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‘Morning Joe’ fan of Sin City

Old reputations die hard.

It has been 16 years since Jerry Tarkanian was forced to resign as UNLV men’s basketball coach after the infamous “hot tub photo” surfaced showing three of his players cavorting with convicted sports fixer Richard Perry.

But some people, such as MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-host Willie Geist, still consider the Rebels outlaws — and even admire them for that.

While discussing his favorite teams in a profile on MySpace, Geist wrote, “I’ve always had a soft spot for UNLV and Miami (Fla.) because they never hid the fact that their 19-year-old players drove Lamborghinis.”

Geist was born outside of Chicago and raised outside of New York City and ranks them as two of America’s five greatest cities, with New Orleans, Miami and San Francisco rounding out his list.

But he also has a soft spot for Sin City, writing, “I don’t include Las Vegas on the list because A) It’s really more of a universe than a city, and B) It’s so much greater than all other cities combined, it’s unfair to bring it into the conversation.”

MULL-ECK — Twenty years have passed since former Oakland A’s closer Dennis Eckersley gave up Kirk Gibson‘s game-winning homer in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series won by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Gibson has lost most of his hair since then, but “Eck” looks virtually the same — so much so that he has been criticized for not changing his “mullet” hairstyle.

“That’s not good when they say mullet because that means that they don’t like my act,” Eckersley, 54, said in an interview on Yahoo’s “Big League Stew” sports blog. “I understand where they’re coming from, but at the same time I’m sensitive to it.”

Eckersley said he didn’t encounter criticism when he worked as an analyst for the New England Sports Network in the regular season, but things changed when he started analyzing playoff games on national television for TBS.

“I never realized what happens in this (national TV) situation is that you’re opening yourself up to scrutiny about everything … and they care what you look like!” he said. “But I can’t give into it and go chop my hair off because somebody doesn’t like my hair. It would be like cutting my ‘stache off. … This is who I am.”

BRETT LYNCH? — Former NFL safety John Lynch is having a hard time adjusting to life after football, writes Rick Reilly on ESPN.com.

Released by the New England Patriots after their final preseason game this year, Lynch, who played the past four seasons for Denver, was pacing around his home “like an overcaffeinated cat” after his former team, the Broncos, outlasted San Diego in a 39-38 thriller on Sept. 14.

When his 7-year-old daughter, Lindsay, wandered into his walk-in closet and saw him staring at the floor, she said, “What’s wrong, Daddy?”

Lynch said: “Nothing, honey. It’s just — Daddy’s kind of struggling with not playing football anymore.”

“So play,” Lindsay said.

“Well, I want to. But on the other hand, it’s probably time to stop. I don’t know,” he said.

Said Lindsay: “Oh, Daddy. Now you’re starting to sound like Brett Favre.”


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