It Is Still Baseball Season

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Hi everyone, my name is Joe and I’m a Cub fan. (everyone) Hi Joe.

Photo Credit: USA Today

Photo Credit: USA Today

By now you are all familiar with the history. 107 years without a World Series championship. The black cat. The billy goat. (Which is an awesome Chicago tavern if you are ever in town)

Bartman. Poor kid. It wasn’t his fault. Get over it Cubs fans. The error on the double play ball by Alex Gonzalez opened the floodgates on that chilly October night. And Mark Prior’s weak mental makeup. [Read more…]

Baseball Thoughts Entering the 2015 Playoffs (or how the Cubs can win the World Series)

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

I’m sitting in the ProjectShanks.com home office in Longview, Texas, six feet to the left of my slave-driving boss, Chris Stuckey. Talk about pressure.

But I surge ahead, determined to transfer these thoughts I have from my brain to keyboard, whether a thousand miles away at home, or at headquarters.

Photo Credit: USA Today

Photo Credit: USA Today

In case you haven’t noticed, the Cubs have the third best record in baseball. It is typical, that in such a case, the two better records belong to teams in their own NL Central Division; the Cardinals and Pirates. With only a couple of games this weekend to settle the dust and seal the postseason awards, the National League playoffs are set. The Cubs and Pirates will play the one game wild card game in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, TBS the dutiful portrayer of the game. And don’t the playoffs just scream TBS? They broadcast an excuse me game every now and again, I was surprised to find late in the season that Ted Turner’s network even continued to broadcast baseball, with the superstations TBS and WGN dumping the local team coverage in the last few years, they being the Braves and Cubs. But that’s a conversation for a different column. [Read more…]

Birdies & Bogeys: 2015 PGA Championship Final Round Recap

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Welcome to my final round coverage of the 2015 PGA Championship, otherwise known as the coronation of Jason Day.

The young Australian began the Day with a two-shot lead, which he never relinquished. He fended off challenges from South African Branden Grace, Englishman Justin Rose and his Sunday playing partner, Jordan Spieth. [Read more…]

Birdies & Bogeys: 2015 PGA Championship Third Round Recap

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

You know how pressure usually grips leaders of a golf tournament, leading to off-line shots and missed short putts? And you know how afternoons in golf tournaments lead to worse scores because of the early players leaving spike marks, along with the natural growth of grass over the course of a day? Well, at Whistling Straits, site of the 2015 PGA Championship, not so much.

At a venue that is so eye catching that you would think it would distract players as the wind their way around the course, they seem impervious to the gorgeous views as they throw darts at the welcoming greens.

South African Brenden Grace fired an 8 under par 64, setting the pace for the leaders, Aussies Matt Jones and Jason Day. [Read more…]

Birdies & Bogeys: 2015 PGA Championship Second Round Recap

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

The second round of the 2015 PGA Championship was suspended by rain and lightning late Friday afternoon, with several group left to complete play when the horn sounded.

That’s okay, most of the good stuff happened earlier.

Photo Credit: AP

Photo Credit: AP

Ten golfers lurk within three shots of the lead near the halfway point of the tournament. Australian and noted vertigo sufferer Jason Day shares the lead at -9 with countryman Matt Jones, with both still on the course. Second round play will resume Saturday morning prior to the beginning of Saturday’s moving day. [Read more…]

2015 PGA Championship First Round Coverage

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Photo Credit: USA Today

Photo Credit: USA Today

A new perspective is always a good way to refresh the body and soul. So in lieu of the usual style that I use when describing one of the four major golf tournaments each year, birdies and bogeys, my take on this year’s first round of the PGA Championship will be from a decidedly more personal point of view. Because for the first time in the years I have been following golf, numerous indeed, I had the opportunity yesterday to attend the festivities at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin. Occasionally there is a payoff for suffering interminable winters here in the Midwest.

One of the first discoveries on makes upon arrival to Whistling Straits, is it isn’t so much a day in the sun, as it  is an endurance test. For players AND spectators. Very hilly with rough terrain along the shores of Lake Michigan in the East Central part of Wisconsin, the plat of land architect Pete Dye transformed into one of golfs sternest tests, is stunningly beautiful. Ribbons of fairways lined by hazards and with the lake offering vistas only available in these parts greet players and patrons.

I imagine that the views are similar at Chambers Bay in Washington, site of the just past US Open. But you know what? When you are standing on the shore of either Lake Michigan or the Pacific Ocean, you cannot tell the difference. But you know that, so I will just leave it there. Both large bodies of water where the opposite shore can’t be seen. Believe me, the view is spectacular. Television coverage does not do it justice. You cannot see the contours of the land or the breathtaking nature of the views along the lake.

