- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 20, 2005

I’m trying to decide which is more complicated, the revised scoring system at the World Figure Skating Championships or the new SAT.

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The judges seem to be a little confused themselves. The other night they gave Irina Slutskaya a 62.84 on her short program and a 760 on her verbal.

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The International Skating Union should have hired an accounting firm like Arthur Andersen to keep all the numbers straight. On second thought, scratch that idea. If they’d done that, Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling would have won the men’s pairs.

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Plane problems stranded the Pitt basketball team in Sioux Falls, S.D., for 10 hours en route to Boise, Idaho, for a first-round NCAA tournament game. But, hey, it could have been worse. The in-flight movie could have been “Flight of the Phoenix.”

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Break up the Vermont Catamounts!

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“The catamount,” according to Ray Franks’ guide, “What’s in a Nickname: Exploring the Jungle of College Athletic Mascots,” “is a member of the mountain lion family and grows much larger than the lynx and similar species. It was adopted by Vermont students as [their] athletic mascot in the 1940s, and a live catamount was secured to be present at Vermont athletic events in the early 1970s. However, it grew too large to handle and was donated to a zoo.”

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Syracuse probably wishes the same could be said for Taylor Coppenrath.

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Whatever happened to Baskerville Holmes?

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Because I haven’t paid much attention to the NIT since Walt Frazier was playing in it (1967), I didn’t realize that competing schools bid for home games. “The figure the [Virginia Tech] Hokies bid for their opening-round game with Temple was not made public,” Will Stewart reported on TechSideline.com, “but a couple of other figures were. Clemson bid $66,000 for a home game and didn’t get it, instead being forced to travel to Texas A&M.; … South Carolina bid a little more than Clemson — $68,000 — and got a home matchup with Miami, which they won Tuesday night by two points, 69-67.”

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Where exactly do they place these bids, EBay?

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Speaking of the Hokies, Seth Greenberg might not have won ACC coach of the year honors without the wise counsel of … Lefty Driesell?

“Everybody needs a mentor and someone to bounce things off of,” Greenberg told Mark Berman of the Roanoke Times, “and he’s been available for me. He’s a very bright guy that’s been in this game a long time. He watches our team, and he’s someone to talk basketball with. I really value his friendship.”

Lefty spoke to Greenberg’s team — along with Tech boosters — before the season and sat in on a practice. He and Greenberg, who have known each other since the latter was an assistant at Virginia in the ‘80s, talk every week.

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Julie Goodenough, the women’s basketball coach at Oklahoma State, resigned last week after compiling a 23-61 mark in three seasons. It seems to have been a case of mistaken identity. Goodenough, apparently, wasn’t good enough.

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Jose Canseco is the Jim Bouton of his generation.

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Unfortunately, after his book is done rattling cages, he won’t be able to make a comeback as a knuckleball pitcher.

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Quote of the Month: “The only thing that keeps this organization from being recognized as one of the finest in baseball is wins and losses at the major league level.”

— Devil Rays general manager Chuck LaMar, as quoted by the St. Petersburg Times

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News item: The FCC rules that the “Monday Night Football” lead-in featuring Terrell Owens and Nicollette Sheridan was “titillating” but not indecent.

Comment: Now if the player had been Tony Siragusa …

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Did you hear the Cardinals and 49ers might play each other in Mexico City this season? It would be the first time two NFL teams have met during the regular season outside the United States — except, of course, for all the Raiders’ games at Network Associates Coliseum.

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Whenever somebody asks me, “How long do you think Joe Gibbs is going to coach the Redskins?” I always say, “Long enough to draft one of Donnie Warren’s kids.” The former tight end, a Gibbs favorite, has two sons playing at Virginia Tech, linebackers Blake and Brett, and a third, Beau, stars at Centreville High. Beau might be the best prospect of the bunch. He’s a 6-foot-3 offensive tackle who figures to tip the scales at about 255 by the start of his senior season.

“He’s developed a great work ethic in the weight room,” his coach, Mike Skinner, told a Virginia high school recruiting Web site, TCB007.com. “His biggest asset is his feet, and in the world of linemen that’s key number one. Beau is very intelligent and knows the game well. He has the benefit of having a coach at home. He will definitely be an offensive lineman in college. Beau could wind up being 6-5, and he’s got long arms. He’ll probably leave high school around 270 and be a 285-, 290-pound guy in college.”

Syracuse and Virginia have the inside track on Beau at the moment, but Maryland and Tech are also in the mix.

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The Sunday Column would like to pay its respects to Dick “the Monster” Radatz, who died last week at 67. Radatz burned all too briefly for the Red Sox in the early ‘60s, winning 49 games — all out of the bullpen — and saving 100 more in his four peak seasons (1962-65). But the numbers, impressive as they are, only begin to tell his story. Facing a 6-6, 230-pound flame-throwing reliever in those days was like facing Randy Johnson today.

“With all my heart, I believe he was the best reliever there ever was,” Sox pitcher Bill Monbouquette says in Danny Peary’s oral history of that era, “We Played the Game.” “Dick could pitch five innings one day and then pitch the next day. If he had been used differently, where he pitched only an inning or two a game, I know he could have saved between 80 and 100 games a year. That sounds farfetched, but I believe it.

“Here was a huge guy throwing the ball 97 miles an hour and hitting spots. … He was one of the guys who got salaries up for relievers.”

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Thanks to the wonderful folks at Retrosheet.org, who have gathered box scores back to the time of Abner Doubleday, I was able to come up with an example of what Monbo (as we called him back then) was talking about. In June 1963 against the Orioles, Radatz pitched the last six innings of a 14-inning marathon, allowing two hits, no runs and striking out 10. (Naturally, he got the win.) Two days later — two days later! — he went the last 82/3 innings of a 15-inning game against the Tigers, giving up three hits, no runs and striking out 11. (He also got the win in that one.)

In a three-day span, in other words, he pitched 142/3 innings, yielded five hits and no runs and struck out 21. (And get this: He walked only three, one intentionally.)

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Radatz and Ron Perranoski were teammates at Michigan State for a couple of seasons in the late ‘50s. Has a college program ever had two greater (future) relievers at the same time? Check out their stats from 1963: Perranoski went 16-3 with 21 saves and a 1.67 ERA for the World Series-winning Dodgers (and finished fourth in the National League MVP voting), and Radatz went 15-6 with 25 saves and a 1.97 ERA for the Red Sox (and finished fifth in the American League MVP voting).

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One more bit of Radatz minutiae: In 1964, pitching a mere 157 innings, he was seventh in the AL in strikeouts with 181 — just 36 behind the league leader.

I’m tellin’ ya, the guy was unbelievable.

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Saw in Sports Illustrated the other day that Andy Pettitte is the first pitcher since Juan Marichal to have a winning record in each of his first 10 seasons. Pettitte isn’t nearly as good with the bat as Marichal was, though — as John Roseboro can attest.

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And finally …

Missouri legislators, upset that Mark McGwire didn’t deny using steroids in testimony before the House Committee on Government Reform, might remove his name from a five-mile stretch of I-70 that was named for him after he hit 70 home runs in 1998.

They might get their point across better, though, if they reduce the speed limit on Mark McGwire Highway to 49 — the most homers he hit in a year before he started going bonkers in ‘96.

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