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The Inside Track | MORNING BRIEFING

Those Who Can't Do Can Talk About It

March 29, 2005|Larry Stewart | Times Staff Writer

Steve Phillips, fired as general manager of the New York Mets during the 2003 season, is now an ESPN studio analyst.

Of broadcasting, Phillips said, "It allows me to be a general manager for 30 teams, and at the end of the day, nobody is yelling at me or criticizing me or giving me a hard time."

Trivia time: The Mets won the World Series in 1969 and '86. When was their last World Series appearance?

At least IQ rates high: Of Dodger General Manager Paul DePodesta, Phillips said, "He is always the smartest guy in any conversation he has. In that part, we all agree."

But Phillips doesn't believe DePodesta was able to improve the Dodgers during the off-season.

"The pitching is not the same, the defense is not the same, so what they needed was to improve the offense," Phillips said. "But it's not obvious that they did that. I wouldn't be surprised if, at the end of the year, the Dodgers were a fourth-place team in their division."

Phillips is picking the Mets to finish fourth in the National League East.

Cool idea: The Boston Red Sox, looking to squeeze more revenue out of Fenway Park, are planning to install a seasonal ice skating rink on top of the playing surface, the Boston Globe reported. The rink will be used for college hockey games and public skating.

Frank McCourt might steal the idea for Dodger Stadium, but he'd need more than a cold reception to make it work.

News flash: Serena Williams apparently pays little attention to what is going on in world politics. Before defeating Shahar Peer of Israel in the Nasdaq-100 Open at Key Biscayne, Fla., on Sunday, Williams was told that Peer was from the West Bank.

Said Williams: "You know what, I'm ignorant to the whole West Bank settlement of Israel. I'm American. Can you elaborate on that, please?"

Said a reporter: "It is a dangerous place to live."

Said Williams: "Is it? Hmm, I'll have to look more into that."

Name game: A lot of people seem to be having fun with West Virginia center Kevin Pitts- nogle's last name. Jim Armstrong of AOL Sports says the name has allowed him to give up cursing.

"When I get frustrated or upset, I say 'Pittsnogle,' " he wrote. "I'll bet, since I first saw West Virginia play, I haven't gone a half-hour without mentioning the P-word."

Looking back: On this day in 1982, Michael Jordan's jump shot with 17 seconds remaining gave North Carolina a 63-62 victory over Georgetown in the NCAA championship game.

Trivia answer: In 2000, when the Mets lost in five games to the New York Yankees.

And finally: The New York Knicks, who play the Lakers tonight at Staples Center, have provided David Letterman with plenty of fodder. With the circus making its annual New York stop, Letterman said, "You know, I was thinking, if I want to see clowns at the Garden, I will just go to a Knick game."

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

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