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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Pardon Me, but You Have a Wrong Number

March 26, 2001|MAL FLORENCE

Mike Donnelly, son of Colorado Rockies' third base coach Rick Donnelly, served as a batboy for the Florida Marlins during the 1997 World Series and was whooping it up on a clubhouse phone after Game 7.

"Somebody beeped in, so I answered it," he said. "The guy says, 'This is Bill Clinton.' " I says, 'Yeah, and I'm Elvis,' and I hung up.

"Two seconds later, the security guard comes running in and says, 'Hey, get off that phone. The president is going to call any minute.' "

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Trivia time: Which school holds the record for fewest points scored in a NCAA men's Final Four game?

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Exiled: Woody Paige in the Denver Post: "Instead of telling Chuck Knoblauch to go find a real job, like writing a sports column, the New York Yankees are shifting him to the outfield. . . .

"As Yogi Berra philosophized, 'Baseball is 90 percent mental, and the other half is physical.' Knoblauch can physically throw to first, but mentally, he's a head case."

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Sound advice: Bernie Lincicome in the Rocky Mountain News: "Averaging more than 100 miles a day across Alaska to win the Iditarod means that Doug Swingley still would have gotten there sooner if he listened to his wife and asked directions.

* "Dick Vitale needs to be declared legally addled.

* "Gary Sheffield's dentist must be Dr. Scholl."

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Ho, ho, ho: Ed Sherman of the Chicago Tribune interviewing Dave Smith, executive sports editor of the Dallas Morning News, on Texas Tech hiring Bob Knight:

"It's going to be tougher for Knight here," Smith said. "It's not going to be Indiana. He controlled the media there. We've dealt with as bad as him. Jerry Jones. Mark Cuban. We've had our characters."

Memo to Smith: You haven't dealt with anyone until you've dealt with The General.

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Bitter: Billy Andrade, a PGA Tour event winner who didn't qualify for the Masters, expressing his disgust with Augusta National officials after they granted special invitations to two foreign players:

"They cater to foreign players and that stinks. They fail to realize it's our tour, our Masters. To most of the foreign guys, it's just the 'U.S. Masters.' "

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Positive sign: Jim Armstrong in the Denver Post: "Word out of the Padres' camp is that Tony Gwynn can bend over and tie his shoes. In other words, pencil him for .340."

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Joint session: Reader Bob Lacey to the San Francisco Chronicle: "The answer: High Five. The question: What do you call the New Jersey high school basketball coach and the four students with whom he was caught smoking marijuana?"

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Trivia answer: Kentucky, 28, against Dartmouth, 47, in 1942.

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And finally: Pittsburgh Pirate officials and the Coast Guard are warning fans not to dive into the Allegheny River to collect baseballs hit out of PNC Park this season.

"It's a dangerous environment. There are currents. There are large vessels in the area," said a Coast Guard official.

Will that stop souvenir-hunting fans? Probably not.

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