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Distraught Columnist Deals Out Some Capital Punishment

The Washington Capitals’ early exit from the National Hockey League playoffs left the Washington Post’s Tony Kornheiser more than a little distraught.

“It’s a disease,” he wrote when the end appeared inevitable. “It has to be a disease. It doesn’t matter who they bring in here. You can be the greatest player in the world, you could be (Wayne) Gretzky, but as soon as you put on the Capitals’ uniform, you lose in the playoffs.”

And later, addressing the players directly, he wrote:

“I’ve done my best. I’ve tried every trick in the book to motivate you. The first time I called you choking dogs, it worked; you won. But the next time, you lost--choking like dogs, I might add. When I reversed that and called your opponents choking dogs, you still lost. Why do you always lose in the playoffs? Why can’t you ever get out of your division? What is it, a visa deal? The last person who was as tied down was Gulliver.”

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Trivia: What was the feat achieved last year by Jose Oquendo?

Please, no tipping: According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Dodgers lack something in the etiquette department.

It seems that when they were in town for the season opener against the Cincinnati Reds, they were invited to a free lunch at a Cincinnati restaurant. Seven players showed up and “knocked off better than $150 worth of food . . . then stalked off without tipping the servers,” the Enquirer said.

That left the restaurant owner to pick up both the tab and the tip.

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Seems odd sort of behavior for a team managed by a restaurateur.

He was too nice: For a short while, John Wooden was a commentator for NBC, but left of his own accord.

“They would have preferred me being more critical,” he said. “I don’t like commentators telling coaches what to do. Some weren’t very good coaches to begin with. . . . I don’t know how Dick Vitale ever lost a game.”

A blank check, of sorts: There was more at stake than met the eye when Nolan Ryan came close to throwing a no-hitter the Milwaukee Brewers last week.

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Had Ryan achieved his sixth no-hitter, Little League Baseball would have been $1.35 million richer, courtesy of Best Western and American Express.

The companies have pledged $250,000 this year and $25,000 for each of the next 40 years if Ryan pitches a no-hitter during the Little League’s 50th anniversary year.

As it was, the 42-year-old Texas Ranger allowed one hit in eight shutout innings and struck out a team-record 15 batters. At $300 per strikeout from the two companies, that was worth another $4,500 to Little League.

Trivia answer: Oquendo played every one of the nine baseball positions during the 1988 season for the St. Louis Cardinals.

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Quotebook: Golfer Andy Bean, talking about slumps: “If you’re swinging bad, not even a baseball bat will help you. Maybe an ax would have helped me all those times I was in the woods.”


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