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The Inside Track | T.J. Simers

Roaming Las Vegas With Ol' What's-His-Name?

January 08, 2002|T.J. Simers

Maybe you've seen my good friend Gene Wojawhogski--or however he spells his name--on ESPN, or noticed his work in ESPN's (unreadable) Magazine. He also tells me he's penned a number of books, but I haven't met anyone who owns one.

Now every time Gene Wojowhooski comes west he tries to convince me to join him for a few days in Las Vegas, and this time I agreed as long as he promised we would stay in one of the city's classier hotels to make sure we didn't run into any Nebraska football fans.

We had plans to meet Friday, but Gene Wojakillowski didn't arrive until Saturday. That left me sitting alone in a Vegas hotel room Friday, a big loser after betting the horses to kill time when my cell phone rang. It was someone from Staples, who thought I was in L.A. and on my way to the Laker game.

"It's all been arranged," said the Staples Center official. "We're finally going to get you together tonight with Salma Hayek."

Tell me anyone has ever lost so much in one night in Las Vegas.

*

AS YOU know, some people have all the luck. John Derek married Ursula Andress, Linda Evans and Bo Derek while they were each in their prime. Phil Jackson got Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, and then Shaq, Kobe and Jeanie.

I got Gene Wojaqueewski as a friend, and for all I know, he was sitting in Staples Center Friday night with Salma--interviewing her for his next book.

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IT'S INCREDIBLE how lucky some people can be. For example, in addition to being engaged to my daughter and one day having me as his father-in-law, the grocery store bagger predicted right here before the season began that Pittsburgh would win the AFC Central Division and go on to win the Super Bowl.

Right now the grocery store bagger thinks he's pretty smart. I saw that same look on his face when I asked him on which aisle I could find a can of three-bean salad, and he knew right away. I'm biased, but I think the kid has a real future at Ralphs.

As far as football goes, though, you and I know he's just lucky, because there's no way anyone could have predicted in August that Kordell Stewart would have what it takes to put the Steelers in position to win the Super Bowl. Of course, I'd rather have him thinking he's smart--than trying to get lucky.

When I told Gene Wojo about the bagger's success in nailing the Steelers, he suggested bringing the kid to Las Vegas, saying maybe some of the bagger's luck might rub off on us.

I have a little trouble thinking of the grocery store bagger as a lucky charm. So I suggested to Wojo that the two of us--who worked for competing newspapers covering the Broncos years ago--use just our NFL expertise to wager on Sunday's games because, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Shallow men believe in luck."

Unfortunately, things didn't go well Sunday. But if I'm lucky, the grocery store bagger will float me $20 until the end of the week.

*

RIGHT ABOUT now Jon Gruden is hoping they find a misrepresentation in Tyrone Willingham's bio, so the Notre Dame job becomes available once again.

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CASEY WASSERMAN, owner of the Avengers and L.A.'s very own favorite grandson when it comes to securing an NFL team for L.A. again, was a guest on The SIMERS Show on Fox Sunday night. He predicted New Orleans is the team most likely to move here and begin play in the next three to five years.

If you read his bio on the Avengers' website, however, it already notes he owns OnSport, a sports business-consulting firm, and one of his clients is the Chargers, who are contemplating a move to L.A.

Now isn't that interesting.... "I have an ownership stake in the company that is working with the team," Wasserman said Monday in clarifying his relationship with the Chargers. "We're helping on the business end, and it has nothing to do whether the Chargers move or not."

His bio also suggests he is a partner in the Pete Sampras Tennis Academy, which is probably going to find a permanent home in the new Cal State Dominguez Hills' project, which could also include a training camp facility for the Chargers. Now isn't that interesting....

*

THE DODGERS open the season at home against the Giants on April 2, and it appears now they will probably be eliminated from the National League race by the time Colorado comes to town April 5.

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APPARENTLY FOX must have thought that the reason Pete Carroll, Mike Garrett and Bob Toledo have refused to come on The SIMERS Show is because of host Todd Donoho. This would explain why they have replaced Donoho with blabbermouth Barry LeBrock--check to make sure my hair looks good--who is already bucking to have the show called, The LeBROCK Show.

As pretty as he is, some people should be seen and not heard.

*

THE ROSE Bowl game between Nebraska and Miami will be shown Wednesday at 6 p.m. on ESPN Classic. Classic?

*

TODAY'S LAST word comes in an e-mail from Grady Birt:

"As a Californian for Nebraska I was offended by [your] column stating Nebraska fans were goofy and wore pink underwear. I'm encouraging all Nebraskans who subscribe to The Times to cancel their paper."

To be honest, I can't really be sure they were wearing pink underwear.

*

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

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