Because the Blackhawks beat the Kings, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa owes Mayor Emanuel pastrami sandwiches, French dip sandwiches, mustard, burritos, chili sauce, cases of beer from L.A.'s Golden Rock and Eagle Rock breweries, and a DVD of YogaWorks for Everybody.
At any rate, I just searched the Tribune archives for a story I had a hunch I'd find. Sure enough, "Trailing the Patient Golf Fiends Over the Public Links" was published on July 11, 1909. "Wherever there are public links," the Tribune reports, "there, in the early morning hours, one is sure to find a golf mad crew that has sacrificed a delicious 'last' nap for the sublime joy of hitting a little ball to an uncertain goal.
"They begin to arrive at about 4 a.m. They come in pairs and parties. The woman of fashion is there intent on bringing the roses to her pale cheeks through a daily devotion to the fashionable exercise. The business woman, trig [sic] and energetic, makes her appearance in company with a friend and starts her ball flying or fluttering toward the first 'green.' Old men and young men, rich men and poor men, all art there. The fever of golf is epidemic and everybody has 'caught' it."
I go to a Cubs game.
Had a great time—thank you, Ricketts family!
I bought hot dogs, beer, peanuts, soda pop and a seat in the far left-field corner—just outside of Naperville. The whole day cost me close to $100.
So now that I think about it, the Ricketts family should be thanking me.
And what did I get for my money? Another wretched Cub loss. In this case, a one-run heartbreaker in which the Cubbies blew a lead to the dastardly New York Mets. A team I still have not forgiven for 1969.
But back to the issue of which team least deserves the handout we give them . . .
James plays basketball with a lackadaisical menace. He doesn’t demand the ball; he doesn’t hog Miami’s shots. But when a shot has to be blocked, or the ball stolen, or a basket jammed home, James provides what the occasion demands so effortlessly and routinely that the game always seems to resolve itself according to a script he's writing on the fly. We rooted for the Heat to lose to the Bulls but didn’t expect them to. Now we’re rooting for them to lose to Indiana, but we don’t expect that to happen either.
"He doesn't need to drop 30 points or dish out 10 assists," asserts blogger Dan Favale, making the argument that it's time for Rose to suit up. "He doesn't even need to attempt a shot. But he does need to be there for his team, the way they have been for him."
Says Favale, "The Bulls don't need Derrick Rose the player—though that sure as hell wouldn't hurt. They need Derrick Rose the symbol."
Actually, they need the player. If and when Rose pulls off his warmup jacket and takes the court and the crowd goes wild—tonight, perhaps?—it won't be symbolism the fans will be screaming for. It'll be points.
I keep thinking of something Vladimir Horowitz once supposedly said about playing the piano: "If I don't practice for a day, I know it. If I don't practice for two days, my wife knows it. If I don't practice for three days, the world knows it."
The bodies of world-class athletes demand constant tuning. The Miami Heat went a week without a game and stunk up the joint the first quarter of game one against the Bulls. Rose hasn't played in a year. If the Bulls could field a full team, maybe the sight of Rose in uniform would give them the little boost they need. But the Bulls need a miracle.
The worst part about waiting for the return of Derrick Rose was letting the idea take root that the return would make all the difference. It must be excruciating to be Rose and know it almost certainly won't.
He must not be in touch with his feelings. When the White Sox cleanup hitter bats, nothing is guaranteed, or nearly.
Sabermetrics allows us to explore Dunn's situational nonhitting in this season's opening weeks. His average is approximately .000 against power pitchers (0-10) and lefties (0-12), on balls hit to the infield (0-23), and late in close games (0-12). When he's stepped to the plate in the third, fifth, eighth, ninth, and extra innings, he's soon stepped back to the dugout with zero, zip, zilch. When he's been up with a runner on first, or third, or runners on first and third, or second and third, he's produced nada, nil, nix.
Remember the good old days in Chicago journalism, when the dailies could afford to act ridiculous? At the turn of the millennium that era was coming to a close—but not just yet. I’ve been rereading a column I wrote in 2000, which concerned the Sun-Times's Jay Mariotti—alas, long gone from these precincts—doing his damnedest to lay bare a shameless conspiracy.
"Because you don't want to pay $100 million to Sammy Sosa," Mariotti was saying, "you are using every resource in your domain—a manager with four-year security, a sports columnist who knows how to stay in corporate favor—to shred him up and make him look bad."
The NHL playoffs don't start till next Tuesday, April 30, but you can't accuse the Field Museum of being unprepared. This morning workers arrived to drape the Brachiosaurus near the west entrance in red and black. Number 19, to be specific, in honor of Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews.
Turns out you can't just drape a hockey sweater over a Brachiosaurus. You need a scaffold.
Australian Adam Scott won the Masters with a belly putter that soon may be declared illegal. That's fitting, because the Rules of Golf commanded attention at the storied tournament this year. On Friday, 14-year-old Guan Tianlang, the youngest player in Masters history by more than two years, was penalized a stroke for playing too slowly, a violation of Rule 6-7. ("The player must play without undue delay.")
Then on Saturday morning, tournament officials assessed Tiger Woods two strokes for an illegal ball drop during his Friday round. Tiger's approach shot on the 15th had nicked the pin and then spun crazily into a pond, so he had to take a stroke-and-distance penalty and hit the shot again. But he dropped his second ball two yards behind the spot where he'd played the first one, in violation of Rule 26-1a. ("Proceed . . . by playing a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played.") The penalty gave him an eight on the hole, but, unaware of his felony on Friday, he signed a scorecard at the end of the round that said he'd made a six. Signing an incorrect scorecard subjects a player to expulsion from a competition, in accordance with Rule 6-6d. ("The competitor is responsible for the correctness of the score recorded for each hole on his score card. If he returns a score for any hole lower than actually taken, he is disqualified.") But Tiger was saved by Rule 33-7. ("A penalty of disqualification may in exceptional individual cases be waived.")
The Tribune didn't just repeat the Cubs' argument for a big video screen in the outfield of Wrigley Field; the front-page Sunday story, "Video screen may be financial hit for Cubs," seemed to believe it.
"While the Rickets family . . . is embroiled with neighboring rooftop owners and the city in a political battle over a proposed $300 million renovation of Wrigley," said the story by Robert Channick and Gregory Karp, "all sides seem to understand that the team must add an oversized television to a designated Chicago landmark and baseball shrine.
"Economics demand it."