- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 14, 2008

So I’m reading about Slovakia’s 82-0 victory over Bulgaria in women’s ice hockey, and I’m thinking, “Did they actually finish the game, or did they have to stop playing when the red light burned out?”


Twelve Slovakians had hat tricks, including the bus driver and the team nutritionist.


Hockey observers say they haven’t seen that much scoring since Ron Duguay, the former Rangers heart throb, was hitting the discos in New York.


Believe it or not, it was an Olympic qualifying game. I’m beginning to wonder if the Bulgarians might have messed up and sent their curling team by mistake.


Elsewhere in Olympicsland, a Norwegian physicist says Usain Bolt’s gold-medal winning time in the 100-meters final could have been 9.55 instead of 9.69 if he hadn’t begun his chest-thumping celebration with 20 meters to go.

I’m told the same physicist, after analyzing old TV footage, claims Fridge Perry could have run 4.4 40 if he’d just weighed 100 pounds less.


Dennis Green has trademarked his famous phrase, “They are who we thought they were,” - the line he kept spitting out in his post-game interview, to comic effect, after his Cardinals relinquished a 20-point lead to the Bears two years ago.

“I thought if anybody was going to capitalize on it, it should be me,” he told CNBC. “I’m pretty good at coming up with phrases. … I was one of the first guys to use the phrase, ‘There’s a new sheriff in town.’”


Eddie Murphy, after restoring order in a bar in the 1982 film, “48 Hours”: “I want the rest of you cowboys to know something: There’s a new sheriff in town, and his name is Reggie Hammond.”


Laveranues Coles, who’s never happy for long (as Redskins fans well know), told the New York Post that Brett Favre “doesn’t have a feel for me” the way the previous Jets quarterback did. He and Chad Pennington, he said, “had a special chemistry.”

This, after just one regular-season game with Favre - a game in which No. 4 threw touchdown passes to Jerricho Cochery and Chansi Stuckey, but connected only once with Coles for a 5-yard gain. What a diva.


Imagine how unbearable Coles would be if he’d made two Pro Bowls instead of just one.


Here’s what I always think of when I think of our ol’ buddy Laveranues: not scoring. Few high-volume receivers have been better at keeping out of the end zone than him. Indeed, he ranks 10th all time in TD avoidance - that is, receptions per score - among wideouts with at least 500 catches. The list:

Frankie Sanders5072421.1

Troy Brown5573118.4

Jeff Graham5423018.1

Brett Perriman5253017.5

Brian Blades5813417.1

Bobby Engram5983517.1

Derrick Mason7144217.0

Al Toon5173116.7

Eric Moulds7644915.6

J.T. Smith5443415.5

Laveranues Coles5623715.2

Marty Booker5103415.0

This is the company Coles keeps.


Oh, and here are his postseason numbers: four games, 21 catches, zero touchdowns.

Yeah, he and Pennington had a “special chemistry,” all right.


Demolition of the Colts’ old home, the RCA Dome, is scheduled for December. Not to worry, though. It’ll be covered in its entirety on the World Wide Leader’s new channel, ESPN Implosion.


A moment of silence, please, for Sherrill Headrick, one of the early stars of American Football League, who died the other day at 71. Headrick, the middle linebacker on two AFL title teams (‘62 Dallas Texans, ‘66 Chiefs), was legendary for his ability to play through injuries. Sports Illustrated once did a story on him titled, “A Stoic’s Guide To Pro Football.”

If you’ve got a few minutes, go to SI’s archives (vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com) and read the piece. It’s an absolute classic. It begins with an account - harrowing and funny at the same time - of Headrick breaking his thumb during a game and yanking it back into place on the sideline. He didn’t miss a play.

Later, he tells a rookie: “You can’t let a little thing like a broken thumb keep you out of a game. Why, I played two games with a broken neck. One time, [teammate] Jerry Mays broke his leg, taped it up and kept playing. Chris Burford almost got his shoulder torn off, but he stuck a little old piece of plaster on it and kept playing. Johnny Robinson broke every one of his ribs and didn’t even mention it to anybody. Broken ribs aren’t worth any fuss. He took a couple of aspirins and forgot about it.”

In coach Hank Stram’s opinion, Headrick had “the highest pain threshold of any athlete I ever saw.” In a tough guy’s game, that’s saying something.


Elsewhere in football, Conference USA is fining East Carolina $10,000 after fans stormed the field following the Pirates’ 24-3 upset of No. 8 West Virginia last weekend.

A Norwegian physicist, by the way, has determined the fans could have gotten on the field much quicker if some of them hadn’t been carrying beer kegs.


Here’s how great a season Cliff Lee (22-2 and counting) is having for the Indians: He’s resurrected the memory of Sylveanus Augustus “Vean” Gregg.

Lee needs just one victory to tie Gregg’s club record for most wins in a season by a southpaw - set 97 years ago, when Vean was a rookie. Why am I bringing this up, you ask? Well, for starters, Gregg is the only major league pitcher since 1900 to win 20 games in his first three seasons. (Who knew?) Then there’s this: The year before, with Portland of the Pacific Coast League, he set a minor league mark by striking out 376 batters. (Many of them, no doubt, swinging in vain at his feared curveball.)

My main reason for digressing about Gregg, though, is that he wound up his MLB career with the Washington Senators in 1925. It was a big story at the time. He was 40, you see, when the Senators signed him, and had been out of the majors for six years. He had retired for a while, plagued by arm trouble, but then began pitching again in the Pacific Coast League. After he helped his Seattle team win a pennant, Washington came calling.

The Senators went to the World Series in ‘25, but Gregg, alas, didn’t go with them. In late August, after posting a 2-2 record in 26 games, mostly in relief, he was sent to Class A New Orleans as partial payment for a prospect named Buddy Myer. Myer, a middle infielder, would turn out to be one of the best players in franchise history, spending 15 of his 17 seasons with Washington and finishing with 2,131 hits, a .303 average and one American League batting title (1935, when he hit .349).

But, hey, don’t thank me for the history lesson, thank Cliff Lee. Without him, none of it would have been possible.


And finally …

Three potential uses for the foul poles at Shea Stadium, which will be sold along with countless other artifacts when the place closes at the end of the season:

1. String a clothesline between them and hang laundry.

2. Nothing gives you better radio reception than a 100-foot foul pole.

3. Give one of them to Usain Bolt, and see if he can break Sergey Bubka’s record (which has stood since ‘94).

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