Why do managers 'double switch', and just what is a double switch in baseball? The reason for the double switch is to bring a new pitcher and another position player into the game at the same time, but their positions in the batting order are switched so that it takes longer for the pitcher to come to bat again. For example, let's say the 8th hitter (right fielder) makes the last out of the inning. To do a double switch, a new pitcher would be brought in with a new right fielder. The pitcher would occupy the 8th batting position and the left fielder would bat 9th and actually lead off the next inning. If the manager did not 'double switch', the pitcher would have to bat first when his team came to bat again. Even though double switching takes place when a team is in the field, it is really a valuable offensive tactic. Bobby Cox employed the double switch tactic Monday night, bringing in a new pitcher and center fielder, taking out the left fielder and moving the starting center fielder to left. The new center fielder batted in the pitcher's spot and promptly got a hit in the Braves 9-3 victory over the New York Mets.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
The Atlanta Braves had it handed to them all day long Sunday. They trailed the Florida Marlins all afternoon, and after seven innings the 'Fish' led 6-1. Braves starter Derek Lowe did just as his compatriot, Tommy Hanson, did Friday night. He failed to remember his team is in a tight pennant race, thus failing to record enough outs in relation to all the runs he was giving up. If those two don't pick up their games in a hurry, we can start praying for rain every time they are scheduled to pitch and just let manager Bobby Cox skip them in the rotation. Back to the game: The Braves pick up three in the eighth to make the score 6-4. After Brooks Conrad coaxes a four pitch walk to open the ninth, Matt Diaz hits an opposite field home run to tie the score at six all. Conrad and Diaz have been absolutely huge in the clutch all season long for Atlanta. Then the "Straw that Stirs the Drink", Brian McCann, hits a game winning, walk-off homer to send everyone into Sunday night happy. The home run had to be reviewed because it bounced high off the outfield wall and back on the field. Not to worry, Braves win. Braves win!
North Carolina is preparing for a showcase season opening event when they face LSU in Atlanta. However, they find themselves in a spotlight they wanted no part of. It started with the accusation that Tar Hell players had unauthorized contact with agents, and now it is topped off by the charges of academic improprieties. Butch Davis' North Carolina squad is a preseason pick to be a legitimate contending force in the Atlantic Coast Conference. That may change if key Carolina players face suspensions. Neither of these investigations is expected to end any time soon, so the threat of them being long term distractions could become a detrimental factor to the success of the season as well. Regardless of how all of this plays out for North Carolina over the next few weeks, and even months, it does not bode well for the gridiron program in Chapel Hill. As they prepare to play in one of the biggest games that the Tarheels have played in a very long time, the attention is focused in a direction Davis had certainly not planned on when he took over the 'Heels in 2006. Now he must face the issues of allegations, as well as the grind of a 12 game season, head on and hope his program survives both. Not to mention his job as well.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Even on a 90 degree August evening, it reminded me of Christmas. You know, I had just settled down for a long summer night, then boom, boom. Tommy Hanson's very first pitch of the game flies long into the hot summer night. The next batter also goes yard off Hanson. So much for my long summer night with the Braves. He goes on to give up a season high four homers for the Braves in a 7-1 loss to the division surging Florida Marlins. Hanson had gone 49+ innings without giving up a home run. His last four-sacker was on July 16th. On the other hand, he hasn't won a game since July 3rd. He's allowed twelve runs in his last ten innings. It's not the time in the season for one of Atlanta's best throwers to be slumping. It's a pennant race guys. Everyone has to bring their 'A' game now. Was Friday night a must-win game? They all are now. Like I said, it's a pennant race.