- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 24, 2007

Shaquille O’Neal’s new TV show, “Shaq’s Big Challenge” — in which he helps weight-challenged kids reshape their bodies — debuts Tuesday night at 9 on ABC.

I can hardly wait for the celebrity episode featuring Charles Barkley, David Wells, John Daly and Rick Majerus.

(Maybe they’ll have Mel “Dinner Bell” Turpin throw out the first rack of ribs.)

• • •

No joke: Wouldn’t the concept work better if Shaq could get sports figures to perspire along with Porky, Tubby, Doughboy and Goodyear?

• • •

Quote of the Week: “I’m leaving because I feel like the franchise and the Verizon Center are in a good place. [Wizards coach Eddie Jordan and GM Ernie Grunfeld] are phenomenal basketball people, and the city is lucky to have its first superstar with Gilbert Arenas.”

— Susan O’Malley, retiring president of Washington Sports and Entertainment (as quoted by The Washington Post)

• • •

Good to know Walter Johnson and Sammy Baugh weren’t superstars — or John Riggins, for that matter.

• • •

And correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History — as voted in 1996? (Or do they not belong to the “city” because they played in Landover?)

• • •

No offense to Miguel Tejada, but part of me is glad his consecutive-games streak ended at 1,152 — 1,480 shy of the mark set by You Know Who. Especially because, after Barry Bonds hit No. 756, ESPN probably would have begun a decade-long Countdown to Cal.

• • •

Tejada’s streak began June 2, 2000. To put this in perspective: On June 2, 2000, Ted Williams’ head was still attached to his body.

• • •

Which of the following did not happen on June 2, 2000:

1. The Devil Rays’ Fred McGriff hit his 400th homer.

2. Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux faced each other for the first time but neither lasted six innings nor was involved in the decision as the Braves beat the Yankees 11-7.

3. The Cubs’ Rick Aguilera notched his 300th save.

4. The Expos announced they would wear Maurice Richard’s No. 9 on their uniforms to honor the Montreal hockey legend, who had died the previous week.

(Answer: It was a trick question. They all happened on that date.)

• • •

In Boston, meanwhile, Curt Schilling has been placed on the 15-day disabled list. All that blogging, team doctors say, was putting too much strain on his right shoulder.

• • •

Well, the ground rules have finally been set for Jason Giambi’s meeting with steroids investigator George Mitchell. From what I hear, there’ll be no eye gouging, no hitting below the belt and no spitting tobacco juice on George’s shoes.

• • •

Elsewhere in hardball, UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton needed 5 hours, 40 minutes to play 13 innings at the College World Series, the longest game in the history of the event. Almost six hours to play a game and a half (roughly)! Obviously, these kids are major-league ready.

• • •

The coaches, I’m guessing, were secretly thrilled the game ran so long. After all, there’s nothing more dangerous than a group of ballplayers with too much time on their hands in Omaha, Nebraska.

• • •

In a related story, Irvine has decided to change its mascot from the Anteater to the Human Rain Delay.

• • •

Seriously, is anybody else appalled by this? I wouldn”t be surprised if George H.W. Bush — College World Series, 1947 — spent less time memorizing his inaugural address than Irvine and Fullerton spent lollygagging through 13 innings.

• • •

Speaking of human limits, a man will try to break the world record by running more than 153.76 miles in 24 hours on a treadmill.

Dean Karnazes, an ultramarathoner, will start running at midnight Thursday and be suspended between two billboards in New York’s Times Square. One billboard will run live video for spectators, along with a clock and mileage counter. The other billboard, presumably, will show footage of Astro going out for his daily walk on “The Jetsons.”

• • •

Snippets from Joe Theismann’s recent Q&A; with Metrobostonnews.com:

Q: What’s your opinion of the new “Monday Night Football” crew?

A: “For Mike [Tirico] and Tony [Kornheiser] and Ron [Jaworski], it’ll be a learning process again, because Ron hasn’t done television [analysis for as long as Theismann has]. Tony is extremely neurotic. … I’m disappointed, certainly I never expected [to get replaced]. But the people at ESPN understand how to deliver a product. I will say this: I believe 100 percent that you cannot insult the football fan. ‘Monday Night Football’ is about football, and I hope that they continue to deliver that product to the fan. ‘Monday Night Football’ cannot be an extension of ‘Pardon the Interruption,’ because the game is too important.”

Q: How would you react if you were in Donovan McNabb’s situation? What if the Redskins came in and drafted a quarterback?

A: “They did. I have walked in Donovan’s shoes. Tom Flick was a No. 2 pick when I was there. In 1981, we went 0-5, and they go out and get a quarterback. I was going to be traded to the Detroit Lions. The Redskins went out and drafted Tom Flick in the second round. Gibbs was a second-year head coach. They were after his job.”

For the record:

• Flick was a fourth-round pick, not a second-rounder.

• He was drafted in 1981, before the Redskins began the season 0-5.

• By Gibbs’ second year, Flick had been traded to the Patriots for backup QB Tom Owen.

Translation: It’s just Joe T. being Joe T.

• • •

Did you see the president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, staged a pickup soccer game in the Andes to protest FIFA’s ban on playing international matches above 8,200 feet? Brazil pushed hardest for the measure, from what I understand. It got tired of having leads disappear into thin air.

• • •

Actually, the Brazilians were upset about having to play in Bolivia last year at 13,000 feet — in freezing rain. Can you imagine if the NFL operated like this? Goodbye Green Bay. Goodbye Frozen Tundra. Goodbye Ice Bowl. (And goodbye Bob Hayes running pass routes with his hands in his pants.)

• • •

You have to feel for the Dalai Lama. He’ll never get to hoist the World Cup now.

• • •

And finally …

Administration officials continue to insist the Guantanamo detention facility has gotten a bum rap. “Granted, we haven’t obtained a lot of useful information about terrorism,” a spokesperson said, “but we have managed to steal bin Laden’s bunt sign.”

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