Maddux Goes Logo-less: Greg Maddux has decided not to have a logo on the cap his Baseball Hall of Fame bust will bear. As a Braves fan, I would have liked him to have chosen an Atlanta logo, but he played eleven or twelve seasons with each team and had similar success from a statistical perspective. The main difference was that the Braves were winning division titles, pennants and a World Series during his tenure in Atlanta. Of course, the Cubs' frustrations are well documented, so it certainly wasn't Greg Maddux' s fault that they failed to win a title during his two stints in Chicago. I totally support the Hall of Famer's decision to go into the shrine without a logo. Unlike longtime Brave teammate Tom Glavine, who will have the Atlanta logo on his bust, Maddux can easily be claimed by fans in both Chicago and Atlanta. Likewise, Tony LaRussa, who managed in Chicago, Oakland and St. Louis, declined to commit to a logo. He led two of those teams to World Series appearances and titles, so I once again understand his choice. I'm sure Cardinals fans will make a case for the St. Louis logo, but I don't generally make it a habit of caring much about what Cards fans think. I know, I know, it's petty and childish, but that's just how it is.
Nadal ousts Federer: Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer in the semifinals of the Australian Open. That's not usually a big story with all of the Super Bowl hype ramping up, as well as college basketball in full conference swing. But what's at stake at this point is Federer's seemingly invincible record of 17 grand slam titles. In an era when there are other very good players, such as Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray winning majors, it's hard to believe that Nadal, at age twenty seven, can capture his fifteenth with a win on Saturday. Or is it Sunday, or is it Friday? I really can't keep track when things happen in Australia. Anyway, my point is that Nadal, especially with his dominance at the French Open, certainly has the capability to surpass Federer. And a win this weekend would give him a big boost.
Tiger Back in Action: Tiger Woods returned to the golf course yesterday, shooting a 72 on the South Course at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California in the Farmers Insurance Open. The South is the tougher of the two courses, so the round the number one player in the world shot appeared to be mediocre, putting him in a tie for 63rd. However, the North course, which Woods will play today, is traditionally far easier than the South. In round one, it played an average of four shots less than the other track. Tiger has won seven times at this tournament, in addition to a U.S. Open at the same venue. He's probably a little rusty, although Woods didn't use that term in describing his round. Unlike last season, this is Tiger's first tournament of the season with no European Tour warm-up. Now that the fourteen major winner has re-established himself as the top player in the world, there are really only four tournaments that will matter to most golf fans when it comes to Tiger: The Masters, The U.S. Open, The Open Championship and the PGA. He hasn't won one of those since 2008 and time is running out on the thirty-eight year old's assault on Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 career major tournament wins. So even if Woods comes back and wins for the eighth time at Torrey Pines, it won't matter all that much until he tees it up in April at Augusta National.
Browns Finally Hire a Coach: It was starting to look like the Cleveland Browns might have to hire a high school offensive coordinator to be their third coach in as many seasons. In a league where parity is not only encouraged, but generally realized, the Browns haven't won more than five games since 2007. Really, and they think a new head coach will solve the problem? In that same timeframe, only five teams have failed to make a playoff appearance and the Browns ended up taking a coach from one of the others, the Buffalo Bills. However, Mike Pettine only spent a year in Buffalo and had defensive success with the Ravens and the Jets. So perhaps the Browns can overcome front office issues and finally start winning some football games, but I wouldn't bet on it.