Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ryder Cup

It was the most awesome sporting event I have ever attended…

The crowds were great and both the Euro fans and USA fans were very well behaved and demonstrated allot of etiquette throughout the event… There was some very nice banter between the fans on the first tee that was pretty funny… I think that Golf fans in general even at event at this type are the best most respectable fans there is in sports… I am working on the Ryder Cup experience blog for a later post…


UK Football (Before Arkansas)

Game 1… The game went as expected for me… I thought that UK’s defense would lock U of L down and that they would at least get one score (they got two)… I did not expect UK to not be able to run the ball at all… Hartline managed the game really well but looked scared to death in the pocket… UK won this game on continuity alone although I think the home team should win this game every time… The reason I mention continuity is because that is U of L’s issue right now, not Coach Kragthorpe… Give him some time…

Game 2… Nothing much but the fact that UK could not score more than 38 points on a very weak opponent should have been a sign of things to come… They could not run the ball effectively in this game either... The bright spot was Randall Cobb in at Quarterback…

Game 3… Showed how bad the offense really is… The o line can pass block with the best of them but they cannot run block… I doubt this is technique and is probably a sign of talent and youth… An SEC team should romp over a Sun Belt Conference opponent especially in the running game…

Game 4… WKU… Much like game 2 but no Cobb at QB… The fact that UK offense could not run the ball against a very weak opponent was another really bad sign…

Game 5… Bama… I thought that the UK defense would show how good they were… They locked Bama down after a long run for a score to nothing… They gave up hardly any yards and only yield a field goal after the UK offense gave up a touchdown… The difference in the game was UK’s lack of a playmaker on offense…

Game 6… Major disappointment… A team that captures five turnovers should win in a romp but when you cannot generate any offense then you will not beat anyone… UK did give up two special teams touchdowns and could have won had it not been for those events… Hartline literally gave Kentucky no chance to win the game at all!!!

The stats (through game 6):

- The UK defense has only given up a total of 47 points in 6 games (when you take away the scores that are not related to the defense (turnovers by the offense and pitiful special teams play)…
- The UK offense (offensive) has only scored 47 points in four games when you throw out Western and Norfolk State… That is 11 points a game… How many more games will UK win at this clip???
- The UK defense can be credited with 21 points on touchdowns and are responsible for another couple of scores on turnovers that I am giving to the offense above… …

Even if Randall Cobb is not going to be the quarterback next year he is the best option for this year and gives this team the best option to win now and maybe next year… With Cobb at QB you can run four and give receiver sets with one or two backs… The team can run some quick options, delayed draws and counter plays for the running game… With four and five wide the defense has to play the entire field (the defense just puts eight in the box now) and if Cobb cannot find an open receiver he can turn in something positive with his feet…

Based on what former UK player, Lonnie Demerre, has said on the post game shows I believe Joker is ready to make the move to Cobb but he is getting over ruled by Brooks… I know the fans are ready for this change…

Will Cobb make freshmen mistakes??? Yes he will… Could one of those mistakes cost UK a game??? Yes they could but I also think that he gives UK a chance to win where Mike Hartline does not give UK must of a chance (I still see it that way even after last Saturday)…

Hartline is a good kid represents the university well but he does not have the potential I saw in an Andre Woodson Freshmen of sophomore even though he has better number… He can get a little better but I do not think he will get allot better… He does not have the “moxy” or the play making ability to lead this team in the SEC… Cobb is full of moxy!!!

Did I boo at the end of the game South Carolina game??? Yes I did… Loudly!!! That was a pitiful performance by both the coaches and players… The special teams’ plays hurt but Spurrier out coached Brooksy once again (Spurrier changed Quarterback’s)… I am not a person who will take or accept a three-point loss at Bama, a loss to Mississippi State or South Carolina last year in games that UK should have won or another loss to Tennessee like the last two years… There are no moral victories just victories and it is time for this program to step it up and win the games you are supposed at home and then pull the occasional upset each year…

UK should have won 8 or 9 regular season games last year after a hot start and the table was set to win 8 this year after the 4 and 0 start… Lose to Arkansas this week and I will boo LOUDLY once again… Old Brooksy is a hard head so I am sure that Hartline will be your starter and finisher (he was and played all but one series at QB)…

Throw out the probation years and Brooksy is 18 and 18 (not counting the bowl games, 4 - 8, 7 – 5, 7 - 5)… The first year should have been 7 and 5, 7 and 5 was acceptable in 2006 and last year the team should have been 9 and 3 (Beat UT, Beat Ms St, LSU cancels USC loss in a game that UK should have won)… 23 and 14 or 22 to and 15 would be outstanding!!! 18 and 18 to me is good but not approaching great even for Kentucky Football…

Since this is a transition year for UK am I being too harsh of a critic??? After seven careers starts Hartline has better sophomore numbers then Andre Woodson… To me I just do not see Andre Woodson type capabilities in Hartline… Hope I am wrong… The “Swamp” will tell a big story for this team on Saturday… Go Big Blue!!!


UK Football after Arkansas

Did I leave??? Yes… With 8:42 to go in the game I stood up and booed Rich Brooks by name, Mike Hartline by name and gave the press boss where Joker is setting a WTH is going on pose and headed for the parking lot… That was right after the 4th and 2 that we went for it and lost two yards on a pass play… To this point in the game Mike Hartline was awful!!! Looked like a statue not a quarterback… By the way he last time I left a game early was when we were losing 49 to 7 to Florida a few years ago at halftime…

My wife stayed inside and I went to the parking lot and turned on the AC/DC channel on XM… My buddy Sheets showed up and told me we should at least listen to the end of the game on the radio so I flipped it over (Sheets wife Leslie stayed also)… I know we missed a hell of an ending but after watching this offense this year I gave Kentucky no shot of winning with 8:42 to go in the game and neither did the other 35000 that left…

UK may not win another football game this year… They had to have a “miracle” finish to beat the worst team in the SEC at home… I think they will be competitive but a Mike Hartline offense is not going to beat an SEC team on the road or Georgia at home… They might be able to beat Vandy but Vandy is better then Arkansas and UK is hurting in allot of areas now with injuries… Hope I am wrong but that is what I see…

Randall Cobb showed Saturday night that he is the second best player on the team after Trevard Lindley… Let’s hope both guys are still around next year… Kentucky has to not only come back and beat Arkansas but also beat the referees who made some very poor calls during the game… Those calls also added to my frustration level, which caused me to leave early…

Was this the break out for Mike Hartline???

Coach Brooks Meter

Last year I ended the year with the meter at eight (8)…

Brooksy is criticizing me for leaving the game early and criticizing the fans in general… Let’s understand something, with eight minutes to go in the game you were losing to the worst team in the SEC and based on the offensive performance Saturday night and the previous weeks we had no chance… This is why 35000 people left the game (there is never that many people that leave early)… UK had lost its last four home SEC games dating back to last year before this game…

Remember the last time I left was 49 to 7 at halftime and so that is where this game was for me mentally… Even the announcer on TV (I watched the replay last night) did not understand why Cobb was not at Quarterback vs. Hartline… You could hear people yelling in the background to put in Cobb…

Expectations??? What is wrong with expectations??? When you start the year 4 and 0 you should take care of business at home against two down teams and damn near lost them both… Is it players??? Coaches??? Both??? Fans??? All I know is Brooks is 0 and 3 against South Carolina Spurrier and before Saturday he was 0 and 5 against Petrino (Petrino coached his very first game as a head coach against you and handed you your jock strap after the game)…

Am I satisfied with 5 and 2 this year??? Sure I am but I am also a bit disappointed that UK is not 6 and 1 at this point after a 4 and 0 start… We are at the hump Brooks, now let’s get over it…

The question I have is can a Coach Brooks team finish??? To this point by my calculations in the non probation years Coach Brooks is 4 and 19 (beat LSU at home, beat Georgia at home, beat Arkansas on the road and Arkansas at home) against the elite coaches or teams (that is teams that have either won SEC championships in the last five years, been to the SEC title game or in the case of Louisville been to a BCS bowl during the regular season and does not count games against a Kragthorpe U of L but does include Bobby Petri no U of L)… Throw out Arkansas and UK is 2 and 18 against these teams in the Brooks tenure…

Based on those numbers I say that a Brooks UK is still better then Vanderbilt by about the same margin we have always been is on equal ground with Ole Miss, Arkansas and Mississippi St and has gained little ground on UT, UF, Auburn, LSU and Georgia…

Beat UT or Florida Brooksy… Right now the meter stays at “8”…


Politics in my Blog???

