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The Inside Track | MORNING BRIEFING

The Place Is Not Exactly the Garden Spot of Old

January 08, 2002

Shaun Powell of Newsday on the struggling New York Knicks:

"What's really missing at the Garden this season is atmosphere. It's not that intensity doesn't flare now and then at the corner of 33rd and Eighth.

"But the night-in, night-out passion that once swirled inside the building is gone, replaced by a passive crowd that doesn't expect much from the home team anymore.

"If the Garden indeed remains the place to be seen, it's definitely not the building to be heard."

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Trivia time: Who holds the NFL record for most touchdowns by a rookie?

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Will it help the hacker? Rick Telander in the Chicago Sun-Times: "Are you ready for Callaway's soon-to-be-introduced HX ball?

"The 'Hex' is the infant offspring of Steve Ogg, a former Boeing aerospace engineer.

"According to USA Today, 'on the cover of the ball Ogg created a system of ridges that forms what Callaway calls a tubular lattice network.' Can a miniature golf ball vineyard be far off ?"

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Toilet Bowl game: Scott Ostler in the San Francisco Chronicle:

"Proposed: A postseason game between the two NFL teams with the worst records. Reason: We can't get enough football. Plus, it would provide motivation and interest for players of cruddy teams.

"Besides, look at the Rose Bowl headlines. There's something pure and cool about: 'Undisputed.'"

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Take a cab: Gil LeBreton in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

"Well, I made it. Thirty years of press boxes, and I finally made it to the 'Granddaddy of Them All,' the storied Rose Bowl.

"They call this the granddaddy, I'm assuming, because by the time you find a parking space, you'll be one."

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Why play it then? Heading into the bowl season, Bill Scheft of ESPN the Magazine said no game was more aptly named than the GMAC Bowl between Marshall and East Carolina--"because the matchup offers 0 percent interest."

Comment from Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle:

"Come to think of it, that also would describe the second half of the Rose Bowl."

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Also, "we wuz robbed": The Expedia online travel site is giving English soccer fans Japanese-language tips for this year's World Cup, London's Daily Telegraph reports.

Phrases include "Who ate all the sushi?" and "Are you blind, ref?"

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Looking back: On this day in 1993, Michael Jordan scored 35 points for the Chicago Bulls against the Milwaukee Bucks, becoming the 18th NBA player to score 20,000 points.

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Trivia answer: Gale Sayers of the Chicago Bears, 22 in 1965.

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And finally: Michael Wilbon of the Washington Post is not convinced that Steve Spurrier will be a huge success as an NFL coach:

"In college, he has two great advantages.

"He could recruit speed from a talent pool that isn't available to everybody. All college teams don't have the same access to the human resources. And once he has those guys Spurrier can play all the mind games he wants with them because he is in complete control of their futures as potential professionals.

"In the pros, players either laugh at college-level mind games or they revolt."

Mal Florence

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