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Being out at 3:00 A.M just after summer camp ends, less than ten days before the opening game of the season, and after classes have started is stupid. Leaving the scene of an accident/incident after being advised not to leave is stupid. Failure to appear in court earlier in the summer is stupid. Driving with a suspended license is stupid. Believing you could get away with all of the above is stupid. Washuan Ealey, Georgia's leading rusher from 2009, is guilty of all the above stupid transactions. Now he's been suspended for a minimum of one game by head coach Mark Richt. How deep doth stupidity runneth? Don't go blaming Mark Richt and the other Georgia coaches. They can't shadow 80+ kids 24/7. They knew Ealey's license was suspended and had instructed him not to drive. Now who's fault is that? I ask again, how deep doth stupidity runneth? Until the NCAA gives colleges and universities back athletic dorms, coaching staffs don't have a chance keeping tabs on kids once they leave the practice facilities. Even then, that probably would not be a solution because these things are not a college problem, they're a society problem. They're just magnified by the media when it's a jock at a high profile program. This by no means justifies stupid behavior, but it should illustrate that it's not the fault of Richt, or any other head coach for that matter. They can't be responsible for the behavior of these student/athletes every hour, nor should they be expected to. They lecture, they explain, they probably even plead with these kids. But sometimes you just can't teach stupid. It evidently doth runneth pretty deep.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
A team leading its division by 2 1/2 games in the midst of a pennant race does not blow a 10-1 lead to a team whose only race is to the post game buffet. And to add insult to injury, the Braves got swept by the Colorado Rockies in a three game series. I know you never give up on the home team, but I don't see the Braves overcoming this. All teams go through one or more slumps during a major league baseball season. Atlanta had one such phase back in April. 162 games is a very long and drawn out season. There is now no question that they are back in one of those slumps again, and it's converging on every aspect of their game. Pitching, clutch hitting, and fielding are all suspect at this point. Their is no consistency to their game anymore. Now is the juncture in the season when they are really beginning to miss the veteran leadership of Chipper Jones to help right this sinking ship. I don't like to say it, but I think the Braves are done. Stick a fork in 'em and take 'em off the grill. I don't think they will win the division, nor capture the wild card. Too much damage is done, and I think they lack that "it" to regroup and get over this detrimental stretch. They have an off-day tomorrow, so they have to wallow in this mess for two days before playing again. That isn't good. I really do hope I'm wrong here, because their season has been so great. Up until now. But if I'm right, they've been great to follow all season. They really have played outstanding and exciting baseball. Now I just wish I could count on them to prove me wrong.
A U.S. Army skydiver was left hanging from a flag pole at Rangers Ballpark Tuesday night. The jumper, who was uninjured, unbuckled himself, dropped to a platform on top of the scoreboard, and walked away. The rest of his team members landed safely on the playing field. Stadium workers removed the parachute from the flagpole.
Charlie Trippi has been named by Sports Illustrated Vault as the best National Football League player to ever wear the number "2". Trippi was a Hall of Fame tailback who played his entire career with the Chicago Cardinals. His Cardinals won the 1947 NFL Championship with Trippi recording a pair of touchdowns. He played his college ball at the University of Georgia, and was a two-time All America selection. He was named the Most Valuable Player in the 1943 Rose Bowl where his Bulldogs defeated UCLA 9-0. His jersey number at Georgia? Number 62.
Before the Georgia career of Blair Walsh is finished, he will already have set himself up as one of the best kickers in Bulldog history. And that history is packed full of great kickers: Bennett, Butler, Etter, Robinson, and on and on. In 2009, Walsh was a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award after nailing 20 0f 22 field goal attempts. One of those misses was from 55 yards, and his longest was from 53 yards out. He was a rock solid 42 of 42 in extra points, and accumulated 102 points for the season. Even though having to kickoff with the 'Directional Kicking Philosophy' employed by Georgia's special teams staff, Walsh still led the SEC in touchbacks with 17. With that unsuccessful, detrimental tactic changed this year, he will surpass that 17 by leaps and bounds. Blair Walsh will be instrumental in the success of the Georgia Bulldogs this season. He will enjoy a phenomenal year. Count on it!
