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KEEPING 'EM IN STITCHES
The stage at the Comedy Factory Outlet in Philadelphia Friday night belonged to an aspiring comic who was taking a break from his regular job. Once he was in the spotlight, he told the audience, "I'd like to show you what a really nasty cross-check would be. This would be 40 games." Then he took a prop out of an equipment bag: a helmet with a hockey stick embedded in it, a la Steve Martin. Said the comedian, "Now this is a cross-check." The audience exploded with laughter.
The would-be funnyman was Dave Brown, the Philadelphia Flyers winger who was sitting out a relatively mild 15-game suspension for a vicious crosscheck to the jaw of New York Rangers winger Tomas Sandstrom on Oct. 26. Brown, who is being paid by the Flyers despite the suspension, emceed two shows Friday and showed a real flair for comedy: " New York fans are pretty wild.... We'd probably pack the place if the Rangers weren't there. They could just sit back and throw things at us." Hahahahaha.
It was probably too much to hope that Brown, a noted enforcer on the ice, would be contrite about his cheap shot on Sandstrom. But to laugh about it publicly was a different, even sicker story. Worse yet, several Flyer players were in the audience, cheering.
Seriously, folks, we have a suggestion. We think Brown should really pursue a career in comedy and give up his job in hockey. After all, he has already made a joke of the game.
IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE
Hall of Fame jockey Bill Hartack is now a steward at Hawthorne Race Course in Cicero, Ill., and he says, "I've been around a long time, but I've never seen anything like it." Hartack is talking about a race a few weeks ago at Hawthorne in which Roaring River, a 4-year-old colt belonging to Washington Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke, scored his first win in 19 career starts. The victory itself wasn't all that strange—Roaring River went off the favorite in the maiden claiming race and paid $3.60. What had Hartack and other onlookers shaking their heads was this: Roaring River left the gate wearing blinkers, but by the time he crossed the finish line, it was jockey Francisco Torres who had them on.
Here's how Torres describes the race: "We left the gate, and the blinkers became loose going down the back-stretch. They were flapping in his face, and he couldn't see where he was going, so I reached up over his head and took them off. I couldn't throw them away, because that might spook another horse, or it could have disqualified my horse if he didn't finish the race with all of his equipment. So I put them in my mouth.... It was the best thing that could have happened to him. He always quit before, but this time he just ran down the horse beside him and won by three lengths."
Roaring River's trainer, Bert Sonnier, naturally decided to eschew blinkers in the colt's next start a week later. The result? With Torres up, Roaring River, the third choice in a field of 12, finished 10th. Like his blinkers, the horse is on and off.