Thursday, November 30, 2006

Happy Holidays

by ShagOnSports

The Holidays can be stressful if you let them… For me I really enjoy the holiday season…

Thanksgiving is my favorite… I get to have some fun with some of my friends on Thanksgiving morning with a little golfing fun and then get to spend time with my families on both Thanksgiving Day and the Friday after which is always an enjoyable time…

I am a very fortunate person to be 42 years old and have three of my grandparents still living (knock on wood)… My Grandmother and Grandfather Denton just celebrated 73 years of marriage this year and they are both in good spirits and health into their nineties (I will be 107 and my wife will be 101 when that occurs)… My Grandmother Cravens will be 90 next year and she is very healthy and in good sprits also… I say my prayers daily for this gift…

Christmas is a fun time but it seems to always be a bit stressful with the entire exercise of shopping and gift giving… My wife and I have decided that since we do not want for anything and we have everything we need that this year we are requesting that no one buys us any presents and to spend the money on themselves… To us it is nice for our families to get together, eat and enjoy being together…

We are still going to buy gifts for our two nephews and nieces… They are fun to shop for and we always try to buy them what they want or need… We are going to take the other money that we normally spend on gifts each year and adopt two kids off of an Angel Tree… We do Angel Trees each year but this year we are going to spend a little bit more on each child… Angel Trees are for kids who otherwise would not have a Christmas…

We are not big players on the party circuit… We have attended a get together this weekend hosted by two of our friends at their home and we are going to see a play called “A Tuna Christmas” which is a comedy and really funny next week… We attend a few other small get togethers here and there and we plan on having a New Years Eve Party unless we are still at the site of UK Footballs bowl game…

My wife and I are looking forward to spending allot of time at home over the next few months and that is a good thing…

Happy Holidays!!!

College Football

Does College Football need a playoff??? If USC wins against UCLA and Florida beats Arkansas then the answer has to be YES!!! It is YES anyway!!!

Florida’s only loss would be to Auburn who lost to Arkansas who lost to USC who lost to Oregon State… To me that moves Michigan into the title game whether you want a rematch or not… The OSU win over USC trumps them out and Florida is just not very impressive in winning… Florida did lose to Auburn at Auburn so that to me is not a bad loss (this was before Auburn lost to Arkansas)...

Do you think this thing is a farce yet???

My top ten

1. Ohio State
2. Michigan
3. Florida
4. USC
5. Wisconsin
6. Rutgers
7. Louisville
8. Boise State
9. LSU
10. Notre Dame

With my rankings you have the following matchups:

Bryant Bracket

(8) Boise State @ Ohio State (1)
(6) Rutgers @ (3) Florida

8 Vs 1 Winner Vs 6 Vs 3 Winner (Orange Bowl)
8 VS 1 Loser Vs 6 Vs 3 Loser (Fiesta Bowl)

Robinson Bracket

(7) Louisville @ Michigan (2)
(5) Wisconsin @ (4) USC

7 Vs 2 Winner Vs 5 Vs 4 Winner (Rose Bowl)
7 Vs 2 Loser VS 5 Vs 4 Loser (Sugar Bowl)

Championship Game, Second Saturday in January (Rotated each year between New Orleans, Atlanta, Miami, Ford Field, Pasadena, Phoenix, Dallas and NYC if NYC gets a domed stadium)… Orange Bowl Winner Vs Rose Bowl Winner in my set up above…


Kentucky Football

I told Mark Sheets if Kentucky beats Tennessee then I will drive the Rich Brooks bus!!! Did not happen but should have!!!

Kentucky played a really good game on both sides of the ball…

The defense may have had its best performance of the year… I still do not understand why are linebackers play three yards off of the line, I still do not understand our blitz packages even though we blitz more then people think, I still do not understand why are corners never turn around and play the ball and quarterback and I still to not understand why we do not know good technique on tackling (this is a huge problem for UK) but they gave UK a chance to win…

The play calling was down right awful!!! Come on Joker!!! You have called some good games this year but on fourth and two you run full back counter play!!! First and goal from the three in the first half and you fail to score??? Third and ½ yard on the same series you hand the ball off??? Ever hear of a quarterback sneak??? The defense gives you a chance to win and you blow it!!! You out coached yourself!!! Horrible call on fourth down on the final offensive play and Woodson rushed the throw…

Kentucky who was 76% on the year in the Red Zone blew three chances deep in UT territory… What about the kicking game (Brooksy is the kicking coach)??? UK misses an extra point and a little toe tap field goal in the first half… If they were both good then UK just needs to line up and kick a little toe tap to win at the end…

Joker wants to be the head coach after Brooksy and a win this year at Tennessee would have gone a long way in that process… However, when Brooksy goes my money is on former Tennessee assistant Randy Sanders because of his ties to Mitch Barnhart… Joker could have trumped that on Saturday but could not get over the hump…

UK needs to win and it is not good enough to come close!!! I do not care how long it has been since you beat Tennessee!!! There are no moral victories!!! Close does not count in the final standings but I did like the effort…

UK is still going bowling and going is just not good enough folks!!! UK needs to win the bowl game to get this program moving in the right direction…

Contract Extension for Brooks

It is probably the right thing to do but……….. Kentucky will have a tough time winning six home games next year or six games period… At home they will have LSU, Florida, Tennessee and Louisville and will have road games at Georgia, Arkansas, South Carolina and Vandy… They will have to win two of the above listed games to have a chance at six and six… I predict right now due to the schedule next year this team goes five and seven next year…

I hope that the Brooks extension is not more then two years… I think UK should go two years and then have an option for a third year… I still hope Brooks is gone in two years whether he decides to leave or the decision is made for him… The base is in place so now let’s have some leadership that will take us to the next level…

Kentucky Basketball

Kentucky looked liked a tired team against Memphis in game three at Maui… Kentucky should have won the game against UCLA but made some a bad turnover with a chance to take the lead late in the game… For a guy that cannot recruit Tubby sure has four really nice freshmen…

The mix of freshmen with Juniors Bradley, Morris and Crawford along with Seniors Thomas, Perry and Orbzut make a formidable combination that with the experience of the season will be a tough opponent come March…

The negative Tubby crowd will get allot of mileage over the next month but I look for this team to have a good run in March…

Kentucky is nine years removed from the final four, which is the longest stretch in the UK history… Twice UK has gone to the tournament as the team to beat and come up short… One of those was due to an injury (Bogans high ankle sprain) that I believe knocked them out more then how they played in the regional final… They were also close two years ago also when no one really expected them to be there… Close is not good enough but………….

