Deep thoughts, cheap shots & bon mots ...
⏩ If Kevin Durant winds up with the Knicks next season, the assumption is he’ll hook up there with at least one other superstar, possibly Kyrie Irving. You know who would make a great partner-in-crime for Durant in the Big Apple?
Russell Westbrook. He’s under contract with OKC for four more seasons, but who knows? Westbrook has changed his game, both are older and wiser, it could work. Most dynamic and unlikely NYC tandem since
Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight in “Midnight Cowboy.”
⏩ Today’s quiz, and I won’t give you the answer: Which celeb golfer, playing the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am several years ago, was caught illegally moving his ball in the rough and explained to his caddie: “I cheat in business, I cheat on my wife, and I cheat at golf ”?
⏩ That will be a tough double for Kyler Murray if he reports to spring training, then leaves for the NFL combine. Most football players prep for the combine with months of intense training on the specific skills/ drills. Shagging flies in Arizona won’t be a great warm-up.
⏩ The AT&T Pebble Beach ProAm is a gem of a tournament, but with the unwieldiest name anywhere. Why not officially give the event the cool cachet it deserves? Call it The Clambake. Sponsors must get their exposure, I understand that, so the official name would be The Clambake Presented by AT&T.
⏩ “I second that emotion,” croons Bing.
⏩ Frank Robinson had at least two nicknames: The Judge, and Pencils. The Judge because as a player he donned a mop wig and presided over clubhouse kangaroo courts, a bygone baseball tradition. Pencils because he was so self-conscious of his skinny legs that he wore several pairs of sanitary socks.
⏩ How tough was Robinson? His first pro team was Class C Ogden, Utah, where the 18-yearold kid fresh out of McClymonds High had his first exposure to in-your-face racism. Badly shaken, the lad struggled to hit a mere .348, with 83 RBIs in 72 games.
⏩ Clarification: In last week’s Sunday Punch, I noted that Tiger Woods spurned a $3 million appearance fee to play a tourney in Saudi Arabia. That may have created the impression that Woods was a crusader, blowing off the Saudis to protest the ruling family’s recent murder of a journalist (according to U.S. intelligence), and other human rights abuses, as several U.S. golfers did. However, it appears that Woods skipped the Saudi event because the travel would be hard on his back. He stayed home in Florida and played golf with President
Trump, who maintains cordial relations with the Saudi royal family.
⏩ The proposed rule that a relief pitcher must face at least three batters? That would lead to an epidemic of one-day arm “injuries” and some wonderful acting by pitchers.
⏩ The 76ers have retired Moses Malone’s number 2. No other player ever made himself so at home in the violent, chaotic mosh pit under the boards. Best job description ever was Moses breaking it down in a TV commercial: “Mostly I goes to the rack.”