- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 8, 2002

News item: Nomar Garciaparra and Mia Hamm get engaged over Thanksgiving.
Comment:
Is this what they mean by cross training?

Given how long Nomar fiddles with his wristbands before each pitch, I can hardly wait to see him slip the ring on her finger.

Just wondering: During the honeymoon, will Mia be allowed to use her hands?

Omissions Dept.:
Eagle-eyed reader Greg McCarthy points out that my list of "NFL brother QBs" last Sunday left out shame on me Damon and Brock Huard. Damon is currently backing up Tom Brady in New England, and Brock is No.2 behind Peyton Manning in Indianapolis.
(Which makes it even more amazing, really. There are now three sets of quarterbacking brothers playing in the league and only one other in modern history.)
Another regrettable oversight was neglecting to include Fred Gehrke among my 10 Athletes, Past and Present, Whose Names Sound Almost Like "Turkey." Fred, who played seven seasons in the NFL with the Rams, Cardinals and 49ers (1940, '45-50), has an important place in pro football history. A graphic designer in the offseason, he was responsible for the first design on an NFL helmet when he painted horns on the Rams' helmets in 1948. (Team owner Dan Reeves supposedly paid him a $1 for each helmet he painted.) Gehrke later served as general manager of the Broncos and put together their first Super Bowl squad in 1977.

Ralph Friedgen's Maryland Terrapins may have been hoping for the Gator Bowl, but I'm just glad to see them playing in a postseason game the Peach that won't be defunct a year from now (e.g. the Seattle Bowl). The Terps have appeared in a couple of bowls, you may recall, that didn't exactly set records for longevity: the Hall of Fame Bowl in Birmingham, Ala., in 1977 (Maryland 17, Minnesota 7) and the Cherry Bowl in Pontiac, Mich., in '85 (Maryland 35, Syracuse 18). The Hall of Fame went out of business in 1990, and the Cherry folded after that memorable Terps-Orange clash.

But the Independence Bowl, miraculously, lives on.

Something I didn't know until I researched the previous item: There was a bowl game played at Byrd Stadium in 1950 the Presidential Cup Bowl. Texas A&M; (6-4 and unranked) met Georgia (5-3-3 and unranked), with the Aggies prevailing 40-20.
Bob Smith had a big day for A&M;, returning the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown and adding an 81-yard TD run in the first half. He totaled 301 yards rushing, returning, receiving and passing against the Bulldogs.
It was the first and last Presidential Cup Bowl. I have no idea why, but I promise to find out or maybe I can talk Washington Times staffer Dick Heller into doing one of his flashback pieces on it. There must be a decent story behind it.

You forget how many bowl games have come and gone over the years. Like the Garden State Bowl at Giants Stadium (1978-81). Navy played in that in '80, losing to Houston 35-0. Heck, I'm old enough to remember the Gotham Bowl (1960-61 at Yankee Stadium), not to mention when the Liberty Bowl was held in Philadelphia (hence the name).

This week's trivia question: Which of the following was never a bowl game?
a. The Salad Bowl.
b. The Oil Bowl.
c. The Crouton Bowl.
d. The Aviation Bowl.
e. The Bacardi Bowl.
(Answer below.)

Number of the week: $2.3billion. (Dartmouth College's endowment as of August, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. The school just announced it was eliminating its swimming and diving program to save $212,000.)

It's swell that the Pro Football Hall of Fame wants Michael Vick's shoes. A quarterback rushing for 173 yards in a game is quite a feat. But is anyone else bothered that Vick needed overtime to set his "record"? At the end of regulation, Michael had gained 127 yards 23 shy of the mark by the Lions' Tobin Rote in 1950 (the pre-OT era). But the NFL, for record-keeping purposes, counts a game as a game (even if an extra period is involved) and a season as a season (regardless of how long the season is). So when Vick scored on a 46-yard run against the Vikings in overtime, he became the "record-holder" for rushing yards in a game by a QB.
Strange way to keep the books, if you ask me.

The Quote of the Week comes from Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, who when asked about guard Steve Herndon's illegal block on the Chargers' Jamal Williams a clip that put Williams out for the season with a broken ankle replied:
"I asked [Herndon] what he was thinking when he was going downfield. Of course, you like your linemen to hustle downfield. I don't know if you noticed, but right on the sideline, and this is the interpretation of Steve, [Denver running back] Clinton Portis is ready to cut back in and he slips. And when Clinton slips, [Steve] thinks Clinton is staying up and cutting back where [Steve] is going to try to get his head on that side of Jamal. Of course, when Clinton slips, [Steve] turns the other way to look at Clinton and hits [Williams] in the back of the ankle."

Oh.

It pays to be Tiger Woods' buddy, as Mark O'Meara can tell you.
In this week's Target World Challenge, which Tiger hosts, only one golfer in the select field of 16 is ranked lower than 26th in the world O'Meara, who's 117th. Only one golfer in the field, for that matter, finished lower than 26th on the PGA Tour money list this year O'Meara, who was 97th.
Or are we supposed to think he secured his spot by winning the Skins Game?

It's official: Suzy Whaley will be the first woman to play in a PGA Tour event when she tees it up in the Greater Hartford Open next year.
If the tournament has any sense of humor, it'll send her out in a threesome with Cameron Beckman and Robin Freeman.
(Other players with androgynous-sounding names who could be paired with Whaley: Kelly Gibson, Sandy Lyle and Pat Perez.)

Answer to trivia question: The Crouton Bowl is the only one of the five that was never a bowl game. The Salad Bowl was played in Phoenix from 1948 to '52, the Oil Bowl in Houston in '46 and '47, the Aviation Bowl in Dayton, Ohio, in '61 and the Bacardi Bowl in, believe it or not, Havana in '07, '10, '12, '21 and '37.

I'm pretty sure the Bacardi Bowl is where the Rum 'n' Shoot offense originated.

Memo to Dan Snyder: Forget about a Super Bowl at FedEx Field; that's only a one-shot deal. How about a college bowl game? You've got 86,000 seats, for goodness sakes. Who, outside of the Rose Bowl, can match that?

And besides, there's usually nothing going on at the stadium in January anyway.

So I'm reading this item in Sports Illustrated about variable ticket pricing, about how it costs less now to attend a Penguins-Islanders game than to attend a Pens-Avalanche game, and I'm thinking: If I shopped around for the right matchup, like Sabres-Predators, maybe they'd pay me to go.

Best of luck to Ron Wilson in his latest adventure whipping the underachieving San Jose Sharks into shape. By the way, did you notice that one of the assistants the Sharks fired when Wilson came in was Lorne Molleken? Molleken's the guy Caps GM George McPhee slugged after what George felt was an overly physical preseason game against the Blackhawks three years ago. Lorne had the head job in Chicago then.

And finally, in California high school basketball last week, Stonebridge Prep edged South Bay 151-5 and Hollister squeaked past Downtown College Prep 110-6.
The first game was close until midway through the player introductions, when Stonebridge Prep began to pull away. Downtown College Prep was actually tied with Hollister at the end of the ankle taping but fell steadily behind once the layup drills began.

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