This is a first and a last… I felt like it was time I weighed in on the government and politics in general… Not so much politics as just some general philosophies about life I have experienced and would like to share…

Fortunately for me I do not blame the government or other people for any of my problems or issues so I am not setting around waiting for the government or other people to fix or solve my problems or issues… The government cannot solve their own problems or issues so how the hell are they going to solve mine and only people themselves can resolve their own issues or problems at the end of the day…

If you are a person who sets around and thinks the Republicans and their agenda is better then the Democrats and their agenda then you are dead wrong… Same applies to a person who sets around and thinks that Democrats are better and their agenda is better then the Republicans… You are also wrong… I truly have deep empathy for both of you…

Life is about creating opportunity for yourself through making good decisions, being financially responsible and creating opportunities… Something that I am living proof of is that good things can happen to those people who apply themselves… When I have had periods in my life where I did not apply myself nothing good came out of it at all but when I do apply myself it is amazing what can happen…

I am not very educated beyond my high school diploma (My wife and I both are working on this is an effort to improve our standing and pretty much everything we have learned we have done on our own), come from a broken home where unfortunately I did not get allot of direction as I was becoming a young teenager and adult… Do I set around and blame my mom or dad for these circumstances??? Absolutely not… They did the best they could with the hand they were dealt and along the way they made some good decisions and bad decisions just like everyone else does… I could set around and be a victim of the bad decisions but I choose to take responsibility for myself and move forward… My family is not responsible for me nor am I responsible for my family… I can enjoy my family and not have to be responsible for them or their actions...

Another example of the philosophy of good decisions and creating positive circumstances is something I experience every day at work and is very much worth sharing… In the current area I work in there are over 800 people assigned to this business unit… Better then 40% of these people are either from Somalia or Bosnia… They are amazing people… They come to work every day, put forth the maximum effort and have very little to complain about…

There are allot of Bosnian employees who came to work at my company three to four years ago who could barely speak English. There transformation is a fantastic example of how to create opportunities for you… Many have not only learned English but are thriving in our organization and have even become supervisors and managers through hard work and dedication to themselves…

I had a great conversation with a group of the people from Somalia the other day in the break room… I asked them how they liked America, how they were adapting to the cultural changes and how they were being received by Americans in general… They all had a very consistent theme… As two of the young ladies, dressed in their full burkas said to me, “We work, we get paid, we have a nice place to live, I have a car, we can afford to buy good food for our families and everything is so covenant… We have nice roads to drive on and our kids have an opportunity to get an education…” I asked them how this compares to their homeland and one of the young gentlemen told me, “We Love America it is truly the land of opportunity… I Love my Country but we do cannot have there what we can have here…” It is nice to watch people in our work area “melting pot” function together and set a wonderful example for others to follow… They truly seem to learn allot from each other…

I agree there are allot of improvements that can be made to our country but at the end of the day it is the best model for seizing opportunity by applying yourself…

So back to politics… The thing that gets me is neither political party or their agendas is addressing what is truly wrong with government and that is fiscal responsibility… Both Republicans and Democrats have created the “debt culture” that we live in today… Until government is run like a business or like the way I run my life then it will continue to be hindrance to everyone… The math is simple… You cannot spend more then you make or disaster will continue to occur…

There is no political candidate or party who has this agenda nor will you see or hear one because that will only take money out of their pockets and the people who are lining their pockets…. Folks they are all taking back door money I do not care what any of them say and don’t be so naïve to think they are not…

Fortunately for me I run my life as both a fiscal and social responsibility philosophy and work for an organization that shares this philosophy…

First for me… I made a decision several years ago with the help of my financial advisor, Dave Ramsey, to live like no one else so I could live like no one else… Take control of my life and my finances… It is a simple plan (I learned it by listening to the free radio) where you do not spend more then you make and you do not borrow money (except for to buy a house because a house is an investment)… As for borrowing money to buy a house (because it is an investment) Dave fully supports this but has a very strict set of parameters that I followed to the letter (He calls it the baby steps)… First of all you need to save up for a 20% down payment so you do not have to pay mortgage insurance, on top of that you need six months worth of expenses in the bank as your emergency fund because “life occurs”… Also keep in mind that you will probably want to buy new furniture, etc… for your house so save for that also…

How much house can you afford??? That is where people have gone wrong in the sub-prime loan market… Dave’s plan unlike the governments and financial institutions (they say you can afford to make a payment of 38% of your gross income which is why 5% of all mortgages in the US are currently in default, you would think that number was 50% if you watch the news) is your payment with taxes and insurance should not exceed 25% of you r take home pay… By following this example you should be able to fully fund your retirement and/or your college funds if you choose to do so and still be able to live you life and even save a little money… Does it work??? I know people at all income levels that follow this philosophy and let me tell you it works and works well and puts you in complete control of your life…

My organization that I work for follows the same philosophy… They carry very little debt (we are a cash heavy company) and invest heavily in an employee pension fund in addition to supporting 401k matching contributions… Since this is a publicly traded company I can reveal some details that are also available to the public… The non-union pension fund (The reason I point to the non union fund is because the organization that manages have misused the hourly pension fund to such a level that it is no longer fully funded and will run out of money in about thirty years, sound familiar??? This fund also has government over site, sound familiar???) started out in 2007 with a balance of 12 billion dollars… At the end of 2007 after paying out all the benefits to retirees, putting in the year’s contribution for future retirees the fund had a balance of almost 14 billion dollars… Even in a down market in 2008 the fund is just below the 14 billion dollar mark and is fully funded to support the companies retirees for the next 100 plus years… What a solid example for the government to follow… Think they will do it??? LOL

Me like many other people have retirement accounts that are down this year (first time in my fourteen plus years of investing that it looks like I will finish the year with less money in my account then when I started the year)… Who is to blame??? Good old me that is who… After studying the financial climate and doing a ton of research on my own (I took a personal effort to educate myself many years ago on the workings of the stock market and investing by of course listening to Dave Ramsey but by checking out books from the library for free and reading them) in 2007 I had some choices to make… My financial advisors (Money Magazine, A good friend, An investment letter I receive and Dave Ramsey voted three to one that I should book all of my gains for the last 14 years and move them to cash accounts within my retirement fund and wait out the market until it hits the bottom, probably some point after the election, and then jump back in when everything is at the bottom and reap the long term rewards… If I would have done that then I would be up 2% for the year and maintained my double digit gains I have averaged the last fourteen years…

Now for the rest of the story… I decided I was smarter then everyone else and only did that with about 30% of my holdings so now I am down 20% for the year in my retirement accounts but on the bright side since I have solid equity in my house (not everyone’s property values are dropping folks do the research) so my net worth is only down about 8% for the year…

So now I am setting around just whining about it right??? NOT!!! I have not lost anything to this point because I have not sold anything (buy high sell low is not my philosophy)… I am educating myself as to how I can position myself for the march back up when it occurs… How??? My company offers a traditional 401k as well as Roth 401k for all employees… Like the Roth IRA in the Roth 401k you invest all of your money after you pay your taxes and the accounts grow tax-free (you will not pay gains on your money when you pull it out of these accounts when you start drawing the money out at 59.5)… So my philosophy, which this time is supported by all four of my financial advisors, is to shift my retirement investing to the Roth 401k while the prices are low and give me the best long term “bang for my buck”… Great thing is I am not sitting around waiting for some government entity to rescue me from the fire… I am trying to take advantage of down situation by taking responsibility for myself and moving forward with a plan…

Show me the plan from either political party or candidate that has a five year, ten year, fifteen year or twenty year plan of getting the government out of debt by cutting spending, getting Social Security back to a fully funded status and creating a reserve, an emergency fund or whatever you want to call it… Basically a plan like our grandparents followed their entire lives where you don’t spend more than you make, you save money each year for a rainy day and you make sure you are putting money away for when you retire… You will not see it because debt and supporting debt is how they all line their pockets… Not just Republicans, Not just democrats but also all politicians… They may be fooling you but they are not fooling me… Both of the so-called Presidential Candidates (I use that term loosely) supported a government bailout that put the country more in debt… That alone should tell you something… Until the “debt” problem in this country is resolved then social and environmental issues will take a back seat and government… Do what you can as an individual to support social and environmental issues that is what I do and I will continue to do…

Oh by the way through all of this… My wife’s company got bought out and she lost her jobs… Did we panic??? No… Did we adjust our plan??? Yes… If we do not have as much coming in you cannot have as much going out… I guess I could just go borrow some money or wait for the government to bail me out… LOL!!!

Another example of taking responsibility… My wonderful wife decided to take control of her own destiny by taking responsibility of herself and going back to school to complete her degree while she works part time… We are getting no help from the government and funding her education and my continuing education out of our own pockets… Amazing what a good plan will do for you…

This is not the first time I have given this testimonial and I hope as a reader you understand and appreciate my philosophies… Take control of your own destiny, have a plan and a back up plan… Do not put yourself at the mercy of depending on someone of some entity to take care of you our your family… If you are a young person have a plan and start planning for your future now…. Make good decisions and seek out advice… And for those of you who use the argument, “Well you do not have kids, you can do all this stuff” that is part of my plan to… Don’t have kids until you can afford to have kids… They like everything else cost money…

Point is there is plenty of opportunity out there if people will seize the moment… To seize the moment you have to make good decisions… Take responsibility for yourself and stop whining and waiting, go out make your own way… I still believe we live in the best society that breeds opportunity and I am proud to be an American even through all of our faults and problems… However, we now live in a truly global society and have a wonderful appreciation of all of the cultures of the world…
“Good things will come to those who set around and wait, but only things that are left behind by the ones who seized the moment and took control of their own destiny”…

Now To Be Clear

Just so everyone knows where I stand politically I will be writing in Bozo the Clown for President… Why???

