Sports Outside the Beltway

Former US Open Champ Orville ‘Sarge’ Moody dead at 74

Virtually unknown, Moody’s win at the 1969 played at the Champions GC in Houston Texas ranks as one of my most stunning out of nowhere wins in USGA history. Moody never won again on the PGA Tour, but had a highly successful career on the senior tour. If I recall right, Moody was never even a decent putter. When he came out on the Senior tour, a daughter of Orville’s worked as his caddy and helped her father with putting. Moody won 11 Senior tour events including the 1989 US Senior Open. I used to watch the Seniors in those days, and remember Moody well. Including his teaming with Bruce Crampton in the Legends of Golf team tournament. The AP article reports none of us, or that Moody had a stroke recently or that he was 1969 PGA Player of the Year. Why am I not paid to write about pro golf instead of the know nothing error prone hacks employed by Associated Press? RIP Sarge.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Orville Moody, the U.S. Army veteran who won the 1969 U.S. Open for his only PGA Tour title, died Friday. He was 74.


NY Jets release QB Chad Pennington

This in order to make salary cap space for recently acquired Brett Favre. From ESPN-

The Jets released Pennington at 4 p.m. Thursday to clear salary-cap space for Brett Favre’s arrival, but a half dozen teams already have contacted Pennington’s agent, Tom Condon, to express interest in signing the eight-year NFL veteran, a source told

The source also said Pennington probably wouldn’t find a new home for two or three days because the interested clubs are busy with preseason games.

Pennington wasn’t a bad QB during his Jet days, but he was considered a disappointment. The Jets have been looking for the next Joe Namath for over 30 years.

Note- The Jets were my favorite team while growing up in New York and after my move to Florida. After leaving the Navy in 1989, I gradually changed allegiance to my local team, the Miami Dolphins.

Pennington, who is 32 years of age, was comeback player of the year in 2006. So his services are likely to be sought by other NFL teams.

One of the teams is the Miami Dolphins, who open their preseason Saturday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

One columnist at the Palm Beach Post has already written how Miami should try to sign Pennington. My feelings are pretty mixed. The Dolphins have spent the last four years seeking QB solutions. AJ Feeley, Daunte Culpepper, Cleo Lemon, Trent Green, Joey Harrington and Josh McCown, are other quarterbacks brought in by Miami to fill in at QB. We know how all of them turned out with the exception of McCown who has yet to play a down. Pennington may lead Miami to 5 wins in 2008, instead of 4 with McCown and Company. Bottom line- Chad Pennington will be just another stop gap QB patch job by the Dolphins. One that is not likely to be any more successful than those already tried.


Brett Favre Traded to New York Jets

You won\'t see him in one of these againOur long national nightmare is over: Brett Favre is a New York Jet.

The Brett Favre era in Green Bay officially came to an end late Wednesday night as the legendary longtime Packers quarterback was traded to the New York Jets, the Packers announced.

The exact compensation wasn’t immediately available, but it is believed to be a fourth-round draft pick that increases in value depending on how the Jets perform in the 2008 season.

According to the NFL Network, if Favre takes 50 percent of total snaps with the Jets in 2008, the fourth-rounder becomes a third-round pick. If he gets 70 percent of the snaps and the Jets make the playoffs, it becomes a second-round pick; and if he gets 80 percent of snaps and the Jets make the Super Bowl, it becomes a first-round pick.

That strikes me as a fair deal.  A high draft pick is a lot to pay for a player, even a future first ballot Hall of Fame quarterback, on his last legs.  Then again, it only becomes a first day pick if the Jets, who were 4-12 last season, make it to the playoffs.  Like ESPN’s John Clayton, I’m skeptical that Favre can do that much by himself.

Favre alone isn’t going to cut the gap between the Jets and the New England Patriots. The Patriots have Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Bill Belichick, a great team and the easiest schedule in the league. Favre has only the satisfaction that he’s out of Green Bay.

Order yours today!Still, the Jets have upgraded themselves, for a season at least, at the most important position in team sports.  Matt Williamson of Scouts, Inc. thinks they  “should make a very strong push for a wild-card spot with Favre at the helm.” And they’ll sell more season tickets and a bunch of merchandise.  (You can order your Brett Favre Jets replica jersey here.  Demand is apparently rather high, or the Jets’ server is really poor, as the page isn’t loading even though it’s just 7:30 in the morning.)

And, no, the Jets can’t trade Favre to the Vikings.

The NFL Network also is reporting that the Packers took great pains to ensure that Favre would not be traded to the Vikings by inserting a “poison pill” in the deal. If Favre were to be traded to Minnesota, New York would have to surrender three first-round picks to Green Bay.

No player, let alone an old one, is worth three first rounders.


PGA Championship starts today

156 players will be teeing it up at the Oakland Hills Country Club outside of Detroit Michigan. Defending champion Tiger Woods is not in the field due to recent knee surgery.

