by Rex O’Rourke

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Tennis’ Australian Open just concluded down here with and while it’s a great sport with good-looking athletes sinking or swimming on their own, it does make my list of PET PEEVES, today.

PET PEEVE #1: OK, I get that you’re trying to hit the ball hard, but do tennis players have to grunt when they hit the ball. Golfers don’t (except in bed hey Tiger?), ballplayers don’t. I’ve played sports, some rough ones at that, and I just don’t get the concept. Rafael Nadal actually doesn’t grunt, he whines. Several of the Russian women scream at the top of their lungs, including Maria Sharapova, who must have a vocal coach at this point.


The practice is somewhat contagious, as well. Riddle me this Batman; Serena Williams grunted like a ruptured power lifter when she beat an annoyingly vocal Victoria Azarenka in the quarter finals yet made no more noise than a sleeping baby in the final against an equally silent Justine Henin. Is it a competitive thing? I have to out grunt you as well as out point you? Other than weight lifting and the trenches of a football game courtesy of NFL Films, do we really need to grunt that much? Roger Federer is gruntless and he just added to his record with a 16th Grand Slam victory. Therefore, grunting isn’t necessary. If you grunt, I want you to lose.

PET PEEVE #2: Is Scott Boras trying to ruin Johnny Damon’s life? Damon came out Thursday and said he’d welcome a mid season trade from whomever he isn’t even playing for yet, in order to return to the Yankees. Obviously, the gamer loves pinstripes.


In the meantime, the Yankees got younger by signing 35 year old Randy Winn, who if I’m not mistaken, was once traded for a box of baseballs. The Yankees are bringing in so many outfielders I hear Claudell Washington, Steve Kemp, Shane Spencer, and Gerald Williams are on Brian Cashman’s radar. I knew that either Matsui or Damon or both would be jettisoned, and I’m OK with that. If you’re getting younger, heads have to roll. If Granderson hits better against lefties and cuts down on his strike outs, it’s a good move, but when a guy who has helped you win make’s a statement like Damon’s it makes you wonder if he’d take the hometown discount (a la Paul O’Neill). Scott Boras has to lighten up. To quote Bud Fox, “How many yachts can you water ski behind?”

PET PEEVE #3: When did we, as a people, get so soft? Was it the Gloom Rock of The Cure, The Smiths, and Tears For Fears? Was it Heroin Sheik? E-mail? Play dates? Happy Meals? Five-dollar coffee? A woman was leaving work the other day just ahead of me and said if I’d give her my keys, she’d warm up my car for me. Now, it was a nice gesture and I appreciate it, but have we gotten that soft that we can’t get in a cold car anymore? Walking twelve feet to the car is now Sir Edmund Hillary summiting Everest! Our ancestors hunted for their dinner for Pete’s sake! Toughen up folks!

Enjoy the Pro (Yawn) Bowl,

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