Monday, May 7, 2007

The Rocket Is Back!

You all knew the day was soon coming when Roger Clemens would be putting on a major league uniform again. That day (unfortunately for me) was yesterday as he made the announcement that he would be putting on the Yankee pinstripes again. I'm rarely home in the early part of the days on Sunday, usually spending the time with family and friends and having no internet access... Consequently, I had ZERO opportunity to pick him up in my fantasy leagues where he was available (unless I wanted to drive back home and then drive back - no that wasn't happening!!!) I heard the announcement on ESPN around 2:15ET/11:15 PT - I was with my sister flipping back and forth between three baseball games and the NASCAR race at the time of the announcement. Although I would have rather have seen the ageless Clemens back in an Astros or Red Sox uniform, it's good to have him back pitching again even if it has to be in those Yankee pinstripes...

As for the baseball games yesterday, I watched three games and all of them went the wrong way after promising starts... The Dodgers and Randy Wolf took a 4-1 lead into the seventh inning against the Atlanta Braves before reliever Chin-hui Tsao imploded and gave up five runs! The Braves would go on to win 6-4. It was the first time in 16 games the Dodgers failed to win after holding a lead beyond the sixth inning this year.

While the Dodgers/Braves game was going, I also was paying close attention to the Washington Nationals/Chicago Cubs game on WGN... Shawn Hill had yet another strong start giving up only two runs in six innings. Unfortunately, the Nationals offense took another day off yesterday and Hill left losing 2-1. Pinch hitter Dmitri Young had a clutch 2-run single in the 7th inning to give the Nats a 3-2 lead. My fantasy baseball secret weapon last year, also known as Jon Rauch, pitched two hitless innings to bring the game into the hands of closer Chad Cordero who promptly threw six consecutive balls!!! I think you know where this is headed. Cordero ended up giving up a run to blow the save and Ryan Wagner gave up three hits including the game winner by the Cubs' Daryle Ward in the 10th inning. This also hurt personally as I have Chad in several fantasy leagues and I gave him some props as a good "buy low" candidate last week. Ah!!! The Nationals have now lost five in a row and have a 9-22 record on the season - thw worst in the majors at the moment. I think they just need a little inspiration to start winning some games - crazy as it may seem, I think I just might know what could snap them out of their funk... stay tuned for that one!

Finally, I watched the Angels/Chicago White Sox game... the Angels were cruising with a 3-0 lead going into the 8th inning when starter Bartolo Colon had to come out due to a shoulder strain... usually reliable reliever Scot Shields gave up a two run homer to the Angels nemisis A.J. Pierzynski, and then in the 10th inning, A.J. struck again, with the game winning single off of Angel closer Francisco Rodriguez... a 4-3 loss for the Angels leaves them just a game ahead of Seattle and Oakland for first place in the American League West.


As for the other sports, the results were much more to my liking... Jimmie Johnson led a 1-2-4 Hendrick motor sports finish, winning the Jim Stewart 400 for this fourth win of the 2007 season. Kyle Busch was second, followed by Denny Hamlin and points leader Jeff Gordon. Johnson, and several of the other drivers were subdued in celebration as they donned Virginia Tech caps in memory of those lost in the campus shooting a couple of weeks ago.

In golf, Tiger Woods used a 57 foot eagle putt on the 7th hole to vault into the lead at the Wachovia Championship and he never looked back, finishing at 13 under par for his 57th career win. Steve Sticker fought valiently, even tying Woods at one point before finishing at 11 under and two strokes back. Phil Mickelson and third round leader Rory Sabbatini finished four strokes back and tied for third. Vijay Singh was in contention as well, but limped home in a tie for eighth as he bogeyed 14 and 16, and then triple-bogeyed the closing hole, falling from 12 under par to seven under.


After cramming all of the above events into about five hours (along with a 30 minute ride on the stationary bike), it was off to the golf course for me. I hit the putting green and got a good feel for my stroke - I didn't leave until I felt confident in how I was hitting the ball. I then went to the driving range and started with the lower clubs, working my way up to the longer (and for me much more difficult clubs)... As I began to hit my five wood, I noticed a man watching me hit balls... soon he started to offer me some advice, and no sooner than he did that, that I miraculously started to hit the ball better... it was just three simple things he did which corrected by swing: tee the ball lower, swing up on the ball, and turn my right wrist over consciously at impact through the ball. I couldn't believe how consistently I was hitting the ball - probably better than I've ever hit it in my life! The main reason I stopped playing golf about five years ago is because I didn't think I would ever able to be consistently good at it as I never could figure out why I couldn't hit the ball well with my driver and other long irons. In ten minutes yesterday, I solved the problem!!! I guess that is just how this year has been going for me... I'll be off to the golf course at 8am PT to register and then the golf will start at 11am PT. I am confident that I'm going to have a lot of fun out there!

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