Woods is off to the worst start of his career. He tied for 80th at the Farmers Insurance Open, tie for 41st at the Dubai Desert Classic, then withdrew from last week’s Honda. Then yesterday Woods shot a 6-over-par 78 at Doral’s Blue Monster course to tumble out of contention at the WGC-Cadillac Championship and drop into a tie for 25th, nine strokes behind winner Patrick Reed (by the way, congrats to Reed on his third win on the PGA Tour).
To quote legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi, “what the hell is going on out here!”
I know that the back issues that caused Tiger Woods to withdraw from a tournament a week ago flared again Sunday, but I think this is more of a mental thing with Woods. I’ve already mentioned his pathetic finishes to start the 2014 golf season. For just the eighth time in his career, Woods failed to make a birdie during a round on the PGA Tour.
The combination of those terrible finishes and failure to make birdies in a round sounds more than a damn back problem to me.
If I were Woods, I would take some time off before participating in the Masters next month. If his back is giving him problems, he should rest his back so he could get his swing back. I think the rest would pay him more dividends mentally. No golfer worth his expensive golf clubs would want to go into Augusta, GA in a funk.
So memo to Tiger: take a break, rest your back, and get your mind right. Your pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ major wins record depends on it.
First of all, he is one of the NBA’s biggest stars – who happens to play for one of the sorriest disappointments in my New York Knicks. Second, he is eligible to opt out of his contract after this season and test the free agent market. While Melo says his heart is in New York and is his first choice is to remain a Knick, why in the hell would he return to this mess?
And finally, Chicago’s Joakim Noah has been openly recruiting Melo to become a member of the Bulls next season.
Allow me to be ESPN’s Chris Broussard and analyze this for a bit. As I said earlier, why in the hell would Melo remain a Knick after this season? As looney and inept as Knicks’ owner James Dolan has been since he assumed ownership, he had to have been beyond delusional in thinking that Melo would not walk away from New York at season’s end. Sure Melo will make more money staying in New York, but will the possibly of losing night in and night out be worth the extra loot?
As much as it pains me to write this, I think Melo would be better off in Chi-town. First of all, the Bulls are a better team than the Knicks – and that’s without superstar point guard Derrick Rose. And while the Bulls would lose a few pieces to make the salaries fit (Taj Gibson, Mike Dunleavy, and possibly Jimmy Butler would have to be moved), there is still much to love about a Melo-Rose-Noah triumvirate.
The Bulls have the coaching staff lead by Tom Thibodeau would ensure Melo that Chicago will always be in the mix year in and year out. The Knicks’ coaching staff? Hell, who would want to coach this bunch in New York next season? John Calipari? I don’t think so.
My advice to Melo: run like hell to Chicago homie.
Sure the Knicks played short-handed with their assortment of injuries. Tyson Chandler as been in and out of the lineup with his injuries. Amare Stoudamire is still not 100% back from his knee issues. Point guard Raymond Felton was in and out of the lineup with his own issues. All of those things would disrupt any team, let alone one not as deep as New York.
However, the Knicks have not made the best personnel decisions. I still think New York made a big mistake in not bringing back Steve Novak. Not having a 3-point shooter off the bench who could stretch the defense has hurt New York more than it cares to admit. And firing general manager Glen Grunwald – who helped the team win 54 games last season – was not a good look either.
The Knicks made a bigger mistake in not extending head coach Mike Woodson’s contract, thus making him a lame duck. If sports history has taught us anything, is that ANY professional team led by a lame duck coach does not do well. Those players tend to tune a lame duck coach out because they know that coach will not be around the following season. Woodson is a good coach who got a bad rap in his previous stop in Atlanta. Woodson also had a hand in guiding the Knicks to 54 wins last season. It’s not like the man forgot to coach overnight.
With all the issues I mentioned, my Knicks made the biggest mistake of all – not trading Carmelo Anthony before the trade deadline.
What would make the Knicks attractive to Melo? The Knicks will be in salary cap hell for one more season. I do not know of any marquee free agents who will be on the free agent market in 2015. Also, who would want to coach this bunch? If it ain’t Phil Jackson, then I don’t know who could right this sinking ship. Did I mention that the bumbling, stumbling James Dolan is STILL the owner of this franchise?
Why not trade Melo instead of letting him leave for nothing? I know the Knicks would not get anything of equal value for him, but at least a few expiring contracts to help their salary cap and a few extra draft picks would have been nice.
There is no way Melo would come back to this mess. If only Dolan could fire himself…
Life has been treating John Swofford well these days. The commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference (the conference of my youth) has celebrated the crowning of a college football national champion (Florida State), a Heisman Trophy winner (Jameis Winston), and a run of exciting college basketball play (both Duke-Syracuse matchups, Duke-UNC and Virginia’s rise).
It’s only fitting that Swofford made another wise college football choice. The ACC announced that it has re-upped with the city of Charlotte to host its conference championship game through 2019.
That was not only a good move – it was a smart move.
