Big D

Big D

Friday, April 15, 2005

Swinging the Sticks

Alright, so I’m bored, I got two weeks left at my current job, and I am about to get the hell outta here. Therefore, I will take the time to rundown my favorite golf courses. Granted I have never played Pebble Beach, Pinehurst, or Bethpage, in fact, I haven’t played anywhere of consequence. As I am moving to Atlanta in the near future, this list will likely change some. None the less – here are my top courses and why I like them. If you are lucky enough to have played any of the nations top 10 courses, well, fu*k yourself.

1. Grand National (Links Course) – Opelika, Alabama
The Skinny: My favorite track I have ever played. Everything about it was spectacular. Holes cut into a large forest of trees. Some water, but not too much, great elevated greens that are nice and soft. Excellent track.
Most memorable shot: 4 iron into 18 to set up a gimme par after an estimated 17 consecutive triple bogies

2. Stonebriar – Frisco, Texas
The Skinny: This is as close to a home course as I am going to have. Hard as hell. Greens are about the toughest I have ever played, but the course is surprisingly manageable. I just love this track.
Most memorable shot: The time I chunked a huge divot on my playing partner as I warmed up on a par 3 on a muddy day. I didn’t know the guy.

3. Capital Hill (Judge Course) – Prattville, Alabama
The Skinny: Another RTJ track. Great undulation, picturesque holes. I’ll take Grand National if forced to choose, but this track is solid as well. Great Greens.
Most Memorable shot: A chili dipped wedge on the easiest hole on the course, which traveled all of 15 feet into the woods. Resulted in a lost ball and a declaration that I would chug a beer for every hole I did not make par. I did not make any more pars.

4. The Quarry – San Antonio, Texas
The Skinny: Awsome layout. Back 9 is probably my favorite 9 on any course. Cut into a quarry in San Antonio, this track has great soft greens, and great views.
Most Memorable shot: 9 iron into an low green right over the flag stick, even got a little spin on it. Set up my first birdie of the day.

5. Barton Creek Fazio Foothills – Austin, Texas
The Skinny: Another awesome layout. Tons of undulation, elevated tees, great hole design. Numbers 9, and 16 are two of the prettiest holes I’ve played. My favorite of the Hill Country courses.
Most Memorable Shot: snaked in about a 50 footer for birdie on 9 green after I thought I had missed the green entirely, probably my best putt ever.

6. The Raven (now Arizona National)– Tucson, Arizona
The Skinny: This is what desert golf should be about. An oasis of grass in the middle of the desert to create target practice golf. An all around great layout where your entire game is tested.
Most memorable shot: 5 iron off the tee, 3 wood into the green on the 3rd par 4 we played. It was just strange to play that kind of target golf, it really tested my game.

7. Barton Creek Fazio Canyons – Austin, Texas
The Skinny: Another great track in the Barton Creek family. This course is pretty difficult with danger on every shot. This course is really long, and requires tons of 4 and 5 irons into the par 4 greens. Tough but fair.
Most memorable shot: I never hole out…..ever. But, I did manage to get a sandy birdie from a tough trap just off the green. As soon as it was up, it was in.

8. Arrowhead – Littleton Colorado
The Skinny: A Robert Trent Jones course. Awesome views out in the Redrock front range of the Rockies. Probably my favorite Colorado course, its very beautiful, and you can hit it a mile.
Most memorable shot: More like shots. Mind you this is when I was playing the best I have ever played….started out birdie, birdie, par, birdie to close out the front 9 in 37. I managed to shoot 84. I was ever so pissed.

9. Deer Valley – Tyler, Texas
The Skinny: Lots of doglegs on this course. This was my introduction to tree golf, as this course is cut into the forests that start in East Texas and stretch all thoughout the south. Fun track, great greens.
Most memorable shot: The one my dad took on fellow idiot Z, as he made him pay for his round after I all but assured him that he would cover it. Sorry Z.

