Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Somebody Even Dumber Than This Guy


Oh irony, it is sweet, and delicious.

In this very blogospace you may have read my opinion regarding Roger Goodell's draconian suspension of Big Ben Roethlisberger over alleged - yet wholly unproven - sexual assault accusations.

I said, at the time, and maintain today, that Roger's gavel-happy powerlust has already severely outkicked his intellectual coverage.

Many disagreed with me on the Big Ben 6-gamer being too harsh, because they simply can't hold two seemingly opposing notions to both be true at the same time.

To these critics, their simple conclusion was: "Big Ben is a drunken idiot, and he deserves to be suspended." (White guy logic). For others, it was "Black guys have been getting suspended, what about the double standard?" (Black guy logic).

Yet here's the key concept that seems hard for many to grasp: I think Big Ben is indeed a drunken idiot AND Roger Goodell's suspension is a meritless and dangerous precedent of NFL discipline.

Yes, both are true!

They do not cancel each other out!

I think Big Ben probably raped that girl in the Milledgeville bathroom, and yet there's no way to suspend him without so much as even a single charge filed, much less a guilty plea or conviction.

Roger Goodell got caught up in a feelgood, righteous moment, and somehow mistook it for POLICY!

True policy, as in "this is our policy on that"... rests on measurable guidelines, benchmarks, and precedent. Terms are spelled out in concrete and simple language, and made transparent to those subject to said policy well in advance.

Goodell is running the league's principals office on a whim! The player conduct "policy?" Policy?

The current NFL player conduct policy says - in essence - if you embarrass the league with criminal, near-criminal, or unsavory activity, we might just suspend you.

This would be akin to Best Buy having a return "policy" that says you are entitled to a full refund if "you have a good reason, and ask nicely."

So here we are, at the big ol' birthday cake of delicious, "what-do-I-do-now" irony for Goodell.

1. Vince Young attacked a dude like a pit bull in a strip club pisser.

2. Michael Vick went to a birthday bash where one his fellow dogfighting felons (Don't call him a "snitch", that's my man, Q!) just happened to get SHOT outside da club. Vick said he had already scrambled out of the birthday pocket, and delivered a one-hop incompletion before going to bed, so he thinks he's cool on this one.

3. And the president of the Detroit Lions got pulled over for driving with the equivalent BAC of an intravenous drip of Jack Daniels.

Well, there goes your summer, Roger!

Have fun with each decision. I am sure they will be equitable, smartly argued, and ultimately help protect your league's squeaky clean image.

There Is A God, After All


Watch CBS News Videos Online

There are no accidents in the karmic cosmos, people. Things happen for reasons.

Now This, Is "Championship Attitude"


Now who knows what kind of relationship nightmare this gal might be on a 24/7 basis. But at least you are starting with a gal who knows how to have a good time. National flag based bikini-top. Check. Beer drinker. Check. Ability to blow. Check. Everything else is just nit-picking. Unless she brings home the star striker and goal-keeper to your apartment for a three-way.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Kingsford Company is Full of S***!


Greetings from vacation, oh ye Czabe readers! I am coming to you from an undisclosed location in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where this is possibly the worst place ever to spend a week on a beach vacation.

I mean, the worst. Nah, nothing to see here, folks, run along. Awful beaches. Terrible. Crowded. Yuck. Steer clear. Wouldn't recommend it.

Ahem. Now, where was I?

Oh yeah, the Kingsford Company. These assholes should be hauled before Congress, and promptly frog-marched in handcuffs and leg irons into jail for false advertising, and complete bullshittery.

"Match Light" charcoal.

Fucking, sure.

Because our rented beach house has both a propane powered gas grill (works perfectly, and quickly, and cleanly) and a big old clunky black charcoal pedestal grill (not so much) I decided to go "old school" tonite in honor of my radio partner Andy Pollin.

Andy, as many of you listeners know, has loudly espoused the virtues of true charcoal grilling. Claims you can taste the difference in the meat. Says it's not that big of a deal, vs. a gas grill. Just a little extra work.

Whatever.

I say, "you want flavor? I got 50 bottles of flavor at the grocery store."

Somebody probably even sells a spray or marinade that specifically mimics the charcoal "flavor".

Without the hassle.

But since I had some time, I said what the hell, let's get nuts. Lets do the charcoal. Which is when it dawned on me, that grilling with charcoal is not unlike writing letters with a hand-dipped ink pen.

If that's the only pen I had, I suppose I could make do. But if you had a Papermate GelWriter sitting right next to it, I'm not going to grab the Mont Blanc Meisterst├╝ck 149 fountain pen (invented: 1924).

I'm gonna grab the Papermate GelWriter and get on with it.

But charcoal grillers are showoffs and braggarts who are the same type of people who insist formal letter writing can only be done with a fountain pen, and that the quality of strokes is unique and exquisite, and blah, blah, blah.. fuck you.

Mind you, charcoal has it's place. Wherever you can't physically bring a can of propane and a proper grill, charcoal will have to do. So tailgates, camping, and so on, you are excused from this rant.

I have one simple message for everybody out there who has the stupid, idiotic, notion that grilling some meat with good ol' fashioned charcoal briquettes would be a good idea.

It is not.

And the Kingsford Company can go shove their ... ahem... "Match Light"... briquettes up their asses and squeeze until they start crapping out diamonds.

The package has simple easy instructions.

I call them: lies.

Step 1: Put briquettes in a pyramid.
Step 2: Light with match, in several places.
Step 3: After 10 minutes, spread coals and cook.

Ready in 10 minutes? My.... fucking.... ass!

The package did not say anything about windy conditions. When it should have said: "Oh, are you anywhere near the ocean? If so, get bent. These won't light even if you have a welders torch."

I suppose their fancy "match light" charcoal manages to light in perfect, laboratory conditions. And I suppose it is "ready" in 10 minutes to perhaps, melt marshmallows for smores.

But to actually cook meat? Child, please.

So after using a beach umbrella to shield the wind, and after using newspapers to burn under the supposedly match ignitable chemical cooking rocks, and after maybe 45 minutes.... I had enough heat to perhaps put a few cooking stripes on an Oscar Meyer weiner.

Luckily, I had the gas grill to my right, and fired that sucker up, got the chicken and brats done, and let the half bag of Kingsford die a slow death.

You know why "match light" charcoal is a fraud?

Because they still sell lighter fluid.

I know, I saw it in the same grocery store aisle where I bought the Kingsford. Well, isn't that odd, I thought? If this charcoal just JUMPS TO FLAME with the mere touch of a match, then why the hell would they still stock and sell lighter fluid capable of flash-singeing your eyebrows?

I looked online at a grilling supply website. And guess what? They still sell those giant metal coffee mugs designed to get coals burning quickly.

Well, lah dee dah, Kingsford. I would have guessed that you would have buried every other charcoal company by now, with your fancypants "match light" charcoal. How come that hasn't happened?

