Ladies and Gentlemen…….John Daly

Is there anything that gets the sportszip more fired up than a -3 opening round from big John Daly in the PGA Championship. I don’t think so. Let me start by making the point that if one of the threesome of Tiger, Mickelson, and Daly was in contention for the championship on Sunday, which would draw the most attention and biggest audience. I believe that the answer is simple: John Daly. This guy can draw a crowd like no other. I honestly don’t know one person that routes against Daly. Everybody can relate to him, and enjoy to watch him bring his driver way beyond parralel and swing with reckless abandon. He’s the guy that goes to the casino and gambles constantly. He drinks diet pepsi and smokes cigarettes while earning his living. He’s the sideshow guy with his RV and memoribilia selling right out of the parking lot. He’s never the one to lay up, even when he is looking at coming into the clubhouse with a round of -3. He takes out driver, which is totally uncalled for and drives it over the water instead of laying up short and playing it safe like the rest of the field. These are the things that attract people to big John.

 Then there’s the fact that he has an unbelievable God-given talent. What an incredible player. With the talent that he has he should have 3x the major championships that he has (2), but maybe if he did we wouldn’t root for him as much. Also he is never one to bad mouth any other players. He never makes comments to draw attention to himself. Instead he is very humble when speaking about his game, and making hilarious remarks to reporters. All I’m saying is could there really be a more likable human being than John Daly. This guy has it all, including the golf game.

 I can remember a few years back when he was playing real well and was top 50 in the world, and it looked like he was making a big comeback. There was a tournament in San Francisco that he and Tiger went toe-toe in. I don’t recall the name, but I do know that the two eventually went head to head in a playoff. They stood on the 18th tee, and Tiger lead off by hammering a drive way out into the fairway. I distictly remember the announcer saying WOW increadible clutch drive by woods. It will be nearly impossible for John to match that. then John stepped up to the tee. His shirt was probably untucked somewhere in the back by this time, and he was proudly sporting his hooters logos all over. He had his driver in hand and took maybe one lazy practice swing. Then came his little wiggle with the clubhead as he stood over the ball. Then he unloaded one of his monster drives that all of us dream of hitting just once. The camera quickly shifted to the fairway where we would soon see John’s ball fly past Tiger’s long drive in the air. The whole clubhouse at my local golf club erupted as we watched. If there is anyone of this planet that isn’t afraid of Tiger it has to be Daly. Everyone thought Daly was going to take Tiger out in the playoff, and be well on his way back towards the top. Sadly that wasn’t the case. Daly ended up missing a short put later in the playoff and Tiger won. The part of this story that is important is that Daly is capable of coming up with those moments that you don’t forget. That is what captivates golf fans across the nation. Sure you can respect a guy who grinds it out for 18 holes and does well, but what we live for and why we play and watch golf is for those moments. Those shots when time slows down and you can really enjoy it and be a part of it. The moments that make chills run through your body. Like Tiger at the PGA in 2000 when he pointed that putt in vs. Bob May on the 16th in the playoff, or even Big John in the 1991 PGA as he walked up the 18th waiving his hand around in the air with a smile from ear to ear, and the crowd roaring for him. That is what golf is all about. That’s why we watch on Sunday, for that next great moment. We can only hope that Big John has another great moment left in him for us this week. Just like back in 91′ when he didn’t play a practice round and was the 9th alternate, he took this week off from playing at Southern Hills and it looks like it might just work again. We can only hope it does, we are all pulling for you John. Go get em’.

The Michael Vick Dilemma

Let me start by saying that I believe that if Vick did commit the crimes that they say that he did then he should go to jail and not play football, and that those are horrible and inhuman things to do. Now let me get to the part about this situation that is killing me. I’m watching ESPN and they show all of the PETA protesters (over 100) holding up signs and calling for Vick to not be allowed to play football and be put in jail. Honestly I very much dislike these cranky middle-aged woman that hold up these signs like it will actually do anything. Especially because 95% of the these PETA people probably didn’t even know who Michael Vick was before this, and now he is there worst enemy. Let’s remember that as of now Vick is innocent. Just like every other American citizen is if they are alleged of a crime. We do not know what role Vick played in any of this or if he even really played a significant role at all. Yet all of these people are out on the streets calling for Vick to be put out of work. Let’s be honest they are just doing that because he is a star athlete and celebrity, and they don’t want to see him making millions of dollars for doing what he does, and playing in front of packed stadiums every Sunday. You know what I say to all those PETA people, I’m sorry you weren’t the one that was given this incredible ability that Vick was given. Don’t be bitter because he plays 16 football games, and gets paid millions of dollars for it. If this were some Joe Schmoe who was endicted for the same crimes then PETA wouldn’t be out in the streets protesting for him to be put out of work. What if one of those PETA protesters was alleged of a crime, and we stood out in the street with signs saying don’t let Sally be a secretary. Would that be fair to do. Try to put them out of a job even though at that moment they are completely innocent.