With Rondo, Sparks and Sims gone this team will mature and I look for Bobby Perry to step up and be a leader which is what the team needs… Rondo and Sparks were both cancers and not team players and Sims was involved in some kind of personal issue based on the number of rumors about said issue…

Tubby is no doubt on the hot seat and needs to get his team to the Final Four in the next two years… I still like Coach Smith and I am not sure who I want to take his place… I would take John Pelphry over Travis Ford if UK decided to keep it in the family and if they go outside I have no idea… Rick Barnes and Thad Matta come to mind… I would have a hard time with Billy Donavan due to his relationship with Pitino (Rick wore me out)…

My first regular season game is IU who is coming to coRUPPt arena on December 9th…


Royal and Ancient Thanksgiving Day Classic

First of all let me say that fun was had by all once again…

The tournament got off to a roaring start Thursday morning when the Pro at the course would not let our group play the back nine… We like to designate our own nine holes to play and this year we were going to end on a part three… The Pro f*&^$ed us so we just played the front nine…

The ceremonial first balls were hit by Mark Cooper, who flew in from Florida to play in place of one of the players who could not play this year and Animal who was selected due to his distinguished devotion to the tournament… The two gold balls that are struck each year in the ceremony were once again found so that is a good start…

By starting on number one the tournament figured to be won on either holes six seven or eight… Hole number one is a par four, two is a par four and hole number three is a par five… The prediction was that these three skins would be gone after the final group played hole number three…

Hole number four is a short par three, hole number five is a long par four and hole number six is a good par five that takes a precise second shot… The thought was someone would birdie number four and possibly number six so that would mean six skins would be gone and question at that point would be how were they split between the teams… One team could easily have the tournament in the bag after the sixth hole…

Hole number seven is a short but precise par four, eight is a long par three and nine is long but straight par four… The tournament could either be won or lost on holes seven or eight was the prevailing thought amongst the groups…

As it turned out Hole number one was birdied by the team of Scott and Steve (first hole birdie is usually the kiss of death) and then number two was birdied by Pete and Kevin… Hole number three was pushed with pars (no birdies on this par five) and holes four and five were pushed with pars… Hole number four is a short par three that fooled everyone (no one hit the green from the tee) but yielded a push with pars… The long par four number five also yielded pars (the tournament was won one year on this hole) to push everything to number six… My team had a solid shot at a birdie on this hole after I put my approach shot to the top tier pin leaving us with a twenty foot putt for birdie that we both missed right (no break all day)… The team that we played with Scott and Steve took themselves out of play on the hole with a ball in the water…

On the next hole I hit my drive in the water and we had to use Ready’s drive and could not reach the green in two… We laid up and choosing to go at the pin on our third shot and try to make par… We got there but two putted so we ended up with five… Scott and Steve hit a solid drive, both hit solid approach shots and then they two putted for par… Holes eight and nine were pushed with pars so it appeared all of the groups would move to the fairway on number eighteen to have a shoot off (closet to the hole on the approach shot wins)…

When we matched all the score cards it was discovered that the team of Scott and Steve had the only par on hole number seven which gave them a total of five skins on the day and the title of Champions of the Golf…

Two holes were still out and the team of Mark Cooper and Craig Glick won the last two holes hitting a nine iron approach to about three feet…

The weather for the day set a new record high (60 plus degrees)… The record low for the day is 19 degrees…


ShagOnSports Random Thoughts

- With one week to go I am in the top ten % on my college picks against the spread… My best showing is in my Fans of Navy pick set where I am in eleven place… Since week four I am .500 on my picks which puts me with 56% correct for the year… I can move up a few places this week but I will not be able to get first (I am ten points back and with a limited pick set this week there is little opportunity to move)…

- It is about time to switch to College basketball mode… Should be a good year for round ball… I think the teams are more balanced then they have ever been so there will be upsets, etc… as the year goes on… Florida is not unbeatable (They lost to KU this past weekend) but they look tough!!!

- I rocked my Navy Midshipmen to hard fought victory over Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl in my first full season of PS2 Football… I switched over to Dynasty Mode so the Middies will move on to next season (Dynasty Mode graduates your seniors and recruits new players for you based on your team needs) and they are preseason number four… My Quaterback won the Heismen Trophy for last year… For my next season however I am playing with a team that I created called the Barrett State Flash (the colors are blue and gold)… Barrett was a high school in my hometown (my mom was a cheerleader for Barrett in the 50’s) that closed in the late fifties and they were called the Purple Flash and played in Barrett Stadium (Barrett Stadium was an impressive football field for a town the size of Henderson)… My nephew Matt created the Henderson City College Pioneers and they are red and blue… DON’T BUY THIS GAME AS IT IS HIGHLY ADDICTIVE!!! My wife and I are going to learn how to play NCAA Basketball 2003…

- Bobby Knight… I just do not know… I do not think he did anything that was malicious in his latest run in with a player… The player had no issue so I have no issue…

