All right, I get the feeling that most people have already started the weekend. There are a lot of (lunches) brunches (interviews by the pool), Easter baskets, and egg hunts to look forward to–no time to get bogged down in a typical Friday. There’s going to be a huge Easter egg hunt in the courtyard on Sunday, and I’ve got hours of prep work left on that project. If you’re looking for a project this weekend aside from eating jelly beans, or seeing The Hunger Games–again, here’s some stuff going on…
It’s cold in Augusta. And breezy. The announcers will spend the whole day describing how heroic each birdie is, given the conditions. Obviously, none of these people played D-III spring golf in the Northeast. Go shoot a 78 in a gosh dang snow squall at Hershey Country Club and get back to me about tough conditions. You know what kind of shoes don’t keep your feet warm? Golf shoes. Especially when you’re a smidgen hungover. Got a little side-tracked there, but the point is, it’ll be tough scoring at the Masters. Good news/bad news for the guys trying to make a little charge. It’ll be tougher to make those birdies, but if you can manage a 68 or so today, you’re going to lap the field. It’ll be interesting to see if Tiger gets the best or worst of the conditions this afternoon.
I don’t remember seeing a Masters leaderboard this bunched, even this early in the week. If someone doesn’t get to six or seven under, a tremendous amount players will make the cut thanks to the 10-shot rule. It could set up for someone to make a run from the pack over the weekend, but I think Westwood looks to be the favorite right now. The only thing working against him is his inability to close major championships, but he’s hitting it better and playing with less stress than anyone in the field. I’ve reconsidered my Tiger vs. Rory or Bust stance from earlier in the week. Just give me a shootout worth watching on Sunday afternoon.
Phillies are off today. I don’t like off days in baseball. Once that season starts you expect a game to be there for you everyday. This off day is like going to a restaurant, getting your salad and then waiting three hours for the entrée. Roy Halladay was excellent yesterday, borderline no-hit stuff, and that was comforting to see for those who fretted over his spring training stats. In terms of the offense, Erik Bedard is the type of pitcher the Phillies have never had much success against, and he actually had a good breaking ball yesterday. If there’s one thing I wish for the Phillies’ hitters it’s that they stop assuming they’re going to get fastballs in fastball counts. Far easier said than done, but that’s how pitchers like Bedard can consistently keep them off-balance. Hopefully Saturday the offense can get in a little better groove, mix in some more extra base hits, and we can keep Freddy Galvis under 1.5 outs per plate appearance.
The offensive woes are reactionary after one game, but the Phillies have plenty of company. The Marlins have 7 hits in two games. The Nationals were puzzled by Ryan Dempster yesterday. I’m way out in front of myself, but I wonder if offense takes another hit this year, like it did in ’10 and ’11 if old Bud will get a little panicked. All you have to do is read the comments on any Phillies article to know that pitcher’s duels are only so popular–even when you win them. Selig might get on the horn to Costa Rica. “Wind those bitches a little tighter, Senor.”
Before I take off here, I just want to address how people in sports continue to set the bar lower and lower for themselves. There have been three prime examples in the last 24 hours:
First, Dwight Howard. Howard has submarined Orlando’s season. His contract situation, he meddling in front office affairs, his inability to make a decision. It’s a wonder Orlando can stay afloat. Howard finally decided he was staying with the Magic, but yesterday Stan Van Gundy told a group of reporters that Howard was only staying under the condition that the coach would be ousted. Van Gundy is obviously fed up with the situation, so he just laid it out there and then you had Howard wandering into the interview unaware and mugging for the camera like he’s some great, fun-loving guy. When confronted about Van Gundy’s comments, he lied, said nothing and then when out and tanked the game. Franchise center, ladies and gentlemen.
Second, Bobby Petrino. How big a piece of garbage is this clown? I’m not aware of someone with less integrity than Petrino. He needs to be fired immediately and never hired again. If you don’t know, Petrino crashed his motorcycle recently and lied about a female companion being on the bike with him during the crash. The female companion? Not his wife. Half his age, and a recent hire of Arkansas’ football department. Weird. I’m sure he’ll figure out a way to keep his job.
Lastly, Gregg Williams, the face of the Saints’ Bounty controversy could be facing a lifetime ban from the NFL given the release of his pre-game speech prior to last year’s NFC Championship game. Williams’ speech, along with not being terribly motivating is filled with troubling mantras about attacking the heads of 49er players and going after ACLs. That Williams would give a speech like this, knowing that the NFL was looking into the Saints and knowing a documentary filmmaker was in the room, raises the question, is he even smart enough to be on an NFL staff? This guy is going to be made an example of, Goodell is licking his chops.