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Morning briefing

Elia has a way with words

June 11, 2008|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

Reporters' digital tape and video recorders will always be fully charged now that the struggling Seattle Mariners have replaced hitting coach Jeff Pentland with special assistant Lee Elia.

The 70-year-old Elia, a veteran of nearly a half-century in professional baseball, will forever be remembered for a 1983, profanity-laced, post-game rant when he was the Chicago Cubs manager.

The eruption, directed mainly at Cubs fans, rivals Tom Lasorda's 1978 classic on his opinion of Dave Kingman's performance.

On Monday, Elia addressed how he would relate to Mariners players, telling Seattle media:

"There are two scenarios: If you love your children, there are going to be times to say things to them that might seem a little aggressive because you love them.

"And the other one: There is nobody in the world I love more than my wife, and four or five days out of every month I really can't stand her. I think those are the kind of things they have to understand about me."

Trivia time

Who is the only major league player in the modern era to collect seven hits in a nine-inning game?

Thankful Tank

Tank Johnson of the Dallas Cowboys, reflecting on a 60-day jail term in 2007 for violating probation in a gun case, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he was happy to have a full off-season of organized team activities.

"Even though it's a grind and it's hard to go through, it's a lot better than being in a jail cell," Johnson said. "Being around these guys is way better."

Newsroom UFC

Chicago Sun-Times sports columnists Jay Mariotti and Rick Telander might be headed to the Octagon if the bad blood between them continues to boil.

According to Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune, the editor in chief of the Sun-Times had to "symbolically separate" the veteran scribes after an incident that began last week when Mariotti wrote that he was the only critic of Chicago White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen and described his Chicago media colleagues as "soft."

Telander responded with a column that was killed, and then wrote another a few days later that also was spiked.

On to the cage.

Griffey grab

The specter of legal wrangling over who caught Ken Griffey Jr.'s 600th home run began almost immediately after the historic ball landed in the right-field stands at Dolphin Stadium.

According to MLB.com, a man identified only as "Joe" held onto the ball on Monday night after a scramble following the shot hit by the Hall of Fame-bound Reds outfielder. However, Justin Kimball of Miami said he made the catch and that the ball was ripped from his hands. Kimball's lawyer apparently made it to the game, but had no comment on whether Kimball would take legal action.

Griffey did not seem too concerned about the situation.

"Different people do different things," Griffey said. "I'd like it. I can't control it. The guy has it. I'll worry about it later."

Trivia answer

Rennie Stennett of the Pittsburgh Pirates had seven hits in a 22-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Sept. 16, 1975. Stennett had three doubles, including one in the first inning against Rick Reuschel and another in the eighth against Paul Reuschel, Rick's brother.

And finally

The Ducks did not repeat as champions, but the Stanley Cup is scheduled to return to Orange County today when Detroit Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood and team officials bring it to the Corona del Mar home of Augie and Lynne Nieto.

Augie Nieto, who suffers from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), interviewed Red Wings owner Mike Illitch recently for a book he is writing. Illitch told Nieto that if his team won the Cup, it would be brought to his home.

Nieto was diagnosed with ALS in 2005 and helped establish Augie's Quest, a Muscular Dystrophy Assn. research initiative focused on finding a cure for ALS.

--

gary.klein@latimes.com

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