Wednesday, May 27, 2009
What's this world coming to, when a budding young, hot, tennis player gives up her awesomely massive cans just for more “flexibility?”
Simona Halep is looking for a nice home for her two large, spunky, but housebroken mammaries. I'd volunteer the two parking spaces on either side of the ol' motorboat, but the Missus put the kibosh on that.
If I were counseling the young Ms. Halep, I would remind her of this: “A crisp down the line forehand only lasts so long. Glorious sweater puppies are forever.”
Ever heard the phrase “recession-proof?” Well, nothing is truly recession-PROOF. Just like nothing is truly water-PROOF (put item under enough feet of whatever, and let pressure and small cracks do their thing), when it comes to money and luxury, even the rich “feel it” at some point.
So too with rappers.
When once it seemed like the money to ice out their neck medallions was limitless, downsizing is now the rage.
But cubic zirconia? Come, on, holmes! That ain't pimpin'!
Leave it to Peter King to totally miss the point on an NFL story. And leave it to the boys at Kissing Suzy Kolber to take Pete's columns out behind the woodshed and give them the thorough beating they deserve. Here's an excerpt from this week's King dispatch....
PEKING DUCK: I think I don’t expect the NFL to find the Redskins guilty of tampering with Albert Haynesworth — Jason Cole of Yahoo! reported the investigation Saturday — because I believe much of the investigation will center on the very public displays of affection Washington owner Dan Snyder had with Haynesworth’s agent, Chad Speck, in Indianapolis at the Scouting Combine.
KSK: And why would centering on those public displays of affection cause you to think the charges will be dismissed?
PEKING DUCK: Snyder and Speck had dinner in full view of half the coaches and scouts in the city.
KSK: And when Speck crawled under the table and began servicing Snyder, things really got HOT.
PEKING DUCK: You’d be naïve to think they weren’t discussing Haynesworth; that’s one of the reasons the league’s owners are considering a new rule that will make it legal for teams to speak with agents and looming free-agents in the week before the free market opens.
KSK: But it’s illegal NOW, yes?
PEKING DUCK: I understand the Titans think Washington poisoned the water for Haynesworth and made it impossible for him to even consider coming back to Tennessee, but the flaw in that logic is that the Titans were never, ever going to pay Haynesworth the landmark contract he got from Washington.
KSK: But what does that have to do with whether or not the Redskins tampered? If they negotiated with him prior to the opening of free agency, that’s defined as tampering, which you seem to clearly think was the case. It doesn’t fucking matter if the Titans had planned on resigning him or not. Tampering is tampering. And that’s… one to grow on.
And then this.... on Mike Vick...
1… I can assure you that (Michael) Vick and Jim Mora will never be on the same team again. Let’s just say it didn’t end too well the last time they were together. Not just the ending, but the middle part, too. The entire Atlanta organization wasn’t crazy about Vick’s work ethic in the offseason. It’s illogical to think Mora would stake any portion of his future on Vick.
2. I think, though, when the Seattle quarterback depth chart is looking as if it will be Hasselbeck, Seneca Wallace and the immortal Mike Teel, it’s pretty logical to wonder why you wouldn’t consider bringing Vick in-house.
1.It is illogical for the Seahawks to bring in Michael Vick.
2.It is illogical for the Seahawks NOT to consider bringing in Vick.
But wait... you also get nonsense on Jeremy Shockey....
PEKING DUCK: I think that one of the reasons I rated New Orleans at No. 24 in my power rankings a few weeks ago was wheeled out of a Las Vegas hotel on a stretcher yesterday. I don’t trust Jeremy Shockey anymore to stay healthy for 16 weeks.
KSK: Oh, so it took THAT to convince you? Jeremy Shockey hasn’t played a full 16-game schedule once in his career. “Call me crazy, but I think this Shockey kid could prove unreliable.”
PEKING DUCK: The Saints have to hope that Sunday’s shenanigans in Nevada are not a precursor of things to come.
KSK: Again, allow me: It’s a precursor of things to come. In fact, it’s a fucking postcursor of shit that’s already happened.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
I love how the gray templed newsman alpha-dog of Cleveland's ABC affiliate is so quick to just write off the whole series. "Well, there's always next year..."
The guy has lived in Cleveland long enough to know, I suppose.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Just when I am starting warm up again to the NBA, guys like J.R. Smith do something completely stupid in front of my eyes.
Saturday night, and Smith has just hit a dagger of a three-pointer while falling down at the end of quarter horn.
