Thursday, July 20, 2006

He's Back

by ShagOnSports
I have been out of town the last few weeks and have not had much time to post... I have decided it would be easier to Post on Fridays from now on so that is the new day...

All Star Game

The Baseball All Star Game just does not mean what it used to to me… When I grew up in the 70’s watching baseball it was before Free Agency had really taken hold so there was still allot of team loyalty and league loyalty… With players now changing teams like they change underwear there is no loyalty to teams or leagues, inter-league play has taken the fun out of match ups that you only see in the All Start Game or in the Fall Classic… I am not one of these people who want to get rid of the game or move it to the end of the year but the fact is the game has lost some zest it may never get back…

The home field advantage to the winner of the game is crock also… Who cares if the game ends in a tie… Maybe if the game was managed the way Ozzie Guillen said he was going to manage tonight the game would have a little luster…

It was nice to see Fox pay a small tribute to the Pirates Franchise before the game started… The Pirates have storied history with such names as Honus Wagner, Roberto Clemente, Bill Mazeroski who hit the dramatic home run in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Yankees in 1960 and Willie Stargell…

The Pirates have great fans they are just a little short on the financial front and have made some not so good decisions on free agents they have chosen to spend money on… The Pirates could obviously benefit from a Salary Cap or maybe go on the Marlins plan of building winner, going to the Series then disband the team and start over… Look for the Marlins to be back in the hunt in two years… I was somewhat of a Pirates fan in the 70’s and Reality Spin still is a Pirates Fan…


World Cup

The most watched Sporting event in the world has ended… Italy won the Cup over France in what must have been an exciting final to watch (I was hacking it up on the golf course during the final)… I did watch both Semi Final games and was pulling for Germany or Portugal to win the Cup…

Thanks to the Anonymous Person who put a most colorful post on the Blog this week… Kind of sums up what the rest of the world thinks about our sports and how we treat Soccer… I personally have nothing against the game and I really do not think that most people do in the States… Most people 30 and older in the states grew up playing baseball, football and basketball while Soccer took a back seat to these Sports and still does in the states… Even women’s Soccer is now starting to take a back seat to Women’s fast pitch softball… I do not think that the US will ever compete in this sport internationally in the men’s division…

Is it bad that Americans have a passion for Sports other then Soccer??? I do not think so… You have people in the states that like basketball over baseball and football, football over baseball and basketball then baseball over basketball and football… As I have gotten older I lean more towards baseball and football (college not pro) then basketball (mainly college and some pro)… It used to be basketball, baseball then football for me so I have changed… The rest of the world plays Soccer and Basketball and as Anonymous mentioned Rugby… Rugby is the early origins of football and the English game of Rounders and Cricket are the early baseball roots… Basketball is the only truly American invented sport…

I like baseball mainly due to its history in this country and football because of the strategy and athleticism of the players… I am a little burnt on basketball due to the ridiculousness of both UK and Louisville fans in the City that I live in… People can really wear on your nerves here over it and most of the stuff that you hear is beyond ridiculous but I guess it is passion although somewhat misguided for people… I will cover that in detail later in the year…

Anyway congrats to Italy on winning The Cup… I will tune in again in four years… Also thanks to my sister Jayne for giving us the experience of what it was like to be in Germany during the event… If you did not read her stories you should go back and read them…

Random All Star Game Stuff

I cannot believe that they made the players wait on the field for a commercial before the National Anthem was played… I love the commercial for Gatorade with the Players heads and the little kids bodies playing the neighborhood sports… Brad Penny strikes out Ichiro, Jeter and Ortiz, Solid… The Chevy Commercial about baseball during the game was pretty awesome also as it shows how much things have changed in my lifetime… Was that Tattoo on the Burger King commercial??? Tim McCarver needs to just shut up!!! He tries to be the Hubie Brown of baseball but he is not… I was a huge Clemente fan by why would you stop the game to honor him??? Why not does it before the game starts… Beltran wins the played hardest Award… Poor Trevor Hoffman makes the first two batters he faces look sick and then gets ripped… Why was Scott Rolen not in the game for defense instead of Caberra at the end… @#$% the American League!!!


Chasing a Game

I am truly a golf nut… For two weeks I had planned to play on Wednesday afternoon by meeting two of my Henderson buddies at Xmas Lake in Santa Claus, Indiana… We do not get this opportunity often so planning is critical since all of us have to work…

On the day of our big match the weather was not cooperating at all… The forecast was calling for rain all day and when I called Xmas Lake they said it was raining and no relief was in site… To top it off my buddy Brad called and told me that he was driving west on I 64 and the farther he went the harder it rained…

Sometimes discression is the better part of valor so after consulting with my buddy Nato we decided that the game was off… @#$%, ^&*+!, I say… Needless to say I was not happy… My two weeks out of town had slowed down my progress at getting my game back in order and now the damn weather was not cooperating… I had played bad that Sunday so and I needed to redeem myself and was sure I was ready to do so… I called Scott, cussed and fussed and said we were done and would try it again at a later date…

About 30 minutes later Scott called me back and said he looked at the radar and that if we went about an hour and half southwest for me, southeast for him (that is about how far it was for both of us) it was not raining and that it was not supposed to rain… He found a course in that area, Lafayette and we decided to meet there at 4:00 PM EST… He knew I was Jonesing bad to play…

Lafayette is a great course (Rated by Golf Digest as number two in the state after Valhalla two years ago and is named after The Marquis de Lafayette who was a French Mercenary who was a very important person for the US in it's fight against England for Independence... That is why when the US Soldiers hit the beach at Normady there is a famous quote of "Lafayette We Are Here") and it is in the middle of nothing… The course is actually one of the most beautiful settings for golf that I have ever seen… This would be only my second time playing the course… It was a surreal experience... By the time we teed off we were the only people on the course and it stayed that way for the entire round...

