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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

By All Means, Give This Man Plenty of Space

September 25, 2000|MAL FLORENCE

Former major league pitcher Bill Lee, on his visit to Cuba to help equip a youth team founded by Ernest Hemingway in the 1950s:

"I think we're tapping into a powerful karmic dynamic--literature, baseball, communism--plus I hear the island distillers make excellent rum."

It shouldn't come as a surprise that Lee's nickname is "Spaceman."

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Trivia time: Which school holds the largest series lead over Notre Dame in football?

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O for hope: John McClain in the Houston Chronicle: "Over the last three seasons, there have been 25 (NFL) teams that started 0-2. Only three reached the playoffs, all in 1998.

"The only 0-3 teams to make the playoffs were the Lions in 1995, Buccaneers in 1982 and Jets in 1970. The only 0-4 team to make the playoffs was San Diego in 1992."

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Sloppy: Crowds streaming into Sydney for the Olympics are generally orderly, but they're leaving a mess. Cleaners have picked up 22 tons of garbage each day from city streets since the Games began--almost double the amount collected each day.

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Clip and save: Michael Jordan wants the blame if the Washington Wizards don't improve on their 29-53 record last season.

"Judge me by what happens this season, not what happened last season because I didn't have my print on it," said Jordan, who became the Wizards' vice president of basketball operations in January.

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The "B" team: Ed Graney in the San Diego Union-Tribune, on San Diego State losing to Oregon State, 35-3: "A beaten, bruised, battered, bewildered, bad football team." The Aztecs are 0-4.

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Cleaning exercise: Bernie Lincicome in the Rocky Mountain News: "The New York Knicks treated Patrick Ewing like closet clutter. The great multiple team trade was an example of no team getting anyone it wanted but rid of everyone it didn't.

"And it is all pointless. As long as the Lakers have Shaq and Kobe, the rest of the NBA is pocket lint."

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More Lincicome: "Reading ESPN The Magazine is like trying to find the ketchup stain on a plaid shirt."

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Looking back: On this day in 1932, Philadelphia Athletic slugger Jimmie Foxx hit his 58th home run in the season finale against Washington, falling two short of Babe Ruth's single-season record.

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Trivia answer: Michigan, 17-11-1.

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And finally: Before the New York Jets beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and shut down Keyshawn Johnson Sunday, former Indianapolis Colt coach Ron Meyer, who now works for CNN-SI, said:

"If I'm Tony Dungy, I am seething about this [Keyshawn's antics]. I don't want to rile up this other 3-0 team at all. It's giving the Jets emotional ammunition. If you give the Jets something to play for, they will come after you."

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