Sunday, January 09, 2005


The Post Jock Sniffs Bobby Haircut

On Thursday, while reading the usually soporific Washington Post Home Section, I stumbled across a heart-warming (or gag-inducing) story endearingly entitled "Highchairs in High Places" about how the poor Ehrlich family struggles to make-do in the 54 room rent-free Maryland Governor's Mansion.
It seems that Governor Haircut and his wife and two kiddies are just lost in so much space. Poor Mrs. Haircut was just "intimidated" by decorating, but:

"she installed a tub in the third-floor bathroom nearest the children's rooms, and had the bedrooms painted and carpeted in comfortable beige and pastel hues. She imported Drew's bunk beds, and added a changing table, baby gates, a video monitor and a crib for Joshua, "which I ordered directly from the Pottery Barn catalogue."
Having children in the mansion also meant immediate changes to the rambling public space. The first lady ordered up several subtle but safety-conscious alterations, including raising the handles on the walk-in freezers so Drew could not get in by himself.
She loved the long cherry wood stairway banister that swoops dramatically down from the second-floor hallway into the main foyer. But she feared Drew could accidentally flip himself over the rail, so she had it raised six inches. Master carpenters were brought in to make the alteration appear seamless. "

Somehow, I don't think "she" installed a tub, unless she used to be a plumber as well as a public defender. Somehow, I don't think the "master carpenters" worked for free. Perhaps the State Treasury might have made out better if she told her 5 year old to stay out of the freezer and off the damn banister.

But protection of the public fisc is not the agenda of my post. In a short article about the horrors of living in a rent-free mansion, the Post's Matthew Mosk managed to mention the governor:
  1. "tossing a plastic football in a private sitting room with his 5-year-old son, Drew"
  2. "tossing a football on the front lawn with Drew"
  3. accompanied the story with a picture of Governor Haircut (you guessed it) tossing a football to his son Drew.

In today's (Sunday, January 9, 2005), the Post continues the saga of poor Bobby by running an article about how mean those pesky Democratic legislators have been to him.

It seems that the poor Governor hasn't been able to get slot machine legislation passed, and his special session of the legislature didn't pass the medical malpractice reform legislation that he had in mind. And worst of all the doctors seem to like the legislation that did pass... Those twicky Democwats! They been mean again!

But again, Governor Fratboy's legislative follies are not my agenda. This time its David Montgomery's turn to sniff the jock. He manages to mention that:

  1. As Linebacker and Candidate, Bob Ehrlich Won Against the Odds. Can He Still Recover a Fumble?...
  2. "As a teenager in suburban Baltimore, the future governor of Maryland used to play a rough brand of sandlot football with older, bigger guys. He gave as good as he got. Later, on scholarship at Princeton, he had to bulk up to survive as a linebacker. He not only thrived, he became co-captain."...
  3. "This morning he is calling in to "The Junkies in the Morning," featuring the Sports Junkies, four buddies born and bred in Maryland -- J.P. Flaim, John "Cakes" Auville, Eric Bickel and Jason "Lurch" Bishop -- three Democratic supporters and one Republican, as it happens. Ehrlich has been a fan since he was commuting between Timonium and Capitol Hill. Now he calls in every week to make football picks."...
  4. Junkies: By the way, the governor is intense with his picks. He certainly is. Throughout the day he's constantly checking his games.
    Ehrlich: I have to tell you guys, after halftime when I went up to [Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti's] box, and Condi Rice was there. I'm talking to her. I said, "Excuse me, Madam Secretary. Gotta go check the scores. I'll be right back to you." ...
  5. The Princeton football ring on his right ring finger catches the camera light.

The Post is evidently enamored of Governor Haircut's football prowess. Montgomery's story, "Tied in Annapolis" is filled with football metaphors. But you know, the jocksniffers in the newsroom should have checked with the sports department before falling in love with their football hero. Governor Haircut has a dirty little secret. While he was lettering for three years at Princeton and captaining the team his senior year, the fearsome Princeton Tigers sucked like a Hoover. In '76 they were 2 and 7, in '77 they were 3 and 6, and in '78 they were 2-5 and 2. They never had a winning season with Ehrlich as a letterman. Like many a bar room lout, he seems to remember "Glory Days" that never were...

He could always take up clearing brush...

This is the second time that you have beaten me to a post, although kudos for publishing the Tigers' record-- there is no record easily discoverable for Gilman (1974-75) when the Gov captained that team. Note that in 2003, the Gov received an award from the Maryland Chapter of the National Football Foundation, College Hall of Fame, but is not one of 26 former Princeton football team members inducted into the Hall itself.
Maybe the governor was better cut out for cheerleading. Dubya himself was head of the Phillips Andover squad, I believe.

I get so sick of hearing about football, and macho sporting events in general. One of my favorite radio programs keeps getting nudged out of its time slot by sports talk, first by the George Michael Redskins show, now by some syndication called Sporting News Radio. And ohmigod, the somber utterances on pro football...

While driving yesterday in radio-challenged Appalachia, I was scanning the AM dial when I came across this sports talk station. They were crowing about a new format change - how they weren't going to be like any of those dead-air sports talk shows. No, they said, they were going to be like Fox News. Turns out they're a Fox subsidiary.

They had on a guy and a woman, and they had all the latest wall-of-sound production values working behind them. She was incredibly mouthy, as they yammered on and on about Peyton Manning. Unbelieveable, really.
Not just a cheerleader, some poking arund the Andover website told me he was also the center on the J.V. Football team-- although he is most remembered as the head cheerleader and as the High Commissioner of Stickball (swatting a tennis ball with a broomstick).
And as Commisioner of Stickball issued photo i.d.'s with the Andover Seal. They also false dates of birth so that they could be used to buy beer.
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