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The Inside Track | MORNING BRIEFING

With Baker in Middle, the Celtics Are Cooked

October 25, 2002|--Mike Bresnahan

Vin Baker has played only a handful of exhibition games as a Boston Celtic, but Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe already has shredded the welcome mat.

"The early line on Baker is not good, and the excuses have been flying," Shaughnessy wrote. "He's learning the system. They aren't calling any plays for him. Not enough touches. He hurt his ankle and his pinkie. These are only exhibition games. He's allergic to Red's cigar. Thomas Hamilton ate his homework.

"How else to explain the sorry stat line that shows Baker averaging 4.7 points and 4.2 rebounds in 19.7 minutes per game?

"He also has been fouling at a [Greg] Kite-like rate -- a whopping 30 personals in six games. He has more fouls than points (30-28).

"None of this will even be remembered if Baker returns to his old form. But here in New England we are cynical and we worry."

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Trivia time: Which UCLA quarterback holds the school single-game rushing record?

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Boo! Dave Newhouse of the Oakland Tribune said the most frightening man in Oakland last week was 59-year-old San Diego Charger Coach Marty Schottenheimer, who is 20-5 against the Raiders.

"They won't admit it, but no horror movie scares the Raiders half as much as Schottenheimer. So frightening a presence, he even has Al Davis hiding under the covers.

"Marty the Monster is the Raiders' worst nightmare. No matter where he's coaching, Schottenheimer can beat the Raiders merely by walking into the stadium. He proved it again Sunday."

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Bill of Rights: Fans deserve certain rights when they attend a game, says Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly:

"A good seat being necessary to the pursuit of happiness, any fan [should be able to] move down to a better one after halftime, including courtside, and not get the hook from a 17-year-old, $5.15-an-hour-making, Clearasil-jonesing usher who thinks a spiffy jacket suddenly makes him a member of the Marines Security Guard."

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Thrash talk: Al Morganti of ESPN.com said the Atlanta Thrashers are hockey's most embarrassing franchise.

"Aside from the financial chaos in places such as Buffalo, the biggest on-ice mess in the NHL right now appears to be Atlanta, where the Thrashers are beginning a prove-it-to-us fourth season.

"So far, the Thrashers aren't proving anything to the fans of Atlanta who expected far better. Last Saturday night, with the Braves again banished from the baseball postseason, the Thrashers drew only 13,653 for a home game. It is time for a be-on-alert notice to Coach Curt Fraser."*

Trivia answer: John Sciarra had 178 yards rushing for UCLA in a 17-17 tie against Tennessee in 1974.

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And finally: Stanford has had an awful football season, going 2-4, surrendering 65 points in a loss to Arizona State and prompting Bud Geracie of the San Jose Mercury News to comment on this year's team motto:

"Good thing 'Operation Stanford Football' isn't a life or death mission."

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