Couple things to touch with this post, first, your golf update..
The 92nd PGA Championship is underway, and one of the most exciting players on tour has the early lead after the first round. Not Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson; I’m tired of hearing about them with their mediocre rounds that sportscenter tries to push past as news. Bagdad, Florida’s own Bubba Watson is the leader in the clubhouse with a first round 68 (-4) and has to be considered the fan favorite to take home the championship. Why you ask? The guy makes golf fun to watch. He’s a long hitter; 2nd in tour driving distance (Longest drive this year- 416 yds at the Sony Open.), and unlike most long hitters, he usually hits driver off the tee. Hell, yesterday he tried to hit his driver off the fairway. Despite my curiosity of how that shot would have turned out, the caddy took the club out of his hand and made him lay up. What a pussy, let the horse run, its not like we’re playing for millions of dollars here. Anyways, to get back to my reason, Bubba Watson reminds me of a John Daly without all the personal problems. Long hitter, unorthodox way around the course, has the balls to hit shots all the other tour pros won’t hit. Golf fans love that stuff. If he makes it to Sunday with the lead, you know its going to be fun to watch the back and forth between him and his caddy. But lets hope conventional wisdom doesn’t prevail..
Also, I want to give a big ups to the gallery following Tiger Woods yesterday. A guy in the crowd, after every shot Tiger hit, would yell out “Tiger Style!”. Of course this is an ode to the RZA, the GZA, Inspectah Deck, Method Man, Ghostface Killah. Raekwon, Ugod, Masta Killa. And of course, RIP to the Ol’ Dirty Bastard. I speak of the Wu Tang Clan, first round draft pick by the Asians in the 2004 Racial Draft. I’m sure all these rap artists find comfort in knowing that even rural Wisconsinites have entered through the Wu-Tang’s 36 Chambers.
Anyways, Phillies, couple of goofy games in the Dodgers series all with one reoccurring theme: starting pitching. Kyle Kendrick: bad start, Phils get blown out. Roy Oswalt: good start, finally, 7 ip, bridge to lidge, lidge with the 1-2-3 inning. Joe Blanton: terrible start, Phils should have been blown out, come back was capped off with the newly named Clooch Ruiz (Credits to CSN for this one; a combination of Chooch and Clutch. Probably not going to stick cause every time you call a ball player clutch, they become very unclutch, look at David Ortiz.) The series tells us two things:
- Phillies have 3 good starters: Halladay, Hamels, Oswalt in that order. Kendrick is probably the 4th starter right now. Blanton seems like he has to be let off the roster if there is a postseason run, not even a bullpen spot. Too unreliable, hasn’t been healthy all year, lets hope this is only a one year lapse for Joe the Lumber.
- These Phillies reserves aren’t acting like reserves: It’s going to come out after the season that someone in the Phils clubhouse sparked this entire team. Probably when Howard went down or Milt got fired, someone stood up and said something to the tune of “What the Hell are we doing? We are the back to back NL Champs and we are not playing like it. The season is not over; let’s fucking go!” Part of me thinks it was Chooch Ruiz only because that scene would have been pretty hilarious, saying something to that extent in Spanglish and half the clubhouse wondering what the hell he said. Whatever the case, it worked, and you know the braves are looking over their shoulder every night. Unfortunately for them, the Phillies are doing this without their big guns and will be getting better with every passing game.
Finally, a shout out to my new friend, Dylan. I went down to the Phils game Wednesday night with the family, Mare and Tim sat together while my Dad and I got standing room tickets. I picked my usual spot in left center, right on the elbow next to the handicap section. Anyways, while enjoying a tall, cool Budweiser, I had that feeling that someone was standing directly behind me. I turned around and it was a 7 year old kid trying to look over my shoulder and see the game. No parents, dressed in Phils gear, had his glove as if he was ready to play. I moved over to give him some room so he could watch and the kid wouldn’t stop talking. Told me his life story: born in Philly, moved to Chicago two years ago but still a huge Phillies fan and hates how he can’t watch the games anymore. It was his first Phils game, a birthday gift from his grandmother. Asked where his parents were: in the smoking section having a cigarette. He stayed there and we talked baseball for an inning or 2, and then his mom, who looked like she was only a year older than me, came over and yelled at him for running off. Sounded like the biggest bitch, almost as if the kid was such a burden to her and that wanting to watch baseball at a baseball game was him being a pain in the ass. Poor kid got led away back to the smoking section purgatory that he had cunningly escaped.
I felt bad for Dylan, all he wanted to do was watch his favorite team. An innocent request, yet something that is overshadowed when you walk around CBP. It’s an interesting crowd, a generational mix. There are so many people in that stadium that are way too blitzed to focus on the ballgame and tend to be a general nuisance. These people make it tough for people like Dylan to watch the game and can really ruin the experience of going to a baseball game. Not to judge anyone, because I’ve been that guy more than once, but remember that baseball is for all ages, and some of my best memories as a kid was going down to the vet with my family, bringing my glove in the hopes of catching a foul ball. Who knows, maybe there is a Dylan sitting next to you at his first game, watching the team he loves with pure childhood bliss and innocence.
Phils in Queens this weekend for 3 vs the Mets, interesting to see if the momentum will carry over.