Saturday, June 18, 2016

A weird sports day

In the US Golf Open, guys named Rory, Phil, and Rickey didn't make the cut. Justin, Dustin, and Bubba are still flailing away. Jason hung on by the narrowest of margins and then made a charge to get back in contention. An Andrew has emerged, but still no sign of Eldrick (alias Tiger). He remains in seclusion rehabbing whatever, not the least being his ego. The latter should come as no surprise. With his game in a shambles for the last couple years, why would he want to have another coming-out party at Oakmont, arguably the longest and toughest golf course in America -- if not the world? That could have got ugly and embarrassing in a hurry. Even the legions of die-hard Tiger faithful would likely have squirmed if their aging hero made another grand entrance -- only to get blown away by the course and competition.

Another former Michigan State jock got arrested. Yawn.

Some heretofore unknown teenager just knocked off the once mighty Roger Federer in the opening round of a tennis tournament somewhere. It was only a matter of time. Serena's turn will come next, and likely soon. Father Time seldom plays favorites in the world of sports and the hot-shot kids keep on coming.

With the deciding Game 7 of the NBA Finals looming between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, the Lebron James hype machine has gone into overdrive. It has become apparent that many, not all, consider the Cavs a sentimental favorite. That argument definitely has merit. After all, the Warriors won a championship just last year, and the Bay area has certainly celebrated many titles in the last few decades. The 49ers, the Giants, the Raiders, even the Oakland A's have been to the top. But never Cleveland all along -- in any sport -- during the same time. For Lebron and the Cavs to bring a title to long beleaguered Cleveland would be special on some level.

Yet they raise another interesting point. Lebron as Finals MVP even if Cleveland loses? To date through the series, LJ leads in points scored, assists, steals, and blocks. Very impressive stuff. Should he turn in another stellar performance in Game 7, only to suffer the agony of defeat again, who says the MVP has to come from the winning team? If his series stats are clearly superior to any other player's -- then why not?

The Detroit Tigers once again turned in a laughable performance. For all the koolaid they peddle in Motown regarding their various pro teams to the fans/suckers that keep buying it -- sometimes it's just downright chuckle worthy. In the latest game against the Kansas City Royals, Tiger manager Brad Ausmus somehow mustered up the infinite wisdom to eventually put a utility infielder, one Andrew Romine, on the mound to pitch. It's no secret the Tigers have a couple decent, not great, starting pitchers, but they're typically only good for 5-6 innings before they're gassed. Enter their bullpen, which has long been a joke. Batting practice pitchers. Watch the baseballs get rocketed all over the park. Romine himself had exactly one pitch in his arsenal. A mid 80's sorta fastball. One would think the Royals would tee off on such cannon fodder.

But here's the thing. KC would put up a whopping 16 runs and 20 hits against the woeful Tiger pitchers. They were probably gassed themselves from running laps on the base paths before Romine finally came in for mop up/mercy duty. Still, for the Tigers to have to resort to such a pitiful tactic speaks volumes about whoever else was still available in their bullpen. This game was on national
TV, turned into an embarrassment, and no doubt the talking heads will rightfully rip them for it. A back-up infielder coming in to pitch because the rest of the bullpen was even worse? Oh my.

What was truly knee-slapping was Brad Ausmus continuing to give all those "secret" signals from the dugout while this was happening. He didn't need to go through all the ear/nose/eye/mouth/wink/spit/grab crotch nonsense from the dugout. A few common sense words upon greeting his latest "relief" pitcher at the mound would have sufficed.

"Hey Romine. Try to throw the ball somewhere in the general direction of the strike zone and let's hope they hit it at somebody so we can get a couple outs and get this damn game over with".

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