- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 30, 2003

What are they going to call Dennis Rodman’s new reality show on ESPN, “As the Worm Turns”?

• • •

According to reports, the show “will document the two-time All-Star’s comeback attempt.” I can imagine the story line:

Tuesday: Despondent at the NBA’s lack of interest, Dennis tries to cheer himself up by getting a new tattoo. Later in the day, he has his left nipple re-pierced.

Wednesday: After the expansion Charlotte Bobcats decline his services, D-Rod explores the possibility of rejoining tag-team partner Hulk Hogan on the wrestling circuit.

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Yup, sounds like riveting programming.

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Actually, it might have some potential if Rodman could get Arliss to be his agent.

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Poor Juwan Howard. He finally escapes Denver, and the Nuggets start the season 9-6 — while his new team, Orlando, drops 15 in a row (and counting).

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Len Bias throwback jerseys priced at $419.99. There’s a disease there somewhere.

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The win at Charlotte by the George Washington men’s basketball team didn’t seem like such a big deal — until the 49ers knocked off defending champion Syracuse at the Carrier Dome. Maybe this is the year Karl Hobbs gets the Colonials turned around.

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In protest of all the 4p.m. starts the Redskins have had this season, I’m changing my clock to Pacific Coast time.

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Don Hasselbeck, father of Redskins quarterback Tim Hasselbeck, was a lot more than “an NFL tight end for nine years” (as I’m forever seeing him described). Granted, he played much of his career in the shadow of Russ Francis, the Patriots’ Pro Bowl tight end. But in 1981, when Russ decided to take a sabbatical from the game, Don led the club with 46 receptions for 808 yards and six touchdowns. Not many tight ends have averaged 17.6 yards a catch for a season.

Hass has one other connection to the Redskins: He was the guy who swatted down Mark Moseley’s extra point try in the Raiders’ 38-9 wipeout of Washington in Super Bowl XVIII.

• • •

You forget how many terrific tight ends there were back then. In Hasselbeck’s big year (‘80), Kellen Winslow (88 catches, 1,075 yards, 10 TDs), Joe Senser (79-1,004-8), Ozzie Newsome (69-1,002-6) and Dan Ross (71-910-5) all put up numbers even better than his. And Jimmie Giles (45-786-6), Paul Coffman (55-687-4) and Dave Casper (33-572-8) weren’t too shabby either.

• • •

If he gains 45 yards today, the Vikings’ Randy Moss will have the most receiving yards in NFL history in his first six seasons. The top five are Jerry Rice (1986-91), 7,866; Moss, 7,822 (so far); Marvin Harrison (1996-2001), 7,078; Sterling Sharpe (1988-93), 7,015; and Lance Alworth (1962-67), 6,661. But here’s the rub: Alworth played in only 68 games in those years, while the others have played in more than 90. Thus, Lance’s game average (98 yards) is significantly higher than Moss’ (86), Rice’s (81.9), Harrison’s (76.3) and Sharpe’s (73.1).

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Not that anybody — other than me and Lance — cares.

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Quote of the Week: The best part about being an offensive lineman, Washington State senior center Mike Shelford told the Spokane Spokesman-Review, is that “it’s all right to be fat. You can eat whatever you want, and no one will be like, ‘Man, you’re fat.’ You just say, ‘I’m an offensive lineman.’ And they go, ‘OK.’”

And the worst part?

“The worst part is being fat,” he said. “I’ll be done here in a month or two with football, and then I’ll just be a regular fat guy.”

• • •

My Hokies source has this to say about the BCS: “I have no faith in a system in which a math student at Virginia Tech plays a major part in determining the national champion. Lee Corso was right when he stated, ‘I don’t know what a Hokie is, but God is one of them.’

“Did you realize that Kenneth Massey, whose rankings are used by the BCS, is a Virginia Tech grad student? Check it out at www.mratings.com. (Nice picture of the Hokie Bird there. I tell you, us Hokies have people in high places!)”

• • •

At least the kid doesn’t take himself too seriously. His home page (math.vt.edu/people/kemassey) leads off with a classic Yogi Berra quote: “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up somewhere else.”