10. Bear Dance – Castle Rock, Colorado
The Skinny: Cool Track right outside of Denver. Again you can just crush it. Great views of Pikes peak and the Rockies in the distance. Course was in incredible shape, and the layout was a lot of fun. Not terribly difficult, but challenging none the less.
Most memorable shot: The one that caromed off the cart of the group in front of us as my brother remarked “I didn’t think I could hit it that far”

Nothing Spectacular here, but these are some fun tracks. Feel free to post comments.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Rangers -- Time to Panic???

I would like to thank Cuyler and Z for their new adds the last couple days. I'm sure we are the only three reading this thing, but it sure is fun isn't it?

Okay, down to business. Ranger talk. The rangers dropped another one tonight 12-9 or something like that to the vaunted Angels. Before I talk about the rangers, I'll discuss the clear-cut favorite (two days ago i though the west was wide open). Even if their starters are average (and with the exception of colon they are), once they get to the bullpen with Shields, Donnelly, and KROD it's game over. KROD is just nasty and should be the most dominant closer in baseball very soon. The angels offense could be downright scary this year. Vlad has gotten a hit in all 24 games against the rangers which is a crazy streak, Orlando Cabrera looks like a huge upgrade over david eckstein right now, jeff devannon is filling in nicely at DH, and chone figgins may be a terror on the basepaths and be a good utility guy.

Back to the rangers, I am not too worried about our starters yet (bet against Chan Ho tomorrow if you are not opposed to betting against the rangers). Chris Young has looked very shaky but the rest of the staff has looked serviceable to this point. I am worried about our bullpen and am counting the days until Francisco and Almanzer get back which should be shortly. Our lineup looks like it is going to be pretty stout this year. But as always, there are some negatives.

-- Lots of WALKS (2nd in the majors despite the small sample size). Our OBP should be markedly higher this year which in all probability (see Baseball Prospectus) means more runs for our lineup.

--Dave Dellucci -- The "Godfather" continues to play like this and he will gain a cult following among rangers fans, well maybe just Marcus and I. We were brainstorming ideas for a group to rival the already famous hank's homies out at the ballpark. I had the very cheesy "the barajas bunch". But i have to admit to liking Marcus' idea of "Dellucci's goons".

--Rod Barajas offense - Admit it, the guy is hitting the ball so far better than anyone could have anticipated. Of course, there is the issue of his very suspect knocking down balls and catching plays at the plate.

--Sori, Hank, Young, and Tex -- These guys should produce all year. If any of them (besides maybe soriano because kinsler can step up) gets hurt, this season is over.

--Adrian Gonzalez -- In his limited abs to this point, I think he's a keeper.

--Bullpen - I can't really single anyone out (besides "gas can" RA Dickey). If our bulppen ended being really lucky with our bulpen last year, then this is going to be a long season. Because our starters are not good enough to win games for us. Almanzar and Francisco (I'm praying) coming back should help us stabilize the pen and allow us to win games late. Time to wake up Coco

--Gary Matthews, Jr. - I love GMJ, but if he continues to hit like this, it may time to call Nix back up and start rotating gary again around the outfield

--Mench - He has looked overmatched at the plate so far. I'm not overly worried yet because he seems like a slow starter

Overall impressions so far, I am not going to panic yet because we are only 8 games into the season. But if we do get our top 2 setup men back and we still aren't playing better baseball, then my expectations for this season are going to diminsh very quickly. I still think we can win this division and until shown otherwise, I will not change my mind.

While we are on baseball talk, I thought I'd go ahead and go off on my weekly rant:

Can ESPN get over itself with this CONSTANT discussion about Derek Lowe and Dave Roberts at fenway yesterday. I have heard no one talk about this with the exception of the talking heads on the alleged "sports leader". So many other great storylines out of Fenway yesterday (johnny pesky, the bill russell, bruschi, bobby orr, richard seymour quartet) and all ESPN can talk about it is the pointless discussion on Lowe / Roberts putting a red sox jersey on for 45 minutes.