Sammy Sosa seems to be somewhat distraught over the fact that the Chicago Cubs have not retired his old number '21'. A rookie outfielder currently wears '21'. Despite hitting 609 career homers, which included hitting more than 60 homers in a season three times, Sosa's legacy is forever tarnished by the allegations he used performance enhancing drugs. With that darkest of clouds hanging over him, not only are the Cubbies not going to retire his jersey, he isn't going to be elected to the Hall of Fame either. I always thought he was one of the most overrated players in baseball, even though he swung a hot bat. It was always about Sammy, and never about the Cubs. In fact, Chicago should have parted ways with the temperamental slugger years before they finally did. If you have time, check Sosa's fingers and see how many championship rings he helped his Cubs win. By my last count that number was forever frozen at zero.
In 2009, Georgia's Drew Butler won the prestigious Ray Guy award as the nation's top punter. He was also selected on the Walter Camp All-America Team. He punted 56 times with an average of 48.1 yards per kick. His longest kick was 75 yards against Oklahoma State. Butler was also tremendous in "flipping" field position for the Bulldogs. He punted Georgia out of trouble numerous times, just as he pinned the opposition inside the red zone on many occasions. With Butler and kicker Blair Walsh, Georgia will not lose many special teams battles this season. Butler isn't a secret weapon anymore, but he nevertheless remains a very potent weapon. It would not surprise me at all to see him put up 'Ray Guy Award' type numbers again in 2010.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Bobby Bowden did not resign as head coach of the Florida State Seminoles. But on the other hand he states, being fired might be too strong a term. So therefore, we arrive at "pushed out". Not wanted, washed up, and pushed out. Such is the business of big time college athletics. You know, what have you done for me lately? In Bowden's case, he got it through the back by a university president he used to coach. They were close and Ole Bobby thought he was safe for one more year. He was wrong and now he's gone. End of story. For what it's worth, Opinion On Sports believes there should be a mandatory retirement age at colleges and universities, and that college football should ban the term "coach in waiting".
Last year, Ole Miss and quarterback Jevan Sneed were proclaimed to be the toast of the SEC. Only problem was, the toaster never got hot enough. Sneed and his Rebels ended up being a bust in the SEC West, as is the case with most of Houstin Nutt's teams.. This year, that proclamation sits on the shoulders of Arkansas' 6'7" Ryan Mallett, if not so much on his bunch of Razorbacks. Mallett is a bona fide big-time quarterback. Twice in his career, he has thrown for more than 400 yards in a game. Just last year he had three 5-touchdown games. Can he have that kind of season in this his last hurrah for the Hogs? As the season begins to unfold, the rangy signal caller himself will provide the answer to that question. He might indeed throw up some gaudy numbers this season, but I wouldn't count on Arkansas being a threat to anyone in the SEC West. Anyone except Ole Miss of course.
Aaron Murray, Georgia's redshirt freshman quarterback, doesn't have to do everything, or be everything, for the Bulldogs to be successful this year. He'll have a veteran, experienced line in front of him. He'll have two outstanding, experienced tailbacks behind him. He'll have two proven fullbacks to not only assist in protecting him, but also providing senior leadership. He will have a stable of tight ends at his disposal to rival any in the conference. On the other side of the ball, he can count on a Georgia defense that will be its most aggressive since the days of the old "Junkyard Dawgs". This defense can be counted on to create turnovers by the opposition, thus putting the ball back in Murray's hands. Not to mention how much assistance he will receive from Georgia's special teams that will feature the south's most prolific punter/placekicker combination as well. Don't forget that Aaron Murray is very capable of being the starting quarterback at the University of Georgia. His pedigree as an Elite 11 quarterback out of Plant High in Tampa is legitimate. The kid can play, he's just been waiting for his opportunity. Nevertheless, he will make his share of rookie mistakes. This is a tough conference for a quarterback to break in on, and there is no substitute for experience. But he will recover from, and overcome, his mistakes. Georgia is the dark horse of the SEC East, and they will have a good season, as will Murray. Yea, it's gonna be all right!
