Hit And Run

I have a bunch of little things on tap for today so I’ll just call this “hit-and-run” to get them all in.  Ricky Fowler shot a 65 yesterday in the first round of the US Open.  That is a good round on just about any day, but it put Fowler in a tie for the best performance in the opening round of the US Open at 7-under par.  Only two other golfers in history have done that; they would be Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf.

Obviously, it is more important where Ricky Fowler finishes the tournament on Sunday but I still think this is a big deal for him because any time a golfer can put his name on a short list and the other two names on that list are “Nicklaus” and “Weiskopf”, he has done something special.

Yesterday, LeBron James was spotted leaving a gym workout with his head shaved.  James’ receding hairline has been a topic of discussion for reasons that have never been clear to me.  Yesterday he had the hair on the top of his head cropped and he was rubbing the area of the shorn locks.  Naturally, this “new look” attracted attention on SportsCenter and outlets of that ilk.  People who are prone to seek “meaning” in any and all circumstances pounced on this with interpretations such as “even more commitment to regain the NBA championship next year” and “new look/new determination”.

Frankly, I think most of that is an excessive strain of logic.  But if anyone simply must have a “hidden meaning” in this change of coiffure, let me offer a really nonsensical one:

  • Maybe this is a secret/subliminal message to James’ buddy, Chris Paul, to re-sign with the LA Clippers because James will join him there after next year when James is a free agent.  How is this a subliminal message?  Well, he cut his hair – – and you need “clippers” to do that.

If you want to buy that “explanation” of what happened here, perhaps I can also interest you in oceanfront property in Omaha …

Meanwhile, Kevin Durant made a pronouncement yesterday that Kyrie Irving was a better player that Allen Iverson.  Any “debate” about that quickly devolves into “oh, yeah?” versus “well how about this?”  Obviously, they are both outstanding players and one of the unattractive features of such comparisons is that it becomes necessary to assert negative things about the player one is in favor of.  As I said, they are both excellent and I will only point out one thing that Allen Iverson accomplished that Kyrie Irving has not:

  • Allen Iverson plus a cast of journeymen supporters made it to the NBA Finals.  There were no other players on that Sixers’ team who will ever get a vote for the Hall of Fame; most of them never even made it to the all-Star game.  Nonetheless they got to the NBA Finals and actually won a game against the Lakers’ team led by Shaq and Kobe.
  • Kyrie Irving has been to the Finals multiple times and has won a championship but the “other players” on his Cavaliers’ team were significantly better than Iverson’s teammates.

Connor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather are going to fight – with boxing rules – in August.  You can expect hype and hoopla galore for the next 10 weeks.  This is going to be a spectacle and not a fight.  Given that this is a boxing match, McGregor is at a huge disadvantage.  Max Kellerman made this point yesterday:

  • Consider the best water polo player in the world.  He obviously knows how to swim and he obviously has strength, stamina and familiarity with the water.
  • Now consider Michael Phelps.
  • If these two men were matched in a race, Phelps would have a huge advantage; if they were matched in a water polo game, the other guy would likely dominate.
  • Pairing those two athletes in one-another’s sport would prove nothing.  Neither will the McGregor/Mayweather spectacle.

This is nothing more than a “money-grab” by all the involved parties.  Good for them as they pull it off; there are plenty of folks out there who are already committed to buying the pay-per-view for this thing.  I do not begrudge anyone their take from this “fight” but you may be certain that none of that take will come from my pockets.

I happened to see the Houston Astros play several times in the past couple of weeks and that leads me to make this very simple and very straightforward statement:

  • Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve are a whole lot of fun to watch both in the field and at bat.

The NCAA put Louisville on probation for 4 years and suspended Rick Pitino from 5 ACC conference games next year.  This is based on the prior allegations made by a woman that an assistant coach at Louisville paid her to provide escorts and sexual services to potential recruits in a dormitory at Louisville.  Pitino is being punished for not sufficiently supervising the activities of that assistant coach.

Here is the problem.  A prosecutor and the police have considered the allegations made here and they are far more serious than any prudish concern about plying teenagers with sexual favors or prostitution; one allegation was that a minor child was used for some of the sexual favors.  At the end of all that investigating – which took more than a year – there were no charges brought against anyone.  Not the assistant coach …  Not the woman making the allegations …  Not the person(s) who allegedly inserted the minor female into the narrative …

So, the NCAA here is punishing Rick Pitino and the assistant coach (He is under a 10-year show-cause restriction from getting another college coaching job.) and Louisville as a school for actions that did not even result in charges let alone convictions.  So, here is the essence:

  • Rick Pitino did not sufficiently supervise a member of his coaching staff there by allowing him to … do something that is alleged but cannot be proven?
  • If I were to allege that the assistant coach also arranged for recruits to have sex with a yeti, would that mean Pitino was guilty of an even bigger NCAA offense?

Finally, here is a comment from Brad Dickson in the Omaha World-Herald that mirrors my experience:

“Joanna Jedrzejczyk made her fifth successful UFC title defense. ‘Jedrzejczyk’ looks like something I ended up with last time I tried to work the New York Times crossword puzzle.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



4 thoughts on “Hit And Run”

  1. Pitino has one assistant coach that is responsible for getting his players up in the morning and another one who is responsible for keeping them out of trouble. I think that says volumes about Pitino’s program.

    1. Dave:

      In no way do I believe that the majority of Pitino’s players at Louisville – or at any of his previous collegiate venues – are on track to graduate summa cum laude. At the same time, if there is insufficient evidence even to charge someone in a matter that allegedly used a minor child as a paid prostitute, then I wonder how the NCAA get to do much of anything here.

  2. C’mon, it’s June. Kevin Durant is practicing three-pointers he’s been shooting since he was ten. Let’s get to talking about the intricate trivialities of baseball statistics.

    1. Craig Parker:

      Any time you can explain to me – either mathematically or in simple declarative sentences or both – what field-adjusted WAR is and why it matters, I am all ears…

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