- Cookie will be the VP
- I was always a fan of the “Grand Prize Game”
- The blue suit
- The bright red hair
- The red nose
- His cabinet will consist of clowns like Yuco, Homey D, Klinko, Rebo and Shakes but not Pogo…
- The last reason is “The Big Shoes…”

Random Thoughts

- Line of the day… When my wife got to the parking lot after the game (she gave me hell by the way for leaving and even told my mom on me) I told her the Red Sox had beaten the Rays and she said, “There is another game you did not get to see tonight…”

- I have now missed one of the greatest comebacks in UK football history and one of the greatest victories and UK football history… Maybe I should be in the parking lot vs. the stadium!!! Had good reasons for not being at either one although last Saturday is open for debate…

- You hate to see a grtty player like Dickey Lyons with a career ending injury… I also hate to see it caused by another horse collar tackle that is supposed to be 15-yard penalty… If you want to get rid of the horse collar tackle in college football then make it an automatic first and goal no matter where the team is on the field…

- I have heard people mention that the US won the Ryder because Tiger was not on the team, he takes focus away from the event and that he does not really care about the event… That is total BS!!! Tiger loves this event and loves to compete... Does having Tiger add pressure to the team??? Sure it does but that pressure is what this event is about… The US won the Ryder Cup due to the brilliance of Captain Paul Azinger and the stellar play of some Ryder Cup rookies!!!
- Why were the Angels trying to play National League Baseball and squeeze bunt against the Red Sox in the ALDS??? They play in the American League… I like Mike Scocisa as a manager and would hope he could possibly be a replacement for Larussa when he steps down in St Louis…
- Baseball should cut the regular season to 154 games and expand the LDS series to seven games… The LDS at a best of five is an injustice to the regular season just like it was when the LCS was only five games…
- I consider myself a huge baseball fan but to this point I have watched a total of about five innings of the entire playoffs… I have now watched five innings of the World Series…
- Great stat lines in the Red Sox vs. Rays game… Red Sox have not been shut out at home in the postseason since 1918 which is when they still had Babe Ruth on their roster… The other night was the first time ever in Red Sox post-season history that the Red Sox have given up eight or more runs in consecutive games (now in three games in a row)…
- Two quotes for you… A former local baketball coach from U of L made a reference on his show that one team beat the other team “like a runaway slave”… Proof that nobody listens to the show because nothing was ever said about it or all of the radio audience is racist (LOL)… The other quote is Gary Danielson referred to Dicky Lyons Junior, “He is not just a white possession receiver” during the UK vs. Bama game… Pretty funny stuff in a world of so-called political correctness…
- 101 years and counting for the Cubs…

Music

AC/DC channel… When I was teenager I wanted a radio station that played AC/DC 24 hours a day… XM now has that channel… Awesome!!! Nothing really new on the music scene… Kings of Leon has a new album out that sounds pretty good and Cold War Kids has a new one that has a few great sounding songs…

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Back to the Blog

It has been a long and eventful summer…

My nephew Matt came up and spent three weeks with us and my nephew DJ came with him for three days… We celebrated the 4th , went to see the Bats and I taught them to play chess… Matt went with me to the golf course and driving range during his stay… His favorite part, driving the cart… He was there however to see me birdie the “stroke hole” two weeks in a row (Stroke hole means the hardest one on the course where if you are only giving your opponent one stroke this is the hole they get it on)… Sorry but I am bragging a little…

My sister was here from Germany and we met them in Chicago and then went to Henderson…

Matt, his parents and grandmother are here today to celebrate sister in law Kim’s birthday and my wife’s (the first week leader in college football pick’em league called Scuffletown)…

My nephew Brandon got married this summer and my friend Brad Jarrett go married at a big bash in Bloomington and yes we brought the Blue at them hard and of course there is mine and Mara’s new niece Annaleigh who is starting to crawl and will be here this week to see us…

My wife has gone back to school and would like to pursue a degree in communications… She has allot of hours so she may not even be real far off (maybe four 12 hour semesters)… She will be the next start reporter for ESPN on the sidelines for which she could do now even without a degree…

One last thing… Go Big Blue!!!


UK Football

This is going to be a telling year for this team… Can they overcome the losses on offense at the skill positions to finish six and six of seven and five??? With the ability to run the ball (Four solid running backs) and a solid and deep defense is this the year that this team pulls a significant road game upset like at Alabama or at Tennessee???

Kentucky was a few plays from going 9 and 3 or even 10 and 2 (USC, Florida, Tennessee, and Mississippi State)… With that said they were also a few plays away from going 5 and 7 (U of L game, Vandy game, LSU Game and Arkansas game could have been losses)…

The defense looks solid and very deep… They lost a key academic causality with Warford (who played well against speedy FSU in the bowl game) and they will need Micah Johnson to have a break out year and be the dominate player he is capable of being… With Braxton Kelly, Trevard Lindley, Corey Peters, Johnny Williams, David Jones and a host of others I am looking for big things from this team…

Offensively they are going to be relying too much on freshmen at the Wide Receiver slot… This will have an impact early on but with a more than favorable early schedule this will help these newbie’s become acclimated somewhat to the speed of the game… I am not concerned about Hartline because he has a football pedigree (his brother started two years at “The” Ohio State) and I think the early games will help…

I think the coaching staff is doing a nice job and I commend Coach Brooks and his staff for their efforts… I was and still am a big critic of Coach Brooks but he has made some great moves in staff hiring’s and keeping Randy Sanders around is huge for this program… The hiring of Joker Phillips as the head coach in waiting was a smart move for the current recruiting and the right move for the future of the program…

It will be an exciting season and I believe this team will get better as the year progresses…

The recruiting class is shaping up as the best ever at UK with a four star and five start quarterback in the fold…

Greg Norman and The Open Championship

Count me as someone who was not surprised that Greg Norman held the lead at the British Open with nine holes left to play…

I have always felt that Greg Norman had the game, if he applied himself, to win a major at or after 50… I believe he is the type of player and has the fitness regime to compete at a high level until about the age of 58 but he would need to devote so much time to practicing his golf that it will just not happen…

Greg Norman is a very successful business person and he has allot of things that will keep him focused and away from the game of golf… Golf has become a grind and if you want to not only compete but win then you have to put the time and effort in that Mr. Woods does day in and day out…

Norman could easily have one to two more British Opens, at least one PGA, two US Opens (he lost in a playoff twice) and three Master’s (86 to Jack by one turn of the ball, Larry Mize with the crazy chip in and his collapse in the final round in his next to last Masters)… He should have won at least five to eight more majors vs. just the two he did win but bad luck got him in the end… I still count him as one of the ten best golfers ever based on his play in the 80’s and early 90’s…

Will Norman play in the Masters next year??? I hope so… Would love to see him give it one more shot…

I know he is at peace but I am betting that not winning the Masters has to chap that man’s ass every April… Of all the things in Sports to be a “Masters Winner” is number one on the list… Must be pretty neat to be at the Champions dinner each year with only the guys who have won the Masters and on one else… What would I serve at my Master’s Dinner the year after I had won??? Barbecued Pork, Ham, Chicken and Ribs with cole slaw, fried potatoes and smoked kale…

As for The Open Championship I like it because it requires shot making ability and not just a power type of game… Most Americans do not care for this type of golf (except Jack, Tiger, Trevino and Watson) so that is why you did not see many Americans in contention this year… Paddrig Harrington’s back nine performances was extremely impressive considering the conditions, the moment, etc… He beat Greg Norman and a host of others down the stretch by a large margin and despite what people think Norman did not choke or make bad decisions he just got beat…

Ryder Cup

Many years ago this was the USA vs. United Kingdom only (Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England)… It became so one sided that Jack Nickalaus came up with the idea of adding all of Europe (I am pretty sure it was Jack)… Hence the rivalry that we have today with the Ryder Cup…

Now maybe it is time for the USA team to become the North American Team and include Canada and everything south of Florida and Texas… It will never happen but it is a thought…

One thing for sure that needs to happen is get rid of the Presidents Cup Matches… Maybe what they should come up with an event that is North America (minus the USA) vs. the rest of the World (minus Europe) and play these matches at the same time as the Ryder Cup at the same venue… This will never happen either but would be a televised dream…

Speaking of Ryder Cup… I have secured tickets for the opening ceremony on Thursday and for the first day on Friday (Four Ball Matches and Alternate Shot)… I am really excited about getting to attend this event for two days… I could not have imagined not going when they are playing this in my own back yard… Early line is the Euros will trash us before Sunday…

My wife also got me tickets to Fuzzy Zoellers Wolf Challenge in a couple of weeks… Jack Nickalaus will be one of the participants in the event…

PGA Championship

I really thought Sergio had it in the bag this time but an errant iron shot on 16 and a missed putt on 18 cost him dearly…

Pardrig Harrington has Ice Water in his veins… His back nine play in the British and the PGA was phenomenal… I think he may now be the number 2 golfer in the world... Foreign players dominated the majors this year and many more countries are producing allot of good players as golf has become more popular world wide…

Ben Curtis and JB Holmes played good rounds but both faltered on Sunday… What happened to Phil???

