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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Will Pitino Face the Music as Second Fiddle?

March 08, 2001|MAL FLORENCE

Peter Vecsey of the New York Post is among those predicting former University of Kentucky and Boston Celtic coach Rick Pitino will replace Denny Crum at Louisville:

"In fact, should sources prove correct that Pitino is on the precipice of switching allegiance from the Wildcats--whom he guided to one NCAA title [1996] and three Final Four appearances in eight years before assuming control of the Celtics--it will be like Leo Durocher leaving the Dodgers in July of '48 to manage the Giants. Or pitcher Sal 'the Barber' Maglie taking the opposite route in '56.

"Except this transfer of devotion and disdain is worse because the odds are so heavily one-sided in favor of the Wildcats. Whereas New York City's affection was equally divided among the Dodgers, Giants and Yankees, outside the city of Louisville, 90% of the state hates the Cardinals."

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Trivia time: Which NBA team holds the record for the lowest winning percentage in a season?

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Tiger watch: Bill Lyon in the Philadelphia Inquirer on "slumping" Tiger Woods: "[He] is now oh for six in the year oh one. This number was offered up breathlessly as your latest weather update.

"But then they are linked--if it doesn't snow and Tiger doesn't win, the day doesn't count."

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Motor mouth: In his column for America Online, Norman Chad said: "I recently sampled three [Dick] Vitale broadcasts on ESPN and ABC--my health insurance wouldn't cover a fourth--and I was struck at what it must have been like on Noah's ark, waiting for the deluge to stop."

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It has merit: Steve Rosenbloom in the Chicago Tribune: "Bronco Coach Mike Shanahan has suggested some rules changes to protect the quarterback. One of his ideas is that a defensive player who puts out a quarterback with a flagrant hit would have to sit out as long as the quarterback does."

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Surprised: Florida Marlin Manager John Boles, noting that seven of his players were married in the off-season:

"We went from a team where no one could get a date to guys getting married and having kids. I didn't think some would ever get married. We've got some ugly guys on this team."

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Gutty scribe: Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News, on recovering from back surgery: "I'll be fine. Like many people, my pain threshold has been raised by following the Lions."

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Looking back: On this day in 1958, Silky Sullivan, ridden by Bill Shoemaker, won the Santa Anita Derby by three lengths after trailing by 40 early in the race and by 20 entering the final turn.

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Trivia answer: The Philadelphia 76ers went 9-73, .110, in 1972-73.

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And finally: Tom FitzGerald in the San Francisco Chronicle: "Many people are picking on Gary Sheffield, but we're talking about a fine ballplayer here.

"In fact, three cities have been named after him--Gary, Ind.; Sheffield, England, and Marblehead, Mass."

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