- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 1, 2006

This prospective peek at the fun and games of 2006 guarantees it will be a better year for somebody, somewhere:

January — Reggie Bush steals the spotlight from President Bush at the BCS championship game, scoring five touchdowns as Southern Cal stuffs Texas 49-21. … BALCO founder Victor Conte is named Associated Press male and female athletes of the year. … Washington wheeler-dealer Fred Malek tells Major League Baseball he is no longer interested in being named the Nationals owner “because I’ve probably only got 20 or 25 years left to live, so I can’t wait for you to make a decision.”

February — After dedicating the game to the memory of coach Tony Dungy’s son, the Colts edge the Seahawks 35-31 in Super Bowl XL. … Georgetown’s basketball team runs its record to 18-2, and WTEM-AM talk show host John Thompson says Hoyas coach John Thompson III “is doing the best job since me.” … Asked as the Nationals open spring training whom he thinks the club’s new owners will be, manager Frank Robinson snaps, “How in the name of Linda Cropp should I know?”

March — Georgetown loses in the first round of the NCAA tournament, and WTEM-AM talk show host John Thompson says Hoyas coach John Thompson III should be replaced by radio partner-in-crime “Smokin’ Al Koken.” … Robinson, responding to the demand of the Nats’ Alfonso Soriano to play second base, agrees to let him do so — “in New Orleans.” … After new center fielder Johnny Damon bats .072 and commits 12 errors in spring training, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner relents and allows him to wear long hair and a beard because “I’m really a pussycat.”

April — In a moment of triumph after Duke clobbers North Carolina to win his fourth NCAA championship, Coach K yowls, “Roy Williams can go back to Kansas — and take Dean Smith with him.” … John Patterson pitches a two-hitter in the Nats’ opener but loses to the Mets 1-0 when neophyte center fielder Soriano drops a fly ball. … Looking to bolster their roster for the NBA playoffs, the Wizards acquire veteran center Kwame Brown from the Lakers.

May — The Cubs lose their 12th straight game, causing manager Dusty Baker to swallow his toothpick. After he recovers, the parent Tribune Co. fires both Baker and his toothpick. … With Shaquille O’Neal slumping in the NBA playoffs, Heat coach Pat Riley hires four more sumo wrestlers to toughen up Shaq in practice. … Redskins owner Dan Snyder buys the old Glen Echo Amusement Park and announces the club will play two home games there.

June — Finally arriving at a decision, Major League Baseball sells the Nats to Minnesota lawyer Clark Griffith because, commissioner Bud Selig says, “what goes around comes around.” … Annika Sorenstam announces she is moving to the PGA Tour because “women’s golf is just getting too tough with Michelle Wie, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel out there.” To dispute this theory, Tiger Woods then switches to the LPGA Tour. … Joe Gibbs signs a five-year coaching extension with the Redskins and promises to win a Super Bowl before reaching age 75.

July — Roger Federer stays home in Switzerland but wins his fourth straight Wimbledon title anyway by remote control. … With the White Sox 10 games under .500 at the Fourth of July milepost, the club hires Nats outfielder Jose Guillen to replace Ozzie Guillen as manager. … The Redskins release Patrick Ramsey and sign 57-year-old Archie Manning as backup quarterback because, according to Gibbs, “He has great genes.”

August — Patterson bolsters his Cy Young Award credentials by pitching a seventh shutout and lowering his ERA to 1.89 in a 1-0 loss to the Braves that drops his record to 7-15. … With the Orioles 30 games under .500, owner Peter Angelos fires Sam Perlozzo and appoints a managerial committee including Phil Regan, Mike Hargrove, Ray Miller and Lee Mazzilli. … The Redskins finish the preseason with a 4-0 record as Manning takes most of the snaps and passes for 14 touchdowns.

September — The Tampa Bay Devil Rays win an unexpected AL East championship as the Yankees and Red Sox collapse in the final weeks. … With training camp approaching, the Caps trade talented goalie Olie Kolzig to the Penguins for two used Zambonis and a Mario Lemieux autograph. … The Redskins lose to the Cowboys 58-13 on ESPN’s first “Monday Night Football” telecast.

October — The Devil Rays defeat the Angels in a tense, seven-game American League Championship Series to earn a World Series berth against the Florida Marlins as fans across the state yawn. … Bobby Bowden announces he will retire as Florida State football coach after the season, with former archrival Steve Spurrier leaving South Carolina to succeed him. … Barry Bonds quits the Giants after batting .192 and hitting 14 home runs “because my body just isn’t what it used to be.”

November — Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is named American League Rookie of the Year for batting .318 with 28 home runs and 102 RBI. … Maryland’s football team, recovering the magic of coach Ralph Friedgen’s first three seasons, smashes Miami and Virginia Tech to win the ACC title and a berth in the Orange Bowl. … Cal Ripken becomes part-owner and general manager of the Nats and promises never to miss a game.

December — The Redskins finish the regular season with a 7-9 record, sparking rumors that Gibbs might be replaced as coach by former head man Richie Petitbon. … After two years of wrangling, the D.C. Council votes to build a ballpark for the Nats in Anacostia on the newly named Linda Cropp Waterway. … Desperate sports columnist guarantees 2007 will be a better year for somebody, somewhere.

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