Georgia's second game of the season is a conference encounter with South Carolina on the road. The Bulldogs will venture into one of the many loud, hostile environments that are so prevalent in college football with a rookie at the quarterback position and with one heck of a lot on the line. To me, the Carolina game is the most crucial game of the SEC season for Georgia. The winner of this game is set to face the hunk of the conference schedule with a huge first win under its belt. The loser now has no margin for error the rest of the way, and the season is only two weeks old. The Georgia vs Carolina game can either leave a very bad taste in your mouth, or leave you thinking you are a legitimate contender for the SEC East title. This goes without saying that every conference game is crucial, and none more crucial than the next one coming up each week. However, this game really does set the tone for the remainder of the season. For a team like the Dawgs who are trying to gain confidence in not only a new leader behind center, but also trying to get confidence in a completely new defensive scheme, a road win against a formidable foe could make their season. It certainly would make that late October trek to Jacksonville look a lot more inviting. The Carolina game is already "looming large" folks!
Monday, August 23, 2010
Tiger Woods had it all. He had the world by its proverbial tail. Now he's lost a lot of it. Some of "it" he will reclaim, and some of "it" he won't. At some point, he will play the high caliber of golf he once did, and he will continue to add to his monetary fortune. However, he will not recoup the high level of integrity he was once regarded with. Nor will he get his family back. His divorce with Elin Nordegren became final today. He can sign that scorecard. No championship title for him as a husband. And that's one title he can't buy. I just wonder...if he knew Elin was going to divorce him over his transgressions, do you think he wishes he hadn't wasted his time going to sex therapy? He obviously doesn't need it now.
Bobby Cox and Lou Piniella have known each other since 1977 when they were both with the Yankees. Sunday, they gave each other a good-bye hug as they both prepared to manage their last game in Wrigley Field. Sunday was "Sweet Lou's" last game with the Cubs, and Cox won't return to Chicago in this, his last, season with the Braves. There's a lot of water under the bridge with these two career baseball men, and they leave behind two of the more sought after managerial jobs in baseball. Atlanta, of course because they are a perennial contender, and Chicago because of the challenge to finally make it a winner after all the years of futility. It will be interesting to see who gets named to fill these two vacancies before next spring. They will have some big shoes to fill, especially in Atlanta.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Derrek Lee has been a Chicago Cub for the past seven years. He has given the fans of Wrigley Field complete professionalism throughout all of those seven years. Today, as a member of the visiting Atlanta Braves, the Wrigley faithful gave back to D-Lee. Before his first at bat, he received a much deserved standing ovation from the appreciative and understanding fans in attendance. Although Lee went hitless in his Atlanta debut, his Braves defeated his former team 5-3 to maintain their lead over Philadelphia in the National League East.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Yesterday I wrote that I had not completely bought in to the Braves acquisition of Derrek Lee. I was in favor of it only if it was a player for player deal, as in Lee for Troy Glaus. As you know by now, the trade didn't go down like that. Now Glaus and Lee are both Braves. Atlanta gave up three young pitching prospects to bring the veteran Lee to Turner Field, and I know nothing about any of the three. I hope we gave up quantity as opposed to substance. As for Glaus, he handled the situation with nothing but professional class. He accepted the trade as a good move for the team, agreed to go on the Disabled List to help his gimpy knees, and volunteered to go to AAA Gwinnett to work at his more natural position of third base. Keep in mind, Glaus could have asked the Braves for an outright release. Also remember, he literally carried Atlanta for almost two months earlier in the season. I know he hasn't carried anything but dead weight recently, but I am impressed by this attitude of "Big Team, Little Me" displayed by Glaus. I now hope this works out good for both he and the Braves, because I'm back in Troy Glaus' corner again.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
The rumor mill is swirling that the Atlanta Braves are trying to acquire first baseman Derrek Lee from the Chicago Cubs. If this is true, then I don't get it. Derrick Lee has had an outstanding major league career, but if he was going to be playing for Atlanta, he should have been here years ago. We already have one hobbling first baseman in Troy Glaus, so why would we pick up one with an ailing back? Furthermore, the numbers for Glaus and Lee are very close to the same this season. They both have hit 16 home runs, and both have less than 75 RBIs. The only way this would make sense to me is if you traded the two straight up for each other. That might work for the Cubs simply because Lee is a free agent after this season and they aren't going to be willing to pay him any huge salary numbers on the open market at this stage in his career. This would also wash with the Braves who are just biding time for their future first baseman, Freddie Freeman, to get ready for the big show. If all Glaus and Lee do is exchange uniforms, it might be worth a try for the Braves. On the other hand, if anymore Braves are involved, I say no deal. Unless of course Chicago wants to take Nate McClouth as well.
