Officials with the United Workers Association (UWA), a Baltimore group that advocates for the day laborers who clean up Camden Yards after Orioles games, have long claimed that owner Peter Angelos pledged to increase the workers’ pay to a “living wage” then reneged when it came time to write a check to cover the pay hike (“Pickup Games,” 5/6/2005).
The group hasn’t given up trying to get Angelos to put his money where they say his mouth was, however. A gaggle of UWA organizers and laborers traveled by van to Pittsburgh in July for the 2006 Major League All-Star game, intending to bring attention to their cause.
The day of the big game, they marched around downtown Pittsburgh with megaphones, blasting Angelos for all to hear. “Then we ran into him on the street,” says Todd Cherkis, a UWA organizer (and brother of Washington City Paper reporter Jason Cherkis).
The encounter was, Cherkis says, totally unplanned. But the protesters didn’t waste their good fortune. Cherkis and others in the group took turns yelling at Angelos and taking pictures of the O’s boss, standing outside the front door of the ritzy Renaissance hotel soaking in the abuse.
“We just said, ‘Why haven’t you honored your agreement? Why do you turn your back on the workers who clean your stadium?’?” Cherkis says.
Before retreating to the hotel lobby, Angelos gave a statement to the crowd, but accounts of his words suggest he’s not ready to give in to their demands. “He said, ‘Fuck you, you motherfuckers!’?” Cherkis says.
Politics and Pros
Heath Shuler, the failed Redskins quarterback running as a pro-life, anti-gay Democrat (“Bar Heath,” 3/17), defeated Republican corruption magnet Charles Taylor in November to score another D.C. day job, this one as a member of Congress for North Carolina’s 11th district. Meanwhile, Nikolai Volkoff, a former faux-Commie pro wrestler, lost in his bid for a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates.
Born Josip Nikolai Peruzovic in Croatia, Volkoff defected to the West in the mid-’60s and became a ring superstar. His wrestling career was highlighted by a long-running tag-team partnership with an equally anti-American character, the Iron Sheik.
During his unintentionally comical debut as a political campaigner, two of Volkoff’s opponents, Pat McDonough and Rick Impallaria, tag-teamed him by using his ring shtick, such as singing the Soviet national anthem before matches, as evidence that he’s not patriotic enough for elected office in this country (“An Unfamiliar Ring,” 5/26). Heading into the Republican primary, the incumbent’s fellow GOPers went so far as to make up stories about Volkoff’s wrestling career, the biggest fib being that he’d regularly spit on the American flag.
Out of his singlet, Volkoff never caught on to this brand of fighting dirty. Come Election Day, he got less than 6 percent of the vote, good for last place in the six-man battle royale.
Title Town USA
The D.C. Divas finally shed the bridesmaids tag in 2006. The local women’s pro football team won its first National Women’s Football Association championship in August, defeating the Oklahoma City Lightning 28n7 in what the ladies call the “Sup-her Bowl.” The title was tarnished somewhat by the pre-season defection of the Detroit Locomotion, perennial league champions and the Divas’ longtime tormentors, who took their four-year winning streak to a rival league called the Independent Women’s Football League (“Bowl Over,” 7/14).
So, how did the Divas celebrate their big win? Well, they’ve just decided to leave the NWFA for the IWFL, too. Their old nemesis’ presence in the other confederation figured into the decision, of course.
“We’re trying to prove we’re the best at what we do,” says Divas General Manager Rich Daniel, “and we think the best way to do that is play the best competition, so we’re obviously looking at Detroit.”
Some local boys brought a national title home, too. The White Oak Warriors won the Pop Warner Pee Wee Division national championship in early December, crushing the Santa Ana Monarchs, 36n16, in Orlando. This was the third national championship for the Silver Spring youth-football club, which became world-famous last year when the burgeoning sports-fashion giant Under Armour, which was founded in D.C., put the Warriors in a pair of TV commercials (“Protect This Brand!”, 11/24). The pumped-up star of those spots was former White Oak captain and current Georgetown Prep running back Jenkins Monzey.
“They knew us from the commercials, and they knew us because we’re in Orlando a lot [for the Pop Warner championships],” says White Oak coach Mike Wills.
White Oak alumni don’t need commercials to get publicity, however: Three of the club’s exes—quarterback Deontay Twyman of Sherwood High in Sandy Spring, linebacker Joe Lefeged of Northwest High in Germantown, and defensive back Melvin Harris of Silver Spring’s Kennedy High—were named to the 2006 Washington Post All-Met first team last week. Lefeged was also named defensive player of the year.
Punching Out at Work
The Caps brought in enforcer Donald Brashear to add mature menace to a young, fresh-faced lineup. The early returns are in, and we’re ready to declare the acquisition a huge success.
Brashear, who turns 35 next week, has been doing those little things that do show up in box scores. No, not scoring goals—racking up penalty minutes with his fists. His stat line—zero goals, a team-leading 63 penalty minutes—is what should be expected of a guy who during training camp confessed that as a kid he dreamed of being a boxer, not a hockey player (“Five for Fighting,” 9/29).
He’s had only five fights as a Cap, which is well below his career pugilistic pace. But his Nov. 22 bout alone earned Brashear his $1 million salary, as well as a three-game suspension. That came near the end of the Caps’ home game against the Atlanta Thrashers, with the visitors winning big and still playing dirty. Brashear got the proverbial shoulder tap from coach Glen Hanlon, then came off the bench and pounded big Russian defenseman Vitaly Vishnevski the way Rocky would a side of beef. This beating instigated the sort of donnybrook that Caps fans would otherwise have to rent Slapshot to see—even the goalies squared off, and both coaches stood on the bench swearing at each other.
Before that game, only the most ardent local fans even knew there was an Atlanta hockey team. But when blood started spurting from Vishnevski’s head wounds, the Thrashers became the biggest rival the Caps have had since the Philadelphia Flyers of the late ’80s. The rematch against Atlanta a few weeks later was doubtless the most anticipated December game in Caps history; the Post sports page built up the tilt as if it were the Thrilla in Manila. All because of Brashear, the NHL without fighting suddenly seemed like the NBA with fighting.
Robert Triolo spent more waking hours in 2006 shooting hoops than doing anything else. Triolo came to the basketball court at Stead Park in Dupont Circle on all but 23 days this year. On most days, he launched thousands of shots, every one of them with the same ball, which now has no leather and a few big bubbles and is more the shape of a pumpkin than a regulation orb (“One on None,” 3/24).
Triolo can tell anybody who asks exactly how many shots he took on any particular day, because he brings a pen and paper to the park with him to keep a running tally of shots taken and then compiles each day’s stats in notebooks when he gets home. He also commits these numbers to memory. During a short break from his all-but-daily workout regimen last Saturday, Triolo says that on April 17 he set a personal record with 77 consecutive free throws. And this year he’s made 82.8 percent of his free throws, totaling 111,000 shots from the charity stripe.
Asked how many foul shots he’s taken in 2006, the former engineer points out that he’s already provided his shooting percentage and the number of shots made.
“You can calculate it,” he says, walking back to the free-throw line.
All Points Bulletin
Despite being called out in this column (“Boudreaux, Phone Home,” 9/1), Boudreaux, whose annual Redskins rants provided a decade’s worth of laughs, never phoned. My only New Year’s resolution for 2007 is to find out what happened to the guy. Boy, do I miss those calls.