Instead of a simple fist pump, yell of joy, or calm and cool walk-off celebration, Smith gets a technical for trash talking Sasha Vujacic.
It’s this kind of modern trash talking that turns off many fans. The make-no-mistake-this-is-all-about-me kind of mess talkin’. See, when Magic talked trash, he did it with an assassin’s smile on his face. When Bird stuck the knife in a bit after a big jumper, you at home never knew it - because Bird did it just enough for his opponent to hear.
Today’s punk-ass players like J.R. Smith have to cock their head toward their momentarily vanquished opponent, bob it to the side in cadence, and then spew a mother-f layden string of “in your face” showboating.
It’s not even creative.
Of course Smith hurt his team with the technical. It’s just ONE free throw, what’s the big deal, right? In fact, if I recall, Kobe missed it. But that’s not the point.
It’s a shame, because Smith and his generation of players are mind-bendingly athletic and skilled. The NBA is a freak show of ability, that has long ago hyperspaced past the game your old man used to watch. (“Old man” = me.)
That should be enough to make you love it. LOVE IT!
Sadly, the other end of what makes the NBA so damn-un-likeable, is the incompetence of the officiating.
Yes, “incompetence” and no, I don’t think it’s so “hard.” (Jeff Van Gundy agrees. He has tired of that phrase too…)
Two quick examples: Denver’s Chris Anderson has a point-blank dunk in the fourth quarter. Gasol contests. Anderson misses the dunk completely, and in a way that says to your eyes he was hit, not that he overshot the dunk and caught back iron.
Finally, after play stops ABC shows a replay. Sure enough, Anderson was HAMMERED on the play by Gasol. Arm, shoulder, and head.
But their had to be a “reason” why that call wasn’t made. Because these refs can’t be THAT blind. Or can they? You figure it out. I can’t anymore.
Other times, the refs are so anticipating making a call, they are becoming like the time in Naked Gun when Lt. Drebben got behind home plate in a MLB game and started calling “striiiiikee!” as the ball was halfway to the plate.
The late call on Dwight Howard against LeBron James Sunday night was a perfect example. That block was as clean as Martha Stewart’s bidet after the maids finish up.
But the refs just knew it was time to give LeBron every chance possible (trailing desperately by 6 with under a minute to go) and that anybody who got in his way - superstars like Howard included - were going to get whistled.
All of which has led to the utterly ridiculous flopping by players whenever they are grazed by a defender.
Forget the King of Flops, Vlade Divacs. Both Chauncey Billups and Kobe should have been given nuclear wedgies for a pathetic four-point play opportunity in that same game. Billups hit’s a three and gyrates his body to initiate a tiny amount of contact. Kobe flies backward with his arms in the air trying desperately to draw a charge (who knows, he’s a star you know. They sometimes get calls like that…).
It all looked like a horrible re-enactment of a slow-mo scene in the Matrix, minus the flying bullets.
Maybe my memory is fuzzy, but I don’t ever recall Bird, Magic, Jordan etc. being such call-begging-bitches. Do you?
Then, there’s the tattoos.
Look, I’m no prude, but I finally figured out why some guys’ “body art” offends me so much. It’s simply juvenile and mindless. It’s not something a grown man, and a millionaire for that matter, should have all over his body.
A FEW tattoos. Okay. I say five, max.
If those tattoos were actually drawings done with a Sharpie the night before a game, most people would say: “That’s retarded. Grow up, dude.”
But because they are permanent, take hours at a time, and cost a good bit of money, they are supposed to signify something?
Stop drawing all over yourself, little Kenyon. Or we’ll take away the magic markers.
If you have 20 tattoos, then I’ll get 30, and we can just keep going until we’re out of space. Wheee!
One tattoo that means something to you on your arm, fine. Another one on the other arm, okay. But leave the neck, back, chest and skull alone.
All that said, I watched a lot of NBA this long weekend, and I liked quite a bit of it. But I don’t love it. I can’t. The league is too damn flawed, and it boggles my mind why David Stern can’t finally be ousted to give the sport a new direction.
Call the game according to the rules. Cut the bullshit. And let the phenomenal athletes in this league do their thing.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
The Wizards got screwed again.
With the 2nd best "chance" to land the top pick this June in the NBA Draft, the hometown cagers will instead pick 5th - the LOWEST possible spot given the lottery's current rules.
Oops. Sorry. See you later, Blake Griffin. Goodbye Ricky Rubio. Not gonna happen Hasheem Thabeet.
Just give us the best 6-5 swingman with the fewest tattoos.
