- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 27, 2005

News item: A Cactus League game between the Rockies and Diamondbacks is called after five innings when a swarm of bees invades the field.

Comment: I wouldn’t be surprised if Buzzy Bavasi was behind this.

• • •

Just wondering: Does calling a game because of bee infestation fall under the infield fly rule?

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Colorado’s Darren Oliver attracted such a crowd on the mound — because of the coconut oil in his hair gel, he theorized — that he had to be replaced by a reliever.

It’s the first time a pitcher has been knocked from the box by an insect since David Wells drank one too many grasshoppers the night before a start in 1997.

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Good thing the game didn’t go into the late innings. We wouldn’t have known if “BS” in the box score stood for blown save or bee sting.

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It must have been strange seeing major leaguers running all around, afraid of being stung — I mean, as familiar as some of them undoubtedly are with hypodermic needles.

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Fortunately for Arizona’s Luis Gonzalez, his homer came in the first — before the pesky creatures arrived. Had he hit it later in the game, he might have gotten a hive five.

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Sounds like something out of “Bull Durham,” doesn’t it? The third base coach starts swatting away bees, and Crash Davis steps away from the plate and grouses, “What the heck sign is he trying to give me now?”

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Five Groups of Athletes Nicknamed the “Killer B’s”:

1. Miami Dolphins, 1982 — Defensive players Bob Baumhower, Doug Betters, Kim Bokamper, Bob Brudzinski, Glenn Blackwood and Lyle Blackwood.

2. Duke basketball, 1997 — Mike Krzyzewski’s recruiting class of Elton Brand, Shane Battier and Chris Burgess.

3. Colorado Avalanche, 2000 — Defensemen Ray Bourque and Rob Blake.

4. U.S. freestyle skiing, 2002 — Aerialist Eric Bergoust and moguls skier Jeremy Bloom.

5. Houston Astros, 2004 — Jeff Bagwell, Lance Berkman, Craig Biggio and Carlos Beltran. (Predating Beltran in the Astros’ “Killer B’s” brigade was Derek Bell.)

• • •

Elsewhere in baseball, Barry Bonds remained unrepentant, blaming the media for his multitude of problems. You know, once he passes Hank Aaron, I wouldn’t be surprised if Barry sets his sights on Pete Rose’s record — not the one for hits, the one for Longest-Delayed Apology.

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After assaulting a judge in Aruba, getting in a barroom fight and being pulled over for speeding and possible DUI — all in the space of a few months — Sidney Ponson is now, officially, a cartoon character.

• • •

A flame-throwing young lefty loses the ability to pitch and reinvents himself as a respectable outfielder. Smoky Joe Wood pulled it off, why not Rick Ankiel?

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It would be a shame if the real reason Pedro Martinez left the Red Sox is that he didn’t want to get his back waxed on “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.”

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Yup, the “Queer Eye” crew is giving five Sox a makeover on the show’s June7 season premiere. Ted Allen, the Fab Five’s food and wine expert, really messed with the players’ heads, I hear. Instead of doing shots of Jack Daniel’s before games now, Kevin Millar and Co. are sipping glasses of pinot noir.

• • •

With their pinkies extended!

• • •

The Red Sox are perfect subjects for the show, given their Neanderthal ways — a lot better than, say, the Rockies would be. Darren Oliver, after all, already has hair gel with coconut oil.

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The ACC might have been the strongest men’s basketball conference at the start of the season, but clearly the Big Ten is the best now.

• • •

When did the state of Wisconsin become such a hotbed of hoops? Bo Ryan’s Badgers are in the Elite Eight (after reaching the Final Four five years ago), Wisconsin-Milwaukee was the biggest surprise of the tournament, and Wisconsin-Stevens Point just won its second straight Division III championship (its only losses coming to Wisconsin-Whitewater, Wisconsin-Platteville and Wisconsin-Oshkosh).

• • •

Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press on the bomb scare that pushed back the tipoff of Friday night’s Pacers-Pistons game in Detroit:

“Until the game finally started at about 9:35, few people knew the details of what was really happening. … Reporters were largely contained to the media area. At 8:50, media members and a group of others were told they could not leave the dining room because the Palace was in lock-down mode. This high-alert situation, however, did not stop a Palace security guard from delivering a couple of beers to Kid Rock.”

• • •

Slow times in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine have prompted Maurice Clarett to change trainers, his agent says. If I was a running back and I ran a 4.72 and a 4.82 at the combine, I’d consider training with Rosie Ruiz.

• • •

Clarett will work out for NFL scouts this week at his former high school in Warren, Ohio. It’s not as nice a venue as Ohio State, but it does have one advantage, I understand: The clock in the football stadium is a sundial.

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Some interesting quotes from Saints coach Jim Haslett the other day about steroids in the NFL back when he played, in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Particularly intriguing was his veiled reference to two players who were transformed by the stuff, he claims — one on the Bills, the other on the Browns.

The Buffalo player, Haslett said, “came out of the [U.S. Football League]. He was 270, and he would never have made our team if he didn’t get up to 300. The linemen got him together, got him a little supplemental pill for the week, and he got up to about 305 and made our team and he’s probably one of the great all-time players in Bills history.”

As for the Cleveland player, “the guy was a backup tight end [in 1979], he weighed about 260. The next year he was their starting guard at 310.”

Who exactly was Haslett talking about? Well, he refused to name names, but the Buffalo lineman could well be Kent Hull, who started out with the USFL’s New Jersey Generals and played center for the Bills for 11 seasons. The Cleveland tight end/guard is a mystery, because nobody on the roster in that period really fits the description. Haslett might have been referring to the Steelers’ Larry Brown, who pulled some duty at tight end before switching not to guard but to tackle.

• • •

After the second round of the Players Championship was postponed, the Boston Globe’s Jim McCabe reports, “a tournament official read off a list of wet fairways that included Nos. 4, 5, 7, 9, 12, 15 and 16.”

“Is the 17th fairway still under water?” a reporter cracked.

“We’re pumping 17 to try to get that water out of there,” the official said with a smile.

The 17th, as everyone knows, is the hole with the infamous island green.

• • •

Sophie Sandolo of the European LPGA Tour has come out with a calendar featuring pictures of her — how shall I put this? — without her wood covers.

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Suddenly, all those cheesecake shots of Jan Stephenson seem demure.

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And finally …

Women’s golf, says Sandolo, “needs more visibility, glamour and a new image. My … calendar is intended to represent my love for golf, my desire for freedom and a touch of coquetry.”

Darlin’, you can play through my foursome anytime.

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