I’m just out of the hospital and less than a week from having heart surgery. So I’m not really up to a detailed preview. Oakland Hills has been a major championship venue since the 1920′s. Winners at the course include all-time greats, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player. The next tier of winners include David Graham, Gene Littler, and Ralph Guldahl. That’s an accomplished group of winners, but Oakland Hills has seen its share of surprises too. Cyril Walker, Andy North, and Steve Jones. Jones was a better golfer than his win total indicates, mainly because he couldn’t stay healthy for long. I’m a little surprised Oakland Hills has never hosted a Women’s event.

Who will win this week? Here are two picks- Boo Weekly and KJ Choi. Both have won in 2008 and are having solid years overall. I think the winner Sunday will be someone without a prior major championship triumph. Nor will it be one of the A List favorites, like Phil Mickelson, Anthony Kim, Padrig Harrington, Sergio Garcia etc etc. Something tells me we will have a journeyman winner, and the PGA has had a recent history of these. Wayne Grady, Jeff Sluman, and Rich Beem to name a few. A AP article yesterday focused on the PGA’s tendency for first time major champions.

This is the last golf major for all the tours in 2008. The Ryder Slaughter Cup which is to take place next month, while interesting, doesn’t have the same allure as any of Golf’s Grand Slam events. Either Men or Women.


The Wicked Witch is dead- Florida Marlins finally beat Jamie Moyer

He was 10-0 lifetime versus Florida before last night’s game.

Whether it was simply the law of averages catching up or a 45-year-old pitcher struggling on a hot night, Moyer lost to the Marlins 8-2 Tuesday after having won all of his previous 10 starts against the Marlins.

“It was bound to happen,” Moyer said. “The way I look at it, I beat myself tonight.”

And for the Marlins – who beat Moyer for the first time in four starts this season – their win in front of a sold-out crowd of 44,896 at Citizens Bank Park couldn’t have come at a better time.

Backed by Josh Johnson’s strong start and Jeremy Hermida’s four RBI, the Marlins started an important road trip by moving to within 11/2 games of first-place Philadelphia in the National League East.

It is simply amazing Florida is contending this year. I would have sworn they would lose 90 at least.

As for Moyer, some pitchers have certain team’s numbers. Tom Seaver used to clobber the San Diego Padres, on the other hand Al Oliver used to clobber Seaver. As Moyer said, the Marlins were bound to beat him eventually.


Mike Hampton wins his first ML game since 2005

The veteran southpaw helped his own cause with a RBI double. From AP-

SAN FRANCISCO – Mike Hampton earned his first victory in nearly three years and hit an RBI double, leading the Atlanta Braves past the San Francisco Giants 11-4 on Tuesday night.

The 35-year-old Hampton had to feel great about this outing: He hadn’t won since Aug. 14, 2005, for the Braves against Arizona — 1,087 days earlier. And this was just his third start of 2008 after he returned July 26 following a nearly three-year absence in which the two-time All-Star underwent two major surgeries on his left elbow.

This season, he was sidelined by both a strained chest muscle and an injured groin.

Hampton (1-0) allowed four hits and two runs in seven innings and improved to 14-4 in 25 career appearances against the Giants with his first win over them since May 11, 2003, which also was his last start versus San Francisco. He lowered his ERA from 10.00 to 6.75.

Most ML pitchers will win when their team gives them eleven runs.

Hampton was a good MLB pitcher but his career problems date back to when signed with the Colorado Rockies after the 2000 season. After leaving Colorado, he had one good year in Atlanta, and one not so good. At 36 years of age, I don’t expect Hampton to make a comeback even to the 03-04 level of his career.

Mike Hampton has always been a good hitting pitcher. He has a lifetime .243 BA and 15 career homeruns. In my Startournaments playing days, I frequently used Hampton as a pinch hitter.


Skip Caray, Voice of the Braves, Dies

Longtime Atlanta Braves announcer Skip Caray died in his sleep Sunday. He had been suffering from myriad health problems the last couple of years. Tim Tucker eulogizes him for the AJC:

Johnny Crawford/ Oldest son Chip, who rejoined the Braves broadcast lineup in 2005, often working with the man he called \'my dad and my hero.\' Skip Caray, who was in his 33rd year calling games for the Braves died Sunday.Skip Caray made the call when the Atlanta Braves won the World Series in 1995: “Yes! Yes! Yes! The Atlanta Braves have given you a championship! Listen to this crowd!”

He made the call when Sid Bream scored on Francisco Cabrera’s pinch-hit to win the National League Championship Series for the Braves in 1992: “Here comes Bream! Here’s the throw to the plate! He iiiiiiiisssssssss … safe! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win! … Braves win!”
And he made the call in the late innings of a lousy game in the lost season of 1979: “You have our permission to turn off the TV and go to bed now … as long as you promise to patronize our sponsors.”