I'm going to chalk this up as retribution by David Stern directed at ME, Steve Czaban, Wizard fan, and sworn enemy to this over-rated see-no-evil-do-nothing commissioner.
Is that a bit egotistical?
Maybe, but I wouldn't put it past Stern.
With that, I re-publish my opus from two years ago so that we never, ever, ever forget. Big kudos to ESPN.com's Bill Simmons for flushing out much of the fishy event's details. If you haven't already, watch the video. Make note of the suspicious points, and know that a one-person rigging of this event was eminently do-able.
(Originally published May 21, 2008)
By Steve Czaban - Czabe.com
The mother of all conspiracies celebrated its 25th anniversary this week, as the NBA conducted its annual draft lottery. In 1985, a certain Hall of Fame center was up for grabs, and a certain struggling big market team could have really used his services.
Amazing then, no? The New York Knickerbockers got lucky, right?
I urge everybody to revisit that fateful night when a much younger, less gray and skinnier David Stern sold his league's soul down the river to deliver a single player to a high profile team.
Please note how Jack Wagner, the supposed Ernst and Whitney "partner" who never appeared on any company roster, drops every envelope but one into the drum around the 4:50 mark. Note that one non-drop envelope was banged clumsily and conspicuously against the drum in order to "dog ear" the Knicks' entry.
Please note Stern's dramatic sigh as he prepares to commit this underhanded act. Please note the clear drum that allows full sight into the batch of envelopes to pick out the dog-eared one.
Please note Stern's curious decision to fold over several envelopes on top, to get to the one with the dog ear corner.
In addition, please note that a more tamper-proof method of picking envelopes for draft order would be to pick the seventh team first and work down to the final one. It's much harder to NOT pick the envelope you have rigged, six straight times without looking foolish.
People ask me all the time: do you REALLY believe this?
Yes. I certainly do.
And why shouldn't I believe it? The visual evidence is there. There are too many odd coincidences that all fall into line to allow the deception. And recent history in sports has told us to be suspicious of everything.
Would anybody have believed that a rival figure skater would hire her boyfriend's goons to attack her opponent outside the rink with a club to the knee?
Outrageous, but true.
Would anybody have believed the scope of steroid use in MLB over the last 10 years, and the Hall of Fame roster of names that dabbled in it?
We're only starting to know the real story.
Would anybody have thought that the Russian mafia was influencing tennis matches by having certain players drop out of matches they were leading, only after a million-dollar wager came in on his opponent via the Internet?
Tennis is just now trying to sort out how many rotten apples are in their ranks.
How does London beat out heavily favored Paris to host the 2012 Olympics? Do figure skating judges really cheat by using a foot-tap system under the table? Bill Belichick's signal taping scandal, Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo with their under-the-table payments...
Remember the kids who claimed to have hit horse racing's biggest jackpot a few years back. Um, turns out they just hacked into the computers.
It goes on, and on and on....
Please, folks. I live in the real world. Corruption, cheating and conspiracies happen every day. It is almost quaint to think that sports fans so want to believe the fairytale nature of our games, that we are so anti-inclined to accept that a conspiracy might have happened right under our noses.
This week, the NBA conducted the modern draft lottery. More teams, no envelopes or plastic drum, and a weighted statistical chance of getting the No. 1 pick. It is no more a true "lottery" than a guy banging on a bucket on a street corner is a "musician."
Problem is, "The NBA Weighted Statistical Drawing" doesn't have the marketing ring to it like "Lottery."
They say that a conspiracy as grand as Stern rigging the 1985 Lottery would have required many people, and that somebody would have talked by now.
No. Not at all. It was probably nothing more than a two-person job. Stern and the mythical Jack Wagner. Hell, even Horace Balmer might have thought it was on the up and up.
Ewing is long retired. Wagner can't be located. And Stern remains.
Happy Anniversary, NBA fans!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Courtesy of my brilliant sidekick Scott Linn, who swears he came up with this term in the flow of the show on Tuesday.
Brett Favre isn't coming back from anything. He never left. When he plays for the Vikings this fall, you will see his career stat grid show an uninterrupted string of seasons in Green Bay, followed by “NYJ” and “MIN” without any gaps.
So it will take old dudes with memories like us, to tell the young whippersnappers: “Well, you know, he DID 'retire' twice on his way to playing those 4 extra seasons with 4 extra teams.”
And that's no “retirement.” It's a “re-liar-ment.”
If you don't go away, you can't “come back” from anything. So stop calling this a “comeback” ye talking heads in the sports media.
And because I felt left out of the Sniglets party of making up terms, try this one on for size.
