So, the You Can’t Get There From Here Tour drones on (we’re OKC-Memphis-Indy today before Indy-Detroit-Toronto tomorrow and after Toronto-Detroit-ooops-Delta-Means-Atlanta-OKC on Saturday) and it’s really a day I’d like to be home.
It’s Opening Day.
I know, I know, I know, there were three delightful games in Cleveland but, really, the season for the TOD begins today.
There’s something about coming home that’s special, isn’t there? Regardless of the talent level and the realistic hopes for the season, that first day in front of the home fans is special, as I’m sure the 45,000 or so folks at the ballyard will attest to when the night’s over.
(Of course, I think all Opening Day game should be afternoon affairs and, Toronto at least, the roof should be open but that’s just me)
Not sure what it is, really, but of all the sports, isn’t baseball’s Opening Day more special than the rest?
There are others who will wax, and have waxed, more poetic about it and it’s greater meaning but let me blather on for a couple of hundred words on why.
For more than a month, fans have had little personal contact with “their” team, they’ve been in Florida and we’ve read the dispatches and seen some highlights but it’s not like they’ve been “here” and in person and seen every single day. There’s something about having the team in town that makes it even better, a baseball team is “ours” again once it arrives in the home park, among the home people; a team we can see every day and live with far more easily than we do from pretend games in distant tiny parks.
Guys like Lawrie and Arencibia and Bautista and Romero connect with a younger segment of the fan base than any team I can remember, actually. Maybe it’s their use of social media – they are tweeters and it does bring them closer to a new demographic of fan – or maybe it’s their enthusiasm but there’s just something about this group that makes it special.
They seem to truly like the city and appreciate the fans, they play an entertaining brand of baseball – you really can’t give up on a game they’re in – and that enthusiasm and belief they have transfers to the fans. It’s infectious.
And maybe that’s why the feeling I’m getting today, even from casual fans, is more optimistic than it’s been in years. People tend to truly like this team for its players and their personalities and that an interesting phenomenon. It will buy them some time when things inevitably go sideways a week or two; I believe fans will cheer for players to get out of inevitable slumps rather than rag on them for getting into them.
I have no idea how this team will do – there are still issues with the back end of the rotation that are truly concerning – but today, Opening Day, is full of promise and potential and hope.
And that’s a good day anyway you slice it.
Enjoy the game.
Oh yeah, on the basketball game.
Making do with what they had
The most effective offensive set these guys run has been high screen and roll with Jose and Bargnani, it opens up curls on the weak side for DeRozan, shots for Calderon if defenders go under, enviable matchups for Bargnani if the opponent switches.
Without one piece, they seldom run it but we saw a little variation last night that was interesting.
A couple of times in the second half, when Bargnani was in the back nursing a tight thigh-- calf, we don’t know if he’ll play tonight; I would be surprised if he did given his proclivity for treating this boo-boo with kid gloves – they ran high screen-roll with Calderon and DeRozan.
Sure, it takes away the weak side curl action – James Johnson or Alan Anderson or Gary Forbes don’t create the same things as DeRozan does – but it at least gets Jose some shots and, who knows, might add another facet to DeRozan’s game.
If he learns how to roll hard, or pop and get open jumpers, it’s something he can maybe work on over the course of the last nine games.
Sure, that 24-0 run was the biggie but it became apparent in the second quarter that the Thunder are simply, well, simply better and deeper.
They went to their backups – Harden, Fisher, Collison – and the Raptors were entirely over-matched. It’s apparent that Ben Uzoh may not be the answer, the Johnsons were utterly ineffective all night and Ed Davis had almost as many turnovers (3) as he did rebounds (4) in his 20 minutes. That’s simply not getting it done and if there was ever a danger that Bryan and his henchmen may fall in love with their guys off a few good games, nights like last night show a glaring need for an upgrade of talent at all kinds of positions.
The little gaffes are costly
Not sure how many of you noticed it but there was one play – and I’m pretty sure we talked about it in the IGBT – that perfectly explained Dwane’s lament about his guys not paying attention to detail.
