Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Scene...

A Home Depot.

Chorus and her husband are on the hunt for gadgets for the new house, including a key pad garage door opener. Their search takes them to the door bell aisle where, because they have a combined emotional age of 13, they commence pushing the doorbell test buttons.

Chorus presses one of the buttons.

And out of the speaker comes the dulcid, doorbelly tones of...


Take Me Out to the Ballgame.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

On the Golf Shirt

In honour of this weekend's US Open at Bethpage, I bring you my analysis of the golf shirt.

Exhibit A: My favourite target for sartorial judging, Phil Mickelson. This shirt is a freaking disaster. Specifically, it's way, way, WAY too big. The shoulder seams, which should be sitting on, oh, HIS SHOULDERS, would be more accurately described as elbow seams. This has the affect of ruining the line of the shirt, and pulling the weight down and out across his chest, which makes him look like he has girl-boobies. Now, granted, there's a fitness issue here too, but if Phil's shirt fit better, he'd look a lot less pudgy. How poorly this shirt fits is accentuated further by the horizontal stripes, which show off all the places this shirt doesn't sit right on his frame.

Now, to be fair, Phil has gotten a lot fitter in recent years, and he's started dressing better too. Gone are the days of flood pants and balloon shirts, although he still makes the occasional odd choice. For those watching today's round, the striped pants aren't working for me.

Exhibit B: Davis Love III, who, in my opinion, is one of the worst offenders for ill-fitting shirts. I like the colour of the blue number on the right but, like the shirt Phil is wearing above, the fit is way too big. Davis has kind of a funny body, with skinny legs and skinny arms and a bit of a paunch around his middle. Wrapping that body in all this excess fabric makes it worse.

Exhibit C: I don't know anybody with a weirder relationship with his shirts than Paul Goydos. I have no idea why, WHY, he insists on doing up his buttons right to the top. The top button of a golf shirt should always be undone to avoid the being-strangled look that Paul is modelling so successfully here. I did hear him say once when asked about his buttoning habits that the extreme slope of his shoulders and the fact that he has no neck means that if he doesn't do up all the buttons, his shirt falls off. I wonder, though, if he did unbutton the top button, if it might successfully make his shoulders look a little bit broader? Hard to say, but I do know that this looks silly.

I should say that Phil, Paul and Davis are all doing better in these pictures than this choice by Ian Poulter, demonstrating that as much as shirts can be too big, they can also be too tight (look at the arms!), and demonstrating that colour choice is almost as important as fit. This shirt is so bad, it's insulting.Ok, having picked on the bad, let's look at some good. There are lots of guys on tour right now who wear their shirts perfectly fitted for their bodies.

Canadian golfer Mike Weir is a terrific dresser. Note that stylistically, this shirt is very similar to the shirt being worn by Phil in the first photo we reviewed. But everywhere that Phil has done wrong, Mikey has done right. Specifically, the shoulder seams sit on the shoulders so the shirt fits perfectly. Mike's horizontal stripes are all perfectly lined up, indicating that the shirt is sitting on his body exactly the way it's designed to do.

You can't have a conversation about people who dress well on the tour today without including mention of Tiger Woods. Tiger wasn't always a good dresser (anybody remember the panama hat disaster?) and before he filled out, none of his clothes fit right. But recently, it's been all good. The shirt in the picture on the right, Tiger's classic Sunday red, fits perfectly. On cooler days, Tiger also often pairs his shirts with a sweater vest most successfully. With the vest as well, fit is important. It shouldn't pull the shoulders of the golf shirt out of line or cause any unusual wrinkles or tucks.

I'd like to close by speaking to a couple of variations on the classic golf shirt that have appeared in recent years. One that I like and one that I don't. Let's start with the one that I don't. I don't like the mock turtleneck look. It's not that they look bad, exactly, as long as they fit properly, but there's a casualness to them to them that doesn't feel appropriate for the tour. The mock turtleneck also leads nicely into a brief conversation about fabric, because the very light material that many mock turtlenecks are made of make them look like undershirts.

