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The Inside Track | Morning Briefing

It Usually Takes Michaels Longer to Hate Someone

September 03, 2000|MARK HEISLER

"Monday Night Football" continues to reap a publicity bonanza for putting comedian Dennis Miller in the booth, if little else.

After a tepid-rated exhibition season, executive producer Don Ohlmeyer concedes "MNF" may be headed for "record-low" ratings and says he'd be "shocked" if the Denver-St. Louis opener matches last season's Miami-Denver game.

Announcer Al Michaels denied viewers' suggestions he's so unhappy with Miller, he "doesn't respond to the one-liners."

"I'm not happy with Dennis?" Michaels told USA Today's Rudy Martzke. "That's crazy. Hey, I've been criticized for laughing too much at his lines. Now I'm criticized for ignoring the lines. I don't respond to that stuff. That's for people who have an agenda."

Putting the maraschino cherry atop the sundae, the Internet Drudge Report, better known for political-scandal coverage, reported Ohlmeyer held a "secret pow-wow" on a golf course with also-ran candidate Rush Limbaugh. Ohlmeyer said it was "ridiculous."

If only the telecasts were as lively.

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Trivia time: Texas' 14-7 victory over Cleveland Thursday night took 4 hours 21 minutes--one minute shy of the major league record for a nine-inning contest.

Which teams were involved in the longest nine-inning major league game?

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Perspective: The Tennessee Titans call Frank Wycheck's lateral to Kevin Dyson for the game-winning kickoff return in last season's AFC playoffs "the Music City Miracle." Buffalo Coach Wade Phillips calls it the "Home Run Throw Forward."

The Buffalo media guide calls it "suspicious." The players don't like to talk about it but don't have much choice.

"There's not a minute that goes by, here in Buffalo that everybody doesn't talk about it," guard Ruben Brown says. "I can't forget about it even if I wanted to."

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Next Coop? With Houston's Cynthia Cooper taking her four finals MVP awards into retirement, New York Liberty Coach Richie Adubato maintains the WNBA will survive.

"It's like when [Michael] Jordan left the NBA," Adubato said. "New stars will take her place. New stars always take your place."

For the WNBA's sake, let's hope the transition is smoother than the NBA's.

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Trivia answer: The Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers played a regulation game in 4 hours 22 minutes on May 11 this season, matching a nine-inning game between the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees on Sept. 5, 1997.

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And finally: Fox NFL analyst John Madden, on NBC's upstart XFL: "It'll work. . . . They're not going up against the NFL or college football. They're playing in February and March. . . . I think the thing has not only a chance, but it has a real good chance."

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