Happy Tuesday, loyal readers. Thanks for sticking with me over yet another extended absence from the blogosphere. I won’t make you wait any longer. Let’s go!
-The culmination to a great story Saturday night at GABP. Chris Sabo was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame on Chris Sabo bobblehead night. I never had any idea what a cool story Sabo’s is, but I always loved him and his trademark goggles. I wish I could have been older to enjoy his play. And I wish I would’ve gone to GABP Saturday night to get my hands on one of these.
-And how about the modern-day Reds that night. They explode offensively with four long balls and E. Volquez comes back and pitches like a champ. 93 pitches in six innings, nine strikeouts and he was still hitting 95 mph at the end of it. Welcome back, Mr. Volquez. It is so great to see you again.
-Sunday was a struggle. That loss, along with the four-game sweep in Philly had a lot of people calling for Dusty’s head and considering the Reds done. Their fifth 1-0 loss of the season (the same total of 1-0 losses in the last six seasons), and their third one in five games. Travis Wood has been part of two of them. They need to get that kid some run support. But the fact that three of five of those 1-0 decisions came in the past five games leads me to think it’s a bit of a slump. Not a big one. One this team’s more than capable of fighting out of. They’ve got too many good bats that can show up at any time to really worry about them offensively. I prefer to take the more positive approach: the pitching has improved dramatically, and they can count on young arms. M. Leake, T. Wood and even that Maloney kid have shown they’re capable of playing at this level. Cueto is maturing and Volquez is back, and they’ve got the wiley veteran in Arroyo, too. Even if A. Harang’s injury lasts longer than expected and H. Bailey doesn’t come back, they’ve got a good six guys right there. I like the possibility of throwing one of those solid starting arms into the bullpen. That’s where the help is needed.
-Yesterday showed this team can come to play offensively. Jonny Gomes is a gamer. Maybe you’re expecting him to level off. Maybe you’re expecting this team to level off. But with the way different guys can step up on any given day gives me hope. Last night it was Gomes and Miguel Cairo. Hell, even Cueto contributed at the plate. D. Stubbs, in my humble opinion, has become this team’s version of Adam Dunn – big hit or a strikeout. The difference: he’s this team’s version, so he plays defense. Jay Bruce is as frustrating as anyone right now, but I still think he can come around. The kid’s pretty young and he’s got almost no ceiling. When I think Jay Bruce, I prefer to think of that two-run bomb of Halladay against the Phils a few weeks back. Remember Janish against the Cubs on the 4th? You’ve got some guys who can step in when O. Cabrera, S. Rolen, J. Votto or B. Phillips need a day off. That’s especially important with those first two guys, especially now. I’m still excited about and confident in this team. A few rough offensive outings aren’t shaking that confidence.
-A great piece on the best all-around second baseman in the game right now. B. Phillips plays the game with flair. I dig it, even though others don’t. I find it hard to have problems with Phillips. He occasionally admires assumed home runs too much, but wouldn’t you? Dude’s got swag. I love swag. Remember this? I’ll bet Wil Nieves does.
-I know it’s been a while since the whole LBJ “Decision” debacle, but now that MJ is weighing in, talk about LeBron and the Heat has resurfaced, focusing mainly on the former. Michael Jordan was obsessed with being “The Man”. He wanted to be better than everyone else, whether he played with or for that person, or he was playing against them. If there was anyone that didn’t feel like MJ was the man, he remembered it. His Hall of Fame Induction speech was evidence of that. Jordan ended his brilliant career a bitter man, even toward the people with whom he won six championships.
Henry Abbott of ESPN’s TrueHoop Blog does a great job pointing out the flaws of Mike’s take on the whole situation.
Here’s my take, though: people always admired Jordan’s desire to (or obsession with) win(ning), how he always wanted the last shot, how he wanted to beat everyone else. I get it. That’s some of the reason I loved watching him play. But in a time where selfish athletes have become cancers to so many teams (see: Kobe pre-Pau or post-Shaq, Terrell Owens, Albert Haynesworth, etc.), why doesn’t anyone commend LeBron (or Chris Bosh or Dwyane Wade) for their willingness to share the spotlight and take a team-first attitude? Everyone always talked about how team-oriented he was in Cleveland, but when he goes somewhere else to take a far less selfish role (minus the whole circus surrounding his “Decision”) on a team, he’s knocked for not being loyal. I think that’s crap.
Regardless, I’m excited to see my two favorite NBA players of all time playing on the same team. The D-Wad/LBJ combo is going to be awesome.
-Which brings me to my next point: I’m now a Heat fan. Something I’ve come to find about my generation is that kids today seem to be more loyal to players than they are to teams. At least that’s my feeling in the NBA. I don’t know that I was ever a Cavs fan as much as I was a fan of LeBron James. It really doesn’t matter for me where he is, as long as I get to watch him play. But once I reach the age of 30, I need to make a decision and root for teams, not players. At least according to these Eight Simple Rules for Being a 30 Year-Old Sports Fan.