There’s about 20 seconds left in the third quarter – it’s still a game at this point – and the Thunder have Durant isolated at the top, as they would, given how good he is. The HOTH are guarding against the drive, of course, but the very last thing you can do that moment is lose touch or sight of your guy until Durant’s at least in the paint and committed to going to the basket.
So, what happens?
Way before Durant decides what he’s going to do, a couple of Raptor defenders pay more attention to him than to the guys they are covering; Durant hits a wide open Cook in the far corner, Cook drains a three and I didn’t hear Dwane exactly but I’m sure he said:
@(#*! !(#*# ^&%*)#
Or words to that effect.
Okay, that’s probably enough, and probably too serious, but what the heck. Maybe tomorrow we’ll do some music and sitcoms or something.
Talk to you tonight from Indy, Delta Airlines willing.
So how about this:
The Toronto-Detroit leg of Toronto-Detroit-OKC was delayed so I wasn’t going to get the Detroit-OKC leg so after another four hours are Pearson (and, yes, that’s a mind-numbing as it sounds and the services available on the international departure side of Terminal 3 as about the worst and most limited in the world) it’s off to Atlanta. Two hour layover in Atlanta (no, Sam didn’t come take me for dinner) and a two-hour flight to OKC and it’s like midnight east when I get to the hotel, a mere 14 hours after leaving Casa Doug.
How was your day?
Anyway, have at this – it’s long, I warn you – and we’ll be back at 7 with the IGBT.
Q: Doug: I am taken by the difference between how well we can follow the LIVES of pro players and possible effects of life events on their performance. And it seems we know more about baseball players than others.
Maybe it's the length of the performance season. Do you agree? What else might account for this?
Take, for example, what we know and can follow re this year's Jays: Rasmus has a kindred spirit in catcher Mathis + a dad who looks over this shoulder a lot; Lind has a new baby and bad back; Vizquel is mentoring young ss's; Drabek is adjusting to some big challenges from major league hitters for first time in his life, etc etc.
These HUMAN DRAMAS really add to what we know and can follow in the world of baseball players we care about.
Why is it that baseball seems to lend itself more to this filled-out info on players as opposed to what we know about players in most other sports?
Charles N, Toronto
A: I think it has to do mostly with the length of spring training and the search for interesting stories to fill more than a month’s worth of newspapers and websites, especially when there are few burning issues that need daily updating.
And in some cases, like Rasmus and his dad, we find out about them and delve into them when the player first arrives as a way of introduction.
We try to do that with the basketball – James Johnson’s martial arts, Alan Anderson’s long journey, Gary Forbes and his dealing with diabetes – but there seem to far fewer days and certainly far fewer players to talk about.
We should be better, though.
Q: I am pleased that Coach Casey has his players still competing even though it amounts to playing out the string.
Is this any different than the Leaves of 2011 who made a "valiant" comeback in March and April to "just miss" the playoffs or the TOD, who have great Septembers when there's nothing on the line? If it is, then how?
Jim S, Thornhill
A: I guess the only difference is that, with NBA teams, there are so few players that impact the game, having them have some semblance of success – even at this late date – fosters a feeling of confidence and familiarity in the following season. I’m not sure that happens with the pucks or the baseball.
But you’re right in a way; it does get overblown sometimes.
Q: Doug. I was thinking about Joey Graham the other day and I remember him being a very good athlete and a marginal basketball player. What is he up to these days?
And while we’re talking about athletes, who would you say are best athletes that the Raptors have ever had? HWSNBN would likely be number 1, but since he is shall not be named, who else would make up the top 5?
The three that first come to mind are DeRozan, Graham, and McGrady who am I forgetting?
Jamie M, Winnipeg
A: Haven’t really kept up on Joey, I recall seeing something about him and D League team but don’t know if that came to fruition. Hope it did, would like to think a guy can make some money doing what he loves; outside of flying that is.
And you nailed three pretty good athletes there, I’ll probably toss Jamario on that list and if you want one out of nowhere, I’m going to give you Sean Marks. I remember Butch, I think it was, raving about his athletic abilities.
