- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 7, 2005

Well, I can think of one good thing about the NCAA’s ban on American Indian mascots during its postseason tournaments — no more 15-yard penalties on Chief Whatshisname for running on the field.

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Discovered, after much digging, the real reason Paris wasn’t awarded the 2012 Olympics. Are you familiar with that event in equestrian, dressage? Well, the French, I’m told, were pretty adamant about adding a new demonstration sport to the Games — undressage.

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They’d even lined up Brigitte Bardot to throw out the first garter.

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This reality show starring Bob Knight on ESPN, the one in which 16 students will compete for the chance to be a walk-on on his 2006-07 Texas Tech team, sounds like a winner. I just wish the network had come up with a better name. “Knight School” is OK, I suppose, but not nearly as good as “Survivor: Lubbock.”

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Number of the Week: 13.

That’s how many Charlotte Sting players are taller than 5-foot-3 Muggsy Bogues, the WNBA team’s new coach (in other words, the entire roster). Heck, at least Michael Adams, when he coached the Mystics, could post up Coco Miller. Michael is 5-10, purportedly, to Coco’s 5-9.

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The shortest member of the Sting, by the way, is Helen Darling at 5-6.

Memo to Muggsy: Be sure to address Helen by her first name. Wouldn’t want anyone to get the wrong impression.

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Had to laugh when I read that item about Jack Nicholson prohibiting Celtics merchandise from the set of his latest film, which is being filmed in Boston. After Jack’s beloved Lakers beat the Celtics in the ‘85 finals, I talked to him briefly in the L.A. locker room and he revealed to my astonishment that he “used to be a Celtics fan” growing up in New Jersey. “I just go with the geography,” he said. (See page 3C of The Washington Times from June10, 1985, if you don’t believe me.)

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Jack was confident the Lakers would be back in the finals the next year. “But,” he added, “we’ve got to watch out for Patrick Ewing,” who would soon be drafted by the Knicks. As it turned out, the Lakers didn’t make the finals the next year. They were waylaid not by Ewing but by Ralph Sampson, who hit a series-winning buzzer shot for the Rockets in Game5 of the Western Conference finals.

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What a wave Jason Gore is riding. First he shoots three great rounds in the U.S. Open, then he wins back-to-back tournaments on the Nationwide Tour and Friday he cards a 59. I keep waiting for him to wake up one morning and discover he’s turned back into Lumpy Rutherford, but — who knows? — maybe he’s the next Craig Stadler.

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Just wondering: If you sent a scout to take a look at Bartolo Colon before the trading deadline, would you call it a Colonoscopy?

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Historical note: The first grand slam in Nationals history — swatted by Brad Wilkerson on Thursday night — came in the club’s 108th game. This is 29 games longer than it took the Amazin’ Mets — one of the most horrific teams in baseball history — to hit their first grand salami in 1962. (Rod Kanehl did the honors, taking the Cardinals’ Bobby Shantz deep in the eighth inning of a 10-3 victory.

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My friend Robert, the frequent e-mailer, writes, “Considering our mighty Nats hit a home run as frequently as a lunar eclipse, the most embarrassing thing that could happen to this team is if one of them got nailed for steroids.”

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If the Redskins are ever in need of a linebacker, they might want to consider Edgar Renteria. The Red Sox shortstop got into collisions on consecutive days last week — first with Sox left fielder Manny Ramirez, then with the Royals’ David DeJesus — and both times it was the Other Guy who had to leave the game.

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Reader Greg Paspatis makes an excellent point about Hank Stram, the Hall of Fame football coach who died recently at 82. What Stram never gets enough credit for, Paspatis writes, is that “he won some really big playoff games on the road” — specifically, the ‘62, ‘66 and ‘69 AFL title games (at Houston, Buffalo and Oakland, respectively), plus a first-round game in ‘69 (against the defending champion Jets in New York).

That’s four huge road wins in the postseason, including a 3-0 record in championship games. To put this in perspective, George Halas, who coached the Bears for 40 years and racked up seven titles, was a mere 2-2 in road title games. Don Shula also won just two title games on foreign turf (with the Colts in ‘68 at Cleveland for the NFL championship and with the Dolphins in ‘72 at Pittsburgh for the AFC crown), and Vince Lombardi won only one (in ‘66 at Dallas).

As for Joe Gibbs, his 16-5 postseason record is one of the best ever, but he’s still looking for his first road victory in a championship game. So let’s pay homage (once again) to Hank. He really could coach ‘em up.

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Bizarre episode at the Ravens’ camp last week. It began with Deion Sanders telling the media he failed a steroid test last year during his team physical and had to submit to weekly screenings. Later in the day, though, the team said, no, Sanders hadn’t failed. As the Ravens explained it, the Neon One blew off a random test shortly before he retired from the Redskins in 2000, and that was why he was subjected to increased scrutiny when he returned to football.

Can’t say I blame the NFL for wanting to keep close tabs on him. After all, Deion did, during his time away, play baseball.

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Three cheers for Benny Friedman, the wondrous passer from the ‘20s and ‘30s, who finally goes into the Pro Football Hall of Fame today. His nephew David told the Boston Globe, “I heard this story from my dad one time about how accurate Benny was. He overthrew a guy by five or 10 yards, and the ref threw a flag. When Benny got upset and argued the call, the ref said, ‘When Benny Friedman overthrows someone by that much, it has to be intentional grounding.’”

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Loved Steve Spurrier’s response to being called “unethical” for revoking several scholarships at South Carolina. Ah, it’s nothing new, he said. “Every time we scored over 50 points [at Florida], they said it was unethical.”

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Couldn’t help noticing that ex-Capital Sergei Gonchar got $25million over five years to jump from the Bruins to the Penguins. That’s as much as the Caps plan to spend on their entire payroll this season.

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Here’s how crazy it’s gotten in the NHL: Because of the salary cap, the Flyers were forced to trade Jeremy Roenick to the Kings for future considerations. In hockey, that usually means a roll of tape, a couple of cracked sticks and the backup goalie in Moose Jaw.

(Philly even threw in a third-round draft pick, which I’m assuming was the service charge. It’s a whole new world in Zamboni Country, all right.)

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Six players the Capitals acquired for future considerations: Dwayne Lowdermilk (1980), Kent Carlson (1989), John Tucker (1990), Jeff Nelson (1999), Craig Billington (1999), Chris Ferraro (2001).

Not a Roenick, you’ll note, in the bunch.

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In fact, they’d have a hard time beating Jeremy one-on-six.

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And finally …

Did you read about the dog that came in 72nd out of more than 500 in the Alcatraz Invitational, a 1.2-mile swim from the infamous prison island to the San Francisco shore? The 4-year-old pooch posted a time of 41 minutes, 45 seconds, and finished well ahead of Al Capone and Baby Face Nelson.

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