Quick Takes


    It’s not often that I depart from the sports theme of this site, but here it is.

    Don Imus was fired by CBS for his derogatory and prejudicial comments. (Well, that’s not why he was fired. He was canned because his sponsors ran for cover.) Too bad no one can fire Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton for their years upon years of derogatory and prejudicial comments.

    Per Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star, “When I criticized Al Sharpton’s and Jesse Jackson’s irresponsible and divisive methods of seeking social justice recently, Al Sharpton dismissed the attack by questioning my credibility to lodge a complaint.” For the record, Jason Whitlock is an African-American, and not the only African-American who feels about these men as he does.

    To quote Howard Cosell, let’s call it like it is. Don Imus does what he does to better himself at the expense of others. Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton do the very same thing! All four of these men have a terribly negative effect upon the society in which we live. All four of them need to take a trip to Blacksburg, Virginia to see the effects of hatred.


    You tired of hearing about the exorbitant monies paid to athletes and others involved with sports? Well, their incomes are chicken-feed. Try this one on, especially if you’re a Ford stockholder:
(Reuters) – 4/5/07: Ford Motor Co. said it awarded new Chief Executive Alan Mulally compensation of $39.1 million for four months of work in 2006, a year when the second-largest U.S. automaker posted a $12.7 billion loss.
Bottom line: Apparently Alex Rodriguez is grossly underpaid at only $25.2 million a year. I'd never allow myself to be taken advantage of like that.


    We’re all quite familiar with players, management, and even owners being fined and suspended by pro sports commissioners. Here’s to David Stern, NBA commissioner. He did it to one of his own. Stern suspended referee Joey Crawford on April 17 for the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs for ejecting Tim Duncan without due cause from the Spurs’ game on April 15. Crawford slapped Duncan with a technical foul, and when Duncan laughed, he hit him with a second technical and an automatic game ejection. Then the referee literally challenged Duncan to a fist fight on the floor.
    Said Stern, “Joey Crawford’s handling of the situation failed to meet the standards we expect of NBA referees. Joey must be held accountable for his actions on the floor.”
    I have a whole new respect for David Stern.


    Bowie Kuhn, former MLB commissioner, passed away last month. He was age 80. He weathered many storms during his 15 years in office. He had confrontations with Charley Finley, and faced him down. He suspended George Steinbrenner. He barred Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays from the game. He suspended Ted Turner. He fined Ray Kroc. He suspended Denny McLain. But the link he’s most famous for is to Curt Flood
    In 1969, Flood demanded that he be declared a free agent when he refused to report to Philadelphia after he was traded by St. Louis. Kuhn refused, citing the reserve clause. Flood sued Kuhn and MLB. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of MLB, but just three years later, the players union challenged the reserve clause again, and won, thus resulting in free agency.
    My major rap against Kuhn was his not being in the stands in Atlanta when Henry Aaron hit #715 in 1974. Kuhn appeared to snub the feat. The commissioner felt that Aaron could have turned the trick in a series in Cincinnati, but didn’t because the Braves wanted Henry to do it in front of his home team fans. Aaron hit #715 in the series opener against L.A.
    For whatever Bowie Kuhn did correctly and incorrectly as MLB boss, his not being present in Atlanta when Henry Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s record was an insult to baseball, his office, and especially the great Henry Aaron.


    Should Bud Selig be present if/when Barry Bonds breaks Aaron’s record? Should Henry Aaron be present? No to both, and for good reason; Bonds is a fraud!


Story of the Week


    He didn’t throw an interception that cost his team the Super Bowl. He didn’t drop a fly ball in centerfield that cost his team the World Series. He didn’t let a slap shot go through his pads in the net that cost his team the Stanley Cup. He didn’t blow a free throw that cost his team the NBA title. These are all physical errors. What he did in 1968 at the Masters was a mental error that cost him dearly. When most fans think of Roberto De Vicenzo, they think of what is perhaps the most famous mistake in golf history.


    At the 1968 Masters, De Vicenzo played one of the best final rounds in major championship history, shooting 31 on the front nine at Augusta and finishing with a 65. It was De Vicenzo's 45th birthday. He should have faced Bob Goalby in a playoff the following day for the Masters championship.


    Instead, tragedy struck for De Vicenzo. Playing partner Tommy Aaron had written an incorrect hole score on De Vicenzo's scorecard, marking a 4 on No. 17 when De Vicenzo had in fact made a 3. De Vicenzo failed to catch the mistake, signing the scorecard. The higher score of 66 stood and became his official posting, dropping De Vicenzo from the playoff for the green jacket due to one phantom stroke.


    "What a stupid I am!" De Vicenzo famously remarked. But just three weeks later, displaying remarkable resiliency, De Vicenzo won the last of his PGA Tour titles at the Houston Open.


    De Vicenzo would end his career with just one major victory, the 1967 British Open. However, he finished fifth or better nine times in the Open Championship.


    If you think 5 PGA Tour wins and one major sound like a light resume, think again. The peripatetic Argentinian won, by the World Golf Hall of Fame's count, more than 230 tournaments around the world. He won national opens in 16 countries. He represented Argentina in the World Cup 17 times, and won the Argentina Open nine times, the last at age 62 in 1985.


    De Vicenzo was on the winning team at the 1979 Legends of Golf, the tournament that led to the creation of the Senior Tour. He posted three more wins on the Senior Tour, including the inaugural U.S. Senior Open in 1980.


    In 1970, he was voted the Bob Jones Award, the highest honor given by the United States Golf Association in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf.


    Roberto de Vicenzo was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1989, and officially retired in 2006 at age 83. But as fate would have it, he will always be remembered for losing the 1968 Masters by that one single stroke to Bob Goalby when he signed an incorrect scorecard.


Last Week’s Trivia


    The only man to ever hit a homer out of Dodger Stadium is Willie Stargell, and the great Pirates slugger did it twice.


Trivia Question of the Week


    Who is college basketball’s most prolific scorer of all-time? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.