Monday, April 9, 2007

The Masters, The Tigers, West Wing, You Don't Know Jack -- You Know, the Usual Sunday Things

I had this blog entry all planned out this afternoon. The Detroit Tigers were down 2-0 to the Kansas City Royals, and it appeared they were about to waste another great performance by Jeremy Bonderman, fall to 2-3 on the season, and lose 2 out of 3 to the worst team in the American League Central, a team they dominated in last season's run to the World Series. I was going to write about how Tigers fans shouldn't panic, and how Brandon Inge's 0-17 start would turn around, as would the Tigers bats, and there were plenty of positives to focus on. Then Pudge Rodriguez, with one swing of the bat, ended that debate. One game winning three-run home run in the 9th inning later, and suddenly the Tigers are 3-2, and with a another 9th inning victory they showed they still have some of that magic which propelled them to such a great season a year ago. And, by the way, how about Todd Jones this season thus far? For all of the heat Jones gets for being shaky as the Tigers closer, he's had a great start to the season in a Tigers bullpen, which for the most part, has struggled. Let's give Jones some credit. Especially because people will be on him the second he blows his first save. And I know bad closers. I have Jorge Julio on two fantasy baseball teams. So, Jones, at least this week, deserves some credit.

So with my "Don't panic Tiger fans" blog entry out the window, I figured I would write my entry on Tiger Woods and his latest victory at Augusta National. I spent all afternoon watching both the Tigers and Tiger (pays to have a TV and a TV card in your computer so you can watch both at the same time), and especially when Tiger eagled the 13th hole after a brilliant second shot, I figured the entry would pretty much write itself, as Tiger was writing his own script out on the golf course. Tiger Woods, Sunday at the Masters, charging to victory. Except, that's never happened before. For as great as Tiger is, he's never won a Major after trailing after 54 holes. Today was no different. Even after eagling the 13th and seemingly having momentum going his way, Tiger couldn't finish. He found the water on the 15th, missed a makable birdie putt on 16, and ended up finishing in second place. And the Tiger slayer? Phil? Vijay? Sergio? How about Zach Johnson? 31-year-old Zach Johnson who a year ago was playing on the Nationwide Tour, your Masters champion.

I had a lot of mixed emotions watching the tournament. Usually, in almost all sporting events where a Detroit team or player or individual is not competing, I'm cheering for the underdog. There's nothing better than to see a 14 seed in the NCAA Tournament or some unheralded longtime golf pro make a run at a US Open. I'll always remember the 2003 British Open when Ben Curtis, ranked 396th in the World won what many consider to be the most prestigious golf tournament in the world. I was interning in Washington DC that summer and I had to wake up early to watch the rounds live on ABC probably, downstairs in the lounge of the Francis Scott Key dorm on the campus of George Washington University. I even wrote about it in The Detroit News the following week. (Wow, I forgot how young I looked in my old News picture).

But, I wasn't cheering for Zach Johnson on Sunday. I was cheering for Tiger Woods. And I don't exactly know why. I'm not a huge Tiger Woods fan. In fact, I'm probably more in the Phil Mickelson camp. But, there's just something about Tiger and watching him on the course. It's like watching a classical pianist (or "listening" to a classic pianist would be a better way of putting it). Or like watching Michael Jordan play basketball. I never appreciated Michael Jordan like a lot of people did. I was a Pistons fan (I still am). I hated Michael Jordan (I still do). I never saw greatness when I saw Michael play. I saw a whiner who could only beat the Pistons when he complained loud enough and got David Stern to change the rules to eliminate the physical play of the "Bad Boys." As you can tell, I'm still bitter. But, watching Tiger Woods, I now understand the appeal of Jordan in a way I never did before. It's greatness in action. To see somebody so great at something, it's really a sight to see. And I wanted to see it on Sunday. I wanted to see Tiger Woods make that charge on the back nine Sunday at Augusta, and make his eagle on 13 and birdie 14 and eagle 15 and take the lead and never look back. But, this is golf. And that's why golf is so great, because on any day, on any course, even Augusta National, Zach Johnson can outplay Tiger Woods. The game can humble anybody in a hurry.

So what else is going on this Sunday night? I'm missing The West Wing. That's not really true, because as I type this entry I'm actually watching DVDs of the shows third season (which is why I'm even bringing up the topic), but with how disappointing 24 has been this year, and with Prison Break's season over and Heroes still on a mini-hiatus and Boston Rob and Amber bounced from The Amazing Race All Star Edition, I'm feeling a bit nostalgic for old classics like West Wing. Sure, Lost is enjoying a renascence since it's ill-conceived mini fall season, and Boston Legal and Shark continue to be worth watching (and Jericho continues to keeep me interested) and, well, okay, maybe television is still pretty good right now. But, I still miss The West Wing. Aside from the shaky fifth season, practically every episode of the show is great (and I should know --I've watched them all, multiple times). And there's still a part of me that wants Josh Lyman's job. Thank goodness though that nightly West Wing marathons aren't on Bravo anymore. I would never get anything done.

And, lastly, on a quick admin note, you may have noticed quite a few new links over on the right hand side of the Blog. I've added links to some of the great Detroit sports blogs around, and they are all great reads. With the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons playoffs starting up, the NFL Draft less than three weeks away, and the Tigers season already started, these blogs will have all of those stories (and more) covered from all angles. Kurt over @ Mack Avenue Tigers gave this post a plug today which was much appreciated. Kurt's got pre-game and post-game thoughts on most every Tigers game, so check out his site.

I've also added some links to other great websites, like the returning You Don't Know Jack. For those unfamiliar, YDKJ was a classic, hilarious pop culture trivia game from the mid to late 1990s. Funny questions, even funnier hosts, and an overall great setup. For the full history, check out the You Don't Know Jack wikipedia entry. Anyways, You Don't Know Jack has made an online comeback,with short 7-question games (including the famed Jack Attack final round) and daily "Dis or Dat" quizzes. Just as funny and relevant and entertaining as it was a decade ago. And Cookie, one of the original hosts, is back too. Trust me, if you remember the game from years ago, you'll want to check it out.

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