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Morning Briefing

August 17, 2007|Peter Yoon | Times Staff Writer

Rizzuto had already gone to 'Paradise'

Phil Rizzuto passed away Monday, but we will always have his performance on Meat Loaf's 1977 single "Paradise by the Dashboard Light," for which Jeff Pearlman of ESPN.com is grateful.

Pearlman sought out Meat Loaf after Rizzuto's passing to discuss the former Yankees shortstop and broadcaster's role in the song.

Meat Loaf recalled that Rizzuto was open to the idea when first approached, but had one reservation.

Rizzuto, Pearlman wrote, "was represented by former Met Art Shamsky, who told Meat Loaf that 'Phil will do it, but he wants to know if people have to get high to listen to it.' 'No,' Meat Loaf replied. 'You can be sober and enjoy it, too.' "

In the song, Rizzuto calls a fictional baseball scene describing a runner going from base to base and trying to score. It was a metaphor for the song's subject, which is a teenage boy trying to get his girlfriend to have sex.

Pearlman calls Rizzuto's performance "without question, the most famous baseball play-by-play call in the history of sexually themed rock 'n' roll songs performed by a man nicknamed for diced cattle parts placed in a pan and baked for 45 minutes at 375 degrees."

Trivia time

At 89, Rizzuto was the oldest living member of the baseball Hall of Fame. Who holds that distinction now?

Steering clear of trouble

Driver Graham Rahal and the Champ Car World Series unveiled their "Hands on the Wheel" campaign Wednesday. The program is designed to increase awareness of the dangers of text messaging while driving.

The official announcement said that 80% of crashes involve some form of driver distraction.

And all this time we thought those guys were using headsets to communicate with the pit crew.

It's cold at the beach

The AVP pro beach volleyball tour announced plans for a winter tour of indoor arenas called "Hot Winter Nights."

Among the 18 stops during the Jan. 10-Feb. 23 tour are cold-weather cities such as Spokane, Wash., Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Albany, N.Y. Players are to compete in exhibition matches that will last about three hours.

Last winter, the AVP ran a test event in Albany, but a severe blizzard struck, stranding players and staff in the city for three days after the event.

Recalled one AVP staffer who was there: "I was in Albany longer for a three-hour event than I am at most stops for a three-day event."

Hey, Utes guys

Even though he has a brand-new truck, die-hard Brigham Young football fan Brennen Thorne will have to find someone else to drive to the Cougars game against Utah.

Thorne recently received the license plates for his vehicle and was stunned to find they read "441 UTE."

That's right, UTE as in Utah's nickname.

It was a coincidence, of course, but Thorne told the Deseret Morning News that he would not be taking any chances.

"I don't know if I'll take it to [Edwards] Stadium -- especially for the Utah game," he said. "How the heck can this happen to me?. I don't know how this happened."

Thorne said he plans to order vanity plates next year and create his own message. Presumably it will be along the lines of I H8 UTES.

Trivia answer

Lee MacPhail, the former American League president, who is 89. Bobby Doerr, also 89, is the oldest living Hall of Fame player.

And finally

Comedian Argus Hamilton weighed in on the U.S. State Department's choice of Cal Ripken as special ambassador of sports. His first mission will be to work with Chinese children.

"He's the obvious choice," Hamilton wrote. "Cal Ripken never took a day off and neither do child laborers in China."

--

peter.yoon@latimes.com

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