Because Kingsford hasn't put every other charcoal company out of fucking business by now.

Because they are lying fuckers.

Gas grill + marinades + spices = go fuck yourself Kingsford.

End of rant.





As you were, soldiers.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Sweater Never Really Fooled Me


Albert Haynesworth is not a nice fella.

This is, and was, no secret.

In fact, Big Al, is a big bag of shit.

So why do you pay guys who are known bags of shit, $41 million guaranteed? Answer: you don't, unless you are Dan Snyder, and the bag of shit looks like a shiny new toy to play with on your football field next fall.

Then, you overlook every red flag, siren, warning sign, cautionary tale, bad reference, league suspension, arrest and lawsuit – and schedule your press conference to show him off smiling.

In a big ol, blue sweater.

The “good boy” sweater, as I like to call it. Whenever a bag shit wants to soften his public image, he puts on a sweater. Don't be fooled.

Now, a year and a few months later, the Redskins are as uncomfortable as Al would be if you made him wear his prom night tuxedo. Do you let this bag of shit walk away with a Brinks heist caliber $32 million for one mediocre season?

Or do you play the “hold, torture, and recover” game in an attempt to get him to cough up some of that dough?

I say, forget it. The money is gone. Like hiring a contractor to re-do your kitchen and paying him up front. Then the guy skips town. Your $40,000 is gone, dummy. Live and learn. Pay as you go.

I've heard from some Skins fans that letting Albert getting away with this, would “set a bad precedent.” Too late for that. Signing shitheads in the first place, is a bad precedent. And Snyder has already set that, practically in stone.

Sure, Al is stealing Dan's money.

But so did Deion, Archuleta, Bruce, Randle El, Lloyd, and others.

This is not new.

Haynesworth is the BP oil spill of the final un-tethered days of spending by Danny and Vinny. I think those days are over with Shanallenhan in control. But we'll have to see.

You really can't get a draft pick of consequence for Haynesworth now. At best, what? Fourth rounder. And getting money back isn't going to do anything for this four-win football team. So let's say Danny gets back $10 million to release Big Al. What does he do with that money? Put on his bigger pile of money?

If it were my football team, I would look at it like this. I have a new coach who has two Super Bowl rings. I have a son of a team coaching legend running the front office. I have a Pro Bowl quarterback. Despite the fetid stench of a 4-win season, there is actual optimism ready to break out this summer in Redskins training camp.

Why spoil that?

Why let a fat loser, who is going to be broke with your $32 million leaking out of his pockets in under 3 years anyway, put a dent in what could be a nice, momentum building start to 2010?

Just yesterday, Big Al's agent put out a statement on Al's behalf, saying he would indeed show up for training camp to “honor” his contract.

Yeah, sure. “Honor” and “Haynesworth.” Two words that hardly go together.

I believe he will show up, and look around like, “what, what? Did I miss something?” He'll claim to be trying to learn the new system. He'll give you maybe 80% effort. He'll start having constant hamstring issues and then ask to miss practices.

Teammates who ripped him in the press, will have to gently retreat to at least a workable position, making them look weak and silly in the process. I can't wait to see what London Fletcher's “new” Haynesworth stance will be.

And...... then what?

Then what.

Are you going to keep playing this waiting game with Big Al all summer, trying to force a trade, or hope he gets with the program and screws on a smile? How deep into the pre-season are you willing to go? Are you willing to risk one of his teammates punching his fat lip while he sits in the ice-tub?

All of this is going to help you win games, how, exactly? We are still in the business of winning games, right?

This thing is over, people. Big Al won. Let's hope Danny learned his lesson, and we'll press ahead with trying to have a good season.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Soccer Refs Are Really Hard To Fool


These guys are trained professionals, people. They know soccer inside and out, so don't think you can go flopping around, acting like you just got the Fritz Von Erich's claw or the Bobo Brazil coco-butt.

Because that kind of sissy nonsense isn't going to earn you a call.... wha.. wait?

Red card?

Are you freaking kidding me!???

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Some Sobering Perspective on the Gulf Oil Spill


This, is an emotional picture.

A delicious blue crab, ruined by the BP oil spill. Thanks, asshats!

Now, from a more rational standpoint, I was wondering with my pops one day about the actual scope of the oil spill.

The media has done their best to paint an ecological apocalypse - hey, it drives ratings, so I get it - but part of me always thought: "Isn't there a KAJILLION gallons of water in the gulf to begin with?"

Well, the AP does a good job of putting the oil spill into perspective.

This stat, blew me away: the oil spill right now, wouldn't even fill the Superdome 1/7th of the way up!

Now that doesn't mean it's GOOD. Or that we should send home the oil skimmers and stop laying boom. It doesn't mean BP's CEO can go yachting or Obama can go golfing.

Oh wait, never mind that last sentence.

But the larger point, is that the Gulf of Mexico will recover. The Minerals Management Service should get its governmental ass kicked. Drilling will and should resume in the gulf. We'll hose off as many pelicans as we can, and move forward.

Yeah, this is awful. But never underestimate the power of the media to overhype something.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tell The Knicks, Akron Just Pwnd You!


So they held "Lebron Appreciation Day" in Akron this weekend. And the King himself, showed up to say thanks.

Sorta.

Late by over an hour, which for a modern pro athlete is basically "on-time", The King reminded people of all the "great things" he's done so far in his career (what?) and promised to keep doing great things "for" the city that he says is "home."

The fact that many fans in attendance actually said delusional crap like this - "There's no way he can leave," Ken Metz, a 19-year-old from Parma, Ohio, said as he surveyed the crowd. "It's all here for him. He built his empire here."

Yeah, well that "empire" is going to play for the Knicks next year. Book it. It's about as predictable as a Three's Company plotline. (What, Jack's Tripper's NOT gay! Shhhhh! Don't tell Mr. Roper!)

But my favorite part of LeBron Day, is the somewhat professional looking website, which apparently GAVE THE WEBMASTER THE DAY OFF right after the event!

I mean, come on! You can't post photos of LeBron showing up late, bragging about his non-accomplishments a full 24 hours after it happens?

"Come back later?"

Get bent, LebronDay.com organizers! This story has a shelf-life shorter than a can of tuna on the back

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Now This Is An "Awful" Putting Green!


Call me a hater if you want, but watching Tiger Woods "peacock it" up the 18th on Saturday was enough to make me vomit in my mouth.

The multiple cap-doffing, overt-fist pumping, Stevie-humping charade was the classic move of a front-runner.

Nobody likes a front-runner.

And when I saw his post-round press conference going on, and on, and on, and with all his big smiles, and laughs... well, I could only think: "Hmmm. Wasn't so jolly on Thursday, now, was he?"

Thankfully, David Fay of the USGA is having none of it. None.