Q: I have a question about tough guys in the NBA, specifically as it relates to real, scary, don't want to mess with them toughness. Obviously as professional athletes they have to be tough to endure the grind of the season. And these guys are huge compared to us normal humans. Even Jose, a relative lightweight in the league is a pretty darn big guy compared to the rest of the population, so us normal people are naturally predisposed to being intimidated by these massive individuals who are no doubt freakishly strong (relatively). But that doesn't mean they are all actually "tough" guys. I once saw a quote from Sam Mitchell about how most of the guys in the league can't fight and just slap away at each other and then jump away. I would assume, being a former military man, he knew/knows how to actually fight and could stand up to anyone in the league. Same with David Robinson. And someone like James Johnson with his lifetime of martial arts training isn't likely to be backing down from anyone no matter how big they are. But then you've got guys like Kevin Garnett who carries himself like a tough scary guy, but has never really given the impression that he could stand up to someone if they weren't intimidated by his intensity/screaming/glaring schtick. So here's the question. Who in the league, past and present, do you know were REAL tough guys? Guys who could/would stick their nose in it and could truly handle themselves if things got out of hand? I tend to believe that guys who can, don't need to walk around beating their chest about it (like Garnett). Everyone just knows...dont' mess with that guy.
Ken M, Toronto
A: You don’t ever want to mess with Kurt Thomas or Reggie Evans. Not that they are dirty or anything, just that they’re tough. Now, you will hear people complain about “fake” tough guys and that’s probably an apt description for some players who hit and run, and there are more than a few of them.
And I don’t know that you’d want to mess with Metta World Peace or Kendrick Perkins, either. At least I wouldn’t.
Q: On Thursday night, looking for a basketball fix because the Raptors had the night off, I start perusing a basketball website. Two of their headline struck me. The first dealt with Howard wanting SVG fired. The second trumpeted Blake Griffin having dunked on Pau Gasol. Now, I'm an Irregular of a certain vintage, so maybe I'm too old but I don't get it. Stars shouldn't hold that power over coaches/management and didn't the Lakers beat the Clippers? There is much that I enjoy about Real Men's Professional Basketball, but those two stories highlight aspects of the game that I think are wrong. Any comments?
David H, Mississauga
A: Oh I don’t get it, either, and I guess it’s a bit of an indictment of the media.
I will say this, though: The Van Gundy-Howard was news and part of a continuing saga so I have far less issue with it than I do repeatedly seeing an exceptional play by a guy whose team actually lost the game.
Q: Hey Doug - A quick question of the perceptual kind: is it me or is Bryan Colangelo less in the media this year? If he has been less prominent in the media, how come? Any ideas or guesses? If not, feel free to ignore this question!
Diego S, Toronto
A: I don’t think he’s been less prominent at all; we see him around all the time. I would surmise the perception is that he’s not around because the TV guys aren’t showing a clip or two of him every night standing in the vomitorium like they used to.
I’m not sure we’ve quoted him as much as we have in the past but, really, there hasn’t been a lot to say, has there?
While I’m on the wackiest road trip for flights of perhaps of all time, you deal with this, okay?
And there’s room for a few more since I’ve got a lot of time to kill today.
Did you know you can’t go direct from Toronto to Oklahoma City or from Oklahoma City to Indy and the only direct home from Indy is an evening flight?
So how about: Toronto-Detroit-OKC today; OKC-Memphis-Indy on Monday and Indy-Detroit-YYZ on Tuesday? That’s living, folks. Primetime livin’
But first ...
Q: Hi Doug. Would you like to take the way-back machine( with or without Sherman) to watch at Augusta, or one of Maple Leaf Gardens, Montreal Forum, Tiger Stadium, or The Polo Grounds? What year would you choose? I choose Tiger stadium and Al Kaline and the boys.
Have a great Easter!
Bob E, Kanata
A: Well, having been to Tiger Stadium I have to take that off the list and was in the Gardens and the Forum. So, while I’d love to see rolling hills of Augusta, I’d probably pick the Polo Grounds. I see enough of Augusta each April, never see a great old ballyard.
Q: Questions about Linus Kleiza. Shots not falling, especially 3-pointers, doesn't seem as energized, not getting as much playing time. Wondering if it is fatigue from time off after knee surgery or if the knee is holding up. Any thoughts?
