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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Now It's 'Buy Me Some Sushi and Cracker Jack'

March 29, 2000|MAL FLORENCE

Jay Mariotti of the Chicago Sun-Times on the Cubs and Mets opening the season today in Tokyo:

"It is our game, our pastime, our opener, our holiday. So why are we exporting it like a crate of oranges? Why must something as sacred as the beginning of baseball season be merrily donated to the world, forcing the inconvenience of a 4 a.m. first pitch--jeez, Cub fans are just getting in then--to enjoy an American birthright?

"Opening day belongs within U.S. borders [the Blue Jays and Expos may have something to say about that] for the same reason a Premier League soccer season would never start outside of the U.K., or a sumo wrestling tournament outside Japan.

"Certain traditions belong in cocoons and shouldn't be broken 15 time zones away, inside a noisy dome called the Big Egg, where drums beat and rocking fans chant for hours while eating a cup of noodles."

So the Cubs and Mets are left with only 160 games in the United States.

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Trivia time: Who holds the record for free throws made in an NCAA men's championship basketball game?

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Pac-10 put-down: John Feinstein in the Washington Post: "If the tournament selection committee made one glaring error this time around, it was deciding to make Arizona the No. 1 seed in the West Region over Iowa State.

"The decision was based on the Wildcats' two victories over Stanford, and it is clear now--in hindsight--that their criterion was faulty.

"Iowa State might well have been the second-best team in the tournament and it is a shame it had to play Michigan State in the round of eight."

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It would be a comfort zone: Seattle Seahawk President Bob Whitsitt, on negotiating naming rights to the team's new stadium:

"If it's going to be something like Preparation H Arena, we'd rather pass."

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No magic: Steve Davis in the Dallas Morning News:

"Credit Fox Sports Net basketball analyst Marques Johnson for one of the best lines of the NCAA tournament. In predicting that Seton Hall, one of this year's so-called Cinderellas, would be struck down by Oklahoma State, Johnson said, 'The glass slipper turns into the funky old house shoe.' "

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The long wait: While signing autographs at a mall in Florida, Pete Rose bantered with his fans. According to the St. Petersburg Times, he cracked:

"You know what God told the Cubs? Don't do anything until I come back."

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Looking back: On this day in 1960, Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics tied his own NBA record with 40 rebounds against St. Louis in an NBA championship series game.

The Celtics lost, though, 113-103, then went on to win the series, four games to three.

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Trivia answer: Gail Goodrich of UCLA, 18 against Michigan in 1965.

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And finally: Ron Rapoport in the Chicago Sun-Times: "Anna Kournikova predicts topless tennis. Anna Kournikova dumps one hockey player for another. Anna Kournikova battles an airline crew that wants her to put her miniature Doberman pinscher in a carrying case.

"You know what this means, don't you? She and Dennis Rodman will be an item any day now."

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