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JERRY CROWE

Text messages from press row . . .

August 19, 2008|JERRY CROWE

Chad Johnson's shoulder injury probably ends all hope for what could have been a late-summer splash: Ocho Cinco vs. Michael Phelps in the pool. . . .

Johnson, the Cincinnati Bengals' nonsense-spewing wideout from Santa Monica College, told ESPN last week that he was a youth swimming champion in Miami and that he could beat the eight-for-eight Olympic great "right now." . . .

It would be nothing less than side-splitting to watch him try. . . .

As wiseacre reader Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, Calif., notes via e-mail, "Around the pool, Johnson is known as Ocho Sinko." . . .

ESPN ran with it, but the term "walk-off," according to various reports, was coined by Hall of Fame reliever Dennis Eckersley, who gave up one of the most famous walk-off home runs in baseball history when he served up a gopher ball to Kirk Gibson of the Dodgers in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. . . .

Reader Robert Ostrove notes that "game-winning homer" celebrates the winners while "walk-off homer" denigrates the losers, who walk off the field in shame, and calls the latter term "a sign of the meanness of our times." . . .

Eckersley, who made up names for all kinds of situations, told the Boston Globe a few years ago, "It was always a walk-off piece. Like something you would hang in an art gallery. The walk-off piece is a horrible piece of art." . . .

By the way, Andre Ethier's walk-off home run Sunday, giving the Dodgers a 7-5 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers, was the first of his career. . . .

Noting Francisco Rodriguez's ejection the other night, reader Jerry Li of Huntington Beach wonders, "Should we start calling K-Rod Hot Rod?" . . .

Not once in at least the last 45 years have USC and UCLA both opened the season with transfers as their starting quarterbacks, but it could happen this year with Mitch Mustain at USC and Kevin Craft at UCLA. . . .

Clippers center Chris Kaman, making himself right at home with the German Olympic team, missed the playoffs in Beijing too. . . .

It's a rarity when first-round draft picks opt for college over baseball, but right-hander Gerrit Cole from Orange Lutheran High spurned no less than the free-spending New York Yankees before Friday's signing deadline and next season will become the first first-round draft pick to play for UCLA. . . .

Former Bruins Troy Glaus in 1994 and Chase Utley in 1997 were second-round picks before enrolling at UCLA. . . .

Led by swimmers Rebecca Soni and Ous Mellouli, current and former USC athletes had won four gold medals in Beijing through Monday's events, extending a remarkable streak in which the Trojans have brought home at least one gold medal from every Olympics since 1908, the last time no Trojan competed. . . .

Yes, that includes 1980, when the U.S. boycotted the Moscow Games but USC swimmer Michelle Ford won gold for Australia in the 800-meter freestyle. . . .

While basketball coaching legends John Wooden and Pete Newell are still around, why not bring them together and have UCLA join Cal in the Pete Newell Challenge at Oakland and Cal join UCLA in the Wooden Classic at Anaheim? . . .

Reader Rick Obrand of Torrance, who has made a hobby of researching such things, e-mails to note that while it has "long been known" that no other high school can match the star power of San Francisco Galileo's baseball-football-basketball Hall of Fame trio of Joe DiMaggio, O.J. Simpson and Hank Luisetti, Erasmus Hall in Brooklyn perhaps comes closest. . . .

The New York school's Hall of Fame trio: 1920s New York Yankees pitcher (and preeminent Babe Ruth authority) Waite Hoyt; 1940s Chicago Bears quarterback Sid Luckman; and former Philadelphia 76ers forward Billy Cunningham. . . .

Pro Football Hall of Famer Al Davis also attended Erasmus Hall, as did Chicago Bulls and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, boxing promoter Bob Arum and the late chess champion Bobby Fischer as well as Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Mae West, Mickey Spillane, Barbara Stanwyck and Beverly Sills. . . .

Beach Pit BBQ, whose brisket sandwich was ranked as the not-to-miss food item at Angel Stadium by the New York Times, is owned by former UCLA catcher Tim DeCinces, son of former Angels third baseman Doug DeCinces. . . .

The newspaper's pick as the No. 1 item at Dodger Stadium was a Fairfax sandwich -- pastrami and corned beef on rye -- from Canter's Deli. . . .

What to avoid, according to the article: Dodger dogs.

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jerome.crowe@latimes.com

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