What Sergio is doing here though, I like very much. There are no golfers on tour that swing more between looking fantastic and looking ridiculous than Sergio Garcia. But his ridiculous outfits are so almost 100% of the time because of colour. His clothes always fit right. Here, he's doing a modern interpretation of the traditional golf shirt, sporting a zipper insead of buttons, and angled seaming in towards the collar instead of at the shoulder. It's visually interesting, it fits properly, the white seaming on the black shirt is classic, and I approve entirely.

All three of Sergio, Mike and Tiger are in good physical shape, which helps, but to anybody that thinks that you have to be in good shape to make a shirt look good, let's check out Angel Cabrera. Angel is a big boy, and not at all in good shape (he's one of few PGA players who smokes on the course), but because his shirts fit his body properly, he looks good. See? This shirt is even a bit too big, just judging by where the shoulder seams are sitting, but otherwise, it fits nicely, it's a good colour for him, and the looks is a success as a result.

One last thought, the brighter the colour and/or the funkier the pattern of your shirt, the more important it is to pair the shirt with a neutral pant - black, navy, grey, or tan.

Next time, on my series of posts in which I judge professional golfers on their attire, who should be in the Wears White Pants club, and who shouldn't.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

It's News Story Dissection Time!

This news story, to be precise, from the Associated Press.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Jose Canseco plans to file a class-action lawsuit against Major League Baseball and the players' association, saying he's been ostracized for going public with tales of steroids use in the sport.

Wow... Jose must be really broke. Only a man desperate for income would launch a lawsuit against a group of people he'd insulted on the grounds that they stopped talking to him after he insulted them.

Canseco said Wednesday that he has discussed the suit with lawyers and intends to enlist Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro to join in the suit.

Oh good, a veritable trifecta of dependable and trustworthy plaintiffs.

Canseco said the basis of the suit would be "lost wages -- in some cases, defamation of character."

What wages?? And WHAT CHARACTER??

"Because I used steroids and I came out with a book, I was kicked out of the game, but I have not been inducted into the Hall of Fame," Canseco said in a telephone interview.

YES! That's exactly right. I fail to see the problem here.

"A lot of these players have not been inducted into the Hall of Fame: Mark McGwire and so forth. They're losing salaries, because obviously when you're inducted into the Hall of Fame, you get asked to do certain, you know, appearances and shows and so forth, which incorporates income. So there is a major income loss.

"Not even that, baseball blackballs you from their family, meaning you can't have a future proper reference from them, a job, no managerial jobs, no coaching jobs, nothing. They completely sever you."

BECAUSE YOU CHEATED, YOU BIG CHEATER McCHEATERSON. That's like complaining that the company that fired you on the grounds that you were stealing from them won't give you a reference or hire you back or throw you a retirement party.

The 1986 AL Rookie of the Year and 1988 AL MVP, Canseco hit 462 home runs from 1985-2001 and currently is 32nd on the career list. (Yes! A good career according to the stats!) In books published in 2005 and last year, he detailed steroids use by himself and others. (Yes! A good career in which he cheated!)

Whether a judge would think Canseco has a case -- and would even allow it to go to a jury -- remains to be seen.

He appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot in 2007 and received just six votes, 21 below the amount necessary to remain in the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot in future years. Because he cheated.

McGwire, eighth on the career list with 583 homers, received 118 Hall of Fame votes this year, which came to 21.9 percent. That's well below the 75 percent threshold needed for election and down from 128 votes in each of his first two appearances on the ballot. Because he cheated.

"Always, one individual has to make that stand, which is me," Canseco said. "And then I'll obviously speak to other players and other individuals, see how far they want to go."

I'm sure that lots and lots of other players will want to be associated with a credible guy such as yourself. That'll do nothing but good things for their reputations.

Rob Manfred, MLB's executive vice president for labor relations, declined comment. Michael Weiner, the union's general counsel, did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Unhuh, because Manfred and Weiner have better things to do with their time.

