- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 20, 2003

Condolences to the Kemper Open, which recently lost its sponsor. Fortunately, the tournament took out an insurance policy to protect itself against just such an eventuality. The policy was with Kemp- …
Never mind.

So I'm watching the ump get jumped at Comiskey Park last week, and I'm thinking: Between this and the coach mugging last year, White Sox fans might have more tackles than the Bears' defense.

Speaking of Comiskey, I'd be perfectly willing to cover a game there, but only if I'm embedded.

Steve Spurrier Quote of the Week: "Right now, there's not a Gator on our roster. We did sign a [Florida State] Seminole, getting Laveranues Coles. But me and Laveranues both have some less than pleasant memories about some people in Tallahassee, so we should get along fine."
(From a column by Hubert Mizell in the St. Petersburg Times.)

Speaking of the Redskins, they're not the only team that has been busy in the offseason. Check out the moves made by some of their upcoming opponents:
Patriots Signed LB Rosevelt Colvin and Pro Bowl FS Rodney Harrison. Have five of the first 78 picks in the draft, including two No.1s.
Dolphins Acquired Pro Bowl LB Junior Seau.
Buffalo Added free-agent LB Takeo Spikes.
Falcons Traded for WR Peerless Price.
Saints Swung deal for FS Tebucky Jones and have the 17th and 18th picks in the draft.
Yup, should be an interesting season for the Burgundy Bunch.

My 12-year-old, self-appointed head of the Sportswriting Police, pointed out this particularly overblown prose in the current issue of Sports Illustrated: "[The Gramatica brothers] are not merely kickers, they are performance artists behind facemasks, punctuating their kicks with operatic celebrations."
Performance artists? Operatic celebrations? Actually, folks, they really are "merely kickers."

Trust me, I know. I tried to extract some pithy comments from Martin, the Bucs' Designated Foot, at the last Super Bowl. He was about as lively as a striped bass in the seafood department display case.

Sorry to be so grouchy, but when you call a couple of clowns like the Gramatica brothers "artists" and "operatic," you've crossed the line.

Whatever happened to SI, anyway? In the same issue, the magazine asserts that the Martha Burk-led protest at the Masters was "the biggest golf story in years."
Bigger than Tiger Woods, guys (and gals)?

My column on the 20th anniversary of the Washington Federals brought back memories for reader Stu Megaw of Alexandria. "Once upon a time," he writes, "I sold tickets part time for the Federals. Now that was a tough job. Never before in the history of football had a team discovered so many ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. In the second year, I couldn't give [tickets] away.
"I did, however, go to all the games and have some neat stuff to show for it, including my prized possession. On June24, 1984, the Feds played their last game, a 20-17 victory at RFK over the New Orleans Breakers. I was standing near the dugout/players locker room exit when QB Mike Hohensee took a knee on the last play and launched the ball into the stands. Hit me right between the numbers. I got the signatures of Hohensee and head coach Dick Bielski on the ball, and Bielski also wrote, 'Last Play 6/24/84 Washington Federals.' There is still some [Federals] stuff that I can't seem to locate. Must be up in the attic somewhere."

The final tabulations are in. Retiring Michael Jordan still has the highest scoring average in NBA history. There was some concern about this earlier in the season much of it generated by me but Michael finished his career Wednesday night with a 30.12 points per game average to Wilt Chamberlain's 30.07. As it turns out, MJ could have scored 61 fewer points and still wound up ahead of Wilt.

Jordan has a more substantial edge over Chamberlain if you take into account allthe games they played regular season, playoffs and All-Star. His average then is 30.49 to Wilt's 28.91.

Today's sermon will be given by Charles Barkley (as quoted in Los Angeles Times): "The Lord blessed me to help poor people. I've given $3 million to schools in my neighborhood. … I don't have time to put up with the [expletive deleted] in politics. Who's a Democrat? Who's a Republican? Who's liberal? Who's conservative? Man, can my daughter just go to school and not get killed?"

The death of Jack Donohue, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's high school coach at Power Memorial in New York, reminded me that Holy Cross once hired Donohue thinking he might coerce Kareem (then Lew Alcindor) to join him. Imagine the most sought-after basketball player in the country winding up at a college in Worcester, Mass.
My good buddy John Gearan, who went to HC and edited my copy at the Worcester Telegram, e-mailed this recollection: "The dream was that Alcindor would come along with Ron Texiera of Catholic Memorial [in suburban Boston], and HC would again rule the East and beyond. Alcindor was reputedly a smart kid and interested in HC's premed program.
"Well … Alcindor and Texiera did make a visit and were escorted around campus [which had maybe five blacks on it]. HC legend John Wendelkin and a group of other jocks and somehow me entertained them in a three-bunk dorm room and then walked down the hill to Kimball Hall to eat. Alcindor said all he wanted was to be on a campus where he would go unnoticed and be treated like everyone else. That normally isn't a problem at HC, but when he walked into the dining hall, the all-male student body went wild, jumping up on tables and cheering him. He knew then HC wasn't quite big enough for a 7-foot-2 black celebrity.
"Alcindor privately thought Donohue to be a racist [something he wrote in his book and later apologized for a typical Kareem move] and wasn't going to follow him to any college. Anyway, Lew went to UCLA and Texiera [who was also black] came to HC, as did Donohue. Texiera and Donohue later disagreed about what position he should play, and Texiera quit the team and took up karate, becoming the best 6-10 karate kicker in the world."

Has there ever been a more stunning sweep than the Anaheim Mighty Ducks' 4-0 pasting of the defending champion Red Wings in the first round of the NHL playoffs? Yeah, maybe a few. Here are five other whitewashes in sports history that registered fairly high on the seismograph:
1. Boston Braves over the Philadelphia A's, 4-0, in the 1914 World Series.
The Miracle Braves were in last place in mid-July, 11 games back, before going on an incredible streak to win the National League pennant. Seemingly overmatched in the Series against the A's, who had their famous "$100,000 infield" and a pitching staff featuring Eddie Plank, Chief Bender and Joe Bush, the Braves held Connie Mack's team to just six runs and reeled off four straight wins.
2. Philadelphia 76ers over Los Angeles Lakers, 4-0, in the 1983 NBA Finals.
How did a team with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson get swept? Easy. Moses Malone outplayed Kareem, and Magic shot 40 percent from the floor (to Mo Cheeks' 55).
3. Detroit Red Wings over Montreal Canadiens, 4-0, in the 1952 Stanley Cup finals.
It's still the only time Les Canadiens have failed to win a game in the finals. They managed just two goals against the Red Wings' Terry Sawchuk, neither by Maurice Richard.
4. New Zealand over the United States, 5-0, in the 1995 America's Cup races.
The U.S. had held the Cup almost all of its 144-year existence, but Dennis Conner's Young America was no match for Russell Coutts' Black Magic.
5. Bobby Fischer (U.S.) over Mark Taimanov (USSR), 6-0, in the 1971 world chess championships.
Fischer's trouncing of Taimanov was the first shutout in the history of grandmaster chess. (And to prove it was no fluke, Bobby blanked Denmark's Bent Larsen in the next round by the same score.)

And finally, happy Easter, Luke Easter, wherever you are.

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