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Inside Track | T.J. SIMERS

His Deep, Darth Secret Has Finally Come Out

September 22, 2000|T.J. SIMERS

The folks in accounting wanted to know why I went to the Raider game in Oakland last Sunday, then rented a car, paid a $2 toll and drove all the way to San Jose to catch an airplane home.

I tried to explain what it would have been like taking a packed Southwest Airlines flight out of Oakland--getting stuck in a middle seat between "Skullman" and "Darth Raider."

These jokers don't go anywhere without their spikes, the silver paint and drool running everywhere after a hot day in the sun, and I've seen "Con Air," and I know what happens when people like this get agitated.

Raider General Manager Bruce Allen assured me no one from the "Black Hole" would know that I predicted a Denver victory, but then by way of introduction to several of the former prisoners who were taking on fuel in the parking lot before the game, he announced, "This guy picked the donkeys to win today."

This seemed to offend many of those who were wearing "[Bleep] the Niners" T-shirts, turning their backs in disgust, presumably so I could get a better look at what the Raider cartoon character was doing to the Denver Bronco.

Allen couldn't understand why I hadn't brought my daughters.

"Relax, you'll be all right," said Allen, after I had raised concerns about flying out of Oakland after the game.

In hindsight, I suppose I could have risked it, but it's like I told the folks in accounting, it would have been a heck of a time to find out these people know how to read, and me trapped 30,000 feet above the ocean with so many more columns to write about Denver beating Oakland.

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WHO COULD HAVE predicted before the Olympics began that Misty Hyman would become a household name?

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WHEN HYMAN WON the 200 butterfly, NBC swimming commentator Rowdy Gaines exclaimed: That's the "biggest upset in Olympic history."

That's funny, I had known for 18 hours it was going to happen.

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AFTER INFORMING CONSTRUCTION workers the team will shut down work on a new baseball stadium because of funding problems, Padre President Larry Lucchino invited workers to next weekend's Dodger-Padre series to demonstrate there's always someone who is worse off than you are.

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THE RAMS HAVE won 13 games in a row at home because home's not Anaheim.

"Ever since we moved to St. Louis this organization has picked up, has been better all the way across the board," said cornerback Todd Lyght. "We've been eating better food. We work at a better complex. . . . The fans are better. The support is better. Everything's better."

Looking at Georgia Frontiere's new picture in the media guide, I wouldn't say everything.

*

LAKER COACH PHIL Jackson said he's pleased with the team's additions, but "it may not be good enough because Portland has really helped themselves."

He talks like a Page 2 sports columnist.

"Our goal would be to get back to 60 wins," he said.

I would like to remind Phil the Lakers went 67-15 last year and appear stronger. Every once in awhile it wouldn't hurt to be a little more positive.

*

IT ONLY SEEMS like the Dodgers have gone undefeated every time Gary Sheffield is out of the lineup. According to the team's public relations department, the Dodgers are 12-6 when Sheffield doesn't play.

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THE CARDINALS ARE trying to make a case for a new stadium in Arizona, and while they appear headed for a Nov. 7 referendum defeat, they are still looking for ways to convince the fans a new home is in order. For the first time in years they'll play a 1 p.m. game in the hot sun of September--with fans being asked to sit on the Sun Devil Stadium aluminum seats with no backs.

Only a team with so many bench-warmers could think of such a thing.

*

IF TAMPA BAY makes it to the Super Bowl, defender Warren Sapp said, it will be because of the Jets' "stupidity."

"You don't let a player [Keyshawn Johnson] go like that," Sapp said. "That's like me being traded away. You just don't give away your best player."

Who's the best player on the Bucs now? Johnson or Sapp?

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FIRST THE ANGELS were doing it with mirrors, and now with Lou Pote. There can be no reasonable explanation for any team--in the last 10 days of the season with every game meaning everything--sending a pitcher to the mound to make his first major league start.

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ANY DAY NOW I expect to read Kevin Malone was advising Tony Tavares when the Angels traded Jim Edmonds to St. Louis for Kent Bottenfield.

Malone's probably the guy who suggested starting Pote.

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WHAT HAPPENS FIRST? Penn State Coach Joe Paterno winning seven games to pass Bear Bryant as the all-time winning coach in college football, or former Penn State running back Curtis Enis picking up a first down for the Bears?

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WASHINGTON REDSKIN OWNER Daniel Snyder fired two security guards who displayed poor posture during Monday night's loss to the Cowboys.

Doubling over in laughter at the Redskins' play will not be tolerated.

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

"You're supposed to know football, so how can you be so stupid picking on my alma mater, you big dummy, saying we never had any famous football players at San Jose State. You ever hear of Steve DeBerg or Willie Wright?"

I think you mean Louis Wright.

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

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