- During the UK vs UT game they flashed to Fat Phil right before a timeout and both Sam Nation and I both noticed standing about ten feet behind Fat Phil was Bob Dylan… Not old Bob Dylan but young Bob Dylan… There was a guy dressed in black that looked just like him… We laughed our ass off and were the only ones who saw this with the group I was watching the game with that day…

- Albert Puljos has come out and said that the MVP should come from a team that makes the playoffs Vs a team that did not… I disagree sort of… I think there should be two awards… MVP defined as the guy who was most valuable to his team which would be a playoff team (this year Puljos) and then a Player of the Year that to me would be Ron Howard of Philly… Simple solution…

ShagOnMusic

- I have been recording allot of programs from VH1… Last night I watched a program with Siouxsie Sioux of Siouxsie and the Banshees along with her husband Budgie… This is significant for me because I remember as a youngster listening to my brothers eight tracks and the one I liked the best was one from Budgie because it was different then all of the rest of the music… Early roots of Alternative… If you have never listened to Siouxsie you should give her a try… Very dreamy voice… My favorite song she sings is when she covers the Beatles tune Dear Prudence…

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

St Louis apologizes for Winning the World Series

by ShagOnSports

Calling Friday night's victory on baseball's grandest stage "a terrible mistake," members of the St. Louis Cardinals issued a formal apology for making the playoffs, winning the World Series, and depriving baseball fans everywhere of a season featuring the kind of heartwarming, storybook ending to which they have grown accustomed in recent years."I'm still struggling to understand how this could have happened," said a sober Tony La Russa during a press conference following Game 5. "It seemed all but certain coming into this series that we were going to be a part of something truly special, that we would easily put the finishing touches on a magical season that inspired millions of fans around the country, but instead we somehow ended up winning.""It's disappointing, to say the least," La Russa added. "We were rooting for the Detroit Tigers just like everyone else."
According to Cardinals players, they "tried absolutely everything" in their pursuit to earn the Tigers their first world championship since 1984, including eliminating the far more dangerous New York Mets in the NLCS, entering the series completely unrested after a grueling seven-game series, starting a rookie pitcher with five career wins in Game 1 in Detroit, and postponing Game 4 due to rain in the hopes that an off day would swing the momentum back in the Tigers' favor."I don't know what we could've done differently," second-baseman Ronnie Belliard said. "We gave the Tigers every opportunity to win ballgames, but when their pitchers keep making errors on simple ground balls, what are we supposed to do, pretend we forgot the rules and start running to third base?"Desperate for a Tigers win in Game 2, the Cardinals chose to overlook the fact that starter Kenny Rogers was pitching with the aid of a foreign substance on his left hand."Of course we all knew it was pine tar, but it seemed like they were finally finding their rhythm…
We certainly didn't want to shake their confidence, so we decided to just let it go," La Russa said. "Frankly, if the umpires didn't bring it up, we probably would've let him pitch with it the whole game."After the final out of the World Series was recorded, the stunned Cardinals retreated to their dugout and watched with disappointed, glazed-over expressions as the Detroit Tigers—the feel-good team of the season whom everyone expected to win it all—packed up their equipment in the dugout across the diamond.
According to Albert Pujols, some teammates took the World Series victory harder than others."For a lot of young guys like [Anthony] Reyes and [Yadier] Molina, this was their first chance to see an exciting, inspirational, and truly deserving team win a championship," Pujols said. "Even though the outcome of this series has definitely left a bad taste in my mouth, I can handle it, because I was there in 2004 when we were able to see Red Sox beat us in the World Series. Man, what an incredible feeling that was…
Just watching those guys celebrate, I really felt like I was seeing history unfold before my eyes. It was definitely my greatest baseball moment.""I hope we have the chance to see something like that again next year," Pujols added.Reporters and sportswriters around the nation were critical of many of La Russa's successful managerial decisions, second-guessing such effective moves as leaving staff ace Chris Carpenter in for more than five innings in Game 3, and failing to bench third-baseman Scott Rolen, who batted a team-high .421 in the series. La Russa, however, said that things would be different next year."I think I speak for my players, the front office, the coaching staff, and every fan in St. Louis when I say that all season long, we had just one goal: bringing a championship to the great city of Detroit," La Russa said. "And even though we failed this time around, we will be committed to achieving similar goals next season."In the somber clubhouse following the victory, Cardinals centerfielder Jim Edmonds admitted that "the wrong team won," but said that the outcome of the 2006 World Series is "just something we're unfortunately going to have to live with.""Nobody thought we could do this, nobody thought we could stop this powerhouse team that beat the odds to go from worst to first and rolled through the playoffs looking like they were invincible," Edmonds said. "And we thought we had taken every possible step to prove them right.""We shocked the world," Edmonds added. "We're sorry."

This story above originally appeared Nov. 2 in the satirical online newspaper The Onion.

Vacation and Retirement, The magic words!!!

Most of this Blog is coming to you from lovely Juno Beach, Florida… My wife and I are staying at a house just off the beach… We got up this morning and had a lovely breakfast of fresh fruit, bagels and coffee on our front deck and then we went for a long walk on the beach… She has now gone to lay out and soak up some rays and I am cooking some items that we are going to eat during week including fresh crab for ceviches, rosemary potatoes for salad and some of them to fix roasted red potatoes later and fresh squash… On the menu for the week is grilled pineapple shrimp, grilled squash and red peppers, red pepper hummus, Cuban bread and I am sure I will also work in a nice piece of red meat somewhere along the way…

I truly love Florida… I have several different memories of Florida… My first trip that I remember was made in my Dad’s tan 65 Chevy… He even made a bed across the back seat so we could all sleep as he and my mom took turns driving straight through... I have made driving trips with my brother, my grandparents, a large group of friends after graduation from high school (I may tell those stories before I die from this trip), golf trips with my friends, other trips with friends and now my wife and I are making this our annual escape from the winter the week before Thanksgiving each year…