That has to be one of the hardest golf courses there is in the world!!!

Golf Vs Baseball

My nephew Matt spent three weeks with us this summer… I took him to the driving range multiple times and let him walk the course with me on multiple occasions… One of the discussions we had is which is harder sport to play, Golf or Baseball… He says baseball and I say golf…

- Golf is a different course every week, four rounds on the same course but with different pin placements on the greens each day and baseball is a different park every three games but in baseball the diamond and outfields is virtually the same every day…

- In baseball you have to be able to hit multiple pitches with the same bat (curveball, slider, two seam fastball, four seam fastball, knuckle curve, knuckle ball, cutter, change up, etc…) and in golf you have to hit the ball out of rough, deep rough, fairway, divots, sand traps, on the green, beside the green and from multiple yardages with different clubs each time…

- In golf you have to be able to cut the ball, hook the ball, hit is low and hit it high and do so in conditions great conditions but also in the wind, rain and cold… It baseball wind and rain have a minimal impact but a player who can hit the ball to multiple fields is a better asset then one that cannot…

- In baseball you have to play defense and be able to throw and catch the ball… In golf there is no defense but the course itself with out of bounds, lateral hazards, lost balls, etc… Also in baseball out of bounds is a foul ball with no penalty where in golf there are multiple penalty situations even sometimes after a good shot is played…


- Both sports require hand and eye coordination and those who excel at either sport are the ones who excel in this category…

With all of that said and having played both sports I think that Golf is the more difficult game to play and master… Maybe pitching is just as difficult but overall baseball is not as hard to play as golf…

Olympics

This has been a very exciting Olympics… The swimming was great and Phelps is an animal much in the light of a Tiger Woods or Roger Federer… I really enjoyed watching the bad mitten also… Beach volleyball, boxing and the gymnastics have all been solid…

The US Basketball Team is finally a team and they are playing NBA finals type of defense… The World is much better at basketball but this team should and did win a gold medal… Hats off to the team, Coach K and to our local hero T Prince…

The track and field events have also been solid… The 100 meter final was unreal and the Jamaican (Bolt) who won could have run at least .2 seconds faster then he did and he smoked everyone in the 200 meters … If you did not see it he basically pulled back without about 5 meters to go with a gesture of where is everybody else???

I have watched allot more then I thought I would… My wife has been an Olympic attic!!!

Top Fives

Last time it was my rank of top five home runs ever… Now I will give you the top five home runs for which I have witnessed (all on TV)…

1. Kirk Gibson’s dramatic home run to win Game 1 of the 88 World Series…
2. Carton Fisks home run off the foul pole in Game 6 of the 75 Series…
3. Jack Clarks three run home run in LA to beat the Dodgers in the 85 LCS and go to the World Series (why did Lasorda pitch to him)…
4. Hank Aarons 715th home run…
5. Ozzie Smith’s first career left handed home run to put St Louis up 3 games to 2 on the Dodgers in 85 LCS setting the stage for Clark…


Random Thoughts

- I was unsure why Curtis Pulley was even on the team this year… He is for sure all about Curtis… UK will be better off without him…

- Phil Mickelson does not deserve the ranking of the number 2 golfer in the world (look at what happened at Firestone and the PGA)… I think Phil is screwed between the ears from the US Open debacle three years ago and will never win another major… I am not saying Phil is a bad guy just not the number two golfer in the world unless of course he wins the PGA and he did not… I still took him this week in my golf league...

- Tiger Woods will be the first over 50 major championship winner… The day that happens is also the day I think he retires from competitive golf…

- My friend Bruce Bailey took in four baseball games in four different parks in a span of about five days… I would love to do that type of a trip and hit all the parks in one season when I retire…

- I had my first sub 80 round since my comeback to the course this year… I shot a 42, 36 (two doubles on the front)… I am looking forward to three great months of golf in August, September and October and then once again playing in and this time winning the Annual Thanksgiving Day Classic in November for a record 7th time… I have made multiple swing changes to add distance and accuracy to my game and my new driver and new shoulder have added about 25 yards to my off the tee game… I am two and two in my return to match play in my golf league… Shot a crazy round of 40 in my golf league last week (had a triple and a double) and another 40 this past week that was just four bogeys and the rest pars… Hanging around 82 with my 18 hole rounds and carded an 81 at Kearny Hills last Sunday and another 81 at Xmas Lake this week…

- Manny Ramirez… The typical modern baseball player giving baseball a bad name… Does not run out ground balls, does not hustle and only cares about hitting home runs… All that said he will go into the Hall of Fame… Yea for Boston for dumping him… Bet his value on the free agent market next year is no where in the neighborhood of want he thinks it is going to be…

- Hooray to my St Louis Cardinals for not selling out with a trade… The Redbirds have a ton of talent in their farm system and that number continues to grow… With Carpenter returning and Wainwright not far behind that is like making trades for two top level players… I also like the fact that St Louis can make some nice money deals with guys like Wainwright to keep him around… I want to win now but the window to me looks to be open for many more years to come without selling out the franchise… Would have liked a closer but the price was too high… Redbirds are probably done but they should contend again next year…

- Boo to the Reds for calling up three of the Bats key players… The Bats have a chance at a Championship and Reds have NO chance for anything (until they get rid of Crusty Baker that is their MO)… Call these guys up after the Triple A playoffs…

- Is this the year for the Cubs or do they choke again down the stretch??? CUBS – Completely Useless by September will not hold up… Cubs make the playoffs… From there who knows…

- Many people do not realize that the Ryder Cup has been contested since the 1920’s…

- Brett Farve is all about Brett Farve… He was going to unretire before the NFL Draft this year and then changed his mind again so the Packers drafted two QB’s and moved forward with Aaron Rodgers… Rodgers is doomed but that is just a bloodline issue with replacing a legend at QB in the NFL… They are the Green Bay Packers not the Green Bay Farves… Off to New York…

- Stop me if you have heard this one before… Speaking of replacing legends Joe B Hall has the best line of all at the 1975 final four… When asked who should replace John Wooden at UCLA (Wooden had just announced his retirement) Joe B said, “Me! There is no reason to ruin a second coach’s career by having to replace such a legend…” UCLA ended up with something like five coaches the next ten years… They should have gone with a young Denny Crum…

Music

My cousin Chet says the Raconteurs (I do like their music but have not heard enough and I do like Jack White)… I like MGMT (very different sound) and I bought an Interpol live EP and both are really, really great… MGMT was on “Live from Abbey Road” this week and they sound great live… Coldplay is my wife’s new favorite band and they are currently playing 24/7 on one of the XM channels… XM and SIRI merged so we will see how all this plays out… Sounds like they are going to go to a pick and choose model across both services…

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Still Here

by shagonsports

Lots of exciting events in our lives the last several weeks and months…

My sister and her husband Stefan came over from Germany… Jayne was speaking at conference in Chi town (in the North Suburbs) so Mara and I went up for a visit… We had a wonderful dinner at Spovane’s, which is a great Italian Restaurant in the suburbs (the owner comes out and sings during dinner) and myself, Stefan and Mara spent the day at the Field Museum, which is right next to Soldier Field (I really do not like the upgrades to Soldier Field for a view of the columns standpoint)…

The field museum is a very interesting place… Lots of focus on the Indians of the Midwest (they were the first players of Lacrosse) but also on prehistoric times and the evolution of the earth for the last four billion years… Call me stupid but I did not know until that visit that humans and dinosaurs were not around together… Guess I based my knowledge before on the Flintstones and Ringo Star’s caveman movie…

We rode the train downtown, a bus from Union station to the museum and reverse on the trip back… Chicago has a nice public transportation system and the train was completely full on the return trip to the suburbs (it was rush hour)... I like the idea of rail but I do not like the idea that it would take me about two hours from the time I leave work until I walk in my front door at home… I am spoiled by my fifteen minute drive…

We had a wonderful family get together at my sister Rhonda’s and brother in law Kevin’s on Thursday and Friday… On Friday we had all three of my grandparents, my mom, my brother and his family, my Uncle Wally and Aunt Charla, my Mother in Law and my nephew Matt… We got our first ever picture of my mom with all of her kids and all of the kids spouses which was really cool…

My grandmother had another gathering for Jayne and Stefan on Sunday with more of the extended family including my cousin’s wife who grew up not far from where Stefan is from in Germany... After they left Henderson they went to Austin, TX and then returned home to Germany…

We also spent mother’s days with our families in Henderson… It was a nice event and we were able to get most of our family on both sides of the fence to spend the day at my Aunt Charla’s which really made it nice for all… My niece Annaleigh was Christened in church that Sunday and all three of my grandparents, my mother and my brother and his family was all in attendance as well as my brother in laws Mom and Dad… My sister Rhonda got up and sang to Annaleigh during the ceremony and she never took her eyes off of her… She loves to hear music…

The older I get the more important my family becomes… I am really blessed when it comes to family… We are as dysfunctional as all families with the difference being we have accepted it and in most cases do not let that get in our way…

Back on the Golfing Train

After 18 months away from the course (not counting the nine holes I played on Thanksgiving Day 2007) I am back in the saddle… How much did I miss playing golf??? Allot more then I realized once I got back out on the course…

I have been practicing off and on for about three weeks prior to going out on May 25th for my first round… I started out by triple bogeying three of the first four holes and then for the next nine holes I had seven pars and two bogeys… I ended up with 91… I hit my irons well but did not hit my driver or wedges very well…

On Memorial Day myself, Brad and Wayne played Fuzzy’s new course called Champions Point… What a nice track… Again I could not drive the ball but I hit my irons and wedges very well and ended up with shooting 86 (46, 40) and almost broke 40 on the back nine…

I played in my golf League for the first time the following Thursday and shot 42 which gotten me beaten pretty good in my match… Still had trouble driving the ball but my irons and wedges were pretty solid… Just really nice to be competing once again!!!

