- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 8, 2003

My 9-year-old just sawed his Sammy Sosa bobblehead in half to see if there was any cork in the bat.

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Naturally, I supervised the process. Didn’t want him to become another “Three Finger” Brown.

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Did you see that the Red Sox and Pirates, meeting for the first time since the 1903 World Series, had a “Turn Back the Clock” game in which they wore vintage uniforms? If they really wanted to do it right, though, they would have made the spitball legal that night.

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Ah, the spitter. How many of you knew that after the pitch was banned in 1920, 17 spitballers were allowed to continue practicing their trade until they retired? Burleigh Grimes won 236 games, post-‘20, with the help of a legal spitter, Red Faber won 172, Urban Shocker 156, Jack Quinn 148 and Stan Coveleski 133.

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Venus and Serena Williams take note: Stan Coveleski’s brother, Harry, also was a big league hurler, but they refused to pitch against each other when they were in the American League. From BaseballLibrary.com: “[On] Sept.16, 1916, [the Coveleskis] … appear together in the same game for the only time in their careers. Stan starts for the Indians and gets knocked out in Detroit’s 5-run first inning. Harry relieves later in the game as Detroit wins, 7-5.”

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Had a weird dream the other night. They were auctioning off Barry Bonds’ 73rd home run ball — an event slated for June25 on ESPN — and Cary Grant kept messing things up by underbidding everybody (like he did in “North by Northwest”).

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Strictly hypothetical: If the two fans who fought over Bonds’ ball were in danger of falling off Mount Rushmore (as Eva Marie Saint was in the aforementioned movie) would you give either them a hand (as dashing Cary did)?

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Speaking of the Giants, recently released outfielder Ruben Rivera may still face charges for BUI — baserunning under the influence.

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Good thing Nick Altrock isn’t still around. Rivera would probably owe him royalties.

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Rivera’s unusual tour of the bases against Arizona reminded me of the time “Marvelous” Marv Throneberry hit a triple for the Mets, only to get called out for missing first. “Don’t even try to argue,” the umpire told manager Casey Stengel when he ambled out from the dugout. “He missed second, too.”

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Came across another anecdote the other day about ‘30s and ‘40s pitcher Johnny Allen (mentioned in last Sunday’s column). According to David Cataneo’s book, “Peanuts and Crackerjack,” “On the last day of the 1937 season, [the Indians] Allen was 15-0 and defending his perfect record against the Tigers in Detroit. He lost a duel with Detroit lefty Jake Wade, 1-0, on an error by second baseman Odell ‘Bad News’ Hale. That night, Allen attempted to throw Hale out of a 16th-story window at the Book-Cadillac Hotel.”

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After yet another of my kids’ baseball games was rained out last week, I came to the following conclusion:

Dr. Evil must have gotten hold of a device that controls the weather.

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Somebody tell Mr. Bigglesworth to get his paw off the “torrential downpour” button.

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Here’s how tough a spring it has been: Even makeup games have been getting rained out.

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My first question to Rich Beem after his 67 in the first round of the Capital Open: “Rich, in that ESPN commercial, how long did Scott Van Pelt spend in your trunk at any one time?”

The Beemer’s reply: “Probably 15 seconds. He got in and out of that trunk about six times — and it took about six hours to shoot it. Six hours for 15 seconds! That’s unions for you. The pay scale was about what I got for that book. I think you all know what I got from that book.”

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The book in question is “Blood, Sweat and Tees: A Walk on the Wild Side of the PGA Tour,” by Alan Shipnuck, which details Beem’s adventures as a rookie in 1999. “I didn’t even get a free book,” he once claimed. “I didn’t get paid. [The author] says he’s going to take me to dinner, but I don’t think so.”

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I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Brent Schwarzrock — who’s in the hunt at Avenel, by the way — sounds like the name of Fred Flintstone’s club pro.

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Trivia question: Our local tournament was called the Kemper Open (or Kemper Insurance Open) for 35 years before it changed sponsors this spring. Few events enjoy that kind of continuity. In fact, one tour stop has had 12 different names in its half-century of existence. Can you guess which one — and its various incarnations? (Answer below.)

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More golf minutiae: Match the celebrity sponsor with his former tournament:

1. Glen Campbella. Quad Cities Open

2. Sammy Davis Jr.b. L.A. Open

3. Jackie Gleasonc. Memphis Classic

4. Dean Martind. Tucson Open

5. Ed McMahone. Greater Hartford Open

6. Danny Thomasf. Inverrary Classic

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Answers: 1-b, 2-e, 3-f, 4-d, 5-a, 6-c.

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The Tucson Open has actually had twocelebrity sponsors. In addition to Dino (1973-75), Joe Garagiola (1977-83) was connected with it.

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I see Monday Night Football has placed mommy-to-be Melissa Stark on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Refresh my memory here. Does that mean she counts against the cap or not?

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Missy is irreplaceable, of course — cough, cough! — but I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to slide Suzy Kolber into the sideline role. Now there’s a woman who knows her X receiver from her Y receiver.

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The Redskins’ firing of their college scouting director leaves one less Nay to counter all the yeas surrounding Dan Snyder.

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Hey, at least Rick Neuheisel put his money on the Terps.

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That makes him aces with me — if you’ll pardon the expression.

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You’ll never guess whose name comes up in the Big East’s lawsuit against the ACC: Sam Huff’s!

But only in the most passing way. Paragraph 31 states: “West Virginia also has a long and rich tradition in college football that has been a source of state-wide pride and economic development in West Virginia. Despite West Virginia’s relatively small population, it has sustained a high level of performance across generations, from the great teams led by Sam Huff in the 1950s to the 1988 and 1993 teams that played for the national championship.”

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Boston College athletic director Gene DeFilippo says he isn’t sure which sports the ACC sponsors. This much he knows, though: “We’d beat the fire out of Florida State in skiing.”

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When people ask me how old I am, I always say, “Old enough to have seen Dirk Nowitzki and Tom Nowatzke.”

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Answer to trivia question: The Buick Invitational, played at Torrey Pines, has had a dozen different names since the inaugural tournament in 1952. It has also been known as the San Diego Open (1952-54), the Corvair-San Diego Open (1955-56), the San Diego Open Invitational (1957-67), the Andy Williams-San Diego Open Invitational (1968-80), the Wickes/Andy Williams San Diego Open (1981-82), the Isuzu/Andy Williams San Diego Open (1982-85), the Shearson Lehman Brothers Andy Williams Open (1986-87), the Shearson Lehman Hutton Andy Williams Open (1988), the Shearson Lehman Hutton Open (1989-90), the Shearson Lehman Brothers Open (1991) and the Buick Invitational of California (1992-95).

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And finally …

On the plus side, it has never been known as the Claudine Longet San Diego Open.

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