A Sept. 25 Sports column incorrectly described the trademark headwear of the late University of Alabama football coach Bear Bryant as a porkpie hat. It was a houndstooth hat. (Published 10/1/2005)
What a feast this past week for the sports fan living in the Washington area. The Redskins' stunning fourth-quarter comeback victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night after more than half the fans in town had gone to bed merely set the table for the rest of a week that included Barry Bonds's first road trip of the season -- to RFK Stadium -- and the Tiger Woods-led U.S. team playing an international team in the Presidents Cup at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville.
We'll get to the Redskins' euphoric aftermath later once we report how the usually hospitable Nationals fans booed and taunted Bonds. His two-day power surge at RFK led to home run No. 706 Tuesday night and 707 on Wednesday night -- leaving him seven shy of Babe Ruth's 714 and 48 behind Hank Aaron's all-time mark of 755.
Considering Bonds had hit his first 705 home runs outside of Washington, the negative response to him at RFK, including one fan holding up an asterisk and another waving a sign that read "cream man," was surprising. Washington -- home to many fans of visiting teams -- has been a welcoming venue to opposing players.
But not this week, even with Bonds putting on a show at batting practice Tuesday night, followed by a towering fourth-inning, upper-deck home run off Livan Hernandez in a thrilling 4-3 Giants victory. That was followed by another home run off John Patterson on Wednesday night in a 5-1 Giants win, ending for good Washington's admirable try at the NL playoffs in its inaugural season here.
After Bonds's prodigious display Tuesday night, he put a finger to his lips as if to say "quiet down -- slugger at work." The gesture, Bonds told reporters, was to quiet "some dude" who was heckling him. "I told him to sit down and enjoy it. Shhhhh."
The media was there to chronicle Bonds -- linked for more than two years to the BALCO steroid scandal -- drawing some writers who already have convicted Bonds in their columns. Everyone wanted to hear what Bonds had to say about congressional interest in steroid abuse ("we have other issues to worry about") and other matters of national importance.
Still, most of the approximately 32,000 fans left RFK Tuesday and Wednesday nights disappointed that the Nats fell short but appreciative of how close the first home team here in 34 years had come to making the playoffs despite a payroll of about $54 million under the ownership of Major League Baseball.
Two days later at RTJ, off the waters of Lake Manassas, the mood was far different than the evening with Barry -- presidential, if you will, with George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton greeting team captains Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player and about 20,000 fans pinching themselves on a perfect afternoon.
There was Tiger, walking to the first tee with Fred Couples for their match with Adam Scott and Retief Goosen, who eventually won, 4 and 3. Nearby, Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson, Justin Leonard, Davis Love III and Michael Campbell were on the driving range and putting green preparing for a competition that won't shake the world but makes you say, "I'm glad I'm here."
Woods, whose critics in the media are growing with his fame -- because of glaring mistakes such as leaving the PGA Championship before its conclusion while still in contention -- remains one of the most popular athletes in the world. Comparable to Michael Jordan, in his prime, and eons ahead of Bonds.
"The fans do not see issues with Tiger Woods as a golfer," said onlooker Lou Clark of Somerset, N.J. "Bonds projects a sense of arrogance." Added Don Tott of Manassas: "I like Tiger's competitiveness and how he can focus."
Miracle in Texas
The Redskins, meanwhile, were still savoring their 14-13 victory in Dallas, coming from behind in the way that the Cowboys have done against Washington so many times, with two late touchdown bombs from Mark Brunell to Santana ("maybe I will run for mayor") Moss.
Asked some fans Tuesday how they handled the Redskins' rare good fortune.
Veronica in the health club: "Went to bed before the kickoff. Woke up this morning, heard what happened and sobbed with joy."
Chip of Fairfax at the Nats game: "Fell asleep in my chair at 10-0. Woke up the next morning to 14-13. Couldn't believe it."
Elliot of Washington: "Couldn't sleep afterwards; just walked the streets."
Glen of Potomac: "They look so bad, I went to bed at halftime."
Washington's Janice to husband Andy: "No -- -- ."
Bob of Laurel: "Watched game with Bible next to me, wondering if I should pick it up. But I didn't think I should involve Him in this. They got into this mess, let them get out of it."
Sam Huff, Hall of Fame linebacker and Redskins broadcaster: "I was so excited I went to the wrong locker room to do the postgame show. [Cowboys owner] Jerry Jones looked at me when I walked in and said, 'What the hell are you doing here?' "
Icing the Puck
* I know all about Capitals majority owner Ted Leonsis's youth program and his $25 million budget, but being outscored, 18-4, in four preseason games, including a 4-0 loss to Buffalo at MCI Wednesday night, doesn't bode well for the upcoming NHL season.
The Caps had nearly 18 months to prepare for the resumption of hockey and owe their fans more than what they've shown. So how about spending some money on acquiring some defensemen to put in front of goalie Olie Kolzig and cut the philosophic manifestos.
At least Mark Mullenhoff, one of seven MCI staff members who take care of the ice, was enthusiastic Wednesday night. "I've been looking forward to this since the labor settlement," Mullenhoff said.
* Annual "Big Chill" visit with UF college pals this year, included a stop last weekend in Gainesville for the Florida-Tennessee game won by the Gators, 16-7, before 91,000 "well-behaved" fans with hot new coach Urban Meyer showing an offense run by Chris Leak similar to the old single wing.
Images: Young students eyed with amusement sweating posse members Richard, Jay and Henry sitting with me outside of old frat house before game hoping someone would feed us. . . . Sorry boys, no dinner, no donation. . . . Like the way Tennessee's Gerald Riggs runs. Son of Our Gerald Riggs. . . . Like quarterbacking of Vols' Erik Ainge, nephew of Danny Ainge, executive director of Boston Celtics who still confers regularly with team president Red Auerbach, 88, recovering from surgery at Sibley Hospital. . . . Wonder why all the college head coaches dress like golfers and miss Bear Bryant's porkpie hat and Darrell Royal's white shirt and narrow tie.
Have a comment or question? Reach me at Talkback@washpost.com.