- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 22, 2006

It was another tough week for Barry Bonds. According to an AP-AOL sports poll, 48 percent of baseball fans are hoping he falls short of Hank Aaron’s career home run record. A mere 33 percent want him to break it, 16 percent don’t care and 3 percent said, “I can’t hear you, I’ve got a hypodermic needle in my ear.”

• • •

“Baseball could come back [to the Olympics],” IOC president Jacques Rogge says, “if they address some issues.”

Among them: “There is still a big gap between the rules of the MLBPA and the WADA anti-doping code. If an athlete under the jurisdiction of WADA is caught for anabolic steroids, he will have a suspension of two years. This is not the case in the major leagues, where they suspend players for a number of matches.”

Great to know the fate of the sport is in the hands of people who think baseball games are “matches.”

• • •

By the way, the Reds’ Aaron Harang and the Indians’ C.C. Sabathia led the majors in complete matches this season with six each.

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Just wondering: In light of the Tour de France scandal, would the IOC automatically drug-test a baseball player if he hit for the cycle?

• • •

That was a nice trade the Colts made, sending a No. 2 to Tampa Bay for run stuffer Anthony McFarland. Of course, the Redskins, also in need of line help, could have made the same trade — if they didn’t give away their second-round picks like Halloween candy. Next year’s second-rounder already belongs to the Jets (for the privilege of drafting Rocky McIntosh).

• • •

Did you see the newest Redskin, Troy Vincent, struck a deal with Reed Doughty for the rookie’s No. 23 jersey? Hope, for Doughty’s sake, that Vincent didn’t buy it on the Clinton Portis Installment Plan — half now, nothing later.

• • •

Charges were finally brought against the former backup punter at Northern Colorado who’s accused of stabbing the starter in the leg. Asked what he thought of his ex-teammate facing an attempted murder rap, the victim, Rafael Mendoza said, “I can’t kick.”

• • •

OK, so he didn’t say, “I can’t kick.” But I wish he had.

• • •

Whatever happened to the veneer of objectivity on college football telecasts — or to journalistic reserve, for that matter?

I’m not just talking about Comcast’s Lamar Thomas sounding like Vince McMahon during the Miami-Florida International melee, I’m talking about ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit lighting into some Virginia Tech players for misbehaving against Boston College — and, in the process, getting “as emotional as I’ve ever been on the air.”

It’s not that Herbstreit doesn’t have a point. The Hokies’ licentiousness is an issue of long standing. But in trying to explain himself to the Roanoke Times last Tuesday, he came across as a guy who should probably recuse himself from future Tech games because of his closeness to the coach.

“The only reason I reacted the way I did,” he said, “is because I’ve really gotten to know Frank Beamer as a person over the years. If he’s not my favorite coach, he’s … 1B. … It was more just frustration with where Frank is trying to take the program and a few individuals kind of holding him back from doing that.

“If it were any other coach and any other program, you may not have heard that same kind of passion. But because I care so much about him, and because I care about what he’s trying to do with his team, it became pretty passionate. … I know how hard [Beamer] and [defensive coordinator] Bud Foster and [offensive coordinator] Bryan Stinespring and the rest of that staff, how hard collectively they’ve worked on that very subject for the last three or four years, and what an effort they’ve made to try and filter all of that out of the program.”

It’s hard to believe, after reading Herbstreit’s comments, that he played his college football in Columbus, Ohio, and not Blacksburg, Va.

• • •

My friend Robert, the Hokies zealot, e-mails: “I read an article today which ripped ACC expansion and pondered the attendance at a Wake-Georgia Tech championship game. You can throw BC in that mix, too. If two of those three make it, I’m guessing a throng of 35,000 will show up. Heck, even with us and FSU last year they couldn’t sell out the place.”

• • •

Man’s Search For Meaning: Twice in about a week, prominent athletes uttered the existential words, “Why am I here?” The first was Terrell Owens, who didn’t feel the Cowboys were throwing him the darn ball enough. The second was Mets closer Billy Wagner, miffed that he wasn’t summoned to pitch the ninth in Game 7 of the NLCS.

Interestingly, though, it may not have started with T.O. Some quick Googling turned up this quote from Colin Montgomerie at the U.S. Open: “I’ve always said it’s difficult to win majors in this era. Tiger [Woods] usually takes two of them [a year], so that leaves two available. Phil [Mickelson], Ernie [Els], Retief [Goosen] and Vijay [Singh] take the rest, so there are actually none left! Why am I here?”

And several years earlier, hockey star Viacheslav Fetisov said, “It was tough when I [left the Soviet Union for the NHL] for a couple of years. Many times I would think, ‘Why am I here? Why did I do it?’ I was a big player in Europe, and people knew me. Here, all of a sudden, I had to struggle. But I keep telling myself I have to fight through this stuff.”

• • •

I like Monty’s “Why am I here?” the best.

• • •

Quote of the Week comes from Marina Ortega, director of the Boston Celtics’ new dance troupe, who told the Boston Globe: “There’s a big difference between the NFL and the NBA when it comes to this stuff. In the NFL, the girls have pretty faces and tight bodies, but not all of them can dance. These girls are not only beautiful but, man, they’re going to have to dance. … We’re not going to have any cheesy choreography.”

• • •

Can’t dance. Cheesy choreography. Those aren’t just fightin’ words, those are mud-wrasslin’ words.

• • •

Speaking of the feminine form, Sport Illustrated’s home page the other day featured not one, not two, but three photos of bikini-clad women (upper right corner, center left and lower middle).

And none of them, near as I could tell, was a beach volleyball player.

• • •

Did I miss something? I mean, does SI stand for Swimsuits Incorporated now?

• • •

Maybe the Web site was just trying to make up for the picture of Bob Uecker (No. 6 on the list of the 10 Greatest Characters in St. Louis Cardinals History).

• • •

And finally …

In college basketball, Bob Knight agreed to a contract extension that will keep him at Texas Tech through 2012 — by which time, I’m guessing, folks will be referring to him as “Knight of the Living Dead.”


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