Canseco said players shouldn't be stigmatized for using steroids before players and owners agreed to ban them in 2002.

"I don't see why people just don't get it. I don't understand the ignorance," he said. "Listen: It was allowed by Major League Baseball. It was endorsed by Major League Baseball. Why should the players be now reprimanded?"

Ok, I kind of get this point. It wasn't against the rules. But that doesn't change the fact that now it is! And MLB is trying hard, I think, to make amends for the steroid scandal. And they didn't need Jose Canseco's book, which he wrote for MONEY, to help them do that.

And, MLB has not reprimanded anybody for taking steroids before the rules were in place banning them. That would be stupid.

He wasn't surprised by a report Tuesday by The New York Times that Sammy Sosa was among 104 players who tested positive in baseball's anonymous 2003 survey. The paper cited lawyers with knowledge of the 2003 drug-testing results who spoke on condition of anonymity because they did not want to publicly discuss material under court seal.

"Like I've said all along, in my era 80 percent of the players were using steroids and why would Sammy Sosa be excluded from that?" Canseco said. "I think people are going to be amazed how, you know, extensive that list is that Major League Baseball is holding back right now and who are on it."

Jose, that is terrible, terrible grammar.

Canseco said the list should remain private because players were promised anonymity, but he predicted the remaining names eventually will trickle out and become public.

OR, Canseco said the list should remain private because nobody had offered him any money to reveal the names that are on it. But he predicted that someone might offer him that money sometime, in which case he would write another book and reveal all. Because that's just the kind of classy guy he is.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

On Ryan Leaf

WEll, the greatest fall from grace in the history of professional football is complete.

Ryan Leaf. Selected 2nd overall in the 1998 NFL draft after a successful college career at Washington State University. Awful 4-year NFL career, characterized by disappointing play and petulant behaviour.

Exhibit A:

And today, an arrest on charges of drug use and burglary.

There's something about this story that's sadly familiar and becomes another example of how ill-prepared many athletes are to succeed in life outside of the sport in which they excel. And it makes me wonder at what stage of a developing athletes career do coaches and advisors decide that someone has enough talent and potential to not need some basic lessons about how to live. Ryan Leaf is the perfect example of why, no matter how talented and how promising an athlete is, they gotta have life skills. Because I suspect that when Ryan Leaf realized that his football career was over, he had absolutely no idea what to do with himself.


... Crap.

Doc's on the DL.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Sports Shorts - June 5th

  • I don't really want to talk about the Blue Jays right now. A bad stretch of 9 straight losses recently has brought the team's great start to the season crashing back to reality. By no means are the Jays out of the race for the division or the wildcard, they just need to believe that, and they need the fans to believe it. Also, better pitching would help.
  • Thanks to Jack McCallum from SI for this gem from Glen Beck, featured in the reporter's weekly Bottom Ten list of the worst in sports: "Reaching deep into his mixed-sport-metaphor bag to trash Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, the commentator opined that "our government needs to keep their eye on the ball when nominating Supreme Court justices," and that "right now it's the bottom of the ninth and we are down to our last out and our last strike" and wondered if our government will "take strike three looking or will they wake up and save the day with a heroic three-pointer on a penalty shot?"
  • Also from a recent Bottom Ten: "Despite entreaties by the NHL players association, league execs, many of whom are former players, [NHL General Managers] elected not to outlaw hits to the head, although they did agree to add a General Manager of the Year award."
  • I give Phil Mickelson a rough time on this blog, but the news about his wife is awful. Phil will play the US Open, and let's hope that's a sign that his wife's health is positive.
  • Pittsburgh Penguins have come back to tie the Stanley Cup finals 2-2. Series heads back to Detroit for game 5!
  • It's a good news/bad news thing for 300-game winners this week. On the good side, they added one Randy Johnson to their ranks and on the bad, Tom Glavine was cut by the Atlanta Braves this week for, from what I can tell, no good reason.