Do you think Linus is a player the Raptors might consider trading?
Arlene E, Chesley
A: I know he’s been a bit bothered by a sore Achilles, or at least that’s what I’ve been told. Don’t imagine there’s any fatigue.
And I’m sure they’d entertain trade offers, as they would for just about anyone on the team and I would think – and it’s been intimated to me that it’s true – that they might even consider him for an amnesty case if they can use his salary as part of larger deal for a free agent or two.
Q: Can you give us a Weems update? What type of season did he have? Also, what's the deal with his rights? Do the Raps have to extend him another qualifying offer this year? And if yes how much is the offer, and will it count towards the money we have to spend on Free Agents.
Finally... What's your opinion on Andre Kirilenko? For the right price he could be our answer at the 3 position... he's a match up nightmare.
Jeffrey M, Saint John
A: Man, there is all kinds of Sonny Weems love around these parts, you’d think hew as an NBA all-star rather than a role player on a 21-61 team. He had a good year, was in the Lithuanian League all-star game, wrecked an ankle and is back in Toronto getting treatment. He’s a restricted free agent but not in Toronto’s plans in any way, shape or form so unless they can add him to some deal, I would imagine they’d renounce his rights and use his cap-hold -- which is a bit below $1 million, I understand -- as money to throw in the free agent kitty.
Kirilenko’s interesting and I’ve heard his name around here as a fallback person of interest but mostly I hear him associated with New Jersey for next year.
Q: Doug, this does have a basketball angle: the same Joey Votto who reportedly just agreed to a 10 year - $225 million contract extension the Cincinatti Reds is also a basketball player! (I've played Men's pick up with him at the YMCA in Sarasota in the off season for the last few years). He's a great athlete and very low key guy who is easy to talk to - on and off the court.
To make this a question: Do you think the Raptors would ever…
Barry P, North Bay
A: Ha! Wouldn’t that be cool. Sorry, though; I imagine the people paying Votto almost a quarter of a billion dollars might have something to say about that. However, I will let you know that Votto remains close to the game; he’s been the guest of some of the Raptors staff at a handful of games here and in Florida, where he makes his off-season home and his Mom and siblings have been to at least one game here this year. And he’s good friends with a couple of members of Toronto’s staff.
Q: Not a question, Doug, sorry, but some observations after attending two games last week. Wait, I'll rephrase it as a question, as they'd do in the legislature: are you aware that a few fans still aren't aware of the concept, and they come to watch the games? If so, maybe you could pass on some advice:
Pay no attention to the starting time listed on your ticket; otherwise, you'll deprive dozens of people of the benefit of having you between them and the court as you walk up to your seat after the game has started.
If the portal says seats 1-14, and your ticket says 28, go ahead --- how could it possibly be a problem?
Stay in your seat between periods and during timeouts; wait until the ball is back in play to get up and shuffle past the people in your row, then take your time ambling down the stairs, to obscure the view of as many people as possible. Repeat throughout the match.
Thanks. btw, your recent reference to the mean-spirited editor at the Woodstock-Ingersoll Daily Sentinel-Review, he was just as miserable when I worked there a few years ahead of you, and what was even worse, he was the only one not required to work unpaid overtime.
Nick M, Winnipeg
A: Yeah, he was some dude, wasn’t he?
Okay, I’m sure there are Irregulars who have as many bad patron stories as yours, I’m going to add one. They need to lie to the people in the expensive seats and tell ‘em halftime is ending five minutes before it does so they can get back and sit down before the second half begins.
We’re in Chicago, I’m sitting about 30 minutes to tip talking to a good friend of mine who’s a minor bigshot with the Raptors but who seldom travels. My pal looks around at the Bulls fans already in their seats, goofy with the pre-game festivities and actually anxious for the game to begin.
“Why,” my friend wonders, “isn’t like this in Toronto?”
Q: Hey Doug. I think the main way for the Raptor to get better is to develop their existing players. Demar and Ed sure didn't seem to improve much on their own last summer. Demar, Ed, JJ, Forbes ... I'd love to see those guys come back noticeable improved next season.