"I think two players used the word awful on Thursday," Fay said. "Phil said he putted awful. Tiger said the greens were awful."

"As far as the greens are concerned, he's wrong," Fay said. "That old statement that you're entitled to your opinion? He is entitled to his opinion, but he's off on his facts. These putting surfaces have never been better."

Fay said as much on the NBC broadcast too, which earns him high marks by me for not doling out little nuggets to the print media, and then getting all weak-kneed on television.

I repeat the question I asked golf fans who claim to be Tiger fans after his petulantly awful post-Masters "chat" with Peter Kostis.

Question: "Who would root for someone like that?"

The greens weren't a problem on Tuesday or Wednesday before the event. They weren't a problem after his blistering 66 on Saturday. They weren't a problem back in 2000, when Tiger never three-putted once all week.

Poa annua greens aren't a problem for Tiger Woods, who grew up in California, and played on the stuff since he was knee-high to Mike Douglass.

No, they are only a problem when Tiger doesn't want to look in the mirror. And since Hank Haney is out of the picture, I guess any old weed will do fine as a scapegoat.

If Tiger can act this way as a mere golfer when it comes to stupid native grasses that dare to cause his little golf ball to deviate only so slightly from his wishes, can you IMAGINE what Tiger the person must be like to deal with?

Frankly, it's a miracle Elin stayed married to the guy as long as she did. And if Tiger really was a prince around the house who just happened to have a sex addiction, then you know she'd be there for him today, in case he actually wins.

She's not, and that tells you all you need to know.

So go ahead, and root for the golfer you once sat slack jawed in awe of. I don't care. I'll enjoy seeing him lose. The more T2's, the better. Mo' money for Elin's Swedish island, and no mo' majors for Eldrick the petulant.

I could at least stomach the guy if he had some professional balance as a player. The banana-ball three-wood on 18 and it's resulting conga-line-dance with Stevie would be okay by me, had he just shown some grace and humility when things weren't going so peachy.

Still not a shot in his bag. And I don't think it ever will be.

Friday, June 18, 2010

You Can't Call (or Arrest) Them All


Good to see that LA's Finest is taking the most dangerous, hard core Laker fans bent on destruction off the streets.

These gals may look like your run-of-the-mill poseur fans who can't name any Laker from the pre-Shaq era, but don't be fooled. These are the ringleaders of this mayhem.





Arresting these kind of Laker fans, is like calling the touch foul on a non-star late in the game. It looks good on paper. But is largely pointless.

The reason Game 7 was such a eye-melting, wrenching, inartful affair, is that each team got the message early on from Joey and Danny Crawford's crew: "We're going to let you guys play."

Let this be a lesson anytime somebody on sports radio wails: "There's too many whistles! Just let these guys play!"

This is what happens.

40-34 at halftime.

Kobe Bryant was getting bodied, muscled, and jostled for the entire first quarter by Ray Allen and Company. You can call it "good defense" if you want. I call it fouling.

In the end, only one guy got fouled out of last night's game: Rasheed. And truthfully, you could have fouled him out twice if you actually called every time he head-clobbered guys like Gasol in the paint.

For the series, only two players fouled out of games. Rasheed and Artest. Two noted hotheads/defensive irritants, who are not considered "protected" stars of the NBA marketing pantheon.

I'm not advocating 3-4 foul-outs per game. But if there is essentially no risk of a player fouling out, the result is predictable.

More fouling.

Because Pat Riley was the first to really figure it out: they can't call every foul. So foul more, if you are deficient in offensive talent. The advantage will swing to your team.

Riley's protege, Jeff Van Gundy, continued the practice when he coached the Knicks. And as much as I like his TV work, Van Gundy was positively nuts when he said he thinks the NBA should do away entirely with the "foul out" rule.

Go ahead, and give that a try. I'm willing to bet fouling will not stay static. And I'm willing to bet my house, the fouling will not go DOWN!

The NBA could, and should, be a high flying, free flowing, much more open affair. It should not be WWE Wrestling.

But you would have to be dedicated to rolling back allowable contact between defender and ballhandler to at least early 1980's levels. And you can't do that at once. Because that WOULD relegate games to 70 free throw whistle-fests.

Sure, the players would figure it out and adjust. But the transition would be painful and ugly.

Like a lawn that has been overtaken by weeds, you could just nuke the weeds with broadleaf kill and essentially start over. But then you'd have dirt for the better part of a full summer.

The NBA needs to start strategically thinning out and reducing it's weeded lawn of fouling instead. So that "good defense" can once again become just that, and fouls are fouls.

There is a difference, and as fans, we aren't too stupid to know the difference.

If that means, god forbid, a star player getting his 6th foul and hitting the bench with the better part of the 4th quarter still remaining, so be it.

One of the notable images in Bullets fans minds, is the conclusion of the 1978 NBA Finals, where the Dick Motta led Bullets actually beat the Seattle Supersonics in their house, in a Game 7!

If you watch those closing moments, as the Fat Lady officially began to sing, you'll see star center/forward Elvin Hayes run onto the court to celebrate in his warm-up suit.

Yes, he had fouled out of that game. Can you imagine if that was Kobe?



So yeah, hot Laker chicks who dare to look at a cop sideways, will get hauled downtown, just like Big Baby Davis will get a foul called when his abundant fat so much as grazes another player.

The rest is just a free for all.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Dear Leader Says: "Clap Harder!"


How would you like to be a "fan" of North Korea's soccer team? Sounds like fun, eh? Travel out of the crushing totalitarian country you live in, see some soccer in a new environment.

And likely fear for your life once you get home.

But shortly before Tuesday's game started, a five-row block of seats on the second level at Ellis Park Stadium filled up with more than 40 men and a woman, all dressed in identical red shirts, jackets and scarves, wearing identical red caps and waving small North Korean flags. Across the way there was another similarly sized red dot of fans in grandstands that were otherwise filled with the green and yellow of Brazil.

Kim Yong Chon, 43, one of the North Korean fans, said the group, which numbered 300, was not Chinese, but he admitted they had been carefully recruited by the North Korean government to make the trip. Speaking through an interpreter, he said the group had left Pyongyang, North Korea's capital, and traveled through Beijing the same day and they would stay in South Africa as long as their team does.

They sang the North Korean national anthem loudly but sat passively, almost expressionless, through most of the game, with one man sucking on a beer. They spoke only infrequently to one another — Chon said they didn't know one another before coming to South Africa — and mainly reacted to the action on the field only when directed to do so by a man who stood before them like an orchestra conductor.


REACT: The fact that North Korea remains a repressive totalitarian hellhole is not news. But when you size it up against the backdrop of a sporting event like the World Cup, it takes on a new, more horrific, focus.

The simple act of rooting for your team, or country, in a spontaneous and joyful way, is something just about everybody takes for granted.

