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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

It's a Good Thing Barkley Never Worked for Scale

April 03, 2001|MAL FLORENCE

Peter Vecsey of the New York Post wasn't in Philadelphia on Friday night when the 76ers retired Charles Barkley's number. But he took some shots at Sir Charles and his girth, anyway:

"I mean, did you happen to catch a glimpse of the expando jersey that was forklifted above a First Union concession stand?

"Barkley may have lost a ton of fun since he began dieting in between repeated repasts, but he has as much chance of squeezing into that particular No. 34 as he does of getting into the Alabama governor's mansion. . . .

"In an especially tender moment, Barkley endeared himself to the Philly faithful forever by reiterating his plan to wear his Sixer number when inducted into the Hall of Fame and the House of Pancakes."

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Trivia time: Which men's Pacific 10 Conference team has not advanced to the Final Four?

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Look for it: Bernie Lincicome of the Rocky Mountain News with some predictions on the baseball season:

* "Corked bats will be replaced by bats loaded with Cream of Wheat.

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* "I predict that Bobby Valentine will be caught telling the truth. Randy Johnson, the Big Unit, will never cheer up. David Wells will be able to fit into Orson Welles' old pants.

* "The Chicago Cubs will run out of excuses before they run out of fans."

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Wacky sport: Dan LeBatard of the Miami Herald on the state of tennis:

"Richard Williams is equal parts lunatic and genius, so he fits in perfectly in the warped world of tennis, which devours its young, corrupts its parents and is as comfortable on the front of the sports section as the front of the National Enquirer.

"There's a reason bland Lindsay Davenport, great as she is, can't get the headlines in this world. Mere excellence is antiquated. Outrageous excellence is better. We do make exceptions, however. In the case of Anna Kournikova, the excellence is omitted altogether."

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The American way: Scott Ostler in the San Francisco Chronicle:

"The NFL cracking down on all the gesturing and dancing and taunting? Why? Hey, that's the way society is today, guys.

"If I beat some poor slob to a parking space, I'm going to leap out of my car and give the Tiger Woods fist pump."

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Talking the talk: Phoenix Sun center Daniel Santiago, on the development of rookie teammate Jake Tsakalidis, the center from the republic of Georgia:

"He has to clean up his language a little bit. You learn all the bad words first because you hear all those about a thousand times more than the good words. And that's in one day."

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Trivia answer: Arizona State.

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And finally: St. Louis Ram Coach Mike Martz, when asked how he was leaning in the college draft: "Did you see us play defense [last year]? We can just close our eyes and pick."

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