ESPN reminds me of the railroad industry in that the network can afford to be so cocky because you have a true monopoly with sports fans. As much as hate to admit this becuase I think Ric Renner is a cheese dick and fox sports is far from perfect, I admit that I find myself watching the Best Damn sports show only because i get so sick of the product ESPN puts out. I don't see anything stopping ESPN in the near future, but we can still hope that the network will continue to put out the best product they can. That's all I ask.

While we are on baseball talk, I will give you my top 5 uniforms in the major leagues:

1) Dodgers -- I hate the dodgers, but they got the best damn uniforms in the game. Classy

2) Yanks -- If I didn't hate the yankees so much, they would be #1.

3) Tigers -- Maybe it goes back to the Tigers hat Ice Cube wore in boyz n the hood, but I love these uniforms. TIVO alert -- If you have not checked out the HBO series on Detroit's world series win over the Cardinals in the late 60s bringing a city together in the midst of turmoil, you should check it out.

4) White Sox -- I put their unis here because they became the standard for the very cool expansion team unis, Marlins and Rockies, who easily could have been on the list themselves.

5) Cardinals -- It's a homer pick sure, but you have to admit these unis are classic. My personal favorite are thier home white on white. Great throwbacks to the baby blue '82 unis.

That's all i got....


Good to be back

At the behest of my colleague (I use the term loosely) “T” I have decided to get back on the horse and start posting on the good’ol blog once again. These are just some unorganized thoughts I’ve had over the past week.

1. This years Masters was great. Despite the rain the tourney became a two-man race that could have developed into a one-man race. Chris Dimarco showed great determination and posted the second best fourth round score on the day. We definitely get spoiled watching the Masters because of the continuous coverage and minimal commercials. Compared to any other sporting event, the Masters may be the toughest event to get up and use the bathroom because there aren’t too many breaks in the action.

2. Watched my first baseball game from start to finish the other night. This just shows how fantasy sports or gambling can cause someone to watch an otherwise meaningless game. This was a prime example, there was no other reason for me to watch the Pirates-Padres game other than fantasy implications.

3. The steroid issue is not going to go anywhere soon. It seems that major league baseball will continue to bust inconsequential players each week for the rest of the season after busting Alex Gonzales and Jorge Piedra over the first two weeks of the season. Wouldn’t it be great if we could bet on the next player to be suspended for steroids. My money is on Jorge Cantu.

4. Is there anything worse than having the 1st pick in a draft with no clear-cut first pick. The 49ers are in this position. Of course one of two QBs that the 49ers take could develop into great players, but everyone knows if another team wanted to move up to the 1st pick the 49ers would jump at the offer. I will be most interested to see how the receivers are drafted. Braylon Edwards and Mike Williams may be the two best players in this draft and could have the most impact on the teams they end up on.

5. Continuing with the draft, does anyone else think that Mel Kiper has his final “Big Board” finished and he moves players around just to keep people buying into ESPN’s Insider.

6. The NBA playoffs should be exciting this year. That’s an obvious statement if I’ve ever made one. It is even scary to make predictions. The departure of Shaq from the West makes almost every playoff team a contender. The Nuggets, Rockets or Mavs all could make runs to take them to the finals. The East looks like it will probably come down to the Heat and the Pistons. Even though I don’t like the Piston’s attitude of thinking they can turn it on when it matters, they do have a successful strategy for shutting down Shaq. The most intriguing team in the East is the Baby Bulls. They are that unpredictable team that depends on their youth. Also, Ben Gordon may be the best 4th quarter player in the league and it will come down to him producing in the playoffs like he has in the regular season. As much as I like Lebron, thanks to upper management moves Lebron will be gone after the first round, but he will probably average 38 points a game. All that being said, I like Dallas to beat the Pistons in the Finals and finally give Mark Cuban a successful reality show. Yes, this is a biased choice.

