<h4>Taking it on the chin </h4>
The Milwaukee Brewers' Rickie Weeks gets hit in the face by a pitch from the Cincinnati Reds' Edinson Volquez during Monday's game in Milwaukee. He remained in the game.
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Here’s the thing about losing in golf.
You can’t blame the referees. You can’t blame the replay official. You can’t blame the bullpen or the pass protection or the goalie or the offensive coordinator.
At least in tennis you can blame the opponent. Maybe he has a great serve and that’s what caused all the trouble, but who gets served a putt? The ball sits there, you hit it. If it doesn’t go to the right place, everyone looks at you-know-who.
It’s an organization of one. The caddie carries the bag, but you carry the burden.
This is why golfers often make the most intriguing losers. In a culture where personal accountability went out with phone booths – disappointment or failure is always somebody else’s fault – the buck still stops with them.
Which brings us to the runner-up in the 2009 Masters. Grace, thy name is Kenny Perry.
He might not have a green jacket hanging in a locker at Augusta National Golf Club, and next year on the night of the Masters champions’ dinner, he might be eating at McDonald’s. But he gets a star on the also-ran walk of fame.
There’s another other thing about golf. Sometimes the loser gets remembered more than the winner. Greg Norman’s Sunday Masters disaster in 1996 is legend. But, uh, who won?
(Time’s up. Nick Faldo).
We know what winners in our team sports are supposed to do. They pour champagne on one another. They ride in a parade. They go to Disney World. They say something like, “Nobody gave us any respect. Nobody expected us to be here except the people in that locker room.”
We have never really decided how we want the second-place finishers to act. Complain, and they’re sore losers. Cry, and there is a question about poise. Laugh, and maybe they just didn’t care enough. Shift the blame, and they’re making excuses.
In Kenny Perry’s doctrine on how to act when it feels like you’ve had your heart ripped out with a 7-iron, you shake the other man’s hand and tell the world you’re proud of him.
You count your blessings and remind everyone that a lot of people out there are struggling, and you just picked up a bundle for four days of golf, so save the sympathy for someone who needs it.
And then you go to call your mother – the one fighting cancer.
Most amazingly, you set an all-time course record for candor, discussing why maybe you didn’t win in the end: “Great players make it happen, and your average players don’t. And so that’s the way it is.”
Let’s see how that translates to other sports.
October. The Red Sox beat the Yankees in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series when Derek Jeter strikes out with bases loaded in the ninth.
Jeter afterward: “I am proud of Jonathan Papelbon.”
June. The Lakers win the NBA title when Kobe Bryant scores 47 points. The poor slob assigned to guard him is asked his reaction.
“A great player scores, and an average player can’t stop him. And so that’s the way it is.”
In Perry’s case, this was maturity talking. The nation is divided into two camps – those who remember black-and-white television and those who don’t. Perry, pushing 49, is the former. It is so rare to see a man as close to winning a major golf championship as he is to qualifying for the seniors’ discount at Krispy Kreme.
So he gave a lesson last weekend. Maybe not on how to play No. 18 on Sunday at the Masters, but how a man carries himself.
The next time I see a college basketball coach spend half the game raging at the officials . . . or a sullen star explode over some imagined slight . . . or a millionaire athlete talk about how the new contract for a lousy $10 million is an insult . . . I am going to think of Kenny Perry.
Sometimes a great player makes it happen and an average player makes us think. That’s the way it is.
PHOENIX – Bruce Snyder made a positive impact on many players over his 20-year college coaching career.
The former Arizona State University football coach died at his Phoenix home at age 69 Monday.
Snyder coached the Sun Devils from 1992-2000. His 1996 team went 11-0 in the regular season before a last-minute 20-17 loss to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.
Snyder also was the coach at Utah State from 1976-82 and California from 1987-91. His overall record was 126-105-5. At Arizona State, Snyder was 58-47, second only to Frank Kush for victories with the Sun Devils.
He was an assistant coach for the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams from 1983-86.
“He was a guy that helped a lot of us kids grow up, especially myself,” said Keith Poole, a wide receiver on that 1996 team. “It was my first time away from home and he basically took over as a father. He taught you how to be tough. He didn’t have any soft love. You learned to respect him for that.”
Snyder, who left coaching after he was fired by Arizona State in 2000, was diagnosed with cancer last June.
Snyder’s 1996 team, which upset two-time defending national champion and then-No. 1 Nebraska 19-0, had Jake Plummer at quarterback and Pat Tillman at linebacker.
Plummer went on to quarterback the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos. Tillman played safety for the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, then quit the sport to join the Army Rangers. He was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2004.
Other players on that squad who went on to play in the NFL included Poole, Juan Roque, Lenzie Jackson, Grey Ruegamer, Steve Bush, Derrick Rodgers, Derek Smith and Jason Simmons.
“He taught us how to care for each other,” Poole said.
The Associated Press
Thomas could go to FIU
MIAMI – Isiah Thomas is on the verge of starting his coaching career over at Florida International.
The former New York Knicks coach is deliberating whether to take over FIU’s basketball program, a person with knowledge of the school’s search told The Associated Press on Monday.
Thomas became the Knicks’ president in 2003, their coach in 2006 and was fired in 2008.
The Associated Press
Johnson wins run event
Former Washington State University star Ian Johnson won his second consecutive Catalina State Park Trail Run event Saturday.
Johnson won in 1 hour, 7 minutes, 26 seconds in the 10.75-mile run. He was the winner in last fall’s Everyone Runs event in 1:09.91. Kari Distefano was the women’s division winner in 1:19:42. In the 5.5-mile run, winners were Sheldon Degenhardt (35:41) and Cristine Peerenboom (39:31).
Citizen Staff Report
NUMBER OF THE DAY: 2,682
Career hits by Ken Griffey Jr., the most of any active player. Other leaders:
Omar Vizquel 2,659
Gary Sheffield 2,615
Ivan Rodriguez 2,610
Derek Jeter 2,541
Alex Rodriguez 2,404
Manny Ramirez 2,398
Garrett Anderson 2,370
Chipper Jones 2,285
‘He was very genuine. It was not an act. He never changed. He liked to have a good time.’
Former Tigers player, on Mark “>
ON THIS DATE
1948: The Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup in four games as they beat the Detroit Red Wings 7-2.
1962: Elgin Baylor of Los Angeles scores a record 61 points to lead the Lakers to a 126-121 triumph over the Boston Celtics in the NBA finals.
1968: Bob Goalby wins the Masters when Roberto de Vincenzo of Argentina is penalized for signing an incorrect scorecard.
1985: Bernhard Langer beats Curtis Strange, Ray Floyd and Seve Ballesteros by two strokes to win the Masters.
Recruit Hill will be better off at UA
• Tim Floyd was stupid to turn down the Arizona job. Was a blessing for UA, though. Miller is a better coach and recruiter. Floyd and his boys will always be second banana in the L.A. basin. BOB BEAR
• Come back to UA, Solomon. It’s a far superior basketball school and coach Miller will get you ready for the NBA. PAKRZ
• Wait till Solomon meets with Floyd. He then will see that Miller is just a better person in general as far as caring for the person in the long run. RANDALLPINK