- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 22, 2008

I can’t decide who I’d rather be locked in a negotiating room with, Jessica Alba as the owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs in “The Love Guru” or Cameron Diaz as the owner of the Miami Sharks in “Any Given Sunday.”

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But certainly not with Margaret Whitton as the owner of the Cleveland Indians in “Major League.”

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Strange, isn’t it, how many of these sports-themed movies have women owners? It’s amazing, really, that the warden in “The Longest Yard” wasn’t Jennifer Aniston.

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Not that James Cromwell wouldn’t look good in lipstick.

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Of course, if Whoopi Goldberg can coach the Knicks, anything’s possible in Hollywood.

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Come to think of it, if Isiah Thomas can coach the Knicks, anything’s possible anywhere.

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A total of 22 people were arrested in Boston on Tuesday night as the city celebrated the Celtics’ 17th NBA title. Among the 22, I would hope, was Any Laker Who Had Anything To Do With Boston’s 131-92 Blowout Win In Game 6.

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Seriously, how badly did Kobe Bryant and Co. pack it in in that last game? Well (to answer my own question), consider this:

Los Angeles lost by 39 points. The last four times a team has been swept in the NBA Finals, its total margin of defeat - in four games - has been less than 39. The details:

2007 - Spurs over Cavaliers (losing margins: 9-11-3-1 for a total of 24 points).

2002 - Lakers over Nets (losing margins: 5-23-3-6 for a total of 37 points).

1995 - Rockets over Magic (losing margins: 2-11-3-12 for a total of 28 points).

1989 - Pistons over Lakers (losing margins: 12-3-4-8 for a total of 27 points).

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Former Lakers great Gail Goodrich, writing in the Los Angeles Daily News: “There really is no other way to describe the Lakers’ performance in Game 6 other than to say it was pathetic. It was a complete embarrassment to go into a game of that magnitude and not compete. There is absolutely no excuse for that, and it legitimately calls into question the character of some of their players.”

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My column Wednesday about Tiger Woods calmly eating an apple after falling behind late in his U.S. Open playoff against Rocco Mediate brought this Actual E-Mail from an Actual Reader:

“Hello, Mr. Daly … I have that apple and have contacted and talked to many different media and people about what to do with it. I have been influenced to auction it off on eBay, although I would like to [do] what’s best for the golf world or what Tiger would like to do himself. I was in the grandstands on the 16th hole and can explain to you exactly how it unfolded, as well as taking you to the exact spot that I found it. I also have a witness, and the DNA will tell the truth. I’m an honest soul. … If you would be so kind to contact me, … I would like to do what’s best for this special apple. Thank you.” (Name withheld.)

My advice: The heck with the apple. Sell the DNA to one of those biotech firms that specialize in cloning - Advanced Cell Technologies or somebody. That’s where the real money is. How much dough is anybody going to cough up for an apple core?

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Imagine multiple Tiger Woods competing against one another. Nobody else would ever win a tournament.

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I mean, unless all of the Tigers skipped the Mayakoba Golf Classic.

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Speaking of Woods, it’ll be interesting to see how high he finishes in the FedEx Cup standings, even though he won’t play again in ‘08 because of his knee. In six events this year he racked up 22,695 points; that would have put him in first place last year heading into the playoffs (when the second-place man, Vijay Singh, had 19,129 points to Tiger’s 30,574).

Tiger won’t be able to win the Cup, but he could still end up, say, in the top 15 - after teeing it up just six times (four firsts, one second, one fifth). Incredible.

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Surprising how expensive it was for the Capitals to move up two spots Friday night - from 23 to 21- so they could draft Anton Gustafsson, Bengt’s kid. In addition to trading places with the Devils in the first round, they also had to give up the first of their three second-round picks, 54th overall. And this was an unusually deep draft, where you’d expect to get a pretty good prospect at 54.

Put it this way: It’s a lot cheaper to move up a few spots in the NFL draft. When the Cowboys dealt the 28th selection to the Seahawks this spring for the 25th, all it cost them was their fifth and seventh rounders.

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On the plus side, the Caps got the guy they wanted. This is one of the benefits of stockpiling draft choices, as George McPhee has done in recent years. When you have extra picks in the early rounds, you can be more proactive. You don’t have to settle for players quite so much.

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News item: Pacman Jones has asked - very sweetly, I’m sure - that he now be called Adam Jones.

Comment: After years of infamy and scandal, Pacman has decided it might be nice, every now and then, to be mistaken for a weak-hitting Orioles center fielder.

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The Bears, meanwhile, signed defensive tackle Tommie Harris to a four-year, $40 million extension. According to reports, Harris gets $10 million up front and $18 million guaranteed, including a $2 million bonus for Not Being Tank Johnson.

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Elsewhere in the NFL, the Buffalo district attorney has reached a deal with the Bills’ Marshawn Lynch concerning the accident that involved Lynch’s sport utility vehicle. The running back has agreed to plead guilty to an unspecified charge, and the D.A. has agreed to classify the crime as a bump-and-run.

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Tough week for major league managers. Three were fired in the space of four days - the last being John Gibbons, who was replaced in Toronto by Cito Gaston, skipper of the Blue Jays’ 1992 and ‘93 World Series champions (but without a head job since ‘97).

Writes Neal from Gaithersburg: “Gaston announced that his first move is to put Kelly Gruber in at third.”

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Just wondering (in case Hank Steinbrenner gets an itchy trigger finger): Billy Martin is dead, right?

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Gibbons might not be the greatest manager, but at least he didn’t regale his players with stories of his heroism in the Spanish-American War - or whatever it was Tim Johnson, one of his predecessors, did.

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And finally …

Number of the Week: $516,971.25.

(The amount a law firm - Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen and Katz - billed the NBA to interview 57 referees as part of the Tim Donaghy investigation. For those of you scoring at home, that’s $9,069.67 per interview … or more than Charlie Rose makes.)