Monday, April 25, 2011

USA no longer number 1 at thing that isn't a competition between countries


This is a dumb piece on golf from Wojo that assumed two things:

(A) There is some kind of international rivalry system in golf wherein all golf fans are also fans of their country's players to the point where there is a "golf war."

(B) The US has lost the "golf war," which isn't a thing.

The golf war is finished. We -- the USA -- lost.

Ha-ha, get it? It's like "Gulf War." People died.

We're no longer masters of our golf domain. We're No. 1? We're not even No. 3. Four of the top five, 16 of the top 25 and 32 of the top 50 players in the world rankings are non-Americans.

Golf, of course, is the Great American Pastime, invented by George Washington and Ben Franklin in 1764. The duo was drunk off of America's Beer (Heineken).

So it goes without saying we should be bummed that in the great American sport of golf, none of our boys can top current no. 1 Lee Westood. I mean come on, the guy's English. What type of golf tradition does that country have?

Also, way to cherry-pick, Wojo. A solid half of the top 14 golfers in the world are American, including no. 6 Tiger Woods, which is pretty crazy when you think about it.

"The rest of the world of golfers has grown up," said player agent Chubby Chandler, who represents an A-list of international players.

If nothing else, we could always depend on Tiger Woods. He was the surest thing since red shirts on Sundays. But he hasn't won a PGA Tour event since September 2009, hasn't won a major since June 2008 and his five-year reign atop the world rankings ended in October.

Yeah, it's almost like his entire life completely shattered into ten million pieces within a couple short months in addition to his body finally breaking down! Almost.

And guess what? That's OK. It's more than OK. It's actually pretty cool.

Curveball, Wojo style.

I'd like to take this opportunity to mention that, save for the week (or however long) that the Ryder cup is relevant, there is absolutely not one single living soul in this country that attaches one modicum of an element of national pride to fucking golf.

"There needed to be life after Tiger -- and I'm not saying that Tiger's finished," said Chandler, whose clients include new world No. 1 Lee Westwood, No. 7 Rory McIlory, No. 11 Charl Schwartzel, No. 15 Ernie Els and No. 31 Louis Oosthuizen. "But there needs to be a continuation of what goes on in golf. And if that's a different continuation, then good."

Sheesh, McIlroy at 7. You're telling me they play golf in Ireland? I don't want to live in this world.

[..]for only the second time since World War II, Americans have taken an O-fer in the majors. And if you count the supposed fifth major -- next month's Players Championship -- a non-American (South African Tim Clark) is the defending champion there, too.

If you're waiting for a point, please don't hold your breath. The combination of a lack of oxygen to the brain will either kill you or cause you to write going-nowhere stories about the internationalization of golf.

Three of the last four Masters winners are non-Americans. Five of the last seven U.S. Open winners are non-Americans. Three of the last four Open Championship winners are non-Americans. The last three PGA Championship winners are non-Americans. Four of the last five Players winners are non-Americans.

Seriously, he's never going to make this seem relevant, unless you woke up this morning to read columns thinking, "I wonder what Wojo thinks is like, super neat."

By the way, did I mention that Europeans have kidnapped the Ryder Cup? They've won four of the last five, six of the last eight. If the Cup spends any more time overseas, it's going to develop the Stockholm Syndrome.

Boom, another classy reference. Charl Schwartzel totally apharteided the Masters.

"What's happened is that you now have the best young kids from all over the world come to play here," Chandler said. "It's not a European or anything domination. It's just the way that you've got a lot of players around the world that are as good as some Americans. Whereas you used to have a lot of Americans who were very good and kept all the other players off the [PGA] tour, it's not like that anymore."

And then Chandler chided those (hello)


who look at a leaderboard and count the number of U.S. players on it.

Seven out of 14 is still pretty good, right?

And, I mean, did anyone like Tiger specifically because he was American? I thought people liked him because he was good at golf. Maybe I'm the idiot.

"You should be focusing on how good the game is right now," Chandler said. "You should forget about this domination. You've got 10 great kids out there."

Wait, the country with half of the world's top 14 all to itself is the one getting dominated?

He's right. The rest of the world was going to catch us one of these days. After all, the world had numbers and time on its side. It drafted us for years and then did a NASCAR bump and run. We lost traction and now we're sucking fumes.

I'm reading this, and I know the words are different, but they process in my brain as "Slow news day. Slow news day slow news day slow news day. After all, slow news day. Slow news day NASCAR slow news day. Slow newsday I suck at writing." Did I get the general gist?