So what is the most effective way for the Raptors to develop their players in the summer? Are there certain teams that are great at developing players that could be used as a template?
John J, Victoria
A: The most effective way is for the coaching staff to hit the road in the summer and visit each player repeatedly to work on skill development and see how off-season training regimens are being followed. And I know that will happen There’s also the summer league to think about and while I don’t know that DeRozan or James Johnson will play in it, I’d think Forbes and Davis could benefit greatly from getting into a few games.
And, no, there really aren’t any teams that stand out over the others for an off-season template, they all do pretty much the same thing as the Raptors will this summer.
Good evening, everyone.
How are things?
This was the joke going around Raptors shootaround on Friday morning and the names are being withheld because we were all thinking it and there’s no sense singling any one person out.
A guy: "You know how some people want them to put a D League team somewhere in Toronto?"
Another guy, knowing where this is going: "Yeah?"
A guy: "Well, how about the ACC tonight?”
Now, it’s not quite that bad but the lucky ticket holders for Friday’s Toronto-Cleveland tilt sure won’t be getting a full blown NBA game.
Jose Calderon (swollen eye) and Gary Forbes (sore left knee) are out for Toronto; Kyrie Irving (shoulder) and Anthony Parker (bruised sternum) will sit for the Cavs and if you were eagerly anticipating a Ben Uzoh-Donald Sloan starting point guard matchup, your dreams are about to be realized.
And if you’ve ever wanted to see Justin Dentmon play in an NBA game, the night holds great promise.
So as the Raptor try to chase a fourth straight win for the first time since November, 2010, the starting lineup:
Uzoh, signed to a second 10-day deal today; DeMar DeRozan, Alan Anderson, signed to a second 10-day deal today; Andrea Bargnani and Aaron Gray.
Dentmon, another 10-day Toronto signee who arrived from Austin of the D League on Thursday night, will back up Uzoh as the Raptors go with a point guard tandem they couldn’t even have envisioned in their dreams when the season began.
Coach Dwane Casey said James Johnson, a Did Not Play, Coach’s Decision, on Wednesday in Philadelphia, could see some action tonight but that Anderson, who has impressed the coaching staff with his play the last three games, will start once again.
Hey, you check out the new ballpark in Miami?
Fish tanks behind home plate? Some kind of zany sculpture out in the outfield? Retractable roof? Far more convenient location where the old Orange Bowl was instead of out in the boonies where the football team plays?
Nice place, by all accounts, and with a night off there during a HOTH trip in a week or so, maybe I can find a ticket or four and take in a game.
After all, isn’t baseball more about ballparks more than any other sport is about its playing facilities?
Think of it.
We wax poetic about the old parks, like Tiger Stadium (still right there at No. 1 on my list) or Wrigley, or the old Yankee Stadium, or Forbes Field or Shibe Park.
Because baseball, better than other sports, has idiosyncrasies in its parks that make them memorable and make a day there a lovely experience.
You can soak in history at Fenway with the Green Monster and the Pesky Pole. You can sit at Wrigley and feel the history and recall a pre-game spent in a saloon talking to Bill Veeck before sitting in the bleachers.
You can see weird corners and odd dimensions and, really, no two ballparks are the same.
Thankfully, they’ve gotten away from the cookie cutter monstrosities of the past, Three Rivers in Pittsburgh, The Vet in Philly, Riverfront in Cincinnati that were true abominations and did nothing to enhance what should always been a pleasurable day at the yard.
Now we’ve got Safeco in Seattle, perhaps my favourite of the new ones; the park in Phoenix that is gorgeous, the nice new place in San Francisco by the water and, as I’m told, the best of them all in Pittsburgh.
It truly is a sport that mixes its history with a modern touch, all the new parks try to be as intimate as the old ones while folding in some modern amenities and it’s a wonderful thing.
Part of the joy of going to a game is the park, the feel, the smell, the sights. You can’t say that about basketball or football or the pucks where the playing fields are cookie cutter (at least now that they’ve taken the old square corners and tiny surface out of Buffalo) and lack any semblance of unique.
