March 22, 2006

Random sporting thoughts while wondering how The Funny Guy is coping having to face the excesses and temptations of “Sin City” without The Great White Shank as his trusty chaperone:

Hard not to like the Red Sox trade with the Reds. Bronson Arroyo, while a decent enough pitcher, was headed to the bullpen due to the plethora of starters the Red Sox have, and in Wily Mo Pena they get a young, power-hitting outfielder (something the Sox sorely lacked in their farm system). With role models like David Ortiz, Trot Nixon, and Jason Varitek to show him the right way to play the game, Pena will have every opportunity to mature and be as good as he wants to be – and you know he’s going to be a Fenway favorite.

Speaking of the Red Sox, it’s hard not to give their front office very high marks for their off-season moves. Since last October, they have:

* Retained Theo Epstein as their GM (even though it took a whole lotta wackiness to do so);
* Gotten younger at center field by replacing Johnny Damon (sorry, ladies) with the younger and healthier Coco Crisp;
* Traded for Josh Beckett, who, as long as he stays healthy, can be expected to head the top of the starting rotation long after Curt Schilling retires;
* Replaced at shortstop that sieve Edgar “Rent-A-Wreck” with Alex Gonzalez, who has done nothing but turn heads this spring as a one-man human highlight film;
* Got younger at first base by swapping Kevins, replacing “Cowboy Up” Millar with the younger Youkilis, who can only be expected to get better with more regular at bats;
* Replaced a uninspiring pu-pu-platter of second basemen with the steady veteran Mark Loretta.

Just as with every other team in baseball, the Red Sox will only go as far as their health takes them. However, by gettting younger (as the Yankees continue to get older), I think they improve their chances greatly in that regard. At the very least, they will be an interesting team to watch this year. (Now if I can only figure out how to get them on Direct TV out here in Indian country.)

(BTW, I think a lot of people are already looking past 2006 to 2007 when, the baseball gods willing, the Red Sox will only get younger and more exciting. Not only will the top of their rotation feature a hard-throwing, 1-2 punch of Beckett and Jonathan Papelbon, they’ll also have exciting young players like Wily Mo, Dustin Pedroia, and Adam Stern in the starting lineup, and Manny Delcarmen, Chris Hansen, and Jon Lester on their pitching staff. The future is looking rosy indeed for the Sawx.)

I’m sure the Krafts and Bill “In Bill We Trust” Belichick know what they’re doing, but the New England Patriots allowing veterans like David Givens, Willie McGinest, and Adam Vinitieri has left most of us fans scratching their heads in wonder. While it certainly might get them younger as a team, it certainly won’t make them better. Even the most optimistic Pats fan recognizes the team has now come back to, if not the whole AFC East pack, at the very least the Miami Dolphins.

The Players Championship is this weekend, and I have no doubt – this one’s a lock, folks – that Sergio Garcia wins it, giving him the confidence to go out and capture his first major somewhere down the line this year.

And, speaking of The Players Championship, enough already with this annual ridiculous “fifth major” argument…

…It’s almost as stupid as Michelle Wie being ranked 2nd in the ladies’ world rankings when she hasn’t won a damned thing yet.

The AP’s Doug Ferguson adds his own two cents’ worth in agreement:

If former Justice Potter Stewart were asked to join this debate, he probably would have said something like, “I shall not today attempt to define a major, but I know it when I see it.”

What keeps The Players Championship from being a major is the very organization that longs for it to be one.

The majors are run by four groups — Augusta National, the USGA, the Royal & Ancient and the PGA of America. Each run one tournament a year with a full field of golf’s best players. The Players Championship, on the other hand, is among 41 events run by the PGA Tour. Ultimately, it’s a PGA Tour event in a prom dress.

The PGA already has its major event in August; creating yet another one will only reinforce the suspicion that the PGA Tour is, in the end, only about TV exposure, money – lots of it – and promoting itself. At the very least, it makes absolutely no sense. Four majors should, for anyone’s tastes, be sufficient. As Ferguson writes, “Jeff Sluman” is responsible for the defining statement on the status of The Players Championship as a major when he said three years ago, “When you go Denny’s and order the Grand Slam breakfast, they don’t give you five things, do they? They give you four.”

As Glenn Reynolds is wont to say: Indeed.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a “regular” PGA tour event played on one of the most outstanding tracts in the world and attracting a large, well-known, international field of players. The Tour needs high-profile non-major events like The Players Championship and the Verizon (formerly MCI) Heritage at Harbour Town to keep the non-major stops from dissolving into a bland, mind-numbing procession of events played under a host of well-meaning but nondescript automobile and technology/pharmaceutical sponsors. Aren’t there six Buick Opens already?

Well, enough for today. Before I go, kudos to Becky, bartender extraordinaire at the Peppermill’s Fireside Lounge, and the incredibly lovely Angel, our waitress at Gilley’s at the New Frontier and TFG’s and my choice for “Cutest Girl In All Of Las Vegas” (no, that’s not her on the mechanical bull!). Between the two of them, TFG and I were treated to a Vegas Monday night full of fun and a lot of yucks. Thanks, ladies!

Finally, as the long-departed but beloved Vin “Biff Bulkie” Maloney used to say on Eddie Andelman’s old “Sports Huddle” show back in Beantown, “If you can’t be a good sport, at least wear a good sportscoat”.

Filed in: Golf & Sports,Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 23:27 | Comment (1)
1 Comment
  1. I think this blog is great.

    Comment by guestlist for vegas clubs — August 1, 2011 @ 1:55 am

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