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The Inside Track | T.J. Simers

There'll Be Yell to Pay for the Big Negotiator

October 10, 2003|T.J. Simers

It's hard to criticize Shaquille O'Neal for yelling at his boss when you've done the same thing yourself, dropping a putt on No. 18 and screaming at sports duffer Bill Dwyre, "Now are you going to pay me?"

But forgetting for a moment that Dwyre isn't that good a golfer and anyone can take money from him, winning a $2 Nassau off the old guy isn't quite the same as Shaq's demanding $100 million on top of the $90 million he is already guaranteed to receive over the next three years.

I go screaming to Dwyre that I want more money three years from now, and I'm going to have a lot of time to play golf.

That's the way it goes for most of us, and yet we're the ones who are going to have car registration fees tripled, while Shaq claims Florida as his home.

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I HAVE no idea how many millions Shaq has already earned. I know he's guaranteed a bunch more, and now he's running around unhappy, and I'm the one who has the Grocery Store Bagger married to my daughter and both of them living back in my house.

I know a little about gall. When I enter the room, the Bagger makes no move to surrender the remote control. But this is beyond galling gall.

Shaq is coming off a wasted season with Laker fans paying for his delay in fixing his toe. He's still guaranteed $90 million for the next three years and now he's throwing a tantrum because no one will promise him right now this very minute another $100 million beginning beyond 2006.

I'm guessing Shaq is feeling bigger than ever now that the Laker spotlight will follow him all year. He has lost weight and is in better shape, we've been told, and so he probably feels more powerful than ever. And he's Shaq.

Karl Malone and Gary Payton have come to the Lakers after taking considerable pay cuts, and the first thing out of Shaq's mouth is he wants more money. Well, you know how crazy sports have become, and so the Lakers will probably give it to the Big Baby just to shut him up. That's some pacifier, if they do.

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THINKING ABOUT all that money sent me to Santa Anita on Thursday to learn more about the Breeders' Cup here on Oct. 25 and how it might make me rich.

I know a bit about racing because I follow it on TVG and Fox Sports Net 2, and they have this horse racing analyst, Frank Lyons, who always seems to know who is going to win after the races are over.

TVG allows you to bet on races from your home computer, but because Lyons likes to "look the horses in the eye when they come on the track," he never gets around to telling anyone who is going to win until it's too late.

This is a problem, because the other two guys with him on the TVG set make sure everyone knows who they're picking, and they've yet to be right.

I was curious how much Lyons knows before the gates open, so I asked him Thursday before the start of the second race who would win, and Lyons the Loser picked the favorite, No. 5, and No. 2 won.

He also gave me his $48 Pick Four selection, which is now scrap paper.

This was not surprising, of course. Lyons the Loser trained horses for a living before waffling on the air as an analyst. In 2000 his pigs went 0 for 22; I guess he looked them in the eye and they blinked. In 2001, they went one for 12, and the horses he trained won $21,000 -- and he got 10% of that.

"That's why I'm sitting here as a broadcaster," said the Loser, and amazingly enough he trained Desert Stormer, a 33-1 shot who won the Breeders' Cup Sprint in 1995. "To be honest with you, sitting here as a broadcaster and still involved in this great sport, I'm as fortunate as the baby oil guy on 'Baywatch.' "

Well, it's about time some other people enjoyed some of that good fortune, so I've arranged a wager on the Breeders' Cup, which is not only designed to benefit charity, but to give Times readers Lyons the Loser's selections the day before the races are run, so we can all see how badly he does.

I'm going to publish my selections the same day, and if Lyons the Loser fares better, I will donate $500 to the "Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation."

If my selections top the Loser's, however, TVG is going to donate $500 to Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA. I've asked TVG to have the check ready immediately after the last race, so the kids don't have to wait.

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DURING FOX'S playoff broadcasts, the announcers every so often say, "Let's go to L.A. for a game break." As Dodger fans know, Fox never did figure out how to send everyone to L.A. for a playoff game.

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OSCAR DE La Hoya said earlier he would never fight again if he lost to Shane Mosley and then he lost to Mosley and is now saying he'll fight again. Holy Don King, I'm not sure I'll ever be able to believe a fighter again.

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WHAT A break. Fans can still purchase tickets, ranging in price from $20 to $65, to watch the U.S. women's soccer team play Saturday at the Home Depot Center. Had the women made the Sunday finals, it would have cost $75 to $400 to watch the same team play. So it's good the way things turned out.

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TODAY'S LAST word comes in e-mail from Art Schertz:

"Whenever I see odds as long as 2,000 to 1 for the Chargers to win the Super Bowl, I'm reminded the odds posted by a London bookmaker for the arrival of UFOs is 150 to 1. I guess you could say the Chargers' chances of making the Super Bowl are 'out of this world.' "

Hold on there, how do you think the guys who own the Chargers got here?

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

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