Tag Archives: Sports

Why we love Jordan Spieth

Do you know what makes a great champion? Dramatic losses.

Or I should say, comebacks from dramatic losses. Muhammad Ali came back from a devastating loss to Joe Frazier, just as Joe Louis came back from a huge loss to Max Schmeling.

We love the Boston Red Sox because we remember — or at least have heard of — their monumental collapse during the 1986 World Series.

This is why we love Jordan Spieth. Sometimes he plays like us, such as the 13th hole of the 2017 British Open. Other times, he plays like Tiger Woods, such as every other hole of the 2017 British Open.

At age 23, he’s won three majors.  But he’s also lost two when it looked like he was on his way to a win. His bogey on the 17th hole of the 2015 British Open kept him out of the playoff and ruined his chances of a potential one-year Grand Slam, since he had won both the Master’s and the U.S. Open that year.

But that wasn’t the devastating loss.

The big choke came during the 2016 Master’s when Speith, leading by 5 strokes, bogied the 10th and 11th holes. Then on the 12th, the wheels came off. He hit two balls into the water on the par-3 hole and earned a quadruple-bogey. He finished in second place, 3 shots behind eventual winner Danny Willett.

That’s a 7 score on a par-3 hole. Even I can do that. Sometimes I can do better. And I love that a pro golfer, a great pro golfer, a 23-year-old pro golfer, pretty much played the hole the same way I would have.

And you love it too. Especially if you play golf on the weekends like I do (poorly).

And he played like me during the 13th hole of the last round of Sunday’s British Open. But then he played the last four holes like Tiger Woods. Hell, even better than Tiger Woods — birdie, eagle, birdie, and the 18th in par when a bogey would have won it.

Jordan Spieth is a roller coaster ride, and I love watching him. Bet you do too.

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I hate being wrong

“When I’m wrong, I’m the first to admit it. The first to admit it. And the last one to know.”
— Paul Simon

The Packers got whupped. And I was wrong, wrong, wrong in picking them to win the NFC Championship.

I got a real bad feeling after Mason Crosby missed the field goal in the first quarter. But I knew the game was over when Aaron Ripkowski fumbled in the second quarter.

Crosby doesn’t miss, and Ripkowski doesn’t fumble. Except last Sunday.

Now we’re stuck with Matt Ryan and the Falcons. I just can’t root for a guy who looks like Neidermeyer from Animal House.

But I might pick him. The Falcons look great. Then again, so does Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

Give me a week to think about this.

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Let’s write two

Hall of fame baseball player Ernie Banks, nicknamed “Mr. Cub,” died Jan. 23, 2015 at the age 83.

The shortstop and later first baseman started his pro career in the Negro league baseball with the Kansas City Monarchs in 1950 before joining the Chicago Cubs in 1953. He hit 512 home runs in his major league career.

But here’s the amazing part.

Everyone I ever met or heard from who knew him described him as probably the nicest guy they ever met— definitely the nicest sports hero they ever met.

And that might be his greatest accomplishment.

PS — I meant to finish this earlier so it would be my second Saturday post, because Banks was always fond of the double-header and would say, “Let’s play two.” Unfortunately, this column sneaked in a few seconds into Sunday. Oh, well. I guess Banks deserves to be number one anyway.

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Oregon Ducks are pussies, but are Ohio State Buckeyes cheaters?

Wait a minute. What just happened? A college football team took the national championship? With a third-string quarterback?

An investigation should be launched immediately. No kidding. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Remember. You read it here first.

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Trying out a new experiment for the new year

I’m going to experiment with shorter posts more often, as opposed to the opposite. I’ll try it for a few weeks and see how it works out.

Meanwhile, what’s the deal with the harmonica noise in the background of crowd noise on TV? Seems to be prevalent during big games with big crowds, which leads me to believe it’s one of two things: 1) It’s some new noise device they’re passing out for big championship-type games at stadiums, or 2) The sound guys are over-compressing the sound and some kind of weird vocoder effect is taking place.

I’ll try to find out more from other guys who are into sports and sound. There aren’t many of us, though.

