"Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel"

My new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" is the follow-up to "Illegal Procedure" and "Roughing the Passer" and is now available in print and in e-formats at amazon.com, smashwords.com and iBooks. Follow me on twitter @kevinkrest.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Capitals Advance: Having grown up in Virginia, the Washington Capitals became my favorite hockey team. In their forty-one years of existence, they've had periods of strong play, but never much post-season success. In fact, they've only advanced to the Stanley Cup finals once, getting swept by the Red Wings in 1998. I've witnessed a lot of heartbreaking moments over the years, even a four overtime loss in a game seven to the Islanders, the team the Caps finally defeated last night 2 - 1 in the seventh game of their opening playoff series. Next comes a series with the Rangers, but for today I'll bask in the glow of a rare game seven victory for my Washington Capitals.

No Love in Cleveland: The Cavaliers' sweep of the Celtics came with a high price: Forward Kevin Love is probably out for the rest of the postseason. What was originally diagnosed as a dislocated shoulder appears to be a more serious injury that is still being evaluated. According to Cleveland's General Manager, David Griffin, we shouldn't expect to see Love for the rest of the playoffs. Do I totally believe that? Probably not, unless surgery is absolutely necessary. There has been rampant speculation about Love's future with the team, and this injury will do little to quiet that talk. In addition, though, Cleveland will be without J.R. Smith for the first two games of their next series, presumably against the Bulls, unless they continue to struggle against an overmatched Milwaukee team. Without Smith and Love, I expect Lebron James to take a more active role on both ends of the floor for the Cavs. He's going to need to if they're going to win the Eastern Conference.

Aging Fighters Creating Boxing Buzz: Weighing in at a combined 74 years, Manny Pacuiao and Floyd Mayweather are giving us the match-up, but not the fight we've been wanting for years. Even though Mayweather is undefeated, that record is suspect because he dodged Pacquiao when both fighters were in their primes. Now we'll get a lot of hype with what I predict will be very little in the way of action. Mayweather's defensive style combined with Manny's diminished punching power will most likely end up in a boring series of holds and releases. The only winners will be anyone with financial interests in the fight. It's time for boxing to get with the program and develop a fan base through regularly scheduled fights that aren't on Pay-per-View. I doubt this fight will generate enough widespread interest in boxing to revitalize it among sports fans.

Fallen Angel Back to Texas: The Los Angeles Angels agreed to eat $65 million owed to Josh Hamilton in a deal that will send the former All-Star back to the Texas Rangers. Hamilton admitted earlier this year that he had relapsed in his battle with substance abuse. He'd underperformed since signing a $100+ million deal with the team a couple of years ago after a successful stint with the Texas Rangers. Now his old team, for only a couple of million dollars a season, gets to take a relatively risk free stab to see if he can become even a shadow of his former self on the field. And the Angels? It must be nice to be able make $100 million mistakes. Me, I'm must happy when I find an extra couple of dollars in my pocket.

Draft Day Approaching: I've never found much entertainment value in the NFL draft, but I must be in the minority among sports fans, particularly those that follow pro football. I don't know how many times Todd McShay and Mel Kiper, Jr. of ESPN can put up a new mock draft, now on version 17 or 18, or something like that. Unlike signing day in college, where teams restock over a fourth of their team, the impact of one draft for most teams in the NFL is minimal, with the exception of the first or second round. I find it much more efficient to read about it the next day. But that's just me.

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel" and my first, "Illegal Procedure - A PK Frazier Novel", available in print and e-formats at Amazon.com, iBooks and Smashwords.

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Earlier this month I wrote in a post that it appeared the NFL and even our criminal justice system seemed to value the welfare of dogs over that of women in this country. The Greg Hardy case was a perfect example of how a high profile NFL player was able to manipulate the system to not only avoid criminal prosecution, but even punishment by the National Football League. It appears that situation has been rectified by the NFL's decision to suspend Hardy, who was acquired earlier this year by the Dallas Cowboys, for ten games to begin the 2015 season.