This when somebody refuses to apologize directly, but instead does so in a blog.
Ahem. Cough... cough... Mark Cuban.
I got a catalog in the mail from some outfit called “Boston Proper.”
The company, is a bunch of assholes, in my opinion.
This chick was on the cover.
Yeah. Sure. Okay. Supermodel, wearing kicky summer clothes, marketed to middle aged married women with kids. Go fuck yourself, Boston Proper.
I mean, look at this smokeshow! Christ! And there's about 6 other equally hot models of all flavors inside the catalog.
Just stop sending this shit to my house, okay? It torments me, and makes my wife cry. And while we're at it, J Crew can go suck a hose too. Because they have a bunch of impossibly great looking 39 year old triathalete former models. With artificially induced gray hair to make them look middle aged studly.
Those catalogs torment the missus, and make ME cry.
We're married with kids. We go to the beach. But we don't look anything like these models, and we aren't going to buy a “beaded fringe tank” with a “crinkle-gauze skirt.”
Even if we DID have looks and bods this good, we don't have 3 seconds to strike a carefree and relaxed pose like your models. We're pulling sand out of our kids bathing suits crotches, smearing on sunscreen, and constantly worrying that a riptide is going to suck the lil' nippers right out to the Atlantic.
Monday, May 18, 2009
That was the inevitable answer from legendary golfer and ABC roving course announcer Bob Rosburg whenever somebody from the tower threw it down to him with the question: "Let's go down to the course. Rossie, what does he got?"
Naturally, Rossie was usually wrong. The player in question WOULD somehow find a way to make a "shot" of sorts, sometimes even putting the ball on the green.
That however didn't make Bob Rosburg a bad golf reporter. No, he was almost certainly describing what any mortal would say when faced with a tough play out of the woods. It was just that players on the PGA Tour kept getting better and better.
So Rossie's "no shot" wasn't so much inaccurate, it was just that yes, "these guys are good."
I didn't know Bob Rosburg, but I did enjoy having him around for telecasts on ABC through the years. If for no other reason, than to see him wearing the comically over-engineered rabbit-ear headgear that would beam his voice back to the broadcast truck from all over the course.
I also liked the fact that "Rossie" was the subject of any on course banter I would have with my golf buddies on the links. We would and still do, constantly "send it down to Rossie" to see what our buddy's situation was.
ME: "Rossie, what's he looking at here..."
ME (AGAIN)(Hushed announcer voice): "Well Jim, he's just topped his third drive in a row, and I think the frustration level is starting to boil. It's gonna be a fight between how drunk he can get from here on out, versus how many balls he's actually got left in that bag. Back to you in the tower...."
Or when a guy's tee shot is laughable crooked and sailing into the deep woods: "That's an aggressive line he's chosen, Rossie...."
And the possibilities are endless.
ABC ran a brief little gem about Rossie during the LPGA coverage on Sunday, which I snarked here for your enjoyment. First of all, note how uncanny his feel for the club, and the swing is at age 3. Look at the finger re-grip just before he swings. Listen to how cleanly he "thumps" that ball out of the (un-raked) bunker. Look at how his dad yanks him up by the arms and he's so small his feet dangle in the air.
Now, here's the kicker.
Did you know that Bob Rosburg won the Olympic Club club championship - at age 12!
Who did he beat?
Reportedly, Cobb was so furious, that he never played at Olympic after that. I believe it. Rossie was lucky Cobb didn't beat him with his own 12 year old shoes.
Rossie, rest in peace. Your legacy lives on in my golf foursome.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Twas a slow sports weekend all of a sudden, wasn't it?
Aside from the entertaining Preakness on Saturday, we were all just sitting around on our asses waiting for Sunday.
And even that was a letdown.
Both the Lakers and Red Wings won in romps, and who can really get fired up about the Valero Open on the PGA Tour?
Yeah, yeah. Baseball.
Yeah, yeah. All Star race in Charlotte.
Yeah, yeah. Michael Phelps swims again.
You feel me. It was a dog sports weekend. But not without notable observations, or some hidden gems.
Hidden Gem #1: Irish Open
I'll be the first to admit that even I don't hump EuroTour telecasts on the golf channel on Sat and Sun mornings, but maybe I should start. Because lo and behold, some kid who LOOKS JUST LIKE SPALDING FROM CADDYSHACK just won the damn thing in the kind of weather that once led to somebody coining the phrase "Mad dogs and Irishmen."
