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Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda thinks David Cone is one fine writer.

"I think it was one of the best articles I've read," Lasorda said of the newspaper column the New York Mets pitcher penned the day before he started Game 2 of the National League playoffs.Among other things, Cone said in the column that Dodgers starter Orel Hershiser was "lucky" to shut the Mets out for eight innings in Tuesday night's opener, and that reliever Jay Howell "reminded us of a high school pitcher."

Cone's words reflected the Mets' 3-2 victory in Game 1, Lasorda's the Dodgers' 6-3 triumph in Game 2 after raking Cone for five runs in two innings.

"I would have to say there might have been more bench jockeying than usual," Lasorda said. "I think one guy said Cone wanted to make sure he made the deadline."

Cone's exit was his earliest as a starter this year.

Jay Lucas, the Dodgers assistant director of publicity, said the team received a copy of the article Wednesday morning from a fan in New York.

"We brought it to Dave Anderson, the player representative," Lucas said. "He decided he wanted some copies and would pass them out to the players."

"It got us a little fired up," Anderson said. "We came out and scored five runs early. If that was the difference, that's great. It sure didn't hurt."

"You kind of want to let sleeping dogs lie," said Wednesday night's winning pitcher, Tim Belcher. "We came into the clubhouse very flat today and that fired us up. I think we did the most disheartening thing we could have - knocked him out of the game. I know it fired us up."

"I didn't read it, I didn't want to read it," Steve Sax said. "It was all over the locker room. I know that things were said. We were fired up. It may have given us a little momentum. I don't think guys were angry. I think they read it, put it aside and said `OK.' Maybe he (Cone) learned something from it."

Dodgers shortstop Alfredo Griffin said the article didn't make any difference to him. But he was convinced it made a difference to his teammates.

Cone started the day with a newspaper column and ended it in the loss column.