Did the Cubs really win?

My bad.

Call it distractions, call it day-to-day life, call it ennui if you must you yuppie swine, but I never got around to writing about the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series.

So call this a make-up column.

Do I have any new insights on the games? No. Do I have any insights on the players? No. But I do have a keen memory of the fans I saw the night they wrapped up Game 7 (finally) for the win.

I saw Damian from Chicago bear-hugging Randy from Wisconsin, jumping up and down as if they were gathered at the pitcher’s mound in Cleveland on that rainy night at Progressive Field. A young black man celebrating with a middle-aged white man with only two things in common — a gig at one of the largest newspaper companies in the world and a shared love of a once-cursed baseball team that had just conquered the world.

Yes, I saw this in a newsroom, where there’s no cheering in the press box, where we’ve seen it all, heard it all, read it all. Where news of election results, car crashes, celebrity sightings, rapes, murders and, yes, sporting events are met with either gallows humor or a detached shrug.

But not in this case. The Cubs won the World Series, ending a 108-year drought. This win mattered, even to fans in the newsroom. And I’ve got proof.

Fifteen minutes after the Cubs sealed the deal, Randy emerged from the men’s room dressed in his Cubs hat and jersey. Why did he wait until after the game?

“The last time they were in the playoffs, I was wearing this while they were playing and they lost. Didn’t want to jinx them,” he says.

Jerseys and hats are for closers, so once the Cubs closed the series, the well-deserved swag came out of the duffel bag and onto the superstitious fan who knows best — you don’t mess with a win streak, not in Vegas, not in Cleveland.

Randy’s a Packers fan, so he knows what it’s like to have your team win the big one. But this is baseball, and there’s nothing like a World Series win. It’s a glow in the chest that keeps you warm until April when the sun comes out on the dawn of a new season.

It’s memories of game-winning RBIs from Little League when you pretended someday you’d hit the game-winner in the major leagues.

It’s a call to Dad, Mom, and maybe Grandpa, who also witnessed his first World Series win in his lifetime.

It’s a chance to talk to old friends and new acquaintances, even the ones who sometimes annoy you, they’re all right now, because they’re Cubs fans too and we won.

And it’s a time for pure baseball lovers to unite because we remember when our teams finally won, like my Giants in 2010, and how great it feels, and when we see our friends feeling the same thing, that glow in the chest comes rushing back into us too.

The Cubs won the World Series. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime moment. For everyone.

Except Cleveland fans, of course. Oh, well. Maybe next year.



Three out of four ain’t bad

I only missed one. It was a huge swing-and-a-miss, though.

Who knew Atlanta was so good? I didn’t. They’re looking like the presumptive Super Bowl winner at this point. Seattle didn’t stand a chance, especially when all their defensive players kept getting banged up.

I did see Green Bay winning. Two words, Aaron Rodgers. He makes things happen, and I didn’t see a rookie-laden Cowboys team coming up with the answers, although they almost did. The Cowboys are impressive, and they will be back in the playoffs next year.

But rookies with a week off — not a good thing. It’s not like Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott took a trip to Florida or anything, but they definitely had too much time on their hands. Too much time to think. So that’s one reason I picked Green Bay.

But I mainly picked Green Bay because of Aaron Rodgers. I like the best quarterback to win.

Which is why I picked New England over the Houston Texans. I picked Tom Brady over Brock Osweiler, that wasn’t hard. And I picked Ben Roethlisberger over Alex Smith, too.

Unfortunately, I also picked Russell Wilson over Matt Ryan, and I was wrong. Way wrong. Ryan’s got game. More than I’m aware of, apparently. And the smart money is on New England vs. Atlanta in the Super Bowl.

But I’m picking Green Bay vs. New England anyway. And then I’ll pick Green Bay to win. And you know why.



Golf now features 6 major events

The PGA officially holds four major events each year — The Master’s, The U.S. Open, The (British) Open, and the PGA Championship. In that order.

But two tournaments feel like majors, include the top golfers on tour, and, let’s face it, grab our television attention. What better indicator of a major sporting event is there besides TV ratings? Nothing.

Do I have to tell you which two tournaments are the unrecognized majors? If so, you haven’t watched golf since Tiger Woods got injured. And even if you watched back when Eldrick could still play (he’s finished, right?) you weren’t really paying attention.

So pay attention.

The other two majors are The Players Championship and the recently contested Tour Championship, which dots the I and crosses the T in determining the winner of the FedEx Cup — which oddly features no Is or Ts whatsoever.

You know The Players. It’s the one held in Florida at the TPC Sawgrass. The golf course with the famous 17th hole, a nickel-sized green surrounded by water, the hole where you get to watch many a pro make the “kersplash” sound when their balls land in the H2O. Just like us.

