by Philview and the Phanatic

CHASKA, MINNESOTA – With a little more than a quarter of the season to go, the Mets faithful are now faced with an undeniable truth – the Metropolitans, by all accounts, are all but mathematically eliminated.

In a summer that is flying by faster than an inadvertent visit to a alternative lifestyle biker bar, the team picked last March to win the World Series (by Sports Illustrated) has been deeply and irrevocably buried by injuries, lackluster play, more injuries, poor team management, and then even more injuries.

Back in April, the Mets took the field with guys named Reyes, Wright, Delgado, and Beltran in the lineup. This past Sunday, those names were conspicuously absent. Except for Wright, the rest have been MIA for weeks, even months, and the DL for the whole team has, over time, piled higher than Bill Clinton’s denials.

Many questions remain:

  • Will Jose Reyes ever be the player that everyone expects him to be?
  • Will Carlos Delgado win his ongoing battle with the clock?
  • Will Castillo use two hands next time?
  • Will Johan Santana demand a trade?
  • And finally, how long before sportswriters stop referring to eight-homer David Wright as a “slugger?”

But these are next year’s mysteries. For today then, let’s chat about another intriguing sports topic. Something current. How about something a tad surprising? How’s about a little golf game that took place this past weekend?

The reason the topic of golf is surprising is because we here at MTM Central have given our opinion about golf as a major sport before – and it wasn’t positive. We love golf, and we play golf, but feel, quite strongly, that golf should never be considered a major competitive sport until the player teeing off is surrounded by an offensive line (and must get his shot off before the pocket breaks down); or, until forechecking is allowed during putts. Until then, it’s just a “nice little game.”

That said, late last Thursday I received an e-mail from a friend who wrote simply, “Tiger Woods leads by a stroke after the first round. In other words, it’s OVER!”

I thought that was funny, especially since we both believed it to be completely true. And the scene played out accordingly. By Sunday morning, Woods was teeing off with a lead. Ho-hum. Then, despite a charge by Y.E. Yang, the fact remained that Woods still had a lead on the final back nine of a major tournament. Again, no problem – we were sure Woods was merely toying with his spunky counterpart; giving the little fella and his interpreter some air time; you know, for the relatives back home. How nice of Tiger.

    “Then, the inconceivable happened – he lost. Tiger Woods lost.”

Yes, the greatest player of this generation – a player who routinely makes all the other top players on the tour shake with fear like puppies during a Michael Vick promotional visit, had, for him, a case of the nerves. He missed short putts that mere mortals can make. This golf genius, one who never loses when its time to close the deal… Did – beaten by an unlikely opponent who didn’t start playing until he was 19; a small, gutsy South Korean who could and will be played to perfection in a movie of his life by Gedde Watanabe – the actor who, as “Long Duk Dong” in Sixteen Candles, gave us the immortal line “no more yankie my wankie!”

Somewhere, in the clouds above, there is a God of Upsets; a mythical being that similarly tapped Buster Douglas, the 1980 USA Hockey Team, the Namath Jets, the Seaver Mets, and in 1919, a horse named “Upset.” And he is laughing, uproariously, for this was one of his masterpieces.

Before we leave you for now, we’d like to point out that while this weekend’s results don’t change our overall stance on golf as a “major sport,” it does make us feel real good. For in this age of overgrown athletes, anyone has a chance to win a major golf tournament – a 45-year-old tour vet who’s never won a thing (many times); a 59-year-old legend (just a month ago); and finally, even a Y.E. Dong, I mean Yang. And darn if old Long Duk didn’t pull it off.

Great for him. Let’s face it, guys who say “no more yankie my wankie” can’t dunk a basketball, and they almost never win Super Bowls.

In golf, anything’s possible.

And that’s a good thing…. Angry Ward tomorrow.

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