I have visited Sarasota, Tampa, Orlando, Daytona, Miami, Delray Beach, Panama City, Destin, Jupiter, Delray, Juno Beach, West Palm and Key West over the years and have made several trips to all of those places… Florida is a great place and I love to escape here from the every day world… Juno Beach is great!!! Tiger Woods, Jack Nickalus and Greg Norman all live within a shout and this was Ben Hogan’s winter home and he played the very private Seminole Country Club that is just down the road… Seminole is only open about five months a year…

The owners of the place we are staying at is the couple who lives next door… He retired at 45 (He is now 62) and after searching the world settled on Juno Beach as his home… He was a computer scientist from England who helped develop what we know today as LAN’s and the Internet… He bought his house (which has been added on to) for a whopping $120,000 and a couple of years later added the place we are staying in… After renovations I would say he has about $500,000 in both properties… There is a small lot left in the front of the area we are staying in that is for sale for $1 million dollars or with a spec house that has already been designed for $3 million… Do the math!!! He is sitting on a gold mine… To stay busy he manages about ten other properties that are all within walking distance… His philosophy! Work hard, stay out of debt and you can create an environment that is desirable… I say enviable!!!

His philosophy is my philosophy exactly!!! My wife and I have set forth goals and have a plan in place that will get us to that desirable environment in retirement… We take 18% of our gross pay and drop it straight into our retirement accounts… I am fully vested in my pension plan at work so at 55 I can retire and begin to draw money from this pension (I am eligible to retire at 55 with full package if I stay at my company but even if I leave here before 55 I still will draw some pension money but forfeit the healthcare)… If the pension plan is reduced or even bought out like some of the other larger companies have done in the past couple of years then my plan will not be impacted to an extreme level because I plan for the worst and hope for the best and I will take the buy out if it comes and further invest the money…

Will there be Social Security and Medicare when I hit 62??? I think so but just in case my retirement planning does not include this money so if SS is there, gravy on top of the potatoes… It is all about being responsible and having a plan!!! No matter what hand you are dealt YOU are the only person who can truly make life better now and later!!!

Enjoy it on the way, also!!!

Retirement is important and the stats show that most Americans do not properly plan for there golden years or they are depending on the government (bad plan) to take care of them… It is also important to enjoy it on the way… How do we do that???

Besides taking two vacations together each year (this year we went to Woodstock, NY and to Juno Beach)… I am fortunate to be married to someone who loves sports like me so we take mini vacations attending sporting events vs taking another just five or seven day trip (I like to think of them as reality escapes)… We have season tickets to the Louisville Bats (the AAA baseball team for the Reds), Kentucky Football and Kentucky Basketball… We attend about 30 games a year combined and all of them are a blast but our favorite is football because of the great tail gaiting we do with our friends before and after each game… This year we even get to add a bowl game to our trip schedule…

Give a little and it will come back to you!!!

We try to spread it around the best we can!!! Last year alone we donated over $3000 to various charities and social impact organizations through contributions of cash and merchandise… We donate hard goods and clothes to the American Council for the Blind, through work I donate money to the Center for Women’s and Families and United Way, we donate to the Crusade for Children each year and then at Christmas each year we adopt two underprivileged children (a boy and a girl) and buy them clothes, toys, etc… so they to can enjoy Christmas…. I enjoy shopping for these two kids where other Christmas shopping just drives me nuts… It is not really important to who or how much you give but to just make sure you give a little and give a little time!!! I don’t ever expect anything in return but it always seems we get something in return for our good deeds…

When we retire we plan to do allot of traveling (we will hit all seven continents before we are done) and will probably spend our winters in Florida working some (I can see myself working as the starter or at the bag drop at a golf course or at one of the baseball teams Spring Training sites) just to stay busy and keep the mind fresh… Allot of seniors do volunteer work (my grandparents did that for along time while they were able) and that is something I am sure we will do as long as we are able…

What works for me may not work for you but that is not important… What is important is to have a plan and work the plan… GO GET IT!!!

Florida Golf

On Tuesday Coop took me to Trump Resort… We were in groups of four and we each had a PGA instructor with us… We worked on chipping, irons and drivers before going out on the course for a nine hole playing lesson… The course was great but not anything that was completely breathtaking (It would take Augusta or Pebble for me to say breathtaking) but is a nice facility and we were treated first class throughout our time there... I did learn a few things that will help me with practice next spring…

On Wednesday we played at Abacoa… My buddy Coop shot a 48, 38 (nice back nine) for 86 and I shot 45, 41 for an 86… Abacoa is a great golf course with allot of character and the holes are all laid out a little different… The greens are the fastest I have ever played on!!!

On Thursday we played Palm Beach National Golf Club… It was an old course and was a nice layout… I hit the ball well but had two holes that I triple bogeyed on the front and ended up shooting 48 and 41…

I hit the ball well off of the tee, I only missed four fairways in the two rounds but my iron play was suspect all week… I had not played since the first week of October so it was a little tough to get back in the groove…

On Saturday my buddy Coop and I took his son Levi to play Jupiter Dunes, which is the best Par three courses you could ever play… Levi is addicted to golf… He just loves to play and has a great understanding of the game and he is just seven years old… That is what the game is all about…

Nice times on the links…

College Football (as of 11/17/06)

The shake ups all occurred the prior weekend… Louisville, Texas and Auburn had their National Championship dreams dashed… It will be interesting to see if Rutgers wins out (I do not think they will and credit ESPN’s Kirk Herbstret for saying about three weeks ago that a Big East team will not go undefeated) if they will get BCS Championship bid (that bubble has now burst)…

My top ten (I am going with ten the rest of the way) is as follows:

