- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 14, 2006

Can you believe this guy who’s suing the Angels for discrimination because they wouldn’t give him a red nylon tote bag during a Mother’s Day promotion last year?

What’s next, Bruce Wayne obtaining a restraining order to keep teams from holding Bat Days?

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News item: National Security Agency said to be secretly gathering telephone records of millions of Americans.

Comment: Not to worry, folks. It’ll probably take the agency months just to weed through all the illegal calls Kelvin Sampson made to Oklahoma basketball recruits.

• • •

Too bad the NSA didn’t do this sooner. We could have found out who Pete Rose was really talking to on the dugout phone — his bullpen coach or his bookie.

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I’m not saying the government is jumpy, but I hear it obtained a log of helmet-radio transmissions in 2003 from Steve Spurrier to Gibran Hamdan.

• • •

Getting back to Sampson, OU officials have determined the former Sooners coach and his staff made more than 550 impermissible calls between 2000 and 2004. I’m pretty sure that’s an NCAA record, by the way — for most impermissible calls not involving a 900 number.

• • •

Elsewhere in college sports, erstwhile Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne lost the Republican primary for governor in the Cornhusker State by six percent. Not surprisingly, though, he still won the BCS poll.

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O.J. Simpson is set to star in a “Candid Camera”-type program — “Juiced,” available on pay-per-view. In one scene, aired last week on “Inside Edition,” Simpson pretends to sell a white Ford Bronco at a used car lot, telling the prospective buyer, “It was good for me; it helped me get away.”

I didn’t see it myself, but I’ll bet O.J. offered the customer a killer deal.

• • •

If you’re wondering why Art Monk isn’t in the Hall of Fame, the retirement of Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Jimmy Smith may offer a few clues. Smith’s career statistics (862 catches, 12,287 yards, 67 touchdowns) are very similar to Monk’s (940/12,721/68). On top of that, he had more 1,000-yard seasons (nine to Art’s five), played in more Pro Bowls (five to Art’s three) and did it all in fewer years (12 to Art’s 16).

And yet, Smith is no lock to make the Hall, not with Jerry Rice, Cris Carter, Michael Irvin, Tim Brown and Marvin Harrison up for election in the next decade (and Randy Moss shortly thereafter).

So why would Monk be?

• • •

Great story by Jerry Crowe in Friday’s Los Angeles Times on a Clippers season-ticket holder who’s homeless. The fan, 46-year-old Carl Cook, bikes from his “home base” in Marina del Rey to Staples Center for every home game — a round trip of about 30 miles.

“Cook, who bunks down most nights on a friend’s sailboat or in a nearby laundromat, said he makes $30 to $40 a job detailing cars near Los Angeles International Airport and $10 an hour as an attendant at a Manhattan Beach carwash,” Crowe writes. “His annual income, he said, is probably less than $10,000. And yet he spent about $3,300 on tickets this season, sitting floor level near the tunnel where the Clippers make their entrance.”

• • •

On the plus side, he doesn’t have to shell out $30 to park.

• • •

Something I didn’t know until I stumbled across it the other day: When a player is suspended by the NBA, it costs him 1/110th of his salary for each game lost, not 1/82nd. In other words: Four-game suspensions for the price of three!

Nothing like getting a discount for misbehaving.

• • •

In case you missed it, LeBron James received just one vote in the NBA’s all-defensive team balloting. But, hey, the kid’s still young (21). Michael Jordan didn’t make the first of his nine all-D teams until he was 25.

• • •

Just missing the second team was the Suns’ Raja Bell, necktie-tackler of Kobe Bryant, of whom Kobe imperiously said, “Do I know him?” Apparently, a number of the coaches around the league know Bell — and appreciate his abilities as a defender. Two of them thought he belonged on the first team.

• • •

No man is an island? Try telling that to PGA Tour rookie P.J. Staten.

• • •

Reader Chris Hager of Falls Church thinks my recent column on Barry Bonds and Babe Ruth didn’t pay quite enough homage to the latter. “I believe the Babe often hit more [home runs] than whole teams,” he e-mails.

Actually, there were two seasons, Chris, when the Babe hit home homers than any other team in the American League — 1920 (when he hit 54 and no other club hit more than 50) and 1927 (when he hit 60 and no other club hit more than 56).

They didn’t call him the Sultan of Swat for nothing.

• • •

Sports, I’ve decided, need a Bureau of International Statistics. We shouldn’t have learned after he broke his wrist the other night that Hideki Matsui had played in 1,768 consecutive games — 518 for the Yankees and 1,250 for Japan’s Yomiuri Giants. (Throw in 33 postseason games, and the streak is 1,801.)

Clearly, Matsui is one of the great iron men of this or any other era. And talk about consistent. From 2000 to 2004, his RBI totals were 108, 104, 107, 106 and 108 — something else we would have known if there were a Bureau of International Statistics.

I’m willing to donate a file cabinet to the venture. Anybody got some office space we can use?

• • •

And finally …

Remember that statue of Rocky Balboa that Sylvester Stallone donated to Philadelphia years ago? Well, after first being located on the steps of the Art Museum, it’s been moved to the Spectrum, the Wachovia Center and is now in storage (while folks figure out what to do with it).

Amazing, isn’t it? The statue has more mobility than Rocky did.


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