On Saturday May 31st I shot 82 (41, 41) at the toughest Metro course in Louisville… I hit my driver great, irons great but my chipping and putting were way off… I had four three putts and missed three other putts that you just have to make if you are going to score… Easily could have posted a 75 or 76 if the flat iron was not so unkind…

Next week I am heading to the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama for a three day golfing adventure… Looking forward to a great summer back on the links…

The World of Sports Random Rants...

- Big Brown had an impressive victory in the Derby and Preakness and looks poised to win the Triple Crown… This has become one of the hardest trophies in sports to obtain and I think it has allot to do with the size of the Kentucky Derby Field… Greedy Churchill Downs should cut the field to 15 horses and get rid of the five that have no chance in the race but they will not do that because of financial implications… There have been some recent chances for a triple with Smarty Jones, Charismatic, Real Quiet and War Emblem but each failed in the 1.5 mile Belmont which also shakes out the pretenders… This sets up for a historic win and I for one and pulling hard for this horse…

- Charles Barkley had to pay a casino/strip club about $400,000 to settle a gambling marker… Charles stated he was done with gambling… I like Charles but he has set himself up for another news story when he gambles again in public which I predict to be really soon if not already…
- The Lakers and the Celtics are back in the NBA Finals… I am hoping to get to watch some of these games but the late start times are just killer… I only watched one full playoff game and many parts of others… The only reason I saw a full game was because I was out that night with some buddies from LA who wanted to watch the game… I really like the way Rajon Rondo is playing for the Celtics… With his improved shot, his defense and ability to distribute the ball I think he has answered the call nicely for the Celtics… The early knock on the Celtics was inexperience at the point which I think at this point is not an issue… Glad to see T Prince play well again for the Pistons… Look for him to be in LA before it is all said and done…
- Redbirds are hanging tough with the Cubs… Puljos is having a monster year and he is getting some help from the entire supporting cast around him… If their pitching can hold out then they have a chance although I predict they will finish second and out of the playoffs which to me is an amazing coaching job by Larussa… Cubs fan at work writes the number of games on my board each day that St Louis is behind…
- Red Wings won another Stanley Cup… If you have not watched Hockey in HD then you need to do that… It changes the game so much for the viewer… I am an HD snob now…
- Phil Mickelson will win the US Open…
- “Spygate” probably needs some more attention… It is part of the game to try and steal the other team’s signs in the field of play by coaches or players… It is another to do it electronically by using film or some other means… Maybe Charlie Weiss is not such a great offensive mind because apparently his offenses in New England made some significant adjustments at half time… When “The Giants Win the Pennant” moment occurred rumor is the Giants had someone in the centerfield scoreboard relaying the pitch calls to the dugout and the dugout to the batters in the box via a telephone line and binoculars… Filming or positioning someone in an area of a stadium for the sole purpose of stealing signs goes from gamesmanship to pure cheating…
- I am not sure if I am supposed to use the term Ryder Cup in my Blogs… None of the golf stores in Louisville
are allowed to sale anything that says, Ryder Cup on it so they are selling items that just simply say, “The Cup”… I am still working on and hoping to find some tickets to the event…
- I am not happy that Derrick Jasper left UK… I am hearing he wanted the opportunity to red shirt next year so he can get his knee healthy and Billy G said no… I do not blame the kid of leaving whether it is this reason of in fact he is homesick… I do believe this could be a “major” impact on next year’s team…
- UK and U of L made respectable showings again this year in baseball… The question now is can each team hold on to their coaches…
- Got a nice flash back a few weeks ago and got to play Willingham’s miniature golf in Henderson… It was a place I spent allot of time at as a child… It is nothing like it used to be but it will still fun to play it one more time… Probably will not be open long so give it shot soon if you are in Hendo…
- I heard a quote the other day that intrigued me… If Ted Williams took a pitch then the umpire would assume it was ball because Ted Williams would not take a strike…
- Congrats to the team Rubbersoul who won the first half of my Fantasy Golf League called “The Scuffletown Country Club…”

Kenny Perry

I have ridden Kenny like a rented mule in my fantasy golf league as has most everyone else recently… Kenny has really played well and I like that he is so focused because he wants to make the Ryder Cup Team… I do however completely disagree with him for not playing in the US Open but I understand his logic…

He would have to play in a US Open qualifier this week (36 holes in one day) vs. going to Memphis and prepare for this weeks tournament… Why is the number 9 all time money winners, fourth this year in Fed Ex Cup standings, fifth on the money list and in the top ten for Ryder Cup not already qualified for the US Open??? To quote John McEnroe, “Are you serious!!!”

It is the US Open Kenny!!! Win the thing and you are guaranteed a Ryder Cup… If he does not qualify for the Ryder Cup Team outright then I think his avoidance of the US Open will cost him a spot at being Captains pick… Why not skip the St Jude and get ready for the Open… Kenny does not like playing the British either so we will see what happens there…

Top Fives

I was talking to my cousin Chet about some items that we have in our top fives and I thought that would be a fun topic for discussion in future blogs… We discussed food in one of our takes and he also told me about a CD some guys made where each picked their favorite tear jerking song…
This week I am going with what I think are the five greatest home runs in MLB history… Here are my five:

1. Ruth’s called shot against the Cubs in the World Series at Wrigley Field… Since ESPN uncovered film footage to support this long told story this one tops the list for me…
2. Bobby Thompson’s home run to beat the Brooklyn in the deciding game three of the three game playoff for the NL crown… “The Giants, Win the Pennant, The Giants win the Pennant!!!”
3. Bill Mazeroski’s game seven home run to beat the mighty Yankees at Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field… There are
three really cool photos of that event or that day… One is a picture with the ball about half way to home plate which gets a great view of the scene and the players involved right before the hit… The next is of Yogi Berra with his back to the camera as the ball goes over the fence and the third is of people on top of a tall building looking into the stadium during the game…
4. Hank Aarons 715th career home run… Was a great moment for a little kid to watch…
5. Carlton Fisk’s extra inning home run to beat the Red’s in Fenway and send the series to a game seven… This is where Fisk is waving the ball fair and it hits the foul pole for the home run…

One other top five I thought about involves Music… Top five albums that people who like the music that I like to listen to probably have not heard:

1. The Clash, Sandinista… I had never listened to this one before until Flea from the Chili Peppers recommended it on a show I was watching… It has not left my CD player in a week…
2. Cake, Prolonging the Magic… Any Cake album is great but this one is my favorite…
3. Portishead, Live in New York… The music is great and the singer has a very distinct and dreamy voice…
4. Let’s Active… Self Titled… Guy plays all the instruments on this album…
5. Swimming Pool Q’s… Self Titled… Sting said at one time this was his favorite band…

Music

Went to see Elvis Costello a few weeks ago and it was excellent… I really like new bands Vampire Weekend and MGMT… MGMT sounds allot like Moby if you know who Moby is… The lyrics to MGMT songs are out there… The Clash Sandinista is a great record that I am listening to and I still am loving Kings of Leon… Sam Gibbs has informed me that Leon was Jesus middle name…

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Random Ramblings

by Shag
John Daly


Poor John… Everybody is out to get John… He has no responsibility for his actions… He does not have a drinking problem because he only drinks beer… Same John who has no interest in practicing or putting in the time in to get better… John is trying to make it on talent alone… That works for a while…

When Daly burst on to the scene at Crooked Stick in the PGA is was quite a story… Young Man (with a mullet) who was an alternate for the tournament, got in at the last minute, does not have a caddie so he picks up Squigge (Payne Stewarts old caddie who is also now deceased), goes out and wins the PGA… My guess is John put allot of time into practice back then…

John goes into a downward spiral, gets divorced, battles some personal issues and then validates his PGA win by winning the British Open at the Old Course… I am willing to bet that John was putting allot of time into practicing back then also…

You can make it on talent alone for a period of time any professional Sport but if you do not take care of yourself or your body then you will break down allot faster then those who do… Compare John to guys like Joe Namath, Mickey Mantle, Billy Martin, Babe Ruth, Ray Floyd (he admitted a few years ago that he could have been much better had his priorities been golf vs. partying), Shawn Kemp, Steve Howe, Dwight Gooden and Daryl Strawberry just to name a few… Much like in life you can get away with making bad decisions for quite some time but if you continue to make bad decisions then at some point in your late 30’s and early 40’s your life will suffer the consequences…