I have no idea what the true “feel” is at the Marlins ballpark and it’s only in the news now because it’s new but I can safely say this:
The place the game’s played is almost as important as how the game is played if you’re looking to while away a few hours watching baseball. And that’s not a bad thing.
16-inning game won on homer after the guy botches bunt without a bunt sign on.
11 shutout innings from bullpen.
One-pitch double play out of a five-man infield in extra innings.
Guy walked to load the bases in extra innings.
Three-run top of the ninth.
Bautista plays right, first, right; Omar Vizquel at first.
Longest Opening Day game ever.
Guy bunting into double play by standing at home plate, frozen and forgetting to, you know, run to first.
Oh yeah, this is shaping up to be some kind of wild season and if Team Of Destiny ever looked like TOD, it was yesterday.
Right. Don’t forget we’re at 7:30 tonight thanks to TV and its golf coverage.
Can’t pre-empt the pucks over on TSN2, it seems.
There’s some of what I think about the latest episode of Orlando Idiocy that came up yesterday in here – Nothin’ But Net had to get cut down for space considerations – but, really, there is so much more to say.
Big time game from a big time guy when he had to know everyone in the basketball world was going to be watching him, wasn’t it? Don’t true greats elevate themselves in such instances to prove their worth to their teammates and fans and to, you know, put your money where your mouth is?
He all but bailed on his teammates and his confidantes in the front office and ownership and once again showed that at some very basic level, he just doesn’t get it.
Look, I’ve long had problems with Dwight Howard’s game. It struck me as impossible to believe that a player so obviously talented couldn’t extend his offensive game past the distance it took to dunk (although that’s getting a bit better) and that, to me, spoke to his work ethic.
But he always struck me as a good guy who never took himself too seriously and played the game with a fun attitude.
Now? Now he looks like just another petulant star who has no idea how good he has it. Stan Van Gundy can probably be a bit irritating if you have to deal with him every single day but that’s what good coaches are: They get on stars and subs alike, they make teams greater than the sum of their parts and I cannot imagine Dwight Howard will be coached by a better tactician or strategist for however long he plays.
We all have an idea how this is going to play out. Van Gundy will hold his nose and coach his butt off until the Magic flame out in the post-season and then will quietly go away.
Howard will be very good some nights and invisible the next and when it comes time a year from now to decide his long-term future, if I’m the Magic, I let him walk; and I most certainly do not let him pick the team’s next coach.
And outside of Mickey Mantle’s, I’ll take Bricktown suggestions in OKC for tomorrow night since it’s going to be a rare “wandering around town with nothing to do on the road” kind of evening.
Raptors? Dead quiet yesterday, no sense even doing anything with the 10-day guys since you don’t want to blow a day on a contract for a day that didn’t include even a practice.
We’ll get some news this morning, I’m sure. Figure, as oft-said, we get Alan Anderson back, Justin Dentmon in, I can’t get a true feel for what they’ll do with Ben Uzoh and I fully expect the waters to be calmed and James Johnson back in his usual role.
Well, anyone see that coming?
Best half of defence – at least in terms of opponent’s scoring – in franchise history, first three-game winning streak since 2010 and no sign of the traditional “fold when the game gets tough” attributes we’ve seen all year.
That’s why …
No one’s talking
Not sure what it was with James Johnson, even the most chatty people in the organization went silent, referring to it as an internal matter, but the suggestion in private conversations was that it wasn’t that big a deal.
Think it speaks to Dwane Casey, though, as much as it does Johnson.
This is a coach who’ll do whatever he deems necessary to keep this team headed in the right direction and I’m sure there have been other instances of clashes between coaches and players or players and players this year – it’s inevitable and it happens with every team in the league.
But as with just about everything Dwane’s done this year, even discipline was under-stated. There were no histrionics, no veiled references to whatever happen; it was dealt with quietly and in-house and no one seemed at all put out about it.
Kind of nice, isn’t it? No flare-ups, nothing too much in the public, just an issue that came up, was dealt with and will be forgotten.
Calm is good sometimes.
The eye has it
Yes, that was a rather ugly gash over Jose’s right eye, four stitches and a nice little goose egg that flared up in the second half.
