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THE INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO

There's Enough Blame to Go Around on Perez

March 14, 2000|RANDY HARVEY

Bad luck is being stuck behind Carlos Perez at a red light. . . .

Worse luck is having him under contract for two more seasons. . . .

You could blame Tom Lasorda for trading for Perez in 1998, but that wouldn't be entirely fair. . . .

Amid a playoff race, and with Ismael Valdes injured, the Dodgers needed another starting pitcher. Perez being a left-hander was a bonus. . . .

You've got to wonder, though, what Kevin Malone was thinking when he gave Perez a three-year, $15.6-million contract after that season. . . .

Didn't Malone, having worked in the Montreal front office when Perez was an Expo, know that he might be buying trouble? . . .

The Dodgers still owe him $12.5 million, which they have to be wondering how to get out of paying. . . .

You can't blame Jim Edmonds for his lack of intensity. . . .

After all, he's a California kid playing for a California team. . . .

That's the word from New York Yankee pitcher Jason Grimsley, who recommends that the World Series champions trade for the Angel center fielder. . . .

"Here he would get a good piece of baseball," Grimsley, who played with the Angels in 1996, said. "Playing there is so much different because everything is so laid back." . . .

Don't you hate those stereotypes? We Californians can get pretty huffy when our Tae-Bo instructors are late. . . .

Grimsley, in case you wondered, was 5-7 in 35 appearances for the Angels and had a 6.84 earned-run average. . . .

Once during a game in Detroit, after Grimsley had faced seven batters and given up two doubles, two singles, three walks and seven runs, Angel catcher Don Slaught was seen appealing to the umpire. . . .

Asked afterward what they had discussed, Slaught said, "I asked for a mulligan."

*

Dan Marino was the greatest passer of all time. . . .

He was not, however, one of the greatest quarterbacks. . . .

One measure of greatness for quarterbacks is titles won. . . .

It wasn't entirely Marino's fault that he finished with none. Don Shula also is to blame. . . .

Marino loved to throw, throw, throw. Shula loved Marino. . . .

Although he was one of the greatest coaches of all time, Shula stopped making a priority of establishing the running game in favor of the instant gratification of instant touchdowns. . . .

Jimmy Johnson tried to change Marino, but it was literally a no-win situation. You couldn't take on Marino in Miami any more than you could take on Cal Ripken Jr. in Baltimore. Ask Davey Johnson about the frustrations of that sometime. . . .

Jimmy finally quit. I don't know where he was Monday, probably fishing, but my guess is that he wishes he could come back, now that Marino is gone. . . .

I guess we won't see Johnson and Marino in the ABC booth on Monday nights with Al Michaels. But I'd rather see Johnson there than the smug Bill Parcells. . . .

If Don Ohlmeyer is serious about recreating the feel of "Monday Night Football" when Don Meredith and Howard Cosell shared the booth, he should find a way to get Terry Bradshaw out of his Fox contract. But Ohlmeyer will never find another Cosell. . . .

As I suspected, Cosell was a one-of-a-kind, never-to-be-duplicated original.

*

Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant are playing as if they're on the same team. . . .

"People think I'm worrying about losing my position, but I know that throughout the history of the game, every team had a 1-2 punch," O'Neal says. "I know our 1-2 punch is myself and Kobe. . . .

"However, I'm the big brother. If I see the little brother do something wrong, I'm going to get on him. So a couple of times you guys saw me getting on him, yelling at him, that's OK. Because I need Kobe and Kobe needs me." . . .

After losing to the Clippers on Sunday night, Golden State's Jason Caffey said: "I've never felt worse than this. These are the type of games that make you not want to be part of a basketball team." . . .

Sean Elliott's game-winning three-point shot while falling out of bounds in the playoffs last year against Portland is known in San Antonio as the Memorial Day Miracle. . . .

Tonight, seven months after undergoing a kidney transplant, he is available to play for the Spurs. . . .

Not a miracle, he says. . . .

"What would your brother do?" he asked Cheryl Miller when she asked him about the enormous mental and physical commitment he had to make in order to return. . . .

"She understood," Elliott says. "A lot of guys in my position would go out there and accept the challenge." . . .

In a league in which players' hearts are often questioned, I'd like to think he's right.

*

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

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