After Ray Rice received a slap on the wrist, and to this date, no criminal punishment and after Hardy was placed on the commissioner's exempt list (taken off the field, but still received full salary), it appeared that even though the NFL talked a good game, they essentially and repeatedly fumbled the ball at the two yard line. Both Rice and Hardy are useless pieces of crap that just happen to have found a vocation that welcomes their violent natures. Adrian Peterson, while offering a little bit more complicated story, is another example of a player who can't seem to separate the tough attributes it takes to play football for a living from the civilized behavior the rest of us are expected to exhibit on a daily basis.

I'm sure there are Dallas Cowboy fans screaming about the supposed injustice of imposing disciplinary measures on a man who was never technically convicted of a crime. But a guy who routinely uses his fiancee as a human punching bag doesn't need to be convicted of anything for it to be obvious to all exactly what he is. Just as Aaron Hernandez was found guilty on primarily circumstantial evidence, the NFL investigated and found plenty of rationale for sending a clear message to Hardy and the rest of scum that engage in similar behavior.

I applaud Mike Golic of ESPN's Mike and Mike show @mikeandmike for his candor and  unequivocal support of the league's ruling. It's amazing that there was outrage at the NFL's lack of teeth in the Ray rice incident, and now there is similar criticism for its aggressive stance with Hardy. But as Golic clearly stated: it's not the NFL that we should be questioning, but rather the behavior of Greg Hardy and other men who somehow feel it's okay to beat up women. If we can make one thing clear through all of these cases, it's that unless she's attempting to kill you, under absolutely no circumstances is it okay to beat up a woman, .

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel" and my first, "Illegal Procedure - A PK Frazier Novel", available in print and e-formats at Amazon.com, iBooks and Smashwords.

Saturday, April 11, 2015


Earlier this week I listed my choices for Augusta and I had twenty-one year old Jordan Spieth at the top. After 36 holes, he holds a commanding five shot lead heading into the weekend after shooting a record 130 for the first two rounds. But if history tells us anything, it's that the tournament hasn't even started yet. In fact, the saying is that it doesn't begin until the back nine on Sunday and it remains to be seen what kind of drama we'll see tomorrow afternoon. Will someone put up a low score and challenge Spieth? Can the young phenom keep his foot on the gas and break Tiger Woods' 72 hole record 18 under par 270? Is it possible for someone back in the pack to make a run if Spieth stumbles in his bid to join Tiger and Rory McIlroy as young, dominant major winner?

Obviously, no one know the answer to those questions, which is why this tournament is so riveting. For every Raymond Floyd in 1976 and Woods in 1997, there's a Greg Norman in 1996 or a Curtis Strange in 1985. Norman's final round collapse, which resulted in Nick Faldo erasing a six shot lead in the final round to win by five, tends to overshadow Faldo's 67 on Sunday. Strange had to come back from an opening round 80 and eventually stepped on the thirteenth tee in the final round with a three shot lead. But while Strange was bogeying the two critical par fives coming home, Langer birdied them to win by a pair of shots.

If Spieth does come back a bit, there's no shortage of firepower waiting in the wings. Charley Hoffman, a solid player, doesn't really generate the same buzz that Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson, Paul Casey, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els do. Of that group, Rose stands out because he's won a major and still hasn't reached his 35th birthday. But Mickelson could really make some noise as a three time Masters champ if the tournament is still in doubt on the back nine on Sunday.

Down farther on the leaderboard are a few other interesting stories. Tiger Woods followed up an opening round 73 with a solid, but unspectacular 69 on Friday. His short game looked back in shape as it saved his round on Thursday. With only a birdie on the eleventh hole during his back nine, he could have gone a bit lower yesterday. Can he erase a deficit of a dozen shots on the weekend? It's unlikely, but it really depends on how young Spieth handles the big lead. Woods is paired with Sergio Garcia today. The charismatic Spaniard is still looking for his first major championship, and it will even be tougher being paired with Tiger. These two guys have some, to put it mildly, interesting history. It will be fun to see how they handle playing together this afternoon.

Top ranked Rory McIlroy did something I really hadn't seen him do in the past by grinding out a back nine 31 after going out in 40 strokes and putting himself in danger of missing the cut. He tees off today tied with Woods and Garcia at -2, having to go low for 18 holes to get back in the hunt. He impressed me greatly by staying in the tournament instead of packing it in and heading home. That back nine may serve him well in the future if he finds himself in contention at some point.