• • •

Seven things you probably didn’t know about Warren Spahn, who died last week at 82:

1. Not only did Spahn finish with 363 big league victories, he also finished with 363 hits.

2. He’s one of only two baseball Hall of Famers to win the Purple Heart, the other being Hoyt Wilhelm. (One time when the Braves were playing in L.A., Spahn made a guest appearance on the ‘60s TV series “Combat.” He played, of all things, a German soldier. To see a picture of him in his costume, plug the words “Combat TV Show Warren Spahn” into a search engine and then click on the item titled “WWII Uniforms Used on COMBAT!”)

3. Had Spahn pitched under today’s rules, he would have won three Cy Young Awards instead of one. From 1956 to ‘66, you see, only one award was given for both leagues. Spahnie placed second in the balloting in ‘58 and again in ‘61, both times behind an American Leaguer (Yankees Bob Turley and Whitey Ford). He also was the runner-up in ‘60, but that was behind a National Leaguer (the Pirates’ Vern Law).

4. Willie Mays owned Spahn. The Say Hey Kid homered off him for his first major league hit in 1951 and went on to rack up 18 dingers against him, the most he hit off any pitcher.

5. During his Boston days, Spahn once struck out 18 in a game — in 15 innings against the Cubs in 1952. Alas, he lost 3-1 on a two-run triple by Hal Jeffcoat.

6. In 1961, at the age of 40, he flirted with back-to-back no-hitters. He settled for a two-hitter in the second game, one of the “hits” coming on a misplayed fly ball.

7. Even though Spahn’s last season in the majors was 1965, he wasn’t up for election to the Hall of Fame until ‘73. Why? Because he played in the minors in ‘66 (Mexico City) and ‘67 (Tulsa).

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One more bit of Spahn minutiae (courtesy of Furman Bisher of the Atlanta Journal and Constitution):

Spahn pulled a Joe Namath before the 1957 season, predicting in the Saturday Evening Post that “Milwaukee Will Win the Pennant.” “The Braves had played it down to the wire the year before and lost by a game to the Dodgers,” Bisher recalled last week. “The memory of the 20,000 or so fans who had waited to greet the losing team at the airport when they flew in from St. Louis was still heavy on his mind. He was bitter.

“He went further. ‘The Braves will defeat the New York Yankees in the World Series, four games to two,’ he said. He wasn’t far off course. It was four games to three.”

(The reason Furman remembers this is that he wrote the “as told to” article with Spahn.)

• • •

The Sunday Column wishes newly engaged Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren all the luck in the world. They’re going to need it, if these marriages between athletes and models are any indication:

• Brazilian soccer hero Ronaldo and Milene Domingues — Just last year, Ronaldo was telling a late-night Spanish TV show that the key to his success was “sex a couple of hours before the match. [It] relaxes [the man] and makes him happy,” he explained, “which in turn gives him a whole load of energy,” he said. Two weeks ago, though, the Real Madrid striker announced he was divorcing his wife of nearly four years.

• Major league pitcher Chuck Finley and rock-video vixen Tawny Kitaen — A sad story of spousal abuse … except that, reportedly, she attacked him. The 6-foot-6 Finley obtained a temporary restraining order against Kitaen and later filed for divorce. Kitaen managed to get the charges dropped by agreeing to undergo a year of anger management counseling.

• NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon and Brooke Gordon (Miss Winston ‘92) — The pair underwent a nasty and very public split earlier this year. Another model, one Deanna Merryman, claimed she caused the breakup by having an 11-month affair with Gordon that began after they met in a Neiman Marcus store in Florida.

• Tennis legend Boris Becker and Barbara Feltus — Their union of nearly seven years, which produced two sons, hit the skids after Becker told his wife he had fathered a child by another woman (also, naturally, a model).

• NBA player Arvydas Sabonis and Ingrida Saboniene — Ingrida, once named Miss Vilnius of Lithuania, was charged with drunken driving about two hours before Sabonis’ Portland team played Utah in Game 5 of the 2000 Western Conference semifinals. (Arvydas, undeterred, had 16 points and nine rebounds as the Trail Blazers eliminated the Jazz 81-79.) Seven months later, she was arrested for DWI again.

• Basketball star Kobe Bryant and Vanessa Laine — They first crossed paths at a music video shoot, where Vanessa working as a background model. You know the rest.

• • •

And finally …

Speaking of nuptials, give Nomar Garciaparra and Mia Hamm credit for pulling off the Hidden Wedding Trick.


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