Please don’t get me wrong I am glad these PETA people have something that they stand for, and that they want to protect. But really can’t you find something better to do then stand out in the streets and get some guy put out of work over allegations. Let me stress again that these are terrible crimes that Vick is accused of, and if they are true then I too believe that he should be put in jail, but right now he is innocent as could be and we don’t know what is true and what isn’t.

Just look at the Kobe Bryant alleged rape charge a few years back in Colorado. What if Stern suspended Kobe, and took away his job and his livelyhood for a prime year in his career just over allegations. Also I know right now that if you are in PETA and you are reading this you are probably saying, “Who is Kobe Bryant.” Just don’t worry about it I understand, but for the rest of us we know that Kobe was charged, and the case never even made it to trial. Would you want your job and life taken away from you just because of some false charges? If Stern had suspended him it would have been the wrong thing to do, and I believe that the same rule applies for NFL commisioner Roger Goodell.

Another example is the Duke Lacrosse case. A defense attorney (Mike Nifong) completely overreacts to charges made towards 3 athletes and look at what happens. The charges end up being dropped, and the lives of 3 kids in the prime of their lives are completely changed. Wait not just those 3 kids are affected though it’s also the other 20+ players on the lacrosse team that have their season and everything that they worked for taken away from them now. All because of allegations that were made. Please Roger Goodell and PETA don’t try to do the same to Vick. Even if these allegations had a chance of being 99% true and 1% false I say don’t suspend him over allegations, because there is that chance that Vick is innocent and you would change his life and others lives completely.

The Zip Is Back!

After about a month long summer vacation the zip is back. We missed many events and happenings that will hopefully be covered in some posts to come, but for me we go to one of the biggest issues that is the Mike Vick indictment.

Let’s Talk US Open

Well it was a pretty exciting US Open to watch last weekend. Everyone got what they wanted, which was Tiger in the final pairing, and in contention on Sunday. NBC definitely had too many commercials in their coverage though, but what can you expect these days. I’m not a fan of all of these people complaining about the course and the conditions. This is supposed to be the toughest challenge all year. This is the toughest tournament, and is designed to bring out the best golfer. First of all I have to say after all of the complaining about how tough this course was going to be it wasn’t really THAT tough. Sure the 300 par 3 is kind of stupid, and there were some tough holes out there, but really this course was scoreable on. If you hit the fairway this place wasn’t that tough. You saw what Tiger did on Saturday by just keeping it in the short hairs. He could have easily shot a cool 64 if he could have gotten a putt to go down. The rough was obviously very tough so all you had to do was keep it out of there. I think some of the problem was that the course was in player’s heads after they got screwed in the rough once. They were too worried about going there again, and just played scared and nervous. The greens are supposedly the toughest in the world, but they were holding everyone’s short iron shots fine from the fairway just like any other venue. Anyway I just don’t like the whining from people. Just stop whining and put the ball in the fairway and make a putt.

So Angel Cabrera is your champion. This guy is definitely a very capable, and good player. Surprising that it is his first PGA tour win in 94 attempts on US soil. We have all seen him play great before, and he has a solid all around game. I have to compare him to the poor man’s John Daly. Or at least the International version of John Daly. He’s got the body shape, and overall likeability to his game. The coolest moment of the whole tournament for me when I think about Angel is after he made a bad bogey on a hole, he then preceded to immediately put his putter in his bag, and take out his driver as fast as possible before he even got to the next hole. He wasn’t worried about some THICK rough, he wasn’t scared of this course. He had confidence that he was going to bomb a drive on the next hole. You know what he did too. Just like he did on Sunday on the 12th, where he hit a peach 397 yards. So he has that likeability about him for a fan to relate to. Also he is a chain somker, and can be seen looking like a chimney on the course. This is of course because of where he comes from, nothing against him at all. Just adds to his likeability I think, because he is an exact opposite of Tiger. Don’t get me wrong I love Tiger, but is nice when someone very different challenges him like Cabrera did.