Monday, August 16, 2010
KAKS, a northwest Arkansas radio station, calls itself Hog Sports radio. They are definitely all Razorback, definitely "all in" for the Hawgs. To illustrate this fully, they fired a broadcaster who wore a Florida Gator cap to a Arkansas Razorback new conference. Renee Gork, a Florida graduate, inexplicably had a brain lapse and wore her Alma mater's colors deep into the heart of "Woo pig sooie" country. Not smart, not tolerated, Gator gone.
I would venture to say all professional golfers know the complete rules of golf, just as I expect that Amy Vanderbilt knows the complete rules of etiquette, and the way Nancy Pelosi exhibits a comprehensive acquaintance with the complete rules of stupidity. Having said that, I believe that Dustin Johnson never considered he was hitting a ball out of a sand trap due to the location and condition of the hazard. I understand the tournament officials explaining that all golfers had been warned all week that all sand traps , regardless of their location on the course, were to be considered and played as 'regular' sand traps. This fact would thus mean that a golfer is not allowed to ground his club is a sand trap without incurring a two shot penalty. To make the long story short, Johnson grounded his club in a rough patch of sand and was denied entrance into a playoff for the PGA Championship. That was a tough pill to swallow for Johnson, and it had to be a tough call for PGA officials. After all, TV commentators said there were more than 1200 sand traps around the Whispering Straits layout. That is formidable task for the PGA to keep that many bunkers, but if they designate them bunkers, it is their job to keep them up. Even the ones that are 'outside the ropes' as Johnson's was. Golf is a gentleman's game of sportsmanship and honor, and there is no way Dustin Johnson violated either one of those characteristics.It seems that there possibly could have been some gray area in this ruling, and the PGA has to share some of the responsibility on this one.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
ESPN did a random two week study on the calls made by Major League Baseball umpires. The study revealed that the umpires missed 20% of their calls. That percentage is much higher than I would have thought. I had given umpires far too much credit for being much more accurate than they actually are. As you might imagine, the study was conducted to substantiate the argument of instant replay in baseball. There are so many bang-bang plays in baseball in so many crucial situations, this study might just reinforce the push for additional technology in the game. I like baseball, but I admit it is a slow game already. If replay can be added as a part of the game without slowing it down further, I'm on board with giving it a try. If not, let's just continue to put up with the ineptitude of the umps like we always have.
There might be a new sheriff in town, but this time he doesn't have to ride in with barrels blazing. In fact, Greg McGarity's hire as the new athletic director at the University of Georgia seems more like the prodigal son returning home as opposed to the sheriff moniker. Perhaps we should kill the fatted calf, instead of thinking about a new broom sweeping clean. After all, there's something to be said for excavating an Athens, Georgia boy out of a despicable environment that is Gainesville, Florida. McGarity says this job is his "dream job", and it isn't one he has to rebuild, but he does need to be the man to take it to the next level. The man has red and black flowing through his veins. He has a history with Athens and the University of Georgia. An old love affair has been rekindled, and McGarity is the right man for this job. Welcome home Greg McGarity, just wish it hadn't taken you, and us, so long.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Georgia State University will throw its hat into the college football arena in less than three weeks against Shorter College. I think the football program will be good for the university, as well as for Georgia high school football players, who now have an alternative source of opportunity to play at the college level. The inaugural season has the Panthers facing such opponents as Jacksonville State, Morehead State, and Savannah State. The kicker to this is that to close out the season, Bill Curry's squad will travel to Tuscaloosa to play Alabama. That game i just don't understand if I'm Georgia State. I know all about the big payouts smaller schools receive from playing the big boys, but for a first year program to play a perennial power like Alabama from the SEC just doesn't make sense. I have to think there were other alternatives. I realize smaller programs must have additional revenue to operate their programs, but for goodness sake, not to risk a massacre. I hope for GSU's sake the game isn't televised.
