- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 9, 2009

Procter and Gamble has signed a deal for close to $10 million, Forbes reports, “that will turn four of its brands - Gillette, Old Spice, Head & Shoulders and Febreze - into ‘Official Locker Room Products of the NFL.’ ”

Febreze and the NFL - now there’s a marriage made in heaven. I mean, when you think of football, you think of household odor eliminators.

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Don’t forget, NFL exec Mark Waller told the magazine, “more women watch the Super Bowl than watch the Academy Awards.”

Which doesn’t mean, by the way, that Hugh Jackman can’t cut on a dime.

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Or that Sean Penn doesn’t attack a role with Ray Lewis-like ferocity.

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In San Diego, the Chargers fined Antonio Cromartie $2,500 for complaining on Twitter about the “nasty” training camp food. Oh, great. The guy doesn’t like what he’s being fed, and now the team wants him to eat his words.

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Clearly, the organization doesn’t cater to that kind of thinking.

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(This space reserved for groaning.)

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Here’s the biggest problem with a player tweeting criticism of the club: It’s hard to claim later that you were misquoted or had things taken out of context.

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Cromartie’s defensive mate, Shawne Merriman, has started a Fine Fund for him. And from what I gather, Terrell Owens, the famed civil libertarian, might hold a candlelight vigil.

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In other Chargers news, none of their regular-season games “are close to being sold out,” their CEO says, and the team is worried about some of them being blacked out on local TV.

Memo to the Bolts: Why not throw in a free pregame meal to get the remaining tickets sold? And by “meal,” of course, I mean a “training camp-style buffet.”

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The Cowboys, on the other hand, have so much interest in their new stadium that they’re selling standing-room-only tickets, thousands of them, at $29 a pop. Fans will be able to watch games from one of the decks in the end zones - or on the giant TV screens suspended above the field.

“I want you to picture the experience of… the infield at the Kentucky Derby,” owner Jerry Jones told the (Fort Worth) Star-Telegram.

And let’s face it, the Cowboys certainly have the horses.

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The Cowboys’ boss hopes to sell up to 35,000 of these Party Passes (as they’re called) for big games, pushing attendance to 100,000 and beyond.

The big question is: By season’s end, will there be more fans standing in Dallas than sitting in Detroit?

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The Redskins pay their first visit to Cowboys Stadium on Nov. 22. If it’s OK with everybody, I’m going to leave for the game now to make sure I get a parking space.

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At the Colts’ training camp, meanwhile, Reggie Wayne arrived in a dump truck - and hopped out wearing a hard hat and a neon orange vest.

“We’re under construction for the Super Bowl here,” he explained.

Any day now, I suspect, he’ll get a letter from the league about “violating the uniform dress code.”

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Quote of the Week: “When the NFL came in, a lot of the party atmosphere got sucked out.”

- Mark Bloom, original owner of the Nashville Kats, after the Arena League went under (as quoted by the Tennessean).

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Still, the league left a substantial legacy. I mean, if it weren’t for Arena ball, Kurt Warner might never have learned how to bag groceries.

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Did you see Roger Federer will be paying $3,075 a night for a suite at the Carlyle Hotel during the U.S. Open?

Heck, for that kind of money he could buy 106 Party Passes to Cowboys games.

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We used to talk about Jason Giambi’s biceps. Now we talk about his buyouts.

The Yankees bought him out this year for $5 million, and the A’s will buy out next year’s option for $1.25 million (after releasing him last week).

Am I the only one wondering what the record is in this category - the record for most consecutive seasons having your contract bought out? Giambi has gotta be getting close.

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A hundred years ago this month, Dolly Gray of the Washington Senators pitched, in the estimation of plate umpire Billy Evans, “the weirdest game I have ever seen in major league circles.” (Evans said this in a syndicated newspaper column he wrote years later, a column I stumbled across the other day while researching something else.)

On Aug. 28, 1909, against the White Sox in Chicago, Gray “allowed only one hit - a very questionable one - [and] not an error was made by his supporting cast,” according to Evans. “Yet he was beaten 6 to 4.”

How did this happen, you ask? Well, in the second inning, Dolly suddenly lost his control and walked eight batters, seven of them in a row. There was also a grounder that nicked the first baseman’s glove and “was scored as a hit, but I always thought [the fielder] should have easily handled the ball,” Evans said. By the time the nightmare was over, six Chicago runs had scored.

Gray’s “streak of wildness” was “the most unusual I have ever seen, the Hall of Fame ump recalled. “The count was three-and-two on practically every batter.” This being the Old Days, Dolly was left in, and he proceeded to hold the White Sox scoreless and hitless the rest of the way.

“That game stands out in my memory as the most peculiar ball game I have ever worked,” Evans wrote. The linescore:

Chicago: 6 runs, 1 “questionable” hit, 3 errors.

Washington: 4 runs, 9 hits, 0 errors.

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Also stumbled across something else last week, a classic Casey Stengel-ism. A writer asked the legendary Yankees manager how he kept his players out of trouble on the road, and Casey replied that he only let them go out carousing in groups of two.

“If four men go out,” he explained, “they got to drink twice as much.”

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MLS note: With a third of the season left, D.C. United leads the league in scoring (34 goals/1.7 per game) and is second in ambiguity (10 ties/.5 per game).

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And finally…

A new NCAA policy would ban states such as Delaware from hosting championship events if they allow betting on individual games.

In other words, hoops fans - try to contain your disappointment - there might never be a Final Four in Dover.

The Sunday Column will return Aug. 30.

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