Shane Lowry is the kid's name, and it was perfect karma that he's a local lad from the Emerald Isle. After he tapped in the winning putt over a guy named "Rock" (last name, I swear) he was mobbed on the green by locals.
And the weather was re-donkulous! We're talking bruising cold rain. Die hard golf fans bundled for an assault on Everest. Wet, soppy, wool hats on players.
Ireland everybody! Hooray!
I saw one of the billboards on the tee box, and it was for Ireland Tourism. Good luck on that, Mickey! And I'm half Irish! If that's your "May" weather, then I'm just gonna stay home and eat Lucky Charms.
The Coors performing naked in my hotel lobby with an open house bar couldn't get me to Ireland for weather like that!
In the meantime, attaboy, Shane! Just don't eat any boogers you might pick.
Hidden Gem #2: The Preakness Infield
In case you didn't notice, the infield at Pimlico looked like it had been wiped out by the swine flu. I guess bringing your own coffins stuffed to the gills with cheap beer actually, was, um "important" to the 100,000 Bal-tee-more utes who annually attend the event.
This year's ban on BYOB delivered a crushing 30% drop in attendance, and showed that Maryland horse racing is even sicker than everybody thought.
However, it does give me an excuse to re-post one of the Top-25 all time internet videos ever posted to YouTube. The 2008 "Running of the Urinals." Screw running with the bulls in Pamplona. This was a real death wish.
When you watch, be amazed that the guy made it through that many urinals taking obscenely heavy aluminum fire without a single incapacitating blow. But then sadly, the simple math of this endeavor wins out. With enough hurled beer cans, one will inevitably try to violently occupy the same time/space moment as the guy's head.
Sure, he's probably got brain damage now. But it was worth it. He's internet-famous!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Many are lamenting the slow pfffffffffftttttttt of the scintillating Crosby-Ovetchkin series on Wednesday night. Indeed, the 6-2 pantsing the Pens gave my Caps was the most stunning "buildup-to-disappointment" moment since I first heard Miss America Vanessa Williams had posed nude for Playboy, to when I actually saw the photos with my own adolescent eyes. (Ewwww. Airpit hair!)
Instead, let's give Caps-Pens a standing ovation for the thrill ride it was.
For 92% of the series prior to Game 7, the game was played within a 1 goal margin. Amazing. A total of 5 one-goal games, three overtimers, and a dueling hat-trick game between the two stars.
Mix in a tour-de-force effort at home by Malkin when the Pens needed it most (Game 3, down 2-0) and some controversy and bad blood on Ovetchkin's knee-on-knee hit to Gonchar, and you've got a nearly perfect Stanley Cup playoff tussle.
The only other black mark was the unfortunate schedule hiccup that put Games 4 and 5 on back to back nites thanks to a Yanni concert, and the NHL's move to delay the series for NBC's sake.
Penguin fans can legitimately say they have the better team, although the argument over who is the "World's Best Player" has not been resolved. Crosby is undeniably great, even more so in my eyes after watching him play in person. Plus, he delivered scoring this series, which was a small point of contention during the regular season with some of his detractors.
Ovetchkin was electric too, and one can only imagine what it would be like if it was Crosby and Ovetchkin together, not Crosby and Malkin.
Pens fans may now believe that this is indeed "their year" even though they languished out of the playoff window entirely much of the season.
I can't honestly say Caps fans ever felt that THIS was indeed "their" year. It was a "why not us" year. But not "theirs."
Clearly, they need more blue line help, and they need to figure out what to do with a great defensive scoring weapon like Mike Green when the playoffs dictate a more stay at home philosophy.
The goaltender of the future is now here and ready. And if Semin can have a slightly better playoffs next spring, all the elements are in place.
All told, though, better teams than ours, have lost a lot sooner than this.
Thanks Ted Leonsis for "putting away the stupid pills" as owner. (His words.) Thanks George McPhee for patiently putting the pieces of this team in place. Thanks to Coach Boudreau for emerging as a gem of a bench boss, and a very likeable one at that.
Thanks to maybe the best hometown TV and Radio voices for one team in any sport. Joe Beninati and Craig Laughlin are network quality, and they are all ours. Steve Kolbe belts out the radio call with the best of them.
The fans last night stood and applauded for a good 90 seconds as the blood drained out of the season. It was a season to appreciate, and they are a team we can really embrace.
If you ever needed a capsulized lesson on how to NOT win football games consistently in the NFL, just bundle up the 9 month saga of Jason Taylor and the Redskins.
