- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 26, 2003

Welcome to the Sunday Column, where the pizza is never cold.

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A few of the jokes might be slightly warmed over, though.

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The day after I ran an item in This Space about the Red Sox’s Kevin Millar applying lip gloss in the on-deck circle, I came across the following in Esquire magazine:

Question to Michael Vick: You use a lot of ChapStick, right?

Vick: “I used to lick my lips a lot as a kid. Now that I’m addicted to it, I keep [ChapStick] in my helmet. I’d spend about $1,000 a year on it, but they sent me 700 tubes, so I’m set.”

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The same issue of Esquire (November) points out: “Every minute of work, the average man earns 29 cents.

“And A-Rod earns $818.08.”

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On the plus side, the average man has just as many World Series rings.

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Poor Carl Pavano. With one swing of Ruben Sierra’s bat Wednesday night (or was it Thursday morning?), he went from being the Pitcher Who Beat Roger Clemens in His Last Game to the Pitcher Who Gave Up a Hit to Roger Clemens in His Last Game.

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Ugueth Urbina is the new Don “Full Pack” Stanhouse (so nicknamed by Earl Weaver for the number of cigarettes he went through whenever Stanhouse relieved).

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Watching Alfonso Soriano chase bad pitch after bad pitch in this postseason, I’m amazed anybody throws him a strike.

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The Sunday Column loves the Bengals as a home ‘dog today against the 5-1 Seahawks.

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You’ve gotta hand it to Marvin Lewis. He’s made the Bungles respectable (2-4, with three close losses) despite minimal contributions from Corey Dillon (203 rushing yards, 3.3 average) and none from top draft choice Carson Palmer (who’s wisely being held out until he’s ready to play).

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WARW — 94.7 on your FM dial — has a new slogan, I’m told:

“Classic rock — almost as old as Bruce Smith. … Well, not that old.”

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According to an item in Sports Illustrated, hair pulling has been declared legal in the NFL. In other words, if a ball carrier’s ‘do sticks out from beneath his helmet, you’re allowed to drag him down by it.

Memo to the Dolphins’ Ricky Williams, he of the lengthy dreadlocks: You might want to consider becoming a greaser.

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Quote of the Week: “Just football, man. It’s a contact sport.”

— Comment made by Cardinals defensive tackle Russell Davis to the media after he punched offensive tackle L.J. Shelton during practice and left him with a swollen eye.

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Number of the Week: 71,465. (Votes cast by a single Broncos fan in ESPN.com’s top-uniform-in-sports contest, enabling the club’s unis to “beat out” the University of Michigan football team’s for the No.1 spot. The Web site’s computer geeks later noticed certain abnormalities — such as the Broncos receiving 20,000 consecutive votes — and named Michigan the champ.

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I know Terrell Davis has a lot of time on his hands these days, but wouldn’t you think he could find something better to do than that?

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Speaking of the Broncos, did you see they put Steve Beuerlein on IR the other day? Since Beuerlein is 38 and might not return next year, we could be looking at the NFL’s first career-ending broken pinkie.

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A recent obituary for diehard Steelers fan Joe Santoni credited him with naming the club in a contest in 1940. “Santoni, who worked in the mills for Pittsburgh Steel, submitted the name ‘Steelers’ through a joint contest held by the team and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,” the Associated Press reported, “and founder/owner Art Rooney Sr. liked it.”

That might very well be true. Then again, it might not.

In his book “Great Teams’ Great Years: Pittsburgh Steelers,” Ray Didinger writes: “For the 1941 season, Art Rooney and co-owner Bert Bell both agreed it was time for a complete change. They started by sponsoring a contest to find a new name for the team. The wife of the club’s ticket manager, Joe Carr, won with the suggestion ‘Steelers.’”

Actually, the story might be more complicated than that. In ‘41, you see, Rooney sold the franchise to Lex Thompson, a 26-year-old steel heir, and Thompson changed the team’s name to “Ironmen.” Whoever dreamed up “Steelers,” in other words, could well have been influenced by “Ironmen.”