1. Ohio State
2. Michigan
3. Notre Dame
4. Wisconsin (getting no respect from the polls)
5. Rutgers
6. USC
7. Arkansas
8. Florida
9. Louisville
10. West Virginia

Notre Dames only loss was to Michigan, Wisconsin’s was to Michigan, Rutgers is undefeated, Louisville only loss was to Rutgers, WVU to Louisville, USC has a bad loss to Oregon State but beat Arkansas and then there is Florida who lost to Auburn and since Auburn beat Florida keep them out of the top five… Wake Forest is close to getting some love from me and at some point along with Boise State but they keep squeaking by not very good competition…

There is allot going to still happen here… OSU Vs Michigan, Notre Dame Vs USC, Rutgers Vs WVU, Arkansas Vs Florida (maybe) and some tough games for Louisville left… There will still be a whole lot of shaking going on…

This is exciting stuff but it would even be more exciting if this were all leading up to a playoff… The current system that College Football has in place is creating allot of buzz so the playoff is farther out then I would like to think…

As of 11/24/06

1. Ohio State
2. Michigan (after Saturdays game they still deserve the two spot)
3. Notre Dame
4. Wisconsin
5. USC
6. Arkansas
7. Florida
8. Rutgers
9. Louisville
10. West Virginia

Ohio State beat Michigan who beat Notre Dame and Wisconsin for those two teams only losses… USC beat Arkansas who beat Auburn who beat Florida so they are at number five… Arkansas still has to play LSU and then Florida in the SEC Championship Game… Notre Dame VS USC is coming up as well as Rutgers VS West Virginia… There will still be some movement…

Ohio State and Michigan deserve to play each other again based on this past Saturdays match up but what about the other one loss teams… I can make an argument for Florida if they win out but Urban Myer needs to shut up and win before he starts arguing against Michigan…

This is fun stuff but the more you dig the more you can see that a Playoff is needed!!!

Louisville vs Rutgers

The reason Louisville lost is because of the guy I work with who disrespected my St Louis Cardinals (I put the voodoo on them) and because I only watched the second half of the game… I wish it would be that easy to influence the outcomes of games…

Rutgers proved that good defense always trumps good offense… I did not know until after the game was over that L’ville had been up 25 to 7…

It looked like the U of L line broke down and was unable to handle the constantly blitzing Rutgers defense… The coach at Rutgers is as much of a genius on defense as is Petrino is on offense… The Rutgers offense made some big plays and to me the key play was swing pass on third and four during the final drive where the back almost broke it for a TD…

When Rutgers lined up for the game winning kick my wife called the miss (I felt the same thing) and L’ville gave them a mulligan with an off sides… Give me a mulligan on the tee box on golf and 95% of the time I will put the next ball where it needs to be and that is what the Rutgers kicker accomplished… You can blame is on the off sides but I blame it on the ZERO that L’ville put up in the second half…

There were some sad faces at my work last week… I feel their pain but don’t jump yet… 11 and 1 and a BCS bowl is still possible (now that Rutgers has lost and will lose to WVA the Ville should win the Beast)… Hats off to the Ville!!!

Kentucky Football

First of all let me say that I have been wrong to this point about the success of Brooksy… He is still NOT the guy I want long term as the UK Head Coach but I am happy to see this team have some success this year… The defense is still horrible (Louisiana Monroe scores 40 is statement enough)… Brooks is supposed to be a defensive coach so fire Mike Archer and take over the defense Brooksy, NOW!!!

It is ironic that when I was at lunch on Tuesday at Trump Resort I sat next to Dr. Jack Wren who is a golf teacher but has a long list of accomplishments including playing Quarterback in college, Coaching Quarterbacks at Michigan in the 50’s while attending grad school and an author of several books on golf… When I told him I was from Kentucky he asked me if I was a Kentucky Fan to which I replied I am a season ticket holder for both basketball and football… Turns out Dr Wren spent allot of time in Oregon and knows Coach Brooks… His comment, “I thought it was a bad hire and I still think so…” He said Rich is a nice guy but is not just a very dynamic personality and his teams at Oregon were just always middle of the road…

With two games now to go Rich and this team can take a huge step forward… I want to see this team at least one of the next two… If they can do that then I am all for giving Coach Brooks a two to three year contract extension but wait and see how the rest of the season plays out… I want to see this team competitive against Tennessee this Saturday and then win their bowl game… Going to a bowl is not enough!!! Kentucky lost and estimate of over four million dollars in unsold seat this year... These were not just the cheap seats but donation seats went unsold also...

Andre Woodson has turned into a leader and a solid quarterback… UK has found a running game, the passing game is clicking and the play calling on offense has been creative (Joker is making a name for himself)… The defense needs work… 116 out of 116 is not good!!!

Kentucky is the worst tackling team that I have ever seen… Tackling is technique and technique is taught… I also do not understand why the Corners and Safeties never turn around on pass plays and just play the man and not the ball… That too is technique and technique is taught… The linebackers are never in position and they do not blitz enough (UK has talent at Linebacker)… Why??? Get up on the line and at least act like you are going to blitz!!! There has got to be a better coordinator out their for defense!!!
Look for star recruit Micah Johnson to be playing with his hand on the ground next year... He is too slow to play linebacker and he has trouble with his weight... Word is they are going to let him bulk up and play defensive end... I think he will be a good one...

