OK I’m about to go George Carlin on each and every one of you. My favorite comedian of all time was often at his best with sports analogies. No doubt his best work came when King George compared the toughness of football to the apparent softness of baseball: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-638Vd6Hteg

Classic stuff. I’d like to think if Carlin was alive today he would be on my side when it comes to golf. My goodness is there a softer group of athletes on the planet than this PGA bunch? If every sport played by their rules we’d have to get rid of the Cameron Crazies, the Dawg Pound and clear out the Black Hole and every heckler at Shea Stadium.

Is it really fair that nobody can even clear their throat around a PGA putting green when we can yell whatever we want during a free throw, scream at a batter when he’s facing a 95 mph fastball or lose our collective voices during a penalty shot or go crazy when a QB is facing a game winning 4th and goal?

Its time for the PGA pros to toughen up. I’ve never been a fan of the whole country club atmosphere. I’ve never had a desire for a pimento cheese sandwich and will never understand why these guys get away with all this nonsense?! Quiet Please? Please! Just some of the thoughts in this week’s trip around the Naborhood….

THE CRYING GAME: They are two of the best golfers in the world but are equally two of the biggest babies as well. Sure Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia gave us even more incentive to watch the final round of the Players Championship but their behavior was as bad as their golf talent is great. First off Sergio needs to just shut up and stop being so petty. I like the fact that he is one of the few golfers who actually has the guts to stick up to Tiger but in the end his weak mental game gets the best of him every time. He’s too good to have never won a Major and no doubt needs to grow up– but the clock is ticking.

While Tiger is clearly the better player, to me he’s just as flawed. I’m not talking about his personal life—its ironic to me that he accuses Sergio of being a complainer. Of course it stemmed from Garcia having a beef with Tiger pulling his 5 w0od from his bag to play a tough shot through the trees in the 3rd round of the Players, subsequently  the crowd cheered his decision–right about the time Garcia was playing his shot. This just sounds so stupid as I type it?!

C’mon Eldrick–nobody on the Tour is more sensitive when it comes to crowd reactions than you! Not only is Tiger a hypocrite he tends to bend the truth. He claimed a Marshall at the TPC gave him a green light to continue his round which led to Sergio’s comments but now the Marshalls are claiming that wasn’t the case and they don’t know what Woods is talking about?  You have the infamous drop at the Masters, his former Caddy chasing fans with cameras and on and on where its always seems to be something with the number one golfer on the planet. The silver lining could come in a sequel where these two goofballs hopefully will meet up in the final round of a major. The only trouble, I’m not sure Sergio has the game to make it that far. In the meantime, how about we get a sponsor and put these two whiners in the ring—who ya got?

SEC STOOPS: Recently Oklahoma Head Coach and Big 12 apologist Bob Stoops told the Tulsa World regarding the dominance of the SEC, “So, they’ve had the best team in college football, they haven’t had the whole conference. Because, again, half of ’em haven’t done much at all.  Listen, they’ve had the best team in college football, meaning they’ve won the national championship. That doesn’t mean everything else is always the best.”

First off, its refreshing in this day and age of robotic coaches and stale sound bites that a high profile college football coach outside of Steve Spurrier actually offers an opinion but in this case its hard to side with Stoops for a number of reasons.

Sure the SEC has reeled off 7 straight National Champions but it hasn’t only been Alabama–the rings have also been dished out at Auburn, LSU and Florida, so the conference isn’t a one trick pony. Sure the Big 12 had 9 of its 10 teams qualify for bowl games last season while the SEC had five who DIDN’T qualify but the Big 12 was 4-5 in the postseason while the SEC was 6-3. This including Texas A&M who didn’t even win its own division but blew out OU who was a co-champ in yeah…the Big 12 Conference.

Beyond that— the SEC had 63 players drafted, double the next highest conference. The only argument I’ll give Stoops in his attempt to tug on Superman’s cape is scheduling. In the Big 12 every team plays every team but in the 14 team SEC you only have 8 conference games so some teams get an easier road like Alabama and Georgia who last season didn’t play a team from the opposite division that finished in the top three.That should be looked at.

SABAN BASHING: I hate to bite the hand that feeds me but this story is another example of why we have too much media. For years Booster Gatherings have been standup up routines for every College Head Football Coach in the country. You know, the Will Muschamps and Les Miles‘ of the world travel around their state and fire up the troops with jokes and stories which aren’t “exactly” how they feel but serve a purpose–keep the booster base happy. When the boosters are happy, everybody’s happy??

Lately Nick Saban has been the whipping boy on the Booster Circuit.  First it was Vandy’s James Franklin calling him “Nicky Satan.” Next up in the order was Arkansas Head Coach Bret Bielema who bragged to Hog Boosters that his Big Ten record was better than Saban’s when he was at Michigan State. (which it was) I talked to Bielema recently in Fayetteville who laughed when I brought it up and says its crazy how such comments are taken so seriously. I agree.