One other thing apparent right away, is the parking lots are a LONG WAY from the main golf course entrances. This isn’t like pulling up to the lot at Texas Stadium, or whatever your ballpark of choice is. Be prepared for at least a mile long hike once the car is parked.

OK, back to golf.

The early wave of players beat the worst of the gusty winds, with the morning stroke average much below the afternoon wave, to combine for a field-wide average of 74 on the par 72 track. Perennial fast starter Dustin Johnson, at the site of his famous grounded club in 2010, led the field after the first round with a 66. Notables such as Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy who each played in the afternoon gale, and yes, Tiger Woods, wallowed around even par. Spieth and McIlroy finished at 1-under 71, while Woods stumbled to a 75.

Physical limitations didn’t allow for the freedom around the course that I would have liked. For that reason, for much of the day, we were parked around the 18th green and first tee. It didn’t allow for easy following of the field, other than the real-time updates to the large scoreboards that dot the course.

Hopefully, my firsthand experience at the golf course will enhance the coverage I can offer you the rest of the tournament. The majors are exciting, different than other tournaments that I’ve attended.

I will have the usual allotments of birdies and bogeys for the last few rounds of this years championship. I hope you take time to follow it.

Enjoy the golf, and I’ll be back later today for a second round recap.

Peace.

NFL Training Camp Brouhahas

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff, Chicago Guru & NFL Writer Extraordinaire

New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith had his jaw broken in two spots today in a locker room fight, in which he was “sucker punched.” Besides being a very Jets occurrence, it continues a proliferation of training camp altercations around the league. Smith is out 6-10 weeks and the player that whacked him, IK Enemkpali, is out of work, waived by the Jets about 30 seconds after the punch.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

And if this is the reaction to Geno Smith who will never be thought of as the second coming of Troy Aikman, imagine the blow-back if it was an actual GOOD quarterback. [Read more…]

Major League Baseball’s Review at the Two-Thirds Point

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Mike-Trout

Major league baseball is at the 2/3 mark of the 2015 season and begs for a review. These are the dog days, heading into mid-August with sellers selling and buyers hoping to rent their way to top of the heap. Re: Toronto Blue Jays. [Read more…]

A Slice of Baseball History

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Excited as always about heading to Wrigley Field for a Cubs game, I make the hour and a half journey via I-90. Cubs and Phillies. Arrieta vs. Hamels. The Cubs are in playoff contention, the Phils own baseball’s worst record. What could go wrong?

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Well, we all know how that worked out.

Having had a day or two to digest the historic game when soon-to-be ex-Philly Cole Hamels twirled the first no-hitter against the Cubs since Sandy Koufax was perfect against them in September of 1965, two things are forefront in my mind. First, if my beloved Cubs are to lose a game that I go to, witnessing history is a pretty good consolation prize. Second, with Philadelphia still dangling Hamels, he came up with a hell of an audition. [Read more…]

British Open Birdies & Bogeys: Final Round Recap

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staffer & Chicago Guru

After four rounds of golf over five days, the 2015 edition of the British Open went to its unique playoff format. Of course it did.

Photo Credit: AP

Photo Credit: AP

American Zach Johnson, Aussie Marc Leishman and South African past champion Louis Oosthuizen finished regulation play tied at -15. Notably absent from the threesome was Jordan Spieth, American wunderkind. [Read more…]

British Open Birdies & Bogeys: Third Round Recap

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

AP Photo/David J. Phillip

AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Sunday was moving day at the British Open, due to the weather delays over the last two days at the Old Course at St. Andrews, hard by the coast of the North Sea. It’s also the one day of the week that Dustin Johnson would like to purge from the calendar. The second round leader went backwards, shooting 3-over 75 on a day when the scoring average for the field was 69, and most of the crowded leaderboard posted scores in the low to mid 60’s. [Read more…]

British Open Second Round Review (Cont.)

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

In golf news, the second round of the 2015 Open is finally in the books. Completed after a nearly 10 1/2 hour delay due to high winds at the Old Course at St. Andrews. More on that in a moment.

The scoreboard on the 18th hole shows that play is suspended due to high winds during the second round of the British Open golf championship on the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland

Here is all you need to know that wasn’t in yesterday’s edition. Dustin Johnson leads by one stroke heading into Sunday’s third round. Yes. SUNDAY’S! Grand Slam searcher Jordan Spieth is five shots back, certainly still in the hunt. Tiger Woods missed the cut by seven strokes. [Read more…]