The Royal and Ancient Golf Clubs Turkey Day Golf Scramble

Legend has it that the tournament got it’s start one Thanksgiving morning when a group of guys had been out all night carousing around the town… With nothing to do until that afternoon they decided to sneak out on the course that one of the guys lived on and play six of the holes that were not in view of the clubhouse…

They divided up into two man teams and decided to play a scramble… They threw some money into a pot and off they went… After the six holes were completed they went on about their way and during the next year they decided why not play again on Thanksgiving Day… As the day drew closer they divided up into two man teams (three teams), talked a little trash and then snuck out on the course to play…

Unfortunately for the Audubon Six, as they were named by local authorities, they were spotted by the local Park Ranger… The Audubon Six claimed they did not know the course was open for paid play and had no idea they were trespassing as the local authorities cornered them… After threats of arrest and heated exchanges, gunfire and executions were avoided and an agreement was struck that they would pay for the day and never attempt to sneak on the course again…

It was then decided the next year that the group would pay the full green fee and play nine holes in the two man scramble format and from there the tradition was born…

After player additions and changes over the years the field stabilized (It is limited to twelve players by invitation only) and grew into what is know today at the Royal and Ancient Golf Clubs Turkey Day Golf Scramble… This will be the 17th year the tournament has been played… The tournament has grown to such an event and the membership is so exclusive that a set of by laws governing the tournament play and criteria for participation has been established… There is a rules committee that has been established, a tournament chairmen each year and position created where the Founding Father of the tournament has veto rights over any changes to the format, prize money, players participating, etc… all to protect the integrity of the event… The winners of the tournament are each awarded with a traveling trophy that they are responsible for having engraved with their names marking the year of their win...

The day starts with the traditional catered breakfast hosted by the tournament chairman at the course… After some jawing amongst the players they all then precede to the first tee (the chairman picks what hole to start on and the order the holes are played) where each foursome tees off packing with them they’re chosen beverage for the day… Rain, sleet or snow does not deter the group from playing and over the years all form of weather have been experienced… Two years ago there was so much water on the course from a rainstorm that two holes had to be skipped because they were completely underwater…

All the tournament history, including the weather for the day, has been documented and is updated each year… The goal of the group is to continue to play this tournament each year and then pass on the tradition to the next generations who we hope will protect the integrity of the tournament and continue to pass it on for years to come… It would be a good thing to 100 years from now to be part of a documented history that has to do with golf…

My partner and I are the defending Champs and I am the only six-time winner of the event (I have participated in eleven of the sixteen prior events)… We are looking to keep the trophies again this year so everyone should look out!!!
This is a great tradition!!!

The list of Champs:

1990 – Bruce Bailey & Ready Vowels
1991 – Bruce Bailey & Ready Vowels
1992 – Dale Thomas & Mark Jones
1993 – Dale Thomas & Mark Jones
1994 – Dale Thomas & Mark Jones
1995 – Barry Cravens & Mark Peters
1996 – Scott McMillan & Ready Vowels
1997 – Barry Cravens & Tracy Wallace
1998 – Bruce Bailey & Steve Bolin
1999 – Barry Cravens & Tracy Wallace
2000 – Bruce Bailey & Steve Bolin
2001 – Kevin Newman & Paul Howard
2002 – Barry Cravens & Mark Peters
2003 – Barry Cravens & Mark Peters
2004 – Scott McMillan and Dale Thomas
2005 – Barry Cravens and Ready Vowels

Random Thoughts

- Dirt, sweat, spit and rosin… The substance on Kenny Rogers’s hand, No!!! SI’s stealing that description to describe scrappy David Eckstein… His day started with 20 minutes of ultrasound treatments, 10 minutes of heat packs, 10 minutes of acupuncture, special taping of his shoulder, rib cage and hamstring just to get on the field on game day…

- You think that Trump could have done a little better then a sleeve of Top Flites for our visit!!! I guess he needs the money for his hair…

- Red Auerbach recently passed… He was pro basketball for a period of time with the Celtic dynasty that was built around team play… I put his teams with Bird’s Celtics, Magic’s Lakers and Michaels Bulls as great TEAMS!!! Red used to hold court at a restaurant in DC long after he retired and I used to love to hear Pitino talk about getting the occasional invite be a part of this roundtable…

- During SEC TV Games they have a commercial where a person tells their “Krystal Moment” as it relates to the hamburger place… They show a guy who ran out of gas while in line at Krystal and him and his buddy had to push them through the driver through and then to the gas pumps at the station next door… My moment is in Daytona Beach after my high school graduation… We were eating our three dozen hamburgers a piece at about 2:00 AM when in walked two bikers who started telling everyone in the room they were going to kick everyone in their ass and our mommy and daddies money was not going to protect us now… One of my buddies stood up and said, “When I finish eating my hamburgers I am going to kick you ass!!!” Once we were done we went outside to observe the activities when one of the bikers walked over to us and said, “I am not talking to you!!! I am talking to all of you” and then hit my buddy in the side of the head… My buddy took his glasses off handed them to me and then beat the living shit out of the guy… When the other biker jumped into help, he came flying in swinging a crutch, some guy we did not even know jumped in front of the crutch, it shattered across his back and then he beat the hell out of the other biker… That is my “Krystal Moment” and I would love to see that commercial on TV…

- That’s a winner!!! I won my league on Yahoo for Survival Football… Each week you pick your guaranteed winner and if you lose you are eliminated… I went ten straight weeks and my last competitor was eliminated last week…

- I am in 15th place in my Fans of Navy Pick Set for my college games against the spread, 100th in Fans from Kentucky and 7,763rd place overall which puts me in the top one third… I am 126 and 99 against the spread but only 82 and 85 since week three (through week twelve last week and two more weeks to go)…

- I watched the Basketball Cats play Depaul last night… They looked good on offense but struggled on defense especially on the interior… Big test tonight against UCLA… I like the looks of the team and they have good chemistry… I think the Sparks, Rondo and Sims were bad apples and were as much to blame as Tubby for what happened last year…

- What are friends for??? At 11:00 PM the night before we leave for Florida last week I am in the bathroom and knock the decorative candle my wife has on the window seal into the bowl of the toilet… About five minutes later I discovered that I had cracked the bowl and water was leaking everywhere… It is a million to one shot that this thing falls in and busts the bowl and what are the odds this happens the night before I go on vacation… So at 7:00 AM the next morning I make the call to Marky P AKA Reality Spin… My plan was to get him to buy a toilet and then I would have a plumber come by and do the install… Marky P not only got the toilet for me but also installed it… One time before when I was headed out of town and my wife was already out of town I was standing on my back porch getting ready to walk out the door (I had a 6:15 AM flight and it was 5:00 AM) and there was an animal in my attic scratching on the attic door… What am I going to do??? I called Mark and he came over and found a mouse in a trap (it was not a snap trap) that I had put upstairs about two years before who was frantically scratching on the attic door trying to get out of the trap… Wow!!!

