- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 9, 2002

The Tyson-Lewis fight started too late to be included in the Sunday Column, but I wouldn't be surprised if it ended in a double knockout.

Actually, make that a triple knockout. The referee probably ended up on the canvas, too.

You know those clowns in rodeo who jump in to distract the bull after the rider has been thrown? Well, the Tyson-Lewis bout could have used somebody like that just in case Iron Mike had another meltdown.

Turns out Tom Collen, the women's hoops coach who was unhired by Vanderbilt, really does have two master's degrees just as his disputed resume said.
Maybe he can loan one to George O'Leary.

The ascension of Venus and Serena Williams to the top of the women's tennis rankings got me wondering: Who are some of the other great sister acts in sports history? A partial listing:
Christine and Marielle Goitschel, skiing, France The Goitschels were the darlings of the '64 Winter Games, finishing 1-2 in both the slalom (Christine triumphed) and the giant slalom (Marielle's turn). After winning the gold, a giddy Marielle told the media she was engaged to a not yet famous skier named Jean-Claude Killy. Some reporters ran with the story, but it was just a practical joke.
Pam and Paula McGee, basketball, U.S. These 6-foot-3 twin towers joined forces with Cheryl Miller to win back-to-back NCAA championships for Southern Cal in '83 and '84. In the '84 title game against Tennessee, each scored 17 points. Perhaps their greatest accomplishment, though, was appearing on a TV show, "Thicke of the Night," and whipping Alan Thicke and Elliott Gould in a two-on-two game.
Kim and Elaina Oden, volleyball, U.S. Selected to the NCAA's all-decade team for the '80s and helped the U.S. win a bronze medal in the '92 Olympics. (A third Oden sister, Bev, also made the all-'80s team.)
Sylviane and Patricia Puntous, triathlon, Canada Took first and second in the Ironman women's triathlon in '83 and '84.
Tamara and Irina Press, track and field, U.S.S.R. Between them, Tamara (shot put, discus) and Irina (80-meter hurdles, pentathlon) won five golds in the '60 and '64 Games. There seems to be some question, however, about whether they were, in fact, sisters. According to "The Complete Book of the Olympics" by David Wallechinsky, they "disappeared from competition [later in the decade] following the institution of sex tests."

If the revised matchups for interleague play don't bring out the crowds, maybe baseball will try real interleague play the Baltimore Orioles against the Washington Redskins, for instance.

Too bad Deion Sanders is retired. He could have played against himself.

Tony Gwynn, you may recall, was hitting .394 the last time baseball players went on strike (and wiped out the rest of the '94 season). And now Ichiro Suzuki is closing in on .400 and the players are talking about a work stoppage again. It's a conspiracy, is what it is.

Speaking of the Mariners, I hear they weren't worried at all when one of their team buses burst into flames a while back. Manager Lou Piniella simply rose from his seat and signaled for Kazuhiro Sasaki, five-time Fireman of the Year in Japan.

The Orioles have done pretty well in the past when they've had the fourth pick in the draft witness Gregg Olson (1988) and Jeffrey Hammonds ('92) so maybe Canadian left-hander Adam Loewen will be a keeper for them.

Other notable players who went fourth in the draft: Kerry Wood (1995), Kevin Brown ('86), Barry Larkin ('85), Mike Morgan ('78), Dave Winfield ('73), Darrell Porter ('70), Thurman Munson ('68) and Jon Matlack ('67).

Nice to see the Twins have been granted a stay of execution. I mean, they're only in first place in the AL Central.

Have you noticed what the Red Sox's Derek Lowe has been doing? Two years after saving 40 games as a reliever (and making the All-Star team), he's trying to win 20 games as a starter (and make the All-Star team). Current record: 9-2.
No big league pitcher has ever reinvented himself like that at least, not in such a short a period. Dennis Eckersley, the only pitcher to win 20 and save 40, had his 40-save season with Oakland ('88) a full decade after his 20-win season with Boston ('78).
Yup, what Lowe is attempting to do is pretty amazing. After all, it's rare enough for a pitcher to win 10 games (as a starter) and save 40. Dave Righetti did it. So did Rick Aguilera, Jose Mesa and Tom Gordon. But that's it. And those guys like Eckersley went from the starting rotation to the bullpen. For Lowe, it's been the other way around.

John Smoltz, if he grows into the closer role in Atlanta, also might be a candidate for the 20-40 club someday.

This week's trivia question: What do Lowe, Eckersley and Righetti have in common? (Answer below.)

Michael Westbrook certainly is a hot commodity in free agency, isn't he?

If he were any hotter, he'd be applying to grad schools.

Memo to the folks at Kemper Insurance: If you really want Tiger Woods to play in your event, you could always become one of his corporate sponsors. That's what Buick did.

After 45-year-old Beth Daniel shot a 67 in the first round of the LPGA Championship, the New York Times noted that "the oldest woman golfer to win a major championship was Babe Zaharias, who captured the 1954 United States Open at the age of 43 years, 7 days." Two months before that Open, interestingly enough, Babe won a tournament right here in Washington at Prince George's Country Club, to be precise. She shot a 4-under 299 (or so the LPGA media guide says) to beat out Betty Jameson and capture the $1,000 first prize. Alas, it was one of Babe's last tour victories; she died of cancer in '56.

Five years earlier, Prince George's CC played host to the U.S. Women's Open. Zaharias finished second that time to Louise Suggs by a Tigeresque 14 strokes. It's still the largest winning margin in the history of the event.

You know where else the women's tour used to play? Turf Valley Country Club in Ellicott City. A tournament originally the Kelly Girls Open and later the Sight Open and the Lady Carling Open was held there from 1962 to '66. Kathy Whitworth won it twice.
And, of course, Bethesda Country Club was the site of the Greater Washington Open in the late '80s and the LPGA Championship in the early '90s.
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Answer to trivia question: They've all thrown no-hitters Lowe against Tampa Bay earlier this season, Eckersley against California in '77 and Righetti against Boston in '83.
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News item: Red Wings fans Nick and Sarah Arena name their son Joe Louis Arena.
Comment: It could have been worse. The parents could have been Nick and Sarah Field, and they could have named their son Enron Field.

Contrary to what Gary Bettman says, I don't think Carolina's appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals is going to do much for the popularity of hockey in the South unless the Hurricanes can put together a five- or six-year run. And even then
Look at the Florida Panthers. They went to the finals in '96 but failed to build on it, and now they're just another struggling franchise. Hockey in the Sun Belt is still an incredibly tough sell as Declan Bolger, the Capitals' VP for business operations, can tell you. He used to work for the Panthers.

And finally
After much deliberation, Caps GM George McPhee has narrowed his list of coaching candidates to two. It'll either be Toe Blake or Punch Imlach.


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