I got it around pretty good that day… I was even par after the first five holes and somehow managed to bogey the next four (the four easiest on the course) and played OK on the back to shoot an 83 (40, 43)… It was really cool having the course to ourselves except for the deer, the rabbits and the squirrel…

Scott "How You Doing", was my hero because he solved my golf fix with a little storm chasing… I told him the only thing he could have done better was to pick a place that was not so damn crowded!!!

There are only two things I would chase through the weather for… My wife or a game of golf!!! Thanks Scott!!!

My Golf

On Thursday I played in my league… The Flying Balls started the day 23 points ahead of the nearest challenger and we were playing the team that was in first place in the other division… We managed to increase our lead to 28 points overall by winning two matches, loosing one and I split mine…

It was nine holes of the best and worst for me… I shanked two wedge shots, hit some great iron shots, birdied the hardest hole on the course with one of the best five iron approach shots I have ever hit in my life but because I had putting issues I just could not pull of the win… On the last hole I almost made my birdie putt from about twenty-five feet but blew it by four feet… The putt coming back was worth four points… Make it and we are up 32 points, miss it and we are up 28 points… I lipped it out to make five…

I will have to rely on my teammates this week when we play the second place team in our division for the first half championship… The other team is sending out all of there high handicaps so I am on the bench but I will be there rooting my guys on… Go Balls!!!

My putting is really bad right now and keeping me from scoring… I just cannot get it straightened out for some reason… I like to have 27 to 30 putts per round and right now I am in the 30 to 35 range… On Saturday we played a wet Charlie Vettner (third toughest track in Louisville) and I shot 83 (42, 41) and I missed at least four putts you have to make and had one three putt… Practice, Practice, I guess!!!

UPDATE – Flying Balls win first half… My boys went out and got 62 of 96 points… Henderson’s own Wayne Hutchison was the all start carding a career best 37 for Valley View… Ball win first half and will be in playoffs at the end of the season…

Shag on Sports Random Thoughts

- Look for Tiger to make a big splash this week at the British… The British always has some unknown who contends and I am not even going to pick who that could be… I also think that Colin Montgomerie will show up (looks like he did not)… I love The Open because it requires a different set of golf skills for the week…

- I have three years in my sites to spend a week playing golf in the land where it was invented… I am going to play St Andrews and then travel to Northern Ireland and play the rest of the time… I just need to find someone who will commit to go with me on this adventure…

- St Louis Cardinals have come out of the All Star break playing well… The Tigers are looking like the team to beat right now… They have great pitching!!! Mets have run away with it, Reds made a bad trade, Red Sox will win the AL East, White Sox look like the Wild Card in the AL, The West in both leagues is up for grabs and the Braves are starting to peak in on the Wild Card in the NL… Go St Louis!!! I would love a rematch of 1967 but I do not think that St Louis has the Pitching to get that far…

- I think it is great the Michele Wie is trying to play against the men but I wonder if her path would be better if she focused on the LPGA Tour, learned how to win and become a dominant force and then come back in five or six years when she is more mature both physically and mentally... If anyone could compete with the best players on the PGA Tour it could be her… Tiger is the force that he is because he learned how to win at the Amateur level first and then has gone out and made his mark on the Tour…

- Two months to Kentucky Football Season and I am excited… Why??? Either Brooks turns out a winner and we go bowling or he bombs out and gets the Ax… I hope the man is successful but you cannot win if you cannot score and I believe this will be Kentucky’ worst offense since the year we beat IU 3 – 0 and lost to Florida 70 – 7… You cannot win consistently at Kentucky in the SEC without throwing the ball around and having speed and depth at Wide Receiver and we do not have it… Both Jerry Claiborne and Bill Curry tried to run it down the throats of the SEC and neither coach had much success… Next week I will go here the new QB coach speak... Should be interesting...

- Fantasy Baseball Manager I am not… My team is just stuck in 10th place… I cannot make any headway at all… I am hoping to move to the top half of the division before the years out… T-Shirt design for my team is almost done and I will be printing some up… My sister Jayne is going to sport hers in Germany!!!


Lyric of the Week (something just to provoke thought and not to be taken literal, so chill out)

- From Pearl Jam Yield - Do the Evolution – "I’m ahead, I ‘m a man, I’m the first mammal to where pants, I’m at peace with my lust, I can kill cause in God I trust, It’s Evolution Baby!!!