- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 23, 2007

The San Francisco Giants announced they’re parting ways with Barry Bonds after this season. Boy, those are some big shoes somebody is going to have to fill — and they’re getting bigger all the time. In fact, they’ve grown 2½ sizes in the last few years.

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Barry, I hear, may look to sign with another West Coast team … so it’ll be easier to visit his trainer/”friend,” Greg Anderson, in prison.

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Another option, of course, is to switch to the American League and chase even more records. Who holds the mark for being surly in the most ballparks?

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Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez has been out so long with a strained oblique muscle that he had a T-shirt made up to reflect his status. Across the back, reports the Boston Globe, are the words “Game Off.”

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No joke: I think Manny might be onto something here. Injured ballplayers are probably driven to distraction by folks constantly asking, “When you comin’ back?” Maybe Nike could market a series of tees for rehabbing athletes — bearing such messages as “Day to Day,” “Questionable,” “Out for the Season,” “Waiting for MRI Results,” or “Looking into Broadcasting Career.”

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Another series of shirts — I’m tellin’ ya, this could be huge — could simply identify the ailment (e.g. “Pulled Groin,” “Torn ACL,” “Overexposure to the Video Game ‘Guitar Hero,’ ” etc.)

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It’s about time professional golf decided to test for steroids. I mean, the sport has turned a blind eye to Corey Pavin for too long.

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Number of the Week: 22 (Rank on the PGA Tour money list of John Rollins, the highest-rated player in this week’s Turning Stone Resort Championship. The winner of the event, the first of the Fall Series, gets $1,080,000.)

FYI: That’s a bigger first-place check than Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament ($1,044,000) hands out. Ditto the Arnold Palmer Invitational ($990,000). And for what, so a bunch of guys who didn’t qualify for the Tour Championship can feel better about themselves?

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John Daly, meanwhile, lasted seven holes Thursday before withdrawing with one of my favorite maladies, “flu-like symptoms.” This is what happens, some would say, when you play the 19th hole before you play the first.

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“Flu-Like Symptoms” — there’s another T-shirt possibility for Nike.

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From the Syracuse Post-Standard: “Daly lumbered over the emerald fairways, trailing playing partners Billy Andrade and Kent Jones, who strode purposefully to their balls. He leaned heavily on his golf bag during breaks in play, and hacked up the occasional wad of phlegm.”

Hope he wasn’t using the phlegm to mark his ball.

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Let the record show that barely a week after Eric Mangini squealed on Bill Belichick, Brian Billick accused Mangini’s Jets of illegally trying to disrupt the Ravens’ offensive signals. I’m beginning to wonder if “Mangenius” might need Whistleblower Protection.

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Seriously, I can see the Jets coach, a few years from now, living on Witness Protection Lane, right next door to Ray Liotta’s character from “Goodfellas.”

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Worst Case of Timing: Just days after Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Mark Craig ripped Belichick for illegally stealing the Jets’ defensive signals, a judge ruled that Star Tribune publisher Par Ridder must give up his job for a year for taking confidential information from his old employer, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and using it at his new newspaper in ways that caused “irreparable harm.”

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O.J. Simpson is really up against it now. On top of all the charges he faces in Las Vegas, Roger Goodell is thinking of suspending him for the first four games of the 2008 season.

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Jim Thome’s 500 — 500 homers — attracted the most attention last Sunday, but the Browns‘ and Bengals’ 500s were pretty impressive, too. After all, only a handful of times in NFL history have both teams gained 500 yards in a non-overtime game, as Cleveland (554) and Cincinnati (531) did in the Browns’ 51-45 victory. How hard is it to do? Consider:

• In the Redskins‘ 72-41 win over the Giants in 1966, the highest-scoring game ever, Washington racked up only 341 yards and New York 389.

• In the Bengals’ 58-48 win over the Browns in ‘04, the second-highest-scoring game, Cincy (504) barely reached 500 and Cleveland (462) came up short.

• In the Raiders’ 52-49 win over the Oilers in ‘63, the third-highest-scoring game, Oakland had 588 yards but Houston managed “only” 475.

(I would have sworn the Redskins and Packers both did in their 48-47 Monday night slugfest in ‘83, but no. While Washington totaled 552 yards, Green Bay was held to 473.)

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The Sunday Column bids a belated farewell to Buster Ramsey, who died recently at 87. In addition to being an all-pro guard with the title-winning Chicago Cardinals in 1947, Ramsey was the first coach of the Buffalo Bills — and quite a character. I went to visit Buster once at his home in Maryville, Tenn. He told me one of the funniest stories I ever heard about Curly Lambeau, the famous Packers coach who later took over the Cards.

“Curly used to smoke cigarettes and let the ashes fall all over the front of him,” he said, “and he wouldn’t pay any attention.

“Durndest thing I ever saw in my life. He’d be in a meeting [with the other Cardinals coaches, Ramsey among them], smoking away, letting the ashes get longer and longer, and we’d actually bet money on when they were going to fall off.”

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Speaking of 500, I keep waiting for David Letterman to invite Navy coach Paul Johnson on his show to read a Top 10 list — specifically, the “Top 10 Ways To Rush For 521 Yards And Still Lose To Ball State.” (That’s Dave’s beloved alma mater.)

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And finally …

The NHL apparently views the Tim Donaghy scandal in the NBA as an opportunity. On a billboard near Dallas’ American Airlines Center, an arena cohabited by the Stars and Mavericks, the hockey team is running an ad that says snootily, “The only thing our refs shave is the ice.”

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