Under the boot of Kim Jong Il, however, you will be dressed, shipped, told when to clap, and mostly kept from seeing too much of the outside world.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"Somebody Cooking Soup?"



Of all the "peripheral" characters in the so-good-people-who-don't-watch-have-no-idea NBC hit comedy "The Office", perhaps my favorite is former Michael Scott "training buddy", the infamous Todd Packer.

Since I missed the first season or so of the show, I am just now catching some early episodes. Saw the episode: "The Carpet" last night.

Oh... my... god!!!

F'ing awesome!

I'm not going to play "spoiler" on the episode (just in case you come across it) but there's a line in that episode that ranks among the best of all time for the show.

As all the staff circles in and out of Michael's office to look at the god-awful, nose-curling stench left by a mystery person, office creep-o "Creed" finally walks in and says:

"Mmmm. Somebody making soup?"

Classic.

IN RELATED NEWS....



Doesn't this donkey from BP look like good ol' Todd Packer? If only the real Todd Packer could have showed up to that meeting with Obama.

Packer would get Obama in a gregarious headlock and hilarity would ensue.

Roger Goodell, Call Your Office



When Big Ben was suspended almost half the season by the NFL for something that only allegedly happened at a college bar in Georgia, King Roger defended the action by saying the following.

"If there's a pattern of behavior that reflects poorly on yourself, your team, and the league in general, it's important for us to have early intervention to stop that behavior and to correct the behavior."

Okay then.

What do you call this, then?





A pattern, perhaps? Embarrassing? Sure.

But something tells me that ol' Rog doesn't have the stones to issue another 6-gamer for VY. We shall see.

But like I said when Big Ben got his pound of arrogance from Goodell, this is a bad thing for the NEXT NFL player who gets sideways with the law.

While many black players and media members were secretly elated to see a white icon like Big Ben get clipped, this new holier-than-ever tack by the league is going to hurt future black players the most.

My answer is simple. Convictions (and guilty or no contest pleas) of crimes, equal suspensions. Period. Not charges. Not "patterns" of behavior. Not whether the league is "embarrassed."

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Counter-strike!


TO: Czabe
FROM: Matt Nevinger
RE: "The Dreadful Game"

Alas, I shouldn't do this. But, I dvr'd the Dutch game this morning (one of my favorite teams to watch), made it through the whole day without learning any scores, got home and got the family squared away, and was finally able to watch the match. Oh, and have a few drinks doing so, which is probably what has led to this fruitless email.

I lived in Europe for a while. I was a soccer fan before, but this certainly deepened my feelings. I was in Ireland for the 2002 World Cup, and Robbie Keane's goal against Germany will forever be the most exciting sporting moment of my life (buzzer beaters and last second field goals aren't even in the same league as watching someone grasp a four-year in-the-works lifeline for their whole country).

Your comments are the same ill-informed, openly biased rubbish every person who dismisses the game throws out. Look, I don't like tomatoes. I don't feel the need to write an editorial about it. If someone asks, I just say they're not my favorite and move on.

Ah, where to start?

How about with your "Get rid of offsides" suggestion? Yeah, that will open the game up. It's sort of like saying that if you were allowed to lineup your receivers fifteen yards in the secondary the defenses would be more aggressive and you would see more blitzing. This is actually very similar to football: if you want to go over the top, you have to actually beat someone.

I've thought about it (and tried to explain football to Europeans), and here it the best analogy I can come up with: get rid of holding.

EUROPEAN FAN: It's a stupid rule. I can't normally see it when it happens (mainly because I don't know where to look or the camera isn't focused on that part of the field) and all these awesome plays get called back because of it. Seriously, does it really impact the play? Let offensive guards tackle blitzing linebackers and who cares if a safety grabs a receiver? I don't understand how this could affect the game, so just get rid of it.

Seriously, no rule in sports encourages more aggressive play (bring those defenders forward--if they can all work together the strikers have to stay with them) and creates more space (if offsides didn't exist, at least one defender would never leave the top of the penalty area, if you had a two goal lead, it would be even worse, which would completely diminish the likelihood of comebacks, but I digress). Also, it is maybe the only example of a rule in sports that allows a team to leverage risk. What if the NFL got rid of ineligible receivers? Think about it: you could have a center and nine downfield skill players. Of course the other team could just blitz you, but if you got rid of the ball quick enough, who cares? For the defense, you could run nothing but safeties and corners, but at some point you have to create pressure. You're call.

Anyway, you can now go back to dismissing a great game (and the most brilliant sporting event in the world). But believe me: if you had been in that pub with me with Robbie Keane scored, you wouldn't feel this way.


Thanks,
Matt

P.S. Most football games are at least moderately boring unless you are very knowledgeable and can watch at a higher level, and most deep passes fall incomplete.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The (Last) Nike One


As we roll into US Open week at Pebble, there will be plenty o' retelling of Tiger's amazing week here a decade ago.

The 15 shot margin is a US Open record, and may stand until long after I am dead.

But among the tidbits from that year's Open, this little nugget about how Stevie Williams almost committed the gaffe of a century for a caddy, deserves the full explanation.

John Hawkins produces this EXCELLENT PIECE for Golfweek that describes just exactly how Tiger came down to his LAST GOLF BALL while standing on the 18th hole during Round #2.

Sadly, as I had heard this story before, it was my understanding that Tiger would have been automatically DQ'd if he ran out of balls. The fact that Hawkins debunks that bit of lore with the explanation of 2 stroke penalties instead, makes it a touch less dramatic.

Still, it's as good of a "golf story" as you'll ever read. Here's the key excerpt...

On the 13th tee, Williams realized that three of the six balls previously in Tiger’s bag had been left on the floor in Woods’ room. No big deal, at least until Woods staked his approach at the 15th, rolled in another 10-footer for birdie, then flipped the ball to a kid as he walked off the green.

Williams was getting nervous. “All I could say to myself was, ‘How am I going to get that ball back?’ We play 16 and 17, no problem, and I wanted him to hit an iron off 18, anyway. He’s got a seven-stroke lead, but he says, ‘Give me that (bleeping) driver’ and hits it left. Now we’re down to one ball and there’s water in play on the second shot.”

As his drive sailed toward the Pacific Ocean, Woods unleashed a couple of choice obscenities for those watching at home on NBC. What he didn’t know is that he was about to hit his last Nike One. Williams never mentioned it. Again, the caddie suggested an iron. Again, Woods chose the driver and launched a towering fade to the right half of the fairway. Despite bogeys on both back-nine par 5s, he was in with a 69, his lead still six.

Woods didn’t find out about the shortage of balls until after the tournament, and only then, it was because he asked Williams why he seemed so anxious at the end of the second round. The two men still laugh about it, but if Woods had run out of ammo, it’s doubtful he would have found anything funny about his options as designated by the USGA’s one-ball rule.

