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MORNING BRIEFING

Snowstorm might make him feel at home

October 11, 2008|Pete Thomas | Times Staff Writer

Lance Mackey of Fairbanks, Alaska, is the two-time defending Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race champion. He's also a four-time Yukon Quest winner.

Mackey, a cancer survivor, is as tough as they come.

But before this week's trip to New York to appear on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien," he told the Anchorage Daily News he feared getting lost in the big city -- even with a street map.

"I'm not sure I know how to read one," the musher confessed. "But if there's a trail marker, I'll be all right."

Trivia time

In 1943, the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers merged to become the Phil-Pitt Steagles. Why did the teams merge and what was the Steagles' record?

Now he can count to four

Football players are a breed apart, as tough as Alaskan mushers. But sometimes toughness can be confused with stupidity, and fans in Colorado are not sure what to make of Trevor Wikre.

The injured Mesa State right guard, in order to get back onto the field quicker, asked doctors to sever his right pinkie finger rather than perform a different operation.

Regrets? Wikre told the Denver Post: "Sometimes, you realize you miss your pinkie. I mean, I've had it for 21 years."

Net pain

The Reno Gazette-Journal examined injuries in sports and produced a top-five list of the most dangerous positions in sports: 1. Rugby hooker; 2. Boxer; 3. Bull rider; 4. Football running back; and 5) Downhill skier.

One must wonder whether the RGJ has been to an X Games competition.

Wanted: help from above

The winless Washington Huskies football team is struggling so mightily that Seattle Times columnist Jerry Brewer asked the Lord to take Coach Ty Willingham to spare him further misery.

Retorts the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Jim Moore, a fan of the similarly woeful Washington State Cougars:

"I'm not a religious guy so I rarely go there, but today I will -- Lord, don't take him. Give him strength to get through these difficult times. Allow him to rise and conquer. Spite those who are critical of him.

"And while you're at it, let the Cougs beat the Beavers this week."

No Lasorda jokes

Bill Simmons of ESPN magazine proposes a rule banning baseball managers from wearing uniforms and points, as an example, to Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel:

"The poor man looks like he's just months away from putting on a Santa suit and posing for pictures at a mall. Can't managers wear hoodies and jogging pants like NFL coaches do?

"What happens if Charlie's pants fall down during the Series? His lard is on your hands."

Trivia answer

The merger occurred after both teams lost players because of World War II. The team was 5-4-1.

And finally

From Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "And now for something completely different: With franchises struggling all over North America, the NHL decided to open the season in Prague and Stockholm. The yutz factor just went up again."

--

pete.thomas@latimes.com

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