- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 29, 2006

Under revised charges, Sean Taylor could be locked up for 46 years for his Charles Bronson Moment last June in Miami. Not to worry, though. His contract gives the Redskins a team option for 2052.

• • •

Can’t say I’m surprised that Zach Lund, vying for a spot on our Olympic skeleton squad, tested positive for an anti-baldness product. After all, the races in that sport are always decided by a hair.

• • •

Here’s the difference between Kobe Bryant’s 81-point game and Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-pointer in 1962: Kobe, I’m convinced, never thought twice about jacking it up that many times — unlike Chamberlain. As Wilt said in “Tall Tales,” Terry Pluto’s oral history of “the glory years of the NBA”:

“The 100-point game will never be as important to me as it is to some other people. That’s because I’m embarrassed by it. After I got into the 80s, I pushed for 100 and it destroyed the game because I took shots that I normally never would. I was not real fluid. I mean, 63 shots? You take that many shots on the playground and no one ever wants you on their team again. I never considered myself a gunner. I led leagues in scoring because I also led them in field goal percentage. I’ve had many better games than this one, games where I scored 50-60 and shot 75 percent.”

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I’m not sure which is worse, the Raptors giving up 81 to Kobe or getting torched for a career-high 26 by Chris Duhon three nights later.

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In other basketball news, former NBAer Isaiah Rider was arrested in California on charges of kidnapping a female acquaintance. Boy, Rider sure has gone downhill, hasn’t he? I mean, when he was playing with the Timberwolves and Trail Blazers (among others), the only thing he ever kidnapped was the ball.

• • •

A crew of Conference USA officials also had a tough week. The league office said they “exercised poor judgment” last Saturday when they hit Houston coach Tom Penders with a technical foul after he collapsed and was carried off the court. The correct call in that situation, apparently, is a three-second violation.

• • •

You haven’t lived until you’ve checked out “The A-Line” (the-a-line.com), Jim Alderson’s “musings about Virginia Tech and ACC sports and anything else.” His recent flogging of Dick Vitale and the Raleigh News and Observer simply must be shared:

“The Big East is now the superior basketball league to the ACC. In this proclamation the N&O; is joined by Dick Vitale. As he sits in his posh Florida abode attempting to locate Blacksburg on a map and polishing his glass eye, ESPN’s chief screamer no doubt read the N&O;’s sounding of the alarms with head movements resembling those of a Coach K bobble-head doll. DickieV has spent every available moment of the basketball season thus far bellowing at the top of his lungs that 18-19 of the 16 [Big East] teams were ‘stone cold locks, baby’ to be among the 95-100 teams he annually claims are ‘already in, baby’ to the NCAA tournament’s field of 64. You can’t beat DickieV for thoughtful analysis.”

• • •

Getting their kicks: First, Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick stomps on the calf of Louisville’s Elvis Dumervil, then Hokies hoopster Deron Washington drives his foot into the face of Duke’s Lee Melchionni.

Where were these guys a year ago, when Tech lost to unbeaten Auburn in the Sugar Bowl because it couldn’t make a 23-yard field goal in the fourth quarter?

• • •

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays might drop the “Devil” from their name, according to a newspaper report. Needless to say, their fans are disappointed. They were hoping the team would drop the “Tampa Bay” part.

• • •

Focus groups felt the word “devil” had too negative a connotation, club president Matt Silverman told the Tampa Tribune.

Drake’s Bakery, makers of Devil Dogs, could not be reached for comment.

• • •

In Anaheim, meanwhile, the Mighty Ducks will henceforth be called — beginning next season, that is — the plain old Ducks. Yeah, I know, I was thinking the same thing: Does this mean Emilio Estevez is going to go by Sheen now?

• • •

Oh, and did you read that Washington, Pa., population 15,000, will be officially known as “Steeler, Pa.” through Feb.5 (aka Super Sunday)? Mayor Kenneth J. Westcott said the motion breezed through the city council; he just had to, uh, iron a few things out.

• • •

You’ve gotta love golf. Tiger Woods finally launches his 2006 season in the Buick Invitational — and Vijay Singh and Ernie Els are off playing in Qatar.

• • •

Speaking of Woods, he and his lovely bride just bought a four-hectare, $38 million estate in Jupiter Island, Florida. (For those who don’t work at the Bureau of Weights and Measures, a hectare is 10,000 square meters, or about 2 acres). Idle thought: Wouldn’t it be funny if the property were actually much smaller than that — and that the groundskeeping staff consisted of four guys named Hector?

• • •

Four hectares. Tiger won’t be hitting many drives out of bounds at that place.

• • •

A point I’ve been meaning to make: Woods, who just hit the Big Three-Oh, says he’s looking forward to the next 10 years because “If you look at most of the guys’ careers, it looks like their peak years are in their 30s.”

Tiger isn’t like most guys, though. His 20s were longer than most players’ because he started earlier — at 20. Thus, it’s going to be a lot harder for him to outdo himself in the next decade. More than 46 victories? More than 10 major titles? Now that would be something to see.

What separates players like Sam Snead (82 wins), Jack Nicklaus (73) and Tiger from the rest, however, is how good they are when they’re young, not how good they are when they’re “in their prime.” Arnold Palmer, believe it or not, won more tournaments after turning 30 (50) than Nicklaus did (43); so did Ben Hogan (49). But Jack smoked them in his 20s — with 30 titles to Arnie’s 12 and Ben’s 15.

Indeed, the Golden Bear’s 30s (38 victories, eight majors) weren’t much more golden than his 20s (30, seven), especially when you consider he didn’t turn pro until he was 22. If the Older Woods can merely keep pace with his Younger Self, he’ll be just fine. In fact, he’ll end up owning most of the record book.

• • •

From Gary D’Amato of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Not counting 1996, when Tiger Woods played in only eight PGA Tour events, he has averaged winning 4.9 tournaments and 1.1 major championships per year. At that pace, he would surpass Sam Snead’s record 82 victories at age 40 and Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 major titles at 38.”

• • •

And finally, John Daly’s wife has reported to prison to begin a five-month sentence on a drug and gambling charge. This is not to be confused with “jail,” Gary McCord’s term for when a tree interferes with a golfer’s swing.

• • •

After she’s released, Sherrie Miller Daly will serve an additional five months of house arrest — or, in her case, mobile home arrest.

• • •

John, by the way, has promised never again to refer to her as “the ol’ ball and chain.”

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