Again, this isn't a bad thing for golf. It's just a bad thing for our USA golf egos.

I move to strike on the basis that "our USA golf egos" are nonsense things that don't exist.

"I think these are all global players now," said George O'Grady, chief executive of the European Tour. "They are just players."

Did this really happen? At some point people watched golf going "USA! USA!"? I just... what? Why? No. This is stupid.

This is a polite way of saying that the world is sitting on our couch, feet up on the ottoman, drinking our beer, petting our dogs and changing the TV remote from Knicks-Celtics to a Manchester United-Newcastle game.

Petting... dogs... ?

Something had to give. Tiger is 35. He broke his life into a thousand pieces

Fun fact: I used almost that exact same wording earlier in this rant before I had even read this part. I don't know how funny that is to anyone but me, but I'd just like to point out that the exact verbiage I used to show how Wojo is a dummy that's writing a bad column appears later in the same column.

and he's trying to weld it back together -- and he will. But his window of majors opportunity has smaller panes of glass than it used to.

Such a shame for Team Golf USA Which Is A Thing.

Same goes for Phil Mickelson. He turns 41 in mid-June.

Same goes for Phil Mickelson?!?!?!? Great editing. "Tiger Woods's life fell apart. Same for Phil Mickelson." SIC SIC SIC SIC SIC.

Mickelson is ranked No. 4. Tiger is No. 6. Fellow American Steve Stricker is No. 9, but he's also 44 years old. Matt Kuchar, ranked 10th in the world, turns 33 in two months. They're not out of their prime, but they're not exactly in the sweet spot of it anymore.

Yes, because golf is certainly not a sport people play until they're a fucking hundred.

USA reinforcements are on their way. Dustin Johnson, Nick Watney, Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan, Rickie Fowler, Anthony Kim and Gary Woodland have lots of potential, but zero majors among the seven of them.

Remember that time I said that American golfers were getting old? Here's a list of young, up-and-coming American golfers.

Meanwhile, Kaymer and Oosthuizen already have majors and is there anybody who doesn't think Westwood, Luke Donald, McIlroy, Justin Rose, Paul Casey or Ryo Ishikawa isn't going to eventually win one of the Big Four?

Love this argument. He names seven Americans and dismisses them for having not won majors. Then he names six non-Americans who haven't won majors and scoffs that they'll all eventually win a major. I would absolutely love to see odds on this.

Oh, and one other guy: Italian Matteo Manassero, who recently outkicked McIlroy in the final round to win the Maybank Malaysian Open.

Yeah, an Italian who did really well in a round one time! PACK YOUR BAGS, AMERICA. IT'S THE WORLD'S GAME NOW.

And, I mean, on top of everything, he took down Rory McIlroy, world-renowned big-time pressure-situation final-round golf monster.

"You look how good Manassero is," O'Grady said. "He's only 18, by the way. He's certainly got a major championship within him somewhere."

What the living fuck are we talking about any more?

Tiger or no Tiger, this really has the possibility of becoming golf's next golden age. Fifty years after South Africa's Gary Player won the Masters (and was referred to as "a foreigner"),

Wow, how far we've come. People in America would never refer to someone from a foreign country as "a foreigner" nowadays.

the game is borderless. Country flags no longer matter. Or they shouldn't.

They don't. They never did. This column didn't get written. Wojo didn't get hired at ESPN. I did work at my job instead of writing this.

"You've got an absolutely brand new era here," Chandler said.

An era of new names, not nations. It took a while, but it was worth the wait. Really.

A distraught Tiger Woods, captain of Team USA Golf, finishes reading Wojo's column. He looks away as tears form in his eyes. Slowly, he opens his desk and clears out its contents into an old leather suitcase.

He starts toward the door but stops for just a moment, looking around his dusty office at the memorabilia from all those years of Golf World Cups (which is a thing) and international team championships (Which totally happen besides the minuscule amount of time we pretend to care about the Ryder Cup).

He stops specifically at a picture of he and best friend and teammate Phil Mickelson. After a final glance, he sighs and turns out the light, letting the door shut slowly behind him as he walks into this new world.


Monday, April 4, 2011

So what's going on here?

This is a tag-team from me and Nick (who snapped the video). What the hell is Jim Calhoun tossing onto the court, at the 7-8 second mark? Is it marbles like Amy Poehler in Blades of Glory? Is it holy water? Sure seems to have some bounce. Does he carry three or four super balls in his sleeve for every championship game?