On July 21st of last summer, on the first day of training camp, the Skins lost two DE's to injury. One was a nearly washed up veteran in Philip Daniels. He was entering his 13th season, and had only played a full 16 games in a year 6 times. He averaged 4.5 sacks for his career. The other DE was a project by the name of Alex Busbee.
A guy like Daniels should have been long gone in the first place. To think a 13 year vet was going to give you much as your starting DE, was wishful thinking at best, or more likely a tacit admission that a lack of draft picks, and a failure to reinforce the line over the years left them no option.
That said, the last thing any smart GM would have done that day, is panic.
Vinny is not a smart GM.
When I heard the trade of a 2nd and a 6th to the Dolphins for almost-as-washed-up dancing star Jason Taylor, I was initially excited. Taylor was/and is in incredible physical shape, and was not that far removed from racking up dominant pass rushing stats.
On the other hand, I worried, because the chances of Vinny fleecing Parcells seemed as remote as Oprah going to a strip club with Steadman.
I was right.
Now, the circle is complete.
Taylor once acquired, was never really THAT excited to be here. He was played out of his natural position by coordinator Greg Blache, got injured, tried to play through it, and then before you could say "8 and 8" the season was done.
Cooking up a fig leaf of an excuse to justify closing the book on this fiasco, the Redskins claimed Taylor would not agree to an off-season workout stipulation.
Now, this week, Taylor quietly re-signed with Miami, for a modest $1.1 million. He's happy. And the Dolphins - who MADE the playoffs last year - have the fruits of our picks, including WVU QB Pat White - slated to run the "WildPat" offense.
Now maybe Taylor won't do crap this year. Maybe White was a huge reach in the second round. But all told, the Redskins and Vinny got goat-roped and shaved in this one.
And it only took 8 months.
You might want to file and save this one for when someday you buy your own NFL franchise.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Good to see that even the most downtrodden cities can claim a leg up on their nearby rust-belt neighbors. Whoever conceived, shot, scripted, and sang these videos deserves whatever award is the highest award you can get on the internet for first-rate snarkery.
Here's the original "un-official" city of Cleveland tourism video.
And then the sequel, which might be even better.
In related Detroit news, it appears that GM and Chrysler are getting more and more skittish about what "O Motors" has in mind for their future.
"Chrysler wanted to spend $134 million in advertising over the nine weeks it's expected to be in bankruptcy -- the U.S. Treasury's auto-industry task force gave it half that.
So if GM, which is wrestling with the possibility of a Chapter 11 filing itself, is wondering how much influence the task force will have over marketing, the answer is: plenty."
REACT: Ha, freaking, ha. But remember, as Barry said: "I have no intention of running GM." Sure you don't. Unless you count telling GM how many dealers to close, how much to spend on advertising, and how many cupholders are allowed in every truck.
They are from the government. They are here to help. Uhhhh huh.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
It’s always nice to be invited. It’s even nicer when people thank you, for just showing up.
Monday in Charlottesville, VA I was a very happy, yet minor, accessory to a great charity event run by former radio voice of UVA sports Mac MacDonald. Proceeds benefit the children’s cancer wing at UVA hospital.
It was no small treat to meet one of my favorite LPGA stars, the impossibly mature for her age (20) Morgan Pressel. It was also cool to meet noted sports psychologist and mental guru to the PGA stars Dr. Bob Rotella.
We played at the incredible Keswick Hall resort, tucked just 5 miles outside of Charlottesville. I had never seen, heard, or been there, but WHOA! Fantastic. The course is a somewhat short-ish Arnold Palmer re-design, that blends an old-school feel, with modern architecture.
We were due for a 9-hole exhibition, but persistent rain cut it short to just 5 holes. The match ended All Square, no thanks to me. I went bogey-bogey-par-bogey-X. Morgan went par-par-birdie-par-par. The good Doc was on fire, making birdie on 1, par, then a 35 footer for a slam dunk birdie on #3. Then he came back to earth a bit. Must not have stayed “in the moment.” (Elbow jab).
Here's a few pics from the day....
The fabulous 10th hole looking back at Keswick Hall.
Me counting how many clubs Morgan brought for this shindig. Twelve, thirteen, fourteen…. Ooohhhkay then. Good. Keep it fair.
What a hacker I am. Horrible reverse pivot. Plus, I’m fat. Long sleeve rain gear, not slimming enough.
Morgan was a one-woman ray of sunshine on a rainy day. Great player, great personality. Impossible not to be a fan.
This was maybe one of about 1,000 photos she took all day. Never once flinched, groaned, or looked annoyed. Don’t know how she does it. Plus, she does about 150 of these things a year.