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Musings of a shameless homer

As a sports writer, I’m not always a homer. It really depends if my team’s involved or not. Especially if they’re winning. Why should I be any better than Charlie Sheen?

Last night’s Giants’ game was amazing. Shades of Bobby Thompson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World,” not that I’m old enough to remember that. But I’ve seen the film.

Here are four reasons why this year’s version is my favorite Giants team of the new millennium (whether they win the World Series or not):

1) I know who the major players are. In 2010, Posey, the Panda and that longhaired pitcher Tim Lincecum were all new to me. The only players I was familiar with were Barry Zito and Brian Wilson. Even then, I only knew about Brian Wilson because everyone in the world did, thanks to that odd beard.

And who the hell is Bruce Bochy? I thought he managed the Padres?

Sure, I knew Posey, Lincecum and the Panda in 2012, but I still wasn’t familiar with Hunter Pence. He’s on the Astros, right? Is he any good?

2) The 18-inning game against the Washington Nationals — along with an iPad — gave me time to catch up with the entire 2014 roster. Did you know Brett Bochy, Bruce Bochy’s son, is on the Giants’ inactive roster? And Travis Ishikawa made his major league debut with the Giants in 2006, and even won a World Series ring with the team in 2010 before being sent down to the minors a year later. After a stint with the Brewers, he came up to the majors again with Pittsburgh this year, but was released again before resigning with the Giants in April.

Oh, and in the last three games of the 2014 regular season, Ishikawa was moved from first base to left field. Just in time for the playoffs. Wonder if that’ll work out?

3) Game four of the NLCS series. Especially the sixth inning. Amazing. Best game I saw all year until …

4) Game five of the NLCS series. Improbably, Ishikawa hits a walk-off home run. There are five home runs in the game, three by the Giants, two by St. Louis. Despite all that offense, the game was largely a pitchers’ duel between San Fran’s Madison Bumgarner and Adam Wainright of the Cardinals.

I don’t know what’s going to happen in the World Series, but I love this team.

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• • •

Of course, like most true baseball fans, I’m happy to see the long-suffering Kansas City Royals make it to the big stage.

Besides, back in the ’70s I used to hang out with a guy whose brother was on the Royals. A big blond carpenter who stood about 6-2, lived in El Segundo and looked like he could knock a ball out of the park himself (in fact, he did play some minor league ball). What was his name again?

Oh, I remember now. John Brett. No shit.

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Wed Wiver Wivalry is for wosers

Amazing.

The local media — specifically some unheralded writer in the sports pages of the Austin American-Statesman — got it right. We should no longer call the football game between Texas and Oklahoma the Red River Rivalry. We should call it the Red River Showdown.

I hate that name, Red River Rivalry, hate it. It’s not fair to make everybody talk like Elmer Fudd. So Showdown it is.

That is, unless we want to grow up and call it the Red River Shootout once again. What the hell’s wrong with that? It’s not like it’s called First, We Kill All The Redskins.

Whoa, whoa, Tex. Settle down. Little over the top there.

The Red River Shootout suggests a game with a lot of passing to me, not a game where linebackers sport Uzis. What’s wrong with people?

That said, if we want a modern politically-correct name, I have other suggestions.

— Texas OK Chainsaw Massacre (Oklahoma leads 9 to 5 since the year 2000)
— Red Neck Rivalry (at least I can say it)
— Like a Dallas Game, But Better (speaks for itself)

And my personal favorite,

— Crackers At The State Fair

It’s not my favorite Longhorns game, you know. I prefer Texas v. Oklahoma State (because I hate Mike Gundy and T Boone Pickens) or Texas v. Texas Tech (because I always like to watch Tech play). Last year, I slept through the Texas-OU game. Sorry. If you want me to cover it, put it on later in the day or at night like satan intended.

At any rate, if I can’t cover the game, at least let me pronounce it correctly.

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Love the MLB wild card, love the World Series

Don’t you love the MLB wild card game? Don’t you? It’s like two game sevens. And as an added bonus, you don’t even have to capitalize the words wild card. I love it. Sure, it’s an utter mockery of the 162-game regular season, but who cares? It’s good TV.

