Sunday, June 17, 2018

2018 U. S. Open

First off, all hail Brooks Koepka, the winner of the 2018 U.S. Open. To boot, he's a back-to-back champ. The first time that's been done since Curtis Strange pulled it off way back in 1989-90. Yessirree, that muscle-bound, handsome rascal from Florida came out on top again. It would appear Koepka is a bit like Sara Lee, she of the tasty desserts. Nobody doesn't like Brooks either. And a couple million bucks for four days work isn't too shabby.

But there were certainly some very weird happenings along the way as well. Consider the list of world class golfers that didn't even make the cut at Shinnecock Hills. Familiar names abound.

Jordan Spieth
Jason Day
Rory McIlroy
Bubba Watson
Adam Scott
Sergio Garcia
Jon Rahm
Martin Kaymer
Ernie Els
Matt Kuchar

And Rickey Fowler. Though nobody's much mentioned it, Saturday seems to have become Ricky's doomsday in a lot of tournaments. He'll typically play well on Thursday and Friday. Sometimes lights out on Sunday. But he has this nasty habit of blowing up on Saturdays. This year at the Open? Try an 84, a whopping 14 over par.

Phil Mickelson did something even stranger. Lefty has long been considered a paragon of virtue. The ultimate professional. Class supreme and all that. True, he gets the yips once in a while when it comes to makeable putts, but he's kinda like Sara Lee as well. How can one NOT like this guy?

Yet there he was, in full buffoon mode, whacking at a still moving ball on a putting green. Evidently, he'd lost it. Not cool, nor even remotely professional. Trying to explain it away later, saying he knew about the 2 stroke penalty, but was willing to take it anyway, only made him look worse.

However, perhaps there's a logical explanation for him "snapping". His playing partner at the time. One Andrew Johnson.

This is one ugly dude. How ugly? That smile of his could....

Make the dimples on a golf ball disappear.
Stop bird poop in mid-air.
Cure Trump (and every other politician) of ever telling another lie.
Make Anderson, Ellen, and Rachel go straight.

Now THAT'S some serious ugly going on.

Looking at that all day while playing golf would be just about enough to drive anybody bat-$hit bonkers.

The most amazing story came from one Tommy Fleetwood. In the final round of the Open, on a still ridiculously tough course, TF fired an unbelievable 63, tying the lowest final round ever in the event. Move over Johnny Miller. For that, he wound up in sole possession of second place, and a cool million and change. Did I mention Sara Lee?

All in all, a very entertaining golf tournament, though the USGA and Shinnecock folks have deservedly caught some major flak over how the course was set up. Sure, an Open is supposed to be difficult. But not ridiculous, with balls hit 10-15 feet from the flag rolling 20-30 yards OFF the green or into a sand trap. It's a wonder a few more guys didn't snap like Phil.

But at the end of the day, Brooks Koepka had managed to dispatch all others, for a repeat as U.S. Open champion.

Hail, hail indeed for a job well done.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Sports hits

Wow. That Shinnecock Hills golf course at the US Open is really tough. Who would have guessed Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, and Jordan Spieth world class linksters all, would all miss the cut?

I almost spit out my Mountain Dew when I saw the promo on TV. "From the mind of Kobe Bryant" is supposed to be can't miss viewing?

Get outta here.

That makes about as much sense as, say....

From the humble abode of Donald Trump, or

From the kitchen of Jeffrey Dahmer, or

Tips on marriage fidelity from Tiger Woods, or

101 ways to act like a classy lady, by Roseanne.

You get the drift.

Dang. Can it be?

Former sports agent supreme Lee Steinberg, the guy who once represented tons of high profile jocks, could get an audience with the President, and was reputedly worth hundreds of millions of dollars --- is now an ambulance chaser? Like that Sam guy and his kids? Oh my, how far the mighty sometimes fall indeed.

According to Sport Illustrated, tiny Iceland, with an entire population about the same as Peoria, is the favorite to win the soccer (futbol) World Cup?

Wouldn't that be something?

Count me in as rooting for them, but I still lean towards Mike Ditka's take on the sport in general. To wit -- "If God wanted us to play soccer, he wouldn't have given us arms". Touche.

And if not Iceland, I've got Italy #2, for no other reason than I really, REALLY like Italian food.

