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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Maybe Winning Would Cure All These Distractions

April 23, 2001|MAL FLORENCE

Pittsburgh Pirate pitcher Terry Mulholland says that the team's new PNC Park is almost too scenic--and distracting:

"The place has too many views," he complained. "Nobody's watching us play. They're all looking at the buildings, looking at the bridge, looking at the river, looking at other parts of the stadium. I don't think anybody here even knows who's on our team."

Mulholland also commented on the spacious home clubhouse: "It takes a half-hour to walk from one end to the other. In fact, they're thinking of installing an intercom system at each locker, so we can talk to our teammates."

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Trivia time: Who holds the NBA record for most assists in a playoff game?

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Small talk: Reader Janice Hough of Palo Alto to the San Francisco Chronicle: "Can you believe Dodger GM Kevin Malone lost his job over an argument at Qualcomm with a Padres' fan? Good thing he never made the Candlestick walk with Tommy Lasorda. The man would probably be in jail for assault."

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Don't bother me: Chris Gatling of the Cleveland Cavaliers, commenting on free agency: "I don't want to have anything to do with the negotiations. I don't want to talk numbers. My agent will do that. . . . I dribble the orange thing."

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Select audience: Bill Scheft of ESPN the Magazine called the XFL playoffs "The Road to the Final Four Viewers."

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Quick with a quip: Defensive back Fred Smoot of Mississippi State, drafted in the second round by the Washington Redskins, always has something to say. There's even a Web site devoted to his verbal jabs. An example:

On turf conditions at Kentucky's stadium: "That's the worst field I've ever played on. And I don't know much about cutting grass, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night."

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And he was history: Todd Marinovich told The Times he got past drug testing at USC by using someone else's urine. Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic can top that ruse: "Several years ago, one conference player made the mistake of smuggling in his girlfriend's urine. She was pregnant."

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The "D" team: Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News on the recent NFL draft: "Everybody wants players who have it all--speed, size, strength, intelligence and Ray Lewis' defense attorneys."

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Looking back: On this day in 1919 in a season-opening game, Walter Johnson of the Washington Senators shut out the Philadelphia Athletics, 1-0.

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Trivia answer: Magic Johnson, against Phoenix on May 15, 1984, and John Stockton of Utah against the Lakers on May 17, 1988, 24.

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And finally: Bernie Lincicome in the Rocky Mountain News: "The XFL ratings were so small that team tennis could gloat. It wasn't until women's soccer threw a minuscule share up in their league opener on television last week that the XFL actually found a sport to which it could feel superior."

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