And the Tour Championship, forgetaboutit. Whoever wins that wins the FedEx Cup, so the tension is palpable. Unless, of course, like Tiger and other FedEx leaders from the past they’re so far ahead that all they have to do is finish in the top ten or so. But this year it felt like a major, since the FedEx Cup winner, Rory McIlroy, came from behind and won the championship and the cup. I suppose on years when the Tour Championship winner is not the FedEx winner, it feels less like a major. I suppose.

So golf now features 5 1/2 majors. That’s what I said, right?

Johnson wins Open

Iowan golfer thanks wife, caddy and Jesus for playoff win

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — Scotland’s long national nightmare — which for some reason they chose to share with the rest of the world — is finally over. Through the rain, the wind, and the apologetics from R&A, an Open Championship champion has been crowned and his name is Zach Johnson.

Johnson thanked the Open officials, the fans, his caddy, his wife and Jesus — pretty much in that order. Please wake me when the PGA Tourney starts.

See? That’s why I don’t write for The Associated Press. Objective journalism only works for writers who truly don’t give a shit. My passion burns like a fire within me, and usually continues to my shoes, up my jeans, spreading to my shirt until I eventually tumble to earth in a hellish ball of my own creation.

This is why I write a sports blog. It may not pay the bills, but I haven’t gotten fired yet.

“Johnson wins Open” is the perfectly boring headline for the perfectly boring golfer. Yes, he’s a nice midwestern boy. Yes, he’s never fooled around on his wife, I assume. Yes, that’s probably because he lacks imagination as well as opportunity, since he looks like a balding Joaquin Phoenix and talks like a Rotarian giving the treasurer’s report. Besides, Jesus and his caddy would likely always talk him out of it.

Am I bitter? A tad. Think of the headlines I could have written. If the kid from Ireland had won, I could have written “DUNNE AND DONE.” If Jordan Spieth had won I could have written, “I looked over Jordan and what did I see — Ben Hogan.” Okay, that’s more of a lead, but you get the picture.

Zach Johnson won the British Open. Him. And I’ve got nothin’.


PS — I’ve got a great idea for next year’s British Open. Hold it in Florida.

Now that I’m finally over the Super Bowl, how about that Maneuver in Vancouver

Yes, I’m finally over the Super Bowl and how about that, it took less than six months.

The Women’s World Cup win by our U.S. girls didn’t hurt with my recovery. Nor did hometown boy (if you live in Austin or Dallas and can claim him) Jordan Spieth’s win in two major golf tournaments this year.

But let no one doubt I’m a Seahawks fan now. Anybody who went through Feb. 1 and still remains a fan is a true fan. Or a complete idiot. Or both.

Speaking of golf and soccer, Rory McIlroy.

Yes, he’s become a punchline.


My take on Super Bowl 49

Worst play call ever.


My pick for the Super Bowl

I’m going with the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl. Not just because I’m a newly-minted Seahawks fan (and that’s the last time I ever refer to myself as a new fan), but because I’ve seen this scenario before. Recently, in fact.

Yes, Richard Sherman is injured and distracted. But I’m still betting on the greatest cornerback in the game today coming through in the clutch. Besides, he won’t be covering Rob Gronkowski, who remains the biggest receiving threat on New England’s side of the ball, especially given the weakness the Seahawks have had all year at covering tight ends.

And sure, Tom Brady is a great quarterback with three Super Bowl wins already, but I love the resourcefulness of Russell Wilson, who can run, pass and think on his feet with the best of them.

But the main reason I’m going with the Seahawks is because the NFC Championship game reminded me of the SF Giants win in the final game of the NL Championship series — both ended with dramatic home run balls.

And when you take that kind of momentum into the big show, you’re likely to win.


The race between the tortoise and the hare …


The end.


Cornerback Richard Sherman might be Seattle’s weak link

You do what you have to do to win, I suppose.

Patriots and former Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner has promised to go after Richard Sherman’s injured arm during the Super Bowl.

According to a report by ESPN’s Ed Werder, Sherman’s injured left elbow is likely torn ligaments — a much more serious injury than a simple hyperextension, and one not easily repaired. It’ll take off-season surgery to get it to heal properly.

But that isn’t the main problem.

Sherman’s girlfriend, Ashley Moss, is pregnant, and while the baby isn’t due until next week, babies have been known not to cooperate. If the baby chooses to make an entrance Sunday afternoon, it could send Sherman to the hospital faster than any collision incurred on the field of play. Even if the baby doesn’t come until next week, thoughts of pending fatherhood will likely be hovering around Sherman’s every move.

Besides. Every guy knows inflated girls are a bigger distraction than deflated balls.


Good news about the Texas Longhorns basketball team

I have to give UT basketball credit, they are more consistently disappointing than UT football.

The football team used to let me down once a week, tops. The basketball team lets me down two, sometimes three times each week.

As of this writing, they’re losing to Iowa State 73 to 59. Amazingly, after losses to Kansas, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma, they’re still ranked 19th. Is that in the Big 12?

Also, by basketball I mean men’s basketball. Always. I don’t cover special olympics. (Pause.) Ah, the freedom of having only three readers.


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