That’s about enough, Sergio: Sergio Garcia finally crossed the line in his ongoing feud with Tiger Woods. He said yesterday that he would serve fried chicken if he was to host Tiger at his house. I guess he failed to recall that a similar comment resulted in Fuzzy Zoeller basically falling off the face of the golf earth. Really Sergio? Despite Tiger’s difficulties with his personal life, it’s still tough to take him on in this manner. He’s won four of six stroke play events he’s entered this season and appears to be rounding into form. Those four wins are half of Sergio’s career PGA win total. There is no active golfer that can make any case to even approach Tiger in golfing excellence, although Rory McElroy’s two recent majors give him some standing in that area. My advice to Sergio Garcia is to shut up and play golf. There are two words that come to mind: No, and Comment. Preferably put together in a very short sentence.
Grizzlies Show Signs of Life: With about eight minutes left in last night’s NBA Western Conference Final playoff game in San Antonio against the Spurs, it appeared that the Memphis Grizzlies were down for the count. I’m not talking just about the game, but the series as well. Even with Tim Duncan limited in minutes because of foul trouble, the Grizzlies just couldn’t seem to figure out a way to match the Spurs. But they suddenly came to life, getting a huge break from a flagrant foul call that allowed them to convert a four point play, tie the game and force overtime. The Spurs ended up prevailing, due in large part to Duncan’s inspired play. But as the series heads back to Memphis, it looks like the Grizzlies have life. If they can get back to San Antonio with the series tied at two games apiece, I think Memphis has an excellent chance to advance.
Heat and Pacers Begin Series: Miami has been off for a week, giving Dwayne Wade some time to nurse his bruised knee, which could be a key to the outcome in this series. That’s a big could, however. The Heat have won 45 of their last 48 games and the Pacers will be attempting to beat them four times in two weeks. I agree with Jeff Van Gundy, who during last night’s telecast took issue with the people who have indicated that they like Indiana’s chances in this series. Really? Did any of these guys actually watch the regular season? The Pacers are good, but come on. The Heat are great, better than last year’s championship squad, which by the way, took out the Pacers in six games on their way to the crown. Granted, the Pacers are improved a bit, but I just don’t see them pulling it off.
A Peak at the Major League Baseball Standings: I’m looking first at the bottom of the standings, not the top. Houston’s move to the American League doesn’t appear to be going well. The Astros are a dismal 13 – 33, tying them with the beleaguered Miami Marlins for the worst record in baseball. Their payroll is ridiculously low at less than $25 million. There’s just no way to compete when it’s that low. One year after opening a new ballpark with hype and a big payroll, the Marlins’ payroll is $15 million higher than the Astros, but still place them in next to last place in the majors. In fact, if you combined the pair, they would still fall short of 27th place Pittsburgh. With all of the talk about the big spenders, we seem to forget about the travesty the penny pinchers are making of the competitive balance in baseball. Considering the have-nots of the league end up with something averaging close to $30 million from revenue sharing, it’s pretty ridiculous to have such low payrolls. But what about the Dodgers and their $200 million + payroll? Oops! And the Mets and Cubs, well, they’re the Mets and Cubs. What else can you say?
Now we can move to the top of the standings. One of the biggest surprises has to be the performance of the New York Yankees. You would expect, with the huge payroll and all of their star power that they would be competitive. But a lot of those stars are out of the lineup due to injury, and yet they are sitting atop the AL East. Go figure. The Texas Rangers, despite losing Josh Hamilton to the Angels, are a similar story in the AL West, while the Angels are struggling to win with their big money, high profile acquisitions. Of course, in the Central, the Indians are in their customary pre-All Star break position, first place. Talk to me about the Indians in September.
In the National League, the Cardinals and Giants keep on rolling, while the Braves are hoping to use a hot start to outlast the Nationals and the Phillies. The Reds and Pirates, two small market teams, continue to impress with .600 plus winning percentages. It would be nice to see the Pirates finally break through, but they haven’t been able to finish well in recent seasons. They would certainly be a sentimental favorite come October.