Daly needs to get his ass in shape, lose weight, work on his mental items and then dedicate himself to the game of golf… Hanging out in the Hooters tent, signing girl’s asses, taking pictures with fans while flipping the bird at the camera, etc, etc is never gong to cut it…

John did make a nice move over the weekend by contacting the guys he was supposed to play in the Pro Am with from Arnie’s tournament and then taking them out to play… My guess is that JD is a great guy until you insert alcohol and his dependence on Alcohol gets in the way of the things he needs to be doing to improve his life which is what the disease of addiction does do people…

NFL Combine

I watched allot of the NFL combine that was held in Indy a couple of weeks back (Actually my wife started watching it first)… It was very interesting to see how the players are evaluated and get some general ideas of why some of the decisions are made about players… Very few players hurt themselves at this event but several players improve their position in the draft with their results…

Jacob Tamme from Kentucky did very well with the tight ends group… He had a nice 40 yard dash time and performed very well in the pass catching drills... The analyst all thought he improved his status with his workouts… Kennon Burton also got some positive buzz due to his speed and versatility… He also performed well in the pass catching drills… Nothing was mentioned of Little but he was there… U of L’s tight end Bainbridge showed will also…

Andre Woodosn is now projected to be the fifth QB taken in the draft… The knock on him is decision making which I find odd for a guy who threw 329 passes in a row without an interception (Live arm, decision making questionable)… The fact that he put up the numbers he did two years in a row against SEC safeties and Corners (allot of who will play in the NFL) makes me believe he can play in the League in the right situation… One of the guys also knocked him down because on some of the clips they showed of him he was throwing to wide open receivers and the comment was anyone can do that…

I saw Woodson play almost every game for three years and he developed some nice touch and threw the deep ball well… UK’s general offensive strategy was not geared toward the deep ball but over the years he made some nice middle of the field throws to the tight ends and wideouts and his touch on some of the end zone routes to Johnson, Burton and Lyons was pretty good… Woodson no doubt needs to work on pocket presence but that is something I think he can be taught… He got some bad knocks on his Senior Bowl performance but when I watched a replay of the game he got sacked for a safety when a lineman and running back completely missed their blocks (the play reminded me of the first offensive play of the Super Bowl where Brady never knew what hit him)…

Allot of the combine is 40 yard dash, broad jump and vertical leap which are all things that Brooksy has implemented as important attributes he wants his players to work on so there is a method to the madness…

They showed the Colts new stadium project during the work outs and it looks like it will be an awesome place… I am not sure if it will be set for basketball also but you would think that it would… The sightlines look good for both sports!!!

Honda Classic

This year’s event was the best field they have had since the tournament was called the Jackie Gleason in the seventies… The field was a mixture of some young talent, a nice grouping of veteran players and a strong international field (although regulars Vijay Singh and Padrig Harrington were missing from the field due to the Johnnie Walker Championship on the Euro tour)… Next years filed will top this years since the event is the week before Doral (there is not a tournament at Doral this year) and the week after match play… The prevailing thought is more of the top World Players will play the Honda since they will not go home after match play and before Doral… Could they also woo Tiger??? Not until his house is completed on Jupiter Island…

We made it out on Saturday early and watched a few tee shots on number one tee and some of the practice on the range and around the green… The preparation methods for each player seems to vary but most do allot of stretching in the fitness trailer before hitting a variety of clubs on the range (always starting with wedge shots) making there way to the driver… They then hit bunker and chip shots and finish off with some putting… I follow the same routine when I can but I like to hit five shots with the club I am going to use off of the first tee right before going to the tee…

We spent most of time in the Bear Trap on 17 tee and 16 green Saturday… Bear Trap is VIP areas where you can get beer and mixed drinks and they have there own food area… The organizers appear to be trying to make this area in the raucous area like the tournament hole for in Scottsdale… It gets pretty out of hand there late in the day…

Seventeen is tough, tough hole with no bale out… Long is in the trap or an impossible chip shot, short is dead and 90% of the time short goes in the water and there is no bale out left… On the green or dead!!! I would aim for the back trap and take my chances so if I am short I am good… Most of the pros we watched both days attacked the pin and we saw allot of balls in the water…

We exited 17 long before the rowdiness started and me and my buddie Coops son Levi made our way to 18 to watch everyone finish… Little Levi found us a VIP sport where a child accompanied by an adult can sit and watch from the back left corner of the green… There were eight seats in this section so we took two for the remainder of the day…

Eighteen is 604 yard par four with a very narrow fairway (three shot hole all the way) with a narrow front green area, wide in the middle and at the end… Water and sand to the right and sand guarding the left side… You would think even at this link that as deadly as the pros are from 100 yards you would see allot of birdies and we saw very few on Saturday… Most players hit left of the pin and then misread the green to break back to the left when it actually was straight or a little right… Kind of hard to believe but we witnessed multiple players miss very make able birdie putts for this reason…

The entire course is beautiful and appears to be very playable… It is a long track with allot of sand and water and has some very tight driving holes… With all of these elements and the early March wind the course does however play very tough…

The winning score by Ernie Els was six under which is a major championship type of score… The shootout on Sunday was a must see on TV… I love being there but my only complaint is you do not get to see all of the action (unless you are in a VIP area with TV’s) when you are out on the course… I prefer to sit on eighteen and watch all the groups come in but I think next year on Sunday I am going to spend the entire day at the Bear Trap so I can watch the drama unfold of 16 and 17 but see the other action on the course… Plus they make some tasty Margaritas at the Bear Trap…

At the end of the tournament seven year old Levi Cooper and forty six year old Dan Ready were running up and down getting autographs from the players and Ready even asked Jimmy Roberts for his autograph and for some reason he signed… It was also funny to watch the Golf Channel team give their rundown (The bald guy who gives the insight in the end) in his coat, shirt and tie with shorts…

Where Do These People Come From

During Saturday’s round at the Honda I was standing beside some people midway up the number nine fairway… Turned out they were from Louisville originally but had retired to Florida… We talked about golf courses in Louisville, restraints, schools, people, etc…

They were big U of L fans and told them their team was looking good and I thought had a chance to make a run in the tournament… I told them I was a UK fan and they complemented me on how well UK was playing… At that point I told them we had lost a key player and that pretty much was going to be the end of our season (turns out it is not) and they stated how sad they were to hear that…

Standing beside them were two gentlemen and at that point of the conversation one of them jumped in and informed me good, Kentucky got what they deserved because they ran Tubby Smith off… I politely informed them that despite what the National Media reported nobody ran Tubby Smith off and he left on his own… I also informed them that people, including myself, were frustrated with the lack of success in the program the last few years but that most people I know had allot of respect for Coach Smith and were sad to see him go…

The response I got was that was “bullshit”… We ran him off because he was black and that Kentucky would never hire another black coach… After a long pause I asked this question back… If that is the case then how come the University of Kentucky is the only Division One Football Team to have an African American Offensive Coordinator and an African American Defensive Coordinator and if Kentucky was so against blacks then why was our offensive coordinator just named the successor to the current head coach when he retires in a few years??? The response I got was, “Well, that is different”…


Go Cats

The worst thing that could happen to this team is another injury… The injury to Patterson is just a back breaker for any possible run in the tournaments (NCAA and SEC)…

Without Patterson winning the last two games is going to be a tough task (they proved me wrong and won one)… Kentucky needs to win their final two games (they did) to get in the tournament…

At this point you have to ask would the team be better off getting an NIT bid and then making a run in that tournament (something that is possible) and getting experience for it’s young players vs. making the NCAA and losing in the first or second round (probably was a better thing since they are now sitting at home)… My vote now was go to the NIT and start building for next year by making a run or winning the NIT…

With a healthy Patterson in the end and Meeks all this team could have easily won the SEC this year… Although I did not see the game against the orange team from down south Kentucky held their own in a game that will pretty much decide the SEC Championship (it did)… Kentucky was motivated and stepped up big in this game but a loss is a loss…

I was at the Florida game and this was as good a crowd as I have seen as far as how loud they were and the fact that most people stayed until the end of the game… It was great to see Joe Crawford and Bradley get a nice send off from the fans especially since these guys were not real popular last year and the start of this year…

Looks like Bradley is first team all SEC, Patterson and Crawford second team and Bradley is first team all defense… Billy G tied Bruce Pearl and they are co coaches of the year…

I have no issues with an NIT bid but I would love to see this team make a run and win the SEC tournament (did not happen)…

With Patterson out the experience that Stevenson is getting is great… Next years projected starting five of Jasper, Meeks, Harris, Stevenson and Patterson looks to be a formidable line up… With Stewart and Porter off the bench and one or two freshmen making a contribution next year is setting up to be a nice year…

SEC Tourney

The situation during Friday nights games at the Georgia Dome were pretty incredible The SEC did a risky thing in my opinion by finishing the Bama and Ole Miss game but made the right call in not playing the next game…

I thought the SEC did a great job and made the right decision by not allowing many fans into the borrowed arena and it will be interesting to now see if they will refund the tickets for Saturday and Sunday sessions… They should, but who knows…

