- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 4, 2005

Boy, it’s good to be back at the keyboard. Fortunately, I didn’t miss much — other than the New York Times’ Q&A; with Meat Loaf about fantasy football.

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Next up for the Old Gray Lady: David Cassidy rates the NFL cheerleaders.

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Little Leaguers nervously playing with their mouthpieces — is that great television or what?

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The first time, maybe, but not the next 99,999.

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So I’m reading about Dan Snyder’s attempt to take over Six Flags amusement parks, and I’m thinking: If I were him, I’d be more concerned with the eight flags that fell at the Redskins’ feet in the first half Thursday night.

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All kinds of cross-promotional possibilities must be dancing in Snyder’s head. There’s no truth to the rumor, though, that he plans to replace the Dancing Geezer in the Six Flags ads with Ray Brown.

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Some consideration may be given, however, to selling obstructed-view seats on the Ferris wheel.

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Another brainstorm that just popped into my head: A cannonball competition in the Six Flags swimming pool involving Derrick Dockery and the rest of the overfed offensive linemen.

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Speaking of the Redskins, kinda takes your breath away, doesn’t it, that they’re now valued at $1.264billion (according to Forbes magazine)?

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But let’s not forget, once you owned them, you could park for free.

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Kyle Eckel, the bulldozer who rushed for more than 1,000 yards each of the last two seasons at Navy, has been in camp this summer with the New England Patriots. Eckel still has a five-year military commitment to serve, but he’s been commuting to practice every day from the Navy base in Newport, R.I.

“It’s a lot of balancing and juggling,” he told Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald. “My mind is on one thing for half the day, and for the rest of the day it’s on another thing. Why am I even trying?”

Well, one reason, he offered, is “my buddies at the Naval Academy. … They’ve been really supportive of me and, really, looking for a guy to represent them in professional football. … There are a couple of guys who didn’t get the opportunity who maybe should have gotten the opportunity, but a lot of teams in the NFL don’t want to deal with the hassle.”

Not the Patriots. Their coach, Bill Belichick, has a certain familiarity with Annapolis (as the son of longtime Navy assistant Steve Belichick), and their ‘96 Super Bowl team (on which Bill was the defensive coordinator) featured former Mids offensive tackle Max Lane. It would be nice to think there might be a place for Eckel in the NFL when he’s freed up.

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As everyone knows by now, last night’s football game between Maryland and Navy was the first between the two schools in 40 years. But who can tell me the last time the Terps and Mids played George Washington (whose program no longer exists) — or Georgetown and Catholic, for that matter (both of whom have dropped down in classification)? The answers:

Navy-GW — 1959.

Maryland-GW — 1955.

Maryland-Georgetown — 1950.

GW-Georgetown — ditto.

Maryland-Catholic — 1923.

Navy-Catholic — never.

Oh, and let’s not forget: Maryland-Gallaudet — 1929.

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From a recent story in the Lincoln Journal Star: “Nebraska’s depth at wide receiver is suddenly becoming a concern. Two weeks before their first game, the Huskers are down to eight healthy receivers. On Thursday, senior Mark LeFlore and junior Isaiah Fluellen both suffered injuries.”

No need for coach Bill Callahan to worry, though. From what I understand, Tommy Lee still has a year of eligibility.

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Dave Fairbank of the Daily Press in Newport News on the proposed game between Virginia Tech and Tennessee at Bristol Motor Speedway:

“Racing magnate Bruton Smith says he’s willing to give [the teams] $20million apiece. … Details such as locker rooms, TV broadcasts and whether the quarterbacks will be impounded after Friday qualifying have yet to be addressed.”

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Let me get this straight: Steroids scofflaw Rafael Palmeiro was so bothered by the booing in Toronto that he wore earplugs at the plate?

Unheard of.

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I keep waiting for his agent to issue a statement saying, “Rafael’s gesture has been totally misunderstood. He was merely paying tribute to Dummy Hoy, the deaf-mute who racked up over 2,000 hits at the turn of the 20th century.”

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There’s another joke to be made here, but I can’t seem to put it together. All I’ve got so far is the punch line:

“Hair plugs? I thought you said earplugs!

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Glad to see the Orioles’ relievers doing a little better. For a while there, I thought the bullpen might have to be placed on the National Do Not Call List.

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Just wondering: Now that Craig Biggio has been hit by more pitches than anybody in big league history, will he get an endorsement deal from Target?

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The claim by White Sox lefty Mark Buehrle that the Rangers were signaling pitches to their batters through a high-tech light system in center field at Ameriquest Field reminds me of a funny bit in an Adam Sandler movie, “Mr. Deeds.” In the scene, a character named Crazy Eyes (played by Steve Buscemi) is in jail, and Deeds (Sandler) asks him how he got there.

“I bit the mailman,” he says, flailing his hand around. “He was doing some sort of wizard magic on me.”

Deeds: “Are you sure about that?”

Crazy Eyes: “Not exactly. He might have been waving.”

• • •

News item: L’Equipe, the French sports daily, accuses Lance Armstrong of using a performance-enhancing drug in his 1999 Tour de France victory.

Comment: And that’s not all. The newspaper is also, I hear, trying to get “Conan the Barbarian” stripped of the “Best Biceps” award it won at the ‘82 Cannes Film Festival.

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Imaginary conversation between Armstrong and an autograph seeker:

Lance: “How old are ya, kid?”

Autograph Seeker: “Five.”

Lance: “Five? I’ve got urine samples older than that.”

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Cheyenne Moore, a transfer from Clemson, has joined the George Washington basketball program. Hopefully, the NCAA won’t force him to change his first name before it clears him to play.

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Things I Never Knew Dept.: Tiger Woods likes to play Speed Golf in practice rounds. During Tiger’s warmup for the Deutsche Bank Classic, the Boston Globe’s Jim McCabe reported, he played nine holes with Sean O’Hair in a mere 75 minutes. They teed off at 7a.m. and “were walking off the [ninth] green at 8:15.”

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Now there’s a concept I could embrace: A tournament on the PGA Tour — just one every year — in which you have to complete your round in 2 hours … or be disqualified. I mean, how cool would it be to see a dawdler like Bernhard Langer nearly have a nervous breakdown?

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I’d certainly take an event like that over the International, with its silly Stableford Scoring System.

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And finally …

I’m not saying NHL fans have missed hockey, but I saw a bunch of folks with “Lemieux” jerseys the other day lining up to see “March of the Penguins.”


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