So Tiger didn’t win it, and people are asking if he lost it. Well look at it this way, he had a bad week and he still finished 2nd in the toughest tournament in the world. So I’m saying no big deal. Other top players had bad weeks and didn’t make the cut. Tiger had a bad week and finished a CLOSE second place. Even had a chance to tie it on the last hole. If he had a chance to win it it was clearly on Saturday. When he shot 69, but really should have shot 64. He hit 17/18 greens in regulation, and couldn’t putt it into Lake Winnepesaukee. So he didn’t lose it on Sunday, Cabrera definitely won it on Sunday, but Tiger missed a huge opportunity on Saturday. Tiger being 0/29 when trying to come back in a major is just one of those weird stats in sports. That you can never really figure out. I guess it is just because he is always winning, and when he isn’t winning he isn’t near the top of his game so it is tough for him to win. But when he has somewhere near his best stuff he is ahead, and not looking back. What he did do was bring the ratings back again on the weekend. He can do that with the best of them. We are watching the best golfer ever, and he is the type that you see once in a lifetime let’s remember. He is one of the athletes that you can watch and actually get chills when he does something great. Like when he pointed that putt in at the PGA in 2000 during the playoff with Bob May, or the chip in at the Masters on 16. The announcers will tell you almost every other shot. They say that’s just insanely long! Or I don’t know how he did that! The best has to have been after he hit a great fairway bunker shot one time and I think David Feherty just exclaimed “Better than most,” “Better than most.” If he brings his C+ game you can count on his taking the British. And that’s the way the cookie crumbles….

Spurs Sweep Away Cavs

No big Surprise that the Spurs finished off the Cavs last night in Cleveland. Let’s face it Cleveland just wasn’t on the same level as the Spurs. Cleveland rode Lebron to the Finals, and probably shouldn’t have been there. Cleveland was honestly probably about the 6th best team in the NBA this year (Spurs, Suns, Mavs, Jazz, Warriors and Miami would have beaten them in a series). Tony Parker was amazing in the Finals and definitely deserved that MVP award. Something needs to be said about Parker. That is that he is absolutely living the dream. The guy is still very young, has already won 3 titles, has a finals MVP award under his belt, and is getting married to Eva Longoria (need I say more?). How about the fact that he is never even  considered when experts talk about the best point guards in the League. That is pretty amazing. The guy is lightning off the dribble, and has proven that he finishes better in the paint than most big guys (Varejao included). Also lately has become a more effective outside shooter, and can hit them when they count as he proved in the Finals. So I guess what I am saying to Tony Parker is “kudos” you are a great point guard with three titles and a beautiful gal.

Now onto this talk about the Spurs being a “Dynasty”. Not that it really matters that much, because there is no real certain criteria, but I just don’t see them as a dynasty. They aren’t that dominant team that everyone fears each year, and the team that dominates each year. They haven’t won back to back titles, they have no flash to them, and they have never really had any big moments. No game winning shots that were absolutely amazing. The only thing I think of when I hear Spurs and a game winning shot, is the one that Fisher hit to beat them in SA a few years back. They just don’t quite have that “Dynasty” thing about them. So for now I will just say that they are an unbelievable team that knows how to win when the money is on the line.

 The thing that hurt me the most about the Finals was not finding out about that patch of hair on Drew Gooden’s head. All I wanted was a special sitdown with Gooden, or at least a sideline report that told the story behind that patch of hair. Yet all I got were 4 games that lacked offense, and big moments. So be it now we can look forward to the draft and who the Celts will take. Just for the record if they take Yi Jianlan I might not be around to see his first game. I have said it before and I will say it again there really is something about Noah that just seems right. He fits the Celts need of a center, and the Celts offense perfectly. Doesn’t need the ball to be effective, and he can do all of the little things. He knows how to win, and is as much of a competitor that you will ever find. You need to look no further than his recent workouts for NBA teams, which he is doing with an injured shoulder. That isn’t stopping him from going hard every other day working out for NBA teams. I can just feel something special coming from him, and that is all I’m saying………..

