While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:
1. Texas baseball is in a good place. In third place in the Big 12 with a 9-3 league record, the Longhorns now enter the meat of their conference schedule, starting with a series at conference-leading Oklahoma this week. Texas took care of business with four series wins, but three of its last four series are on the road, including OU and Texas Tech. I noticed new Sooners skipper Skip Johnson took a page from the late Augie Garrido — his team ranks 14th nationally in sacrifice bunts. Entering Tuesday night’s showdown with Texas A&M, the Longhorns had won six straight for their longest win streak of the season and 13 of the last 16. Impressed with Texas pitching, which held Baylor to a single run in the last two games of that series sweep. The bullpen allowed the Bears just one run in 11 innings. Second baseman Kody Clemens continues to be the star of this team with his .358 average, team-leading nine long balls and 32 RBIs. Clemens deservedly is on the 40-player Golden Spikes Award watch list play for Player of the Year and could become the school’s first All-American since closer Corey Knebel in 2011. It’s been a minute.
2. So the atrocious Atlanta Hawks beat both the Wizards and Celtics on the same weekend? This is what happens when a team trying to tank plays teams trying to rest for the playoffs. A glorified G-League game. I’m sure they only charged fans half-price. Yeah, sure. Raise your hand if you really care about the regular season of any sport besides football (with its fewer games) anymore?
3. Discussed with fellow sportswriters the ambiguous and disturbing future of football, what with all the collisions and concerns over players’ long-term health. They’re considering eliminating kickoffs. I’m sure before long the NFL, and eventually the colleges, will do away with punts as well. And what’s next to ban? No running plays into the middle of the line? No sacks of the quarterback? Are we headed toward flag football? Hey, there are risks in football. Big-time, life-altering risks. This from a guy who broke his neck playing high school football and would do it all over again. I hear no public outrage over the risks of auto racing, boxing and chance meetings with Conor McGregor. We all want our gladiator sports, and there will always be ugly consequences. Wondering if football would even be around in 2030. I wish the NFL would adopt the college rule of 15-yard pass interference penalties and the colleges would make receivers get two feet in.
4. New-found respect for Masters champion Patrick Reed and Tony Finau. Every sport needs a villain, right? The 27-year-old Texan embraces that role like few others. To a certain degree, it did overshadow Reed’s serious talent. He handled it all with as much grace as he could when he was asked Sunday night if he was sad his parents and sister who are estranged from him weren’t there to support him, and he said he was there to play golf. … Shame on that swooshy sponsor who refused to let him wear his trademark red shirt and black pants on Sunday. Maybe if he had, he would have set a Masters record with all four rounds in the 60s. … Was thoroughly impressed with the fortitude of Finau, who dislocated his left anke and put it back into place himself in the Par-3 Contest, only to post two rounds in the 60s the next four days and wind up 10th to qualify for next year’s Masters. Was dying to ask Finau’s thoughts about all those “injuries” in soccer.
5. How special is Jordan Spieth? In five Masters, he’s a cumulative 39 under par. In Tiger Woods’ first five Masters as a pro, he was 40 under par. Hmmm. Jim Nantz knows how close Spieth came to a second green jacket and said, “It had to be the most disappointing 64 Jordan’s ever shot. He was so spot on. If he’d have shot a 62 (for course record instead of his 64) and Patrick had shot 18 under (instead of 15 under) to tie the all-time record, it may have been one of the greatest Masters ever, if not the greatest.” Spieth has three runner-up finishes in the majors and a fourth place, so he realistically could already have seven major titles at 24. Of course Woods has 14 majors and six second-places, and Jack Nicklaus won 18 majors and finished in second in 19 other majors. … Great line from Steve Hummer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who wrote that runner-up Rickie Fowler is just a second-place finish in the PGA Championship away from the coveted runner-up career Grand Slam. That wouldn’t be renamed the Grand Sham, would it? … So impressed with Doug Ghim’s showing at Augusta with three eagles and the Silver Cup as the Masters’ low amateur. It was a heartwarming story how his father, Jeff, who taught his son the game, caddied for him. “He is my business card,” Jeff said. But a couple of golfers and caddies told me that Doug could have badly used a veteran caddie with more familiarity of the tricky course because “he cost Doug a lot of strokes.” That’s a tough call because it was such a cool family experience.
6. I’m aghast over the new-found popularity of NBA 2K. I apologize to my three sons for ever yelling at them to get off their screens and quit playing video games. The league actually conducted a draft, and the Dallas Mavericks picked a 23-year-old from his mother’s basement in Cleveland with the first pick last Wednesday. Well, I’m glad the Mavs are good at something. Players in this league actually get paid $35,000 for six months with free housing and other benefits. I imagine it’s only a matter of time until one of these gamers goes on the disabled list with finger cramps.
7. Did you see the list of the highest-paid public employees in each state recently, based on 2017 salary figures? Our own Tom Herman came in ranked tied for sixth at $5 million. Go better than 7-6 next fall, and I’ve got to believe he’ll race past No. 5 Scott Frost of Nebraska. Nowhere on the list of the top 20 was a single university president. … Why doesn’t Steve Spurrier just retire than coaching yet another rebel football league, said the seasoned columnist to the seasoned coach. Because he loves it, obviously. Keep that visor on forever, Ol’ Ball Coach.
8. Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to former Longhorns wideout Herkie Walls.
9. No movie, but catching up with “Billions” on Netflix, which is a terrific series. I give it nine ducks.
10. Crazy prediction: Spieth will top Woods’ 14 major golf championships.
BOHLS, GOLDEN PODCAST
Catch columnists Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden during their weekly “On Second Thought” podcasts, which pop up on Thursdays.
HOW CRAZY WAS HE?
Looking back at Kirk’s crazy prediction from April 12, 2017 — that Sergio Garcia would win the 2017 British Open. The Masters champion ended up tied for 37th at Royal Birkdale.