May 12, 2011
The golf world lost one of its greats last week when Seve Ballesteros lost his battle with brain cancer at the age of 54.
He is one of the few that have held the number one spot in the world rankings. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1999. He had 91 professional wins including five major championships.
It wasn’t just the wins that made Ballesteros great. It was the way he played to win that made him so memorable.
PGA President Allen Wronowski said in a statement: “In every generation, there appears one performer in sport who stands out above another for more than just ability alone. Seve Ballesteros, the gallant warrior from Pedrena, Spain, was the ultimate competitor. We were fortunate to have had him choose golf, where he did more than win championships, but proudly became an ambassador for our sport’s global appeal. Seve played with a rare combination of talent and heart, and his intensity endeared him to his teammates in the Ryder Cup, a competition that elevated his talent and leadership. As long as the pipes may play to call teams together for the Ryder Cup, they will play for Seve. We shall miss him dearly, and we mourn with his family and his many friends and fans throughout the world.”
Much like Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods do today, Ballesteros routinely pulled off shots that others wouldn’t dare to try. As Tiger Woods said on Twitter, “Seve was one of the most talented and excited golfers to ever play the game. His creativity and inventiveness on the golf course may never be surpassed. His death came much too soon.”
Perhaps his greatest accomplishment is what he did for European golf. He was the reason the Ryder Cup was expanded in 1979 to include continental Europe. He had a 20-12-5 record in eight appearances in the Ryder Cup and turned the tide in Europe’s favor. He teamed with fellow Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal to form a nearly unbeatable team that became known as “The Spanish Armada”. He also led Europe to victory in 1997 as team captain. He is the epitome of the spirit of the Ryder Cup.
Today’s No. 1 player in the world, Lee Westwood, said on Twitter, “Seve made European golf what it is today.”
Seve was a unique blend of talent, charisma, desire and fearlessness. He hit numerous shots that will never be forgotten. And neither will he. Golf was never the same because of Seve and it will not be the same without him.
May 9, 2011
At least once every few years, we see MLB Players make a run at Joe DiMaggio’s historic 56-game hitting streak. The most recent contestant in ‘Attempting to Break Unbreakable Records’ was Dodgers’ star, Andre Ethier. Ethier’s streak ended at 30 games this past weekend in a game against the New York Mets. In recent years, several other players including Albert Pujols, Ryan Zimmerman, Moises Alou, and Willy Taveras all reached 30. Chase Utley and Luis Castillo were so bold to make it to 35 and Jimmy Rollins and Paul Molitor even put together streaks of 38 and 39 respectively. But after that point, there have been considerably fewer players to challenge DiMaggio’s record.
The insurmountable evidence that exists as to why the record will not be broken is that it’s never even really approached. The last time someone even reached 40 was Pete Rose’s 44 in 1978 – and he’s the all-time career leader in hits, after all. As for 50? A grand total of zero players other than DiMaggio have eclipsed that mark.
Cero. Nada. None.
Next in line after Mr. Marilyn Monroe? Willie Keeler had 45 in the 1896 and 1897 seasons. To give you an idea of how long ago that was, Keeler’s Baltimore team was in the National League, some guy named William McKinley was President, and Babe Ruth was two years old.
So why would it be so difficult to break? Well, in addition to it being an absolutely incredible feat, there is a laundry list of reasons why today’s players have it tougher than DiMaggio did back in 1941. Cross-country flights, specialty relievers, improved pitching with the integration of baseball, more media – they all add up to the record being unapproachable.
Then, there’s the ‘invisible barrier of 30.’ For some reason, players fall apart once they reach that number. That’s when the media attention really starts to kick in and every at bat is scrutinized. There have been a total of 54 hit streaks of at least 30 games or more. In 20 of those times, nearly 40%, the streak has ended precisely at 30. In addition, ten more players only made it to 31. So, in actuality, DiMaggio’s record can be broken down into two parts: The first 30 games and the remaining 26. Hitting in the first 30 is difficult enough, but then, there’s the constant attention of each game and a player comes to realize … he’s only about halfway there.
