- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 19, 2004

If I were the Redskins, I’d be ready to kick off at 12:55 this afternoon — just in case Tom Coughlin wants to start early.

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I don’t know the Giants coach personally, but I’d be willing to bet he’s never paid a late charge on a credit card.

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Just wondering: Do we have to clear it with Coughlin before we turn the clocks back an hour?

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Tom Coughlin, the John Cameron Swayze of the NFL.

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Guess Stephen Davis (minor knee surgery) won’t be going to the Pro Bowl this year — which opens the door for Clinton Portis.

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The best thing about Mike Pringle breaking the CFL career rushing record isn’t that he used to play for the Baltimore Stallions (though that’s nice, too). The best thing is that we’ve been reminded of the exploits of George Reed, the previous record-holder, who put up some Serious Numbers in Canada in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Reed, who did his undergraduate work at Mark Rypien’s alma mater, Washington State, rushed for 16,116 yards in 13 CFL seasons — and was still going strong when he retired in 1975. In his last two years with Saskatchewan, he gained 1,447 and 1,454 yards. Granted, the Canadian game is different, but George’s career totals compare pretty well to Emmitt Smith’s. Consider:

• Combined rushing yards, regular season and postseason: Smith, 19,091 (and counting); Reed, 18,700.

• Rushing touchdowns: Smith, 156; Reed, 134.

• 100-yard games: Smith, 76; Reed, 66.

Too bad Reed never got to ply his trade in the NFL (or in the AFL, as one-time Canadian fireball Cookie Gilchrist did). A fullback with Earl Campbell-sized thighs — he even wore Earl’s number, 34 — George would have done just fine in the U.S., I suspect.

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Stanford’s football team is nothing special, but for the 20th consecutive year, its marching band is leading the nation in apologies.

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Last week the Cardinal band riled BYU folks by poking fun at polygamy. (And what a fun topic that is.) Some other faux pas the incorrigible band has committed:

1982 — Marched onto the field as the California Golden Bears, after a series of improbable laterals, scored the winning touchdown in the Big Game. (The final ball carrier had to weave his way through the woodwinds to get to the end zone.)

1991 — Banned from appearing at Notre Dame Stadium after the drum major “donned a nun’s habit and banged a drum with a cross,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

1994 — Performed outside the Los Angeles County courthouse during the O.J. Simpson trial. (Simpson’s attorney, Robert Shapiro, called it “a new low in tasteless behavior.”)

1997 — Further incited Notre Dame’s ire with a parody of the 19th century Irish potato famine.

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It’s amazing, really, that the Stanford band didn’t invent the “wardrobe malfunction.”

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One last tidbit about the band … When it visited China a few years back, members were taught a single Chinese phrase, according to the New York Times: “Excuse me, I was wrong. I’d like to go to my consulate now.”

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Backup quarterback Ryan Cubit after Western Michigan’s 63-0 loss to Virginia Tech: “A lot of teams hit you and bounce off. They HIT you. They hit you and knock you into the ground. When they hit, you feel like you’re being embedded into the grass.”

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On the subject of the Hokies, suspended running back Mike Imoh decided not to fight charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and accepted a plea bargain. Here’s what’s really strange, though: One of the people in the jury pool, if Imoh’s trial ever came about, was Tech athletic director Jim Weaver.

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Phil Mickelson playing in the Ryder Cup with new equipment makes about as much sense as David Duval launching his comeback in the U.S. Open.

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Or me taking up golf.

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Did you read about this newspaper deliveryman named Mark Guthrie who started receiving paychecks intended for the former Cubs reliever of the same name? (The reason for the mix-up: The Tribune Company owns both the Hartford Courant and the Cubs.) It’s a shame, it really is. The guy wound up losing his job, though not for the reason that’s been reported. It’s not because he wouldn’t give the money back right away; it’s because the Courant, if it kept him on the payroll, would have had to pay a luxury tax.

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The real Comeback Player of the Year in the American League, if you ask me, is Derek Jeter — for not only rebounding from a horrific first two months of the season, but also for defying the Sports Illustrated Jinx.

On May 25, the week before the Yankees shortstop made the cover of SI — as the poster child for a story on batting slumps — he was hitting .189 and had endured an agonizingly public 0-for-32 dry spell. Since then, he’s hitting .332 (through Friday), has already topped his career high for doubles in a season with 41 and has a chance to top his career high for home runs (he has 21 and needs four more).

I mean, why do they always have to give the award to somebody bouncing back from Tommy John surgery? Why can’t they occasionally give it to somebody who has an incredible second half — after stinking it up in the first half?

Hey, I’m just asking.

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It’s beyond ridiculous, this walk, walk, walking of Barry Bonds. Do you realize Bonds is being walked much more often than Babe Ruth was in his prime? Not just more, much more. (And the Babe was no slouch in the free pass department.)

Put it this way: If Bonds had been walked merely as much in the last four seasons as Ruth was walked in his prime, he would have gotten to swing the bat 213 more times. And 213 at-bats, at the rate Barry hits homers, translates into 27 more dingers. That’s right, his career home run total right now would be 728 — 14 more than the Babe, 27 behind Hank Aaron — not 701.

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To which my 14-year-old says, “Dad, you really oughta be kept away from calculators when you get like this.”

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So I’m reading about the Rangers’ Frank Francisco being charged with aggravated battery against a fan, and I’m thinking: Aggravated battery — isn’t that when some disgruntled bleacherite hurls a Duracell at an unsuspecting outfielder?

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Or is it when the pitcher and catcher get steamed at the plate umpire for having an inconsistent strike zone?

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An aggravated Battery is definitely what you’d have if the Yankees blew their division lead to the Red Sox.

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News item: A Kansas firm, Dyna-Tek Industries, develops synthetic urine.

Comment: Never again will an athlete have to borrow somebody else’s to pass a drug test.

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At the moment, by the way, only one store is stocking synthetic urine — A&P.;

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It’s just as well, I suppose, that the company can’t hire Whizzer White as its spokesman.

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Roosevelt Leaks might be available, though.

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If this synthetic urine thing takes off, Dyna-Tek might want to sponsor a bowl game — the Porcelain Bowl.

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And finally …

They could play it at Shea Stadium. Isn’t Shea located in Flushing?

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