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The Inside Track | MORNING BRIEFING

Here's One Opinion of Lasorda's Performance

September 10, 2003|Larry Stewart | Times Staff Writer

Years ago, when Tom Lasorda heard that Kurt Bevacqua of the San Diego Padres had called him a "fat Italian," Lasorda shot back: "Bevacqua couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat."

Clever, but not original.

With the Detroit Tigers closing in on the 1962 New York Mets' record of 120 losses in a season, Bob Molinaro of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot recalled some of Met Manager Casey Stengel's quips during that season.

One was: "That boy couldn't hit the ground if he fell out of an airplane."

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More Stengelisms: Molinaro also offered these:

* "The only thing worse than a Mets game is a Mets doubleheader."

* "The secret to managing is to keep the guys who hate you away from the guys who are undecided."

* After one loss, Stengel told reporters: "Don't cut my throat; I may do that later myself."

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Hence the name Sparky: When Danny Knobler of Booth Newspapers asked former Tiger manager Sparky Anderson if he was concerned the Tigers might break the Mets' record, Sparky retorted with this malaprop:

"Things have been bad enough. That's like pouring more fire on the gasoline."

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Trivia time: Name the last school to beat Oklahoma before the Sooners began their record 47-game football win streak, from 1953 to '57. Hint: It was the same school that beat UCLA in basketball before the Bruins started their record 88-game win streak, from 1971 to '74.

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Comeback: Joe Namath once said he detested being written about by "$100-a-week hacks." Larry Merchant, then a Philadelphia columnist, retorted:

"I'm not a $100-a-week hack. I'm a $200-a-week hack."

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Slow pace: Andrew Beyer of the Washington Post, comparing Del Mar with New York's Saratoga racetrack, recalls that the late Del Mar publicist Eddie Read once described his track as a place "where nobody is in a hurry but the horses."

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A reach: The New York Post called last Saturday's Miami-Florida game featuring Miami quarterback Brock Berlin, a transfer from Florida, "The Berlin Brawl."

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Trivia answer: Notre Dame was the last team to beat both Oklahoma and UCLA before their record-setting streaks. The Irish, getting 46 points from Austin Carr, beat the Bruins, 89-82, on Jan. 23, 1971. UCLA had won 15 in a row before that loss. (Notre Dame also ended both win streaks.)

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And finally: The Miami Herald, in a story about the Dolphins' loyal fans that ran in Sunday's editions, used Lannie Stemple, 69, as an example:

She lives on a $934-a-month Social Security check and can't afford phone service. Stemple said that by skipping a meal a day for almost two months, she saved enough to buy a $56 ticket to the Dolphins' season opener against the Houston Texans.

"Going to one of their games is the highlight of my year," Stemple said.

Or so she thought. Miami lost, 21-20.

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Larry Stewart can be reached at larry.stewart@latimes.com.

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