- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 29, 2007

This Michael Vick business has got me so upset that I can’t even watch “Dogfights” on the History Channel anymore.

• • •

Three things Vick’s attorney should avoid saying at all costs:

1. “My client has been hounded by these accusations.”

2. “The prosecution is barking up the wrong tree.”

3. “The D.A. threw the witness a bone by letting him plea to a lesser charge.”

• • •

So I’m looking at Mike Strahan’s smiling visage — and the Lombardi-like space between his front teeth — and I’m thinking: Maybe he’s retiring from the Giants because they’re switching to a two-gap defense.

• • •

The Redskins’ Todd Wade, who’s moving to left guard this season after spending his entire career at tackle, figures it’ll be easy to evaluate his performance. “If I do well,” he says, “Chris [Samuels] will go back to the Pro Bowl.”

• • •

Has anyone ever pointed out that Wade, at 6-8, might very well be the tallest Redskin in history? Heck, even John “Tree” Adams, a tackle in the late ‘40s, was only 6-7.

• • •

A guy as altitudinous as Wade needs a nickname (if not a weather vane). How about “Towering Todd” or “The Skins’ Skyscraper”?

• • •

(I’m open to suggestions.)

• • •

Just wondering: If NBA ref Tim Donaghy is found guilty of fixing games, is it a shooting or non-shooting foul?

• • •

And if it’s the former, how many times can we shoot him?

• • •

Number of the Week: 4.

(NBA referees who graduated from Donaghy’s high school, Cardinal O’Hara in Springfield, Pa. The others are Joe Crawford, Ed Malloy and Mike Callahan.)

• • •

According to Jere Longman of the New York Times, Donaghy may also have fabricated parts of his athletic background in the league’s media guide. For instance, he did not, Longman reports, make the all-Catholic League baseball team at Cardinal O’Hara — or the all-Delaware County basketball team, for that matter. He didn’t play varsity baseball at Villanova, either.

Hey, it could have been worse. He could have claimed to be the valedictorian at Celestial Prep.

• • •

Wednesday was another big night for baseball. You had Alex Rodriguez belting his 499th homer, you had Tom Glavine winning his 299th game and you had David Wells singing “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” on the bus ride to the airport.

• • •

More bad news for Barry Bonds. His former mistress, Kimberly Bell, will appear in a nude pictorial in the November issue of Playboy. In one of the photos, I hear, she’s wearing a wet T-shirt that was dipped in McCovey Cove.

• • •

Not to pique anyone’s curiosity, but during their time together, Barry went from a size 42 jersey to a size 52.

• • •

What’s next, Greg Anderson, Bonds’ former personal trainer, posing for Jailbait magazine?

• • •

Speaking of Bonds, even when he hits No. 756, he might not really “break” the home run record. Baseball historian Bill Jenkinson, author of “The Year Babe Ruth Hit 104 Home Runs,” estimates that Ruth was deprived of anywhere from 50 to 78 homers that wrapped around the foul pole but were called foul. (For most of his career, a homer was judged fair or foul based on where it landed, not on the path it traveled.)

So we’ll split the difference and say the Bambino lost 64 homers this way. That pushes his total to 778 — 23 more than Hank Aaron. Heck, Barry might need another year to top that.

• • •

A Babe Ruth item I stumbled across in an old newspaper: On a visit to Gonzaga University in December 1926, the Babe donned a football uniform — No. 99 — and tried to hit a football out of school’s baseball stadium. After “a couple of hours driving the leather to various sections of the lot,” the wire report said, “he finally ‘got hold’ of one, sending it over the barricade.”

• • •

Oh, to have thrown BP to him that day …

• • •

And while we’re on the subject …

Fascinating article in a recent issue of “Popular Mechanics” on the physics behind hitting a home run (featuring, prominently, the Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman). Some of the highlights:

* A curveball can be hit farther than a fastball. Why? Because it reaches the plate with more spin. More spin means more lift off the bat. “A 94-mph fastball leaves the bat 3 mph faster than a 78-mph curveball, but it travels 442 feet compared to the curve’s 455 feet.”

* Don’t believe the story about Mickey Mantle blasting a 565-foot homer — right here in D.C. — off the Senators’ Chuck Stobbs. “Physicists estimate the farthest a man can hit a ball at sea level, without help from the wind, is about 475 feet.”

* ”The maximum bat weight before swing speed drops is about 41 ounces. But a pro player’s ideal bat weight is lighter — in the 31- to 32-ounce range.” In other words, Alfonso Soriano’s 35-ounce telephone pole might not be such a good idea.

* And my personal favorite: “The average pro swing imparts enough force to the ball to stop a Mini Cooper, rolling at 10 mph, in its tracks.”

• • •

If Rolaids can sponsor an annual award for relief pitchers, why can’t Kaiser Permanente sponsor one for “best performance in a rehab assignment”?

• • •

Seriously, is it just me, or are these assignments multiplying? Curt Schilling, for example, has one more start scheduled at Pawtucket before rejoining the Red Sox — his 11th rehab appearance since 2003. Kerry Wood’s next outing with the Peoria Chiefs, meanwhile, will be his ninth since ‘04 (with more to come this season, the Cubs hope). Has any pitcher ever won the Cy Young and Minor League Player of the Year awards in the same season?

• • •

Elsewhere in sports, 33 cheerleaders from two Texas high schools got into a dormitory scuffle at a camp at Texas State University last week. The Fox network is already planning a special on the episode — “When Cheerleaders Attack.”

• • •

And finally …

Fearless prediction: The Tour de France will be won today by a clown on a unicycle.