I thought that Georgia was a bad match up for Kentucky no matter when the game was played because it is hard to beat any team three times during the same season… Georgia plays a solid and aggressive defensive style and they have some good players but they are just short on the bench…

That aside how Georgia was able to win two games in one day and then come back and win the SEC Tourney title on Sunday is beyond me…

As for the game against UK I thought that UK should have won the game in regulation and I thought Bradley got a great look but just did not make the shot (despite is poor shooting throughout the game he had made three of his last four shots prior to that miss and he is the guy you want with the ball in that situation)… I believe Smooth should have drove inside because he had a clear path to the basket and possibly drew some contact or make a shot inside… Ramon Harris tried to cheat off the shooter in the OT and the guy made an unbelievable shot to win the game which should be a lesson for Ramon…

I was glad to see Johnny P defeat the orange team from down south and I think the orange team from down south will lose in their second or third game in the NCAA Tourney… Great job to Johnny P in his first year at Arkansas…

UK is one or two and done in the tournament… My final four is UCLA, UNC, Texas and Kansas with UCLA defeating UNC for the championship…

NCAA Capsule

The first weekend of the tournament was exciting… There were some great individual performances including Joe Crawford’s outstanding game… Western had a great game with Drake and the Kentucky vs. Marquette game was one of the best played basketball games on defense by two teams I have seen in some time…

There were some great upset wins by WKU, Nova, Davidson, Xavier, Siena and WVU…

Louisville had an impressive win as did UNC and UCLA was able to win ugly in its second round game which is something it will take to win the championship… Memphis won ugly against Mississippi State also which was something I thought they might not be able to do… Biggest disappointment of the tournament, besides CBS crappy coverage, by far for me was Vandy…

I still like UNC, Kansas and UCLA (Bruins are banged up) for the final four and one of those three will be your winner…


More on Adolph Rupp

I was listening to Dennis Miller Show the other day and out of the blue he begins bashing Adolph and was so off base that I am going to by the video mentioned below and send it to him…

I watched the documentary “Adolph Rupp, Myth, Legend, Fact” that Dick Gabriel did a couple of years ago… It is interviews of Rupps assistant coaches, former players, African American players he did and did not recruit along with interviews of sportswriters who knew Rupp, Rupps son Herky and Rupp himself… Also included are actual letters that Rupp and the UK administration received from the other SEC schools when they started openly recruiting these players in the early 60’s… Pretty amazing stuff to see and here how people felt and how agitated and crazy they were on this topic…

If you have not seen this documentary you should watch the program (KET is currently running it)… It really sheds light on who and what Rupp was, what he represented and why he would not encourage the University to leave the SEC in order to recruit African American players although that was something he wanted the University to do (a move that I am glad UK did not make is leaving the SEC)…

- One of the Myths that were discussed during this documentary was a story that I had heard told many times before and believed it was true as I heard the story told… During the 1964 state championship game Wes Unseld was booed heavily by those in attendance and the story that I have heard told was because he was African American… His Louisville Seneca team’s opponent in that final was Breckenridge County which started three African American Players who were not booed when they were introduced… The reason that Unseld was booed is the same reason that any Louisville team is booed at the state tournament… The rest of the state does not like the Louisville Teams…

- Butch Beard who was on the Breckenridge County Team (Frank Deford actually did an article in 1965 SI magazine talking about Kentucky’s recruitment of Butch Beard and what a turning point this was going to be for African American’s in the south) and Butch would have gone to UK but an honest Adolph Rupp told Butch’s parents the truth when they asked him could he guarantee their sons safety when traveling to away games in the deep South…. No, he could not… The all white Kentucky teams were already the most hated team in the SEC and encountered a multitude of unfortunate events that were discussed in the documentary and Rupp was extremely concerned about the welfare of a kid who was willing to take this chance (they used to pull the hairs out of Cotton Nash’s legs when he took the ball out of bounds)…

- Rupp worked closely with Kentucky Native and former baseball commissioner Happy Chandler who allowed Branch Rickey to sign and start playing Jackie Robinson for the Dodgers and with Mr. Rickey himself seeking their advice on how to integrate UK athletics and the SEC… They advised Rupp to find someone who fit Robinson character of talent, toughness and demeanor along with being a good student which would make the transition easier… Rupp was looking for too perfect a candidate and this delayed the integration of UK…

- SI’s senior writer Frank Deford refuses to even comment on the game in 1966 now because of how both sides of the issue have been so misrepresented in later years…

- Several of the African American players were disappointed that Rupp did not make more of an effort to visit them, which was true, but Rupp did that with all recruits (he rarely made in home visits according to staff and players)…

- Rupp was willing to leave the SEC in order to integrate the Sports Teams at UK but never encouraged the administration to make such a move because he thought it would hurt the other sports programs (mainly football)…

- Rupp had a huge ego and always thought his way was the right way, which is probably why he is so misunderstood… I do not know many coaches who do not have a big ego but to be successful they need this type of mentality…

- Without Adolph Rupp there would have not been a children’s hospital in Lexington… He was very active in fundraising, etc… for the Hospital…

Rupp no doubt could have done more to integrate UK and the SEC but history has been rewritten to make it look like he was a racist and was the main driver against integrating the SEC and that is simply not true… The documentary really opened my eyes to actually what was going on vs. what people interpreted was going on years later… The main drivers for non integration of the SEC were the schools in the Deep South (Ole Miss, Miss State, LSU, Tennessee, Bama, Auburn and Georgia) and not Kentucky… This is again why Kentucky got to go to five NCAA tournaments as the conference runner up since the champions refused the invites…


Random


- I took my “cupcake” team on PS2 2003 football and went 8 and 4 in the first year (played in the Gator Bowl) and then in year two undefeated and made the NCAA Championship game against FSU… The season games were all close ones and I won two games on the last play of the game… The championship was a 55 to 45 barn burner in favor of my squad (Barrett State Flash)… I am going to play one more season on 2003 and then move on to 2005 version (you can create your own play book in this version)… DO NOT starts playing these games as they are the most addictive thing I have encountered in my life (even more then golf)… Much like the WII (wee) addiction that is circling the globe…

- Jack Givens exclusion on the ESPN countdown of greatest college players is a slap in the face to UK… Givens career stats include 2038 points (15.4 avg), 6 rebound per game, 2 assists, 80% career Free Throw Shooter and 51.5% from the field … Givens played in two final fours including two NCAA Championship Games… He averaged 24 points, 8.5 rebound and 2 assists per game in four final four games and lead UK to the Championship in 1978 scoring 41 points in the final… Givens was all tournaments team twice (once MVP) and also lead UK to the 1976 NIT Title when the tournament was only a slight second fiddle to the NCAA tourney (Only 32 teams got in the NCAA back then)… Givens was a first team All American at UK in 1977 and 1978 and was First Team All SEC three straight years…

- Roger Clemons appears to be in a ton of shit… It appears he may have lied to congress and that he not Andy Pettite misremembered some events from the past… I find it amusing that the sports ticker on ESPN now includes a category called Clemons (or it did for a couple of weeks)… Roger threw his wife under the bus also (the story is she was letting the trainer inject her with HGH in the rear in their bedroom)… Does not appear to me that Barry Bonds can claim he was singled out now…

- Saw the Red Sox and Marlins play a Spring Training Game… Red Sox nation was representing BIG… The place was sold out and they were scalping tickets for triple the face value… Me and Dan Ready got in for free (Standing Room Only) and were up close for the craziness… If I were not St Louis fan then I would probably get on the Red Sox bandwagon… There was a group of guys who had Youkalis collectively spelled out on their chest and “Youk” acknowledged them during warm ups and they went nuts…

- I do not see much happening for my beloved St Louis Cardinals this year… The pitching is going to be “not very good” and that will do them in when all is said and done… My pick is the Tigers to win it all…

- Bobby Knight as a member of the media… Pretty interesting… They asked him whether the three point line should stay where it is, move to international or the NBA range and he replied, “The locker room, I do not think the shot belongs in college basketball…

- IU will have a tough time finding a coach due to all the issues they have in Bloomington with facilities… Dakich is out and I do not think that Bruce Pearl will go there… I do not think that Jay Wright or Jamie Dixon will leave there schools and IU needs a young proven head coach…

- Tiger Woods is kind of under the radar with seven wins in a row… Some people think that golfers are not athletes but this one is and he is one of the best athletes ever period!!!