ShagOnMusic

- There is allot of good music out there right now… Beck, Muse, Sonic Youth, Blue October, Jay Z… Buy or download some today… If you are not listening to music then you are not listening…

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

This Just In

by ShagOnSports

This just in… St Louis Cardinals are still National League and World Series Champions… Some ass that I work with tried to disrepect my Redbirds by saying who cares about that... Well I do and that is what counts!!!

How and why do we follow the sports team we follow???

It could be something as simple as a hat we received as a kid… It could be a geographic thing… It could be the colors of a team attract a fan or a player on a certain team had at one point (I was a Celtics fan cause of Bird) or something you were just raised on from birth… You may have switched teams as a kid several times and at some point during your life but most people stick with one team and they stay with them…

In baseball it is obvious that I am a St Louis Cardinal fan but St Louis was not always my favorite team… As a kid I was captivated by the Pirates… It started with the World Series against Baltimore in 1971… Roberto Clemente was the first baseball player that left an impression on me… His slick fielding, his demeanor and his overall ablity stood out to me and the Pirates won the World Series this year so I kind of jumped on the bandwagon…

As we rolled through the 70’s I mainly followed National League teams… I listened to the Redbirds on the radio but my favorite teams usually were the National League representative in the World Series with the exception being the Reds… I never liked Pete Rose as a kid and maybe in my kiddom I saw something that as adults we would only find out later…

The A’s captivated me with Fosse, Tenace, Andrews, Campenaris, Bando, Rudi, North, Jackson, Hunter, Fingers and pitcher/pinch runner John “Blue Moon” Odom as they won three championships during this span… Their Polar Bear white uniforms, the players with the mustaches along with their off beat owner but I would root for the Mets in the Series because of guys like Tug McGraw (he was a lefty) and Rusty Staub who was another lefty like me… McGraw would always tap his glove on his side to and from the mound when he would come in in relief… The only time I will ever be for the Mets... I also like the Dodgers in the 70's with Garvey, Cey, Russell, Baker, Lopes, Yeager and Monday...

I watched the Cubs almost every day in the Summers as a kid, I hated the Yankees, kind of was lured to the Red Sox during the 1975 World Series (the greatest one I ever saw played) with players like Fred Lynn and Jim Rice and I liked Robin Yount and the Brewers… If St Louis had been a winner in the 1970’s I am sure that would have been my team but I really did not have a true loyalty with the Redbirds until 1985 when they won the National League and then lost a heartbreaking series to the Royals in that year…
Even though I was a St Louis fan I watched the Braves almost every night and pulled for them allot in the early 90's... Hard to believe they won 14 straight division titles but only one World Series... The only knock on Bobby Cox is he does not know how to use a bullpen...

For college I am a Kentucky fan… My early sports memories are baseball related but I remember starting to take an interest in the University of Kentucky right after Issel left… While attending a little league baseball tournament in Lexington I got Jim Andrews autograph who played center at UK after Dan The Man… Of course back then the games were not much on TV so my mother and I used to listen to all the basketball games on the radio… When Kentucky made it to the Final Four in 1975 and I was hooked… Soon after I remember starting to listen to the UK football games on the radio... I like Alabama because of Bear Bryant and I am a Navy fan because I was in the Navy… When I lived in Henderson I used to attend allot of the University of Evansville games and liked pulling for the Purple Aces...

I am no longer a Pro Football guy but growing up I liked the Dolphins because they had Bob Griese who was from Evansville which was right across the river from where I grew up in Henderson and their punter at the time was Larry Seiple who played at Kentucky… I liked the LA Rams allot to because I liked the Blue and Gold uniforms… I really have no loyalties in Pro Basketball… I was a Celtics fan when Bird was there but once he retired the Celtics went off of my radar…


UK vs Georgia

Kentucky had a nice win against Georgia on Saturday… Of all the great SEC teams the Dogs are the ones whom Kentucky has been able to compete with the most the last ten years and they finally were able to pull out a victory…

This was a breakthrough win for the Players and a big win for Coach Brooks but to me this was game that UK should have and did win… When you get Georgia in a down year for them at home you have to take advantage of that and win the game… Georgia has struggled this year and I am sure that in Athens the fans think the Apocalypse is upon them because they lost to both Kentucky and Vandy in the same year…

On my way in to the game I predicted Kentucky to win 31 to 24 so I had the outcome right but was just off on the score…

The much maligned UK defense actually stepped up yesterday with a key interception in the end zone on one Georgia possession after Kentucky missed a golden opportunity with an interception two yards from pay dirt only to see Woodson throw one two plays later… The D held The Dogs two missed field goal attempts (the D at least kept them out of the end zone on these possessions) and then had a game ending interception to seal the victory… There tackling technique is really bad though… I saw several blown tackles due to guys just not wrapping up the person with the ball…

Woodson had a good day and played well for a guy who was constantly under pressure… He came back after throwing two bad interceptions, which demonstrates that Andre has matured allot since last year… He had a nice pump fake on a TD toss to Burton after being chased out of the pocket and he made several key runs after being chased out of the pocket… With time to make his reads and run through the progressions on a play Andre has shown he can play the position…