Tom Watson, who shot a 71 in the first round, blew up to an 81 including a triple bogey 7 on the last hole on Friday. It appears that his run in majors, especially the British Open and the Masters, is finally over at the age of 65. He can still exhibit flashes of brilliance, but just like Palmer and Nicklaus before him, father time eventually wins out.

J.B. Holmes, who looked like a contender after winning at Houston last week, holed an incredible chip shot on the eighteenth hole yesterday, but came up a shot short in his bid to make the cut. Luke Donald will once again fail in his bid to get his elusive first major win. His opening round 75 was just too much to overcome and his realistic chances at major victories are beginning to dwindle.

What stories await this weekend? It's impossible to know, but regardless of what happens, the golf world will be glued to the action in Augusta, Georgia.

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel" and my first, "Illegal Procedure - A PK Frazier Novel", available in print and e-formats at Amazon.com, iBooks and Smashwords.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


With Tiger Woods' announcement that he would play in the 2015 Masters tournament, the great event took on even more of a buzz than usual. Despite being off the tour for much of last season and almost all of the current one, his presence will be widely publicized, despite the fact that he has almost no chance to contend. Unless Woods has sharpened his short game from the disaster we witnessed in January and February, I think it will be difficult for him to even make the cut. But Augusta is a unique place that requires a lot of experience, generally producing an inordinate number of players who have won multiple Masters titles. So I won't necessarily count him out if Tiger can somehow reconnect with the feel for the course necessary to contend. I give some other players a much better chance.


Jordan Spieth: He lacks experience at Augusta, but he played well enough to win before settling for a second place finish behind Bubba Watson last year. Spieth probably should have won last week at Houston, but J.B. Holmes played an incredible front nine to force a three player playoff with Spieth and Johnson Wagner. Jordan caught a bad break in the playoff when a camera clicked on his backswing, causing him to mishit a chip shot that could have kept him in the tournament. Spieth is now up to fourth in the world rankings and is clearly the best young American hope for dominance on tour. He'll win some majors before it's all said and done, and he might just start this week.

Rory McIlroy: The Irish superstar can complete the career grand slam with a Masters victory. He's been in position a couple of times at Augusta, but ended up shooting himself out of contention. Rory has everything needed to win, including great length and accuracy of the tee. I've always been a little concerned about his consistency and ability to grind out a round. There's always one round where things aren't going to well during the Masters and the players need to keep it together and post a decent score. If Rory can keep from having that one bad round, I look for him to be near the top of the leaderboard come late Sunday afternoon.

Henrik Stenson: The Swede is coming off three consecutive top five finishes and seems poised to capture his first major. He dominated the Tour Championship in 2014 and played very well in the majors, with top fives in the US Open and the PGA Championship. He's a great frontrunner and doesn't tend to beat himself. 

Phil Mickelson: Even at age 44, Phil can still be dangerous at Augusta. His three Masters wins and five overall majors put him near the top of his generation in accomplishments. Does he still have a major or two left? History would say no, given the difficulty of winning a major after the age of 40. But he already has two of them since turning 39, as well as a second place finish in a U.S. Open. Phil played well in Houston last week, imploding on Saturday or he probably would have been in the hunt to the end. He's a fan favorite and it would be great to see his name on the leaderboard on Sunday.

Bubba Watson: Another fan favorite, two time and defending champion Watson has finished in the top ten in three of the four tournaments he's played in 2015. There's no question he can play Augusta, with his quirky swing, power and creativity reminding many of a latter day Arnold Palmer. But Bubba hasn't played in over a month and I'm wondering if rust is an issue.If he's sharp, he could very make it three green jackets.

Jason Day: Day is ranked fifth in the world and is highly regarded among his peers and others that cover the sport. He has three top fives this year, including a win at the Farmers Insurance Open which is coincidentally the last time we saw Tiger Woods in competition. I like Jason Day and give him a good chance to be in the hunt come Sunday. However, his lack of wins leads me to question whether he can close out a major, especially at Augusta.

