- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 26, 2001

With their first pick in the major league draft, the Baltimore Orioles select Danny Almonte, left-handed pitcher for the Bronx, N.Y., Little League team.

Hey, why not? Andre and Steffi's baby-to-be, I'm told, already has turned pro.

News item: NFL getting ready to hire replacement officials.
Comment: That means that about 10 years from now, we can expect a movie starring Keanu Reeves titled (choose one):
(a) "On Beyond Zebras."
(b) "Come Blow Your Whistle."
(c) "Stripes." (Wait, that last one's taken… .)

I thought the Redskins' training camp was tough until I read about what the South Korean archery team gets put through.

Cleaning up sewage, being deprived of sleep, keeping company with corpses somehow I don't think William Tell followed a regimen like that.

Nobody should be too surprised by the Redskins' problems covering punts. In Marty Schottenheimer's last five years in Kansas City, the Chiefs finished 22nd, 21st, 21st, 2nd and 28th in the league in that department.

Schottenheimer's special teams weren't really all that "great" in K.C. (despite what the Other Newspaper says). The Chiefs won because they had a terrific defense and didn't turn the ball over. (Three times during Marty's tenure they were first in the NFL in turnover differential.) Yes, they got excellent kicking from Nick Lowery and Pete Stoyanovich, and kicking is part of special teams, but Lowery and Stoyanovich were established stars before Schottenheimer came into their lives.

In this, the Year of the Improbable Comeback (Jennifer Capriati, Ruben Sierra, Jose Rijo, Mark Rypien), Ki-Jana Carter is beginning to have That Lazarus Look.

George Allen's chances of making the Pro Football Hall of Fame should be a lot better this time. Why? Because he's the Senior Candidate, and the last eight Senior Candidates have been voted in (Leroy Kelly, Henry Jordan, Lou Creekmur, Jerry Kramer, Tommy McDonald, Billy Shaw, Dave Wilcox and, this year, Nick Buoniconti).
This is the fourth go-round for Allen, who also was a finalist in '88, '98 and '99. If there's any justice, the selection committee won't make him wait any longer.

Another old Redskins coach, Ray Flaherty, got in as the senior nominee in '76 and like Allen, was long overdue. All Flaherty did was coach the team to four title games and two championships in seven seasons (before entering the Navy during World War II). He also had a fine playing career as an end with the Giants.
Another parallel between the two: Both coached, successfully, in other pro leagues after leaving the NFL. Flaherty went to the All-America Conference (birthplace of the Browns and 49ers), and Allen resurfaced in the USFL. (That might explain why Flaherty wasn't elected to the Hall earlier. Memories tend to be long in the NFL, and the war against the AAC cost the league a ton of money.)

One drawback to the Redskins switching to burgundy jerseys at home: It's harder to tell now which linemen are grossly overweight dark colors being so slimming and all.

Denver Broncos safety Eric Brown made an interesting point the other day. After being fined $24,588 1/17th of his base salary for a helmet-to-helmet hit, he groused, "Guys have got penalized less for hitting quarterbacks in the head."
Which is undoubtedly true. The NFL doesn't fine players fixed amounts for infractions, it fines them a week's pay, two weeks' pay, etc. If the Vikings' Robert Griffith got docked 1/17th of his salary for an illegal hit, it would cost him $155,882. If the Steelers' Chad Scott were guilty of the same crime, it would cost him $56,471.
There's an inequity here, of course, but it's important to understand the bigger picture: The league is trying to discourage dirty play, and a flat fine of, say, $25,000 wouldn't be much of a deterrent to a highly paid player. The lighter you make his wallet, the more he's apt to listen.

You have to wonder about the wisdom of the Dolphins trading for Cade McNown. I mean, turning Mr. Playboy Mansion loose on the beaches of Miami doesn't strike me as a real bright idea.

Idle thought: Instead of selling his stake in the Wizards back to Ted Leonsis, why doesn't Michael Jordan just give it away in a promotion?

Think of the publicity it would generate. The team could hold an essay contest or something: In 100 words or less, tell us why you want to be an NBA owner.

Wouldn't it be funny if Howard Milstein won?

Women's tennis without Anna Kournikova she's sidelined another three months with a stress fracture is like the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue without the pictures.

Never mind Sports Illustrated's Overrated/Underrated issue. How about the one American Heritage just put out? In the latter, local baseball historian John Holway casts aspersions on can you believe it? Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak. It's "as full of holes as an archery target for example, two gift hits by friendly New York official scorers on easy bouncing balls in games 30 and 31," he writes. "If either of them had been called honestly, DiMag would have had two streaks of between 25 and 30 games, not one streak of 56, and would rank somewhere near his close statistical twin, Hank Greenberg, in the pantheon."

Holway also isn't overly impressed with Satchel Paige. "His fame rests on his classic wit," he contends. "Exhaustive research shows that he actually won [only] 155 Negro League games" less than Big Bill Foster (161) and barely more than Ray Brown (153) and Bullet Joe Rogan (151). "And all of them [suffered] considerably fewer than Satch's 92 defeats."
Whether or not you agree with him, Holway seems like he'd be a great guy to have a beer with.

And finally … John Thompson's name attached to a college football game sounds as strange as Jamie Farr's name attached to a women's golf tournament.
Danny Almonte


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