- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 18, 2005

Looking forward to “Four Minutes,” the ESPN Original Movie that’s premiering next month. I haven’t gotten the press kit yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s about Patrick Ramsey’s stint as the Redskins’ starting quarterback this season.

• • •

News item: Redskins offensive tackle Jon Jansen plans to take the field against the Cowboys with casts on both hands to protect a pair of broken thumbs.

Comment: If he has any sense of humor, he’ll write “Ebert” on one cast and “Roeper” on the other.

• • •

With the Saints playing their “home” opener at Giants Stadium, I decided to find out the last time an NFL team played more games on the road than at home.

Answer: 1967, when the same fate befell the Boston Patriots. Any guesses as to why?

Answer: The Patriots, tenants of Fenway Park back then, ran into an unexpected conflict — the “Impossible Dream” Red Sox were still using the stadium in early October for the World Series against the Cardinals.

Solution: Even though they had begun the season with four straight road games (waiting for the Sox to be done), the Pats grudgingly moved their fifth game from Boston to San Diego. They tied the Chargers, 31-31, but never did get untracked that year, finishing in last place in the Eastern Division with a 3-10-1 record.

• • •

In the ‘40s, before parity became a byword in the NFL, it wasn’t unusual for the better-drawing teams to be awarded more home games than the weak sisters. From 1939 to ‘46, for instance, the Redskins had 11 more home games than road games. The ‘47 Cardinals, on the other hand, won the championship despite playing only five of their 12 games at home (Comiskey Park).

• • •

My favorite NFL “champ” is the 1921 Chicago Staleys (now the Bears). Somehow, George Halas — the scoundrel — played all 11 of his games at home (two in Decatur, Ill., where the franchise originated, and the other nine at Wrigley Field). The Bears must be sensitive about this, because they list the Decatur games as “away” in their media guide.

• • •

“Rule No. 456 [from the October issue of Esquire]: No one will ever be as impressed with your collection of sports memorabilia as you are.”

• • •

Virginia Tech has a sophomore defensive end named Omar Hashish, who saw some action at the end of the Duke rout last week. I can hardly wait for Mel Kiper to say on Draft Day 2008 that Hashish “plays a little high.”

• • •

Did you read that Youppi!, the forsaken Expos mascot, has been hired by the Montreal Canadiens, making him the first mascot to move from one pro sport to another?

Bo Jackson, eat your heart out.

• • •

No offense to Screech, the Nationals’ mascot, but I’ve always wondered why the club didn’t bring Youppi! to Washington. I mean, you can’t tell me he couldn’t have provided more offense than Cristian Guzman.

• • •

Seriously, wouldn’t you love to see Youppi! listed in “The Baseball Encyclopedia” — right after Robin Yount?

• • •

Speaking of mascots, Yogi Berra won his legal battle with Turner Broadcasting, receiving a “substantial” sum from the network after it used his name without permission in a risque “Sex in the City” ad.

As another part of the settlement, I hear, Kim Cattrall will be forced to chug a gallon of Yoo-hoo.

• • •

In other legal news, former Braves pitcher Rick Camp was convicted along with four others of conspiring to steal more than $2million from a mental health agency. No word yet on whether Chris Berman plans to start calling him Rick “Federal Prison” Camp.

• • •

Fortunately, it won’t affect Camp’s career stats. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the $2million will go down in the books as unearned.

• • •

Hey, maybe they’ll send Camp to that prison in Pennsylvania — McKean County Federal Correctional Institution. The warden up there has been looking for a right-handed starter ever since Denny McLain was released.

• • •

Camp was sentenced to 3 years — or about as long as the inning he pitched in the 1982 NLCS. (In his only playoff appearance, he was charged with four hits, one walk, four earned runs and the loss as the Cardinals completed a three-game sweep of the Braves.)

• • •

Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts needs six doubles to reach 50 for the second consecutive season. (He had exactly that many last season.) Some quick research turned up only two second basemen in major league history who have accomplished the feat — Billy Herman of the Cubs in 1935 (57) and ‘36 (57) and Craig Biggio of the Astros in ‘98 (51) and ‘99 (56). (The Tigers’ Charlie Gehringer just missed with 50 in ‘34 and 60 in ‘36.) Since Herman is in the Hall of Fame and Biggio might yet make it, Roberts would be in some fairly illustrious company.

It’s surprising how few second basemen have hit 50 doubles even once. Alfonso Soriano did it with the Yankees in 2002 (51), Johnny Hodapp did it with the Indians in 1930 (51) and the legendary Nap Lajoie did it with the Cleveland Naps in 1910 (51) — to name three — but none of the other second sackers in Cooperstown ever hit 50. Heck, guys like Joe Morgan, Rod Carew and Ryne Sandberg never even hit 40. (Pete Rose hit 51 in 1978 as a third baseman, but his highest total as a second baseman was 38.)

• • •

It figured to be a while before the NHL knocked the rust off, but that still doesn’t explain the Capitals arriving late for their preseason opener at Carolina — for their first game in 16 months. Somebody dropped the ball — or rather, the puck — big-time on that one.

• • •

On the same night, the Phoenix Coyotes’ starting goalie, Brian Boucher, hurt his groin during the shootout, which is being staged after every exhibition game to give fans a preview of how ties will be settled in the new NHL. “To take an injury in that kind of scenario is just not good,” said Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky, the early front-runner for the Understatement of the Year Award.

• • •

Mike Tyson appeared at a boxing tournament in Chechnya last week as a guest of First Deputy Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov. Kadyrov, a former boxer, even suggested he and Iron Mike might climb in the ring together and exchange a few blows. Hey, don’t laugh. The IBF, in its latest rankings, had him as the No. 7 heavyweight.

• • •

And finally …

Tyson has been on a tour sponsored by Ukraine’s Nemiroff vodka company, which reportedly wants him to promote its products. What’s next, Sofia Coppola signing him to star in “Lost in Translation 2”?


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