The last drive was impressive with a good mix of runs and passes… Tony Dixon gained some nice yards and was able to power through the line and made some nice plays in the open field…

Now Kentucky needs to validate this victory by beating Vandy next week, LA Monroe the following week at a minimum and then go into Tennessee with a three game winning streak and the confidence to pull of an upset against the Vols… Six and Six does not guarantee a bowl of or guarantee Rich Brooks and Company keep their jobs… For this team to validate this season they need to finish at 7 and 5 or bettor and go to a bowl…

Basketball Cats

I went to the exhibition game last Thursday and the one on Monday…

Kentucky looked good on in the first game and did not look good in the Monday game… The defense looks to be pretty solid but this was sup par competition…

Bradley is very capable on the point and the Freshmen Jasper appears he can also handle this role… The Freshmen Porter could not guard me on a good night at Spottsville Gym and Jodie Meeks looks like he will be a solid player…

Morris still is not mean enough, Orbzut is Orbzut and Jared Carter is a wasted scholarship… Perry Stevenson is going to be a shot blocking machine and has a good court presence… Joe Crawford is Derrick Hord like in his play… Bobby Perry will be mister consistency…

Predictions??? To early to tell much…
For you Rick Pitino lovers out there... Would Kentucky fire Tubby if he ever missed the tournament and only went to the NIT!!! Where did Rick take his team last year??? NIT...

College Football

Not having a playoff is such bullshit… The BCS is total farce this year as it is every year it has been in existence… The Big 10, SEC, Big 12, Pac 10 and ACC beat each other to death and have a depth of good teams (Maybe not the ACC this year)… Boise State, Louisville and Rutgers are all undefeated but they have not played very good schedules... You have to have a playoff to settle the dispute… The pundits are really on Louisville about their schedule and I will put it this way… If Rutgers beats U of L on Thursday night will they move to third in the BCS??? No they will not so how is this a fair system???

I do not think Texas or Notre Dame should be punished for playing tough schedules as a team should not be rewarded for playing a weak one… What you are going to end up with is really bad non conferences games… Teams are going to schedule weak opponents that are almost guaranteed wins??? Do you think Florida is going to keep playing Miami and Florida State if they are going to be penalized for it??? The natural non conference rivalries may remain intact but the current system is going to take away some really good early season match ups…

My top five only has one change from last week and that is that Louisville is now in fifth by themselves…

1. Ohio State
2. Michigan
3. Texas (only loss was to Ohio State)
4. Notre Dame (only loss was to Michigan)
5. Louisville

Of the other one loss teams I put Arkansas (only loss is to and USC), Florida, Auburn, Cal, Wisconson (who’s only loss is to Michigan) in the mix with undefeated Rutgers and Boise State knocking on the door… I am not a big fan of a one loss Big East team due to those teams weak non conference schedules so WVA is out for now… To further back up my assesment of the BCS how does WVA drop from number three to number ten by losing to the number five team... Remember USC beat Arkansas who beat Auburn who beat Florida who beat Tennessee who beat Cal… USC has a bad loss to Oregon State and they still have Cal, Notre Dame and UCLA all on National TV so they can impress the voters (this is not politics, thank god, so let the teams decide it on the filed and "F" the voters)…

My Navy team became bowl eligible (they are going to play in the Mineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte against and ACC team) on Saturday and should win eight games… Bama took a hit Saturday by losing to Mississippi State which puts Coach Mike Shula back on the hot seat… I would love to see Kentucky and Navy play each other in a bowl game… I would have to split time between Jerseys during the game…

Random Thoughts

- Hey Boots!!! McRib is back at McDonalds… The McRib Ferry brought it back for a limited time… They just need to get some McTato salad to go with it…

- Nine and Nine this week against the Spread… That puts me in 30th place in Fans of Navy pick set and 190th in my fans from Kentucky pick set (top one third in both)… In my NFL Survival Football Game I made it through this week with the Giants and we are down to just to players left…

- Act like you been there before!!! Do not count me as one of those fans who rushed the field after Kentucky upset Georgia… Rushing the field and tearing down the goal post was a bit excessive… This was a game as the season went on Kentucky has to win at home in order to be a consistent competitor in the SEC… Remember they lost to South Carolina in a game that they should have won at home earlier this year…

- I still have not changed my mind about Rich Brooks… No bowl, No more Rich… No contract extension either until we see how all of this shakes out… Kentucky could easily lose two of the next three… Barnhart and Lee Todd seem to say on Saturday night that this validated their hiring of Brooks… Talk to me after on the Sunday after Thanksgiving on that judgment… It will take a record of 7 and 6 for me to get on board… I have been wrong about this team to this point but insert the Pulp Fiction line here… At the end of the day I still do not want Brooksy around when his contract is up...

- The U of L win was huge for that program… I am glad to see the team is a little more focused then some of the fans I have talked with the last few days on what is coming up… The Fiesta Bowl was not played last Thursday night… U of L still needs to take care of business the next few weeks (I think they will) to get to that game… To get to that game they need Florida to not win out and not win the SEC Championship, Texas to not win out not win the Big 12 Championship, USC to not win out, WVU to keep winning and Kentucky to win two of their last three or sweep the last three… U of L’s opponents to this point are 28 and 33 and that includes WVU with one loss…

- U of L’s win was big from what I was told (I did not see it) The Courier Journals day after coverage was a bit overboard… The quote I heard was “The headlines were bigger then the end of WWII…”

- One more time I have to remind everyone that the St Louis Cardinals are World Champions…


ShagOnMusic

- I like the two songs I have heard off of the new Beck CD… I really like the variety I get from Satellite radio on music… There is always something on and it is great in the house… If you have not made the plunge you should… I do not own the stock any more but the product is still good just not catching on for some reason…