7. I saw “Fever Pitch” this past weekend. A little background, I was with my parents and they were trying to decide between “Fever Pitch” and “Sahara”. I think I made the right choice. Drew Barrymore personally tried to ruin this movie. I guess she must be a bargain compared to other Hollywood actresses. She just isn’t likeable. And if I’ve learned anything from watching countless amounts of movies, to make an otherwise borderline movie into a slightly enjoyable movie all you have to do is just get the hottest girl available. This movie would have been much better if someone, say Jessica Alba, played Barrymore’s role. Even though I haven’t seen any of Alba’s movies, I am sure she can act as well or even better than Barrymore, plus she is much, much, much hotter. Besides Barrymore, the movie wasn’t terrible. The best part about the movie was the scenes from actual games. It was like watching a part of the series “When it was a game” that used to come on HBO from time to time. Seeing glimpses of the greatest comeback in sports history from angles that even Fox couldn’t get their hands on was great. I also liked the tough issues that this movie confronted. The issue of men’s obsession with sports hasn’t been tackled like this since 1996 when both “Celtic Pride” and “The Fan” came out. These movies deal with fans having obsessions with either one team or one player. However, today’s sports fan usually likes all big time sports, where there isn’t an off-season. I am still waiting for the movie to come out about a sports fan that is consumed year round by sporting events and how he deals with his relationships. It could be called “Fever Pitch 2: Electric Boogaloo”


He's Back

Make no mistake about it, he is back. Forget about two bogies on the last two holes of a major to almost lose the tournament. Forget about the amazing shot on 16. Forget about 7 straight birdies. Forget about the opening day 74. Forget about his wife. Forget about Phil. Forget about Ernie. Forget about Vijay.

The Tiger is back.

When Tiger Wood’s dominated the game of golf in 2000-2002, it wasn’t because he could hit the ball farther than anyone. It wasn’t his ability to knock down 10 footers at will. It wasn’t that he was shattering tournament records. It was his mind. It was intimidation. And the Tiger got it back on Sunday. Tiger won his 9th major with a terrible Sunday performance by Tiger standards. But he still did it. When it really mattered, Tiger hit a bullet 3 wood down the fairway, a safe but solid shot into 18 green, and a screaming putt, that happened to be center cut. No one but Tiger can do those things, and everyone on tour knows it. That is what separated Tiger from Robotic Vijay, Amazing shot maker Phil, and the Big Easy. And they all knew it too. No one wants to be in the final group playing Tiger on Sunday.

He had lost a bit of that intimidation. People thought Tiger had lost a step after getting married. Younger guys could hit it farther, and straighter. Vijay took the #1 spot, Ernie finished second in almost every major last year. Phil finally got his. The playing field was even……not so fast.

Tiger has what the greats have. The one thing that separates them from everyone else, the desire to win to go along with the talent. Jordan, Magic, Farve, Gretsky, …….Nicklaus. These guys had the talent to win, and would do whatever it took to get there. Tiger has it. If you saw his reaction on 16 when he made that shot, it was not a fist pump, or a tip of the hat. He stared into his competitors eyes and let him know that he was there to win. No one else can put that fear into another player.

Can he break Jack’s records? Who knows. Can he win another major this year? Very likely. Is Tiger the favorite in every tournament he enters? Definitely.

Bring on Pinehurst, Bring on St. Andrews, Bring on Baltusrol. The Tiger is back.


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Championship Game Thoughts and a Few Links

Well, the college basketball season is finally over and what a great NCAA tournament/season it was. After a few down years (when the high school kids first started coming out), college basketball is definitely back in a big way. Last night's game was a classic and even one shining moment (which CBS has been butchering for about 5 years now) was very well done. .

Kudos to Illinois for making the game close up until the last 3o seconds. They could have laid over and died (it was close to becoming a yawner like the much hyped BCS title game between USC/OU) when they got down fairly big at the beginning of the 2nd half, but their guards would not let them go down without a fight. The backcourt of illinois (brown, williams, and head) will be remembered by Illinios fans for a long time. Amazing, compelling storylines can arise when you settle things on the playing field (wake up college football). Tons of great games and despite what bowl apologists may say that a playoff system only lets one team go away as a winner. I think fans in Morgantown, Champaign, Louisville, East Lansing, Milwaukee, and wherever the hell bucknell is are all celebrating their great seasons this summer.

