For Navy, drawing Notre Dame every year not a pretty picture

November 13, 2005|By PETER SCHMUCK

Everything you need to know about the one-sided Navy-Notre Dame rivalry was condensed into a few short minutes of the second quarter yesterday under the watchful gaze of Touchdown Jesus.

The Midshipmen, after playing the Fighting Irish straight up just long enough to make an upset seem possible, came up inches short on a fourth-down play in Notre Dame territory and let the game slip away with a disastrous turnover on their next possession. The game went from 7-7 tie to 28-7 halftime runaway faster than Charlie Weis got that controversial contract extension.

There is no reason for the Mids to hang their heads after yesterday's 42-21 defeat. Notre Dame's 42-game winning streak against them isn't exactly a trick of the light. Navy is annually outmanned (for a variety of obvious reasons), so the Midshipmen would have to play near-perfect football for 60 minutes to have any real chance of pulling an upset - especially against a program that has so quickly been rejuvenated by Weis.

Paul Johnson can narrow the gap with great preparation, imaginative play-calling and terrific execution, but in football - as in life - perfection is unattainable. Johnson is so good that he has, on occasion, been accused of doing it with mirrors, but at the Naval Academy, even the mirrors need a 1,200 on the SAT to get in.

The talk of baseball's GM meetings last week was whether Los Angeles Dodgers executive Kim Ng might become the first female (and Asian-American) general manager in major league history.

New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman, who has worked with Ng, feels that she is ready for the challenge.

"Obviously, the knowledge of the game is there," Cashman said. "Many times in her career, I would make the argument that she was better than me at certain parts of the job. I think if I could do it, I think she could do it, but I can't speak to the situation in Los Angeles."

Los Angeles Times columnist J.A. Adande has no such inhibitions about speaking to the situation in Los Angeles, and he has some advice for Ng:

Run away.

"Kim Ng is well prepared to be a groundbreaking general manager," Adande wrote in Friday's editions, "which is why I hope she doesn't get the chance with the Dodgers.

"When it comes to coaches and general managers, diversity is normally a byproduct of prosperity or desperation - and we know which category the Dodgers are in. That makes this job the wrong place and time for Ng to become the first Asian and female GM in professional sports."

Is it just me, or isn't it great that people all over the country are talking about a team that is in a horrendous state of disarray, and it isn't the Orioles?"

Somebody asked commissioner Bud Selig the other day if he was concerned about the way Frank and Jamie McCourt are running the Dodgers' organization, but he wouldn't bite.

"I try not to comment on those things," he said. "Everybody wants to do what's best for their franchise. I'm sure the McCourts do, too. They'll get the train on the track."

If the Orioles really are willing to make a big play for Florida Marlins star Carlos Delgado, they're sure to have a lot of competition. The buzz around baseball is that at least five teams have strong interest in acquiring the power-hitting first baseman, though several see him as a potential fallback if they cannot sign free agent Paul Konerko.

I recently predicted that Theo Epstein would eventually reconsider his decision to walk away from the Boston Red Sox, but that apparently is not going to happen.

It may have been possible for a short while after Epstein and club president Larry Lucchino parted ways, but a Red Sox official assured me during the GM meetings that Lucchino recently closed the door to that possibility.

Jim Beattie looks like a long shot to get the Red Sox job, but he might be the right candidate to replace Epstein. He has strong New England ties and has proved he can take the heat in a stressful environment ... and who knows what he might be able to do if he actually had money to spend and support from upper management.

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