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It Was Close but No Cigar for This Cast

Times Staff Writer

Hollywood sports advisor and screenwriter Rob Ryder, in a column he does for espn.com, recently wrote about being involved in the making of the movie, “Blue Chips,” starring Nick Nolte.

Ryder recalled having to round up some college basketball players for a 10-second scene. The director, William Friedkin, brought in Red Auerbach and Pete Newell to observe the group scrimmage.

Auerbach, whom Ryder described as “as crusty as Pete is gentlemanly,” told Friedkin the group couldn’t play. “They stink, the whole bunch of them,” Auerbach is quoted as saying.

Ryder, who had to find another group, said he staggered out of the gym thinking, “Thanks a lot, Auerbach. This ain’t the NBA, man.”

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Trivia time: “I always turn to the sports page first, which records people’s accomplishments. The front page has nothing but man’s failures.” Who said it and when?

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Lo-cal work: CBS has used Jerry Glanville once as a game commentator this season. Next week, he’ll do his second game, and it’s a dud, San Diego at Detroit.

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“I got the skim milk game: 2% of the country,” he said.

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All bets are on: The New York Times reported on a new Web site, beverlyhillsbookie.com, that accepts media proposition bets, such as who would land Jessica Lynch’s first interview.

A current wager: Who will land Kobe Bryant’s next interview? Bob Costas and Barbara Walters are the favorites at 1-2. Pat O’Brien is a longshot at 2-1. Apparently, no mention of Jim Gray.

A site spokesman said, “There is not a ton of action. People are more interested in the Panthers and Patriots.”

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The ol’ water bottle trick: Even agent Maxwell Smart wouldn’t have thought of this.

England’s Daily Mirror reported that Irish television, covering last weekend’s World Cup rugby final between England and Australia, reported that English team captain Martin Johnson used a radio hidden in a water bottle to talk to his coach, Clive Woodward, up in the press box. Apparently, it was to keep Australia from knowing that they were conversing.

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“It was pretty obvious,” Irish commentator Brent Pope said.

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Popping corks: Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, noting that Alex Rodriguez, Bud Selig and Jeff Bagwell were among the guests who flew to the Dominican Republic recently to help celebrate Sammy Sosa’s 35th birthday, wrote: “Sammy, red-faced when the Commish discovered the bubbly was corked, immediately claimed it was just his batting-practice champagne.”

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Trivia time: Former Chief Justice Earl Warren, in 1976.

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And finally: Columnist Joe Posnanski of the Kansas City Star has a tough decision to make -- cover the Chiefs’ first playoff game or serve as best man at his brother’s wedding. So he asked his readers for help.

The results: Game 97, wedding 2. Suggested one reader: “Just tape it and watch it later. I mean the wedding, of course.”

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Larry Stewart can be reach at larry.stewart@latimes.com.


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