by John Walters
PCH: The Fogo Island Inn
It was a memorable Memorial Day for Tiger Woods, as the 14-time major winner was picked up for a DUI at around 3 a.m. No one knows what Tiger’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) was because he never blew, and then he doubled down by releasing a statement that reads, in part, “I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved. What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. I didn’t realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly.”
Is that a playable lie?
*UPDATE: He blew a 0.00, according to the police report. It was the meds.
I don’t know if you tuned in to SportsCenter, or was it Baseball Tonight, last evening, but they Zapruder-filmed the hell out of this event. Why can’t we just enjoy a good old-fashioned basebrawl without an iso-cam on Buster Olney not reacting?
Anyway, it’s hard not to love Jeff Samardzija and teammate Michael Morse inadvertently colliding head-on and dropping at 90 degrees to the main participants, Bryce Harper and Hunter Strickland. Good stuff, baseball.
3. The World’s Tallest Midget
A fond farewell to Frank Deford, who passed away in Key West yesterday at the age of 78. Like so many people who would enter the sportswriting business, I had the opportunity to meet him and I gushed—I was barely 23 and had just been hired at the same entry-level job he had accepted at Sports Illustrated 27 years earlier—about how he was my favorite sportswriter yada yada yada and he could not have been more kind or gracious about it. That’s who Frank Deford was.
I really love this tribute from fellow SI senior writer, fellow Princeton alum and fellow man of humanity Alex Wolff. The quote from everyone’s idea of SI’s true saint, Gabe Miller, rings true: “He always wrote as if he were shooting for something.” That was Deford and that’s Steve Rushin. The standard they held/hold themselves to is far more difficult to attain than anything of which an editor could impose.
Deford’s peak years, that sweet spot from about 1967 to 1985, were also Sports Illustrated‘s. After the first Super Bowl but before the advent of ESPN. This was an age when America really, really became obsessed with sports and there was no national media outlet designed exclusively to cover it except SI. Men like Deford, Roy Blount, Jr., Dan Jenkins and Curry Kirkpatrick were household names for those of us who were obsessed with sports. They lived glamorous lives, at least from my perspective, and they were blessed with so much talent. Their stories were ripe with humor, pathos, insight and—get this—reportage.
It was, if not the golden age of sportswriting, the golden age of SI. And the 6’4″ Deford, literally and figuratively, was the giant in that room.
4. Is Jared On His Way Out?
It’s going to be really interesting when Donald Trump finally comes to the moment when he realizes he must punt his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to save his presidency. But it is a presidency that is already doomed, so what’s the use? Some terrific reporting here by the usual suspects and a worth-our-time editorial by David Brooks.
5. An Immigrant Story
Your author and his Kazakhstani co-worker (hoodie, a gift from my good friends Mike and Katie, included)
At the cookoutateria where I work weekends during the warm months (and have most every summer regularly since 2009), we have a sweet, guileless new server from Kazakhtsan named Sofia (her actual name is Guzal but as everyone kept mispronouncing it, she settled on Sofia). Sofia and I bonded early in the season when I saw that she was cold (my internal temperature always runs about seven degrees warmer than the average person for reasons I don’t understand: I’m a perpetual hot flash) and I lent her my hoodie for the day. Ever since then, we’ve been close. What I love about Sofia is that she takes nothing as an entitlement and is genuinely grateful just to have a job (you can make the Borat jokes on your own).
Two Sundays ago, after she learned I’d written a book, Sofia asked if she could see it. So that Sunday morning I gave her a copy of my book about the UConn Huskies. “In Kazakhstan, book is the nicest present you can give someone,” Sofia said. “Because you are giving them knowledge.”
Anyway, Sofia takes the book and places it in her backpack. That day the weather was sublime and our spacious open-air restaurant was packed to the gills. I had 12 tables myself and was running around all day as if the place was on fire. I never had time to look around or notice anything outside my section. Meanwhile, Sofia, who speaks Russian, had the chance to wait on an elder Russian couple and their daughter in her thirties.
When Sofia recognized their accent, she decided it would be easier to converse in Russian. And as her diners became familiar with Sofia, the mom informed Sofia that their daughter was a professional basketball player. And Sofia, not really knowing who Svetlana Abrosimova was, asked to take a photo with her.
Svetlana and Sofia, with the Hudson River behind them
And then the next day Sofia started reading my book and sent me a text. Amazing world, eh? For those who read the book, you’ll know that Svetlana is one of my favorite people and yet another shining example of how immigrants are some of the best Americans you’ll ever meet.
Svetlana, next time you’re in town, feel free to stop by again.
Reeling In The Years
Holy Jell-o Pudding, grandma! There’s Bill Cosby introducing thinking man’s rockers Steely Dan in this classic 1973 video. The song shot to No. 11 on the Billboard charts in 1973.
Nationals at Giants
10 p.m. ESPN
Alright, who’s getting beaned tonight?