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The Inside Track | T.J. Simers

Dodgers Well on Their Way to a Perfect Season

April 04, 2002|T.J. Simers

I want to be in Dodger Stadium, of course, in case the team wins a game this season.

So I was there Wednesday night as Barry Bonds brought back childhood memories of "Home Run Derby," announcer Mark Scott, Wrigley Field and fat pitches in a batter's wheelhouse so the ball leaves the park with regularity.

I would think Bonds has a problem now, however. Who does he select as batting practice pitcher to serve up fat pitches for the All-Star game home-run derby--Kevin Brown, Omar Daal, Hideo Nomo or Terry Mulholland?

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I BELIEVE I waited all the way until Feb. 10 to eliminate the Dodgers from contention this season. I apologize now for waiting so long to write that column.

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I SAW enough of the Dodgers on opening day to suggest the "Dodger Mercy Rule," and call it a day after the other team has posted its third run. That would have ended this debacle, of course, before the Dodgers ever came to the plate, and in some respects a 3-0 defeat would have been a moral victory when you consider the final score of Wednesday night's embarrassment.

As you might imagine, I'm concerned, because come late June when I'm telling my wife I have to go to Dodger Stadium for the umpteenth night in a row just in case this is the night the team wins its first game, I'm not sure she's going to buy it.

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HOW BAD was it? The Giants were taking out their starters in the fifth inning to give them a rest--in the second game of the season, and you can imagine how upset those guys must have been to lose the opportunity to bat against the Dodgers.

How bad was it? Chad Kreuter got into the game.

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FOR THE first time in 35 years, Dodger games are not on the radio in the Las Vegas area. Who thought Sin City would be the first to clean up the airwaves?

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IT'S CUSTOMARY at Dodger Stadium after someone hits a home run for the team to announce a few minutes later how far the ball traveled. I had Bonds' homer off Nomo going 3.2 miles, but to my surprise the Dodgers said it went 443 feet.

I had his second one landing on the 110 Freeway, but the Dodgers said it went 459 feet, and they do have a lot of experience measuring Bonds' home runs.

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THIS FROM e-mailer Cathhoyt: "I just hope Bonds doesn't end up with an asterisk by his name because he plays against the Dodgers."

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IT COULD be worse. You could have been sitting down the right-field line on opening day when former Dodger pitcher Jim Gott walked by. While making his way to the field to conduct the fourth inning Coca Cola Trivia Quiz, Gott began passing out 2001 Dodger magnet schedules and 2001 comic books to the fans.

For the poor fan who went home, attached the magnet to the refrigerator and took note the Dodgers will be playing the Giants here April 8 with another chance to see Barry Bonds, the team would like to apologize in advance when you arrive and find the place empty.

"We're slightly embarrassed," said a Dodger spokesman, and I can only guess how big of a goof it will take for someone to say, "We're greatly embarrassed."

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ADRIAN BELTRE said he had been given the signal to steal second base in the second inning of the Dodgers' opener with L.A. trailing by four runs with Eric Karros at the plate and one out. Manager Jim Tracy said Beltre has the OK to run whenever he wants unless stopped by a sign from Tracy.

Beltre seemed surprised anyone would ask him why he was running in that situation. "How are we going to score runs?" he said. I guess I'm not the only one who isn't waiting for Karros to hit the ball any time soon.

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I FIND the report in the Fresno Bee that USC basketball coach Henry Bibby called the athletic director at Fresno State several times, left messages and could not get a return phone call very funny. I wonder if he's ever tried calling his own athletic director? Or university president?

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I GOT the call at Dodger Stadium telling me Cleveland pitcher Chuck Finley had been roughed up. I thought there had to be some kind of mistake because he was pitching against the Angels. Then I was told what happened, and I knew it couldn't have been the Angels.

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UCLA DEFENSIVE end Asi Faoa begins a 180-day sentence for assault in May, and he said he won't miss any of the team's games because he's certain he can negotiate a deal to serve his time in two parts--before and after the season. Crime might not pay, but being a UCLA football player apparently helps.

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UCLA QUARTERBACK Cory Paus told reporters this week that he hasn't had a drink in six weeks. I would have been more impressed had he said the same thing 10 months ago after the police had caught him a second time for driving drunk.

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THE NATIONAL Academy of Television Arts and Sciences came out Wednesday with its nominations for this year's Sports Emmy Awards, which is an obvious sham.

"The Best Damn Sports Show Period," has been nominated for outstanding daily studio show, which tells me no one watches these things before announcing the selections for these awards.

And if that's the case, I know for a fact no one was watching "The SIMERS & plaschke Show," so why weren't we nominated?

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TODAY'S LAST word comes in an e-mail from Tim Kettle:

"I hate the Dodgers. I write for my high school newspaper and I quoted you in my story, because what you said about the Dodgers is exactly how I feel."

Say hello to your principal for me today when he calls you to his office.

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T.J. Simers can be reached at t.j.simers@latimes.com

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