Geez, a guy goes on vacation for a couple of weeks, and look what happens:
• The Diamondbacks shoot themselves in the foot (presumably with a syringe filled with human growth hormone).
When the family left for Myrtle Beach, S.C., Arizona was playing great baseball and no one was bothering to show up at Chase Field.
Now, the Diamondbacks are playing lousy baseball and if they couldn’t draw when they were winning, how many empty seats will there be when they return home this weekend?
Arizona’s free-fall — it had lost 12 of 13 games before beating Pittsburgh Monday — isn’t all that surprising because the terrific starting pitching it got in May was a mirage.
Brandon Webb is the only reliable starter in the rotation. If the Diamondbacks want to hang around in the National League West, they’ll have to trade for a quality No. 2 starter, and the sooner the better.
As for the off-the-field headlines that dragged the club down recently, I don’t understand the criticism aimed at managing general partner Ken Kendrick for saying there were “whispers” about Luis Gonzalez possibly using steroids.
Should Kendrick have left Gonzalez out of the conversation? Absolutely. But he didn’t say Gonzo was on the juice. He just said there had been some questions about Gonzalez, which there had been.
Kendrick owed Gonzalez a personal apology, but I’d rather have an owner who speaks his mind — and occasionally puts his foot in his mouth — than someone who hides behind a mouthpiece in order to avoid the issues that trouble his sport.
As far as Jason Grimsley goes, his violation of baseball’s substance-abuse policy wasn’t as egregious as his violation of man law: You don’t rat out your friends.
• Phil Mickelson blows the U.S. Open with a double bogey on the 72nd hole.
I sat on my couch and watched all four-plus hours of the final round Sunday. (Thanks, honey.)
Like everyone else, I was stunned that Mickelson pulled a Jean Van de Velde — I thought the new Phil had found a cure for his brain cramps. His “I’m an idiot” line almost certainly will be the quote of the year.
But another thought occurred to me: Has there ever been a final round of a major in which more players choked on the pressure?
I know Winged Foot was ridiculously hard, but when guys are hitting worse shots than your average muni golfer, it’s not the narrow fairways that are to blame. It’s the narrow space between the players’ ears.
• The championship series has been great theater.
Not the NBA Finals, but the Stanley Cup series between the Edmonton Oilers
and Carolina Hurricanes.
Based on the television ratings, about 14 of you bothered to tune in. What a shame, for it was terrific hockey.
Edmonton and Carolina are what the Phoenix Coyotes aspire to be: Small-market clubs that succeed because they wisely use their limited resources. It can be done; it just hasn’t been done here.
• The World Cup gets under way. As part of my ongoing effort to become a more well-rounded person — Sunday, I let my son beat me in thumb wars — I have tried to watch a World Cup soccer game. After about 10 minutes, though, my eyelids start to droop, my remote control thumb starts to twitch, and I actually ponder doing a bit of yard work. If that makes me an ignorant American, I’m sorry. But I prefer my sports teams to, you know, score once in a while.