He could have sent Williams to the pro shop to buy a sleeve, but because Woods always has played a ball designed specifically for him – not sold to the public – there would have been a penalty involved. Williams could have gone back to Woods’ room and fetched the missing Nikes, which might have led to a penalty for delay of play, or he could have simply borrowed a Top-Flite from Furyk or a Titleist from Parnevik at the cost of two shots per hole (with a maximum four-shot penalty).

You know what’s really amazing?

Woods could have played all six holes that morning with someone else’s ball, absorbed the punishment and still won by 11.

FOOTNOTE: I really WOULD have loved to see Stevie huff it all the way up 18 on foot to the pro-shop, then hoof it all the way back, redfaced and sweaty. Wouldn't you? Frankly, I'm suprised he didn't punch the kid in the mouth who Tiger flipped the ball to, and said: "Not today, Junior. We're gonna need that pearl!"

"Crack The Sky"



God bless Warfordsburg, PA.

That's all I'm gonna say.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Dreadful Game


It didn't take long to remind us ignorant soccer haters what it is about the game we so loathe.

Answer: everything.

The US and England was hyped to the moon and I fell for it. Even cutting short yardwork to make sure I was inside at the specifically mentioned “1:30” game time I had been hearing all week.

Of course, game time was really 2:30, so I swallowed good chunks of Mike Tirico and some other dude I've never seen doing pre-game.

Oh. Sorry. Pre-”match”. Soccer lingo.

Some ninety odd minutes and orange slices later, we had an entirely un-satisfactory 1-1 tie for all of that hype and build-up.

The British side was pissed. The Yanks were sheepishly happy. And I had dozed off to the drone of the vuvuzelas.

Soccer is just as bad to watch as it was when I left it, which was four years ago at the last World Cup. You know, the one where the idiotic Frenchman headbutted an opponent costing his nation the Cup. Don't ask me about the rest of that year's tournament. That's all I remember.

Right off the bat, this year's Cup fell into comfortable cliches. Two games. Two goals. Two ties.

Ah yes, but I know. If I only had the requisite soccer knowledge and global sporting intellect, those 2 goals would have been the crown jewels on a subtle and complex tapestry woven by the 22 players on the pitch.

But I don't. I'm American, and I prefer my sports to be interesting.

The reasons why soccer hasn't “caught on” here as a spectator sport are obvious. And the rest of the world isn't changing it for our sake. A decision with which I concur. You'll never convert us anyway, so why mess with a winning product everywhere else?

There are many stupid things about soccer, but the lack of scoring remains the stupidest.

A 1-0 deficit, and your side is playing with the burden of 11 elephants on their backs.
A 2-0 deficit and you are now just out there getting some exercise.
A 3-0 defeat and the newspapers back home will call you an “embarassment.”

This level of scoring just doesn't make sense.

It is so hard to score in soccer, it would be like basketball played on 30 foot rims.

Soccer eliminates the most fundamentally exciting thing about sports: the comeback.

There are no comebacks in soccer. If a team comes back to win a game after going down 3-0, it'll become local lore on par with a Loch Ness Monster sighting.

“Ah, yes, laddie. 'Member da time when Tottenham came back aginst ManU ta win dat one, four da tree?”

“Sure do, laddie. Octoober ninth, nine-teen-fifty-one. Da greetest dah in Hotspur histray!”

My humble suggestion for soccer would be to do away entirely with “off-sides.” I mean, how bad would the game look in comparison to now? You have 11 guys, so do we. If a guy is cherry picking, you might want to mark him. Spread out the players, open some lanes, allow for some over-the-top passing.

And for god sakes, get the goal count comfortably into the 5 to 4 range per game.

A quality effort for a soccer team usually produces perhaps 10-12 goal scoring “chances.” Not necessarily shots, or even shots-on-frame, but just a dozen moments where you actually say: “Hey, in theory, this team might score here.”

Assuming 20 quality chances per game total, over 90 plus minutes, that's barely one every five minutes.

And soccer fanatics like to rip the NFL for all of the “breaks in the action.” Child, please.

Hey, huddles in football don't last 4 minutes. And you can score from anywhere on the field.

Either team.

In spectacular fashion.



What a shock soccer has never caught our fancy in America.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Soccer In A Beehive


If you were wondering, "what in the hell is that noise, noise, NOISE!" while watching the World Cup this month, I have your answer.

The vuvuzela.

Ah yes, the melodious, joyful, er PLASTIC, horn given out to spectators.


Buy some for your kids! Annoy your co-workers! Get some vuvuzela lessons for Father's Day!

BRRRRRRrrrrrrrrbbbblllllrrrrrrr!

After 2 matches at the world cup, we have 2 goals, and two ties.

Feel the magic.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wake Up, Barry


They say success has a thousand fathers and failure is an orphan.

This is true.

What happened wrong in the BP oil well spill, is enough to fill non-stop Congressional investigations for years. And I am sure it will.

Lot of blame. Lot of oil. Not going to touch either one.

Obama is our self-described "ass kicker" in chief, so let's just see how ol' arugula-mom-jeans-foof-thrower is doing.

Sucks.

And you thought Bush was bad in Katrina. Ha.

Initially after this disaster, I gave Obama a pass on criticism. Bush was vilified absurdly for things well beyond his control, and I wasn't going to be a hypocrite and rip Obama for not canceling every little event on his schedule just to pick up tar blobs on the beach.

But at this point, holy crap, Barry, pull your head out of your ass dude!

I will blast Obama for one thing, and one thing only. This is it.

THE GUY HADN'T MET WITH THE CEO OF BP UNTIL JUST THIS WEEK!

Are you f'ing kidding me?

Something like this, our president can only do so much. He's not Aquaman. But not having run a country myself, here is what I think I would have done in Week 1.

a. Tell my staff to bring me the 5 most expert, independent deep sea oil drilling engineers.
b. Tell the CEO of BP to get his ass to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave ASAP.
c. Have one big fucking meeting in which, I, as president, make sure to remind everybody around the table: "Look, don't bullshit me!"

Take all of the info you gather, and get a plan. Don't piss off BP, because you now need their ass to help you fix this. But don't coddle them either.

So why then, didn't our country's CEO, Barry, decide to meet with BP's CEO for something this basic?

Oh, because our Teleprompter King was too "smart" for that ol' ploy.

"My experience is when you talk to a guy like a BP CEO, he's going to say all the right things to me. I'm not interested in words. I'm interested in actions."

REACT: Oh, your "experience?" Your experience at, what, exactly? Community organizing? Christ. What a joke. The same guy who wants to have dialogue with foreign dictators, suddenly doesn't think a meeting with the CEO of BP will be productive as the entire Gulf of Mexico turns into a fudge sundae.

You know who would have been a real ace of an asset in the White House right now?

A vice president with executive experience, from the state with the most oil production in the country.

Oh, wait. Never mind.

