- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 12, 2005

Is there anybody who doesn’t have a chance to win the Booz Allen Classic this afternoon?

• • •

Other than Young Tom Morris and Francis Ouimet, I mean — who, last time I checked, were still dead.

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The only way it could be better is if Ichiro Suzuki blew off the game at RFK to carry Shigeki Maruyama’s bag.

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Seriously, the field is so bunched up, a player could get hauled out of Congressional’s 19th hole — after completing his round about three beers earlier — to compete in a playoff (the way Barry Jaeckel was in ‘83).

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That said, I’m going against the flow and picking Rory Sabattini today. Why him and not Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia or sentimental favorite Tom Kite? Biorhythms. Sabattini is the reigning Mr. Week Before the U.S. Open. He won the week before the Open two years ago (at Avenel), lost in a playoff last year (to Garcia in the Buick Classic) and is Right There again, two shots back heading into the final round.

• • •

Our long regional nightmare is over. Clinton Portis has settled his dispute with former Redskin Ifeanyi Ohalete over the purchase of Ohalete’s No.26 jersey. By dragging the lawyers into it, Portis got his former teammate to knock $2,000 off the agreed-upon $40,000 price. But Ifeanyi did win one battle, I’m told, rebuffing Clinton’s demand for free dry cleaning.

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Portis strikes me as the kind of guy who’d try to haggle in a Saturn dealership.

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If not a Dollar Store.

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Kinda makes you want to order a No.26 jersey with “He Hate Ohalete” across the back.

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Speaking of the Redskins, who does Sean Taylor think he is, Russell Crowe?

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Joe Gibbs finally got Taylor on the phone the other day, and they supposedly had a good chat. Until then, the Redskins had had less contact with Sean during the offseason than NASA had with Neil Armstrong when he was on the moon.

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Sorry to see the club get docked three “voluntary” workouts — Organized Team Activities, they’re called — for overzealous training. But, hey, the players association does have a point. In one clip aired on the Redskins’ Web site, the offensive line was changing the tires on Gibbs’ car while Coach Joe stood by with a stopwatch.

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Congratulations to the Amsterdam Admirals, who knocked off the Berlin Thunder yesterday in the NFL Europe title game. Little-known fact: The Admirals will receive rings made by the same company that makes Super Bowl rings (Jostens). Amsterdam’s rings, moreover, will have two features the Patriots’ don’t — a built-in whistle and a secret message decoder.

• • •

Brian Billick is slightly peeved that the Federal Bureau of Prisons won’t let Jamal Lewis attend the Ravens’ minicamp. After all, he says, “every time I turn on the TV, Martha Stewart is all over the country doing something.”

Unfortunately, Martha wouldn’t be much help to Billick. According to scouting reports, she’s a notorious east-west runner with Maurice Clarett-type speed and “below-average body lean.” But James Stewart might be a decent pickup, if the Baltimore coach is so inclined.

• • •

Not long before ESPN severed ties with the college football coaches’ poll — because of the coaches’ refusal to make their ballots public until the final poll — I received this e-mail from former sportswriter John Heaney of Gaithersburg:

“When I covered Oklahoma for United Press International in the mid-‘50s, I would call [Sooners coach] Bud Wilkinson at 9a.m. Sunday morning at home to get his vote for the coaches’ poll. He always had it ready and in those days would vote Oklahoma No.2 — until the last week, when he voted OU No.1.”

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Just wondering: Is Ben Wallace the first player in sports history to have home (Afro) and road (cornrows) hairdos?

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Speaking of the NBA, how’s the championship series going between the Syracuse Nationals and the Minneapolis Lakers?

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The burning question after the Spurs’ 84-69 victory in Game1 was, Who’s going to break 70 first, the Pistons or Larry Brown?

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Frankly, I could barely stomach the opener. In fact, after Dolph Schayes fouled out, I switched to the news.

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Am I the Last Person on Earth to find out that LeBron James and Tiger Woods share the same birthday (Dec.30)?

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Yes, Our Nationals have a nine-game winning streak after last night’s 2-1 victory against the Mariners. How monumental is this? Well, a Washington baseball team hasn’t had one that long since 1949, when the Senators — aka the so-called “Wondrous Nats” — racked up nine straight on the road early in the season and came home to a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. Amazingly, that was a last-place (50-104) club.

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Even more impressive, there isn’t a Joe Hardy on the Nats’ current roster.

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With the help of the database at BaseballLibrary.com — and at great personal risk to myself (e.g. developing carpal tunnel syndrome) — I dug up the following information:

• The last time a Washington team won more than nine consecutive games was 1943, when the Senators won 10 in a row.

• The last time a Washington team won more than 10 consecutive games was 1933, the last year the Senators went to the World Series, when they won 13 in a row.

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That’s why you’re so hap-hap-happy these days (in case there was any doubt). The local nine hasn’t had a longer winning streak than this in 62 years.

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And they’re doing it, let’s not forget, without any help from the St. Louis Browns (unlike the ‘49, ‘43 and ‘33 Senators).

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I’ll leave it up to you to find out the last time a Washington team won more than 13 consecutive games. Hint: It was sometime before 1924 (which is as far back as I went). Interestingly, the ‘24 Senators, who won the World Series, never had a winning streak of longer than 10, and the ‘25 Senators, who won the AL pennant, never had one of longer than seven.

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Elsewhere in baseball, the “cursed” 1919 contract that sent Babe Ruth from the Red Sox to the Yankees sold at auction last week for $996,000.

“What a sap,” Clinton Portis said. “I could have gotten it for him for $994,000.”

(Or did I just dream that?)

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There’s no truth to the rumor, by the way, that Mike Tyson has retained Portis to handle his negotiations with the IRS.

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And the final Jeopardy answer is: Gene therapy.

The question: What did the Pittsburgh Pirates seek out after Lamont was fired as manager in 2000?

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News item: Yankees sit Giambi, Matsui.

Comment: And if that doesn’t work, they’re going to bench everybody whose name ends with an “a”: Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Ruben Sierra, the whole bunch.

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“I’ll go through the entire alphabet if I have to,” George Steinbrenner vowed.

(Or did I dream that, too?)

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Moving to hockey, a group of West Coast investors led by William “Boots” Del Biaggio is trying to buy the Penguins. Biaggio, a friend of current owner Mario Lemieux, says he’s “committed to Pittsburgh long term.”

If he ends up relocating the troubled franchise, though, the headline will be a no-brainer:

This Boots was made for walkin’.

• • •

And finally …

Marion Jones says the 2008 Beijing Olympics will probably be her “last major competition.”

Darn. I had her penciled in for our two-woman bobsled in 2010.

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