Tuesday, June 17, 2008

MATH Recap, and the Wide World of Sports

Congratulations to que31dawg for winning this week's Mondays at the Hoy tournament, and to Bayne for cashing as well in the smallest field of the year. Yours truly managed to bust out first, as my AK allin preflop fell to QQ to take about 3/4 of my stack, and then AK lost to KQ allin preflop for the last grand or so. What can you do. And que31dawg, if you have a blog please let me know and I can link it up for you here.

Today the big topic on Hoy land is the world of sports, starting of course with Tiger Woods. That guy is effing sick. I heard somewhere and totally agree with the statement that the only truly transcendently great athletes are the ones who are greater than their entire sport. Babe Ruth -- take him away from baseball in the 1920s, and the fans would have gone wherever he went to play and completely forsaken the league. Muhammad Ali, whose whole aura outshined the rest of his competitors put together. Michael Jordan, who you still literally cannot turn off if you are channel surfing and happen to run into one of those 30-minute 1990s finals recap shows. My lord remember what Jordan did to Portland in that one finals, with all the threes? And then that look to the sidelines with the hands upturned, like "what can I do?". Sick. Anyways, Tiger Woods is another such athlete. I admit it -- I only watch golf to see Tiger. I wouldn't watch that drek otherwise, but to me when Tiger is involved, it is almost always worth watching.

When I was abed with mono a couple of months back, one Sunday I happened to flip to some golf, and Tiger was a couple shots behind some unknown about halfway through the final round on a Sunday. I literally could not drag my ass out of bed, so I ended up sitting there and watching the last couple hours of coverage, completely mesmerized by Tiger, waiting for the camera to get back to his next shot, and watching him completely dismantle the field as he made a back-9 burst. By the time they got to 18, Tiger and the co-leader were tied and playing together. They both got up to the green with a long put for par, and Tiger's opponent missed before tapping in, giving Tiger an opportunity to steal it. He sank a fucking 25-foot put along a curve and slightly downhill like it was cake. This was the one where he slammed his visor on the ground as it went in, if you watch any golf. Watching Tiger play is often like that. He is just that good. To think that these other players are expected to go out there every single week and play hard knowing that Tiger is lurking in the field, waiting to pounce on their every mistake, that is just wrong.

Anyways, twice this weekend Tiger came to 18 at Torrey Pines needing to birdie in order to stay alive for his 14th major tournament victory. First, on Sunday he teed off right into the left bunker, but then recovered nicely, pitched onto the green and boom, he had cupped it with what, a 12- or 14-footer to tie Rocco Mediate and force an 18-hole playoff on Monday. It was a hugely clutch hole especially given that it started off smack in the sand and given Tiger's repeated wincing from the pain his recently-operated-on knee. And on Monday the story was eerily similar. After swapping the lead a couple of times during the tiebreaker round, Mediate finally claimed the lead on 15 after three consecutive birdies and so the pair headed once again to 18 with Tiger one shot back, knowing Mediate, one of the shorter hitters on tour, would play the long Par 5 safe for par and knowing Tiger would need a birdie to stay alive and force sudden death. Once again, Tiger came through, including sinking another decent putt under what had to be extreme tension to make birdie once again and force a playoff hole. Is anyone else not surprised that Mediate folded on the first hole of sudden death? I can only imagine what that guy must have been thinking, giving his all like that for not four but five straight days full of golf, and seeing the best player in the world ride up from behind and catch him to tie just at the very end, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory for the world's 163rd ranked player. I bet in his mind he folded like a tent just as soon as he watched Tiger birdie the 18th to take his weekly score on the hole to I think 4-under. As I heard Trey Wingo explain this morning on ESPN Radio, Rocco Mediate threw everything and the kitchen sink at Tiger Woods this weekend, but apparently the sink only grazed him.

