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MORNING BRIEFING

Pilot's over his limit; coach goes over edge

October 06, 2008|Grahame L. Jones | Times Staff Writer

Things were bad enough for the players and coaches of the French soccer club Olympique Marseille last week when they were beaten by Atletico Madrid in a European Champions League game in Spain.

But when they got to the airport to fly home, they found that their charter flight was grounded because the pilot's credit card had been rejected by Exxon and he couldn't refuel the plane.

What to do? The players and coaches passed the hat and came up with the necessary 3,000 euros ($4,090) to buy the fuel.

Marseille Coach Eric Gerets, a former Belgian World Cup player, was not amused.

"I wanted to buy two cigars, but I gave 100 euros, which meant I was not able to smoke today," he said. "I felt as though I was in a film, a bad one. Had we won, I would not have cared, but because we lost it was a little more difficult to take."

Trivia time

Zarkava on Sunday achieved something that had not been accomplished in horse racing since Urban Sea did it in 1993. What was it?

Hand it to him

Roy Jones Jr. is considered by some to have the fastest hand speed of any boxer ever. It's what led him to boxing in the first place, he told BBC's Radio 5 Live.

"God has gifted me with incredible hand speed as a tool to be used," he said. "What else am I supposed to do but fight? There ain't no hand-racing competitions."

A lot of BCS

How confusing are the Bowl Championship Series formulas?

According to Washington Post columnist Norm Chad, "Under the BCS system, Hillary Clinton could still be our next president."

100 is nothing

Enough, already, about the Cubs and their 100 years of futility.

To fans of soccer's Notts County, the Wrigley Field outfit is merely a newcomer to the frustration game. Notts County was founded in 1862, and 146 years later it is still waiting to win its first English league championship.

The last and only time the Magpies won England's other big prize, the F.A. Cup, was in 1894 -- 114 years ago.

So there.

Trivia answer

She won the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in Paris, the first filly in 15 years to capture one of horse racing's premier events.

And finally

From Mike Downey of the Chicago Tribune: "Expect big discounts for 'This is the Year!' a new Cubs book on sale everywhere."

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grahame.jones@latimes.com

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