But she's stupid, and Barry's smart, or at least that's what one sports writer I know argued with me during the election. A sportswriter whose big resume item is ghostwriting a book with Shaq.

He was beyond certain that becoming governor of Alaska - and running the state - took virtually no brains, but that covering the NBA made him an intellectual.

Whatever.

I shudder to think what Barry will be like when a real crisis emerges. Something a little more complicated, fast moving, and difficult than a big oil zit on the ocean floor.

I hope we never have to find out.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Did I Really Say This?


My big mouth often gets me in trouble. So do listeners who have good memories, and Google Calendars they use to track my blowhard predictions.

Czabe,

This Google Calendar reminder popped up for me yesterday reminding me that you proclaimed on your show a year ago that if Twitter was still popular in a year you would eat a live bird and it brought an interesting range of emotions. First it makes me angry that somehow Twitter has survived; second, it makes me really miss the First Team and how your show used to get me through the day; and finally it made me reflect on the past year and fully realize how it was the worst possible year for a DC/America sports fan ever.

Thanks for the Daily Czabecast and First Team Expresses and all, its definitely not the same as the show, but at least Galdi gets to chime in. So I guess since Twitter seems to still be going strong, sooner or later there needs to be the consumption of a live bird on an upcoming Czabecast. I'd go with a sparrow because they're small and it would work towards solving you sparrow problem.

Buon Appetito,
AJ


REACT: Well, thank you AJ. It is, bitter irony, that Twitter does continue to exist, and my radio show is slowly assuming room temperature some 6 months later.

That said, I am working on a return to the national radio stage, and while nothing is imminent, I will only say "don't bet against me."

I will most likely NOT eat a live bird, as having consulted the internet on this, there appears to be a myriad of health problems that could ensue from such an act.

But being such a good sport, I have found for you a little video rendition of what me eating a live bird might look like.



Now, as for Twitter, let me just say this. I STILL don't think it's a sustainable business. It's a fucking FAD, people! In fact, unless I am wrong, Twitter hasn't generated any real money for its founders yet. Could they SELL it for some insane amount of millions? Sure. But where is the business plan?

Twitter is a 1-900 number. It is MySpace. Or, Napster. Remember the ol' "score phone". Call it up, get scores. Oooh, yeah! Hot stuff! At some point, it will have its day of reckoning where everybody standing in the big Twitter room looks around at each other, and starts to leave en mass, realizing it is a huge waste of time.

Twitter is popular!

Yeah. So were Zubaz, once.

Here is the key test for Twitter. If traditional print media was somehow forbidden by law to quote Twitter, would it have any real resonance? The only time I really think about Twitter, is when mainstream media brings it up.

ESPN reports that Athlete X said on his Twitter account: "blah, blah, blah."

Now maybe that's not the point. Maybe Twitter knew all along they were going to just be a way for celebrities to issue micro-press releases at any time of the day or night. Maybe Twitter knew that the mainstream media would be too lazy to go collect an actual quote from an athlete anymore, and just reprint Twitter jibberish.

After Rafa Nadal won the French Open to avenge his only clay court loss from last year, the AP story quoted a tweet from Andy Roddick that said: "Nadal. Best clay court player ever!"

Well, thank you for that, Andy.

For mere mortals, everyday schmucks, who is using twitter as a necessary and effective everyday tool? And would anyone ever PAY for it?

Oh, sure. "Advertising" I hear you say.

Child, please.

Every web based venture thinks - THINKS - they can make a fortune by selling "advertising." Like it's that easy. Every web based venture looks at their user numbers and thinks: "Who wouldn't want to tap into that!?"

The problem is, everybody uses the "internet". All day, every day. So just saying you have a lot of people on your particular web site, doesn't mean squat. It would be like owning a 100 foot stretch of highway pavement, saying "don't you want to advertise by painting your logo on my stretch of highway? I get a million cars a day rolling over it!"

So Twitter isn't as dead as I thought (hoped) it would be by now. But give it time. Give it time.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Fucking Awesome


Is there any other way to describe Strasburg's debut?

Funny, because leading up to last night, for, oh about the last two weeks, I really didn't sense that Tuesday would feel any different around our sprawling tri-state (sorta) region.

I was wrong.

There was a distinct buzz. On the radio. At the charity golf tournament I was participating in. A giddiness that was palpable.

Then the kid goes out and torches 14 Pirates without walking one. Something no pitcher in his major league debut has ever done.

Ever. Ken Burns can look that one up, and he won't find it. And Ken was in the house last night!

Fucking.... awesome!

I won't say this was exactly "worth" growing up my entire life without a baseball team until 5 years ago.

But it was close.

Tuesday night was the birth of Washington D.C. as a baseball town. We haven't been one since the Nats (Senators) returned. But we are now. Not like New York. Not Boston. Not St. Louis. Not Philly.

Not even the next 10 or 15 cities.

But we were born last night as a baseball city.

Real baseball cities need the following...

a. A Team
b. A star player who gets the blood pumping
c. A playoff appearance to enrapture the city

We fought for 3 decades to get a squad back. We finally did. Check.

We got lucky to land Strasburg. Check.

It's going to take several years and some luck to get "C". But give us time.

For you guys in Milwaukee who had Robin Yount and Paul Molitor, you know. There is nothing quite like having a major league club, and a phenomenal talent.

Maybe Strasburg is only being rented for 5 years from the Yankees. Maybe that elbow will explode like so many power pitchers before him.

I for one, am not living in the "maybe." I'm just soaking it up. As a fan, you are lucky to get one of these players in a lifetime to root for. If Bryce Harper is what he appears to be, then we might just get two.

Score it a big fat "Curly W" flag above the stadium, and a big fat smile on all of Washington's face on Wednesday.

The Calm Before the Mayhem


The seismic shift in major college conference alignment is about to go down, and like the final episode of the Sopranos, the action is going to peel everybody's eyelids back.

Forget the "where will Notre Dame go" questions, or the relatively tame "could the Big Ten raid a few schools from the ACC" drama.

The PAC-10 has just been given the green light to wipe out the Big 12 South.

The Pac-10 administrators arrived in San Francisco this weekend to a report that the conference was ready to invite Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Baylor from the Big 12 to create a 16-team megaconference.

There has also been a report that Baylor could replace Colorado in that scenario or the Pac-10 could choose to keep the status quo or add only two teams in a smaller move.


Hol-lee sheeet!

I can imagine how this conversation went down.

PAC-10 UNDERLINGS: "So, uh, boss, should we send out the expansion invites? Maybe Utah, and BYU to start?"

PAC-10 BOSSES: "Go to twelve? Fuck that. Let's do 16, bitches. If Gillette can cram 5 razor blades into a single handle, we can do 16."

UNDERLINGS: (squeeky voice): "Ummmmm.... I don't know where we are going to find 6 teams, boss."