I wouldn't want to be in Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson's shoes. On the one hand, he has quarterback Carson Wentz, a recent top draft pick, that they expected to be the face of their franchise for many years. But when he got hurt last year, unheralded Nick Foles stepped in and led them to an improbable Super Bowl victory over the Brady bunch from New England.

So who's he going to designate the starter when the NFL kicks off in a few months?

Tough call.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Miguel Cabrera and utter lunacy

Just when Detroit Tiger fans probably thought things couldn't get any worse -- they did.

It was bad enough that, after a few years of being semi-contenders, the "brain trust", and I use that term very loosely, decided to get rid of whatever marketable talent they had. These days the Tigers look more like a Triple A team than Major Leaguers.

And now slugger, or at least former slugger, Miguel Cabrera is lost for the remainder of the season with a ruptured biceps tendon in his left arm. Simply by swinging a baseball bat.

But it gets worse. Much worse.

Cabrera is under contract through the 2023 season. Counting the rest of this one, let's call that five and a half years. The contract is also guaranteed money. Miggy gets the dough whether he's good, mediocre, terrible, or even not playing.

That figure is a whopping $154,000,000. Doing a little math, that averages out to roughly $76,000 a day, EVERY day for the next 5 1/2 years.

In other words, Cabrera will get paid more every day than the average school teacher, cop, plumber, electrician, accountant, etc., makes in an entire year. And likely twice as much as people in the service industry, mechanics, and whoever else comprises maybe 75% of the work force. People you depend on, even need to take care of one thing or another.

$76,000 a day. Every day. Most CEOs don't make anywhere near that.

This is utter lunacy.

Now that he's out -- again -- Cabrera will have only played 28 games in 2018. A guy who, even when healthy, had digressed to a .250 hitter, seldom hit a home run, racked up an RBI, was a mediocre fielder, and slower than molasses on the base paths. He's quickly gone from Triple Crown to Triple Clown. And an absurdly expensive one at that.

Do the math again. Twenty eight games equals out to maybe a million bucks a pop. For an over the hill player who's skills had already rapidly diminished.

And the Tigers are on the hook for another five and a half years at this mind-boggling salary? Whether he plays or not? And no matter how bad if he does?

Did I mention utter lunacy?

It's reminiscent of the $600 manually operated fastener impellers (hammers), and $800 swiveling insulated hygienic buffers  (toilet seats) the cost conscious folks at the Pentagon foisted on the American taxpayers a while back. Madness.

Want to know why it costs so much to go to a ball game these days?

And while on that subject, what gives with the slop they pass off as food at the concession stands? People have to pay six bucks for a leathery over-cooked hot dog they wouldn't feed to their neighbor's dog, let alone eat themselves. A draft beer that's probably worth about a quarter might run you ten bucks.

Nothing tastes like a ball park frank -- they say?

No doubt. Though I can't confirm it, I'd be willing to bet nothing tastes quite like bat dung either. And it's probably a lot cheaper and more nutritious.

There's a reason the Tigers couldn't unload Cabrera. Any sane Major League club isn't going to take on the outrageous salary of a washed up player that can't even stay healthy.

So now Cabrera, after getting an operation and that can maybe put him back together again, can kick back and do nothing -- while watching $76,000 a day pour into his bank account.

There's something really, REALLY wrong with this picture.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Lebron and the broken hand gambit

So Lebron James now claims to have suffered a broken hand after Game One of the Finals -- eh?

I find that extremely hard to believe.

Yours truly suffered a broken right hand many years ago, so I know what it feels like. Basically, it hurts like hell. My particular break was the bone from the wrist to the pinkie finger, and I'm no doctor, but even I could see the break on the X-rays.

So off to the bone doctor, a lady in this case, to get it set and casted. Here's a tip. If you're ever in that situation and they offer to give you a numbing shot before setting the bone -- take it. I passed on it just to get it over with. And if it hadn't been for the beefy guy holding me down on the table, I would have jumped off it when the doc got the bone lined up. Yes, it's...just...that... painful. Only for a few agonizing seconds and the pain then quickly subsides.

So OK, six weeks of wearing a cast with only the tips of my thumb and fingers protruding. How tough can it be -- right? Turned out, plenty.