Once again this season has to be considering a smashing success for college basketball and despite kids leaving early, the sport has adapted very nicely.

My top 5 Memories from this tournament:
1 ) Illinois / Arizona and the entire regional final weekend-- This season was scripted almost too perfectly for Illinois. A perfect regular season up until a meaningless loss at Ohio St. Then a picture perfect path to the final four in their own backyard of St. Louis. On the verge of being completely foiled by a game Arizona team. Lute Olsen really had his team ready to play this tournament (he is very hit or miss come march) and they looked to be moving on to St. Louis before a furious Illinois comeback and winning the game in OT. Of course, we'll disregard that I missed the entire 2nd half.

2) West Virinia -- What a great story. These guys were in jeopardy of not even making the tournament until a trip to the big east final ensured their birth. They then proceeded to squeak by Creighton ( I had them in my tourney auction so i was pissed), but the next 3 games were all classics. An unbelievable double OT win against Wake (maybe the best game of the tournament), and then a nail biting low scoring affair (beating the Gengeral). And finally, the absolute classic regional final against Louisville. I will remember the names Pittsnogle and Gansey forever.

3) Crazy Friday night of the opening round games -- My bracket was looking TOO good. I had every region (with the exception of Albuquerque) 100% right until the 6 pm games on Friday tipped off. By the end of the night, Syracuse (I had them in the finals) AND Kansas had lost and order was restored. And by Saturday night, my champion (wake forest) had lost as well.

4) Washington -- While my boys may have gone down in the sweet 16, this was a great season with a great group of players. They just ran into a buzzsaw called Louisvilee and had their season ended sooner than expected. I will always have a spot in my heart for Nate Robinson.

5) Final Game -- While the semifinals didn't quite live up to its billing, the final was a classic that will not soon be forgotten. Great work by my hometown of st. louis hosting the event.

Here are some good links that I will start to post from time to time:

Bob Strum's blog from the Ticket -- This guy is my favorite personality on the Ticket and his blog is pretty informative:

Great minor league baseball website from guy named John Sickels. Well respected in the sabremetrics (aka baseball nerd community):

If you are intersted in golf at all, you should do this masters pool run by Johnny Mackovic's son:

That's it for today.

Go Rangers!

Back to work........

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Illinois / Louisville stream of consciousness notes

I ripped this off from's bit during the college football season. You can talk to my attorney (Z) if I infringe on any copyrights during this blog entry.

Illinois / Louisville

This should be a good one. Louisville's wins this tournament (raping #5 georgia tech, just flat out outplaying #1 W-dub, and a thrilling comeback against an unconscious #7 West Virginia team) may be better than Illinois's wins so far (#3 Arizona OT thriller not withstanding, a cinderalla #12 UW - Milwaukee team, and #9 Nevada -- no kirk snyder on this team) but there is something abou this Illinois team that feels like a team of destiny.

--Despite Pitino's experience edge, I think Bruce Weber's job this seasona makes the coaching a wash.

--Early in the game, louisville's d has been better than expected.

--Augustine and Illinois' other big man (smith?) look goofier than any big man combo i can remember (big country and ostertag didn't play on the same team). It also helps that smith has a nice porn stache working.

--12 minutes into the first have and Louisville finally has committed its first foul.

22-22 all with 6:56 to go in the first half

--nice fight shown by louisville so far.

--O'bannon!!!! this guy was big last game too. I like him but i'm not sure whether or not he's related to the once-famouse o'bannon bros. (charles and national player of the year ed) at UCLA

31-24 ILL with 2:00 to go in the first half

--So far Illinois has been doing OK down low, better than I expected.

--Amazing stat so far, Louisville had its first turnover of the first half late in the 1st half (4 minute mark.

