MMQB: Spieth, Story, Steph & The Real Big Story

stephindexThere are some monster stories this springtime.

Jordan Spieth’s meltdown at the 12th.

Steph Curry’s emergence as the best baller in hoops. Along with his Dubs emanation as one of the best pro outfits ever.

Trevor Story’s 25 or so homers for the Rockies in his first handful of games in the Bigs.

There are a couple of other trends, but they’re probably of interest only to me, a child of Motown. Those would be the Pistons making the NBA playoffs. And the Red Wings backing into the post season like Nicklas Lidstrom, covering a short-handed breakaway counterattack at the Joe.

And then there’s the story that really trumps them all, a fascinating bit of sporting history unfolding as never before. But I’ll save that one for last. Otherwise, you might click away for lack of interest.

 * * * * *

It has been argued by many that hitting a baseball off of major league pitching is the most difficult single task in sports.

Maybe so.

But anybody who has ever attempted golf knows it might be equally as hard to to swing at a ball with a golf club — off the tee, in a trap, out of the woods, or on the green — and have it end up where the swinger would for it to.

Even for the guys who are really good at it.

That’s what I was thinking as I watched The Next Big Thing Jordan Spieth go all Tin Cup yesterday in Augusta, Ga, while revered, green-blazered Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts shook their heads in knowing amazement from their rockers in the great 19th hole in the sky.

Despite his youth, Spieth, by all accounts, plays as steely a game on the links as anybody teeing it up these days. Yet, there he was, as unnerved as a Sunday duffer whose shots kept finding the bottom of Cherokee Lake, even though none of the holes on that course are anywhere near said body of water.

Golf is one of the few sports where the casual fan — i.e. a guy like me — roots for the favorites as opposed to the upstarts and underdogs. Not sure why that is, but I named it so I’ll claim it.

So I sat stunned, like many, awaiting Jim Nantz’s sure to come slobbering coronation of young Jordan, as the Texan morphed from Best in World to a nineteen handicapper, ready to shlep his pull cart back to the muni clubhouse for an Arnold Palmer, instead of reaching in his bag for one more driving range blem, to hit and hope of avoiding the H2O.

What we got instead was runner up Spieth being as gracious in defeat as Marcus Paige before him, and TV eavesdropping on winner Danny Willett, as he tried to have a private moment with his bride, who stayed back at home in Merrie Ol’, tending to their newborn.

This was a meltdown for the ages.

But not the biggest sports story extant.

 * * * * *

Trevor Story of the Colorado Rockies has tattooed 7 taters in his first 6 major league games.

Need I mention, it’s never been done before? Even in Denver’s thin air.

So, thus far, he’s not having much trouble getting his Louisville Slugger on the horsehide.

Wonder if he could have knocked an 8 iron over Rae’s Creek yesterday with a green jacket on the line?

But the feats of this wunderkind notwithstanding, it is not the biggest sports story extant.

 * * * * *

Golden State whipped the Spurs, their only real Western Division challenger, in San Antonio last night.

It was the first loss of the campaign on the home court for Greg Popovich’s gang.

It was the Dubs 72d W of the year, tying the record set by Michael Jordan’s Bulls.

A victory over the injury-depleted Grizzlies in Oakland in the home finale, and GS will become the first team to play an 82 game campaign and suffer but single digit number of Ls.

Which is pretty damn impressive. But, one guy’s opinion, not as much as the legerdemain of Steph Curry, when he’s in the Zone. Which, frankly, has been most of this season.

After a relatively slow start last night, in a back to back less than 24 hours after the Warriors escaped Memphis with a wafer-thin single point win, Curry turned magician. Part Jordan. Part Macus Haynes. Part Pistol Pete.

All Steph.

He finished with five assists, a couple worthy of being described as spectacular, the same number of boards, and . . . 37 points on 13/22 shooting.

And his two best makes of the night didn’t even count.

After being fouled on the floor, he floated a 22 footer left handed through the twine.

At the end of a quarter, and a millisecond after the buzzer, he flipped in a half court bank shot, with the same effort you and I would use to toss a piece of paper in the waste basket.

I’m sure not going to say he’s the best ever. That would be foolish. I do know he’s doing things on the court time and again, consistently, like I’ve never seen. And I’m was lucky enough to watch Pete Maravich totally dominate play for three consecutive nights against the best collegians of his time.

If you college hoops fans aren’t’ locked and ready for the NBA playoffs and Golden State — let me channel my inner Chuck Barkeley — “you are fools, idiots.”

And yet, and yet, Curry and the Warriors are not the biggest story these days in sports.

 * * * * *

Which would be that 5000-1 shot Leicester City is seven points clear of Tottenhem’s Hotspur in the English Premier League, with only a handful of games left to contest.

(In the EPL, there are no post season playoffs. The team that plays the best over the course of the whole season is the champion. How damn quaint! How British! How fair!)

A couple of seasons ago, the erstwhile title holders didn’t even play in Britain’s equivalent of the big leagues. They played in the minors.

