Sunday, August 15, 2010

08/15 Quickie: PGA, Tebow, Slo-No

Names to Know: Dustin Johnson, Tim Tebow, Anthony Dixon, Kevin Slowey, Albert Pujols, Tim Lincecum, Brian Bullington, Kevin Durant, Brett Sloppy and More.

"Grounding the club" is the new "jumped on the emergency slide."

Well, it could have been worse for the PGA
: Dustin Johnson's 2-stroke penalty that cost him a place in the playoff could have cost him an outright win.

But it was a pretty bad evening for the PGA: The rules are clear, but the context was fuzzy -- or sandy. Most agree that Johnson should have asked for a clarification, but the optics -- all those fans standing around Johnson in what didn't look very much like a bunker -- doesn't favor the PGA. They look like sticklers who jobbed a deserving player.

As for the PGA Champ Martin Kaymer himself, in other contexts, this slew of first-time major winners would be a great thing for the sport -- more new talents winning titles.

In the case of golf, though, it is awful; the sport needs dynastic super-names winning the major titles. Tiger would be the top preference, obviously, but Phil would work, too. But all these relative no-names just dilutes the star power and mainstream appeal.

(Or, as Mike "Ken Tremendous" Schur tweeted: "Golf tournaments aren't as exciting when none of the leaders is a Ambien-addicted quad-ethnic illicit-bareback-sex-addled killing machine.")

Tim Tebow's Debut: Not bad! Something for everyone:For the fans (pretty good completion percentage, plus that TD as the clock expired) and for the haters (quibbles about his mechanics, plus the idea that Tebow was going against 3rd-stringers).

Here is the upshot: Tebow turned an otherwise forgettable preseason game into An Event that everyone was talking about. In the absence of a playoff season in Denver, it's a pretty good consolation prize to be relevant, because everyone is so interesting in seeing how Tebow does.

More thoughts from the first full weekend of NFL Preseason games:

*What does it say that the dominant reaction to Sam Bradford's debut was: "Well, he got sacked a bunch and didn't crumple?" (It says that he is REALLY likely to crumple at some point.)

*Fantasy: Ryan Matthews likely cemented himself as a 2nd-round RB; Anthony Dixon has gone from ADP afterthought to what I imagine will be a Top 100 average draft position.

*Could not feel worse for Stafon Johnson.

*Can't wait for these games to actually mean something. It only gets worse from here, until Kickoff Week.

Quickie Vocab: "Slo-no." Definition: When the manager removes a pitcher in the middle of throwing a no-hitter.

If you were the manager, would you pull your starter while he's working on a no-hitter? Here's the thing: You're paid to win the game(s), not position your pitchers for individual glory in the history books.

And so you have to give the manager some latitude to win the game, but at least importantly, looking ahead to what the pitch counts, etc., might mean for future starts down the stretch for that pitcher. (Slowey was at 106 pitches when he was pulled.)

Does it suck for Kevin Slowey's chances for joining the history books as someone pitching a no-hitter? Totally.

Then again, given his pitch count, it was entirely uncertain that Slowey would have been able to keep things hitless for another 6 outs -- and we have no idea what the strain of pitches 107 through, say, 130-150 would have done to his arm for the meaningful starts he has to make down the stretch.

Amazing Albert Pujols Milestone: He becomes the first player in baseball history to hit at least 30 HR in each of his first 10 seasons. I don't know anyone who doesn't respect Pujols as much or more than any player in the league, but I'm not sure he is given the credit for being -- in real-time -- one of the Top 20 (Top 10?) hitters in the history of baseball.

Has Tim Lincecum lost it already? Wow. Keep that in mind as we start to think about career-long dominance for folks like Steven Strasburg. What if we are now living in a reality where "peak years" means 2-3 (rather than 5-6) and flame-outs happen before you hit 30?

(This isn't unlike the new relativity of dynasties I introduced in the Daily Quickie years, where back-to-back league championships now qualifies as a dynasty, because things move that quickly. It's the Moore's Law or Zuckerberg's Law of sports. Shanoff's Law: Increasing levels of parity and efficiency means that definitions of dynasty are cut in half every decade.)

Brian Bullington!

Tonight's Best: Cliff Lee vs. David Price. ALDS Game 1 preview?

USA Hoops: Nothing wrong with a 31-point win, led by Kevin Durant. But much like the Redeem Team, anything less than winning the world championship will be considered a massive failure. (Don't buy into the "what an inexperienced, young team!" stuff; they are the most talented roster of the world championships, by a wide margin.)

Terrible tragedy in that off-road car race in southern California. Will probably result in serious crack-down on the fringe levels of car racing.

Coming this week, starting tomorrow and running all week: The annual Summer Reading Series, featuring 3 books I have recently read, enjoyed and recommend for your summer-reading pleasure.

-- D.S.

1 comment:

amr said...

Slowey had also missed his last start with a Sore Elbow, so pushing for him to complete the no-hitter would have been even riskier than you point out.