I never believed I'd be able to say that the Angels are overrated, but I was wrong. . . .

ESPN the Magazine rates the Angels next to last among major league teams. . . .

Chuck Finley told the New York media that the Yankees would be better served trading for Darin Erstad than Jim Edmonds. . . .

The Yankees need someone. And fast. They were winless until Wednesday in the Grapefruit League and George Steinbrenner already had walked out on one game. . . .

Which city is having a better 2000, St. Louis or Cincinnati? . . .

The Rams won the Super Bowl, the Blues have the most points in the NHL and Tony LaRussa says the Cardinals "stink," which, considering he is always wrong about them, means they're pretty good. . . .

Cincinnati's Bearcats are ranked No. 1 in basketball, Ken Griffey Jr. is coming home and former Reds Sparky Anderson and Tony Perez and Red broadcaster Marty Brennaman are going into the Hall of Fame.

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Wayne Lukas' Surfside could become the third filly to win the Santa Anita Oaks-Santa Anita Derby combination. . . .

Silver Spoon did it in 1959, Winning Colors in '88. . . .

Winning Colors went on the win the Kentucky Derby for Lukas. . . .

Surfside is scheduled to run in the Oaks on Sunday. . . .

Prime Ticket creator Bill Daniels' death in Rancho Mirage this week after a lengthy illness is a loss not only to the cable television industry but also to boxing. . . .

A former Golden Gloves champion, he also was the money man behind "America Presents." . . .

He vowed to try to clean up the sport and, thus, would have been saddened to hear that the Manhattan D.A.'s office has confiscated records from the most recent card at Madison Square Garden. . . .

Investigators are particularly interested in the controversial weigh-in before the Arturo Gatti-Joey Gamache fight. . . .

The latter's handlers alleged that Gatti tipped the scales at more than the 141-pound limit and that New York State Athletic Commission officials didn't act. He weighed 160 the next night, when he battered Gamache.

Memo to John McCain: If you're finished now in the presidential race, you certainly could be used back in Washington to push through your boxing reform bill.

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Randy Harvey can be reached at his e-mail address: randy.harvey@latimes.com.

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