BOSSES: "Here. Take the Big 12 South. I count 6 teams there, and all we really want is Texas. We can throw away Baylor later, like a free eyeglass case."

Personally, I like the Big 12 as it stands. It's wide open outdoor Arena Football. Always fun to bet the "over" and not quite as pretentious as the southern blowhards in the SEC.

And the Pac-10 has decided they might just pull their boat up along side it, board the sucker, and saw the thing in half and let it sink?

My gawd.

On the flip side, it does give Mac Brown a whole new set of conference rivals to choke against. Ditto Bob Stoops.

Lamar Odom's Candy Obsession


Who here thinks Lamar Odom will be on the Shawn Kemp 400-pound express train when he retires from the NBA?

Either that, or he's going to need to quit eating candy cold turkey.

Quitting crack, might actually be easier.

I remember when this story first came out, and it was a triple-WHOA! Even for the world of the NBA, where nutty shit comes flying out of the news cycle on a regular basis.

Funny too, that an impulsive, compulsive sweet tooth like Lamar would marry Sasquatch Kardashian (her given name, don't look at me people) after dating her for just 4 months!

And how fat is SHE going to get when the two have had a few long off-seasons to cuddle up with a few 5 lb. bags of red vines and spice drops?

Now I am sure there's still probably 3% of you who are hearing about this story for the first time. For you people, let me just spare you the trip to Snopes.com.

This is real.

Now pass me the Now N' Laters.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Not To Be Paranoid, But....


A lot of weird crap going on in the world right now.

Sinkhole in Guatemala.
Volcano in Europe.
Ruptured oil well in the Gulf.
Al and Tipper Gore getting divorced.
Tampa Bay with the best record in baseball.
Lindsay Lohan actually passing her first two court mandated drug tests.

I often wonder: "What would it be like to live in world where all this shit happens, and Lady Gaga can write a song about her fucking cell phone not working and have it float to the top of the charts like one of my fetid mud logs?"

Not a world I wanna live in, folks!

Next Lady Gaga song to hit number one, and I'm jumping into that damn hole in Guatamala.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Roaring Twenties


I was spending some time in the 5-Hour Energy Dome Sunday afternoon to avoid the early June thunder-swelter here in Virginny. Memorial was on. Cool.

And on the other two TV's?

Crap. The Stanley Cup and NBA Finals weren't on until later. So I fished around. Best I could do was Orioles and Red Sox on the right screen, and NBC's AMERICAN RUGBY on the other!

I kid you not. Rugby. American. College. I turned off both alternate TVs and went solo golf on the theater screen.

Hey NBC, once you are done with your Stanley Cup contract, just get out of sports altogether.

One of the reasons why I think Tiger only has a 2, maybe 3, more majors in him, is the horde of fearless young studs coming at him hard right now.

It's not so much that they are young and good. It's the golfing arrogance that is breathtaking. And in a good way. Tiger's length dominance is gone. Another reason why he's got an severely uphill climb to reach jack.

Here are the so-called “Roaring Twenties” winners on Tour this year, and their ages.

Rory McIlroy (20)
Jason Day (22)
Anthony Kim (24)
Dustin Johnson (25)
Hunter Mahan (28)
Camilo Villegas (28)
Bill Haas (28)
Derek Lamely (29)
Adam Scott (29)

More Memorial Notes...

Mark Calcavecchia, whoa! I know you are excited about getting to ride carts now that you are “retiring” to the Senior Tour. But to quote Tony Soprano: “Mix in a salad, you fat f***. And don't lean on my car, you might flip it over.”

Even though I enjoy doing my hi-pitched “Evil Nicklaus” voice whenever relevant, I still have a super-jumbo bucket of respect for the guy. I really enjoy hearing his thoughts during this week of his tournament, and his time in the booth with CBS is always a treat. Someday, Jack won't be with us. I want to listen to everything he has to say

Do they put the Konica Minolta BizHub swingvision sequences (with Peter Kostis narration and analysis) on the web anywhere? I don't mean random viewers throwing them up to YouTube. If not, then Konica and CBS are missing a good web opportunity. And oh yeah, I'd like to look them. All day. Like golf porn.

Speaking of that, did you see how flawless Justin Rose's move looks? His head is rock steady level. Compare that to Tiger's head, bobbing up and down through impact like he's at a state fair apple tub. Tiger's got major swing problems, and I don't think it's smart to be without a formal teacher right now. But then again, I have major swing problems, and six teachers, and that's not helping me much either.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The stat of Phil Jackson being 47-0 when winning game 1 of a playoffs series is a phenomenal stat. Might be the most under-rated winning trend in sports history. Unless they choke this one and lost to the Celtics.

Speaking of stats, Golfweek's Jeff Rude made a great case for Vijay Singh getting a special US Open exemption. So good, in fact, the USGA reversed course and gave him one. The stat? Before recent injuries, Vijay had racked up 11 consecutive years in the Top-5 of the money list. 11. In a row! Lombardi once said winning is the “only” thing. I disagree. Consistence excellence like what Vijay has done, always gets a tip of my cap, even if he didn't win as many as he should have.

Stephen Strasburg's debut on Tuesday night is going to be electric at Nationals Park. And against the sorry-ass Pirates, it might just be a no-hitter if they leave him in. Okay, I'm a little giddy on Strasburg fumes right now. Sorry. Just get a win, kid.

It wouldn't be the worst idea in the world going forward, to require every oil company doing deep sea drilling to prove they have a super-bad-ass submarine (not something dinky, I'm talking a big ol' BOAT!) that can get down to each wellhead and shut it off. The oil companies are gonna need to build this thing. And I don't care what it costs. We know they got the money.

How come nobody suggested putting Albert Haynesworth in a wetsuit and scuba tank and having him sit on the well until we figure it out? Not like he's doing anything right now.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Clean Up, 6th Green!


Jack Nicklaus runs the Memorial Tournament like Itzhak Perlman plays a stratavarius.

It is a nearly flawless event, with a golf course that is manicured to a degree only shy of Augusta National.

So when this happened a few years ago, I nearly... well, I nearly pooped myself.

To quote Ricky Bobby: "That was REAL! That happened!"

If don't believe me, here is the actual PGA Tour.com story.

DIRTY PROBLEM: Phil Mickelson returned Saturday morning to resume the rain-delayed second round when he noticed the hole on the sixth green was not in the same spot as it was when he left the course the night before.

The new hole was about 3 feet away, and there was a good reason for the relocation.

Someone had defecated in the hole overnight.

"They tried to clean it up as best they could," PGA Tour tournament official Slugger White said. "The more they cleaned around the cup, it tufted the grass up."

The best solution was to move the hole, and officials had the players move their ball marks the same distance. White wasn't sure if there was precedence in a book of decisions on the Rules of Golf.

"That's just common sense," he said.


REACT: Classic.