My trusted caddy and long time degenerate golfer-in-kind Mike McGowan was steady on the bag. Broke out the big ol’ Nike Tour bag with my name on it, ‘natch. He’ll live. Suck it up, tough guy!
Okay, Morgan. Here’s what I like on this putt - whatever you like. Now give it a good roll!
Ultimate thanks to Mac McDonald who put many thousands of man-hours into making this happen. Well done, sir, thanks for having me along for the ride!
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Imagine that: Mark Cuban getting screwed by a non-foul call on his own player! Ha, sweet justice! The gaffe that cost the Mavericks the game on Saturday was just another incident in these NBA playoffs that make you wonder if the referees are blind! Bad enough they used to bet on games, now it’s like they are as observant as Sgt. Shultz. “I know NUTHING!” How on earth does this non-call happen two feet in front of a zebra, after these clowns missed entirely Rafer Alston head-slapping Eddie House after a jumper? How come no referees have been suspended in the wake of these mistakes? Wake up, people.
Playoff overtimes are where my Capitals go to die. After Saturday night’s dagger, that makes it now 7 straight OT losses in the post-season. The Penguins are 6-1 vs. the Caps in the playoffs from 1991-2000. And three times the Caps have lost a two-game lead in the series.
Had Tom Poti not deflected the puck into our own net, Crosby was going to bury it. Don’t know if that makes anybody feel better or not. Just sayin’.
I always liked Chuck Daly, even though I (like most of the country outside of Michigan) loathed the “Bad Boys” Pistons of his era. Despite impeccable designer suits, he never came off as elitist as Pat Riley. And he was never as insufferably smug as Phil Jackson. Daly knew how the league worked: “It’s a players’ league. They allow you to coach them, or they don’t. Once they stop allowing you to coach, you’re on your way out.” Amen.
Amazing Fact: Despite Daly being given a lifetime achievement award, and inducted to the Hall of Fame, guess what he never won? “Coach of the Year.”
I need a good name/moniker/slogan for an index I plan to track this year: The difference between Zach Greinke’s ERA (currently 0.51) and Chien-Ming Wang’s ERA (currently 34.50). Do you think we’re going to see this “index” drop below “20.0” this year? And for you math geeks, how many consecutive shutouts must Wang record before catching Grienke at 0.51?
Big ups to Momma Czaban on this post Mother’s Day Monday. My mom was the ultimate sports mom. She got me signed up for every sport I wanted, always on time. My uniform was always washed and ready. She drove me all the way out to golf courses a full hour away from home to play when I was 14 and 15 years old and couldn’t drive. Then she came back to pick me and my buddy up. She tolerated me a) cutting down trees b) digging up huge holes c) cutting the grass in weird patterns d) smashing holes in basement drywall and e) marking up the front door with bowling pins in my pursuit of playing sports 24/7/365 around the house growing up. Thanks mom, a day late. I love you.
If you don’t love the NHL for its completely FUBAR names and spellings, then you are missing out. I have become aware of the Chicago Blackhawks automatic spelling bee shutdown name: Dustin Bufflin. Oh, wait a minute. That’s just how it SOUNDS. It’s spelled B-Y-F-U-G-L-I-E-N. What the Byfuglien!? Dude is a beast too. Scored 2 goals in Saturday’s win at Vancouver to put Chicago up 3-2 in their series. Byfuglien! Take that Krzyzewski!!!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
If you haven't seen the Will Farrell basketball spoof of the early days of the ABA, "Semi-Pro", I think it's worth a rental.
Personally, I found it just Semi-Funny, but maybe I need to watch it a few more times to let it grow on me.
Once you've logged that movie, then I URGE you to savor some of the Boston-Orlando series going on right now, because Brian Scalabrine IS Jackie Moon!
Don't believe me? Here's a few comparison pictures, which don't do the scene full justice. If you watch the games, there's big ol' albino Scalabrine lumbering around, pushing guys wildly, chucking up jumpers, and just being a big ol' moose.
In a league that has hyperspaced into the 21st century and beyond with super-freak athletes like Lebron, Wade and Kobe, to think that a throwback caucasian could still roam the landscape is amazing.
Behold this sporting mastadon, while you can hoop fans.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Lenny Dykstra's collapsing house of financial cards is picking up steam.
If you missed the original 10,000 word opus by Mike Fish, my god, please read it. If you have, then make sure you catch this little update to keep current.
I'll pull the money shot passage for you here....
