Friday, January 22, 2010

First post redux; Quick question

Readers – as you know from time to time, the hands on the clock speed by quickly in the morning. Well, today was one of those for John, as in ‘Woops, I forgot what my day was like….I’m walking out the door to take Danny to school, to do an appearance at a school and driving to Philadelphia for interviews.” Therefore, there will be no original blog post today – if not the first occurrence on a work day, a rare one indeed. In its stead, we thought a post that many have not read would be his inaugural blog post, and you’ll find it below. In the meantime, if there are any topics on the top of your head that you want to get into over the next couple of weeks, feel free to post in the comments section as he reads and enjoys all the comments and emails. He'll be back posting on Monday.....have a great weekend.

FOTB Staff


There are a number of phrases in the English language I honestly thought I would never find myself writing. Among them would be things like, “the warmth and humor of Barry Bonds.” (Remember him?). Or, “The modesty of Phil Jackson.” (More on that on another day).

But the number one phrase I thought I’d never write is this one: “Welcome to my blog.”

I learned to read by grabbing The New York Times before my parents woke up and working my way through stories on the Mets and Jets and Knicks and Rangers. I’ve worked for newspapers all my life and still do—proudly—even in these very difficult times for our business. When people ask me what I do I usually say, “I’m a reporter.” That means I deal in facts, often laced with opinions when I write columns, but not in rumors. You will never read on this blog, “I hear that…” We all hear things and in today’s world, in the world of the blog in particular, anything is apparently fair game.

Not for me.

What I hope to do here each day is write about something that’s on my mind. It may be something that’s funny like yesterday when one of the cops at Bethpage told me he didn’t think my credential let me into the clubhouse (it did) but it was okay with him if I went in because he knew I was, “a Long Island guy.”

Some days I may get on a soap box on the hypocrisy of the BCS or how foolish the Atlanta Braves look forcing Tom Glavine into retirement because they didn’t want to spend a million bucks to bring him up to the big leagues. Other days I might just tell stories—old ones, new ones. Occasionally I may rail about the internet not working in a hotel—as was the case this morning. It’s amazing how the world has changed. In the old days all I needed in a hotel room was a bed, a working TV and an air conditioner that didn’t make noise. Now the first thing I check is to see if the internet is working.

The U.S. Open begins tomorrow morning. I’ve probably done 40 radio interviews in the last three days, most of them connected with the book I wrote with Rocco Mediate about his life and last year’s remarkable Open which is called, “Are You Kidding Me?” which is Rocco’s description with one word missing (rhymes with ducking) of that week. All the interviewers ask about whether Rocco has a chance to make another miracle run here (Yes he can though it isn’t likely. He hasn’t been playing real well but this is his kind of golf course).

They then ask the same two questions: What about Tiger and what about Phil?

Do I have any brilliant insight into either one? No. For one thing Tiger doesn’t let anybody inside his life although he’s great at making it SOUND like he’s telling you a lot. I do know he was very unhappy when people were whispering that he wasn’t the same player after his knee surgery.

He was right. I mean the guy wins once and doesn’t finish out of the top NINE in five stroke play events and people are questioning him? That’s like the Republicans I know who started questioning President Obama halfway through his inaugural address. Tiger is still Tiger. He’s going to blow past Jack Nicklaus and keep going because he wants to put the record so far out there it will be almost impossible for anyone to come and get it.

Curtis Strange, who won two U.S. Opens made a great point last night: “If you were to write down the 10 greatest shots of all time in major championships, Tiger’s probably hit eight of them. He then went on to say that the chip-in Tiger pulled off on the 11th at Memorial on Sunday, “can’t be done. You can NOT do what he did.”

So enough about Tiger slipping.

As for Mickelson, all you can say is that he and his family are going through a nightmare millions go through. I’ve been through it in my own family. BEST case scenario it will be a nightmare for Amy and for him and those around him. I would think the waiting until July 1 might be the worst part of it all. At least once you get started you feel as if you are moving towards what you hope is the finish line.

It will feel like a Rangers playoff game in Madison Square Garden this weekend if he somehow gets in contention.

Okay, that’s it for today. I have now written my first blog. I hope there will be many more to come but I do feel right now as if I should go take a shower.


Doug C. said...

John, how about a blog re: how it feels to be a FWRH? Loved the Duke blog by the way.

Anonymous said...

How about a little conversation on the merits, or downfall, of expansion for the Big 10? Seems like the Big 10 did this little dance about a decade ago and decided to not expand when Notre Dame jilted them at the alter.

But now, it seems as though the 'rumor' (I think leaks planted by the conference leadership) is saying they may expand 1 or 3 schools. And they will be plucking from the Big East or Big 12. First of all, is the Big 12 so much a behemoth that they have their pick? Will this start a chain reaction down the line again? Does this mean the PAC10 will finally look into the merits for them, possibly taking Utah/BYU?

The subplots could get interesting. Would love to see the thoughts of someone who has a better feeling of the pulse of collegiate athletics.

Anonymous said...

Didn't know if you saw the ESPN article fromt he ombudsman Don Ohlmeyer about the Mike Leach situation. My guess is no but there was an interesting line that I thought was apropo of the TV stuff you talked about the other day.
Regarding their green game he mentioned that the TV timeouts were lengthened to accommodate some tips for green living. He said "The timeouts were expanded to accommodate the pieces, resulting in longer pauses in the action, but they were not intrusive." Longer pauses in the action make it intrusive. As you said they other day people don't want to attend games since they have to put up with this crap.
Football games are tourture to attend anymore, there is no flow and all the fans there hate it.

MB said...

John --

I'd just like to take this opportunity to compliment you on your blog. I'm sure you've spent more than enough time at the Academy to know the meaning of Bravo Zulu.

I've been an avid reader for several months, and FOTB is something that I look forward to reading every day. The fact that you weren't able to write today underscores to me how much time and effort you put into FOTB. (Just check out the number of links of topics on the right side of the screen.)

Although I don't always agree with your opinion on a particular topic (e.g. I don't really think Greg Schiano is a "bad" guy), I certainly respect your viewpoint. In particular, I appreciate the "inside" perspective of your writing, giving the reader the opportunity to see athletes and coaches in perhaps a different persona than their public image (e.g. your post on Payne Stewart I thought was particularly insightful).

I also enjoy when you reminisce about your childhood in New York, your undergrad days at Duke, your work at the Post (especially when you were just starting out), and your relationship with people in the business (e.g. Bill Hancock). By personalizing your blog, I think you add depth to your commentary that you wouldn't otherwise get when reading a column in a newspaper. (As an aside --I think that’s one advantage that Tom Boswell, as a native Washingtonian, has over you and the other columnists at the Post, in that he can incorporate childhood memories he had of growing up with the Senators and Redskins when he writes about baseball and football in DC.)

Two minor suggestions --

a) Could you add a blog roll of blogs (sports or otherwise) that you read and recommend?

b) Could you PLEASE choose a more subdued hue of green for your background? I realize that the intent is probably to convey a golf green or outfield grass(?). However, I find it too bright and garish, although it's not too bad once the main screen comes up, and the green is only on the border.

Keep up the good work!

Gunnar said...

Love the blog. On some slow sports days, I wouldn't mind hearing about your Washington Post colleagues. I imagine you and George Will have had some good political debates, and have shared affection for golf and baseball. Going to the track with Andrew Beyer would be great. You have talked a good bit about Tony K, who I really like listening to. It would be great to hear your thoughts or a personal story about Katharine Graham.