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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Philadelphia Fans Figure to Find New Villain

March 11, 2001|MAL FLORENCE

Now that quarterback Troy Aikman has left the Dallas Cowboys, Rich Hoffman of the Philadelphia Daily News asks the grammatically correct question, "Whom do we hate now?"

"Frankly this is a significant worry. Because we really hate almost nobody anymore. Think about your sports teams for a second and admit it. You dislike more people who play for your teams than you do people who play for other teams.

"And so, as Troy Aikman leaves the Cowboys, an era sadly passes. Boo? Who?"

There's always Santa Claus.

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Trivia time: What is the record for the most and fewest points in the first quarter of an NBA game?

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Swell with Belle: Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post, writing on enigmatic slugger Albert Belle, who retired from the Baltimore Orioles last week: "Some will be glad to see Belle go. I won't be one of them. He fascinated me, and I was sure there was somebody behind the defensive mask of anger who was worth knowing.

"Now Belle is gone from baseball, and although I seem to be virtually alone in this opinion, I think it's our loss. If he had finished his career in normal fashion, maybe we would have met parts of the man we didn't suspect existed.

"Now probably we never will."

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Money matters: Jim Armstrong in the Denver Post: "They say players have changed, but they're wrong. Only the numbers have changed. To wit: The [Minnesota] Twins in 1975 convinced an arbitrator to award Rod Carew $120,000 instead of the $140,000 he requested.

"Said Carew: 'I'm disgusted. . . . They don't consider me a superstar. I'm just a number.' "

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More Armstrong: On Bill Mazeroski: "I don't want to say Maz doesn't belong in the Hall [of Fame], but his career slugging percentage, .367, is the same as Ty Cobb's career batting average."

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Back to reality: James Vargas, a 17-year-old Florida golfer, became the fifth-youngest person to play in a PGA Tour event when he shot 75-77 and missed the cut at the Genuity Championship.

His mother, Joyce, wasn't impressed, telling GolfWorld magazine, "When this is over, he's got a lot of homework to make up."

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Trivia answer: Fifty points by several teams, and only four by Sacramento against the Lakers on Feb. 4, 1987. The Lakers led after the first quarter, 40-4, that night.

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And finally: Bobby Hurley, the former star point guard at Duke, is now the owner of a top 3-year-old thoroughbred, Songandaprayer.

"It's definitely more nerve-racking watching your horse than playing basketball," Hurley said. "You can't talk to your horse and see how he's feeling that day. With basketball, I knew what I was going to bring to the table."

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