- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 12, 2003

News item: In a break with Islamic tradition, an Iranian soccer club has begun admitting women into its stadium to watch games.
That Martha Burk sure gets around, doesn't she?

Just wondering: How do you say "Hootie" in Persian?

Title IX Update: In Mount Pulaski, Ill., it's illegal for boys to throw snowballs at trees. Girls, however, are free to fire away.

You have to be concerned about Ottawa's bankrupt Senators. I mean, how successful can any hockey team be if its checks are no good?

Such a sad situation. The Senators' Zamboni was repossessed, and the red line at Corel Centre has been renamed the red lien by court order.

Be honest now. How many of you read about Giants pitcher Livan Hernandez trying to hit an elderly man with some golf clubs and thought: Were those woods or irons?

It's interesting. They outlawed the flying wedge in the 1890s because it was causing serious injury on the football field, but nobody's ever done anything about the sand wedge.

Miami-Dade police are going to seek the maximum penalty for Hernandez, by the way: stroke and distance.

Hernandez probably could parlay his notoriety into a movie career if he wanted. Just call him "Shaft" "Graphite Shaft."

I've gotta share this with you. In his "Open Season" column in the San Francisco Chronicle the other day, Tom FitzGerald ran the following missive from reader Tom Hay:
"The Livan Hernandez situation reminds me of an episode in 'The Addams Family.' Morticia is lying on the floor holding a golf ball and a tee in her mouth as her husband, Gomez, prepares to swing at the ball. She asks, 'What happens if you miss the ball and hit me?' His reply? 'Doesn't matter. Still counts as a stroke.'"

Does anyone else find it strange that JoJo Starbuck, the former figure skater, hasn't been enlisted to pitch a certain brand of coffee?

Heard this second hand, but it's worth passing along: On David Letterman's show last Monday night, David asked Michael Caine if he knew who George Foreman the next guest was.
"Why, sure," Caine replied. "He's the boxer with the stove."

Truly a story for our times. George Foreman was heavyweight champion of the world twice the second time at the age of 45 and had 68 knockouts in 81 bouts. But he might be remembered as much as anything as "the boxer with the stove."

In cataloguing the awfulness of the Denver Nuggets' offense for CNNSI.com, John Hollinger writes: "No team [has] shot below 40 percent [as the Nuggets are doing] since the Boston Celtics shot 39.8 percent in 1960-61. Ironically, the Celtics won the title that year, one of three times in the '60s they won a championship despite finishing last in field goal percentage the only times in NBA history that has happened."
Actually, it's not that ironic if you look at the statistics a little closer. In each of those three seasons, the Celtics finished either first or second in the league in field goals made, a much more significant stat than shooting percentage. The Celts also allowed the fewest or second-fewest points in each of those seasons, meaning they played great defense. That was their winning formula push the ball up the floor and defend, defend, defend.
In '63-64, one of the seasons, the Celtics had 654 more field goal attempts than any other team in the NBA and 1,332 more than the Lakers. That means they got off 16.65 more shots per game than L.A. did which, with their .413 field-goal percentage, produced 13.75 more points (not counting three-point plays).
Here endeth the math lesson.

Now that he has retired as a basketball coach after 786 wins Charles G. Driesell can take his rightful place in the Lefties Hall of Fame. Some of the other sports luminaries he joins:
Charles Martin "Lefty" Colombo Halfback on the U.S. soccer team that beat England 1-0 in the 1950 World Cup, arguably the biggest upset in the annals of the sport. Known for wearing gloves in all weather.
Mike "Lefty" Curran One of the greatest goalies in U.S. hockey history. Led the American team to a silver medal in the '72 Olympics and later played in the World Hockey Association for the Minnesota Fighting Saints.
William Orville "Lefty" Frizzell The celebrated country singer ("If You've Got the Money Honey, I've Got the Time") got his nickname as a boxer in his youth.
Alice "Lefty" Hohlmayer Star of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in the '40s and '50s. A first baseman/pitcher, she once got a hit off Satchel Paige in an exhibition game.
George "Lefty" James Football coach at Cornell from 1947-60. Compiled a 66-58-2 record, which doesn't sound like much until you realize that George Seifert posted a 3-15 mark at the same school.
Lefty Kreh Fishing legend, author ("Advanced Fly Fishing Techniques) and former outdoor editor of the Baltimore Sun.
Phil Mickelson ("Lefty") A perennial bridesmaid to Tiger Woods, but he does have 21 PGA Tour victories.
(Yeah, the list could have included baseballers Lefty Grove, Lefty Gomez and Lefty O'Doul among others but everybody's familiar with them, right?)

The Sunday Column may not know how to say "Hootie" in Persian, but it knows how to say "Lefty" in Spanish: "El Zurdo."

Charles G. "El Zurdo" Driesell. I like the sound of that.

Did you see Nolan Richardson III resigned as men's basketball coach at Tennessee State, not long after being suspended for packing a pistol in the school's arena?
Then again, he did promise the Tigers were going to be more of a run-and-gun team this season.

You have to ask yourself: Would Richardson have kept his job if he'd only been armed with, say, a 3-iron?

NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue on the officiating screw-up at the end of the Giants-49ers playoff game (in an interview with ESPN's Bob Ley): "It was a chaotic game, it was a chaotic second half. But it was such a critical game and obviously it was a critical play, and the officiating seemed to be caught up a little bit in the bedlam and in the chaos. And with the benefit of hindsight, it seems that the decisions were made with less than full information, and that's very disappointing."
Translation: Boy, you hate for a team in the No.1 TV market to get eliminated like that.

If LaVar Arrington really wants to inspire himself next year, he should post these numbers over his locker: 170 tackles, five interceptions, 15 passes defensed, four touchdowns. That's what Tampa Bay linebacker Derrick Brooks accomplished this season en route to being named the AP's NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Speaking of NFL awards, all the stories about the Broncos' Clinton Portis being voted the AP's Offensive Rookie of the Year said he "had the second-best average per carry ever for a rookie, 5.52, behind Franco Harris' 5.61 in 1972."
Just off the top of my head, though, I can think of a couple of Hall of Famers who had much higher averages as rookies. Hugh McElhenny averaged 7 yards a carry for the 49ers in '52 (98 rushes, 684 yards), and Lenny Moore averaged 7.5 for the Colts in '56 (86, 649).
And what about Beattie Feathers? In his first year with the Bears in '34, he carried 119 times for 1,004 yards an average of 8.4.

Statistic of the Week: 14-4. (Marty Schottenheimer's record in the final 11 games of last season with the Redskins and the first seven games of this season with the Chargers. Neither team made the playoffs.)

Jets mighty mite Santana Moss is becoming the player everybody including the Redskins hoped Jacquez Green would be.

How could 73 baseball writers not have marked an "X" next to Eddie Murray's name on their Hall of Fame ballots? What, they thought it was Eddie Murray, the former NFL kicker?

And finally, to put the thrill back into baseball's All-Star Game, Bud Selig wants to give the league that wins it the homefield advantage in the World Series.
Too bad he didn't institute the policy last year, after the infamous 7-7 All-Star tie. We could have had the first Fall Classic played on a neutral field.

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