- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 25, 2002

The Redskins trade Sage Rosenfels and keep former Florida Gators Danny Wuerffel and Shane Matthews. Now there's a shock.

I'm a little bothered by the price, though. The Dolphins only coughed up a seventh-round pick? Heck, the Redskins sent two No.7s to Denver for the illustrious Tito Paul in '99.

But why dredge up the past?

It's always a good idea to deal a quarterback to a club in the other conference so he won't have as many opportunities to get even. It may not have been the greatest idea, however, to deal him to Miami, where the offensive coordinator is a fellow named Norv Turner. Norv is pretty good at developing late-round QBs, as he showed with Gus Frerotte (seventh round) and Trent Green (eighth).

Steve Spurrier said he told Rosenfels he'd try to get him back if one of the Redskins' quarterbacks went down. Uh, Steve, you might check the NFL bylaws on that. Trade-backs, last I heard, are illegal (so that teams can't loan players, a once-fashionable practice).

Wouldn't it be a scream if, some week this season, Frerotte started in Cincinnati, Green in Kansas City, Rosenfels in Miami, Tony Banks in Houston, Mark Rypien in Seattle and Brad Johnson in Tampa Bay?

Seems the Ravens took exception to Dan Snyder's slap at Art Modell in last week's issue of Newsweek. "Working with Art," Baltimore spokesman Kevin Byrne said, "we understand what first class and respect are all about. Living near Washington, we see the other end of the spectrum."

Guess the Ravens won't be coming to FedEx Field for any more preseason scrimmages (as they did two years ago).

There was all sorts of nastiness swirling around the Snydermen last week. Steelers strong safety Lee Flowers and Spurrier had an interesting give and take about the efficacy of the Fun 'n' Gun offense after which Flowers got in this parting shot in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "[The Redskins] don't have a running game. [Stephen Davis is] a hell of a running back, but he's not made for their offense. It's a shame to see a running back that has that much talent [get ignored]. Unfortunately, he's going to get caught up in the salary cap and all this other stuff because their offense is not [built] around him. I'm not saying an offense needs to be [built] around one person. But at the same time, if you have a running back of that caliber, try to find a way of using [him], instead of having such a big ego that you have to make your offense work in this business."

Took my two boys to three major league baseball games during our vacation travels. The first, between the Red Sox and Orioles at Fenway Park, featured an exchange of hit batsmen, a bullpen-emptying brawl and five suspensions. Another game we saw, between the Astros and Cubs at Wrigley, featured an exchange of hit batsmen (resulting in a broken wrist for Houston's Julio Lugo), the ejection of both starting pitchers and the suspension of one.
Yup, just great family entertainment.

And people think the Harlem Little Leaguers are out of control …

On the subject of Williamsport, couldn't help noticing this score last week: Japan 10, Guam 0 (in four innings, at which point the mercy rule was invoked). Poor Guam. It's always getting sand kicked in its face, isn't it? I mean, how is a U.S. territory with a population of 150,000 supposed to compete on the world stage? It Just Isn't Fair.
Some other memorable moments in the island's sports history:
1998 Guam Open (the last time the event was played on the Asian PGA Tour) American Jerry Smith shoots a 16-under 272 to take first prize. Ted Gogue, the only Guamanian to make the cut, finishes 65th, dead last, 33 strokes back.
2000 Olympic baseball qualifying With host Australia being granted an automatic berth, Guam has a better shot than usual at representing the Oceania/Africa region. Alas, it's swept in three straight games by South Africa, hardly a hardball power. The South Africans proceed to get outscored, 73-11, in the Olympic tournament, have four games ended by the mercy rule and are no-hit by Cuba.
2000 Olympic basketball qualifying New Zealand 125, Guam 43. Brad Riley notches 27 points for the Kiwis, but his coach thoughtfully takes him out before he outscores the entire Guamanian team.
2002 World Cup qualifying Iran 19, Guam 0. It's the worst loss in World Cup history (that is, until the Aussies beat Tonga, 22-0, in another qualifier). And no, it isn't a fluke. Earlier that year, Guam lost to China 19-0 in Asian Cup qualifying.

