Shots in the Darke
Another great US Open golf tournament ended yesterday at The Country Club in Brookline, MA with Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick edging out the world’s number one ranked player Scottie Scheffler and Will Zalatoris by one stroke. Fitzpatrick put together four rounds of par or better in becoming only the second golfer besides the great Jack Nicklaus to win both an Open and US Amateur title at the same course, having also conquered The Country Club course in 2013 before turning professional!
You have to have some sympathy for Zalatoris as he has now finished runner-up in three majors in a little over a year—the Masters last year, the PGA this year, and now the Open. And to think that I still have a sleepless night after a lousy round at local courses—I can’t imagine how he feels about those three near misses!
Every time you start to develop a little confidence in the Reds reality comes crashing down on your head. The boys on the River just dropped another four in a row, one to end a series in Arizona, and then three to the Brewers at GABP, leaving the local favorites with a miserable 23-43 record at week’s end. Here it is the middle of June and I still don’t recognize most of the pitchers coming out of the bullpen. The team is 11th in the NL in team batting average at .239 \and next to last in pitching with an ERA of 5.18, a combination that doesn’t inspire much hope for the rest of the season!
Here are three quick trivia questions—who currently leads the majors in home runs? Who leads the Reds in four-baggers? And how did the term bullpen come about? Answers to follow later in this award winning column.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are in serious trouble when it comes to defending their Stanley Cup title of the past two years. The Colorado Avalanche followed up an opening game 4-3 overtime win with Saturday’s 7-0 grounding of the champs, leaving NHL fans wondering if the best four-of-seven Finals are already over. The Lightning did overcome a 2-0 deficit to the Rangers to make it to the Finals so as Yogi Berra said “it ain’t over til it’s over!”
How about the Warriors defeating the Celtics to win their 4th NBA title in the past eight years? Most people forget that only two years ago Golden State finished the season with the worst record in the league, a result of injuries to key players and defections through free agency to other teams (read that Kevin Durant). Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and coach Steve Kerr put any doubts to rest about their abilities the past few weeks didn’t they?
Three major changes in divisional classifications with the announcement by the Ohio High School Athletic Association earlier this week. As a result of enrollment changes Versailles’ Tigers, the 2021 D-V football state champions, and the Marion Local Flyers, ‘21 D-VII titleholders, will both compete in D-VI this coming fall. That could make for an interesting regional clash wouldn’t it?
Also, Tri-Village’s boys basketball team, last year’s state D-IV runner-up, will move up to D III because of the “competitive balance” provision put forth the past few years by the OHSAA. In a formula known only to God and a select few, past tournament successes along with the number of students living outside the district or who have changed schools, and who knows what else, will have the Patriots taking on bigger schools on the tournament trail next winter. The new gymnasium in New Madison might need to be enlarged already before the first game is even played!
Answers to the trivia questions above—Aaron Judge of the Yankees has hit 25 dingers already this year while Brandon Drury leads the Reds with 14. The term bullpen came about because of Bull Durham tobacco signs on outfield walls of most baseball parks back in the early 1900’s. As all games were played during the day, relief pitchers warmed up in the shadow of the bull-shaped billboards, thus leading to the term “bullpen”!
Finally, I had a great Father’s Day playing 18 holes of golf with son-in-law Matt and grandsons Tripp, 13, and Bennett, 10, over in Newark. Humbled and proud several times when both boys outdrove their Grandpa, especially when they either parred or birdied a few holes! Hope all of you Dads out there had a great day as well, stay active and healthy so we can all enjoy a few more!!