- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 16, 2006

Daniel Cabrera has walked 16 batters in just 61/3 innings this season, causing the Orioles brass to wonder whether he’s mixing his pitches too much. Right now, he has three in his repertoire: fastball, curve and “Incoming!”

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Too bad Cabrera can’t write off the walks on his tax return — under “charitable contributions.” Of course, the number is so unbelievable that he’d probably get audited.

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I’m not saying the kid is wild, but one of his pitches drew a reprimand from the Department of Homeland Security.

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Cabrera is summoning memories of another O’s fireballer who couldn’t find home plate with MapQuest. I’m talking about Steve Dalkowski, a southpaw in the ‘50s and ‘60s who never got out of the minors. Early in his career, Dalkowski was an absolute wild man, averaging almost two free passes an inning. His seminal season was 1960 with Stockton in the California League: 170 innings, 262 strikeouts, 262 walks.

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Hall of Fame flamethrower Rube Waddell once poured ice water over his arm so his catcher would have a better chance to handle his heat. Settling down Cabrera’s arm might require something a little more extreme, though — like flash-freezing.

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The Orioles are being patient with Cabrera — for now. But if his control problems linger, they’re prepared to put him on the DL with an Ankiel injury.

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The Sunday Column bids adieu to former O’s manager Billy Hitchcock, who died last week at 89. Something the Redskins’ Carlos Rogers and Jason Campbell — Auburn alums both — should know: Hitchcock led the Tigers to their first-ever postseason game, a 7-7 tie with Villanova in the 1937 Bacardi Bowl in Havana. Both teams did a good job against the pass that day, according to reports, but had trouble with the rum.

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Once again, the Nationals are in desperate need of another bat. And to think Bronson Arroyo was available.

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One last item about George Mason’s magical run to the Final Four: My friend Robert, the Virginia Tech zealot, watched the Patriots’ victory over UConn with a Mason grad and his wife. After GMU prevailed in overtime to advance to Indianapolis, the Missus, totally spent, said, “There’s something to be said for fan apathy. This is exhausting.”

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Did you hear Greg Biffle’s honey got into it with Kurt Busch’s fiancee after Busch caused the two drivers to wreck recently? It was pretty nasty, from what I understand. They traded fingernail paint.

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Something tells me these women would make great boxing trainers.

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News item: The football rules committee of the National Federation of State High School Associations outlaws the “fumblerooski.”

Comment: In other action, the committee recommended returning the Statue of Liberty to France.

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I actually witnessed a “fumblerooski” once — in the 1988 Orange Bowl game between Oklahoma and Miami. The Sooners were desperate for a score in the fourth quarter, so quarterback Charles Thompson took the snap, laid the ball on the ground, ran to the left, (along with most of the rest of the OU offense), and guard Mark Hutson picked it up and trucked 29 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown. None of the Hurricanes knew what was happening until it was too late.

Alas, it wasn’t enough. Final score: ‘Canes 20, Sooners 14.

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Funny thing was, four years earlier, in the very same bowl, Miami was also hoodwinked by a “fumblerooski” — this one executed by the Nebraska Cornhuskers and guard Dean Steinkuhler. Fortunately for the Hurricanes, they won that game, too. (And even more fortunately for the ‘Canes, the play was banned in college football in ‘93.)

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And they call the NFL the No Fun League.

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The price of infamy: Wikipedia now lists Ryan McFadyen, the Duke lacrosse player whose scurrilous e-mail was disclosed during the rape scandal, among the “notable alumni” of Delbarton School in Morristown, N.J.

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Other celebrated Delbarton alums: actor Peter Dinklage (currently appearing opposite Vin Diesel in “Find Me Guilty”), U.S. Rep. Mike Ferguson (New Jersey Republican) and the Golden State Warriors’ Troy Murphy.

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Speaking of lacrosse scandals, we had one close to home a few years back when 10 seniors at Landon School, five of them laxmen, got caught cheating on an SAT exam. Harry Jaffe’s story about it in the October 2003 issue of Washingtonian magazine included the following paragraph:

“All 10 of the boys caught cheating on the SAT were admitted to good colleges, including Duke and Haverford. The lacrosse player who went into the SAT with the highest scores and the expectation of winning early admission to Princeton was rejected after the scandal, though he will be attending Duke.”

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Is this a great country or what?

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Kudos to the PGA of America for launching the PGA Home Library, a series of rare/classic golf books that will be reproduced from the originals and made available to the public. The first volume to be offered is “Picture Analysis of Golf Strokes: A Complete Book of Instruction,” written by four-time major champion Jim Barnes in 1919. Much sought after by collectors, it’s one of the first how-to golf books published in America.

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That’s the same Jim Barnes, by the way, who won the 1921 U.S. Open at Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase … by a stunning nine strokes. (Some guy named Walter Hagen tied for second.) Barnes was the only player in the field to shoot a subpar round, opening with a 1-under 69. The next-lowest score was a 71 in Round2 by Bobby Jones.

Barnes’ margin of victory was the largest in the Open in the 20th century. (Tiger Woods’ 15-shot massacre at Pebble Beach came in 2000.)

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And finally …

Paul Azinger ran across an alligator Thursday while playing the 15th hole in the Verizon Heritage. At least, tournament officials think it was an alligator. It might just have been a half-drunk fan in a Polo shirt.

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