Some Thoughts

  • Let’s start by talking about A-Rod, and what he did the other day. First of all let me say that I dislike A-Rod as much as anyone in the nation. He is definitely in my top 10 people I dislike the most, and that is a tough list to crack. You should know that his teammate Jorge Posada is leading the way in that categorie. Anyways A-Rod did his best Willy Mays Hays impression the other day by yelling something at a third basemen as he went to catch an infield pop-up. What’s got me going is that people are saying that he was out of line for doing it. Where I come from you do whatever it takes to win. If that means distracting an opponent while he is trying to field a ball then so be it. I once heard the great Red Auerbach say that one thing that the Celtics teams of the 50’s and 60’s did was get every little advantage that they could. They took every little advantage that they could get and they used it. They did what they had to do to win. If that meant distracting an opponent like A-Rod did then that’s what you have to do. Especially when you are on a Yankees team that is struggling like they are right now. What A-Rod did was the same thing that any NBA player does when they talk trash to another player who is shooting a free throw. Just a smart play by A-Rod and even though I despise the guy I have to say I loved that play. You play to win at all costs. Next time I suggest that Jeter tells a base stealer that there was a foul ball and he has to go back to first (as long as there is no throw from the catcher). That one works everytime, I used to do it in Babe Ruth and even AAU.
  • Now to the good stuff. Lebron. Lebron. and More Lebron. As much as I think Lebron has been a waste of talent so far, and isn’t the player that he should be I do have to say what he did last night was absolutely amazing. He single handlely beat the Pistons. I was sure that game was over when Detroit was up 88-83. Lebron had other ideas. A couple of rim rocking dunks later we were looking at overtime. Oh yeah and 25 straight points from the King himself. He does seem to be taking the steps to earning his nickname King James, but don’t think that he is there yet. We all thought that last year when the Cavs won the same game 5 in Detroit, but then Detroit came back to win the series in 7. Until the King finishes them off I won’t count Detroit out. What Lebron has done is kind of saved the playoffs in general. I was having a hard time watching games after Golden State and Phoenix both went out last round. One thing I can say now is that I am looking forward to seeing what Lebron does next and being a Witness.

One Giant Leap for the NBA

With Four remaining teams left in NBA playoffs, my support is going to the underdog Cavaliers, who cut the Pistons’ series lead in half yesterday with a 88-82 victory. If the Cavs rally past the Pistons, and the Jazz somehow manage to steal the series from the Spurs, LeBron could conceivably capture his first ring, maybe. Crazier things have happened in sports lately right? And what could be better for the NBA after a relatively miserable season than the young King James getting his first ring and making the more reluctant older fans want to watch the NBA again. It would create a need to see if this guy holds a candle to the stars of the golden age of the NBA, which I was unfortunate to barely catch the tail end of. And seeing as Stern has no problem rigging various aspects of the NBA, mainly the lottery to screw the Celtics, the Cavs taking this thing down should seem more likely than it does.
But to get back on topic, it was in last night’s game that phenom LeBron James took his first step towards maturing into one of the best players in the game. He was out of his mind down the stretch. What makes it more amazing is that he made the Namath-esque prediction that it would be the biggest game of his life. I just can’t wait for 25 years from now when LeBron is being interviewed at a Cavs game, absolutely wasted, hitting on Cheryl Miller. You just have to love this guy though, the prediction, nailing a 92 footer in pre-game warm ups, hitting step-back, fade-away 3’s down the stretch in a must-win game 3, and finally, his clutch jumper to seal the deal.
I’m sure he will spark whispers about another basketball player who wore the number 23, but I want to say right here that I don’t think he is the next Jordan. He is a hand and a finger’s worth of rings, and about 99 monumentally clutch playoff performances away. That isn’t meant to take anything away from LeBron. In this era I don’t think any team can recreate the dynasty the Bulls had. Also, take a look at Jordan’s supporting cast. Pippen, Rodman, Kerr, incredible all-around player, rebound machine, and dirty 3 point shooter respectively. Guys like Luc Longley, Toni Kukoc, and Bill Wennington were all great role players. Jordan was an incredible leader, crunch time player, and overall one of, if not the most unstoppable offensive players ever to play the game. But he did have a lot of help. It’s not that hard for a professional driver to look good flooring it in a high performance well-oiled machine. LeBron could grow to become as good of a leader as Jordan, but with his supporting cast his best analogy would be Jeff Gordon driving a 1971 4-cylander Ford Pinto, there’s only so much he can do with it. In the current state of the NBA, imagine Bron Bron with a supporting cast similar to MJ’s. There is no one quite like pippen, but call Josh Howard LeBron’s Pippen. Jason Kapono is his shooter waiting on the elbow, a big upgrade from bricklayer Donyell Marshall. Give him some big men who, unlike Zydrunas Ilgauskus, my mom couldn’t box out and out rebound. She played her college ball at St.Michael’s in Vermont thank you very much. Think how scary that team would be. My point is the Cavs need to get this guy better help for him to get some rings. And don’t even get me started on Eric Snow and Larry Hughes.
So instead of drawing Jordan comparisons, take this clutch performance for what it is. I mean he was out of his Gord last night. Let’s all cheer for James to get his first ring with a less than ideal supporting cast and join Wade as the second of the next generation of superstars to win a championship. And if he does that, then maybe we can start calling him the air apparent. Maybe we can start to put the Silhouette of LeBron throwing it down over Rasheed Wallace on jump suits. Crazier things have happened in sports, right?