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…