- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 5, 2005

Did you read about that marathon in Chicago that was found, after the fact, to be a mile too long — 27.2 miles instead of the standard 26.2?

In the other big race on Memorial Day, Dan Wheldon passed Danica Patrick in the late going and held on to win the Indianapolis 519.

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I can hardly wait for the 24 Hours, 55 Minutes of Le Mans.

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The marathon’s mistake was discovered, I hear, when Warner Wolf reviewed the video of the race, sensed something was amiss and shouted, “Let’s go to the tape measure!”

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Police in South Florida plan to interrogate Sean Taylor about an incident Wednesday night in which shots were fired. One of the first questions I’d ask him would be: “Where were you last December when Vinny Testaverde was throwing a 39-yard touchdown pass with 30 seconds left to beat the Redskins?”

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Another question I’d ask Taylor: “What’s your favorite breakfast cereal?”

(On the off chance he would have the sense of humor to say, “Alpha-Bits.”)

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Taylor, with his many missteps, is practically conducting a seminar on How Not to Get a Team To Renegotiate Your Contract.

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Here’s hoping Clinton Portis, who pushed for the Redskins to draft Taylor last April, didn’t have any input into this year’s selections.

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But if he did …

Bail bondsmen, start your engines!

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Elsewhere in criminal justice, the Ravens’ Jamal Lewis was released from a Florida prison camp after serving a four-month sentence for using a cellphone to try to set up a cocaine deal.

I have just one thing to say to Jamal:

Can you hear me now? Good.

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Let the record show that on the same week “Deep Throat” revealed his identity, an X-rated in-house video produced by the 49ers’ PR director — featuring lesbian soft porn and bare-breasted blondes — was leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle.

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The video, according to the now ex-PR director, was meant to prepare players for dealing with the media.

You mean, like, when “Downtown” Julie Brown shows up at Super Bowl Picture Day with a microphone?

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Team owners Denise and John York called the video offensive, inexcusable and “absolutely contrary to the ideals and values of the San Francisco 49ers.” The Yorks are so appalled they’ve ordered Mike Nolan to remove the naked bootleg from the playbook.

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On the plus side, the video stands a good chance of being nominated for the Academy Award for Best Jockumentary.

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I don’t suppose the “Project Greenlight” boys, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, would be interested in it, but if there’s a “Project Red Light” out there somewhere …

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Just wondering: Was the video narrated by Johnny “Wad” Facenda?

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Coming soon to a video store near you: “Tuna Does Dallas.”

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An under-publicized fact about John Danowski, Duke’s lacrosse All-American: His grandfather, Ed Danowski, quarterbacked the Giants to NFL championships in 1934 (the legendary “Sneakers Game”) and ‘38.

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Trivia question: Danowski tossed the winning touchdown pass in the ‘38 title game — won by the Giants, 23-17, over the Packers — to a well-known baseball umpire. Who was he? (Answer below.)

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Hall of Fame Giants coach Steve Owen: “The best holder I ever saw was Ed Danowski. As he made ready for the play, he’d always grin back at the kicker and say confidently, ‘Easy does it, my lad.’”

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People talk about Ben Roethlisberger’s exploits as a rookie, but what about Danowski’s? In his first year with the Giants in ‘34, he backed up Harry Newman for most of the season and threw only 32 passes. But with Newman sidelined by an injury in the championship game, Danowski accounted for two touchdowns (the first by air, the second via the ground) as New York erupted for 27 points in the fourth quarter to beat Chicago 30-13. And that was a Bears team, I’ll just point out, that had won 17 straight and was going for its third consecutive title.

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Last week’s item about the Lorton Prison football team brought this e-mail from reader George Evanko:

“I noticed your column … featured a letter from a reader about playing a semipro game at Lorton Prison. He claimed the prisoners were very clean players.

“I have a somewhat different story. I was the assistant PR director for the Baltimore Warriors, who played at Lorton in the late ‘70s. During the game, one of the Lorton players got flagged for a personal foul and was warned by the referee not to do it again — or he’d be thrown out. The player reportedly said, “I’m in here for life, what do I care?”

“Of course, our team wasn’t much better. As we drove up to the gates of the prison, one of the players (a bouncer during the week) tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘Are we going to get searched on the way in?’ I gave him the obvious answer: ‘Yes.’ With that, he pulled out a revolver and said, ‘So, do you think I should leave this on the bus?’”

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Say what you will about Shaquille O’Neal. Picking up the tab for George Mikan’s funeral is one of the classiest moves of all time.

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It almost makes up for his jillion-and-one uncalled offensive fouls.

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From Sid Hartman’s farewell to Mikan in the Minneapolis Star Tribune: “Mikan helped beat a Washington, D.C., team coached by Red Auerbach in a playoff series despite having a broken wrist. I remember the doctor at Georgetown Hospital in Washington was astonished Mikan played with the injury.”

The “Washington, D.C., team” was the 1948-49 Capitols, who met Mikan’s Minneapolis Lakers in the finals that year — and lost to them in six games. (The NBA called itself the Basketball Association of America back then.) Auerbach then coached the Tri-Cities Blackhawks for one season before building a dynasty in Boston with the Celtics.

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One of the things O’Neal probably appreciates about Mikan is that he was a 77.7 percent career free throw shooter (compared to Shaq’s miserable 53.1). In 1953-54, Big George actually finished eighth in the league from the line, not far behind Bob Cousy.

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Something I didn’t know until I researched this item: Mikan’s last title-winning team, the ‘53-54 club, had only nine players — the fewest of any NBA champion. Talk about a bunch of iron men. Collectively, they missed a total of nine games that season (in a 72-game schedule) — an average of one per man.

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Quote of the Week comes from Red Sox folk hero David Ortiz. Asked after his game-winning, walk-off homer against the Orioles last week if there were any New Englanders who hadn’t heard of him by now, “Big Papi” replied, “A child that was just born today.”

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A spokesman for Nike confirmed the shoe and apparel company has ended its nine-year relationship with slumping Yankees slugger Jason Giambi. Giambi, undaunted, claimed he has other “offers on the table” — including, reportedly, a multimillion-dollar deal to appear in ads for the upcoming remake of “The Incredible Shrinking Man.”

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You know, I was just thinking. It’s a good thing the steroid scandal didn’t erupt in Charm City. Otherwise, smart alecks like me would have renamed the place BALCOmore.

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There isn’t much to remember about the ‘95 Orioles, who finished third in the American League East with a 71-73 record. But get this: If Jamie Moyer racks up three more wins with the Mariners, the O’s will have had three pitchers that season who went on to win 200 games: Mike Mussina (216 and counting), Kevin Brown (211) and Moyer. (And Scott Erickson, attempting a comeback with the Dodgers, has 142).

Who knew?

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Answer to trivia question: The player who caught the winning TD pass from Ed Danowski in the ‘38 NFL title game was Hank Soar, who later umpired in the AL from 1950 to ‘75.

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I rest my case: Not long after I filed my column Wednesday night on the flood of apologies in sports these days, Lou Piniella issued this gem to a member of the Tampa Bay media: “I’m sorry for getting huffy to you. I apologize. You get tired getting beat [in] ballgames all the time. And answering the same questions. I apologize.”

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And finally …

Later that night, Dodgers pitcher Derek Lowe suffered a small cut on his right wrist while throwing a stool in the dugout after the Cubs scored four runs against him in the second inning.

The Dodgers’ medical staff, intent on determining the exact cause of Lowe’s injury, has asked him for a stool sample.


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