Here's something you can try at home. Attempt to wipe your backside with your "other" hand when you're ready to get off the toilet and see how well that works. Or try to sign your name. It'll look like kindergarten doodling. Or try buttoning a shirt or blouse with one hand. Or fastening a belt. These are things that take a while to semi-master.

Here's another little test you can self-administer.  I was instructed to keep the cast dry. So stand in the shower with your right arm (hand) held over your head and try to wash your left armpit. Or shave your face (or legs) with your off hand. A lot of things get complicated in a hurry when you take one hand away, especially the dominant one.

Yet Lebron was able to play three more games with a broken hand?

He didn't appear to have any trouble dribbling, shooting, rebounding, slam-dunking, giving high fives, even doing push-ups. Good grief, he averaged almost 40 points and 10 rebounds a game.

I'm telling you from first hand, excuse the unintended pun, experience, you do not, repeat NOT do any of those things if you have a broken bone in your hand.

Just getting through the everyday minor tasks of life is difficult enough. See above.

And I wonder what the chances are that he would have came up with this story had he and the Cavaliers won the series instead of getting broomed?

So no. I'm not buying a word of it.

No way.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

And now it gets REALLY boring

The same thing happens every year. While the NFL and college football are center stage, nobody pays much attention to the NBA or NHL. But once the bazillion bowl games, some of which are ridiculous, are over, and the Super Bowl champ has been determined, hoops and hockey get more attention.

Then there's the dreaded March Madness, the ultimate hype of college basketball. Of the 64 -- or is it 68 teams these days? -- that get the coveted invite, typically less than a dozen, particularly on the ladies' side, have any chance of actually winning the tournament. It's cha-chings for the schools and various venues around the country that host the preliminaries.

The Masters golf tournament is a one time deal. So is the Indy 500. Hype, hype, hype, and then they're so quickly over.

Yes, there's probably tennis tournaments going on somewhere, and for sure soccer matches, but who cares? A bunch of grunting and/or shrieking females and teams of guys running miles back and forth across a field while seldom accomplishing anything worthwhile.

Interest perks up when the NHL and NBA playoffs finally get underway. For the most part the TV geniuses do a good job with the scheduling. It seems every night one or the other is featured, oftentimes double or triple headers. A sports junkie's (sometimes known as couch tater) nirvana. Beer, huge HD flat screen, loaded up pizza, KFC, more beer, or even some of that Chinese stuff in large quantities.

[Idle thoughts on that. Does anybody really know what "subgum", "suey", "gai kow", "gkun bo har", and "szechuan" are?  And who in the hell is General Tso, and what war did he fight in? I'd like to believe "foo young" is better than "foo old", but ya never know. Depends what a "foo" is. Probably the people that keep buying this slop. BTW, always beware of the dreaded "special". It might just be those squirrels, raccoons, opossums, skunks, and stray dogs and cats that tragically become "road kill" you see on occasion wind up in the kitchen of your favorite Chinese place. And why do they call them egg rolls when there aren't any eggs in them?]

But I'm getting a bit off-topic here. Sorry.

So now the NHL and NBA champions have been determined. The Washington Capitals -- quite a surprise -- and the Golden State Warriors -- which was expected.

True, the US Open of golf kicks off next week, and no doubt Tiger mania will be back in full delusional force. Eldrick's chances of winning a major these days? Almost non-existent against the formidable field of younger hot-shots that are out on tour. Forget that. I give him a 50-50 chance of even making the cut.

Tennis champs will be crowned in the French Open this weekend. Two words. Who cares?

And then the world of sports gets REALLY boring.

No more hoops. Hockey's done. Football is going through spring practices and OTAs, which I've long thought should stand for Overly Tedious Assemblies, or perhaps Only Touching Allowed. Older Teammates Absent or Oh-so Traditionally Asinine anyone?

And then it's -- yawn -- baseball. The long and grinding dog days of summer, in more ways than one.

Every day will feature a bunch of games on TV, screaming announcers that will invent some all-time " record" of one sort or another having just been set, and the "homers" shamelessly promoting their teams despite how terrible they really are.

None of it matters, of course. Major League Baseball doesn't begin to get interesting until September or so. By that time the nags in the field will have been exposed for how bad they are -- see 10-20 games back -- and the thoroughbreds will start slugging it out in earnest for a chance to get to the World Series.

In the meantime for the next couple months, and no, preseason games in the NFL don't count any more than early straw polls in any given major political contest, sports junkies like yours truly will become extremely frustrated with the lack of any decent "action".

