- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 3, 2005

News item: Woman gives birth in an ESPN Zone in Anaheim, Calif.

Comment: The baby is doing fine, according to a hospital spokesperson, subsisting on a diet of formula and cold pizza.

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Too bad Jon Miller couldn’t have been there to say, “And here’s the delivery. …”

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You can’t blame the poor mother. The first time I heard them referred to as “the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim,” I nearly went into labor myself.

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Jasmine Michelle Martinez entered the world at about 4:10p.m. Her mom apparently was a little confused about the time of birth until a paramedic explained to her that “those noises you heard earlier were just Screamin’ A. Smith on ESPNews.”

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The ESPN Zone reportedly is sending Jasmine a basket of goodies, including a DVD of “SportsCenter’s Greatest Home Run Calls,” a Keith Olbermann dartboard and an invitation to compete in the 2026 World Series of Poker.

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I can hardly wait to see how ESPN celebrates Jasmine’s 10th, 20th and 25th birthdays.

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Just wondering: Does Chris Berman get nicknaming rights?

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Saw a sneak preview of “Fever Pitch” the other night. It was pretty good except for the ending, which was a tad farfetched. I mean, come on — the Red Sox winning the World Series? Who’s gonna believe that?

• • •

At least the Farrelly Brothers had the good sense not to give speaking parts to Johnny Damon and Jason Varitek. After all, Brett Favre is still getting grief for his performance in “There’s Something About Mary.”

• • •

In one scene, Varitek and his fellow “Idiots” are having dinner in a bar — seemingly without a care in the world — after dropping their third straight to the Yankees in the ALCS.

“If Ted Williams saw that,” a patron grumps, “he’d be rolling over in his freezer.”

• • •

Speaking of the Red Sox — and ice — the team is considering opening Fenway Park to public skating and college hockey games in the winter. No word yet on whether Carl Yastrzemski will receive a royalty for every figure eight.

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In other baseball news, three Colorado Rockies were ejected from America West Arena last week for “berating the [Phoenix Suns’] owner,” the Arizona Republic said. Figures pitcher Shawn Chacon would be one of them. Chacon has started 71 games in his big league career and hasn’t completed any.

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Recommended reading: The piece in the May issue of American Heritage by Army veteran Alfred E. Grey, reminiscing about introducing stickball to postwar France.

“A few inquisitive Frenchmen stopped to watch us,” he writes, “and word got around. ‘The Americans are up to something in the ninth arrondissement,’ they whispered. ‘Vous allez voir.’ [That’s French for “Check it out.”] Within days, clusters of Parisians began to gather. When one of us made an outstanding catch, the onlookers cheered, and we could hear an undercurrent of approval when someone hit the ball a long way. …

“The first afternoon we didn’t play … we heard a commotion outside. I walked over to the window, opened the shutters, and looked down at a throng of Parisians sitting curbside, clapping their hands and shouting, Steek Bawl, Steek Bawl, Steek Bawl!’

• • •

Did you see Jerry Glanville has taken the defensive coordinator job at the University of Hawaii? It’s only a matter of time, I suppose, before he’s leaving tickets at Will Call for Jack Lord and Duke Kahanamoku.

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Sports Poll Question of the Week (from the Rocky Mountain News): “If the Broncos acquire [Browns defensive end] Ebenezer Ekuban, in addition to [former linemates Gerard] Warren and [Courtney] Brown, should they be worried about the fact that Cleveland was last in rushing yards allowed per game at 144.6 in 2004?”

• • •

I’d say so, yeah.

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Tough break for Mercury Morris, the erstwhile Dolphins running back, who recently had his ‘72 Super Bowl ring stolen. It isn’t often nowadays an athlete has something like that swiped before he has a chance to sell it.

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The New York Times has found discrepancies in the bio of Major League Baseball’s medical adviser, Dr. Elliott J. Pellman. For instance, Dr. Pellman attended medical school not at SUNY-Stony Brook, the Times says, but in Guadalajara, Mexico.

I think I speak for all of us when I say: Paging Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard!

• • •

Celtics coach Doc Rivers on Dominique Wilkins’ failure to be elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility (as quoted by the Boston Globe): “I do think he’s penalized because he didn’t win more. But I think they should look at the reason why. He played with me. There’s some truth to that. I was a good player; I wasn’t a great player. Kevin Willis was a good player; he wasn’t a great player. Larry Bird played with Kevin McHale, Robert Parish. Magic [Johnson] played with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and [James] Worthy. Michael [Jordan] played with Scottie Pippen. At the end of the day, as great as [Wilkins] was individually, it still is a team game.”

• • •

Frank Hamblen’s days may be numbered as coach of the Lakers, but at least he hasn’t lost his sense of humor. After his players packed it in in the second half of a loss at Denver, he griped, “They’re starting to erode my immune system.”

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Interesting story by John Packett in the Richmond Times-Dispatch last Wednesday detailing how Virginia Commonwealth might have made more money playing in the ‘05 NIT than playing in the ‘04 NCAAs. “A lot of people think you make a lot of money by being in the NCAA tournament,” Jeff Cupps, a senior associate athletic director at VCU, told Packett. “If you look at the revenue sharing and the per diem [paid by the NCAA to 75 people from each school], it’s not a lot of money one way or the other, whether we go or somebody else goes. The benefit is hopefully down the road, in terms of more interest in your program, the visibility you get.”

• • •

Last year it was Jay Haas who was Everybody’s Favorite Geezer on the PGA Tour; this year it looks like it’s going to be Fred Funk, the former Washington Star circulation supervisor.

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The $1,440,000 Funk earned for winning the Players Championship moved him past five players on the career money list — Brad Faxon, Jeff Sluman, David Duval, Mike Weir and Tom Lehman. He’s now 14th (with $16,790,306), a mere $74,085 behind Fred Couples. Who woulda thought, huh?

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Of course, inflation has kind of skewed the list a bit. Bob Estes ($13,545,979), for instance, is currently closing in on Greg Norman ($13,946,089).

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I’d love to see John Daly appear in one of those “Does It Float?” segments on the Letterman show.

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On second thought, maybe it’s not such a good idea. Something tells me John would try to hit on Grinder Girl.

• • •

And finally …

At meetings later this month, the NHL will explore the possibility of making the nets larger to increase scoring.

It’s either that, sources say, or “Honey, I Shrunk the Goalie.”

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