- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 24, 2006

Just wondering: Is this 700-mile fence along U.S.-Mexico border going to have a warning track?

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It was announced last week, by the way — perhaps you missed it — that the fence will be 330 feet down the left field line, 410 to straightaway center and 325 to right.

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Because of budget restrictions, unfortunately, the government had to scrap plans for a swimming pool on the American side.

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Memo to Pete Rose: If those “I’m sorry I bet on baseball” balls don’t sell, try: “I’m sorry I ran over Ray Fosse in the 1970 All-Star Game.”

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And if that doesn’t work, try: “I’m sorry I picked a fight with 160-pound Bud Harrelson in the ‘73 NLCS.”

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So I’m watching the video of the Orioles fans exiting en masse Thursday night, and I’m thinking: How fitting. I mean, O’s pitcher Daniel Cabrera leads the majors in walks (6.6 per nine innings), and now Peter Angelos leads in walkouts.

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Phil Hochberg, former P.A. voice of the Redskins, e-mails: “Overlooked in the obituaries and tributes to Syd Thrift was the fact that the Washington Daily News picked him as its high school coach of the year in 1957, when he was coaching Mt. Vernon High School baseball. (I know, because I wrote the story.)”

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Mt. Vernon High, 1957. Wasn’t George Washington the first baseman on that team?

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Elsewhere in high school sports, the father of a softball player in Meriden, Conn., was given five years’ probation for beating his daughter’s coach with a bat during a practice last year.

Or to put it another way: One judge’s brutal assault is another’s fielder’s choice.

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If the Redskins lose at Houston today and fall to 0-3, NFL Network shouldn’t just condense the game to 90 minutes, it should condense the rest of their season to 90 minutes.

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News item: A pit bull and mastiff owned by Steelers linebacker Joey Porter gets loose from his fenced property and kills a miniature horse on a nearby farm.

Comment: As if that weren’t enough, the Broncos play at Pittsburgh on Nov. 5.

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Neal from Gaithersburg writes: “Billy Volek said the Titans threw him ‘under the bus.’ Jeff Fisher said Volek threw his teammates ‘under the bus.’ John Kruk on ESPN said Jason Giambi threw A-Rod ‘under the bus.’ I’ve heard this expression a lot lately. My question is: Where is this bus? Is it one bus or a whole fleet of them? Is it a Greyhound, a Trailways or a school bus? Or are they referring to Jerome Bettis? I know Momma was thrown from the train, but I never heard of anyone actually being thrown under a bus.”

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Let’s squash a rumor right here: When it looked like Terrell Owens might be out a while with a broken hand, agent Drew Rosenhaus did not — repeat, did not — talk to the Cowboys about signing the Burger King.

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Running pass patterns in today’s Patriots-Broncos game will be Rod Smith, Denver’s all-time leader in receptions, and Troy Brown, soon to be New England’s all-time leader (he needs 15 to top Stanley Morgan’s total of 534).

What makes the occasion particularly noteworthy, though, is that both started out on the very bottom rung. Smith (802 catches and counting) was undrafted coming out of Missouri Southern State in 1995, and Brown, a Marshall product, was taken in the eighth and last round in ‘93. (There are only seven rounds now.)

Personnel people love to say, “You can always get a [good] receiver later in the draft.” But the fact of the matter is, the all-time leading receiver on 13 of the NFL’s 32 clubs is a former No. 1 pick — and five more were selected early in the second round (by the 34th selection).

So … Rod Smith and Troy Brown, the Sunday Column salutes you.

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Trivia Question: The all-time leading receivers for three other franchises played briefly for the Redskins. Who are they? (Answer below.)

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Virginia’s football coach sure is taking a beating at DontFireAlGroh.com. The Web site, believed to be run by “a few comic Hokies,” according to my Virginia Tech source, is offering a Coach Groh bobblehead for “5 easy payments of $1.7M.” Some of its features:

• “Dismisses your opinions as soon as you buy it.”

• “Head shakes from side to side following bad plays.”

• “Hand crafted in great detail, including tucked-in sweatshirt.”

• “Guaranteed to retain 30 percent of its recruits.”

• “Life-like nepotism.”

Ouch.

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Number of the Week: 860,000. (American Express Membership Rewards points needed to attend a three-day golf outing at Hilton Head in November with legendary coaches Lefty Driesell, Denny Crum and LaVell Edwards. For those lacking the points, the price is $4,300. Sorry, it’s by invitation only.)

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You’ve gotta admit, the Ryder Cup is a terrific event — Winona or lose.

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Did you read about the Japanese pro who took a 19 the other day on a par-3 hole? Seems his ball landed in some bushes, and he needed 14 tries to whack it out.

Guess George isn’t the only bush getting knocked around these days.

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Arnold Palmer came up with the best line for a situation like that. At the 1961 Los Angeles Open, Palmer tried to reach the par-5 ninth green in two and hit four straight shots out of bounds. There’s a plaque at Rancho Park commemorating his, uh, courageous futility.

“How the heck did you get a 12?” the press asked Arnie.

“I missed a 20-footer for 11,” he said.

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A few days later, Byron Nelson told the Oakland Tribune, “Palmer is one of the boldest players I’ve ever seen on the [PGA] Tour. To me, he shoots the works on every shot. This can work for you and against you. You can take 12 shots on a hole one day and shoot a 62 the next week.”

Palmer didn’t shoot a 62 the next week, but he did shoot a final-round 65 — and won the San Diego Open in a playoff. That’s right, folks, in the very next tournament after his infamous 12, Arnie notched the 22nd of his 62 Tour victories.

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Answer to trivia question: Andre Reed (Bills, 941 receptions), Larry Centers (Cardinals, 535) and James Wilder (Bucs, 430). Reed played for the Redskins in 2000, Centers in 1999-00 and Wilder in 1990. (James was active for just one game.)

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And finally …

Maryland basketball hero Lonny Baxter plans to rejoin his Italian team after serving a two-month sentence for discharging a gun near the White House.

“We’re counting on his spirit of renewal,” the team’s general manager said.

How about: “We’re counting on him steering clear of the Vatican”?

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