Neil mention in sports quip

A little body English worked for Boeheim

Tom FitzGerald
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

One of CBS’s best replays during the Big Dance had to be Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim’s sideline contortion as Maryland’s last shot to tie missed. Says Phil Mushnick of the New York Post, “Boeheim looked like Ichabod Crane doing Joe Cocker.”

— Among the interview quotes from Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun distributed by NCAA officials in Phoenix: “There are a lot of good teams. There’s a lot of parody.”

— A reader asked syndicated columnist Norman Chad, “Could you break the news to Billy Packer that he did not invent college basketball?” Chad replied, “Actually, if you read Dr. James Naismith’s journals, you’ll notice a reference he makes to Packer explaining to him the charge/block rule.”

— Tonya Harding’s boxing manager is a mortician? Apparently she went to him because his business card reads, “Stiffs R Us.”

— “Donald Trump wants to trademark the phrase ‘You’re fired,’ ” says Rick Quesada of Roseville. “What’s next? Will Purdue basketball coach Gene Keady try to trademark the slogan ‘We shall overcomb’?”

The name sounded familiar: Catcher Pat Borders, a Mariners nonroster invitee, will be 41 in May. He has played 15 years in the majors. Last year, when he was playing in Triple-A, says Peter Gammons of, an opposing hitter said, “I watched your father play in the World Series for Toronto in the early ’90s.”

— Virginia Tech’s Jake Grove posted a vertical leap of 35 inches for NFL scouts last week. Not bad for a 300-pound center. “I don’t know what it was,” he told the Roanoke (Va.) Times. “Maybe the shoes?”

— “Over the weekend, the Philadelphia Phillies’ Veterans Stadium was blown up,” says Craig Kilborn of CBS. “Fans cried because they heard the Phillies weren’t in there.”

— Dave Milton of Tubac, Ariz., read in the Arizona Daily Star that at Tucson’s Hi Corbett Field, where the Rockies train, a fan wore a T-shirt that read, “Milwaukee … a drinking town … with a baseball problem.”

— Former Atlanta Hawks coach Lon Kruger got the UNLV job. “According to insiders,” says Randy Hill of, “Kruger is optimistic about his current situation because the Runnin’ Rebels allegedly have more cap room than the Hawks.”

Say it ain’t so: “Both Keyshawn Johnson (full name Joseph Key- shawn Johnson) and Joey Galloway consider themselves to be in the elite of NFL receivers,” says Bob Norman of Tampa, “but in the deal between the Bucs and the Cowboys, I fear each team simply exchanged one average Joe for another.”

— “Behaving like a self-righteous jerk got Johnson sidelined in Tampa Bay,” Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom said on ESPN’s “The Sports Reporters,” but it led to his trade to the Cowboys and a four-year, $20 million deal. Says Albom: “In the NFL, it seems no bad deed goes unrewarded.”

— Barry Rozner of the Chicago Daily Herald, on Bud Selig’s zeal for trying to rid steroids from baseball: “Next thing you know, he will tell us chicks dig pitching, defense and a well-placed sacrifice bunt.”

— Song Suk-woo won the men’s 500-meter sprint at the world short-track speedskating championships in Sweden. Steve Aschburner of America Online likes the name: “Say it a few times, in fact, and you too will start hearing a Neil Diamond song in your head.”

— “Sure, people will debate whether home-run records should have an asterisk because of steroids,” says Pat McCulloch of San Francisco, “but the real question is: How do they affect the Mendoza Line?”

Got a sports quip? Please include your name and town and e-mail it to me at Mail: 901 Mission St., S.F. 94103. Fax: (415) 543-3754.

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