Sorry, Michelle, That’s Not ‘Great’
Friday - June 24, 2009
I’m long over the debate about how Michelle Wie has been handled. Team Wie took the money, and it’s hard to blame them. Wie is financially secure for several generations. But there is a disturbing pattern to her post-tournament comments. Last week, after finishing in a tie for 23rd, 14 strokes behind the winner, Wie said, “I felt like I played great. I swung really well and felt really great.”
Great? Really? Can you imagine Tiger Woods being interviewed after that sort of finish (if you can imagine such a thing) and saying that he’d played great?
It seems that in an effort to stay relentlessly positive, Wie has lost the capacity for self-evaluation in anything approaching objectivity.
If she believes that finishing far back in the back is truly “great,” she is destined for mediocrity.
All champions have some fire in the belly. Let’s hope Michelle Wie finds that spark before her ability to compete fades away.
The revelation that Sammy Sosa tested positive for steroids in 2003 is merely the confirmation of behavior that had been widely assumed since Sosa began hitting home runs in bunches and started to physically resemble an NFL running back rather than the slender outfielder who came to the major leagues with Texas in 1989.
While this news was the worst blemish on Sosa’s reputation, it was hardly the first. In June 2003, Sosa was ejected from a game when he broke a bat that proved to be filled with cork. He claimed that it was a batting practice bat that had been used by mistake, only to have his manager say that corked bats were prohibited at all times.
That incident followed a scene with then Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly in 2002, when Reilly showed up at a Sosa press conference, and after Sosa vowed for the umpteenth time that he welcomed a drug test, Reilly invited him to a nearby lab on his dime to be tested. Sosa went ballistic.
Roid rage? In retrospect, it appears possible. And when Sosa appeared before Congress and completely lost his ability to speak English while insisting he was innocent of steroid use, few believed him. But suspicions were not proof, and it seemed to be vintage Sosa when he told ESPN reporters just a few days before last week’s report that he would “calmly wait” for the phone call informing him of his induction into the Hall of Fame.
Here’s a news flash, Sammy: Godot will show up before that call comes.
The Lakers’ championship has fueled the fires over whether or not Phil Jackson is the best NBA coach ever. His 10th championship broke the tie with the Celtics’ late Red Auerbach. Certainly Jackson had a more difficult road with 30 teams rather than eight, with free agency and multiple rounds of playoffs. Both men had great players and knew how to motivate them, each prepared a team in practice and avoided histrionics in games.
Ironic then that there was no warmth in their relationship, and the barest morsels of praise uttered about the other’s achievements. Even Jackson’s post championship comment that he’d “smoke a cigar in memory of Red,” was delivered with a noticeable lack of enthusiasm.
Despite the carping, they are both terrific coaches.
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