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The wicked stepsister, then

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post, responding to people calling trash-talking Long Island University a Cinderella team in the NCAA Tournament: “If Cinderella was a hooker.”

Tell your statistics to shut up

You can use a computer to issue wacky conspiracy theories, or just wacky theories, period.

For instance, Michael Gimbel, whose regular job is working for the New York City water department, says his computer tells him that the Boston Red Sox will win the A.L. East.

“They clearly have the most talent in the division,” he said.

“And he’s clearly crazy,” one player responded.

A Queens Community College dropout who keeps alligators, iguanas and turtles as pets, Gimbel has been providing Bosox general manager Dan Duquette statistical analyses since his days in Montreal.

“When he turns his computer on, it automatically loads into my program,” Gimbel said. “I don’t know of any club that has a guy like me. That’s why we’ve had the success we’ve had.”

Come again?

Gimbel is listed in the Red Sox directory under “Consultant, Statistical Evaluation” - the last name in the baseball operations department, below “instructors” Theodore S. Williams and Carl M. Yastrzemski, below the secretary and below the clubhouse manager.

He doesn’t go to games much, or watch them on TV.

“A magician relies on your own eyes to deceive you,” he said.

Not everyone in the organization thinks much of Gimbel’s input. Former manager Kevin Kennedy used to tell reporters of a mysterious computer nerd who didn’t know if Mike Devereaux batted righty or lefty.

And Expos manager Felipe Alou remembers Gimbel from 1992, when Duquette sent his stathound to consult with Alou about his lineup card.

“I thought he was an autograph guy or something,” Alou said, “because he was waiting in front of the clubhouse with all these papers. After talking to me for 30 minutes, he told me we were on the same payroll.

“He was a nice man, but he wanted me to hit (catcher) Tim Spehr cleanup and Marquis Grissom eighth. He wasn’t that nice a man.”

Son of tell your statistics to shut up

Rob Tibshirani, a University of Toronto statistics professor, predicts Canadian sprinter Donovan Bailey will beat American Michael Johnson by .09 seconds in their 150-meter showdown June 1 at SkyDome.

Tibshirani has timed and analyzed videotapes of races both sprinters ran during the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics. They tell him Bailey would finish the 150-meter race in 14.73 seconds, to Johnson’s 14.82. The model also predicted Bailey would win 95 times out of 100.

Even if he trips over his wagging tongue coming out of the blocks?

If Only We’d Thought of That Dept.

Boxer Andrew Golota, twice disqualified in fights against Riddick Bowe, has become known as the Foul Pole.

The last word …

“CBS college basketball play-by-play man Sean McDonough continues to show that the only thing he inherited from his father, NBC’s Will McDonough, is that dreaded male-pattern blandness.”

- Tom Hoffarth, Los Angeles Daily News

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo



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