- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 8, 2006

Who knew — until the Dodgers had two players tagged out at home on the same play — that Jeff Kent is slower on the bases now than the Duchess of Kent?

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Give L.A. third base coach Rich Donnelly some credit, though. He might have waved home Moe and Larry, but at least he held up Curly.

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How quickly we forget: John Maine, the Mets’ emergency starter in Game 1 against Los Angeles, pitched for the Bethesda Big Train in the summer of 2000.

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“If I took steroids,” Pete Rose told David Letterman, “I’d have gotten 5,000 hits.”

He also could have made a mint selling “I’m sorry I took steroids” autographed baseballs.

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Trivia Question: What’s the connection between Mark Foley, the scandalized Florida congressman, and Jimmy Piersall, who once ran around the bases backward after hitting a homer? (Answer below.)

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So I’m reading about the U.S. women’s soccer team beating Taiwan 10-0 in a friendly, and I’m thinking: With friendlies like these, who needs enemies?

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Terrell Owens, who just finished “writing” his AUTObiography, is now “collaborating” on a series of children’s books — the first of which, “Little T Learns To Share,” comes out next month. Future titles, I’m told, will include:

• “If I Ran The NFL”

• “The 500 Helmets of Terrell Owens.”

• “T.O. Hears A Boo.”

• “Terrell E. Owens, Would You Please Go Now?”

• And the one I’m most looking forward to: “And To Think That I Had An Accidental Overdose On Mulberry Street.”

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With the publication of these kids’ books, it’s clear T.O.’s guiding principle is: What would Madonna do?

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Consistency has been the Patriots’ middle name since they started winning Super Bowls. And here’s the latest statistic to reaffirm that: The Pats have now gone 54 games without losing back-to-back, the second-longest streak since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.

But wait, it gets better. If you count playoff games, the streak grows to 62. That makes it, according to my research, the second longest in league history. The only one longer: the Cowboys’ 64-gamer from 1965 to ‘69.

The NFL, of course, doesn’t mix regular season and postseason games in its bookkeeping. But it seems kind of silly for a record like this. I mean, if you get beat, you get beat. Who cares when it happens — unless it’s an exhibition game?

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The top streak since the merger, in the eyes of the NFL, is the 49ers’ 60-gamer from 1995 to ‘99. But the Niners lost back-to-back three times during that stretch. In each instance, though, one of the games was a postseason game.

Streaks in the old days by the Packers (81 games from 1938 to ‘45) and Bears (70 games from 1931 to ‘36) are similarly suspect. Sorry, but when you lose a playoff game in ‘41 and then drop your ‘42 opener — as the Pack did — that’s a two-game losing streak. Heck, early in the Bears’ streak, they went five games without winning (loss, tie, tie, tie, loss).

Conclusion: What the Patriots are doing is pretty darn remarkable — any way you look at it.

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FYI: Joe Gibbs’ Redskins have never gone more than 39 games without losing back-to-back.

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Speaking of Beantown, remember those two husband-wife smackdowns in the Boston area involving Phillies pitcher Brett Myers and former Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson? Well, in both cases, the missus wound up taking the blame for the episode — and charges against the hubby were dropped.

Talk about bizarre. In a court statement, Kim Myers claimed the argument with Brett stemmed from her wanting to go barhopping and him preferring to call it a night. Angry, she “pushed him away from me.”

Jacqueline Johnson, meanwhile, said in a television interview: “It was all my fault.” Ted reportedly told police the incident was precipitated by her desire to take his prescription medication.

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You can believe those explanations if you want. Orrrrrr … you can believe that the two most important functions of an athlete’s wife are to (a) pick up dry cleaning and (b) drop charges.

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Elsewhere in pro football, the NFL suspended Cincinnati receiver Chris Henry for two games — one for “violations of the league’s personal-conduct and substance-abuse policies” and the other for “being a Bengal.”

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George Halas lives! Or rather, his DNA does. The David Halas who caught two touchdown passes for Tufts in a 21-12 win over Bates last weekend is the great-great-nephew of the Chicago Bears’ legendary founder. Uncle George also played end — two-way end in the single-platoon era — though his most memorable TD in the NFL came on a 98-yard fumble return against Jim Thorpe’s Oorang Indians in 1923 (a record at the time).

David, a sophomore, has scored five touchdowns in the Jumbos’ last five games. Not bad for a kid who didn’t take up football until his junior year at the Taft School in Watertown, Conn. But then, it’s in the genes.

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Turning to hoops, an investment group that includes former NBA’er Christian Laettner has reached an agreement to buy a controlling interest in the Grizzlies. The sale, assuming it goes through, would make Laettner the first owner in league history to have ever worn a headband.

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I’m intrigued by this idea, pushed by Vlade Divac, for a European division of the NBA. Just wondering, though: When teams play in London, will they only be allowed to drive on the left side of the court?

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Answer to trivia question: Piersall is Foley’s godfather. Bob Hohler of the Boston Globe reports that Foley “is the son of a former Newton [Mass.] police officer, Edward Foley, who befriended Piersall during his stormy career with the Red Sox” in the ‘50s.

“They met in one of Jimmy’s scrapes,” Foley says. “Dad would help him out of his little legal jams.”

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And finally …

Have you heard about Nikolai Valuev, the heavyweight boxer from Russia who stands 7 feet tall? I’m tellin’ ya, when this guy throws an uppercut, he throws an upper cut.

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