Until tomorrow night, tie one on with Cal

Let's talk ties. Tonight, Cal Ripken plays in his 2,130th game in a row, straight, consecutively, back-to-back, in an unbroken string, one season following another (laden with happiness and tears/Sunrise, sunset -- oy, I'm ferklempt) . . . you get the idea.

Until tomorrow night's game, he will be tied with Lou Gehrig's record. We would do well, then, to consider the tie.


Ties are an integral part of sports history. There was the famous Notre Dame-Michigan State 10-10 tie in 1966. There was the bowl game in which Auburn coach Pat Dye's conservative strategy to settle for a tie against Syracuse earned him the derisive nickname of "Pat Tie." In tennis' Davis Cup, matches between countries officially are called ties.

One-time Miami Dolphins place-kicker Garo Yepremian actually made ties out of cloth as well as making or unmaking them with his foot. (He did not make them out of whole cloth, however. That would be more like what is going on in this article.)


There was Ty Cobb.

Somebody once said that a tie is like kissing your sister. This came to be accepted wisdom, insulting sisters everywhere. And suppose you don't have a sister? Is a tie like kissing somebody else's sister? Which raises the question: Is Elle MacPherson an only child? Now there's a kiss to tie for.

A tie often is called a deadlock, but not every tie is a deadlock. Only ties that can't be broken are deadlocks. For example, that Notre Dame-Michigan State game is a deadlock. Especially since most of the players are in their 50s now and might have trouble putting on football pants.

When a game is tied, announcers like to say that it is knotted. Announcers also like to say that somebody fast has "good foot speed" or can "flat-out run," so exercise your own judgment on whether you want to use "knotted."

Beyond sports, there are other famous ties.

"Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree" was a huge hit for Tony Orlando and Dawn. Coincidentally, it also is tied for worst song ever with Bobby Goldsboro's "Honey." And when you think about it, "Honey" has a tree in it, too ("See the tree, how big it's grown . . ."). So these songs have another tie.

The late Jerry Garcia became famous for his ties, worn by the hip and would-be hip. (Don't know where you fit? If the denigration of the two songs in the preceding paragraph offends you, you belong in the latter category.)

Ties, of course, are knotted. Though usually without the help of sports announcers.


And followers of Garcia's Grateful Dead long have favored tie-dyed clothing.

There was Buster Brown's dog. (Oh, his name was Tige? Sorry.)

Current Hot Movie Hunk Antonio Banderas once starred in a film called "Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!" I'm not sure whether Bob Dole caught that one.

In "A Fish Called Wanda," Brit John Cleese taunts American Kevin Kline about the United States' losing the Vietnam War. "It was a tie, it was a tie," Kline insists.

"Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport" is a musical tale of an Australian bushman's dying wishes. ("Let me wallaby be," he implores.)

I never saw the movie, but I assume that Nick Nolte's character in "The Prince of Ties" was not an apparel salesman. (Oh, "Prince of Tides"? Geez, sorry again.)


In closing, I wish I had some neat way to finish this piece. But I can't think of anything to tie it together.