Recently Florida’s offensive line coach Tim Davis jumped into the Saban octagon. He coached with both Saban and Muschamp with  the Dolphins and had this to say recently to the Space Coast Gator Booster gathering in Melbourne. “I’ve always wanted to work with Will [Muschamp],” Davis said. “Will’s got a plan. Will coached under the devil himself for seven years. I only did three. He did seven. And his DNA is not any different than Nick.”

Not the best one liner but I’m sure the Gator diehards laughed which was the purpose. Steve Spurrier used to get in trouble for picking on the Noles in these settings stealing lines from local columnists and even Saint Bobby had fun with the Gators too. Its part of the deal—these coaches give a million of these speeches a year and are always searching for fresh material—don’t take it personal or so seriously! Saban should be flattered–he’s had one “devil” of  a time beating up the rest of the SEC for some time now.

MR CLUTCH: One of many things I love about baseball is the ole feel factor. Its a game of numbers but sometimes a game of feel. Following my favorite teams throughout the years, there were always some guys no matter the numbers that I would feel better at the plate than others. I have never felt better about anybody than the Rays Evan Longoria.

Sure the Orioles Chris Davis, the Braves Justin Upton and the Tigers Miguel Cabrera are having huge  years but I’ll take Longoria over them all. The guy gets no protection in a Rays lineup which he absolutely carries. He was your recent AL Player of the week by batting .464 with 3HR and 11RBI. Evan told the Tampa Bay Times, he has never felt better at the plate, ” I am in one of those modes right now where it seems like no matter what they throw up there, I’m seeing every pitch well.”– That’s bad news for the rest of the league.

The guy is only 27 but has acted 37 since he put on a big league uniform where if he can finally stay healthy—I think it will be the reason the Rays make the playoffs and live up to all their preseason World Series hype. Longoria has 6 career walkoff home runs and his hitting coach Derek Shelton feels he is as locked in as he was in September of 2011 when he knocked in a major league leading 27 RBI. “If he’s not comparable, he’s probably better,” Shelton told the Tampa Bay Times. ” Because of the fact I think the older he gets, the better his pitch selection is, and i think the one thing we’e seen him do is we have seen him stay in the strike zone. Even the times he’s making outs, he’s on the barrel of the bat. And when you’re doing things like  that, you’re doing a good job.”

THE J-CREW?? What is the deal with the letter J and Wide Receivers in Jacksonville? First you have the plight of its first round picks in the past decade. From R “J”ay Soward to Matt “J”ones and now “J”ustin Blackmon–all three guys have had their run ins with drugs and alcohol. It ended Soward and Jones’ careers and will keep Blackmon out of the first four games this fall. Blackmon says he doesn’t have a problem. I hope he’s right and I sure hope he doesn’t follow the path of the most troubled receiving “J” in the history of the Jags.

Recently former Jacksonville WR Jimmy Smith, arguably the best player in franchise history and a borderline Hall of Fame candidate was issued a six year jail sentence due to his latest offense involving drugs and this time an additional weapons charge. I covered Smith  during his hey day and he couldn’t have been a nicer man and was a true professional. Its saddened me to hear the news and I hope he can salvage his life for himself and his family. I also hope Justin Blackmon is paying attention so he can be the exception to this J Crew not the rule.

GOODBYE TO “THE OFFICE”: Its the end of an era to one of my favorite shows, yes “The Office,” is wrapping up after a great run. I have to admit when Michael Scott said goodbye a few years back, I have rarely watched it but its remains one of my all-timers . Yes Michael is my favorite character but I really like Andy “the Narddog” as well.  I think Jim and Pam got together way too early,the flirting should have lasted as long as Sam and Diane in Cheers. My favorite dynamic of the show besides the whole crew looking at the “mocumentary” camera in almost every scene was the dynamic between Jim and Dwight. Its hard to pick my favorite episode but my favorite moment was when Dwight was working at his desk while sitting on an exercise ball and Jim promptly popped it! The show was groundbreaking, fearless and very funny. I hope we can say goodbye to more reality TV and have more shows like it in the future.

NOBODY ASKED ME BUT: My beautiful, strong and supportive Mom left us nearly four years ago which means I’ve spent four Mother’s Days without her–something I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to. I still feel a numbness about her not being with us anymore. I don’t know if her loss has hit me yet or if it ever will. I do know one amazing thing though—each year around Mother’s Day, I get reminders from above that she is still very much alive. A few years ago some yellow flowers came out of the ground in my backyard–flowers I never saw and haven’t seen since. The latest reminder came from an unlikely source: Key Lime Krispy Kreme doughnuts. She loved Key Lime pie and Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Every Mother’s Day, the mother of my two daughters, my wife Cynthia wants Krispy Kreme doughnuts for breakfast. So this year, I took the kiddos and saw the Key Lime special editions being served–I know who thought of that.

I feel my Mom every day, Its amazing the special things that have happened in my life since she left that I know she has made possible. From the great things at work, to the special qualities my daughters exhibit, my Mom has been busy taking care of all of us. I miss her very much but its comforting Joan Nabors still delivers reminders of what a giving and special mother she was and is.

EXTRA POINT: I still haven’t watched a second of the NBA or NHL playoffs—just not interested.




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