Sunday, June 19, 2005

Taming the Tiger

What a round of golf. The final round of the US Open was quite entertaining.

I will admit I have been somewhat frustrated with watching golf as of late with the way Tiger Woods has fallen apart recently. Yes, I was truly impressed with Tiger's string of greatness at the turn of the century. And now that he has clearly come back to earth golf is admittedly a little less interesting. Frankly, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh just don't interest me.

Anyway, coming into Sunday, I was terribly thrilled with the prospect of the 4th round. Only one player coming into the round was under par and it was Retief Goosen with a 3 shot lead. Yawn.

Then things began to unravel for Goosen. He was being touted as the great, steady 2-time champ that would just shoot even par and walk away with the trophy. Well, he shot a very unsteady 81 and opened the door for some other players. Including Mr. Woods.

Tiger played an incredible 4th round, but as was so rare 4 years ago, but has become less surprising recently, he just couldn't get it done. His pedestrian play on Saturday was his undoing as his work on Sunday just couldn't overcome the deficit he had dug himself.

Instead, the trophy goes to New Zealander Michael Campbell, who must be given major props because he played right behind Tiger and did not wilt. While he did not tear up the course, he played a smooth and steady game and really looked like he had blinders on. You could almost hear him thinking to himself, "I'm not looking up, I'm not looking up, I'm not looking up."

At any rate, congrats to Campbell. I do believe he'll be another Open champ who takes his trophy and moves back to the middle of the pack quietly, but no one can take that trophy away from him, especially not the way he tamed Tiger by completely ignoring him. The encouraging thing to take away from this: Tiger looked a little pumped up, which may make for an exciting British Open.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Sah-weeeng and a miss

Okay. So my first attempt at a sports column-type blog completely misfires. Thank you San Antonio. This only proves one thing: I rarely really know what I'm talking about. That, and well its hard to have a sound take on a series that I'm not even watching.

Oh well. I still stand by my pick of San Antonio in 6. I just can't see the Spurs lying down for 3 straight games. Besides, now Detroit is primed for a let-down. They've got 2 1/2 days to listen to everyone climb back on their bandwagon and talk about how they are just unbeatable at home in the playoffs. And with the ego issues in the Motor City, I don't think that's a very good thing.

Anyway, that's my take on that. I promise, eventually one of these posts will look like I know what I'm talking about. Eventually.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

2005 NBA Finals, Its Faaaan- ah forget it.

I will just come out and say it, "I couldn't really care less about this year's NBA Finals." Does this make me not a "purist"? Perhaps, don't care.

I find very little remotely interesting about a San Antonio team that is led by the most vanilla superstar in the league and his Argentine sidekick, who if people will remember, is not even a full time starter. Nor could I really care about a Detroit team who "plays ultimate team basketball," right up until the members of the "team" believe themselves to be bigger than said "team."

As I've been told by numerous talking heads, this Detroit team should be respected because they are the defending champs. My BUTT. The Lakers lost the championship last year, and Detroit was fortunate to be the best of the worst (I mean East) who happened to be standing there when the Lakers imploded. That's like me picking up someone's lost wallet full of money and saying "I earned a fortune." But as we are all aware (or should be you naive lemmings), the Finals, and just about any other championship contest, does not necessarily reward the best team of the season.

Coming into this series, the only real way I would have been somewhat interested is if David Stern stepped in and decided that Phoenix and Miami should replace these other namby-pambies. That would have been a good series (provided Shaq and Wade were healthy). But that would have been blatant tampering by league officials and it is common knowledge that they prefer to do their business behind the scenes. Besides, I am willing to wager that Phoenix and Miami face each other in the finals soon enough (i.e. next year). As history has proven, the torch is passed on to the next team after they earn their way up the play-off ladder. Detroit had to get through Indiana, who had to get through Chicago, who had to get through Detroit who had to get through Boston, etc.

Well, since we are blessed with this abomination of a series, I guess I'll have to make the best of it. More than likely, my involvement will consist of checking the paper the next day to see who won. However, in my casual observance of the last three games I have picked up on one thing: this stuff is just getting too predictable.

In Game One, Detroit came in and lit up San Antonio in the first quarter. This was supposedly surprising because Detroit was coming off a grueling 7 game series with Miami and San Antone was supposed to be well rested off an 8 day rest. Baloney ain't just another food group. The truth: Detroit was riding their last bit of energy and enthusiasm coming off the big series; San Antonio was r-u-s-t-y. So when Detroit hit the wall in the second quarter, it was all over but the crying for games one and two.

Now comes Game 3 and there's talk of sweep for San Antonio and how Detroit just doesn't have the answers. Well, I hate to break it to you, but: there won't be another 4 game sweep for a long time. For a couple of reasons that could be debated extensively. 1) ABC does not want this thing to be over in one week; then they would have to begin their "summer o' crap" too early. There are ads to be sold people! (Not that I would ever suggest that ABC or any other network would have any say in the outcome of games.) 2) The "Association" (as they are liked to be called) would hate for a team to come in and obliterate another "high-caliber" team in 4 short games. What does that say about second place when first place is so far ahead you can't see them? 3) It may seem that David Stern has a gun to my head while I type this last one because it is the most league friendly reason, but parity. Teams are closely enough matched, especially by this point in the play-offs, that a team would have to play intense, high-quality basketball 4 games in a row to sweep. With today's players and their distractions and short attention spans, its getting hard enough to get them to show up for 4 games in a row, you can hardly expect their best performances 4 games in a row.

So what happens in Game 3? Well if you didn't see this coming a mile away, you're new. Pick up the pamphlet on your way out and sign up for the newsletter, we'll get you caught up. Detroit is at home for a must win. San Antone is in the driver's seat having held serve at home and think they have Detroit figured out. So they let up on the pedal, Detroit presses, and lo and behold, we are guaranteed a 5th game ladies and gentlemen. We could have saved the time and effort of playing that thing and just picked up here at Game 4.

Now comes the first interesting game of the series (and that's a stretch). Because I am of the opinion that the great teamwork of the Pistons has deteriorated into Rasheed whining, Ben W. hiding, Chauncey playing maybe 1 quarter a night, and it seems Tayshaun Prince has actually tied himself into a knot with his world's longest arms (don't forget to go see him in his starring role in "Fantastic 4" this wknd.), I believe San Antonio will eventually win this snoozefest. So how does Game 4 play out (seeing as how it is just now tipping off as I type this, still time to call my shot)? San Antonio will win a mildly competitive game.

That will put them up 3-1 with one game left in Detroit. Yes, say it with me, Detroit will win Game 5. That puts us back in San Antonio for Games 6 and 7. By this point, this sham of a series will be transparent enough and will end in Game 6. Now that its out, everyone can go on about their business, watching C List Celebrities ballroom dance. What's that you say? That's what everyone is already doing? Oh. Well, then wake me in November.

I cannot believe that I just wrote so much about a series that I don't really care about. Well, I guess since this is my opening salvo on this site, I went after it with gusto. Hopefully I won't be so longwinded in the future, but hey, it keeps me from trying to say all of this on the local sports call-in show. Not that I do that...