(The EPL has a fascinating yearly scenario, by which the bottom three teams on the table [standings] are relegated to the equivalent of AAA or the D League, and the best three teams from the minors move up to the EPL. How British! How quaint!)

A year ago, at just about this juncture of the season, LC was playing to secure their spot in the EPL, and avoiding relegation.

It’s been an odd season in what is generally regarded as the best soccer league in the world. Last season’s champion Chelsea got off to an abysmal start and hasn’t challenged at the top all season. Usual contenders of recent vintage, Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal, have simply not fired.

Leicester City’s only real challenge has come from Tottenham, which itself hasn’t had all that much success through the decades.

So, it’s a pretty nifty story unfolding across the pond in football as they know it. An underdog’s underdog appears headed for a title.

The bookies — bookmaking is legal in Britain (How quaint!) — are attempting to buy off those brazen enough to have wagered a pound or two on Leicester City before the campaign, at those 5000-1 odds.

Apparently a few have hedged their bets and taken the largess in hand.

But, unless Fox striker Jamie Vardy starts kicking the ball into Rae’s Creek instead of the net, LC shall prevail. As well as the faithful who put a farthing down on their chances, and let it ride.

And that, sports fans, is the biggest sports story of springtime.

— Seedy K


7 thoughts on “MMQB: Spieth, Story, Steph & The Real Big Story

  1. Having just returned from Augusta, and being an avid, yet beleaguered golf player myself ( I love win the southern ladies call them “golf players” and not “golfers”) I admire and appreciate what young Mr. Spieth has accomplished at the ripe old age of 22. Of course, I can and will regularly choke over a 3 footer for 5 dollars and a PBR and surely I never had the skills that these golf players enjoy on the best day in my youth.

    But having been on the 12th hole Friday and Saturday and seeing the sliver of green over the sloped banks of Rae’s creek backed by sand and hillside of the best vegitation in east central jaw jaw, I surely understand what happened to JS on the back nine Sunday.

    He just had 4 birdies in a row—3 of which were on some of the hardest holes on the course. How could he not think about that second green jacket and leading the last 8 rounds of America’s greatest golf event? Then….

    …he slopped-in a bogey on 10 and missed a makeable par putt on 11. The roars of Willets charge were shaking the course…(if you have never been there, there are birdie yells and eagle yells—easy to tell which is which and whether they were by a contender or an interloper…)

    …still he stood on 12 begging his caddy to tell him he had the right club. He said “is a 9 too much” fearing going into the bushes; yet one could feel he didn’t like the choice. So, he chicken winged it, holding on to the release to insure he didn’t go over; then laid sod over the next one from 80 yards out. He is human and he was done.

    Now let’s see if he can get over this. Norman never could and I don’t think Woods ever got over blowing the 2008 PGA. Let ‘s hope this doesn’t do Spieth in like so many before him.

  2. He’s only, what, 22 years old? It’s hard to conceive such a talent would be spooked at such a young age. Shall be interesting to watch.

  3. 1.) Poor Spieth will land on his feet: I bet he still got laid last nght, and he’ll be a billionaire soon enough.
    2.) I miss Gary McCord.
    3.) Seedy, someone could offer me tickets to the Masters for the week, a flight there on a private jet, a king-sized bed in a rental home with an infinity pool, and a small fortune for my time. I still wouldn’t step foot in that toxic but beautiful, pesticide-saturated “garden” in Augusta.

  4. Nor do I have any desire to attend a major golf tournament live. Even one just a short ride out Shelbyville Road. Most reporters on site cover it from press tent from TV monitors.

    I must say I never marvel at how gorgeous Augusta National is, however kept.

    Gary McCord, as I guess you know, was banned from Masters telecasts by the tight sphinctered green jacket crowd, for saying the greens were slicker than a bikini wax, or something like that.

  5. Maybe one more monster story to conceder?

    Dr. Ramsey following the plan of Jim Jones has us Cardinal Fans take one more sip of Kool-Aid by announcing one more self imposed penalty on the Basketball Program.

    The process that only he and his “investigating committee” can see the evidence is just a copy of the process in Salem.

    Do not believe that there is not more Kool-Aid being prepared.

  6. Well, Bob, while I agree with most folks who believe Ramsey is the proverbial Dead Man
    Walking, I am of the opposite mind regarding the self imposed sanctions. I agree with taking a proactive stance, and that in the long run it shall inure to U of L’s benefit. It is my understanding that the moves are being taken, after dialog with the NCAA. It is impossible to imagine these steps are being taken without a nod from Jurich, who is a savvy AD. And I am of the mind that locals don’t realize the gravity of the offenses, and how they are viewed outside the environs of Jefferson County. My hope is that when sanctions come down, it will be a guilty/ time served situation, with some sit down time for Pitino and a probationary period. Better to take a sip of that Kool Aid now, suffer through some nausea and fever, rather than having to gulp down the whole cup eventually, and suffering worse after a long period of anxiety.

  7. Hey Seedy, I know you are correct and taking actions now will help the Cards in the future however at my age I do not plant oak trees.

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