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The Inside Track | T.J. SIMERS

A 2000 Edition of Series May Be Out of This World

October 18, 2000|T.J. SIMERS

Here's the only problem I have with a New York, New York, World Series.

What if there really is extraterrestrial life and next week just happens to be the first time someone stops by to catch our act.

Let's hope they are not easily offended.

OK, as a positive aside, I suppose we'll get a good look at them if they try mingling with fans in Shea or Yankee Stadium because Fox puts everyone's face on camera.

Is it only me, or did Bobby Valentine trim his nose hairs between the fourth and fifth games with the Cardinals?

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IT LOOKS AS IF there is "No Escape from New York," and while the Kurt Russell movie was all about having the worst of humanity rot on a maximum-secured Manhattan island, now this humanity is going to be treated like a national treasure while being asked to make nice like a studio audience in Queens and the Bronx.

It has already begun. Shortly after the Cardinals had made the final out, Fox's Joe Buck commended the Met fans, "who were tremendous for the way they acted."

I know I was proud of them. Not a single report of a shooting or stabbing while they were still in the stadium. I would imagine Joe Buck went to his car, however, flanked by security guards.

Too bad there isn't a stadium big enough to accommodate Yankee, Met and Raider fans. We could see who emerges still standing. If I'm any self-respecting Raider fan, however, I don't want to be caught dead with this mob.

You see how these people dress--they have no self-respect. Raider fans work hard at looking grotesque--Yankee and Met fans dress the way they do when they go to work.

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I COVERED THE Yankees in 1978, and my enduring picture of their fans is seeing them drop $1 bills from the upper deck and watching the knowledgeable baseball fans below beat the hell out of each other to catch them.

If you tried that in Dodger Stadium, you'd have to wait until at least the third inning for the folks in the lower seats to arrive. And if you dropped anything less than a sawbuck, no one would move.

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THERE ARE ONLY three reasons to watch a New York, New York, World Series:

1. To see if Mike Piazza rocks back on his heels the first time Roger Clemens goes into his windup.

2. To see if Clemens gets knocked head over heels in retaliation for hitting Piazza in the head last July.

3. To watch the carnage in the stands.

I'm not one for cliches, but it's a shame one of these teams has to lose, because if they both won, there's a good chance Yankee and Met fans would get so excited they'd burn the city to the ground.

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BEFORE LAST NIGHT'S game with the Suns in the Arrowhead Pond, setup guard Ron Harper made it clear that the Lakers' Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson, while tied together for at least four more years, will sooner or later have to get organized without his direction.

"If they think I'm going to play after this season, they're mistaken," he said when asked if he might play until he's 40. "I'm going to retire when I'm 37--you do the math--I'm 36."

The Lakers' preseason media guide says he's 35, which makes it much more difficult for me to do the math.

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HE PLAYS THE game as if he's wearing a helmet and shoulder pads, and while he's a broken nose waiting to happen the way he throws his body around, Laker rookie Mark Madsen is making an impression.

The bruiser had four fouls by halftime, but you should have seen the other guys.

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I UNDERSTAND THAT USC is an institution of higher education, but apparently no one taught President Steven Sample basic business etiquette--you return phone calls.

I tried again Tuesday, and mentioned this to the young woman who answered the phone and asked if I would like to leave a message. I know this, Paul Hackett is not going to get fired any time soon if Mike Garrett has been leaving messages for Sample.

Wait, I just got a call from Marty. I said I wanted Steven. She said "journalists and people like you" were supposed to call public relations. She also said the president was not available--apparently to people like me.

At least Marty called me. The alumni, who have called me to tell me they tried reaching Sample, said they have yet to get a return call of any sort.

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I DON'T KNOW what all you Trojans are fuming about anyway. USC is 6-1, thereby making it bowl eligible, and is exceeding even your own wildest expectations. Of course, in this case USC is the University of South Carolina.

A reader suggested using "USC" to identify the University of South Carolina and "usc" for the University of Southern California.

I'd ask Sample, but for all I know, he has gone into hiding.

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THE NFL HASN'T reached the halfway point yet, but the Chargers' magic number for elimination from the AFC West title race is five. Oakland, which will reach the midway point a week from Sunday in San Diego, could be in position to reduce that number to two by beating the Chargers.

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A YANKEE-MET World Series will confirm to New Yorkers that the universe revolves around them. To confirm that the world tilts in that direction, Monday night's TV game will be between the Dolphins and Jets in the Meadowlands--New York, New York, and close enough--New Jersey.

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

"Instead of buying Rolexes for his team, I wish Shaq would have bought you something to learn how to write decent, thought-provoking and insightful sports commentaries."

Shaq doesn't have nearly enough money to do that.

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

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