- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 15, 2002

The tears will be flowing today when the Eagles and Redskins play the last regular-season game at Veterans Stadium.
Pepper spray tends to have that effect.

I always thought "The Vet" was a great name for the place, the Philly fans being so rabid and all.

And those Buddy Ryan defenses in the '80s and early '90s! You needed a tranquilizer gun to slow them down.

The Eagles cheerleaders are said to be thrilled about the new stadium, by the way. No more peepholes in their dressing room.
The club is installing two-way mirrors instead.

Re: Steve Spurrier's plan to switch Champ Bailey to wide receiver
Why stop there, Steve? LaVar Arrington looks like he'd make a heckuva tight end to me.

The NFL, I hear, is going to crack down on helmet tossers like Chris McAlister and Kyle Turley next season. In addition to hitting them with a personal foul penalty, it's going to flag them for an illegal forward pass.

One of the reasons Drew Bledsoe has gone over so big in Buffalo is that he knows how to keep his wideouts happy. Look at how close the statistics of Peerless Price and Eric Moulds are after 13 games:
Price: 81 catches, 1,125 yards, nine touchdowns.
Moulds: 81 catches, 1,106 yards, nine touchdowns.
That's almost impossible.

The Redskins did the same balancing act with three receivers in the late '80s Art Monk, Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders. In '89, their best season together, Monk caught 86 balls, Sanders 80 and Clark 79.

Would you believe there's a town with a population of 1,804 that has four players in the NFL? That's right, Parkersburg, Iowa, some 25 miles west of Waterloo, produced Lions defensive end Jared DeVries, Packers defensive end Aaron Kampman, Jaguars offensive lineman Brad Meester and Chiefs center Casey Wiegmann.
All went to Aplington-Parkersburg High and were coached by Ed Thomas, who has turned the school into a Class 2A power. "He started it long before I got there," Wiegmann told Bill Richardson of the Kansas City Star. "He built a large weight room that was unheard of for a school that size. He put in a special offseason workout program where the kids come in at 6:30 in the morning for agility drills and stuff like that. The kids go nuts about it."

DeVries, Kampman, Meester and Wiegmann tip the scales at a collective 1,185 pounds. I don't think my entire high school team weighed that much.

Speaking of high school football, did you see that Magna Vista a Virginia state semifinalist in Division 4 forfeited its 11 wins this season because it had used an ineligible player? According to the Roanoke Times, the kid was in his ninth semester of competition.
What, did the school think he was a redshirt senior?

One last high school football note: On the coaching staff at Phoebus High in Hampton, Va., which went for its second straight Division 5 state title yesterday, is an assistant named Dick Van Dyke.
No, his wife's name isn't Mary Tyler Moore.

Someone made the observation that Dennis Franchione is doing "a reverse [Bear] Bryant" going from Alabama to Texas A&M; instead of the other way around. If the pattern holds, expect Franchione to be coaching at Maryland (Bear's first head job) around 2012, after an intermediate stop at Kentucky.

It's about time the Terps' E.J. Henderson a frequent finalist the past two years won some national honors for his linebacking. For a while there, I thought all he was going to come away with was the Bupkus Award.

MGM is reportedly close to signing Sylvester Stallone to write and star in "Rocky VI." In the latest installment (chose your own story line):
a. Rocky is forced back into the ring after Adrian's chain of pet stores "Puppies 'n' Guppies" bankrupts them.
b. Rocky comes out of retirement to try to save boxing from Tonya Harding.
c. Rocky, lost without deceased trainer Mickey Goldmill (the late Burgess Meredith), enlists the help of Bullwinkle J. Moose.
d. Rocky hangs director John G. Avildsen on a meat hook and pummels him in the ribs until he promises never to direct another "Rocky" movie.

Number of the week: 45. (Minutes played by Grant Hill in Orlando's 114-109 overtime loss to Boston last week. The Magic had to be more excited about that than about his 20 points, 14 rebounds or seven assists, inasmuch as Grant missed most of the last two seasons with ankle problems.)

Great story in the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday about how Suzy Whaley isn't the first woman to play in a PGA Tour event. Babe Didriksen, it turns out, did her one better, not only qualifying for the 1945 Los Angeles Open but also doing it from the men's tees. Babe shot a 76 in the first round, lower than 84 men in the field, and actually made the 36-hole cut.
"Imagine a woman tackling a 7,000-yard course in the fastest company in the world and sticking!" Times columnist Al Wolf enthused at the time. Imagine, indeed.

Almost as interesting was the story about the impostor Darren Muarry (real name: Robert Atwater) who schmoozed his way into a Senior PGA event last year. Turns out Muarry/Atwater had been on the lam for more than a decade after pleading guilty to a federal drug charge. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "He was a really nice guy," said Peter Dwyer, the caddiemaster [at Wilshire Country Club in L.A.] who hired Atwater [to tote bags]. "One thing that hindered him, though, was he actually didn't play real well."
Sports has been teeming with impostors in recent years, in case you hadn't noticed. A partial listing:
Ron Weaver, 1995 Played football under an assumed name for the University of Texas at the age of 30, even though he'd used up his college eligibility in the '80s. "My lifelong dream was to play football," he explained, "and I wanted it to last forever."
Willis Clyde Thomas, 1999 Impersonated not one but two NFL players, Bengals offensive tackle Jamain Stephens and 49ers tight end Chad Fann. Finagled free rooms and other perks out of Las Vegas hotel owners. (Thomas went 6-7, 305 pounds, which would make him just about the largest tight end in football history. Cracked Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John L. Smith: "At least he didn't try to pass himself off as Willie Shoemaker.")
William Nicholas McMullen, 1999 Had folks in New Bedford, Mass. (including his wife and son) believing he was Nick Eddy, the Notre Dame football star from the '60s. Even landed a position as a high school football assistant, despite a limited background in the sport. Was finally "outed" after the local newspaper did a feature on him and a copy of it found its way to the real Nick Eddy.
Anthony Lemar Taylor, 2001 Posing as Tiger Woods (who he looks nothing like), Taylor stole $17,000 worth of goods. Sentenced to 200 years-to-life under California's three-strikes law.
Herbert John Derungs, 2001 Got a Canadian baseball bat company to mail him 60 bats by passing himself off as Derek Jeter and Nomar Garciaparra. Compounded the felony by trying to sell the bats as "game used" on EBay.
Barry Bremen "The Great Impostor." Famous for sneaking into events like the '81 NBA All-Star Game (he shot layups with the Western Conference stars) and the '86 baseball All-Star Game (he warmed up with the National League team until manager Tommy Lasorda told him to scram). His greatest moment, though, might have been when he beat actress Betty Thomas to the podium and accepted her Best Supporting Actress Emmy for "Hill Street Blues" in 1985.

Those wondering what to buy Nomar Garciaparra and Mia Hamm for a wedding present might want to consider the advice of the coach (played by Robert Wuhl) in "Bull Durham":
"Well, uh, candlesticks always make a nice gift. And, uh, maybe you could find out where she's registered. Maybe a place-setting or maybe a silverware pattern's good."

Candlesticks? Nomar's got so much money, he could probably buy her Candlestick Park.

The Senior PGA Tour is changing its name to the Champions Tour. No word yet on whether Pete Senior, the Australian Presidents Cupper, plans to change his name, too.

And finally
News item: John Dowd, who headed baseball's investigation of Pete Rose in 1989, says Rose told him the Reds want to bring him back as manager if his suspension is lifted.
Comment: Not to be outdone, the White Sox are considering replacing Jerry Manuel with Shoeless Joe Jackson.

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