More questions than answers.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Yahoo! fantasy baseball writers sentence at a time.

In the interest of fairness, the people writing what I am about to rip may not actually be the Yahoo! fantasy baseball writers. They could just be some dudes whose job it is to right one-sentence blurbs about fantasy baseball match-ups. Frankly, it doesn't matter, because someone is writing them, and that person is an idiot.

Please let me explain.

When I am at work I open and close dozens of websites each day. Some of them kosher, some of them less kosher, some of them not-very kosher at all. Can you guess which category this site falls under? Anyways, while many websites appear and disappear from my screen, there are four which are always open somewhere. Those websites are, Gmail, Facebook (because it is part of my job believe it or not), Pandora, and my fantasy baseball league.

So here I am setting my roster for this afternoon and little did I know that Yahoo! has decided to ratchet up its fantasy baseball information presumably because it wasn't already ridiculously over-the-top and insufferable.

This year they decided to add a five-star system for rating how favorable the match-up is for a certain player and his opponent.

In theory this seems like a good idea. It's intricate details that could be the difference between starting a guy who is going to hit two home runs, or a guy who is going to strikeout four times.

You would assume said match-up blurbs might be things like "Ken Griffey Jr. has a career batting average of .376 in the Kingdome", or "Larry Walker has hit twice as many home runs at Coors Field as he has on the road." or even "Albert Pujols is hot this month and has a career batting average of .415 in 80 at-bats against Yovani Gallardo."

However, if you assumed that Yahoo! was going to bring you pertinent information about your fantasy team, well then you just don't know Yahoo!. Please join me as I try to translate some of the more idiotic blurbs.

Michael Morse (Nationals OF): Four stars against Tommy Hansen

The blurb:

Hansen typically struggles against hitters like Morse


Apparently there are statistics out there that show that Hansen normally gets crushed by free-swinging gorillas like Morse. Never mind that Morse has played in the majors for less than a full season. They could have at least included another sentence about what the fuck they meant by "hitters like Morse". You know, something like, "In his career, Tommy Hansen has given up 28 home runs and 4495834 doubles to hitters with biceps large than the size of a grapefruit". It sounds stupid, but it would be better than trying to figure out what the fuck they mean.

Kevin Youkilis (Red Sox 3B): Four stars against Colby Lewis

The blurb:

Youkilis slugged .500 in four at-bats against Lewis


While this blurb at least includes numbers, it essentially means Youkilis had one good game against Lewis. Well I checked, and sure enough, Youkilis went 3-4 against Lewis with two doubles on July 16th. Great. I guess that means the match-up is favorable. Or it could mean absolutely nothing because it is an extraordinarily small sample size.

Drew Stubbs (Reds OF): Two stars against Milwaukee

The blurb:

Well-Hit Average of only .179 (27-for-151) against right-handed pitchers in the top-tier since last season.


I am pretty sure that this was intended for yesterday's game against Yovani Gallardo -- a game in which Stubbs went 2-5 with a home run and a double...thanks for nothing Yahoo! -- but I have so many questions. What the hell defines a top-tier pitcher? Did they really think Shawn Marcum and his 80-year-old right arm are qualified for "top-tier" status? What the fuck do they count as "Well-Hit"? I am so fucking confused.

J.J. Hardy (Orioles SS): 2 stars against James Shields

The blurb:

Hardy is slugging .231 in 13 ABs against pitchers like Shields since last year


I guess the small sample sizes and the vague player comparisons weren't enough for Yahoo!, so they decided to combine the two just to fuck with me. 13 at-bats since last season is not indicative of diddily-shit, and I assume "pitchers like Shields" means J.J. Hardy is petrified of goateed pitchers who like to yell into their glove a you can bet I am gonna sit him against Josh Beckett too.

Chase Headley: (Padres 3B): Two stars against St. Louis

The blurb:

Headley has a well-hit average of .176 against middle-tier pitchers.

The Translation:

Although I still don't understand any of that, I can easily infer from this that Chase Headley is not very good at baseball. So there's that.

and my personal favorite...

Gordon Beckham (White Sox 3B): Three stars against Cleveland

The blurb:

Match-up data is very neutral, but favors Beckham slightly.

The translation:

Oh now you have really outdone yourself Yahoo!. Not only do you not explain what match-up data you are talking about, you also contradict yourself in back-to-back clauses and leave the users completely and utterly mind-fucked. The data is neutral...but it favors one side slightly...I mean you have to be fucking kidding me with this shit!!