- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 26, 2005

Forgive the slightly abbreviated Sunday Column. The past week wasn’t exactly — how shall I put this? — a knee-slapper.

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Besides, I made a vow when I launched this column that it would contain no filler, that it would feature only 100 percent USDA Choice beef.

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No filler, that is, except for the last item.

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“Metal detecting is one of America’s fastest-growing hobbies,” a voice on the TV told me the other day.

If so, it’s probably only a matter of time before it’s an Olympic demonstration sport.

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And once that happens, ESPN will undoubtedly give it its own show. I can see it now:

“Metal Detecting Tonight” with your host, Don Zimmer.

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Watching Bruce McGill — an underrated character actor — as the boxing commissioner in “Cinderella Man,” you’d almost forget he played one of the Delta fratboys in “Animal House.” Yup, McGill had the (mostly silent) role of “D-Day” — indoor motorcyclist and, in the final scene, driver of “The Deathmobile.”

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McGill, in fact, has popped up in a bunch of sports movies: “Wildcats,” “The Legend of Bagger Vance” (as Walter Hagen), “61*” (as Ralph Houk) and “Ali.” He also played Billy Clyde Puckett in the short-lived TV series, “Semi-Tough.”

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But he was never better than he was in “Animal House,” you’ve gotta admit.

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News item: The Frozen Four will be played at MCI Center in 2009.

Comment: The Frozen Four … The Frozen Four. Wasn’t that the nickname of the Vikings’ defensive line in the ‘70s? No, wait, that was the Purple People Eaters. OK, I give up. What exactly is the Frozen Four?

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One last guess:

The Frozen Four: What they called the remaining toes on Fuzzy Thurston’s right foot after the Ice Bowl.

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Aw, come on, I’m just kiddin’. Everybody knows the Frozen Four is the NCAA hockey finals. And what better place to hold it, I might add, than MCI Center, one of the most legendary hockey arenas in, uh, the District of Columbia.

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There’s no truth to the rumor, by the way, that Ted Williams has been invited to drop the first puck.

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The big question is: Did the District campaign for the Frozen Four because it really wanted the event or because it wasn’t sure if the NHL would be back in business by 2009?

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Sean Taylor is looking at three years, minimum, if convicted of pointing a gun during a dispute about an all-terrain vehicle. Not to worry, though. If worse comes to worse, he’ll have Drew Rosenhaus renegotiate his sentence.

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Elsewhere in the NFL, Randy Moss is holding a charity bass tournament this week on Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota.

Once again, that’s a bass tournament, folks — b-a-s-s.

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Randy’s favorite bass to fish for, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, is the largemouth. Now there’s a shock.

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The Sunday Column bids a fond farewell to Myron Cope — voice of the Pittsburgh Steelers, inventor of the Terrible Towel and, last but not least, former ink-stained wretch. Cope’s “The Game That Was,” similar in style and spirit to Lawrence Ritter’s “The Glory of Their Times,” is one of the best books ever written about the early days of pro football. If you’re lucky, you might be able to find a copy of it online. (I’d recommend bookfinder.com.)

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Former George Washington star Tuffy Leemans on Giants coach Steve Owen (from “The Game That Was”): “It was nothing for [him] to say to us after we’d just lost a game, ‘Well, boys, we’re going to work a little bit now.’ So right there, right after the game was over, we’d practice. One time we went at it for 2 hours. Knocked heads all the way.”

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If Owen did that today, of course, the Players Association would scream bloody murder … and the Giants would be docked three organized team activities.

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Came across a funny line about Redskins icon George Allen in an old Time magazine. The passage went like this:

“Allen’s own dedication to the game is so complete that he often forgets to eat and has to get vitamin injections from the [team] doctor. During the season, he practically survives on ice cream, which he eats, says his wife, “because he doesn’t have to chew it. Chewing would take his mind off football.”

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Confession: I don’t just like to read old Time magazines, I like to sniff ‘em.

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Shaquille O’Neal on his free-throw shooting woes (from the July issue of Esquire):

“Me having a beautiful wife and great family and friends around me, all the money I’ve got, all the things that I’ve got, a Ferrari that I just ripped the top off of and turned into a convertible, the rings I got, the two mansions on the water, the master’s in criminal justice — I’m a cop — plus I look good. So me shooting 40 percent at the foul line is just God’s way of saying that nobody’s perfect. If I shot 90 percent from the line, it just wouldn’t be right.”

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Just wondering: With Shawn Bradley retiring, who will Kwame Brown and Michael Olowokandi have to commiserate with?

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Glad to see Pops Mensah-Bonsu came to his senses and decided to return to George Washington for his senior season. One Yinka Dare a century is enough for the Colonials.

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Somebody explain to me how Geno Auriemma’s plan to open a restaurant in a casino is any different from John Thompson’s plan to invest in slot machines at the Las Vegas airport back in the ‘90s (which he later reconsidered).

Granted, a slice of pizza ain’t the same thing as a One-Armed Bandit, but it’s all about appearances.

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Performance Enhancing Substance of the Week: cabbage leaves.

A pitcher in South Korea was discovered wearing icy cabbage leaves underneath his cap to keep him cooler in the withering summer heat. Alas, officials subsequently banned the practice, saying Park Myung-hwan would have to sweat along with the rest of the ballplayers.

Too bad Nate Cornejo, late of the Detroit Tigers, hasn’t tried that. If MLB attempted to stop him — and he lodged a protest — we could write headlines like “Cornejo Has Beef About Cabbage.”

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Hey, I tried.

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From last Monday’s Boston Globe: “For a reason to smile at the ballpark, it was hard to top the Duncans … of Everett [Mass.] yesterday afternoon at Fenway Park. Father’s Day on Yawkey Way, and Patrick was holding aloft his son, 9-month-old Jonathan Michael Duncan, while holding a sign that read, ‘I Was Born the Day the Sox Won the World Series.’”

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Another idle thought: Has any umpire ever thrown out so many managers that he needed Tommy John surgery?

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Then again, maybe they don’t call it Tommy John surgery when it involves an ump. Maybe they call it “an Ed Runge repair job” or “a Jocko Conlan reconstruction.”

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The Marlins’ Dontrelle Willis extended his hitting streak the other night to six games, which is pretty unusual for a pitcher. How unusual? The only longer one in recent years, according my hasty research, is an eight-gamer by then-Rockie Mike Hampton in 2002. Guess which pitcher, though, hit in 10 of 11 games in 2000, going 13-for-30 during that stretch?

Answer: Livan Hernandez (then with the Giants and now with Our Nats).

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And finally …

With teenyboppers Michelle Wie, Morgan Pressel and Paula Creamer all in contention at the midpoint of the Women’s Open, it’s amazing LPGA regulars aren’t lobbying for a 19-year-old minimum age.


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