- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 10, 2005

First Antonio Pierce, then Fred Smoot and now Larry Hughes. When exactly did Washington’s sports teams go into the export business?

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Good luck to Larry, by the way, in his attempt to play Scottie Pippen to LeBron James’ Michael Jordan.

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Just wondering: Is it too late to let Michelle Wie into the Jamie Farr Classic?



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I keep waiting for Wie to appear in one of those made-for-TV events with Tiger Woods and friends. The trick would be coming up with a catchy title for the match. “The Showdown at Sherwood” doesn’t seem quite right — not with a 15-year-old girl involved. How about “Clueless at La Costa”?

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Why can’t Michelle play on the ladies’ tour, anyway? Is there some rule against underage driving?

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News item: Baseball dropped from the 2012 London Olympics.

Comment: Must not be rhythmic enough.

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Hey, it could have been worse. They could have replaced it with cricket.

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Softball also got the ax, but beach volleyball lives on. Maybe if Jennie Finch had done her pitching in a bikini …

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Did you see where the Chicago Blackhawks hired Trent Yawney as their coach? That’s gotta be the most exciting moment in sports since the New Jersey Nets drafted Georgetown’s Sleepy Floyd in the first round in 1982.

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Or at the very least since Nap McCallum finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting in ‘83.

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It’s only fitting that the Bank of Scotland is putting Jack Nicklaus on a special five-pound note. I mean, think of how many five-pound notes have been put on Jack.

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Elsewhere in golf, Augusta National is being lengthened again, this time to a whopping 7,445 yards.

If the course gets any longer, they’ll have to rename the club Augusta International.

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No word yet on whether Augusta plans to do anything to its par-3 course to “maintain the integrity and shot values.”

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That was a risky pick the Lakers made, taking 17-year-old 7-footer Andrew Bynum 10th overall. In fact, I’m surprised the headlines in L.A. didn’t read: “Bynum, pay later.”

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Congratulations to Takeru Kobayashi, winner of the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating contest for the fifth straight year. You have to admit, the guy is really on a roll. So to speak.

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Takeru Kobayashi, the wiener and still champion.

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Five in a row. That practically makes him the Lance Armstrong of tube steak.

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Who knows? Maybe hot dog eating will become an Olympic sport.

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Quote of the Week (from the Boston Globe): “I’m glad he did that. He needed to vent. He’s been a mild-mannered ballplayer his whole life.”

— David Wells, the lame-brained Red Sox lefty, on the incident between the Rangers’ Kenny Rogers and a TV cameraman. Rogers has been suspended 20 games, fined $50,000 and faces an assault charge.

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Letter to the Editor of the Week (from the Los Angeles Times): “I am appalled by Kenny Rogers’ behavior. He should be suspended for the remainder of the season, or until the Angels clinch the division, whichever comes first.”

Peter Meyers

Palos Verdes

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In other sports news, the family of a recently deceased Pittsburgh Steelers fan arranged a unique viewing at a funeral home last week. Mourners were greeted by the sight of John Henry Smith’s body in a recliner, feet crossed and remote in hand. He was decked out in black and gold pajamas, a beer was at his side and Steelers highlights ran continuously on the TV.

Let me guess. After he was buried, per his request, a reception was held at his home. And not just any reception, either — an immaculate reception.

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As Myron Cope, the recently retired Steelers commentator, would say, “Triple yoi!”

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Speaking of Cope, the stories about his retirement from the football booth mentioned a book he wrote in the ‘60s that I’d never heard of, “Broken Cigars.” Naturally, I had to track down a copy (which I did on the Internet). Turns out to be a collection of pieces Myron did for Sports Illustrated, Sport, the Saturday Evening Post and (the much underrated) True.

The one on the ‘63 Steelers (“Pro Football’s Gashouse Gang”) and how they blew a chance to win the Eastern Conference championship is absolutely Required Reading. It begins this way:

“Contrary to general belief, it was not Y.A. Tittle’s passing arm that hoisted the New York Giants to the Eastern Division title of the National Football League in 1963. There is sound reason to believe that the Eastern race was, in fact, decided by a Pittsburgh quarterback’s impetuous decision to go on the wagon.

“That is precisely what Ed Brown did. … To the utter dismay of those who know the Steelers best, quarterback Brown, a strapping former marine buck sergeant, took the big game [against the Giants] too seriously. On the Wednesday preceding the showdown battle, he disappeared from his favorite saloon. He went into training.”

Ah, the perils of sobriety.

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After Patriots owner Bob Kraft “gave” Vladimir Putin his Super Bowl ring, he should have signed him to a player contract. There’s no doubt in my mind that, once he got in shape, Putin could lead the league in Russian.

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One last story about Hank Stram, who died last week at 82:

The Chiefs might not have gotten to the Super Bowl in ‘69 if one of their fans hadn’t tipped Stram off about a new offensive formation the Raiders planned to use in the AFL title game. The fan had been out to dinner a few days before the game and overheard Oakland quarterback Daryle Lamonica talking about the formation and saw him diagramming plays on a place mat. When Lamonica left, the fan retrieved the place mat and brought it to Stram at a hotel in San Francisco.

Hank was convinced it was either a setup (perpetrated by sneaky Al Davis) or a hoax (engineered by a fan looking for free tickets). But then he looked at the place mat, he said in his autobiography, “They’re Playing My Game,” and “felt a twinge of empathy. It was the kind of doodling that players and coaches indulged in all the time. … The drawings were too accurate to have been done by an amateur. The formations sketched out were brand-new ones the Raiders had never used before, in which Warren Wells, their best wide receiver, lined up in the slot instead of on the outside.”

When the Raiders tried to spring their “surprise” in the third quarter, the Chiefs were ready. Final score: K.C. 17, Oakland 7.

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And finally …

Tommy Hearns plans to make a comeback at 46, more than five years after his last bout (a two-round loss to oft-beaten cruiserweight Uriah Grant in which he was undone by a sprained ankle). Something tells me the layoff hasn’t done him much good. Indeed, he might want to change his nickname from “the Hitman” to “He Hit Me.”

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