Saturday, April 13, 2013

A kid at the Masters, a stupid baseball fight and NASCAR looks at race names

From where I sit it looks like one man decided to throw his weight around and ended up looking like a bully.

John Paramor is a rules official at the Masters this weekend. He works on the European Tour, and after his stunt on Friday, may see less work. Paramor selected the 17th hole to enforce a seldom cited rule of a one stroke penalty for slow play. At 14-years-old Guan Tianlang of China is the youngest player to ever qualify for the Masters having won the Asia-Pacific Amateur. Guan had been warned earlier in his round about the speed of his play, so in that aspect Paramor was justified. However, given the age of the player and windy conditions, it seems a needless time to make the first recorded slow play penalty in tournament history. It's also is worth mentioning the number of pros coming to Guan's defence, including Lee Westwood and Ben Crenshaw. In a stroke of good fortune for everyone Guan made the cut by a single shot. Paramor was technically correct in his ruling, but still acted like a jerk.

Carlos Quentin is set to pick up an 8 game suspension for his idiotic actions after instigating a massive brawl between the San Diego Padres and LA Dodgers. 

The fight left Dodgers ace Zach Greinke with a broken collar bone and out of action for 8 weeks. Greinke hit Quentin with a 3-2 pitch in the 6th inning of a one run game on Thursday night. Yes, the two of them have a history, that was the 3rd time Quentin had been plunked by Greinke. But, both of them over-reacted. Quentin could have just taken his base, happy to get on late in a close game. Greinke could have kept his big yap shut and not challenged Quentin. Then after the game Quentin was confronted by the Dodgers' Matt Kemp, proving acting like an idiot isn't limited to on-field actions. There is only one positive to come from all this stupidity. Guaranteed sell-outs for every Padres-Dodgers game.

“What's in a name? that which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet...” That's Shakespeare. The NRA 500. That's bad timing.

As recently as last year, naming a NASCAR race after the National Rifle Association would hardly raise eyebrows. However, after the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary priorities changed. Now the American government is wrestling with new gun laws with a lot of pressure from the White House. I don't want to wade into that debate. My point is simply that I'm not surprised. Disappointed, but not surprised. In most forms of racing the main negotiation is between the promoter and sponsor, the governing body has little to do with the race name. Take a look at how long it took all forms of racing to drop cigarette sponsorship. Governments had to take action before changes were made. I remember the Winston Cup...Marlboro as the main sponsor for Ferrari in Formula 1...Players Racing in CART. NASCAR has promised to review their approval process for naming races. Good plan, but it does come a bit late. I think Formula 1 world champion, and noted smart-ass, Keke Rosberg put it best, “In the end, we're all whores - if the money's right, we'll do our stuff for anyone."

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

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