Adam Scott: With 25 career wins, Scott is always a threat when he's playing well. His victory at the 2013 Masters was his major breakthrough. He's only played three tournaments this season and hasn't looked impressive. But Augusta is the unofficial start of the REAL golf season and a lot of players plan their practice time and playing schedule to peak for this event. It also doesn't hurt Scott to have Steve Williams, a  guy that's familiar with majors and Augusta, on the bag. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Aussie contend again this week.


Sergio Garcia: In 1999, when Sergio challenged Tiger in the PGA Championship at the age of 19, it would have been impossible to believe that he could have played at a high level for almost sixteen more years and not have a major title. He has Ryder Cup success and a Players win to his credit. So the question is, will he ever grab a major? A couple of years ago, Garcia commented that he wasn't capable of winning a major. I think that was clearly spoken out of frustration after an Augusta meltdown. But time's running out on the popular Spaniard and he has only a single top ten in six events in 2015. I know if he has a chance on Sunday, I'll be rooting for him.

Jimmy Walker: If Walker was better known, I would have put him in the Obvious category. He already has two victories and couple of more top tens this year and is a very steady player who broke  through after turning 34. He has five wins in the last three years and has a good enough game to contend at Augusta.

Patrick Reed: Reed is ranked fifteenth in the world and began the year with a win in the Tournament of Champions. He's added a couple of more top tens without missing a cut in eight events. This guy could definitely make some noise this weekend.

Matt Kuchar: Kuchar is one of my all-time favorites. With his accurate driving and easy going demeanor, he may be able to withstand the pressure if he gets in contention. He's been there before but hasn't finished the job. He has a couple of top fives, but hasn't shown the consistency he's exhibited over the past couple of years.


Dustin Johnson: DJ has risen to number 7 in the World Golf Rankings, but his short game, the weakness of his otherwise strong ability, will be sorely tested at Augusta. It has improved, but the pressure the fast greens and tight chipping areas place on players might be too much for him, no matter how long he's hitting it.

Ricky Fowler: The popular Oklahoma State grad has gone more than two years without a win, but he  always seems to be around the top of the leaderboards in the majors. He had top fives in all four of the big events last year, with second place finishes in the US Open and The Open Championship (British Open). Maybe it's his time despite having no top tens in 2015.

Keegan Bradley: The former PGA champ has a couple of top fives in 2015, but hasn't won a golf tournament since 2012. He seems to be adjusting nicely to the shorter putter and grabbed a fifth place finish last week at Houston. His accuracy and length off the tee, much like Matt Kuchar, could eventually translate to success at Augusta.

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel" and my first, "Illegal Procedure - A PK Frazier Novel", available in print and e-formats at Amazon.com, iBooks and Smashwords.

Monday, April 6, 2015


Although a Duke - Wisconsin final in the NCAA Men's Basketball tournament could be viewed as an upset, it's difficult to characterize it as such when you end up with two number one seeds battling it out for the championship. Duke was impressive in an overwhelming defeat of overachieving Michigan State, while Wisconsin avenged last year's Final Four defeat to Kentucky by finally doing something no one else had done this season: Outplay the previously undefeated Wildcats down the stretch. In what turned out to be every bit as good a game as we expected, the Badgers turned a couple of breaks, including a score on an obvious shot clock violation, into momentum changing baskets and denied Kentucky a shot at history.

Tonight's game has the potential to be another classic. Wisconsin will feature big men Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker against the Blue Devils' Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow. Guard play will be huge, with Duke's freshman Tyus Jones and senior Quinn Cook going against Wisconsin's senior Josh Gasser and sophomore Bronson Koenig. If expereience matters, the edge could go to the Badgers, with Duke starting three freshman. But we're in the thirty-ninth game for Duke, so I don't really consider anyone a freshman at this point, especially considering the level of competition both teams have faced up to this point. Wisconsin has non-conference wins against Georgetown, Oklahoma and Buffalo, not to mention defeats of North Carolina, Arizona and Kentucky in the last three tourney games. Duke owns a head to head win over Wisconsin earlier in the season, and with the exception of a couple of losses to Notre Dame, who presents matchup problems for Duke, they haven't lost to anyone else since the second of their back to back losses on January 13.

