- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 9, 2006

This guy who got hurt running with the bulls in Pamplona — his name wouldn’t be Roethlisberger, would it?

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Details of Ozzie Guillen’s sensitivity training have begun to filter out. At the first session, I’m told, Ozzie had to play a round of golf with Gay Brewer.

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I’d love to see how Guillen would react if somebody called him a homo sapien.

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This just in: President Bush has appointed Cubs catcher Michael Barrett, puncher of A.J. Pierzynski, Director of Home Plate Security.

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First there was “Chasing Amy,” then “Waking Ned Devine” and “Kissing Jessica Stein,” and now, coming soon to a theater near you … “Stalking Bob Uecker.”

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Elsewhere in baseball, Barry Bonds’ trainer, Greg Anderson, has been thrown in jail for refusing to talk to a grand jury. Justice Department lawyers are doing everything they can to make Anderson sing. They even forced him to share a cell this weekend with the Chicago Bulls mascot.

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You know, it just dawned on me: In the last two years, Bonds has more grand juries than grand slams.

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Speaking of grand slams, the five hit by the Indians’ Travis Hafner this season have stirred memories of erstwhile Oriole Jim Gentile, who preceded Boog Powell as the team’s slugging, left-handed first baseman. Gentile also had five in 1961, which gave him a share of the record until Don Mattingly smacked six in ‘87.

His ‘61 season has never been properly appreciated — in part because Roger Maris hit 61 homers the same year (and Mickey Mantle 54), and in part because he never had another one nearly as good. Still, Brooks Robinson once considered it “the best batting season in Orioles history” — and that included Frank Robinson’s Triple Crown year in ‘66.

Consider: Gentile had more RBI than Robinson (141 to 122), better on-base (.423/.410) and slugging (.646/.637) percentages and a comparable homer total (46/49) and batting average (.302/.316). Robby, of course, won the World Series and the MVP Award. Jim, whose club came in third, finished behind Maris and Mantle in the MVP voting.

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More evidence of Gentile’s hard luck: He actually tied Maris for the RBI title that season, but an official scorer’s error caused Roger to be declared the champ with 142. It wasn’t until 1995 that the mistake was discovered.

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Trivia question: What was unusual about Mattingly’s six grand slams in ‘87?

(a.) They were all hit on the road.

(b.) They were all hit against southpaws. (Mattingly batted left.)

(c.) They were all hit to the opposite field.

(d.) They were all hit in games the Yankees lost.

(Answer below.)

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A new feature at sabernomics.com — a Web site for Serious Stat Freaks — is the Francoeur Meter, which keeps track of how many outs the Braves’ Jeff Francoeur makes this season. The all-time record is 514, set by the Yankees’ Horace Clark in 1970. Francoeur, at last glance (June 27), was on pace for 499, which would still be one of the top 10 totals in history.

“In terms of home runs and RBIs, Francoeur’s numbers do look good,” writes JC Bradbury, the economics professor who presides over sabernomics.com (and conceived the Francoeur Meter). “However, that’s only because people who put up those types of numbers don’t make as many outs as Francoeur does. If all you had was his projected traditional batting line of .250/32/116, you’d be right to guess that the player was having a good season. [But] of the players who hit more than 30 but less than 35 home runs in a season, they average an OPS of .893 and produce 389 outs. That’s a HUGE difference: an OPS of 180 points higher [than Francoeur’s current .710] and 110 fewer outs. …

“No player who has ever hit between 30 and 35 home runs in a season has posted as many outs as Francoeur projects to produce this season. The highest out total was 479 (Leon Wagner, 1964), and the lowest OPS was .728 (Tony Batista, 2004).”

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FYI: The nickname hung on Omar “the Outmaker” Moreno was well deserved, it turns out. Moreno shows up twice on Bradbury’s top 10 list — for making 508 outs for the Pirates in 1980 (fifth most) and 499 in ‘79 (tied for 10th).

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Wherever hoops phenom O.J. Mayo winds up, let’s hope his coach has the good sense to install a spread offense.

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Number of the Week: $2,299,658.20. (West Virginia’s share of the legal costs stemming from the Big East’s lawsuits against the ACC. That’s about $1.3 more than WVU received in the settlement.)

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It would have been nice to see Potomac’s Jeff Halpern play his entire career with the Capitals, but that’s not the way the sports world works anymore, is it?

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Besides, Halpy might have worn the “C,” but it’s Alex Ovechkin’s team now. Heck, the kid even announces the draft picks. Before long, they’ll have him flying the team plane.

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Had a weird dream the other night. ESPN was broadcasting the Fourth of July hot dog-eating contest from the Westminster Kennel Club.

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Answer to trivia question: (e.) They were the only grand slams Mattingly hit in the big leagues.

(OK, so it was a trick question.)

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And finally …

The PGA Tour announced it might not return to Washington until 2009. A wise move, if you ask me. It will probably take at least that long for the storm-drenched course to dry out.

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