In the wake of Chipper Jones' season ending knee injury, the question that comes to the forefront is who will be the Braves everyday third baseman throughout this crucial stretch run? When Martin Prado returns next week from the DL, I would put him back at his second base position and move Omar Infante to Chipper's spot at third. Now we've got both .300 hitting infielders on the field together. Even though I'm a huge Brooks Conrad fan, I wouldn't make him an everyday player just yet. I say keep him in his super productive role of coming off the bench in crucial situations. Bobby Cox has leaned on him heavily for that throughout the season, and I wouldn't shake up that asset too much. To take the infield situation one step further, if Troy Glaus continues his struggles at the plate in August, I would call up Freddie Freeman from Triple A Gwinnett once we cross that September 1 threshold. If Chipper's around the clubhouse and dugout after surgery continuing to provide his leadership, Atlanta just might pull this playoff thing off, and be a heck of a good team while doing it.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Come on guys, don't give 'Bama such a hard time simply because they misspelled the name of their November 13 opponent Mississippi State. Cut 'em a little slack, if for no other reason than the fact that they are the defending National Champs. Perhaps they're still caught up in all the hoopla of that spectacular championship season. Maybe we should give them the benefit of a little collegiate "poetic license". Or why don't we just realize it's Alabama, and just be glad they spelled A L A B A M A correctly! (I'll get this posted as soon as I hit 'spell check' a couple of times). But wait, don't they play Ole Miss as well? Oh my gosh...
He was just beginning to get it all together this year. Just in time for Atlanta's stretch run for a division title. One could just imagine the old crusty veteran putting this Braves team on his back for one last charge into the playoffs. Then he wrecks his knee again and this storybook season has come to a brutally unfair sudden ending. Will it bring his brilliant career as an Atlanta Brave to a close as well? He has already hinted that this could be his last season. Can he dedicate himself to a long, torrid rehab job at his age and this point in his career? Will he want to play another year coming off major surgery under a new field manager? I hope that he will come back. Chipper can still play this game, and he has matured into a veteran leader. He is the heart and soul of this Atlanta Braves team. He is a vital part of their great team chemistry. He's one of those special athletes who makes the people around him better. I realize this team wants to achieve the division title for outgoing manager Bobby Cox. I now hope they will continue this mission for their captain as well. Give him a big reason to return next year: to defend the Eastern Division title. Or even more. Hang tough "Chip". We're pulling for you, "10".
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
The Cincinnati Reds hate the St. Louis Cardinals. Their second baseman, Brandon Phillips, said as much. Then he picked a fight with the Cardinals. Then he and the Reds lost the final two games of a three game St. Louis sweep. Then he and his Reds discovered that they had also lost their two game division lead, and now trail the Red Birds by a full game. Cincinnati talked big and played small. St. Louis laughed all the way to the division lead. They know how to handle winning. They are accustomed to it, and they do it professionally well. It has been so long since the Reds have won that they are learning how to win all over again, and they are obviously stumbling all over themselves in the process. They just don't get it, not yet anyway. What they better get is the Wild Card, because the Cardinals just took the National League Central. For good.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Elliott Porter was one of 27 players to sign letters of intent with LSU. Hey, guess what? All 27 high school football players qualified for admission to Louisiana State University. Tiger head coach Les Miles wasn't counting on that. Maybe he's never had a class where the kids were all intelligent enough to get in school. The problem is, only 25 scholarships can be given in football per year. Sorry, Elliott, you're one of two odd men out. You're already on campus, but you don't have the scholarship you were offered and supposedly given. LSU isn't the only school this has happened at, but it still doesn't make it right. To top it all off, this is one 'infraction' that is not a violation of NCAA rules because schools can bring in as many as 28 players but only 25 scholarships. LSU is guilty of nothing but lying to a high school student athlete. No harm no foul, huh?
