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Maybe This Is Why It Was a Real Bargain

It looked like a great deal for Alabama fans when they were offered a New Orleans travel package that included a ticket to the national championship Sugar Bowl game between Alabama and Miami on Jan. 1.

Six hundred fans in Birmingham snapped up the bargain. There’s a problem, though. The agency can’t come up with the game tickets, and probably won’t.

“You don’t know how serious this is,” said Walt Adams, owner of the outfit that sold the packages. “People in Alabama live and die by their football program. There have been divorces over it. People who paid to see the biggest game of the year don’t take it well when you tell them they can’t.

“I’m hopeful, but if I thought I was going to get all of these tickets, I’d change my name to Santa Claus.”

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Momma’s boy: Mark Bernstein, a Little League umpire in San Diego, recalls his most unusual play in Referee, a magazine for sports officials:

“When the batter hit a home run, his mother jumped from the stands onto the field and ran around the bases with him.”

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Trivia time: Washington and Michigan will be meeting in the Rose Bowl for the second year in a row. Have two teams ever met three times in a row?

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Top talent: No wonder Miami is undefeated. Bob Keisser of the Long Beach Press-Telegram notes that Ourlads, an NFL draft guide, lists four Hurricanes among the top 13 seniors in college football. They are defensive tackle Mark Caesar (5), corner Ryan McNeil (8), wide receiver Horace Copeland (10) and wide receiver Lamar Thomas (13).

Heisman Trophy winner Gino Torretta is not among the top 50. UCLA defensive back Carlton Gray is ranked third.

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The whole story: When Rick Bucher of the San Jose Mercury News heard that much-traveled Scott Hastings, now with the Denver Nuggets, was to be the object of a lengthy story entitled “Journeyman,” in Life magazine, he wrote: “It may explain why Life is supposedly on the brink of folding again.”

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Futility record: The Ottawa Senators, with nine points this season in 37 games, have already escaped the ignominy of having the fewest points in an entire NHL season. Curiously, it was another Ottawa team, in 1919-20, that holds the record. It managed only eight points during a 4-20-0 season.

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Backing Tark: The complaint that got Jerry Tarkanian in trouble with San Antonio Spur owner Rod McCombs was that he didn’t have an adequate point guard. David Robinson, the heart of the Spurs, agrees.

“This team does not have anybody with an NBA point-guard mentality,” Robinson said. “You don’t see this anywhere else.”

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The difference: Dan Barreiro of the Minneapolis Star Tribune on the Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback situation: “Sean Salisbury has the better arm, but feet of concrete. Rich Gannon has the better feet, but a head of cement.”

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Outspoken Spanky: Catcher Mark LaValliere is not happy that nine of his Pittsburgh teammates, who helped get the Pirates into the NL playoffs, are now gone.

“We’re like a major league farm team,” he said. “It’s ridiculous. The best thing that could happen to (Manager) Jim Leyland would be if they released him and gave him a real team. It’s a joke.”

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Trivia answer: Yes, USC and Ohio State met in 1973-74-75.

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Soccer honors: When Marco Van Basten of the Netherlands and AC Milan was voted European soccer player of the year, he joined Michel Platini of France and Johan Cruyff of the Netherlands as the only three-time winners.

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Quotebook: Emmitt Smith, Dallas running back, on teammate Larry Brown, a defensive back: “He’s Edward Scissorhands. He couldn’t catch a cold in Alaska buck naked.”


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