Thompson’s plan was to move the club to Boston (and play home games in Fenway Park), Rooney told the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph years later. “Bell and I would then pool our interests in a Philadelphia-Pittsburgh club, splitting the home games between the two cities.

“But Thompson changed his mind and said he’d keep the club in Pittsburgh. Then I got an idea. I asked him how he’d like to make a switch and let me stay in Pittsburgh and take over the Philadelphia territory himself. That suited him, because Philadelphia [was] much closer to his New York headquarters — and that’s how it worked out.”

By the way, before the club was called the Steelers, it was called the Pirates — after the baseball team. It was also referred to in those years (1933-‘40) as the Corsairs — a fancy word for Pirates.

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The teams at the College of the Redwoods in Eureka, Calif., are also nicknamed the Corsairs.

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One last detail: A semipro team in Ashland, Ky., in the ‘20s was known as the “Steelers” (among other things). Were they the first Steelers? Hard to say. But they obviously predated the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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We return now to our regularly scheduled column.

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The ‘73 Redskins are safe. The Chiefs’ streak of consecutive games with a miscellaneous touchdown was stopped at five Monday night.

A miscellaneous touchdown, as defined by the NFL, is one scored by means other than rushing or passing. The ‘73 Redskins scored such a TD in six straight games that year, a mark later tied by the ‘97 Chargers.

For the record, the Redskins’ touchdowns were scored by Verlon Biggs (2-yard fumble return, Week 1), Brig Owens (36-yard fumble return, Week 1), Herb Mul-Key (97-yard kickoff return, Week 2), Ted Vactor (34-yard interception return, Week 3), Owens again (26-yard interception return, Week 4), Dave Robinson (28-yard interception return, Week 5) and Mike Bass (68-yard interception return, Week 6).

Owens’ 26-yard runback in Week 4 was the winning score in a 14-7 win over the Cowboys — the famous game that ended with Ken Houston tackling Walt Garrison at the Washington 1.

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Strip club-hopping Mike Price had his suit against the University of Alabama thrown out of court last week. I haven’t heard what Mike’s reaction was, but I’m sure it was something along the lines of: “I’ve been thrown out of better places than this.”

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FYI: The last time the Maryland football team held its opponent to seven points and lost — before Thursday’s 7-3 defeat at Georgia Tech, that is — was in 1979 at N.C. State. The Wolfpack ground out a 7-0 victory that day.

(The last time before that was in the ‘74 Liberty Bowl, when the Terps fell to Tennessee 7-3.)

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Neal from Gaithersburg e-mails: “Let me see if I understand this: One reason most NCAA presidents are against a D-1 playoff is because they don’t want the ‘student-athletes’ to miss class.

“Yet the president of West Virginia University canceled classes Wednesday because of a game against Virginia Tech that night.”

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Looking for something to do with your weekends? Check out extremeironing.com. As the Web site explains it, extreme ironing is “the latest danger sport that combines the thrill of extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt.”

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It’s apparently very big in Britain. In September, “a pair of ironists from Bradford [England] … claimed a new land speed record for ironing,” a post on the Web site claims. “Geoff (Mohe) Reiss and Jonathan Moorhouse set the record ironing in the back of a converted BMW 535i on Elvington raceway in Yorkshire.

“Mohe, who ironed in the [trunk] of the car, claims that a speed of 125 mph was achieved. He never said how quickly it took him to iron his shirt.

“‘It was a thrilling experience to iron at speed,’ said Mohe.”

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Don’t be surprised if they work extreme ironing into the beginning of the next Bond movie. I mean, they’ve already done skydiving and daredevil skiing and all the rest.

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And finally, the Colorado Avalanche made a smart move by trading Bates Battaglia to the Caps for Steve Konowalchuk. It was a classic example of the ol’ Bates-and-switch.

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