Maybe Guam should merge with Tonga or something.

News item: Alex Rodriguez says he'd be willing to take a 30 to 40 percent pay cut "if it would make the game better."
: In a show of solidarity, Donnie Sadler, the Rangers' .178-hitting second baseman, says he, too, would be willing to work for 60 to 70 percent of A-Rod's $25million salary.

Alex Rodriguez volunteering to take a 30 to 40 percent pay cut. That's almost as funny as Jose Canseco telling a judge, "I would rather spend 31 years in prison than to lie and compromise myself" by accepting a plea agreement on charges related to a bar fight.

Speaking of Canseco, I can't wait for his tell-all book to hit the shelves. Even more shocking than his steroid revelations, I hear, is his admission that he really hit only 309 career home runs. The other 153 were belted by his twin brother, Ozzie.

In his latest Mailbag column for CNNSI.com, Sports Illustrated's Paul Zimmerman reminisces about boxing Ernest Hemingway as a youth. In high school, he says, he dreamed of being a fighter, so after school he "used to go down to George Brown's gym on West 57th Street in NYC to train. It was a kind of celebrity gym, and Hemingway was the No.1 celebrity. He liked to get in the ring, and they'd put me in with him because we were about the same size, although I was only 15 and 16 at the time. Brown's instructions to me were always the same. No right hands. He didn't want some wild-[butt] punk driving away his best customers." There's other good stuff about Hemingway in Zimmerman's column. By all means check it out.

Zimmerman's story reminded me of another one about Hemingway that I came across in "Baseball When the Grass Was Real," Donald Honig's classic oral history. As Billy Herman tells it, when the Brooklyn Dodgers were training in Cuba in 1942, Papa invited a bunch of players to his house for a few drinks. Before long, he talked Dodgers pitcher Hugh Casey into a little sparring, and while Casey was putting on his gloves, "Hemingway suddenly hauled off and belted him," Herman says. "He hit him hard, too. He knocked Casey into [a] bookstand, and there goes the tray with all the booze and glasses smashing over the terrazzo floor. Hemingway didn't bother to pick up the tray or anything, and they were moving back and forth across the broken glass and you could hear the cracking and crunching."
Twice Hemingway's wife appeared, wondering what the ruckus was about, but he shooed her away. The bout finally ended when Papa, who got knocked down several times, kicked Casey in the groin, according to Herman. He tried to talk the pitcher into spending the night and settling the issue in the morning with "swords, pistols, whatever you want," but Hugh wisely declined.

More from Herman (who sounds like a real character): "That was quite a [Dodgers team]. Johnny Allen was with us then. There was a wild man. And mean. Hemingway was lucky he didn't ask Allen to stay for a duel. Johnny would have hung around for it."

Knock the Kemper Open all you want, but since the tournament moved to Washington in 1980, seven of its winners have gone on to capture major championships. The honor roll: Craig Stadler ('82 Masters), Fred Couples ('92 Masters), Greg Norman ('86 and '93 British Opens), Tom Kite ('92 U.S. Open), Mark Brooks ('96 PGA), Justin Leonard ('97 British) and now Rich Beem ('02 PGA).

And let's not forget that Stuart Appleby, the '98 Kemper champ, got in a four-way playoff at the British Open last month before losing out to Ernie Els.

Moral: The Kemper may not be the Memorial, but it ain't the Southern Farm Bureau Classic, either.

Golf Hero of the Week: Scotland's Alastair Forsyth, who scored a 10 on the 17th hole Friday in the Scottish PGA, losing two balls, and still made the cut.

And finally
"This course the NEC Invitational is being played on has to be the finest in the world," a golfer friend says.
And why is that?
"Because everybody doesn't like something," he explains, "but nobody doesn't like Sahalee."

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