This is a virtual tossup for me, with my heart going with the ACC's Duke. However, Wisconsin is also playing at a very high level. I won't be surprised to see either team win, expecting it to come down to a late shot or turnover. Sam Dekker is probably the difference maker for the Badgers and he's the reason I'm giving them an extremely slight edge in a nail biter, perhaps one of the best championship games in history.

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel" and my first, "Illegal Procedure - A PK Frazier Novel", available in print and e-formats at Amazon.com, iBooks and Smashwords.

Saturday, April 4, 2015


It's not often that the Final Four takes second stage, or at least shares the limelight. But when the most dominant athlete of a generation announces his intention to return to action at the golf's premier event, there's little surprise that Tiger Woods' proclamation that he intends to play in next week's Master's tournament attracted a lot of attention. It just speaks to his appeal that almost seven years removed from his last major championship that he garners that kind of exposure from the media during a high weekend event such as the NCAA basketball championship.

The real story, however is whether the the 38 - 0 Kentucky Wildcats can continue their historic run to perfection, They've already set the record for consecutive wins to begin a season. Only Wisconsin and  possibly the winner of the Duke - Michigan State game stand in the way. But two other teams have entered the Final Four undefeated since 1976, and both left unfulfilled. Interestingly enough, Michigan State beat Indiana State in the 1979 final and Duke shocked UNLV in the 1991 semifinals. Of course, those games were a long time ago, but one person involved in the second of those contests is still on the Duke bench, and that's long time coach Mike Krzyzewski. He won't have to concern himself with Kentucky until Monday, if the Wildcats can survive another game.

(1) Duke vs. (7) Michigan State: With big man Jahlil Okafor surrounded by sharpshooters that combine to make Duke the third best percentage shooting team in the nation, Duke offers a formidable opponent for Michigan State. The Spartans are the only Cinderella, if you can call them that considering the number of people who had them bracketed into the Final Four, still alive in the tournament. In what I think is the most important game that Michigan State played, they jumped out on Virginia, another ACC team and never really let Cavaliers play their game. The only losses for the Spartans in their last ten games have been to fellow Big Ten and Final Four team Wisconsin. Duke's only losses in its last twenty-one contests have been to Elite Eight Notre Dame. It speaks volumes about how well both of these squads are playing at the right time in the season. Can Michigan State get to the final? No question about it, but Duke will make it difficult with their tough defense and outside shooting. I'm looking forward to the game to see which team can impose its will on the other. If the Spartans can do what they did against Virginia and get out running, they'll mitigate Duke's defensive advantage in the half court. At the end of the day, I'm leaning toward a Blue Devil win, possibly setting up an historic match-up between two storied programs: Kentucky and Duke.

(1) Kentucky vs. (1) Wisconsin: Can Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky validate his decision to return to the Badgers for another season by derailing Kentucky's run to history? Can the Wildcats bounce back after a last second win over Notre Dame, where they put up a sub-par performance? These teams met in last year's semifinals, with Kentucky escaping with a one point victory. I think what's really misrepresented is the experience that the Wildcats have on a team that most people feel is another John Calipari squad full of "one and done" players. But other than freshman Karl Anthony Towns, there are three sophomores and a junior, all of which played in last year's Final Four. Wisconsin, one of the few teams that can come close to matching Kentucky's size, won't be intimidated as they throw seven footer Kaminsky and 6'9" Sam Dekker into the mix. If Wisconsin's backcourt can handle Kentucky's tenacious defense and spread the court to open up passing lanes their big men, I think the Badgers have a great chance to pull out a win. If not, the Wildcats' pressure could lead to some easy baskets, making it a long night for Wisconsin. I have to stay with Kentucky to prevail, but it could be an all-time great game. I'm looking forward to it.