I can just see Nicklaus' face when he hears the crackle come over his radio as the sun comes up on his beloved course during tournament week.

RADIO: "Ahhhh, come in Golden Bear, this is Maintenance."
JACK: "Go ahead, this is Golden Bear."
RADIO: "Uhhhhh... yeah. We got a 'situation' here on #6."

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

ESPN Getting Robbed on Reilly for Patrick Trade


About 2 years ago, sport media giants ESPN and Sports Illustrated essentially swapped stars.

Back page magazine superstar Rick Reilly would go to the World Wide Leader, and great hair SportsCenter franchise anchor Dan Patrick would get a little columnette inside SI around page 10.

While Patrick isn't exactly setting the radio/magazine world on fire, Reilly is undeniably bombing at ESPN.

And lest anyone think I am a Reilly basher, let me say loudly that his column in SI was regularly my favorite 10 minutes of the magazine.

Reilly on TV just doesn't work, on many levels. In print, he's witty. On camera, he's whiney. In print, his angles seem fresh. On camera they seem forced.

For a while, they had a feature called "Life of Reilly." Now it is "Riley Up." They tried Reilly as a Sportscenter anchor.

What a disaster.

He has a face for a magazine, his voice is not just poor, it's annoying, his delivery is unpolished, and his broadcast writing skills are still being developed.

Plus, why try Reilly as an anchor, when you can just pull another guy with good hair and a smooth act from the fish tank known as ESPNNews?

I have seen some of the "Hometown Reunion" series that Reilly has hosted. Not bad. But the concept just doesn't resonate with me.

Now they have Riled Up, which I suppose is an effort to brand him as a wacky, energetic, edgy "outsider". The jerky, Blair Witch Project style webcam shots seem forced. And knowing that he's doing many of these from his house, in t-shirts and a shorts, sort of rubs me the wrong way.

From what I understand, he's making like $2 million a year.

Yeah, I'm jealous. But GOOD GOD, what a waste of money! For that kind of cash, at least put on slacks and a shirt, and leave your driveway!

I suppose when you are both of these guys, at the pinnacle of your profession, having done what you do for many years, you look for a new challenge. Maybe Rick Reilly is enjoying the challenge. It just doesn't seem that way.

I've seen ESPN waste more money on even lesser talent. But I have a hard time believing this is how they envisioned things working out.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Burning Bush


I have now had my "burning bush moment" in golf.

I best take heed.

For you heathens out there, the burning bush fable comes from Exodus, Old Testament.

Let me summarize:

The Egyptians are persecuting the Jews. A burning bush appears to Moses, with an image of Yahweh (God) inside, telling Moses to take his people out of Egypt to Canaan.

Moses, skeptical, basically says: "Yahweh? That's not really you. Come on!"

So Yahweh starts messing with Moses.

Yahweh then performs various demonstrative miracles in order to bolster Moses's credibility. Among other things, a staff was transmuted into a snake, Moses's hand was temporarily made to appear leprous, and water was transmuted into blood.


And then Czaban's driver was transmuted into a deformed, crooked, elm branch. His tears, transmuted into blood. His putting, leprous.

The Golf Gods' message: "get out!"

Message received.

My foray into the 36-hole Virginia State Amateur Qualifier was short lived. I went 9 holes and gently bowed out, telling my playing partners that I was sorry but, "I do not belong out here today."

And I truly did not.

I did not make a single par. I hit a 6-iron OB on a 165 yard par-3 (it was 30 yards left). I hit my next drive on a short par-4 dead right, OB. I hit 2 other drives that were weak, weak, pop-ups, which ended up maybe 190 and on the edge of OB.

Yet I wasn't slowing down our group. I wasn't throwing tantrums. I wasn't too embarrassed to turn in my scorecard (it was looking like it would start with a "1").

I just didn't belong out there. I was the Salahis of amateur golf. An impostor.

And I applied for the event in good faith, with the requisite sub 5.3 handicap. A handicap, based on holdover rounds still in the "system" from last year's late summer/fall scores. (See my rant on the stupidity of the USGA index from Monday.)

A few of these rounds from last year, were played with just one other friend. Under perfect still blue September skies. On gentle, 6,300 yard home layouts with few hazards and no OB.

This, suffice to say, does not prepare one for tournament golf.

Someday, I will return to tournament golf. But I do not know when. It may be years. And I will need to start at a much lower level.

Hello, C-Flight at my local muni! (Not a joke, folks.)

I need to go back and "un-learn" the crummy, pressure vulnerable, flip-and-hope swing I have. A swing that I have, sadly, been grooving for years now.

This will not be pretty.

My golfing BFF Mike McGowan put it succinctly.

This won't cheer you up, but your golf swing is indeed weird. It's perfect at the top of the backswing, and perfect at the finish, but at impact it's funky. I'll bet you can make it look better at impact -- using your pro's (NAME REDACTED) drills -- but I don't know if it will immediately lead to better ball striking. Somehow, you have trained your body to hit good shots with hips square at impact. If you "fix" your hips, you have to figure out how you've been compensating -- and then fix that too. That secret compensation move might be harder to fix than the square hips.

I harken back to the wise counsel I received from PGA Teaching Pro (Name Redacted): "Mike, you're a 6 now, but you could be a scratch player with just a tweak or two. You crush that power fade almost every time, but you need to reshape your clubhead path to hit draws. All good players draw the ball."

That was 2004. I'm now a rising 17.0 Index with a two-way miss. Only dim-witted stubbornness has kept me from quitting this ridiculous game.


REACT: He's right. I have a "square-hip-flip" move that involves a lot of compensatory moves. They are like an array of complicated servos and pistons and springs in a Willy Wonka like machine.

Some of them, I am sure, are so imperceptible to my eye, or even a pro's eye, that it may take months (or years!) to discover.

So why tear apart this car engine and start over?

Well, what else do I have to do? I mean, really. This is my hobby.

I remember when I was a kid, and my uncle Tom Czaban in Schenectady, NY would drive a low-level stock car on dirt tracks on the weekend.

When my dad (his brother) would take us up to visit in the summer, I recall watching the hours and hours Uncle Tom and a cadre of adults would spend hovering around the spare garage that housed the red white and blue "Big Daddy #1" car.

So much of low level racing like this, depended upon getting the car sufficiently tuned up to run well, with adequate power. And once you did, you were one spin out, or wreck from having all that time wasted.

Yet, if you had the engine, and you were leading the race, there was nothing better.

And this is like my golf. My engine is crap. It simply won't run in any level of competitive "race" above a scramble.

I am not quitting golf. Just re-calibrating. Getting out of stupid tournaments for quite a while. When (or, rather if) I ever get into a proper position at impact, I can assure you I'll post it here.

In the meantime, I am done boring you with my golf game. As the policeman in front of the smoldering wreckage would say: "Go home people. Nothing to see here."