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Morning briefing

June 21, 2008|Larry Stewart | Times Staff Writer

Time is right to tease Mets

The firing of Willie Randolph as manager of the New York Mets was announced after the team's game against the Angels in Anaheim on Monday. An e-mail was sent out at 12:14 a.m. -- 3:14 a.m. in New York.

Said CBS' David Letterman during his monologue Thursday night: "What a beautiful day here in New York City. It was so nice the Mets were firing managers in broad daylight."

Letterman didn't stop there.

"The Mets fired Willie Randolph in an e-mail in the middle of the night," he said. "People were upset about this. Everybody said this was wrong. It's funny. Everything works out great. Willie Randolph, fired one day. Today, guess what? Adopted by Angelina Jolie."

Trivia time

Mando Ramos, 59, will be among the inductees into the California Boxing Hall of Fame today at a luncheon at the Sportsman's Lodge in Studio City. How old was he when he became the lightweight champion of the world, back when such titles meant something?

Taking the show on the road

Retired jockey Milo Valenzuela, 73, is being inducted into horse racing's Hall of Fame -- via long distance. Since he is unable to travel from his home in Arcadia to Monday's ceremony in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Santa Anita will hold a special one for Valenzuela in the Chandelier Room in the track's Turf Club Sunday.

Hall of Fame trustee Beverly Lewis will present Valenzuela with his jacket and plaque in what will be the first induction to ever take place away from Saratoga Springs.

Valenzuela rode super horse Kelso to 22 stakes victories over a three-year span in the early 1960s. He won the 1958 Kentucky Derby and Preakness aboard Tim Tam and won the 1968 Kentucky Derby and Preakness on Forward Pass. He finished second in the Belmont with both.

After his Derby victory in '58, guess where Valenzuela went? No, not Disneyland. He went to Radio City Music Hall to appear on CBS' "The Ed Sullivan Show."

It must have not been a green tie

Boston Celtics Hall of Famer Bill Russell was among those paying tribute to NBC newsman Tim Russert Friday on XM satellite radio.

Russell recalled being interviewed by Russert on "Meet the Press" and how, just before going on the air, he caught the host off guard. Russell told the story this way:

"I said, 'You're not married, are you? He said, 'Yes, I am.' I said, 'Oh, so you got up before your wife woke up.' He said, 'No, why'd you ask that?' I said, 'No wife would ever let her husband leave the house with that necktie on.' "

Cut shot

From NBC's Jay Leno: "Here's some interesting news. Mathematicians at Stanford have calculated the smallest number known to man. It's the Nielsen ratings golf will get without Tiger Woods."

Dick Ebersol and the guys at NBC Sports probably didn't like that one.

Trivia answer

Ramos, born Nov. 15, 1948, in Long Beach, was 20 when he scored an 11th-round technical knockout in a rematch with champion Teo Cruz on Feb. 18, 1969, at the Sports Arena to become the youngest lightweight champion in history.

And finally

Baseball Hall of Famer Wade Boggs, a guest of Craig Shemon and James Washington on Fox Sports Radio, didn't hold back when asked about the Randolph firing.

"I've just got one thing to say -- why do guys who make $10 to $15 million need to be motivated?" Boggs said. "Where is the motivation in going out and being a professional? . . . Do you [have] to put baby powder on their rear end?

"Naturally the manager is held accountable. The general manager should be held accountable. He is the one who gave all these contracts out. But if they want to fire somebody because he is not motivating somebody, my goodness, that is ridiculous!"


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