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THE INSIDE TRACK | Morning Briefing

Once Again, Boxing Brings the Absurd

April 09, 2001|MAL FLORENCE

Ron Borges of the Boston Globe reports that the World Boxing Assn. has Sandile Sobandla moving up from No. 14 to No. 13 in the bantamweight division in its latest rankings.

Sobandla, a 26-year-old South African, died Feb. 1 in an auto accident in Cape Town.

Comment from Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle: "A good, solid ranking for Rocky Marciano is no longer out of the question."

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Trivia time: Which player has finished second the most times without winning the Masters?

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Do you agree, Phil? Olden Polynice of the Utah Jazz, on Kobe Bryant and the Lakers: "They're a better team when Kobe's out. No disrespect to him, but they concentrate more.

"I think a lot of times when he's in the game, they rely on him to create and do things. And when he's out, they just play a lot harder to compensate."

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Declining Braves? New York Met reliever Turk Wendell's assessment of the current Atlanta Braves: "They're starting to show cracks now. They don't have the depth in power they had . . . you look around the field, and who do you really have to worry about as far as power hitters?

"Chipper and Andruw Jones. That's not the thunder they used to have in there."

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Slippery sell: Jerry Greene in the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel: "Well, cook my sushi! . . . I can't get over Cleveland serving sushi at Jacobs Field.

"Visualize a guy walking through the stands yelling, 'Octopus! Get your octopus right here!' And what do they sing in the seventh inning, 'Buy me some peanuts and amberjack?' "

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Easier goal: Jim Armstrong in the Denver Post: "Running for 1,000 yards these days is kind of like hitting 40 home runs. It ain't what it used to be.

"There were 23 running backs who eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark last season, the most in NFL history. Twenty years earlier, in 1980, there were eight."

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Looking back: On this day in 1965, the Houston Astrodome, baseball's first domed stadium, was unveiled for an exhibition game between the Houston Astros and New York Yankees.

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Trivia answer: Tom Weiskopf, four runner-up finishes--1969, 1972, 1974 and 1975.

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And finally: Lefty Gomez, the famed, quirky pitcher for the Yankees in the 1930s, hated pitching to slugger Jimmie Foxx of the Philadelphia Athletics.

During one game, he shook off every pitch to Foxx that catcher Bill Dickey was calling. Finally, Dickey strode to the mound to find out what his pitcher wanted to throw.

"Nothing," said Gomez. "Let's just stall around and maybe he'll get mad and go away."

Foxx stayed and hit Gomez's next offering for a home run.

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