- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 31, 2002

By the time you read this, the Final Four will have been reduced to the Terrific Two and tomorrow night we'll find out who the Wonderful One is.

After months of slipping and sliding, the Capitals have suddenly become the Team No One Wants to Meet in the First Round of the Playoffs.

If the Orioles need help in the bullpen this season, I'm pretty sure Dennis Quaid is available.

With his performance as former Tampa Bay Devil Ray Jimmy Morris in "The Rookie," by the way, Quaid has now played a pitcher, a quarterback ("Any Given Sunday"), a running back ("Everybody's All-American") and a cyclist ("Breaking Away") in his acting career.
I hear in his next movie he's going to be a synchronized swimmer.

Speaking of movies, Phil Hochberg, the Redskins' longtime and recently retired P.A. announcer, writes, "In the current movie hit 'In the Bedroom,' much of the action takes place with broadcasts of Boston Red Sox games over WEEI, Boston, taking place in the background. … Yet the Red Sox always seem to be playing a National League team, either the Astros or the Braves. I don't think the Red Sox have ever played the Astros."
Dear Phil: That alone should have cost the movie the Oscar.

In case you missed it: The 99 Club added another member last week. Dante Bichette (career batting average: .299) decided to hang 'em up.

Dante is probably calling official scorers as I type, trying to get a few reached-on-errors changed to hits. He needs only six more singles for .300.

Did you hear about the craziness at Madison Square Garden the other night? Syracuse and South Carolina both came out in white uniforms for their NIT semifinal and actually started the game that way. About three minutes in, the Orangemen switched to their orange road jerseys, but only after the team manager got a police escort back to the Marriott Marquis to fetch them.
"Lights and sirens the whole way," he told the Syracuse Post-Standard.
It was something to see. For the rest of the first half, Syracuse played in orange tops and white bottoms. Then, at the break, the players changed into their orange shorts. (It reminded me of my poor, underfunded high school team back in Gardner, Mass. We had to make do with only one pair of shorts orange. At home, we wore white jerseys, and on the road we wore orange. Pretty nifty, huh?)

The NFL, by the way, had a couple of mixups like that in the old days. The first one was in 1944, when the Cleveland Rams showed up for a game at Detroit in blue jerseys very similar to the Lions'. Rather than delay the kickoff while someone found them different-colored jerseys, though, the Rams agreed to put strips of white tape across their shoulder pads. Final score: Cleveland 20, Detroit 17.
Eight years later, in Los Angeles, Green Bay and the Rams ran into the same problem. This time the Packers took the field in yellow jerseys almost identical to the Rams' an obvious attempt to slow down L.A.'s high-powered passing attack. Naturally, the home team squawked. But Green Bay coach Gene Ronzani claimed the Packers had no choice, that the green jerseys they usually wore at the Coliseum had been left at the practice field they had used during the week (wink, wink).
The Rams called the league office and announced they were playing the game under protest. They needn't have worried, though. The Packers were more perplexed by all the yellow jerseys than they were. Green Bay quarterbacks Babe Parilli and Tobin Rote threw five interceptions, Los Angeles' Norm Van Brocklin only one. Final score: Rams 45, Packers 27.
Even so, L.A. fullback Tank Younger said, "it was mighty confusing. We were blocking the wrong guys all afternoon."

Five years ago, the Redskins could have drafted Kenard Lang or Renaldo Wynn in the first round. They opted for Lang and Wynn was taken four picks later by Jacksonville.
This year the Redskins were faced with the same choice in free agency Lang or Wynn? but they came to an entirely different decision. They let Kenard go (to the Browns) and signed Renaldo. Interesting, don't you think?

Here's something else that's interesting: The Redskins gave Wynn a six-year, $20million contract with a $3.5million signing bonus pretty close to what Lang got from Cleveland (five years, $17million, $3.4million bonus). So they obviously had the money to re-sign Lang if they'd wanted. They just preferred Wynn, that's all.
Unless, of course, they misread the market.
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All the commotion about Danny Wuerffel wearing Joe Theismann's No.7 in minicamp seems a little silly, if you ask me. Consider all the other famous Redskins numbers that have been kept in circulation and who's been assigned them in recent years:
3 (Mark Moseley) Jeff George, 2000-01.
17 (Billy Kilmer) John Friesz, 1994.
20 (Cliff Battles) Skip Hicks, 1998-2000.
27 (Ken Houston) Tito Paul, 1999.
37 (Pat Fischer) Cedric Smith, 1994-95.
40 (Wayne Millner) Reggie Brooks, 1993-95.
51 (Monte Coleman) Antwaune Ponds, 1998.
55 (Chris Hanburger) Jeff Uhlenhake, 1996-97.
66 (Joe Jacoby) Mookie Moore, 2000.
68 (Russ Grimm) Tony Hutson, 2000.
71 (Charles Mann) Barron Tanner, 1999.
84 (Gary Clark) Olanda Truitt, 1994-95.

Trivia question: Who wore No.28 before Darrell Green appropriated it in '83? (Answer below.)

One glance at the Redskins' 2002 schedule makes you realize how easy they had it last year. At San Francisco, at Tennessee, at Green Bay, at Seattle yikes. Plus, you know Indianapolis won't go 6-10 again with Tony Dungy in charge (especially if Edgerrin James comes back strong.)

And let's not forget: The Redskins haven't beaten the Cowboys, the "weakest" of their opponents, since Texas was part of Mexico.

Life is good for Super Bowl hero Tom Brady. Not only did he get to go to Disney World, he got to appear on the Oscars telecast last Sunday night. He was the guy on that video lead-in who said his favorite movie was "Braveheart" and that he'd seen it "150 times."

And here Bill Belichick thought Brady was spending all those hours watching game films.

Answer to trivia question: Cris Crissy, a wide receiver from Princeton, wore No.28 for the Redskins before Darrell Green in 1981, his only season in the NFL. Earlier, Hugh "Bones" Taylor and Bob Masterson, a couple of pretty fair ends, had worn it.

It's pretty amazing. Crissy appeared in exactly one NFL game and Green has lasted 20 seasons.

FYI: Dennis Quaid wears No.63 in "The Rookie," No.19 in "Any Given Sunday" and No.20 in "Everybody's All-American."

It was only a matter of time before an obscurity like Craig Perks won the Players Championship or some other titanic tournament. After all, didn't Jean Van de Velde, Bob May and Brian Watts nearly capture majors the last few years?

And finally, a colleague says, "George Karl's comments in Esquire [about reverse discrimination against white assistant coaches] don't bother me. But his admission that he doesn't wear underwear, now that's offensive.
"It reminds me of an episode of 'Seinfeld,' when Jerry and Elaine found out that Kramer didn't wear any. 'The only thing between us,' Jerry said, 'is a thin layer of gabardine,'"



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