- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 7, 2007

First the Nats help derail the Mets’ playoff hopes, then the Gnats help undo the Yankees in Game 2 against the Indians.

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Where’s an Orkin man when you really need him?

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The Yanks, I just remembered, had a player in the ‘60s named Ross Moschitto (which sounds almost like “mosquito”).

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“I guess that’s the home-field advantage for them — just let the bugs out in the eighth inning,” Derek Jeter said.

Here’s the amazing thing: In the five seasons he coached the Browns, Bill Belichick never pulled a stunt like that.

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But he probably wishes he did.

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Anticipated Title of the Indians’ 2007 highlight film: “On a Wing and a Prayer.”

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A gnat infestation in the late innings of a close game? Wouldn’t you have expected that to happen to Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn in “Major League” rather than to Joba Chamberlain in an American League Division Series?

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Light a candle for the Yankees, who are now a loss from elimination.

Preferably a citronella candle.

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The oldest baseball diamond in the world has been ascertained by the “Guinness Book of World Records” — and, no, it isn’t the one Abner Doubleday laid out in a cow pasture in Cooperstown, N.Y. (according to myth). Fuller Field is located in the central Massachusetts town of Clinton, population 13,000, and has been in use since 1878.

“We have a map, dated 1878, that shows the baseball diamond in the exact same location it is today,” a member of the town’s historical society, Terrance Ingano, told the Clinton Item. “Of course, baseball was probably played there before that. I don’t know how long it would take to make a map back then, but it would have taken a while.”

You’ll love this next part: Clintonians apparently used to brag that the town was in the Guinness book for having the most bars per square mile — or per capita, depending on the version — of any burg in the world. “The myth grew from the fact that for many years Clinton was surrounded by ‘dry’ towns,” the Item reports, “and was the only place to legally buy a drink.” But “the Fuller Field claim is the real deal, according to Guinness.”

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FYI: A Clinton native, Mal Kittridge, was the player-manager of the Washington Senators in 1904. Certainly, Mal had to have played some ball on Fuller Field. Alas, he was replaced as skipper by Patsy Donovan after the Nats got off to a 1-16 start.

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Another Clinton product who made it the big leagues, Jimmy Ryan (Senators, 1902-03), was said to be fond of punching newspaper reporters — at least two, by one count.

Maybe that “myth” about the town having the most bars in the world was no myth.

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Is anyone else disturbed/mystified/dumbfounded that twice now in the last four years, Ralph Friedgen’s Maryland Terps have begun the season with their best quarterback sitting on the bench (Sam Hollenbach until the very end of 2004 and Chris Turner this fall)?

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Great Moments in Detroit Lions History: Oct. 13, 1935.

The Lions, on their way to an NFL title, beat the Boston Redskins 17-7 before 20,000 at Fenway Park. Glenn Presnell gets Detroit started with a 34-yard field goal, and the visitors later score on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Ace Gutowsky to Dutch Clark and a 9-yard run by Ernie Caddell. Clark dropkicks both extra points.

Boston’s only TD comes when Pug Rentner connects with Charley Malone on a 45-yard pass-and-run play.

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The reason for the previous item: It’s the Lions’ last road victory over the Redskins — making them 0-for-the-last-20-games in Washington and 0-for-the-last-72-years. They’ll try again today at FedEx Field.

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Just to show you how long ago that was, on the very same day in 1935, the Bears walloped the Eagles in Philadelphia 39-0. The final score could have been 41-0, but Chicago waived its right to boot the point-after following its last two touchdowns. Why? Because George Halas figured his team had enough points to win and didn’t want kicker “Automatic” Jack Manders knocking two more footballs into the stands. New footballs were an expensive item during the Depression, and Philly owner-coach Bert Bell was strapped for cash.

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Just to show you how long ago that was, Part II: One of the Eagles’ players in that game was Edwin “Alabama” Pitts, who had recently been released from Sing Sing prison after serving eight years for robbery. Pitts, signed essentially as a publicity stunt, was inserted late in the game and caught a 20-yard pass for his club’s longest gain. He had only one other reception in his brief career.

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That’s how long it’s been since the Lions beat the Redskins on the road.

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Meanwhile, back in 2007 …

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Old friend Gus Frerotte brushes off the cobwebs today and starts for the Rams against Arizona (while Marc Bulger tends to his broken ribs). Do you realize Gus has thrown for 300 yards in a game for four different clubs in his 14 seasons? Perhaps St. Louis will be the fifth.

Which raises the question: How many QBs have done that?

Answer: Hey, don’t look at me. I just work here.

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Actually, I can think of at least one: Vinny Testaverde with the Bucs (best performance: 469 yards), Browns (325), Ravens (429), Jets (481) and Cowboys (355). But the list, I’ve gotta believe, is fairly short.

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Frerotte’s top 300-yard efforts with each team:

• Redskins — 346 vs. Dallas, 1996.

• Lions — 375 vs. Arizona, 1999.

• Broncos — 462 vs. San Diego, 2000.

• Dolphins — 360 vs. New England, 2005.

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And finally …

Broncos running back Travis Henry is fighting the NFL over his recent positive drug test, which could result in a one-year suspension.

Roger Goodell had better be careful, that’s all I’ve got to say. After all, Henry has nine children by nine different women — and if they disagree with the commish’s decision, heck, they might have enough for a class-action suit.


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