Also love the World Series (which good breeding and the AP Stylebook mandates we capitalize). Love it. Best four out of seven games. I suggest we leave it that way.

Kind of don’t care much about everything in between though. Wish I did, but I don’t. Will I watch these games? Depends. How far will my team, the SF Giants, go? I’ll definitely watch all the Giants’ games.

Things could be better, you know. The MLB playoffs start with a bang with the one-game wild card, why not continue it? The division series could be the best two out of three, and why not change the ALCS and NLCS to the best three out of five as well? After all, during the regular season most series are just three games, four tops.

Wait. Here’s an idea. Why not make everything a one game series until the World Series, which of course should be the best out of seven, always. Think of the interest it would generate. Every baseball fan would watch every game. And there would only be four playoff games in each league leading up to the World Series — one wildcard, two division series games, and one league championship game.

Wait a minute. Hold the phone. What if we just took the team with the best winning percentage in the National League and faced them against the team with the best winning percentage in the American League after the 162-game season is completed and had them duke it out in in the World Series — with no playoff games whatsoever.

Has that ever been tried before? And if so, did it work out?

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Notes: How about that 18-inning game between the Giants and the Nats, huh? This is why baseball is called a pastime. Emphasis on time. Fortunately, my team won, but 18 innings is one hellofa commitment.

I don’t know what we do about this. We basically watched a double-header in one game. Maybe it should count as two games. In which case, the series is now done.

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Jerry Jones: Best Dallas Cowboys GM ever

If you’re a fan of an NFL team not named the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones is your dream GM. Let’s review.

— Jerry Jones buys the Dallas Cowboys, fires Tom Landry, hires Jimmy Johnson, and announces all three at the same press conference.

— Jerry Jones pressures Jimmy Johnson into leaving the Dallas Cowboys head coaching job, even though Johnson had won back-to-back Super Bowls in ’92 and ’93.

— In 1998, Jerry Jones has a chance to snatch up Randy Moss and doesn’t do it.

— Jerry Jones trades two first-round draft picks to Seattle for wide receiver Joey Galloway in 2000, who promptly tears his ACL, misses the rest of the season, and doesn’t do much of anything thereafter.

— Roy Williams in 2008. Enough said.

— Jerry Jones still believes in Tony Romo, and gives him a six-year contract extension in 2013 worth up to $108 million.

— Jerry Jones could have drafted Johnny Manziel in 2014, which if nothing else, would have put butts in the seats. That said, if he had actually drafted Manziel I would be listing it here as well. Some things you just can’t win.

You could call Jerry Jones the new Al Davis, but that really isn’t fair to Al Davis. At one point the Oakland Raiders former owner and GM actually knew what he was doing. I see no signs Jerry ever did. Yes, even with the third Super Bowl win.

Okay, I’ll give Jerry credit for that one thing. Signing Barry Switzer? Fuck no. Signing Deion Sanders. When Deion played for the ‘9ers, the ‘9ers won the Super Bowl in ’94. When he played for Dallas in ’95, Dallas won the Super Bowl. Deion was clearly the swing.

So that’s one. But he sure hasn’t done anything right lately.

Too bad, because more and more Jerry Jones is getting pressured to let someone else take the GM role. But don’t you listen them, Jerry, don’t you do it.

We Seahawks fans are depending on you.

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Do not watch the Steelers vs. Ravens tonight

In light of what I’ll call the Ray Rice scandal, everyone should boycott tonight’s game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens.

And Roger Godell should resign.

Don’t expect him to get fired, though. He’s exactly the kind of rubber stamp the NFL owners want, I imagine. His job comes down to doing two things and doing them well. First, he finds a consensus among the owners— surreptitiously, away from the prying eyes of the media. Then once he finds that consensus, he does the NFL owners’ bidding.

It works. You haven’t heard anybody asking for Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti to resign, have you? That’s because he’s got plausible deniability. And that’s because Godell did his job. Perfectly.

I imagine.

Don’t expect Godell to resign, either. Just as I don’t expect you to boycott tonight’s game.

See you at the bar.

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