Since moving the site to Charlotte, the game has sold out twice in four years and averaged about 70,000 tickets sold. Those figures include last season’s game between Florida State and Duke, which was played before 67,694 fans. Let’s not forget the ongoing renovation of Bank of America Stadium, which Swofford said will promise a better in-game experience for fans.
Let’s not forget that the championship game had trouble drawing when it was in Jacksonville for three years and Tampa for two. Sure it didn’t help that Boston College and Wake Forest were in some of those games, but Virginia Tech played in most of those games and its fans travel well and those games STILL had trouble at the gate. Both Jacksonville and Tampa were piss-poor in making that game attractive.
Now Charlotte is a different story.
Charlotte is itching to be to the ACC as Atlanta is to the SEC – a permanent host of a conference football championship and be defined by that. Charlotte has gone out of its way to promote the event and is looking to improve upon those efforts. It also helps that ESPN has a regional office in Charlotte (cue the conspiracy theorists…).
Charlotte is also in the middle of ACC country. It’s proximity to Clemson, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, and the NC schools make it easier for fans to travel. And let’s not forget that Florida State fans travel REGARDLESS of the site.
It seems that all that “Ninja Swofford” touched has turned to gold. Too bad those turncoats in Maryland will miss out on all the fun come July 1st.
Now about that ACC Channel…
When I first heard that the Cleveland Browns made a play for San Francisco 49ers’ head coach Jim Harbaugh, I thought to myself that there was no way in hell that would EVER happen. That was until how close Harbaugh himself was close to accepting the job.
For Harbaugh to even consider leaving the behemoth he has built in San Francisco for a shithole organization in Cleveland, things are not as rosy in the Bay Area as we all have thought. There is talk that the 49ers’ general manager Trent Baalke hates Harbaugh. Hell, there is talk that there were others in the organization who are tired of Harbaugh’s act. Even Harbaugh himself may be tired of dealing with the suits in the 49ers’ front office.
All I know is this: if a team has a known commodity who instantly turned it into a winner, why would that team risk alienating and losing him? Do the 49ers really value collegiality over being winners? Are they really arrogant to think that any coach could lead them to the promised land?
I guess the 49ers conveniently forgot what life was like before Harbaugh. Dennis Erickson? And worse, Mike Singletary? This was how bad Singletary was – Harbaugh came in and immediately starting winning with Singletary’s players.
And yet, the 49ers seriously considered moving Harbaugh for draft picks? Really?
This should be interesting when the time comes for Harbaugh and the 49ers to renegotiate his contract, which will expire after this coming season. I know that Harbaugh is not going to coach as a lame duck without a contract extension. I also think that the 49ers do not want to break the bank to keep Harbaugh, regardless of how much he wins with the Niners.
If the Niners do not want to go back to being the sorry-ass team of seasons’ past, they need not jerk with Harbaugh.
When I first heard the news that the Indiana Pacers traded Danny Granger to the tanking Philadelphia 76ers for Evan Turner and some other scrub, I liked the trade for the Pacers. After all, they were getting a young up-and-comer in Turner and had rid themselves of Granger’s $13 million contract. No sixth man should be paid $13 mil.
Now when I think about it, I’m not so sure.
I know that Granger was a sixth man playing behind a soon to be superstar in Paul George. I also know that Granger is still working his way back from an assortment of injuries, namely patellar tendinosis that caused him to miss all but five games last season.
But I do know that you should never ruin a good thing – especially if that good thing had championship potential. The Pacers had the best record in the horrific (the Miami Heat notwithstanding) Eastern Conference heading into the All-Star break. Granger had already settled in as a sixth man and did not do anything to upset the Pacers’ chemistry.
Plus, George really loved Granger. He took to twitter and Instagram to convey his sadness over Granger leaving the Pacers.
Indiana gets a player in Turner, who while has a big upside, has not done a lot to justify being the second overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft. To me, the trade was too damn risky to fuck up what might have been a championship season. For the sake of Pacers fans, let’s hope that Turner catches on quickly and not be a big drop off from Granger.
Speaking of Granger, don’t feel to bad for him. Even though the wretched Sixers traded for him, Granger may buy his way out of Philadelphia and land on a title contender – say, the Heat?
Sucks for the Pacers…
David Stern ended his stewardship of commissioner of the NBA January 31st. The date was significance because he became commissioner of the league on February 1, 1984 – that’s right, he ruled the NBA with an iron fist for exactly 30 years.
So the question is this: how will Stern be remembered?
First of all, let’s take into account how the NBA was before Stern became commissioner. The NBA was at an all-time low in terms of popularity. It was perceived as a “black league” where half its players were on some type of drug. Hell, I remember when the NBA Finals were tape-delayed (yes, I’m old – 40 years old thank you).
I think it’s safe to say that Stern brought the NBA back from the dead. Let us count the ways:
- Stern also oversaw the creation of the WNBA.
- Stern helped the NBA expand by seven teams (Charlotte Hornets [now New Orleans Pelicans], Minnesota Timberwolves, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Vancouver Grizzlies [now Memphis], Toronto Raptors, and Charlotte Bobcats [soon to be renamed the Hornets]).
- He helped create the NBDL, the developmental league for the NBA.