In addition, one thing constantly gets overlooked when discussing the record: No one really gets a second crack at it. Ty Cobb, George Sisler, and Sam Rice are the only players to put together more than one streak of at least 30 games or more. All three played nearly 100 years ago and Rice (1930) was the last player to do it. This record isn’t similar to Maris’ home run record where we saw players make multiple runs at it. It’s basically a one-and-done situation.
Also, there’s the fact that hitting in that many consecutive games is somewhat a fluke by nature. Ted Williams, the last player to bat .400 and perhaps baseball’s greatest hitter of all-time, never even reached 30. Some of the best hitters in history have joined Williams in not even coming close – Rogers Hornsby, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Lou Gehrig, Rod Carew, Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn, and Ichiroall failed to reach that mark. On the flipside, mediocre major leaguers such as Jerome Walton, Benito Santiago, and Sandy Alomar, Jr. did. You need the right combination of skill, luck, and even help from the game’s official scorer.
Baseball is a game where batting .300 (essentially, succeeding 30% of the time) is seen as a great accomplishment – which, by the way, is why hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in sports. There aren’t many guarantees in life, but it’s almost a lock that ‘56’ will stand forever.
August 4, 2010
The world as we know it is coming to an end. Civilization is crumbling around us, and there simply is no hope.
Mike Modano is a Red Wing. I know. It hurts to even think it. I warned ‘Murrica about this, but to no avail. How could Livonia Jesus betray everything that is right and good in the world and go to the so-called “Hockeytown” (have they ever heard of Montreal?) to play with heathens and communists? This is a slap in the face of righteousness. Children the world over are weeping in a tragedy more heartbreaking than the death of Santa Claus. The UN is currently discussing sanctions to levy against Michigan for upsetting the balance of good and evil in the universe. This is like Captain Kirk defecting to the Klingons. Superman fighting for the Legion of Doom. LeBron leaving Clevela… oh… wait… bad example.
Why would he do this to us? I, for one, am happy that I bought his Fathead in his true colors and I make it a personal guarantee to sabotage this company from the inside to ensure that no one is ever forced to look upon the disgrace of a high definition self adhesive wall graphic of Mike Bro-Dano in the blood-red jersey of the devil-worshippers in Joe Louie.
Unless….. there is hope. What if Modano is going to the Wings to take them down from the inside?! That’s it! He’s like that guy from the end of Independence Day, sacrificing himself for the good of the entire world while screaming “hello boys… I’m BAAAAAAACK!” (Check out Modano’s sacrifice here). He’s like Batman, taking the fall for Harvey Dent because he can be whatever Gotham needs him to be. Saint Modano- a martyr and a true American Hero.
But regardless- I’m not gonna risk the chance of him just being a Brett Favre. I’m quitting my job and leaving the state of Michigan today in protest. Seriously.
For our last SAT Prep:
Questions, Comments, Concerns and The Best Joke Ever
Albert Haynesworth might be the single greatest waste of talent to ever disgrace the human race. After signing a contract worth 7 times Hiati’s yearly GDP AND getting $21 Million bonus in April (HOW CAN YOU BE UPSET WITH ANYTHING AFTER BEING HANDED 21 Million DOLLARS?!?!?!) this overweight vacuous waste of life can’t or won’t finish his conditioning test. In a display of selfishness and childishness rarely seen pasts the age of 5, apparently Haynesworth is going to pout in the corner until Shanahan gives him what he wants. I hope Shanahan benches him and recoups as much money from that absurd contract as possible. More than anything I want to see one of these primadonna athletes get stuck and be forced to wallow in their own filth, just like Shanahan should’ve made Brandon Marshall do. You won’t play a 3-4? Fine. Good luck making the pro-bowl from the bench.
Speaking of attention-seeking Divas, Favre apparently retired again! And no one cares! I really enjoy the fact that when Favre announces a retirement, ESPN starts running polls on whether or not people think it’s for real this time. Great credibility Brett.
In the real world, apparently St. John the Baptist’s remains have been discovered, and Wyclef Jean is going to run for president of Haiti. To both I reply with a resounding…. what?????
It’s been fun gang. Thanks for reading.
Peace. Love. Fatheads.