But the bigger news story of the day, in New York City circles anyways, is the firing of Mets coach Willie Randolph. In just the latest in a long, long string of bad manager terminations for this ownership group with the Mets, as the Wilpon brothers seem to really enjoy leaking out word of an imminent firing at least a couple of days before the actual firing occurs. Just to make things interesting I guess. The result of course is that the organization comes off looking like a bunch of filthy sons of bitches. I mean, everyone in the area knew, knew, that Randolph's firing was just a day or so away. All the papers reported it over this past weekend, citing sources close to the organization, suggesting that the Mets coach was day-to-day at best. Then word came out on Sunday that Mets GM Omar Menaya was accompanying the team out to Anaheim for their 3-game series with the Angels, something he apparently rarely does, which could not have made it more obvious what was about to happen.

For his part, Randolph clearly did not know he was on the chopping block as late as 1am last night, after his team beat the first-place, 42-28 Angels 9-6. He gave his usual post-game press conference, and trust me, he was wayyy too upbeat to have any idea what was about to happen. And yet, somehow, the Mets brass -- namely, GM Menaya -- decided that the middle of last night, at 3 effing am, was the right time to announce Randolph's departure from New York. So Randolph got word at 3am, following a win over a first-place team and the Mets' second consecutive win overall, that he had been fired, and presumably had to fly back home to New York alone to consider his future.

Of course, upon further inspection I think it's pretty clear to see why Omar Menaya would choose this exact time to make his move, regardless of the consequences of the middle-of-the-night firing or the leaking of the news as early as this past Friday and Saturday in all the major nyc news sources. It's this simple: the Mets had won on Sunday, and then they traveled across the country to face the first-place Angels, and after winning that game too, Menaya suddenly faced a dilemma. Either sit back and wait until the team comes home to New York, when he might be looking at a team fresh off a sweep of a division leader on the road and on a 4-game win streak overall, at which time Menaya's fear of the sports fans in New York would leave him exposed to hating from all sides of the Mets' fanbase. Or, Menaya could just fire Randolph right away, before Randolph has a chance to win another game against the Angels and put Menaya further into an already poor position. And Menaya, as the Mets organization always seems to do, chose the easy way out, at the direct expense of the psyche and the reputation of yet another bad coach in this city.

Way to go, Mets. I'm a friggin Phillies fan and I'm calling you classless. I'm Hoy and I'm calling you classless for crying out loud.

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Blogger Poker Brian said...

Nice Hoy a NYC Phillies fan, you watch any of the Sox/Phillies game last night? Howard is a frickin beast, needs to stop the Ks though... Utley will be NL MVP this year, and thats gotta be some kind of record for 3 teammates in baco-to-back-toback years winning the MVP.

As for Randolph, i get the late nightness as odd that it is, but they couldnt at least wait till after the 3rd game? Maybe Minya is out the door at the end of the season too.

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Mets really aren't that good if you ask me and I would put the blame on Menaya.

He's applauded for all these moves and signings but the pitching is vastly overrated, and the team is too old, too slow, and too Spanish.

The Phillies are loaded. You get any sort of pitching down the stretch and in the playoffs it may be World Series time.

12:20 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Yeah Donny!!!! Our pitching is still pretty lacking overall, in that I'm not liking the thought of Jamie Moyer and Tom Gordon in key games down the stretch, but our lineup is totally stacked and there should not be anyone else in the East who can stick with us over the full season.

Not sure about the whole "too Spanish" team, but Menaya has certainly not done a good job of preparing his team to deal with the inevitable injuries that occur, in particular on an old team with guys like Delgado and Pedro and others who are far more likely than usual to miss a big part of the season with injuries.

12:57 AM  
Blogger Bayne_S said...

I am amazed anyone kept their job after last September's collapse by Mets

1:31 AM  
Blogger Julius_Goat said...

What is this "bay spall" you speak of? Is it a New York thing?

1:35 AM  
Blogger Poker Brian said...

The real question is what the heck to do with Brett Myers, maybe they'll lose Gordon and stick him in there as a setup man, it seems like he gets past 4 or 5 innings then tanks.

3:11 AM  

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