Not my best week of blogging. Not sure what happened. Sometimes the blog windows are locked. Not that I’ve ever skip a mailbag, but there wasn’t much to prop it up this week. I can feel my inactivity in the dwindling page views. They were never spectacular but the more I wrote, the more people read. There was a relationship. Or, exactly the opposite situation the Sixers are in with Andrew Bynum. He doesn’t play and those checks keep going out the door. Not a blip, just a plateau of wasted cash. The worst thing about the whole scenario is that the Sixers must be contemplating giving Bynum even more money, just to try to chase their initial investment. Being tall sure has its advantages, but I feel terrible for true Sixers fans who have been kicked around for much of the last decade. As a peace offering to them, a mailbag…
Q: At a fancy restaurant would you rather pay 45 dollars for a steak and 12 for a salad, or 50 for the steak and 7 for the salad? I know those are the same total price, but don’t you think it’d be better to not feel like you were getting ripped off on everything? Julio Cesar Salade, Brooklyn, NY.
A: I don’t know a single upscale restaurant that has good salads. Some of them are OK, but they are never the caliber you expect. I often get Caesar salads and you know you are getting pretty much the same thing at every restaurant. Sometimes a fancy place will give you the full leaf of romaine. WOW. Or, a giant crouton. Can we ban the jumbo crouton by the way? IT MAKES NO SENSE. Why must I divvy up my own toasted bread? Anyway, unless someone fills me in with better intelligence, the best salad and bread combo you can get is at Outback. If I went into Capital Grille and they gave me an Outback loaf–I’d be ecstatic. But, your question is about the pricing. I don’t think it really makes a difference. When you walk into one of those places, you know you’re getting gouged. It’s a decision you’ve made before you make the trip. Would you go to Dunkin Donuts and ask to see the calorie totals? You know you’re being gordo, why fret the details? Same with the meal. It’s going to be expensive. If you want to save a few bucks, skip the salad all together, like I said–they’re usually underwhelming.
Q: Rory McIlroy withdrew from the Honda Classic with a toothache. He was 8-0ver through eight holes and in the water on his ninth. Where does this rank among the all-time weak excuses and how much damage does it do to the whole “golf as a sport” argument. Whiz Domteeth, Ocean City, MD.
A: You’re saying that NFL players fight through tooth pain? Is molar discomfort covered by the Toradol shots? I think this is something people would say is “typical” of a golfer, but they hardly need fresh ammunition. Golf has wind delays, funny pants, and a Senior tour. Rory’s toothache will be forgotten in a few weeks. But, that doesn’t mean I won’t take the opportunity to take a few shots at Rors. The World #1 has spent 2013 playing like an interloper from the mini-Tours. A pair of 75s, a first round exit at the Match Play, and then 26 holes this week at 8-over par. Three tournaments isn’t much of a slump, but when are in the conversation with Tiger Woods, you deserved to be dissected. I’m not sure Tiger ever played this poorly over a stretch of three events in his prime. Rory has long been praised for his maturity, for “getting it,” etc., and I’ve never seen that explicitly. It felt like a concoction of the media who liked Rory because he was affable and gave a far better interview than the previous #1. What I see as a golf fan is someone who struggles when things aren’t going his way. Give him a lead and forget it, but when everything isn’t lined up perfectly, where’s the fortitude? He couldn’t play 9 more holes at a venue where he’s defending champion? That’s hard to believe. He’s going to bail on his playing partners Ernie Els and Mark Wilson, let them wait that much longer on every shot on the back nine? I don’t know what Rory’s deal is, but I don’t think it’s the equipment. Unless Rory thinks it is, which could really be a problem. Maybe he’s not cut out mentally to be the 250 million dollar man.
Q: Is there a tipping point where you are no longer responsible for your friend’s drunkeness? I don’t mean an alcoholic. I mean, you are out with someone who just happens to have way too much to drink. Can you ever just walk away and leave them to their own devices? Constance Buzzed, Hollywood, FL.
A: You can’t. Not in an isolated incident. If this is something you do every weekend then maybe you need to have a more serious talk, but if we’re talking about just some random night, the rules of friendship require you usher the drunken mess to their hangover landing spot. There’s a big debate out there about whether you have more fun when you are drunk or when you are sober and I suppose that is up for discussion, but shepherding around someone who is drunk is definitely not fun. It has MOMENTS, but on the whole, not a great time. They embarrass themselves, maybe they fall, you take a few funny pictures, but in the end–it’s probably not enough compensation. I think about the people who had to babysit me on my 21st birthday and THANK GOD they didn’t have a tipping point. Who knows what would have happened. I might have spent the night spooning a fire hydrant. But, the only way to get out of something like this is to perform a hand-off. Pass the drunken person off to someone else and then you can abandon them with a clean conscience. This is actually a good test of friendship. If you are being belligerent, the only people around are going to be your true friends. The rest of the crowd doesn’t care if you live, die, or get arrested for public urination.