-Do you skateboard? If you do, just hope this reporter isn’t coming to your local skate park to do any interviews:
-The Bengals are prepping for training camp. Football fans are getting excited. Some NFL scouts say this year’s squad is the best in the history of the franchise. Sure, that encompasses all the teams throughout the 90s, but I’m a “glass half full” kind of guy.
-The Bengals Blog on cincinnati.com took a look at the tight end situation. I’m very excited about this point made by Joe Reedy:
“What about Chase Coffman? This is the most healthy he has been in nearly two years, which showed in offseason workouts with some nice catches. A two tight end set in the red zone with Gresham and Coffman would present plenty of matchup problems.”
-Speaking of the Bengals, Jordan Shipley helped sing a song at Colt McCoy’s wedding (in case you didn’t watch any Texas Longhorn football the past three years, Shipley and McCoy were roommates and fishing buddies. And apparently broadcasters would’ve been fired had they failed to mention it during games). It’s pretty funny. I think you should give it a listen.
-TomTom is coming out with some new technology for its GPS systems. The newest update: you can have Yoda, Darth Vader, C-3PO or Han Solo tell you how to get to your location. As Mo Egger said, if you’re buying it, I doubt that location is a date’s house.
-Speaking of people working at Clear Channel, hats off to Nick Brunker. The former “jack of all trades” at Clear Channel is now the Director of PR, Broadcasting and New Media for the defending ECHL champion Cincinnati Cyclones. A big congratulations to him.
-Shocking that it’s taken me this long to get to the Open Championship this past weekend. The Masters is my probably the tournament I enjoy the most out of nearly every year on the Tour. But when the British Open is at St. Andrews, everything changes. Nothing beats golf’s oldest championship being played at The Home of Golf.
A good tournament overall, even though the weekend was relatively dull. Louis Oosthuizen just ran away with the tournament, playing solid golf while the rest of the field was tossed around by the wind. As Tommy Watson put it, “the old girl put her dukes up.” And what a moment for Tom Watson on the Swilcan Bridge. It absolutely gave me chills.
A great win for Louis Oosthuizen. The guy had missed the cut in seven of his previous eight major appearances, then plays with the lead like he’s done it for years. I kept waiting for someone to make a move or for Louis to finally collapse under the pressure, but neither happened. It was an amazingly poised performance by a guy who had no experience in that situation. Downright impressive.
A great story here by Rick Reilly about Oosthuizen’s win and what it might mean for South Africa. A country torn apart by apartheid in the for much of the 20th century watched two countrymen – one black, one white – win the Open Championship side by side. That’s special.
-Speaking of special, I played the Old Course twice last summer – in one day. Anyone who’s friends with me on Facebook has seen my profile picture…
While I watched Rory McIlroy shoot 80 on Friday, all I could think about was the fact that I’d never shot a round in the 80s at the Old Course. My final tallies of 77-75 were pretty exciting, especially the one-under 35 on the front side my second time around.
Our caddy the second time out was Gordon McIntire, who is taking part in the Senior Open Championship this week at Carnoustie (I shot 76 there, for the record). In fact, it was his idea for us to take this brilliant picture:
And, for good measure, here’s Gordon with the boys:
I’d recommend rooting for him this week.
-But one of the neatest holes I’ve ever played was the Road Hole. They moved the tee back quite a ways for the pros this week, but when you or I play it, that barn is all up in your grill. My brother opted to up and over the hotel to play his big, swooping draw. I opted for a well struck 3-wood out into the fairway. A three-putt bogey my first time and a two-putt par the second. But I never got the pleasure of trying a shot quite like the one we saw Miguel Angel Jimenez play on Saturday. That was awesome.
-Another thing I took away from my time in Scotland was a love for their lingo. The word ‘Cheers’ has become a mainstay in my vocabulary since I returned. A friend in London for the summer just blogged about 10 British Colloquialisms, a few I’ve heard and I’m pretty fond of, and a few that I just learned when I read it.
It reminds me of this epic scene from one of my favorite movies:
-Now it’s time to wrap this up so I can watch White Collar and Covert Affairs tonight. USA is on fire with their original series as of late. Royal Pains is good stuff, I’ve been a pretty regular fan of Psych, and I kick myself for not tuning in to Burn Notice from the beginning.
Luckily, though, I managed to catch up on White Collar last season. Neil Caffrey is one of the most lovable characters I’ve ever watched. I like to think he and I have a lot in common, but he’s smarter, better looking and far more charming. I recommend tuning in. Need more reason to do so? How about this:
Then there’s Covert Affairs, which is Piper Perabo’s coming out party. Sure, she was great in Coyote Ugly, but this show is a million times better. It’s from the producer of the Bourne trilogy, so there’s no reason not to expect awesome things. Bill Simmons summed it up pretty well in a tweet last night.
This series also has another awesome male character in Auggie, a blind genius who befriends Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) as soon as she gets to the CIA. On top of that, he uses his other heightened senses to check out women. And he’s so freaking good at it. Auggie is the man. And Piper Perabo is my newest celebrity crush. If you aren’t watching Covert Affairs, start now.
That’s all I’ve got for now, because my shows start in seven minutes.
Oh, and the Redlegs are up 5-1 in the fifth inning during a delay.