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The Inside Track | Morning Briefing

When It Comes to Class, Clemens Misses the Target

October 29, 2000|MAL FLORENCE

Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times, on New York Yankee pitcher Roger Clemens:

"Make no mistake, the stink of Clemens hung over the Subway Series like a fog over a pumpkin patch. The man who just might be the greatest right-handed pitcher of the last half-century has the maturity of a child, the grace of a camel, the class of a mudhole.

"He doesn't understand why it's such a big deal to hit an opponent in the head with a fastball, to throw a splintered bat at a baserunner, to never admit that maybe, just maybe, he sometimes gets out of control."

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Trivia time: Who holds the NCAA Division I-A record for most consecutive games catching a touchdown pass?

Scavenger: By asking a batboy for it, Fox broadcaster Keith Olbermann became the proud owner of the handle of Mike Piazza's shattered bat, the one Clemens broke and threw.

Olbermann admits it's an odd prize--although not the most bizarre baseball souvenir he's seen.

"Some guy has George Brett's jockstrap bronzed," he said. "That's pretty strange."

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Weird kid: Tom FitzGerald in the San Francisco Chronicle: " 'What's the world coming to?' says O'Neil Provost of Richmond. 'For Halloween, my 9-year-old son, Will, a baseball fan, wants to dress as Mike Piazza with a splintered bat protruding from his skull.' "

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He's good: Jim Armstrong in the Denver Post: "The first XFL draft is around the corner. I forgot the guy's name, but word is the likely draft pick once ran a 4.2 40 after knocking off a 7-Eleven."

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Confusion: Former NFL Coach Marv Levy, a commentator for "The NFL This Morning" on Fox, offered this on the Rams hiring Bud Carson as a defensive consultant:

"I don't know if it ever helps to bring somebody in at midseason. It could create doubts among players. It's like having studied Italian for six months, then you start to study French.

"You figure you can do better in French, but then you realized you can't understand a word of it."

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Too late for other folks: Dave Kindred, writing in the Sporting News on the World Series: "The great and enduring pity is, the games went so deep into the night that those Americans who consider sleep important missed too much of what makes baseball memorable.

" . . . But, silly me, I forgot that a 12:30 a.m. finish in New York is only 9:30 in Los Angeles, where the Fox network folks live and make their decisions about when Commissioner Bud Selig can start the games that are baseball's showcase events."

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Looking back: On this day in 1988, USC defeated Oregon State, 41-20. The Trojans went on to a 10-0 record before losing to Notre Dame in a final regular-season game and to Michigan in the Rose Bowl game.

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Trivia answer: Randy Moss of Marshall, 12, in 1997.

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And finally: Yogi Berra's wife, Carmen, told ESPN The Magazine about the last Subway Series in 1956.

"We lived near the stadium, in a residential hotel. We had a Murphy bed. I told him the bed was in the wall, and he said, 'I can't sleep standing up.' "

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