- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 18, 2006

MAMARONECK, N.Y.

Warning: You are now entering a World Cup-free zone.

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Kenneth Ferrie, Colin Montgomerie, Ian Poulter, Luke Donald. If the Brits don’t win the U.S. Open this year, with four horses in the race, they may never do it.

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By the way, has Chris Berman referred to him as Kenneth “Staten Island” Ferrie yet?

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Considering Jason Gore’s final-round flameout at Pinehurst, you have to ask yourself: Is the obscure Ferrie more likely to wind up hoisting the trophy … or finishing T-49?

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Another question to ponder: Phil Mickelson is 18 holes from capturing his third straight major. How far off the ground do you think he’ll jump if he pulls it off?

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Over/Under: 10 inches (four more than he managed at the ‘04 Masters).

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Overheard on the shuttle bus to Winged Foot: “Can you believe the Stanley Cup might go to North Carolina? When I was growing up there, we called it ice hockey to distinguish it from field hockey.”

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Fearless prediction: By the end of the month, the hottest-selling items in Pittsburgh will be “I Brake For Ben Roethlisberger” bumper stickers.

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Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but there oughta be a law that says: Any professional athlete who gets racked up in a motorcycle crash has to ride in a sidecar — everywhere — for the rest of his life.

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Roethlisberger reportedly lost two teeth and chipped several others in his run-in with a Chrysler New Yorker. In other words, he looks just like Jack Lambert now.

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Who would have guessed that, in the space of a few months, he’d go from being the youngest quarterback to win the Super Bowl to being the first quarterback to do a Polident commercial?

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You know that 62-year-old woman who was involved in the accident with Big Ben? Well, the Bengals, I hear, are trying to hire her to drive their equipment cart.

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When he does come back, Roethlisberger is expected to wear a special helmet that provides him with extra protection. Memo to the Steelers: You might want to find one with a roll bar.

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Ben won’t be able to play football for a while, banged up as he is, but he’s apparently still eligible to compete in NASCAR.

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Somewhat better off is former Washington National Esteban Loaiza, now with the A’s, who was arrested for going 120 mph in his Ferrari. I don’t know about you, but I have no patience for pitchers who drive 35 mph faster than their top radar-gun reading.

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The retirement of oft-injured 49ers cornerback Ahmed Plummer might not mean much to many readers, but it does to me. Before the 2000 draft, the Redskins and Niners made a huge trade — Washington sent two No. 1 picks to San Francisco (the 12th and 24th) for the third overall selection, which it used to take Chris Samuels. Samuels, of course, is still wearing burgundy, but none of the main players ‘Frisco got out of the deal remain with the club. Linebacker Julian Peterson just signed as a free agent with the Seahawks, corner Jason Webster has moved on to the Falcons and now Plummer has hung ‘em up.

(Note: The 49ers traded down from 12 to 16 and gained an extra second-rounder. They drafted Peterson at 16 and Webster in the second.)

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Moving to college football, Southern Cal receiver Dwayne Jarrett was declared ineligible by the NCAA because he didn’t pay enough rent for the apartment he shared last season with Matt Leinart. (Leinart’s dad picked up much of the tab.) Still being investigated is whether the maid service might have left more than the NCAA-allowed two mints on Jarrett’s pillow every night.

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Quote of the Week: “If you play against him, you hate him. If you play with him, you hate him a little less.”

— White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen on A.J. Pierzynski

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Fascinating chart in the Seattle Times last week breaking down Ichiro Suzuki’s performance on various ball-strike counts. The highlights:

• He’s batting .319 with two strikes and .333 on 0-2.

• He’s struck out looking only three times.

• He doesn’t swing at the first pitch much (44 times in his first 305 at-bats), but when he does he hits .440.

• Best chance to get him out: Get him to bite on an 0-1 pitch. (His average is .192 in those situations.)

• Worst chance to get him out: Throw him something he likes with the count 2-0 (.833) or 2-1 (.650).

(Statistics through Monday.)

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A moment of silence, please, for Moe Drabowsky, who died last weekend at 73. Moe’s relief appearance for the Orioles in the 1966 World Series opener (62/3 innings, one hit, no runs, 11 strikeouts) ranks right up there with Eddie Shore replacing Babe Ruth after one batter in 1917 and getting 26 straight outs (plus a 27th when the leadoff hitter was caught trying to steal).

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Great Moments in Baseball History: On May 15, 1971, in the sixth inning of a game against the Astros, Moe Drabowsky was relieved by Al Hrabosky. (Yes, they were teammates on the Cardinals in ‘71 and ‘72, Moe’s last two seasons. What fun the St. Louis bullpen must have been in those days, Moe and Al being such legendary nuts.)

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What kind of a nut was Drabowsky? The kind who, according to BaseballLibrary.com, “was once rolled to first base in a wheelchair after being hit by a pitch.”

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Nice grandstand play by Bud Selig, pledging to relentlessly pursue drug cheats in an open letter to baseball fans. Bud, I’ve decided, was slow to respond to the crisis because, well, using steroids or HGH is kinda like setting the odometer back on a used car.

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Coming soon on Showtime: Mike Tyson vs. Nacho Libre. No holds barred.

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News item: FEMA aid paid for Saints tickets, sex-change operation.

Comment: The sex-change operation I can see …

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Did you read about the two clock malfunctions in Game 3 of the Heat-Mavericks series? Typically, the league downplayed it. In fact, its Web site described the game as “47 minutes, 56.6 seconds of nonstop action.”

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Elsewhere in sports, James Galante, owner of the United Hockey League’s Danbury Trashers, has been named in a federal Mafia indictment. Galante has been charged with racketeering, extortion, witness tampering, circumventing the league’s salary cap and going to get the morning paper in his bathrobe.

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“Galante is in prison awaiting trial,” the Associated Press reports, and — probably because he’s a hockey owner — “his family’s bank accounts have been frozen.”

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And finally …

Notre Dame safety Tom Zbikowski TKO’d his first opponent, Robert “Ring My” Bell, just 49 seconds into their fight. Soon enough, I suspect, being knocked out by Zbikowski will be described by boxing writers as “catching some Z’s.”

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