And when we were talking to him after the game there were the inevitable jokes.
He said he told everybody to stay on his left because he couldn’t really see peripherally out of his right eye; he’s worried about what his parents will think when they arrive for a visit this weekend and he was kind of glad his wife and young son are back in Spain for a little bit so they wouldn’t have to, you know, look at him.
But while it’s hardly a huge story that a guy played with a four-stitch cut over his eye, the fact he had six of his 13 assists in the second half, played 20 minutes of that half and hit the dagger of the three late in the game – from the right side so he could be looking mainly out of his left eye, it should be pointed out – was a pretty good tale.
So, who stays?
Well, you heard that Justin Dentmon, a point guard who was toiling with Austin of the D League, is coming tomorrow – no sense starting the clock on a 10-day deal today on a day off – but it’s decision time on Alan Anderson and Ben Uzoh today and tomorrow, respectively.
I can’t see a way that they don’t re-do Anderson and, who knows, maybe Uzoh’s play last night allows him to stick around as a third point guard for emergency situations.
Not sure it’s a big deal either way – no one’s suggested any of these guys will be around next fall – so why not just add a fellow and keep the other two and leave the disruptions to a relative minimum.
Makes sense to me.
More? There’s always more.
Now, this is just wrong.
Dead wrong. Wronger than the whole Augusta thing (like how I just invented “wronger?”)
Did you hear that because of some zany sponsorship deal that, in the next Jams Bond movie, Bond is going to drink – gasp! – beer?
Yep, no more vodka martinis and I don’t know that there is an enduring cinematic character more closely associated with one thing than Bond and his “shaken, not stirred” martinis.
I hope no one goes to the movie.
Best. Bond. Ever.
It’s Masters weekend, I see.
Azaleas, dogwoods, Butler Cabin, green jackets and an exclusionary club of men only.
What doesn’t fit?
Of course, there is no forward-thinking person who would look at Augusta National’s membership policy and not get at least a little irked: This is 2012 and the days of treating women as second class citizens is reprehensible to those of us with, you know, working brains. Save, those, of course, who are captains of industry and members of the club.
But – and this is the big but – this is their club, all the criticism in the world doesn’t seem to have an impact on them in the slightest and if they want to comport themselves like this, well, what are you going to do?
Boycott the tournament sponsors? Didn’t seem to work the year the lords of the Manor simply took advertising off the air.
Protest? To who? Yes, we know, it’s wrong, it’s dead wrong; the members don’t seem to care what we think and there have been far Taller Foreheads than I make far more compelling cases in print and in the spoken word to no avail.
So we do what we do: We hold our noses and watch and complain again next year and watch again next year.
Is that wrong? Don’t think so.
There is certainly about this tournament that draws us back. It’s not the field because it’s not as good as a handful of other tournaments over the course of the season; it’s not the course because although it’s beautiful it’s not necessarily all that challenging, the fairways are wide, the rough barely existent, it’s not like the U.S. Open or The Open Championship by any stretch of the imagination.
It’s not Jim Nance, that’s for sure, because he’s so saccharine I want to throw a shoe at the TV by early Sunday afternoon.
What do you think?
The weather? The camera shots?
How about the history?
Of all the biggies, this is the one that seldom changes, it’s the same course at the same time of year with many of the same cast of characters. It’s what we do around the first weekend of April, it’s got some allure to even non-golf fans, it would seem.
But to go on about the membership policies of a bunch of dinosaurs and their little club is really not worth it, I don’t think.
They’re not going to change, I believe we can say that with a high degree of certainty, it’s a bad policy to many right-thinking people but if history has shown us one thing, it’s this:
They don’t care and we love their show.
Enjoy the weekend.
Mail? Love some. Have a flight this morning to work; tomorrow afternoon to work and even a bit of Saturday to work before setting out for the wild nights of OKC.
Doug Smith has been a sportswriter for more than 30 years, a journey that's included seven Olympic Games, numerous and varied championships and more dreary regular season games than he'd care to remember. Here, he'll talk about them all, as well as current events and pop culture. (Just don’t ask him about music nowadays — it's not his cup of tea).