"Lenny sits in here," said Judd, manager of Crow Executive Air. "He is just about in tears. He has got to get down to this meeting. It has got to happen. He offers me three or four pieces of paper that say what his net worth is. He has an e-mail from the [Reynolds] Plantation people that he is going to meet with. He offers me a personal financial statement as of March 2.
"So he ends up writing me two checks. The charter is $12,630. He writes me two checks for half [each], and offers me his watch as collateral. I said, 'Lenny, I'm not going to take your watch.' That was a mistake. I should have taken that watch."
The checks -- written on the account of Dykstra's parent company, TPC Operations LLC -- both bounced because of "not sufficient funds."
REACT: "I should have taken that watch." Classic. Don't beat yourself up, however. I'm pretty sure that watch was either stolen and would be recovered by the victim in a few days, or as fake as Lenny's financial "genius."
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
(Little River GC - 18th Hole)
Well kids, I'm back!
Sorry I'm tardy this week posting anything here, but I have a few good (errrr...mediocre?) reasons for it.
1. I am still sleep deprived from the long, glorious, golf-tastic weekend!
2. My stupid office at work is in disarray because it's being painted amidst a ton of other expansion construction.
3. The internet was down all day on Monday.
4. I went to the Caps-Pens Game 2 on Monday night, and well, I'm now even MORE tired. (But very happy! Gigigigigigigi!)
Anyway, on with the photos and videos from the trip.
Thanks to Laura Chadderdon at Little River Resort in Carthage (10 mins out of Pinehurst proper) for working with our group of 16 merry drunken men. I very much recommend Little River, as their improvements to both the clubhouse, bar/restaurant, and lodging has made this place a real up-and-comer in the Pinehurst scene.
The golf course has also made great strides and there are some incredible holes on the back nine that provide elevation changes and views that are otherwise hard to find in the area.
Here's a few selected pics from the event.
The classy kind of guys I roll with...
The high skill level of all the players...
The level of commitment to the game they all have...
Understanding the importance of liberal use of sunscreen....
The occassional good shot...
The treacherous #9 at The National...
The frantic warm up on the driving range (my tee time is NOW???)
Making sure to maintain format "integrity" at the bar...
And a thirsty final salvo after another hard day on the links!
I also must thank again Ken Crow of The National for having us over at his place on Saturday for 36 holes. The Jack Nicklaus signature design is flat out awesome in my book, and easily the best "modern" layout in all of the sandhills. Add to that immaculate conditions, and great hospitality, and I would most certainly recommend going through them for a group package as well.
Of course, Ken's son Benjamin listens to my show on the way to school (I hope daddy is quick with the mute finger when needed!) and it's always great to see him.
Now to make you really sick, just look at this little guy's move! It's awesome!
Not only that, but he was quick to observe that I changed my shirt and putter between rounds after losing in the morning. Damn kids! So observant! But the joke was on him! Because I played well and won in the afternoon! Take that, grade schooler!
All of these slow-mo videos are shot using my Casio EX F-1 camera which I bought in August of 2008. It's one of the coolest consumer level cams I've ever owned. It is a dual use SLR and movie camera. It takes not only very good 5 mega-pixel stills with 10x optical zoom (the only gripe is a sub-par auto-focus) but also SUPER slo-mo, burst photos, and even HD video.
Casio quickly came out with a slighly less expensive version, but one that still has all the cool super slow-mo ability. It's called the EX-FH20 and I think far superior to the one I bought in many ways.
It has slightly downgraded specs in the following areas.
1. "Only" 1000 frames per second hi-speed slow-mo max, not 1200. (I use just 300 frames per second on these golf videos and it's the perfect speed).
2. 720p HD vs. 1080i. (Irrelevant, IMHO).
3. 40 frames per second of "burst" pictures instead of 60. (I found that 10 frames per second is the perfect # for catching impact images of golf shots. As you can see from some of the above photos, I am able to get impact images by shooting 2-3 seconds of 10fps burst shots and deleting all but the best ones.)
Furthermore, the EX-FH20 has a longer zoom (20x) and is smaller and lighter than the EX-F1, which can be a touch bulky. (Although it makes you look like a more 'professional' shutterbug, if that matters to you.)
And, it's cheaper!
Most of all, I like the fact that the Casio cameras have a totally SILENT shutter, so I can snap away on golf swings while standing right next to somebody, and not cause a snap hook. Not so, with most high level SLR's which make a fairly loud CLICK!
If you want a cool toy, I think you should really check one of these puppies out.
So let me leave you with a few of the beer-swings of my guys. Not bad, but also not exactly Tiger-esque.