Tiger's Augusta Comeback: It's a little surprising that Tiger Woods decided to make his tournament debut following an injury induced absence by entering next week's Master's. He reportedly shot 74 in a practice round, convincing him that he was ready to contend for a fifth green jacket. There are very few writers that comment regularly on golf that have been bigger proponents for Tiger Woods than me. But I will state on this page that is impossible for him to win next week. Since Woods began his PGA career in 1996, I've thought very little was beyond his grasp when it came to accomplishments on the golf course. However, he's not only rusty from a tournament perspective, but the glaring weakness in his game when he tried to play in January and February was his play around the greens. Augusta National has always been a place where a solid short game is paramount. One bad decision or poorly executed shot around those lightning fast putting surfaces can literally cost a player multiple shots, not to mention a chance at victory. I sincerely hope that Tiger gets back on the tour and can compete in the majors, and most of all I hope I'm totally wrong about my assessment of his chances in next week's Master's.

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel" and my first, "Illegal Procedure - A PK Frazier Novel", available in print and e-formats at Amazon.com, iBooks and Smashwords.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


Tiger Back at Augusta? There are significant rumblings that four time Master's champ Tiger Woods might have his game in good enough shape to play next week at Augusta. Judging from his performances earlier in the season, he better have made serious improvements to have a chance to contend in a tournament he hasn't won in ten years. When Woods walked off with the 2008 U.S. Open trophy, it would have been almost impossible to believe that it would be his last major championship to date. At that time, Jack Nicklaus' 18 major victories appeared destined to be surpassed by the then 32 year old phenom. Now, it's conceivable that after injuries, personal controversy and repeated swing changes that Woods may never win any tournament again, much less a major. As a documented Tiger fan, I hope he can find a way to have a resurgence in his play and his results. However, time hasn't been kind to others, particularly Tom Watson, who despite playing competitively even to this day at the age of 65, won his last major at age 33. Arnold Palmer added his last major victory at age 34. Ben Hogan, somewhat of a late bloomer, won three majors at the age of 40, but he had missed significant time recovering from his infamous car accident. Even Gary Player, who was a pioneer in athletic fitness, added only a single major after he turned 38. And Jack Nicklaus, whose most famous shot is arguably his putt to take the lead in the 1986 Master's at the age of 46, was only able to grab four major championships past the age of 35. On the other hand, Phil Mickelson has been able to win four majors since turning 39. Vijay Singh won all three of his majors after his 35th birthday. Going back just a couple of seasons, Woods was dominant in everything but the majors, in which he contended but couldn't finish the job. So if he can get it going, there's a chance for him to turn his career around. However, my contention is that his body has had to withstand a lot of violent golf swings, and it's finally just wearing out.

Greg Hardy:  I have a difficult time understanding why Greg Hardy, who was found guilty of assaulting his girlfriend and then used a technicality to avoid prosecution, still hasn't missed an NFL paycheck and was recently signed by the Dallas Cowboys. I can understand second chances, but Hardy has yet to be penalized for the first chance. Michael Vick went to jail for two years and lost the prime of his career for running a dog fighting ring. Are we putting the welfare of dogs above the women in this county? Really? Ray Rice beats up his then girlfriend, now wife (don't fully understand that one) on tape, leaves her to potentially die in an elevator, and the last time I checked he's still walking the streets. If I was a woman, I would be outraged at the treatment of domestic and sexual violence victims. Is Greg Hardy really that important? What about Nicole Holder, the woman he beat up? I'm all for redemption, second chances and forgiveness, but let's make sure the proper messages are sent in the process. The message I get from the Ray Rice, Greg Hardy and Michael Vick cases are that famous NFL players and dogs matter, but women don't. And that's just plain wrong.

"40 - 0": An attorney in Kentucky has trademarked "40 - 0" and is selling t-shirts with the logo on them. Now the University of Kentucky is upset and trying to stop the use of the logo, maintaining it infringes on their own trademarks. Really? The guy had the foresight to commercialize "40 - 0", with no other inference to the University of Kentucky, and Big Blue thinks they can shut the guy down? Talk about institutional arrogance. Besides, I thought UK was an academic institution, whose primary goal is to educate and enlighten young minds. Oh, there I go, off in my perfect world again.

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel" and my first, "Illegal Procedure - A PK Frazier Novel", available in print and e-formats at Amazon.com, iBooks and Smashwords.