- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 16, 2008

Can’t believe CC Sabathia hasn’t jumped all over this Yankees offer. I mean, he’s spent his entire career trying to avoid pitching against them. Just sign on the dotted line, CC, and you’ll never have to again.

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In Los Angeles, meanwhile, Manny Ramirez merely sniffed at the guaranteed two-year, $45 million deal the Dodgers put in front of him. It must not have included bathroom privileges in the L.A. bullpen during the seventh-inning stretch.

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Scott Boras, of course, tells us his client isn’t nearly as self-absorbed as he’s made out to be. To prove his point - and increase his market value - Boras will probably have him return to the Dominican Republic in the next few days and organize the Million Manny March.

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From Forbes magazine: “Based on Ramirez’s 2008 salary of $18.9 million, Obama’s tax plan would mean $850,500 less in take-home pay for Ramirez. Prorate that over a four- or eight-year deal, and you’re talking $3.4 to $6.8 million lost to the government.”

Hey, it all evens out. The Red Sox, let’s not forget, lost about $7 million last season when they agreed to eat the rest of Manny’s salary after trading him to the Dodgers.

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By the way, don’t you love how, in the world according to Forbes (and professional athletes), taxes paid to the government are considered “lost”? Just asking: When fans are forced to pay additional taxes - hotel, car rental, whatever - to help fund a new stadium, do athletes consider that money “lost” … or do they consider it “found”?

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Because the president-elect is one of their biggest supporters, the White Sox are planning Barack Obama Bobblehead Night next season - with the prez adorned in a Sox cap. Pretty fitting when you stop and think about it. After all, when you get the doll’s head going up and down, it will almost look like he’s saying, “Yes, we can!”

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Here’s something else that’s fitting: The abbreviation for Barack Obama Bobblehead is BOB.

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News item: A California vineyard is putting portraits of the pit bulls from Michael Vick’s dogfighting operation on a line of boutique red wines.

Comment: Boy, I’m sure glad they beat the Mad Dog people to it.

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The bottles are a little pricey - $40 apiece or $672 for a set of 22 - but 10 percent of each sale goes to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah, where the dogs now live. What’s next, the pooches being featured in a series of “Don’t drink and drive” commercials?

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Incidentally, there’s no truth to the rumor that Squeaker, Curly, Layla and the rest of the pit bulls are being taught to bark every time they hear the word “merlot.”

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Speaking of Mr. Vick, his bankruptcy attorneys say once he’s out of prison, “He will be reinstated into the NFL, resume his career and be able to earn a substantial living.”

They left out the last part of the sentence, though: “… as long as Al Davis is still breathing.”

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Wonder if any of the liquor stores Vick invested in will carry the Vicktory Dogs Wine Collection …

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Was anyone else surprised to learn that the Patriots’ Matt Cassel is the first quarterback since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to pass for 400 yards and rush for 60 in the same game (by virtue of his 401/62 effort against the Jets on Thursday)?

Randall Cunningham never did it? Steve Young? Steve McNair? Rich Gannon? All those guys had 400-yard passing days, and all were dangerous runners. The same goes for Donovan McNabb, Daunte Culpepper, Jeff Garcia, Mark Brunell (during his Jacksonville days) and a number of others.

Disbelieving, I double-checked. The closest anyone came to Cassel’s feat was Young’s 449/50 game against the Bills in 1992. Not far behind were our old friend Boomer Esiason (425/45 vs. Jets, 1986), Matt Hasselbeck (449/42 vs. Chargers, 2002) and Cunningham (401/41 vs. Bears, 1989).

Several great scramblers, such as Vick and, way back when, Bobby Douglass and Tobin Rote, never threw for 400 yards in a game. Sick person that I am, I dug up the box score of Scramblin’ Fran Tarkenton’s one 400-yard passing performance: a 407-yarder against the 49ers in 1965. Tarkenton’s rushing figures that afternoon: two carries for minus 3 yards.

OK, I’ve gotten my stats fix. We return now to our regularly scheduled column.

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After much deliberation, I’ve decided Drew Brees is the reincarnation of Tommy Kramer - without the open tab at the corner bar.

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Best headline of the college football season: “Bowden suspends five wide receivers for game against BC.”

It almost sounds like Bobby lost his entire receiving corps, like the Seminoles were going to have to line up in the single wing Saturday night and try to grind out a win. Fortunately for Florida State, it still had Greg Carr and Preston Parker to throw to.

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Turning to hockey, the Lightning fired Barry Melrose after just 16 games last week. I haven’t checked with the Elias Sports Bureau, but I’m pretty sure it’s the shortest coaching stint in history by a former ESPN analyst.

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In fact, Melrose makes Buck Showalter look like Connie Mack.

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Number of the week: $125,000 - What Barry earned for each game behind the Tampa Bay bench, based on his three-year, $2 million contract.

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Did you see Steve Nash - all 178 pounds of him - got suspended after the Suns-Rockets scrape for “escalating the altercation”? I just watched the tape of it and, I’ve gotta tell ya, I’ve seen rodeo clowns who escalated the altercation more than Nash did.

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And finally …

The Mystics, who will celebrate their 12th birthday next spring, have hired - gasp - their 11th coach.

Just call her Julie “Walk the” Plank.

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