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Joy in Mudville, but Will Mighty Tracy Strike Out?

November 01, 2000|T.J. SIMERS

It appears the Dodgers' exhaustive search to find someone who can communicate with General Manager Kevin Malone will end with the hiring of a guy who doesn't say much.

Yes sir, that old rally master himself, Jim Tracy, has beaten out Rick Down for one of the those jobs in baseball that apparently no one else wants.

Be still my beating heart, the Dodgers have hired the bench coach who was advising Davey Johnson all last season.

Earlier reports had Down winning the job, which leads to speculation now that Down slipped and muttered something under his breath about Malone, or someone realized at the last second this was the guy who was instructing Eric Karros how to hit.

If made official and announced today, Tracy's hiring will be overshadowed by the Lakers' ring ceremony and first home game. If made official and announced tomorrow, it will be overshadowed by the Clippers.


CARSON PALMER POPPED into Econ 205 Tuesday, made sure his teacher Mr. Easterline saw him, took a seat in the back, then slipped out and ditched class.

He hasn't shaved for days, he says, because he's lazy, and he went for the free food set out for USC's weekly media luncheon like a sportswriter in training. The next time he shows up wearing ironed clothes will be the first time.

That's my boy, all right, a chip off the old block--the son I never had, because as you know I was stuck raising two shoppers, who think a pigskin is "just gross, daaad."

Recently several UCLA worshipers inquired if I had disowned my boy because things haven't gone well for him. I've eaten my wife's cooking for 28 years, so you know there's no quit in me, but it does seem like a lot of other people have given up on the kid.

Things have gone so badly, I wouldn't be surprised if Steven Sample isn't calling for Mike Van Raaphorst. I'd ask, but you know. . . .

A week ago almost every newspaper here did a story on Nevada Las Vegas quarterback Jason Thomas with the implication that USC had given the ball to the wrong recruit. They were as off target as Thomas was Saturday against Mississippi in a seven-for-25 performance for 93 yards with two interceptions in an overtime loss.

Holy Ron Powlus, give the kid a break. He's playing behind "The Five Tops," an offensive line left spinning every time the opposition opts to rush the quarterback. The entrance to the USC locker room gets more protection each Saturday than Palmer.

Take away Kareem Kelly, who hasn't always been healthy, and USC goes four deep in freshmen, sophomores, former walk-ons and guys who have yet to really catch on. Try and go deep to a bunch of guys who are so slow, if they were playing a game of "tag," they'd always be "it."

Some people say the kid hasn't developed as quickly as he should 16 starts into his collegiate career. Die-hard Trojan fans should take that as a blessing in this season of despair. A better year, on top of an outstanding season next year, would most likely make Palmer the first pick in the history of the Houston Texans, who will have first choice in the 2002 NFL draft.

"I know I haven't lived up to expectations," he says, and after he threw his first incomplete pass this season he had already done that.

There are better days, probably great days ahead for the kid, and eventually he will be a very rich professional football player wishing he hadn't skipped all those economics classes.

Listen to me, I know. I mean you and me--or is it, you and I--wish I hadn't missed all those writing classes.

"The coaches keep telling me there are going to be a lot brighter days ahead," the kid said. "It's hard to believe that right now. I know I can never live up to some of the expectations that people have of me, but I still have two years left here, and I want to win a Rose Bowl and a national championship."

I just hope he remembers who's his daddy.


IN THE GOOD news department, only one San Diego resident was stabbed by invading Raider fans after Sunday night's game in Qualcomm Stadium.

On a more serious note, however, a fan dressed in a Charger uniform complete with helmet and shoulder pads was arrested for attempting to break into a police van in the stadium parking lot. The man claimed he was trying to hide from Raider fans who had been chasing him. A likely story.


ACCORDING TO "SCORE," a football forecasting weekly out of Boston, "a secret handshake has taken place between representatives of USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett and the inner circle of advisors around Dennis Erickson of Oregon State."

The forecasting weekly also quoted Garrett as saying, "Juice warned me that Hack was a [bleep] artist. I should have listened to him."

The newsletter explained that the cussing Juice was O.J. Simpson.

I read further in case the newsletter offered any more Simpson insight, and then confronted Garrett with the $2 newsletter.

Garrett denied having ever said anything like that to Simpson. Now if I could only get to Simpson--I'm sure he would tell the truth.


I HOPE THIS isn't one of those role model stories gone terribly wrong.

John Elway is the best quarterback in Bronco history, and he does commercials implying his success is the result of all the Coors beer he drank.

Next thing you know, Brian Griese is arrested for drinking too much and driving under the influence--of Elway?


ALL THESE PEOPLE who picked Portland as the favored team to win the NBA championship--have they been hanging around with Griese?


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

"Sorry your boss picked you to follow the Trojans. You're obviously a Bruin fan. How would you like it if someone kicked you when you're down?"

If it was one of USC's kickers, I wouldn't mind. He'd miss.


T.J. Simers can be reached at his e-mail

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