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…