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The Inside Track | MORNING BRIEFING

More Than Coffee Brews in Seattle This Time of Year

September 10, 2000|MARK HEISLER

Seattle's Jon Kitna threw four interceptions in the opener last Sunday and was replaced by Brock Huard. This would have been more entertaining if Seahawk fans weren't jaded by decades of quarterback controversies: Jim Zorn vs. Dave Krieg vs. Kelly Stouffer, Rick Mirer, Warren Moon, et al.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Art Thiel senses a ritual in which everyone has a part to play.

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"Media must: Contradict whatever decision is announced [print] or agree mindlessly [broadcast]," writes Thiel. "Insist they knew it was coming all along, whatever it was. Conclude the season is lost, the franchise is in jeopardy and the end is near. And never mention the other 21 starting positions.

"Fans must: Insist that the coach is way too late on the move. Or way too early. Or out of control. Or has too much control. Or doesn't understand quarterbacks. Or thinks he knows too much about quarterbacks. Above all, he must be fired. And never mention the other 21 starting positions."

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Trivia time: Name the last National League team to win consecutive World Series.

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Venus vs. Mars: It isn't easy being great, Venus Williams is learning, if your younger sister, Serena, is almost as good.

"What if Tiger Woods had a precocious younger brother who tagged along on the golf course and insisted on winning the occasional major?" writes the New York Daily News' Filip Bondy. ". . . [Venus] is viewed as one-half of an entry, and the more sullen one at that."

Says Billie Jean King, who'll coach both at the Olympics: "I emphasize to both of them that they are individuals. I separate them when we're taking photographs. I slip sometimes, but I always try to always call them by their first names, not call them the Williams sisters."

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Deja blowhard: When George Steinbrenner dumped on several players recently, it reminded the New York Times' Murray Chass, who covered the team when Steinbrenner arrived, of the time when one of the big guy's minions tapped him in the press box and said, "George is in his office. Why don't you go see him?"

Chass accepted the invitation. Steinbrenner told him, "Ask me about Ken Clay."

Steinbrenner proceeded to dump on Clay, a lowly reliever, as a "morning glory" who "spits the bit" etc., etc.

Writes Chass of Steinbrenner: "Some people think he has mellowed. . . . He hasn't changed one bit. The Yankees just haven't given him many chances to pull out the old George."

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Trivia answer: The Cincinnati Reds in 1975 and 1976.

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For the record: Beattie Feathers had the highest average per-carry in a season, 8.4 yards, in 1934 for the Chicago Bears. The answer was incorrect in Saturday's Morning Briefing.

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And finally: Martina Hingis, commenting before losing to Venus Williams in the U.S. Open semifinal Friday: "I really think the Williams sisters are good for women's tennis because they bring a lot of people out to see the sport. But I'm still the No. 1 player and Lindsay [Davenport] is No. 2. . . . For years, they've done a lot of talking about how they're going to be

No. 1 and No. 2. They aren't, and it gets, I don't know, tiring. . . . It's been five or six years of this and they haven't done it yet."

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