- Spring football starts in about a week…


Music

My antenna for my XM snapped in half and I have not purchased a new one yet so XM is down (ugh)… The latest episode of Live at Abbey Road is on and I caught the Snow Patrol portion and the Chili Peppers are on the same show… I am really liking the band Spoon right now… My wife and I are going to see Elvis Costello next month which should be a great concert…

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Boy Named “Sue”


Sports Illustrated does a weekly by line called “Sign of the Apocolypse” each week where they pick out some crazy statement or event in the world of sports… I have the sign for this week…


In last Fridays New York Times there was an article in the Sports section where a lawyer in St Louis, on behalf of a group of fans, has filed a lawsuit against Bill Belicheck and the New England Patriots for emotional distress caused by the Rams loss in the 2002 Super Bowl with a direct link to the rumor (not been proven yet) that the New England Patriots video taped a St Louis Rams walk through before the game… The suit claims emotional distress caused by the Rams loss and Beleichek and the Patriots gaining an unfair advantage in the game due to the taping…

If this occurred then for sure the Patriots gained an unfair advantage but did they cause emotional distress that warrants a million dollar lawsuit??? You can watch 20 game films of a team multiple times before the game… How could any lawyer or people in their right mind file such a lawsuit??? What is wrong with society that people would claim such emotional distress over a football game??? Hello, it is a football game!!!
I think I will contact my attorney this week and file suits for all of the following:
  • The PGA of America for causing me emotional distress for not getting Ryder Cup tickets for later this year…
  • Rick Pitino for not putting a man guarding the inbound passer against Duke in 92…
    Don Denkinger for the blown call that led to the St Louis Cardinals implosion and losing the World Series against the Royals in 1985…
  • The entire UK basketball team from 1984 for going 3 for 33 from the field against Georgetown in the second half of the National Semi Final…
  • Bill Buckner for letting the ball roll through his legs in the 1986 World Series…
  • Jack Clark for getting hurt at the end of the year in 1987 and not being able to play in the 1987 World Series thus costing the Redbirds a chance to win the World Series…
  • Tubby Smith for his last three seasons as coach of the UK basketball team…
  • Hal Mumme for the mess he got UK football in during his tenure…
  • CM Newton for hiring Hal Mumme
  • Rick Pitino a second time for taking the U of L coaching job…
  • Rick Pitino a third time for not putting Derrick Anderson in during the OT vs Arizona in the 1997 Championship Game…
  • Billy Gillespie for his team’s performance against Vandy
  • Rich Brooks for losing to Mississippi State and South Carolina costing UK a chance at the Peach Bowl or the Outback Bowl…

These all caused me huge amounts of emotional distress so why not file a lawsuit and effort to gain financially…

Roger Clemons, Take It to the Grave

Now that Andy Pettite has come out and said that he was not completely forthcoming with the truth and it now appears that Brian McNamee’s story has been validated by Pettie, Roger Clemons wife and former Yankee Chuck Knoblach things are not looking good for Pete Rose, I mean Roger Clemons…


Roger is too deep to ever admit now that he took performance enhancing drugs (whether he did them or not) and either he believes there is no way that anyone can ever prove he did them or he never did them… No matter what there is enough doubt out there now that he will be forever tainted… The question remains will he be tainted like McGwire and Bonds or will the Sportswriters take it easy on him and vote him into the hall... If Roger would have retired when he said he was going to the first time then he would be inducted into the Hall of Fame two years ago and now he may never get in…

You can take it to the grave if you believe you can never be found out and again Roger either did not take steroids or he believes there is no way it could ever be proven…

I am about to reveal a story that will now not be taken to the grave… I would like to say sorry to my Mom before I get started this was not normal behavior for me then and not even close now…

In 1981 during my junior year of high school the Henderson County Boys Basketball team was playing Daviess County… Daviess County was lead by a great athlete name John Worth who played basketball for a year at the University of Evansville and then finished up at Kentucky Wesylan University…

John Worth had almost single handily beaten the Henderson County Football Team the during the 1980-81 season… He was as good a football player (quarterback) as he was a basketball player but he had a really foul mouth on him and was a very cocky individual… During the game he taunted the Henderson players and had even directed some racial slurs at the Henderson Team… It was actually so bad that the Daviess County coach brought John Worth to a Henderson County practice the next week so he could personally apologize to the team… Nice try John but no one forgot what happened…

Fast Forward to the spring of 1981 to Colonel Gym where I and my comrades had been out before the game in “The Van” partaking in some whiskey drinking (I am not proud of this but this is what we did)… We were extremely fired up when we got to the game and promptly plopped down on the Daviess County side of the gym… We started letting John Worth have it… We called him every name imaginable and our behavior towards him and the Daviess County fans was appalling… I am not proud of this but that is what we did… How we were not removed from the gym is beyond me…

We knew however that we were on the edge of getting in big trouble with our Principal so we concocted a story that we were not drinking but actually had been eating candy that was liquor flavored (they actually used to sale this candy)… We even went out and purchased some of the candy that night preparing for the next day…

Since we knew it was our story against the principal’s story the only way we would get in trouble was if someone caved under questioning… The next day at school one by one we were escorted to the office and one by one we told the same story that we were just getting back at him for he (Worth) had done to us on the football field and that we were not drinking but eating the liquored favored candy…

No one caved and when it was all said and done the principal called us all back in and told us that he knew we were not telling the truth but there was nothing he could do since we all stuck to our story… He knew we were not being truthful but there was no way he could prove otherwise so we “took it to the grave”… Again, I am not proud of this but this is what we did…

Could Roger Clemons be using the same logic we did??? Time will tell…


UK Basketball

Despite what the pundits are saying Kentucky is in a position to make the tournament… If they can go 4 and 1 in the next five games and finish second in the SEC (12-4) then they should be in (18 and 11)… If they go 3 and 2 in the next five (17 and 12), finish second or third in the SEC (11-5) and win one game in the SEC then they are in… If either one of these scenarios occurs and UK does not get in then the selection process is flawed (it is flawed anyway)… They should not go far but they could make it to the sweet 16 if everything fell into place (they would certainly be a team nobody would want to play in round one)…


The early losses to Gardner Webb, San Diego and UAB are worse losses then the debacle at Vandy and are the reason this team will not win 20 games this year… This team is capable of winning all five for their remaining games but they could also go 2 and 3 in the last five, finish 16 and 13 and they are out unless the win the SEC Tourney or make the championship game…

The Georgia game was a game this team let the opportunity for a blowout get away… UK should have pounded this team as they did early in the game but they let UGA get back in late and had to gut it out… UK is so up and down, who knows at this point… Georgia is not a bad team and had a great chance to beat the orange team from down south last Saturday but they jacked up some late threes when they only needed twos…

They better be ready this Saturday for 40 minutes of PELL (John Pelphrey)!!! I will be in attendance for the first time since early December so I hope I bring them a victory!!!


Random

- Kentucky is 7 and 1 in their last eight games and 2 and 0 in their last two compared to Duke who is 5 and 2 and 0 and 2…

- Billy G continues to take some hits on his substitution patterns and playing time for his team… I have to admit it does not make allot of sense to me either… All I can say is I cannot wait until next year to see how this team performs under Billy G’s year two pattern…

- Billy G dismissed a walk on player this week the team called “Ollie” (last name Mills) and it appears he gave no explanation as to why… I am not sure if the media has asked him or if he would give an answer… The kid claimed it was a profanity-laced dismissal, which Billy G denies…

- The Jodie Meeks Mystery continues…

- Tiger disposed of Kentucky’s JB Holmes in match play after JB was up three with five holes to play… Tiger again proved why he is the best player in the world and probably best player ever…

- If it can be proven that Kelvin Sampson lied to the University or to the NCAA then he should be terminated because his integrity is an issue… If he just broke the rules again but has told the truth then he should be suspended and brought back under the infamous IU “Zero Tolerance” policy… The only comparison I can make is if I did something wrong at work and then lied about it I would be fired for integrity issues…

- Why are people not watching the NBA??? There is the thug perception but the NFL is full of thugs and people are still watching… I say the reason is the game is just not the type of basketball people want to see… I think that if the NBA followed the international rulebook the fan interest would sky rocket… They could also shorten the season by about 10 to 15 games (baseball also needs a shorter season)… At the end of the day the NBA (except for the Semi finals and the Championship) is just not very watch able… I did watch part of Shaq’s debut with the Suns against the Lakers

- I just do not watch as much NCAA basketball as I used to… If Kentucky is not playing I find myself not watching (I did watch IU and Purdue and Notre Dame Pitt this week)… There was a time in my life I would have watched Radford play Warford and been entertained… College football and PS2 (I am getting ready to finally graduate to College football 2005) has just taken over for me… Last night while I was exercising I watched Grand Valley State and Albany State play football (it was a replay on the NFL Network)…

- Next week I leave for Florida for my annual trip to the PGA’s Honda Classic (not buying tickets)… I am going to the tournament on Saturday and Sunday… Monday I am going to hang out for some Spring Training Baseball… Will probably go around the backfields and watch the action since the Redbirds are on the road that day…
- My sister Jayne sent me a text in the middle of a meeting yesterday to tell me that Dieter from the Saturday Night Live skit "Sprockets" just got on her train (she is in Germany)... When our meeting was over the people who knew the skit "danced like it was time we dance on Sprockets..." If you do not know the skit then I am sorry because it was funny as hell when we danced...

Music

The new Eddie Vedder CD is a good one and I have been listening to it more and more… There is a new music program I have found called Live at Abbey Road on IFC where groups go to the Abbey Road Studios and perform… So far I have caught The Killers and Gnarls Barkley on this program… I played guitar hero with Mark Pruitt and Billy Haynes a few weeks back and man did we suck (we were booed off the stage on almost every song)… You can get good at it with allot of practice but it is not an easy game to play (the drums are impossible)…