*This was supposed to go up Tuesday morning, but I got sidetracked and then I had a terribly important lunch meeting. The jet set. What can I say? Anyway, it’s now woefully dated (was only mildly dated this morning), but I wrote it, so might as well post it.
It’s time for one of those posts that is just a jumble of unconnected garbage. A better writer would find a connecting theme, something clever, but not this guy. You get page breaks. So come along if you will on a ride through Spring Training, the NFL Combine, the PGA Tour and anything else I think about in the next thirty minutes.
I know a lot of people are expecting a heavy dose of Phillies’ pessimism from me this year, and don’t worry I’ll be applying it whenever I can, but the good news out of the 1st week of Phillies’ spring training is the performance of the three remaining aces. Roy Halladay gave up a long home run, but other than that the trio was untouched and Halladay’s fastball velocity didn’t send Ken Rosenthal into a Twitter fit so all is pretty well. The Phillies will have good starting pitching this year if they stay healthy. That isn’t a question.
But through a few games the Phillies haven’t hit much, struggled against some left-handed pitching and have had some relievers get rocked. Johnathan Papelbon gave up what looked like the longest home run in the history of Florida to Miguel Cabrera yesterday. The young arms have been wild. But, it’s very, very early and compared to last year when Utley was out and Doc was throwing 85, things are looking great.
Update: Dom Brown has two spring homers. He’s got the jump on Delmon Young who’s still hurt, and Michael Young who doesn’t have a hit yet. For the record, I’m pretty bearish on both Youngs, but there’s still time for Dom Brown to be a decent MLB outfielder.
I’ve heard a lot of people are watching the NFL Combine on television this week. Personally, I can’t get that involved, but I understand the appeal. It’s nice to put quantifiable numbers on things. Manti Te’o is slow because he ran a 4.82. Dee Milliner turns out to have top end speed with a 4.31 forty. It’s very validating. I KNEW that he was too slow. The funny thing about the combine is that there doesn’t seem to be any correlation between guys who impress at the combine and guys who have productive careers. Tom Brady’s combine was notoriously laughable. Last year Vontaze Burfict performed his way out of the entire draft. He ended up with 127 tackles for the Bengals. Not saying he’s Patrick Willis, but probably worth a draft pick, right?
The combine becomes more important in Philadelphia because the Eagles have the #4 pick. If the was the NBA Draft you’d be worried that the talent pool would run out by #4, but in the NFL you expect to get an impact player at this slot. It also hurts that much more when you miss badly. One thing I’d like to know is if any town trusts their NFL draft people. Do Ravens fans sit back and relax and say, “We’ve got this.” I’m curious, because in Philadelphia I know the fans are terrified the front office is going to screw this up. It certainly takes some of the fun out of the pick. If the fans knew they were getting a pro bowler that would be one thing, but when you have a reputation of taking “worst player available,” the draft can be a terrifying thing.
Speaking of Tom Brady, he signed a hell of a hometown discount extension over the weekend. He tacked on three years at only nine million per, which allows Brady to collect some money up front and allows the Patriots some great cap flexibility. When I was a kid and I used to fantasize about being a professional athlete, I’d debate the merits of taking a hometown discount. Sometimes I’d think I’d take less money, “No, no. I’m rich enough. Allow me to endear myself to the fan base even more with this bargain basement deal.” That’s a 10-year old’s thought process, though. When it plays out in real life, the home town discount is usually a myth.
The Florida swing is starting on the PGA Tour. What was once strictly a build-up to the Masters has become a stretch of really good tournaments at solid venues. The fields have gotten better too and that starts this week at the Honda where the focus will be Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy trying to rebound from their first round dismissals at the Match Play. Despite the big name flops, the Match Play had a couple of decent story lines. One was the play and confidence of Ian Poulter. Poulter has carved himself a niche in match play, has won the Accenture once and has a glistening Ryder Cup record. At Grantland, Shane Ryan went as far as saying Poulter is the greatest match player of his generation. I’d pause just before that. Poulter is the same age as Tiger, who has won 3 Accenture match plays, not to mention those 3 straight Junior Ams and US Ams. I think Poults has a ways to go, especially since he lost in the 1st round in 2011 and 2012.
He definitely can play Ryder Cup, though. The Americans do better in this event and on the PGA Tour in general. The Kuchar/Mahan final was just what you’d want if you are an American golf fan. Add that to Brandt Snedeker’s start, Tiger and Phil winning already and it’s been a US-centric year 0n Tour so far. Does this bode well for the 2014 Ryder Cup? Probably not.
I thought Seth McFarlane did an all right job hosting the Oscars. My biggest issue would be he didn’t look completely comfortable. It is amazing what will make people groan sometimes. I’m not a huge Family Guy fan, but I like when the host doesn’t spend the entire time placing lip to butt. The reaction to the hosting job is what I want to talk about, though. Certain things turn everyone into an expert and one of those is Oscar hosting. Suddenly, the world wants to weigh in on what is and what is not funny. I wonder why people are so obsessed with saying, “not funny.” I am one of these people. I love being an arbiter of humor, and yet I have no idea what qualifies me to be one. Spoiler alert: Nothing does. I may try to start imposing my personal of humor less on people in the future. I won’t, but I MAY TRY.