--Smart play by Illinois to hold for one shot at the end of the first half even if they don't convert. I guess there's a reason this team has only lost 1 game so far this season.

31-28 Illinois at HALF

--Defenses have been GOOD this game.

--Billy Packer is not nearly the anti-christ (see Barry Horn column in today's DMN) that some fellow media members make him out to be. He shuts his mouth and let's the game do the talking when it matters. So what if he mouths off at some non-conference in early december.

--Big 3 by Powell!

34-33 Illinois

--Wow!!!!! That follow by Powell was nasty. Missing a 3 and then follwing with a jam.

-- Big Run Alert!

-- Good answer by Dean.

--Powell has really played well this half, and Illinois usually wins when he plays well (or so the experts tell me.

--Jeez, I love Luther Head. This 3 guard combo for Illinois is really special.

55-49 Illinois 8:20 to go in the game

--The shots aren't falling this game like earlier this tourney for Louisville.

--Watching this game, this really has been a fun year for college basketball.

--Wow!!!!! This Illinois team is on fire.

--Big 3 by Head AGAIN (No penis jokes please

Ilinois up 9 Late

--This game is not over. Pitino can press the rest of the game, they can have a chance. All Illinois needs to do is hit their shots.

-- Got to love Keady's comb over.

-- No comeback for Louisville, Illinois is running away.

--Okay, I don't have the final score right now but Illinois covered, i know that.

--I'm pounding UNC -5 and -230 for no good reason other than I think a UNC-Illinois matchup will be badass.

--Until next time......


Friday, April 01, 2005

Final Four, Pope, and Tom Delay

This blog has been lying dormant for awhile so i thought I'd try to ressurrect it. With the Terry Schiavo story finally fading away, the pope's health becomes the next story that the cable networks and media will latch onto like the blood-sucking leaches that they are. I admit to watch just as much cable news as the next person (CNN is my preferred network), but enough is enough with this saturated news coverage we have in our country today. I guess there is nothing we can do besides grin and bear it. Before I move on to more interesting matters (final four, start of baseball season), I have to get one more political point off my chest.

Tom Delay has officially moved past any other politician on my most evil list. This guy is so crooked and so fake that it makes me sick. I understand plenty of other politicans cow-tie to the religious right (an i'm ok with that), but I'm not ok with his blatant disregard for any shred of ethics. With the redistricting of the Texas congressional districts along with his blatant illegal campaign financing, you would think this guy would be in serious trouble of losing his job. That's the great thing about America though. If you have the money and power, you can become truly invincible. What a country! Is it any shock that Delay's home district is located no other than in the great city of Houston. Just another in the long line of great american crooks to come out of that city.

Okay.... Time to move onto more important things like the start of baseball season and the final four.

Final Four Predictions
UNC -5 over Michigan St.
While I really don't like either team all that much (I dogged on Michigan St. all season), I think UNC has too much talent to to lose to Tom Izzo's squad. Michigan St. should be able to match up well defensively with the UNC juggernaut and on paper they should make it a really close game. Unfortunately for MSU, you don't play games on paper and UNC has some sick talent that I don't think will slip up here. I have really been impressed with Sean May's play this tournament and UNC should win this one going away. It should be a competitive game, but i think UNC will win this one rather handily. UNC 86 Michigan St. 74.

Louisville +3 over Illinois
This should be a great game. Illinois has the superior guard play, but something about this Louisville team really scares me. I think it will come down to the final 2 minutes with Illinois winning at the wire. They seem to be a team of destiny this year and CBS would kill to get a UNC-Illiinois final (Best ratings since '93 UNC / Fab 5?). Illinois 74 Louisville 73.

I would make guess as to wins a UNC / Illinois final, but i'll wait until tomorrow's games are played.

I'm worn out typing now so i'll update with baseball talk a little later tonight / tomorrow morning.

Until then I'll leave you with a famous quote from Z's favorite,

"Either they don't know, don't show, or don't care about what's going on in the hood".