- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 22, 2005

Old friend Steve Spurrier has dubbed his offensive attack at South Carolina the “Cock ‘n’ Fire.”

Let’s hope, for his sake, that Carolina is able to “pitch it around,” as the Ball Coach would say. Otherwise, folks will be referring to his offense as the “Cock ‘n’ Bull.”

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Vikings running back Onterrio Smith — he of “Whizzinator” infamy — faces a yearlong suspension for skipping a drug test. No word yet on whether the league plans to send him to a penal colony.

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Smith would be the 18th NFL player since 1995 to be suspended for a full season. Or to put it another way: Four more, and they’ll have enough for a scrimmage.

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Turns out Kellen Winslow Jr.’s motorcycle misadventures were caught by a surveillance camera — prompting police to charge him with disregarding safety. I don’t know about you, but I’d love to see John Madden on the witness stand with a telestrator, breaking down the tape.

And right here his front wheel hits the curb and BOOM! he goes flying over the handlebars!

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Winslow crash-landed 16 feet away from his bike, tearing up his knee (among other things). Bitter Browns fans say it’s his longest gain since he joined the team.

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Good news for the Dolphins (maybe). Ricky Williams claims he’s over his Steve “Crocodile Hunter” Irwin Phase and is ready to play football again.

Williams would have a lot to offer any club — not just as a running back, but as a trainer/holistic healer, too.

• • •

Wish the Panthers had traded Todd Sauerbrun to the Broncos four years ago, when he was at his peak. He might have taken a run at Sammy Baugh’s longstanding season record of 51.4 yards a punt. Denver, with its mile-high air, is heaven for kickers. It was there that the Jets’ Steve O’Neal got off his 98-yard boot in ‘69, still the all-time mark.

Sauerbrun’s average of 47.5 yards in ‘01 was the highest in 38 years (since Yale Lary’s 48.9 for the Lions in ‘63). If any recent punter could challenge Baugh — under optimal conditions — it’s him.

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Interestingly, Lary was the same age in ‘63 (32 going on 33) that Sauerbrun is now. Yale was a statistical anomaly, though; his punting actually got better as he grew older. In his first five seasons, he averaged 40.8 yards a kick. In his last six, he averaged 46.4. Amazing.

• • •

Speaking of the Mile High City, there was an item in Parade Magazine last weekend suggesting that Condoleezza Rice and erstwhile Broncos punt returner Rick Upchurch were An Item in the late ‘70s, when Condi was studying for her doctorate at Denver University. Not so, Upchurch says.

“It was a friend-date kind of thing,” he told Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post. “She was someone I could talk with, and I was someone she could talk with. We used to go to the movies. Or I’d go over to her house and her mom and dad would cook for us.”

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After watching, ad infinitum, the Congressional steroid hearings the past few months, I’ve decided the four most beautiful words in the English language are: “My time has expired.”

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The two most beautiful words, of course — according to Dorothy Parker — are: “Check enclosed.”

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I ask you: Where but the Sunday column can you get the “Original Whizzinator,” Condoleezza Rice — and Dorothy Parker, too?

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I can’t wait to describe a home plate collision at RFK Stadium as being “like a Nat hitting a windshield.”

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Home runs, you may have noticed, are down in baseball this season — undoubtedly because of the worldwide sunflower seed shortage.

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Funny note in Dan Shaughnessy’s column in the Boston Globe last week about Orioles coach Rick Dempsey. Dempsey says four members of his family threw out Jim Gantner (Brewers, 1976-92) trying to steal. Rick got Gantner while with the O’s, his brother Pat got him in Class AAA, his nephew Gregg Zaun got him in a spring training game and Rick’s son John got him in A ball when Gantner was on a rehab assignment.

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Speaking of the Orioles, former outfielder Don Baylor may soon lose his all-time record … for getting hit by a pitch. The Astros’ Craig Biggio was plunked for the 261st time Wednesday night, putting him just six behind Baylor. To me, though, there’s no comparison between the two. Don, after all, played in the Pre-Body Armor Era.

• • •

Here’s what I’d really like to know: Who holds the mark for most times charging the mound?

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Little-known facts about Baylor and Biggio from baseballmusings.com (where you can access the game-by-game stats of their entire careers with just a couple of clicks):

• Baylor got hit twice in a game 15 times. Biggio has had it happen 19 times.

• On Sept.21, 1981, Baylor got drilled by the White Sox’s Britt Burns his first two times up, then jacked a homer off him in his next plate appearance.

Biggio accomplished a similar feat on Oct.6, 2001. After getting winged twice by the Cardinals’ Dustin Hermanson, he homered against T.J. Mathews in his third at-bat.

Baylor once got plunked five times in four games (1976). Biggio got plunked twice in consecutive games (2000).

• • •

Talk about the Bruise Brothers.

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The hit-by-pitch section of the record book has a decided Baltimore-Washington flavor. Consider:

• Nationals manager Frank Robinson holds the National League mark for most HBP by a rookie (20 with the Reds in 1956).

• Ex-Oriole Brady Anderson owns the American League record for most HBP by a left-handed batter in a season (22 in ‘96). (He also shares the major league mark for most HBP in one inning — two, in the first inning of a game in ‘99).

• Long-ago Senator Jake Stahl is one of a handful of players to get hit thrice in a game (1904).

• Even longer-ago Oriole Hughie Jennings is the only player in MLB history to get hit thrice in a game three times.

• • •

Turning to hockey, the NHL and the players’ association met for 14 hours the other day, their longest session since the beginning of the lockout. There was no resolution of the salary cap issue, but the two sides did agree that the puck would remain round.

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Prediction of the Year: In the May issue of Esquire, Chuck Klosterman talks about how hard it is for college basketball coaches to keep “dominant centers and explosive point guards” — the two most important positions in the NCAA tournament — from turning pro early.

“As a consequence,” he writes, “the key to developing a modern program is finding the type of player that used to be roundly criticized: the so-called ‘tweener. What you suddenly want is an offensive-minded post player who’s trapped between the positions of power forward and center. NBA scouts are afraid to touch these guys, because all they see are matchup dilemmas. This keeps them in school, where they absolutely destroy people.

“Wayne Simien of Kansas (6-9, 255 pounds) is the prototype for this kind of athlete, but others include Hakim Warrick of Syracuse and a truckload of [tough hombres] at Illinois and Oklahoma State. Though I am writing this column before the NCAA tournament has begun (and you’re reading it after it’s over), I suspect one of these ‘tweeners has already made the difference in the Final Four. And I bet it was Sean May.”

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News item: Rex Chapman says University of Kentucky officials tried to get him to stop dating black women in the ‘80s — or at least “hide it” to avoid inflaming fans.

Comment: Any day now, I suspect, we’ll be reading that Adolph Rupp had a “secret crush” on Dorothy Dandridge.

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Meanwhile, on the Champions Tour, Jim Thorpe beat Morris Hatalsky on the third playoff hole Monday to win the Blue Angels Classic. Thorpe and Hatalsky parred the first playoff hole Sunday before play was suspended because they had to take a nap.

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I’ve gotta check out this new movie from Korea, “3-Iron” — if only because it features a scene in which one character fends off another by hitting golf balls at him.

Just wondering: Does Minnie Driver have a cameo? How about James Woods?

• • •

And finally …

If “3-Iron” does well at the box office, we’ll probably see Richard Roundtree try to make a comeback in “Graphite Shaft.”

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