- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 28, 2002

A northern Super Bowl outdoors? What's next, a Sports Illustrated snowsuit issue?

I can see the SI cover now: Under the Yum Yum Tree in the Yukon (accompanied by a photo of Heidi Klum, in sable ski attire, riding in a sleigh pulled by reindeer).

A Super Bowl at FedEx Field (or, heaven forbid, Giants Stadium)
Pregame coin toss: "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.
Halftime entertainment: Vanilla Ice.
Official mascot: Chilly Willy.

News item: Former Saint (and Redskin) Albert Connell cleared of theft charges.
Comment: The only thing Albert stole, as it turned out, was his $2.5million signing bonus.

Joe Geri, the former Pittsburgh Steeler who died recently at 78, occupies a special place in pro football history: He played tailback for the last single wing team in the NFL, the 1951 Steelers. (Pittsburgh finally switched to the T formation in '52 to take better advantage of the passing talents of Jim Finks.)
Geri was a darn good tailback, by the way. In 1950, his best season, he rushed for 705 yards (third in the league), threw for 866 more (plus six touchdowns) and averaged 40.7 yards on 55 punts. Needless to say, he made the Pro Bowl.

Fearless prediction: Virginia Tech receiver Andre Davis (second round, Browns) will turn out to be one of the steals of the NFL Draft. Not only can he fly, he has a head on his shoulders (as witnessed by all the academic honors he's been piling up, including a postgraduate scholarship). Let's not forget, Antonio Freeman, another Hokie, was only a third-rounder.
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I see the Raiders went for the Best Napoleon Available. A year after Napoleon Kaufman unexpectedly retired, the Oakland took Northwestern linebacker Napoleon Harris with their second first-round pick.

Al Davis obviously has a Napoleon complex. Before he had Kaufman and Harris, he had Navy's Napoleon McCallum.

Napoleon isn't exactly the most common name in sports, you know. Napoleon Lajoie is in the Baseball Hall of Fame, but other than him

Actually, I can remember a Danny Napoleon playing for the Mets in my youth.
If the team had any sense of humor, it would have farmed him out to Waterloo of the Midwest League.

The Name Game, Part II: In the first round of the NFL Draft, the Chargers picked Texas cornerback Quentin Jammer.
In the sixth round, the Bears opted for Delaware wideout Jamin Elliott.
This means that, at some point in the future, there's a possibility some club will select a player named Jamin Jammer.

Hopefully, by the end of minicamp today, Dan Snyder will be straight on how many quarterbacks the Redskins have. During the draft, he insisted to ESPN's Sal Paolantonio that they had only two under contract forgetting, apparently, the signing of Dameyune Craig. Don't worry, Dan, it's only your fourth season as an owner. You'll get the hang of it.

Unless David Boston hires the firm from "The Practice" to extricate him from these drug charges, he might have a hard time making the Cardinals' opener against the Redskins.

Memo to Ralph "Thin Thighs in 30 Days" Friedgen: If this weight-loss plan of yours succeeds, your whole persona is going to change. People won't be able to call you "the Fridge" anymore. They'll have to call you "the Minibar" or something.

Maryland boosters have promised to donate $1,000 a pound to the football program if Friedgen drops at least 50. Heck, a 16-ounce ribeye at Outback goes for only $19.95 or something. (And you get salad and potato with that.)

If Maryland can rationalize retiring Steve Francis' jersey after just one year at the school, it can likely do the same for Chris Wilcox, who is turning pro after just two seasons in College Park.

Am I the only one who finds this disturbing?

It wouldn't surprise me if, one of these days, Maryland retired Moses Malone's jersey. He did, after all, sign a letter of intent with the Terps.

Nothing says more about the watered-down state of the NBA than the Sixth Man Award. Can you believe that Corliss Williamson who averages 13.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 21.8 minutes a game is the best bench player in the league? Kevin McHale, Ricky Pierce, Eddie Johnson and Detlef Schrempf must be rolling their eyes.

The Sunday Column isn't even going to mention that Ben Wallace, the newly crowned Defensive Player of the Year, used to belong to the Wizards.

Wish he were still around, though. He'd be the backbone of their Ben-but-don't-break defense.

Speaking of Virginia Tech (as we were a while back), hope you caught that final score in college baseball last week: Hokies 35, Georgetown 4.
To put this in perspective, John Thompson's basketball team once held SMU to 36 in an NCAA tournament game.

The renewed hoo-hah about Albert Belle corking his bats thanks to Omar Vizquel's recently published book got me wondering: Just how common a crime is it? Some frenzied search-engining turned up five corking episodes in the major leagues in the last 15 years. The guilty parties:
Billy Hatcher, Houston, 1987 Hatcher hit .296 with 11 homers, 63 RBI, 96 runs and 53 stolen bases all career bests the season he was caught with a Suspicious Stick. His oh-so-lame excuse was that he had borrowed the bat from a teammate and had no idea it was illegal. Suspension: 10 days.
Albert Belle, Cleveland, 1994 Belle flirted with a Triple Crown that year, batting .357 (second in the American League) with 36 dingers (third) and 101 RBI (tied for third). Suspension: seven days.
Chris Sabo, Cincinnati, 1996 Sabo was at the point in his career, alas, where even a corked bat couldn't help him. He finished with a meager .256 average in '96. Suspension: seven days.
Wilton Guerrero, Los Angeles, 1997 What gall. Guerrero was a rookie when he got nabbed in a game at St. Louis. (He probably fibbed about his age, too. You know how reliable those birth records in the Dominican Republic can be.) Suspension: eight days.
Jose Guillen, Tampa Bay, 2001 Guillen was on a rehab assignment in the minors when his bat went ker-blooey and exposed his cheating ways. Suspension: 10 days (by the International League).

During an appearance on David Letterman's show, John Kruk once was asked if he'd ever played with a corked bat. "No," Kruk replied. "Fondled one once "
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Yup, that Adam Oates trade is just looking better and better for the Flyers.

They get eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, they score a record-low two goals in five games and all it cost them was a No.1, a No.2 and a No.3.

The Capitals might want to think about trading the 12th pick in the draft. Why? Well, for starters, because not many No.12 selections over the years have turned out to be quality players. Here are the guys who have gone in that spot since 1990: Turner Stevenson, Tyler Wright, Sergei Krivokrasov, Kenny Jonsson, Wade Belak, Teemo Riihijarvi, Josh Holden, Marian Hossa, Alex Tanguay, Denis Shvidki, Alexei Smirnov and Dan Hamhuis. Hossa and Tanguay are keepers, and Jonsson has had a nice career, but that's about it.

The 12th pick in the '73 draft, by Buffalo, was a winger named Morris Titanic. I think that's what I'm concerned about most that George McPhee might hit an iceberg.

The Caps have had the ninth pick (Nick Boynton, John Slaney), the 10th (Nolan Baumgartner) and the 11th (Brendan Witt), but they've never had the 12th. (Or the 13th, for that matter.)

Only Mike Tyson could get sued for ripping a mink coat belonging to a man.

Was that just Dan Quayle I saw endorsing some gadget on the Golf Channel?

It most certainly was.

And finally, congrats to Tommy Bolt for being elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame. I've always loved Jimmy Demaret's line about Terrible Tommy. "Tommy Bolt's putter," he said, "has spent more time in the air than Lindbergh."

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