- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 24, 2006

Season’s greetings to all, but especially to:

Derrick Frost, Eric Snow, Angel Cabrera, David Noel, Matt Holliday, the Bells (Raja and Tatum), Pete Carroll, any three Kings, Jesus Urbina, Holly Rowe, Mia Hamm and the Virginia Tech gobbler.

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Good thing they decided not to publish O.J. Simpson’s book. It no doubt would have spawned a bunch of imitators, beginning with: “The Immaculate Reception — If I Short-Hopped It” by Franco Harris.

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Now that Deion Sanders has brought DeAngelo Hall and Terrell Owens together, maybe he can start working on the Arabs and Israelis.

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If I know Deion, though, he’ll try to parlay this into his own TV show — “Bury the Hatchet.” Think of the possibilities: Roger Clemens and Mike Piazza, Todd Bertuzzi and Steve Moore, Albert Haynesworth and Andre Gurode, Latrell Sprewell and the world …

• • •

Old friend Desmond Howard, now a college football analyst for ESPN, got Texas confused with Texas A&M; the other night while giving a detailed rundown of the Holiday Bowl match-up. Yup, he had the Longhorns instead of the Aggies playing California.

Now we know why Desmond never seemed to show up when the Redskins played in Dallas. He went to Houston by mistake.

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Here’s one record Brett Favre can’t possibly break next week against the Bears (if it turns out to be his swan song): Dan Marino lost the last game of his career, 62-7 (to Jacksonville in the AFC playoffs).

• • •

Duke’s lacrosse players are breathing a little easier, but the school isn’t out of the woods yet. The D.A., I’m told, still might bring charges against the football team for going 0-12.

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Not to disappoint you, but the grand marshal of this week’s Emerald Bowl parade will not — repeat, will not — be Paulie Walnuts.

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I wouldn’t wish the Alabama football program on Navy’s Paul Johnson, but I’d definitely wish Paul Johnson on the Alabama football program — if you know what I mean.

• • •

And if you do know what I mean, by all means explain it to me, because I’m totally baffled.

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There’s a touching piece on TechSideline.com about the Marshall football crash in 1970 and the recently released film about it, “We Are Marshall.” It’s written by Frank Loria Jr., whose father, an assistant coach with the Thundering Herd, was among the 75 who perished.

Frank Sr., his son reminds us, was Virginia Tech’s first consensus All-American in football, a rugged safety who played briefly in Canada but was deemed too small and slow for the NFL. The day before the crash, Frank Jr. writes, “my dad said goodbye to his pregnant wife and two little girls and left with the team.” He, of course, was the child she was carrying.

“I think about my mom and what she went through. She is a true hero and an inspiration. … She was 22 years old, Vickie and Julie were ages 3 and 1, and she was 7 months pregnant with me. … [But] she had the strength to pick up the pieces and go on with life. She raised her kids and provided us with a very good life … and never once complained about what life had done to her. Today she is happily married to a great man and … has eight beautiful grandchildren.”

Here’s hoping the movie is half as good as Frank Jr.’s tribute.

• • •

News item: Ken Griffey Jr. breaks his left hand in a household accident and will be in a hard cast for three weeks.

Comment: This will push his first injury of the ‘07 season back to May, perhaps even mid-June.

• • •

Griffey has spent so much time on the disabled list, he’s qualified for Gold status.

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Ever wonder how much these frequent trips to the DL have cost Junior statistically? Well, here’s one projection: 439 hits, 88 homers and 278 RBI.

That’s the difference between the numbers he averaged in Seattle (158 H, 36 HR and 105 RBI a season) and the ones he’s averaged in Cincinnati (96, 24, 65). So … instead of having 2,851 hits (which would put him 40th all time), 651 dingers (fifth) and 1,887 ribbies (11th) right now, he has 2,412 (99th), 563 (tied for 10th) and 1,609 (25th).

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Did you read the NHL might realign its six divisions into four? Considering how many Europeans play in the league now, Gary Bettman should name three of the divisions the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria.

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Elsewhere in the NHL, the Pittsburgh franchise is once again thinking about relocating after a plan to build a new arena fell through. Just wondering: If the team does move, will the title of this year’s highlight film be “March of the Penguins”?

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Going to college in Palo Alto, Calif., makes perfect sense for Michelle Wie. Anytime she wants to work on trouble shots, she can use the Stanford Tree.

• • •

And finally, figure skating star Sasha Cohen has withdrawn from next month’s U.S. championships, citing fatigue.

Yeah, she’s probably tired of people coming up to her on the street and telling her how much they loved “Borat.”

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