While looking at preseason Heisman Trophy watch lists, I did not find a single one that had Georgia's A.J. Green in their Top 10. I did discover one list that had Green at 17th . I realize the deck is somewhat stacked against the Bulldog receiver. He will have an inexperienced quarterback throwing to him for one thing, although no one knows how well rookie Aaron Murray will perform for Georgia behind center this year. Also, for the first time in a long time, Georgia QBs and receivers won't have to be the total show. With Caleb King and Washaun Ealey returning as a terrific tailback tandem, the Bulldogs could, and should, look to the run first and frequently. Nevertheless, A.J Green is arguably the best receiver in college football. Even though quarterbacks and running backs generally dominate the Heisman voting, Green does deserve to be higher up the watch lists even at this early juncture. Perhaps if Georgia has a better team than some predict, and if Green throws up some eye-boggling numbers in spectacular fashion, he might just receive an invitation to New York as a finalist. Don't rule him out.
Let Tiger Woods never be confused with Samson. His strength is definitely not in his hair, not his facial hair anyway. (Not to mention the fact he looks like a dork). He just finished the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in a tie for 78th place out of 80 golfers. This event was held at the Firestone Country Club, a venue Woods has won at seven times. His game is in shambles, he has hit rock bottom. Is he washed up as a golfer? Absolutely not, but he has lost the one facet of his game that was most unnerving to his competitors: The factor of intimidation. That is completely gone at this point. The "young guns" on the PGA Tour have no fear of Tiger Woods. They know that he can no longer show up with his 'C' game and expect to go home with all the spoils. He has to show up ready to play, both above the neck as well as below it. For the first time in his professional career, his personal life is dramatically affecting his performance on the course. Make no mistake about it, not many people are feeling sorry for him. He himself orchestrated all the chain of events that have happened to him since last Thanksgiving. He might not like the drink, but he concocted it. Even though I for one could care less, Tiger Woods will win on the tour again, and more than a single tournament. He will get his life and game back together again. Hopefully, he'll leave the goatee to the goats.
Friday, August 6, 2010
Former Arizona State and Atlanta Brave star is 53 years old today. Horner played for the Braves from 1978 through 1986, and ended his MLB career with the Cardinal in 1988. The slugging third/first baseman amassed 218 career homers. In July of 1986 against the Montreal Expos, he became the eleventh player to hit four home runs in a single game. Guess what? The Braves lost that game! Must have been because of those dreadful uniforms.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
There are a couple of issues that are "looming large" with the Atlanta Braves right now. Since the All-Star break, the Braves have left a ton of men on base. I can recall several times when they have had the bases loaded with no outs and failed to score. Not only did they not get the clutch two out hit, they didn't get the none or one out RBI either. This was not a prevalent sign in May nor June. However, all teams go through peaks and valleys, so the key is not to dwell in the abyss for too long. The second issue is that during this second half run, the bullpen has to be clutch. There can be no blown leads as has been the case lately. The veteran closer Billy Wagner has got to be lights out in order for Atlanta to win the division. All games count, but every game now really stands out as the division race heats up with the Phillies only two games back. It's great to have the Braves back in the thick of the championship run again. They spoiled us with that fourteen year run of titles.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Would you buy a used car from this man? Remember, never trust a Nutt, especially a Houston Nutt. He has just made another controversial decision in bringing to Ole Miss maligned Oregon Duck Jeremiah Masoli. Masoli was kicked off the Oregon squad in June, and Ole Miss had their second string quarterback transfer earlier. So, I suppose both parties were desperate; one for a quarterback, the other to play quarterback. To top it all off, Masoli can play immediately because he is a graduate student in a major that Oregon did not offer. Convenient, huh? Just another one of the quirky NCAA regulations springing forth. My take on this is that the quarterback just might not be as bad a guy as he's portrayed (even though he has trouble telling the truth), and the coach just might not be as good of an ole boy as he's portrayed to be. Houston knows he'll never win the SEC West, just as Steve Spurrier will never win the East, but he'll go to any length to attempt the unobtainable feat. He'll bring in the choir boy, the cell boy, or anyone in between to try and enhance his program. He'll always win a few games he isn't supposed to, and he'll always tank some he should win. The majority of the times his teams are just like their coach: overrated.