- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 4, 2006

Did you hear about the bank robber — dubbed the “Harry Caray bandit” by Chicago police — who was finally apprehended Wednesday? He was so nicknamed because (a) he wore oversized glasses, a wig and a baseball cap; and (b) in his last few years as the Cubs’ announcer, Harry, too, was stealing money.

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A headline begging to be written: Cash and Caray.

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The Scripps National Spelling Bee — sport or not a sport?

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Andrea Wong, ABC’s executive VP for alternative programming, has strong feelings on the subject. “These aren’t nerds,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “They are intellectual athletes.”

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Sure, lady. And Albert Einstein was the Dirk Nowitzki of his time.

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Let’s see these kids spell “ursprache” with Ray Lewis about to unload on them.

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Stumbled across a great Web site the other day — https://nflhistory.net/linescores. It has scoring summaries of every NFL game ever played (not to mention every AFL and All-America Conference game).

Where else can you learn that Marty Schottenheimer scored the only touchdown of his pro career on Dec. 9, 1967, returning an interception 45 yards to help the Bills beat the Patriots, 44-16, at Fenway Park?

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By the way, Marty’s TD came right after future vice presidential nominee Jack Kemp, the Buffalo quarterback, was sacked in the end zone for a safety. (No indication who did the sacking, but we can probably assume it was a Democrat.)

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And check out this game by an Eagles QB — some guy named Sonny Jurgensen — against the Cowboys in 1961: five touchdown passes measuring (in chronological order) 56, 60, 60, 40 and 82 yards. (Three went to Tommy McDonald, the other two to Timmy Brown.)

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Loved Curtis Martin’s testimonial to retiring Jets receiver Wayne Chrebet: “If every player in the NFL had as much heart and desire as he had, football would be illegal.”

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And Mr. Martin, I’ll just point out, knows a thing or two about heart and desire.

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I’m not sure what exactly this means, but …: While researching my recent column on Babe Ruth, I came across this note in the New York Times after the Yankees’ 1933 season finale: “[The Yanks’] Ben Chapman won a 100-yard sprint before the game in 10 2/5 seconds. Ruth won the fungo-hitting honors, driving a ball 395 feet.”

Three hundred ninety-five feet with a fungo bat? Now that’s a serious clout.

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Chalk up another near no-hitter for the Padres — who have yet to have a real one in their 38 years of existence. Chris Young took a no-no into the eighth last Tuesday against the Rockies before giving up a leadoff double.

I’m tellin ya, it all goes back to 1970, the franchise’s second season. Clay Kirby held the Mets hitless for eight innings one night, but San Diego still trailed, 1-0. So manager Preston Gomez pinch-hit for Kirby — an Arlington product, incidentally — in the bottom of the eighth. The Padres have been cursed, no-hitter-wise, ever since.

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Trivia Question: What future World Series-winning manager was sent up to bat for Kirby? (Answer below.)

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News item: Banned Olympic coach Walter Mayer has been cleared by the Austrian Ski Federation of any involvement with doping at the Torino Games.

Comment: Just wondering: How do you say “Original Whizzinator” in German?

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Mayer, you may recall, fled Torino after Italian police found what they described as blood equipment, syringes and other materials while raiding the living quarters of the Austrian biathlon and cross country teams. By “other materials,” I suspect they’re talking about Barry Bonds baseball cards.

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Mayer’s flight from Italy ended when he crashed his car into a police blockade in Austria. Poor guy. I mean, Al Cowlings didn’t even offer to drive him.

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Elsewhere in jurisprudence, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that Indiana University trustees did not violate the state’s Open Door Law in 2000 when they met in separate groups to discuss firing basketball coach Bob Knight.

On the contrary, the court said, it was a perfectly legal backdoor play.

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More bad news for Duke lacrosse. Midfielder Matt Wilson was stopped by Chapel Hill police recently and charged with driving while impaired, possession of marijuana and failure to have a clue.

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Not to worry, though. Members of the school’s women’s lacrosse team say they’ve got plenty of room for his number on their sweatbands.

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There was a rumor floating around Durham that Wilson had already been contacted by the Toronto Argonauts.

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By the way, the Duke laxmen have changed their motto from “No Excuses, No Regrets,” to “You’ll Have To Speak To My Lawyer and … What Was That Second Thing Again?”

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Lacrosse doesn’t get much love in This Space, and here’s why: Only seven schools have won the national championship in the 36-year history of the tournament. Seven! By contrast, there have been 20 different champs in D-I basketball since ‘71 and 18 in football.

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Heck, there are more trustees at Indiana University (nine) than there are programs that have won the lacrosse title.

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So I’m reading about Wayne Gretzky agreeing to a five-year deal to remain coach of the Coyotes, and I’m thinking: Is he really committed to staying that long, or is five years just the over-under?

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Number of the Week: 114 (Points scored by the Minnesota Lynx last week against the Los Angeles Sparks, a new WNBA record. FYI: The Minnesota Timberwolves didn’t score that many points in any game this season — even with the help of overtime. Their high was 113 vs. the Lakers on Dec. 2.)

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FYI, Part II: In their next outing, the Lynx scored 92. That’s still more than the T-Wolves averaged per game (91.7).

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All hail (Seimone) Augustus!

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Answer to trivia question: Cito Gaston was the Padre who struck out pinch-hitting for Clay Kirby. Gaston later, of course, managed the Blue Jays to World Series titles in 1992 and ‘93.

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Three years after his career was abruptly halted by a motorcycle crash, Jay Williams says he’s ready to return to the NBA. You know what would be a cool way to welcome him back to the league? Shoot a commercial of Jay “jumping the fountains at Caesars Palace” — not on a Harley but in a pair of adidases.

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And finally …

Even cooler: Get Jeff Kent and Kellen Winslow Jr. to be his spotters.


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