- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 22, 2011

ANALYSIS/OPINION

Once again, it’s time to check off some items on my “TIDU List” — Things I Don’t Understand:

• Why Dale Hunter was announced as coach instead of interim coach.

With a deal that reportedly ends after this season, Hunter is on trial with the Capitals and vice versa. If they don’t like his results as Bruce Boudreau’s successor, they can get someone else. And if Hunter doesn’t like life behind an NHL bench, he can return to his junior league empire.

Fine, no problem. But the parties should have been up-front about it.

• How the BBWAA could be so dense on former Philadelphia Daily News columnist Bill Conlin.

The baseball writers’ association essentially defended Conlin after allegations of child sex abuse led to his abrupt retirement Tuesday. Its initial statement mentioned a “notable career” and “a member in good standing since 1966,” but didn’t mention any shock, sorrow or sympathy.

Give the BBWAA a big, fat ‘F’ on the lessons from Penn State and Syracuse.

• What led the Nationals to pursue veteran outfielder Mike Cameron.

Nothing against Cameron, who turns 39 next month and has a good reputation in the clubhouse, but his signing was a buzz kill. Yes, it’s only a minor league deal with an invite to spring training, but it highlights the Nats’ failure to add a major outfield bat.

Besides, “veteran presence” isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be; see: Matt Stairs.

• Why his actual credentials weren’t good enough for Yale’s Tom Williams.

Undergraduate and graduate degrees from Stanford are great, but Williams also added “Rhodes Scholar candidate” to his resume. The embellishment led to his resignation Wednesday as Yale’s football coach. He apparently applied in 1992 but withdrew his candidacy shortly thereafter.

Perhaps lying wasn’t Williams‘ greatest sin; he was 0-3 against Harvard, too.

• How London Fletcher can maintain his level of play much longer.

The Redskins’ indefatigable linebacker barely has slowed down in his 14th season. He leads the NFL in tackles and has the most since 2000. And, oh yeah, he’s never missed a game. He said if the Redskins want him to return, “they’ll have to show me.”

We know what that means, but the Redskins shouldn’t write a check that Fletcher’s body can’t cash.

• What the NCAA thinks it proved with Ohio State’s weak penalties.

The “Tattoo-gate” players got their penalty, as did former football coach Jim Tressel, slapped with a five-year, de facto blackball. Remaining players got a bowl ban in 2012, and new coach Urban Myer got nine fewer scholarships. But Gene Smith and Gordon Gee? They got nothing.

There’s something wrong with the picture when an athletic director and school president go untouched.

• Why the Wizards looked like two different teams in the preseason.

Dreadful was an understatement when the Wizards trailed Philadelphia by 40 points in the third quarter last week. But the young squad comported itself much better in Tuesday’s rematch before losing by seven. The results may vary this season, but the effort must be consistent.

Climbing out of the basement will take hard work, and clowns need not apply.

• What Floyd Mayweather will learn from spending 90 days in jail.

Judge Melissa Saragosa barely laid a glove on the boxing champ, sentencing him to 90 days for domestic violence against an ex-girlfriend. He could have received 18 months after admitting to hitting Josie Harris and twisting her arm. Prosecutors argued, correctly, that the sentence is too light.

If the courts won’t teach batterers a lesson, women might have to do it themselves.

• How undrafted rookies can be more impressive than Willie Smith.

Making the 53-man roster was a great start. But that’s nothing compared to Smith’s performance on the Redskins’ offensive line since seeing his first action in Week 14. He handled himself well against two of the league’s better pass rushers, and he’ll face another one Saturday in Minnesota’s Jared Allen.

The Redskins’ future is bright if Mike Shanahan can find guys like this on the street.

• Why the NFL waited so long before addressing concussion issues.

The league announced a new policy that requires independent trainers at each game. That might have led to Cleveland QB Colt McCoy remaining on the sideline after suffering a concussion recently. He’s still suffering from symptoms, while numerous former players have filed lawsuits this month.

Better late than never, but the NFL better get its checkbook ready, too.