This columnist had the honor of sharing a dinner table with former Washington Senator (as in Major League Baseball) Frank "Hondo" Howard prior to last week's home opener of the new Washington Nationals baseball team.
The towering (6-foot-7-inch) Howard captured National League Rookie of the Year honors in 1960 with the Los Angeles Dodgers before being traded to the Washington Senators in 1964, where for two seasons he led the American League in home-run hitting.
Today, Howard works for the New York Yankees. A few days before the game between the Nats and Arizona Diamondbacks, the slugger says he informed no-nonsense Yankees team owner George Steinbrenner that he'd be in the nation's capital to participate in festivities leading up to the opener, attended by President Bush and dignitaries from the political and sports worlds.
Mr. Steinbrenner's reaction?
"Tell those people down there I wish them good luck - until they face the Yankees in the World Series."
"Park your politics at the gate," pleads D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams to Washington's reborn baseball fans - Democrats and Republicans alike - who seldom agree on anything.
Meanwhile, the Secret Service had arrived last week to stake out RFK Stadium in advance of President Bush's opening pitch. Even the hot dog vendors weren't spared scrutiny, which comes with the territory after September 11, 2001.
And win or lose, in the spirit of bipartisanship, the owners of the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks planned to offer toasts to both teams this evening at K Street's hot restaurant Teatro Goldoni.
"First in war, first in peace, first in the National League."
- As recalled by Bill Hall, chairman of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission's baseball committee.
CIRCULATE A CLINTON
In hopes of boosting circulation of the seldom-seen $1 "Sacagewea" coin introduced in 2000, Congress starting in 2007 will redesign the coin by honoring each of the presidents of the United States.
"Many people cannot name all of the presidents . . . nor can many people accurately place each president in the proper time period of American history," lawmakers note.
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is sounding alarm after learning that the Voice of America has proposed shifting certain "English news" positions from the United States to Hong Kong.
"In what would have been considered an April Fools' joke if presented . . . earlier, VOA Director David Jackson announced at a morning meeting that the positions of the overnight English news writers would now be located in Hong Kong," the union states.
Sources are quoted as saying Jackson supports the move "because it would save money."
AFGE Local 1812 questions why the VOA's English news broadcasts "should be written by non-Americans in a foreign country. Also, should American taxpayer dollars be used to provide jobs for noncitizens overseas?"
Washington political consultant Craig Shirley is celebrating Lightyear Multimedia Studios' announcement that it will make a documentary of his recent book "Reagan's Revolution: The Untold Story of the Campaign That Started it All."
"All" being the current dominance that the Republican Party enjoys in national politics today.
A 29-year U.S. Army veteran trained in counterterrorism, Col. David Hunt (you might have seen him on television as a military analyst), has a new book out: "They Just Don't Get It: How Washington is Still Compromising Your Safety - And What You Can Do About It."
In the book, he exposes politicians and bureaucrats as sabotaging the war on terror and putting Americans at risk. Instead, he says, they should be doing all in their power to assist national director of intelligence (NDI) nominee John D. Negroponte. "Hey, zipperheads!" the retired colonel sees fit to write. "Make the NDI the boss for real. Mr. President! Hey, Congress! Pay close attention. Make [an] . . . order or law that gives the NDI . . . absolute control over budgets and those who work for you.
"In fact, let's take the politics out of this appointment right here and now. Let one [person] get in the way, and he's fired."