- He made the NBA a more global league, expanding into markets in Europe, South America and China.
- The NBA’s annual television revenue around the time Stern took over was less than $30 million; today it’s roughly $1 billion.
- NBA Dress Code.
Of course, Stern had his fair share of controversies:
- There was the relocation of six franchises (Clippers, Kings, Grizzlies, Nets, Hornets and Sonics).
- Four NBA lockouts (1995, 1996, 1998–99, and 2011).
- Stern vetoed a three-team trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers, Lamar Odom to the Hornets (now Pelicans), and Pau Gasol to the Rockets for what a spokesman would only say were “basketball reasons”.
- There was that “Malice at the Palace” thing…
Look, it’s obvious that Stern has a mixed legacy. A lot of folks think that Stern is the greatest commissioner in all of professional sports. One prominent writer went as far as to call Stern a “bully“.
I just think that Stern has done more good than bad for the NBA, and has set the league up rather nicely.
Jeter will be remembered for a lot of things. First of all, he was known for treating people around him well. From the rookies to the lower level employees and bat boys, Jeter treated the “lessers” around him with dignity and respect.
On the field, Jeter was just as exemplary. He was “The Captain”. He will be remembered for his clutch plays. He hit a home run that won a World Series game vs. the New York Mets. He will also be remembered for playing the game the “right way” – i.e. no performance enhancing drugs (unlike Alex Rodriguez aka “A-Fraud”).
However, Jeter will be most remembered for the two following plays:
Now folks (including Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless from ESPN’s “First Take”) are asking themselves where should Jeter should be placed among the New York Yankees’ all-time greats. Here is how I would rank the greatest players to don a Yankees uniform:
- Babe Ruth
- Lou Gehrig
- Reggie Jackson
- Joe DiMaggio
- Mickey Mantle
- Derek Jeter
- Mariano Rivera
- Goose Gossage
- Don Mattingly
- Dave Winfield
Jeter may not be the greatest Yankee, but I would argue that he was its biggest icon. He was the face of baseball most of his career. And again, reference the two videos above as proof of Jeter’s icon status.
By the way, the baseball writer who does not vote Jeter in as a first-ballot Hall of Famer should have his voting privileges revoked permanently.
We at “The Klown Times” wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day. May your day end in you guys getting some! Then again, most of you will probably be permanently “friend zoned” instead…
When NFL draft prospect Michael Sam announced his is gay yesterday during ESPN’s “Outside the Lines”, a lot of people commended him for his courage. Some people trolled in internet chat rooms and called him every slur (mostly gay, but some racial) in the book.
When I heard it, I had two feelings: 1) oh wow, he had the stones/courage to disclose his sexuality to the rest of the sporting world; 2) okay, it’s time to move on.
I’ve always said that most male athletes do not stress over their teammates’ sexualities. Athletes already have an idea of what sides of the plate his fellow teammates bat from. Hell, it’s enough stress for athletes to focus on their own regimens in preparing for games every week. The mantra is almost always, “as long as that teammate performs and helps us win, who cares who/what he is screwing”.
Sam is an All-American defensive lineman from Missouri who doubles as the Associated Press’ SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Do y’all think that some of his teammates had challenged him over his sexuality? My guesses were “no” and “hell no”. Don’t believe me? Read what Sam said about his teammates’ reactions for yourselves:
“Coaches just wanted to know a little about ourselves, our majors, where we’re from, and something that no one knows about you. And I used that opportunity just to tell them that I was gay. And their reaction was like, ‘Michael Sam finally told us.’
“I was kind of scared, even though they already knew. Just to see their reaction was awesome. They supported me from Day One. I couldn’t have better teammates. … I’m telling you what: I wouldn’t have the strength to do this today if I didn’t know how much support they’d given me this past semester.”
Here was his coach Gary Pinkel’s reaction:
“We’re really happy for Michael that he’s made the decision to announce this, and we’re proud of him and how he represents Mizzou. Michael is a great example of just how important it is to be respectful of others, he’s taught a lot of people here first-hand that it doesn’t matter what your background is, or your personal orientation, we’re all on the same team and we all support each other.”
So there you have it. His teammates didn’t think it was a big deal, and they rode his high sack total (11 1/2 sacks) to an SEC East Division title, a spot in the SEC championship game, and a victory in the Cotton Bowl. Sam also mentioned that during his Senior Bowl experience, some fellow football players were already aware of his sexual orientation.
The only downside I see in Sam coming completely out of the closet is that the media (namely ESPN) will make such a big fucking deal over it. Hell, check out ESPN’s website right now. There are several write-ups right now from what it means in NFL locker rooms going forward to the timing and the NFL’s reaction.
The people who will give Sam the most grief are the fans. Expect a few anti-gay signs and slur chants at games from opposing fans this season. The unfortunate part is that the media will make his teammates answer those inevitable “gay questions” because of that fallout.
No matter what fans say or think, there ARE -and always have been – gay players in the NFL. Maybe now other gay players will feel free to lives and their straight teammates not worry about the media asking those annoying questions.
I’m wishing this young brother nothing but luck in the NFL.