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Morning briefing

June 29, 2008|Jim Peltz | Times Staff Writer

Former Angels pitcher Jim Abbott is now 40 and spends much of his time as a motivational speaker.

Born without a right hand, Abbott not only made it to the major leagues, he also threw a no-hitter against Cleveland in 1993 at Yankee Stadium -- after he had been traded to New York.

Abbott told Newsday that he mentions the no-no as part of the speech he gives to businesses and schools because, in his previous game he had surrendered seven runs and 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings.

Abbott keeps them motivated

"I was frustrated, down and disappointed," Abbott recalled. "I was wondering how I was going to turn it around, and then five days later I had one of the great moments of my whole life."

The point, he said, is that "you might be down now, but you don't know what's going to happen tomorrow."

Trivia time

When did Abbott retire from the major leagues and which team did he last play for?

NFL bests

Columnist Pete Prisco of has issued his annual list of the top 50 NFL players, and No. 1 is New England quarterback Tom Brady, followed by Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning.

Last year he had Manning one, Brady two.

Brady "earned it in 2007," Prisco wrote. "Brady broke Manning's single-season record for touchdown passes with 50 in 2007. Fifty. Brady also threw for a league-leading 4,806 yards and topped the NFL in completion percentage (68.9) and passer rating (117.2)."

Third on his list was running back LaDainian Tomlinson of San Diego and fourth was Patriots receiver Randy Moss.

And what of Peyton's brother Eli Manning, who led the New York Giants over Brady & Co. to win this year's Super Bowl? Eli didn't make the top 50.

Inflation costs

As baseball's interleague play wrapped up this weekend with crosstown rivals playing each other, the struggles of the Yankees and Mets were ripe for comparison.

"The team with the highest payroll in the majors will be facing the team with the second-highest in a tribute to just how little $347 million buys these days," wrote the New York Post's Joel Sherman.

"You can pay for the entire Colorado Rockies' roster, with change to spare, simply on the difference between the Yankees' payroll ($209 million) and the Mets' payroll ($138 million)," he said.

Sherman noted that the Mets trailed Philadelphia and Florida in the NL East as of Friday, yet "the Mets are outspending the combined efforts of the Phillies and Marlins by nearly $18 million."

What's it all mean? Wrote Sherman: "Money doesn't buy happiness (just ask Willie Randolph) and it doesn't even guarantee a playoff berth (just ask Willie Randolph)."

Double vision

Never mind that the NFL's Baltimore Ravens were 5-11 last year and finished last in the AFC North. This year there might be real ravens to watch.

A Georgia trainer is working with two 8-week-old ravens in hopes of having them ready to fly around Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium before home games this season, the Associated Press reported.

A Ravens marketing official got the idea after seeing a trained hawk at a Seattle Seahawks game.

Baltimore also is looking at having one of the ravens fly out of the tunnel that the, er, Ravens use to run onto the field.

Trivia answer

Abbott retired after the 1999 season, when he played for Milwaukee. A fan favorite in Anaheim, he pitched for the Angels from 1989 to 1992 and again in 1995-96.

And finally

Scratch one of the pre-race festivities at today's NASCAR race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The track planned to hold an elephant race, but officials didn't realize until it was too late that there are "pachyderm permits required to move an elephant across state lines."


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