I might even try some of that sweet and sour gai ding subgum curry lomein stuff with a side order of "pork eggs" just for kicks. Dang, I never knew pigs ever laid eggs.

The things you learn reading a Chinese menu.


Friday, June 8, 2018

Golden State Warriors. NBA champions

To the surprise of likely nobody, the Dubs finished off the sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers. In beat-down fashion.

It had to be disheartening for the Cavs fans in attendance. Lord knows, they probably had to skip a house payment or two for the dough required to buy tickets.

And you know something is horribly wrong when your (home) team pulls its biggest star (one Lebron James) with over four minutes left in the game. Did I mention beat-down?

Now it would appear as if only three questions remain.

#1. Will James exercise his opt-out clause and bail (again) on Cleveland?

#2. And if so, where to? Houston? Philly? LA? Boston? How good with the latter be with LJ in the line-up and stars Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving coming back next year? Thing is, Celtics general manager Danny Ainge might not even want him. He's done a masterful job of tearing down the team and completely rebuilding it into contenders. Throwing James into the mix, with the max contract he'd no doubt demand, and the forced shedding of other role players might screw up the whole works.

Last but not least.....

#3. Will the Donald even invite the Dubs to the White House? Or in a pre-emptive strike of Trump "genius", will he dis-invite them first, without ever having extended the original invitation? Hard to tell with that guy. Just when you think things can't possibly get any dumber, BAM, he'll come up with something.

Nevertheless, all hail the Golden State Warriors. NBA champions. Again. Three titles in four years is starting to have the ring of a mini-dynasty to it.

And if that team stays together, given their relatively young collective ages, who's going to beat them in the next few years?

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Caps win Stanley Cup?

Get outta here. That can't be right. We've all long known that if a professional team is from Washington (DC), they have to choke in the playoffs. It's in the sports by-laws somewhere.

The Washington Nationals of Major League Baseball, despite being loaded with talent, have made the post-season swoon an art form over the years.

The Wizards of the NBA have been over-hyped and under-performing since as far back as anybody can remember.

The Redskins of the NFL seem to devote more time defending their name than winning on the gridiron.

When it comes to DC, there seems to be no limit on choking. Good grief, Congress and the Prez make millions of citizens gag every day.

The Washington Generals long served as cannon-fodder to the Harlem Globetrotters.

And now we're supposed to, gulp, gasp, swallow the notion that the Washington Capitals are NHL champions? Something must be horribly wrong.

Yet it appears it's true. Old time sniper Alex Ovechkin will finally have his name etched on Lord Stanley's bauble. Da, comrade. Ya done good. Will he take the Cup back to his native Russia sometime during the off-season? Maybe. It might just be that one Vladimir Putin will get a chance to drink some vodka from it. Or fill it full of borscht. Or soak his feet in it. Oh my, put those images on the internet and watch the Donald go ballistic on twitter. But it could happen. To the winners go the spoils, however unsavory they might become.

Thing is, one group is really -- REALLY breathing a huge sigh of relief.

That would be the bookies that, before the season started, listed the Vegas Golden Knights as up to a 500:1 long shot at winning the cup. Anybody that plopped down a measly Hamilton at those odds was looking at a 5 grand pay-off had the VGK pulled it off. No way were they supposed to get anywhere near the Finals. But they did. It's been estimated that, had Vegas actually won, the bookies would have taken anywhere from a $20-50 million dollar hit. A bank breaker? No, but more than a few "wise guys" would have had some serious 'splainin to do.

You have to hand it to Vegas for getting as far as they did. A first year expansion team, made up of players not deemed good enough by their former clubs to "protect", multiple (crap shoot) draft choices, and a few free agents that apparently couldn't catch on elsewhere.

They came together and made a magical season out of it. Hats off to the runners-up for accomplishing far more than most thought they would.

But for now, all hail the Washington Capitals. Champions of the hockey world, at least in the western hemisphere.

DC finally got something right.


Next thing ya know, Tony Kornheiser, the gas-bag from ESPN's Pardon the Interruption, and a DC-er, will actually let his co-host Mike Wilbon get through an entire sentence without rudely interrupting him to spout even more inane drivel.


Even miracles have their limits.

The Caps will have to do for now.....