Q: Coach K. sh*t himself Thursday night after UVA students stormed the court and he felt that it was an unsafe situation for him and his players. He demanded changes and in the aftermath I found out the SEC actually fines schools for rushing the court? What? How do they enforce that? There’s no way the students care about the fine, right? Cameron Crazie, Durham, NC.
A: Coach K really is a piece of (fill in the noun of your choice). From what I hear, Duke lost, the fans stormed the court, some students talked some trash and at that point Coach K turned into an expletive spewing monster. In his explanation after the game he essentially said he didn’t trust himself not to attack a celebrating student. He was afraid of the headline, “Coach K punches unsuspecting botany major in the throat.” Then he said how HE’D be the story if he did that, instead of the hooligan that provoked him. HOW DARE YOU? I honestly never thought that much about safety of the players and coaches when people storm the court. I was involved in one or two court storms in college and no one was harmed. I think I lost a flip flop for a few minutes once, but other than that NO INJURIES. Of course, this was maybe 200 people as opposed to a couple of thousand, so it’s not quite the same, but I think much of the danger lies in the stampede charge and not for the people on the court. Surely, trying to contain the fans would produce even worse results. The last thing you want is rent-a-cops and a temporary barricade. This is what the SEC does, though–I guess. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. If I was a student I wouldn’t care about the fine AT ALL. College students don’t have such concerns. They just run around screaming, BILL MY PARENTS.
Q: I just saw a commercial for a celebrity diving competition. Two questions, how is a current NFL player (Ndamukong Suh) allowed to participate in this, and after dancing, skating, diving, etc., what is left for celebrities to try?
A: It’s going to be hard to look away from celebrity diving. I saw that Kareem is doing the show. This just in–Kareem’s 7’2″. Are you even allowed to dive if you are that tall? How deep is the pool? A MILE? Kareem will shoot through the water like a missile. Of course, one misstep and it’s going to look like someone threw a telephone pole off Niagara Falls. I can’t believe an active NFL player is doing the show. Especially one like Suh who is in the middle of a huge contract. I could see T.O. doing the show, but Suh theoretically has a lot to lose. Of course, it is the Lions, so they’ve got bigger concerns than Suh doing a diving show. And since the contract isn’t guaranteed, the risk lies mostly with the player and not the team. We’ve seen in recent years that people will watch celebrities do most anything, from dancing to boxing. This diving show is really going to push the envelope. From here the final frontier might be more winter sports. Celebrity Luge? Ski Jumping? Celebrity Kung Fu? I don’t know.
Q: Can you explain golf’s status as a gentleman’s game? From what I gather at least half of the people who play golf regularly don’t play by the rules. I mean, don’t even attempt to hide the fact that they cheat rampantly. Foot Wedge, Tampa, FL.
A: Well, I think at some point golf was literally a gentleman’s game and somehow that morphed into a figurative interpretation. It’s not a game for rich white guys, it’s a game for rule followers and people of the highest character. Hmmm. I’m not so sure. I don’t really consider playing golf by less strict rules cheating, as long as everyone is doing the same. It’s like playing basketball on a 9-foot rim or something. That said, people constantly cheat at golf. I played a few sports growing up and golf was easily the one where people cheated the most. It’s too easy. That’s the issue. It’s an individual sport, you have opportunities left and right. Kids can’t be trusted to behave by the rules in this situation. Balls will be moved, kicked, and dropped. Penalties will be ignored, putts will be taken and I saw it all happen in my tournament playing days. I remember a kid cheating when I about eight or nine years old and I remember kids cheating in college. Once in college I hit an incorrect ball. I was way off in the deep rough and I saw a ball with our school’s logo on it and played it. When I got to the green I realized it wasn’t my ball. Someone had either lost it earlier that day, or in a practice round the day before. An unfortunate coincidence, but a black and white rules violation. I didn’t call it on myself. I contemplated it for a few holes, debated DQ’ing myself, but ultimately did nothing. CHEATER. Right here. It’s almost human nature to try to get an edge and when you see golfers so in line with the rules at the highest level, I think a large part of that is because they are being watched like hawks. Not that everyone is a cheater, but if it was easier to get away with you’d have your percentage who tried. Just like guys doctoring a baseball, or corking a bat. So, I think professional golf is one of the more transparent games, but not necessarily filled with an extraordinary amount of gentleman.