Harry Christopher “Skip” Caray Jr. moved from St. Louis to Atlanta in the 1960s partly to escape the professional shadow of his father, the iconic and inimitable baseball broadcaster Harry Caray. Over the next four decades, with a style very much his own, Skip Caray became as much the voice of baseball in the Southeast as his father had been in the Midwest.

Caray died in his sleep Sunday at his Atlanta home, the Braves announced. He was 68.

“I got to talk to him yesterday and I told him I loved him and he started laughing because I was stuck in New York,” said Chip Caray, who flew from New York to Atlanta after he got the news on Sunday, rather than joining the Braves in San Francisco. “It was our own private little joke. I at least got to tell him I loved him which was the last thing I said to him, so I’m grateful for that.”

Owing to the combination of having moved outside the Deep South just as the Braves went from a national team to a regional one and having gotten married, I watch hardly any Braves games these days. For about a decade, though, I had Caray and the rest of the TBS crew in my living room for two to three hours 150-odd nights a year during a great era for the Braves. Even though I never met the man, I felt like I knew him well.

Caray was the most controversial of the Braves announcers, as he was the most opinionated and stylized. You either loved Skip or you hated him. I was firmly in the former camp.

Carroll Rogers reports on the reactions of the Braves:

News of Skip Caray’s passing hit the Braves family hard — his longtime broadcast partner, and players who identified this organization with Caray long before they ever became a part of it, even the most veteran of players, Tom Glavine, Chipper Jones and John Smoltz.

Smoltz and Caray’s broadcast partner Pete Van Wieren were on the Braves’ charter flight to San Francisco when they learned of Caray’s death. “It’s a sad day,” Smoltz said. “There are no words. Sad doesn’t do it justice. I will always remember Skip for his humor and his ability to go about life the way he did. I gained so much respect for what he did and how long he did and how he did.”

Jones was at home with his family on Sunday evening when he was informed. “I figured Skip Caray is as much a part of Atlanta Braves baseball as any of us,” said Jones, who will rejoin the team in Arizona later this week. “We all grew up listening to Skip, whether it be on TV or radio. Any time the guys on ESPN imitate [you] calling the highlights, you’re pretty much a legend. From a fan’s standpoint, he’s going to be a huge loss for them because he relayed the games to fans for so long.”

The loss transcends the game for players. Jones said his friendship with Caray was formed over long charter flights and daily visits in the clubhouse. “He always made a note to come by my locker and shake my hand, ask me how I was doing, how the family was, how my kids were,” Jones said. “Personally over the last 15, 16, 17 years, I haven’t gotten his play-by-play on the radio or TV, but I had a lot of plane flight conversations with him. I really respected him, as well as the whole Caray family. They have a pretty good legacy working over there. It’s a sad day for Braves baseball.”

Said manager Bobby Cox: “This was completely unexpected and is a complete loss. I had just spoken with Skip this week when we did the radio show and I didn’t know he wasn’t feeling well. He seemed in his normal good spirits. We’ve all lost a very good friend. For me, he was a good buddy — at the park and away from the park. We always had a lot of great laughs. He will be very sorely missed.”

Fans related so well to Caray, Van Wieren said, because he told it like it was, even if he couched it in humor. “But behind the humor there was an honesty and a commitment to telling it like he believed it to be that never, ever varied,” Van Wieren said. “If he didn’t like it that a game was two minutes late getting started, everybody knew about it. If he had an opinion on a player, he said it. And he had a way of saying it that was sometimes humorous. The way he could take a bad ball game, in some of those bad years especially, and turn it into a fun broadcast, whether it was by talking about something in the game or whether it was talking about something that didn’t have anything to do with the game, maybe it was a movie that was coming up after the game or maybe it was a restaurant that he’d gone to. It could have been anything. He was just a very entertaining broadcaster and a very good one. The game was still the most important thing, but if game was decided by the fourth or fifth inning, people would still watch the rest of the game just to hear what he had to say about things. That’s a very, very unique ability.”

AJC staff writers compiled other reactions, including the star of the 1980s Braves.

“I knew that he had been battling some health issues, but I was just really shocked and saddened when I got the e-mail,” former Braves star Dale Murphy said upon receiving the news that longtime Braves broadcaster Skip Caray died Sunday at his Atlanta home. “And I was grateful for the many years I was able to be with Skip from 1976 until 1990. Skip saw the funny side of things and enjoyed making people laugh when we weren’t giving them too much to smile about during some of those years that I was with the Braves.”

Mark Bradley:

Skip Caray was to Atlanta professional sports what Larry Munson is to the Georgia Bulldogs — the voice and the conscience, the history and the hilarity. Skip told us what was happening, yes, but Skip also told us what Skip made of what was happening, and over the course of four decades Skip’s prism became ours.

He came here with the Hawks, and he became part of our extended family — a crusty uncle, if you will — through his work with the Braves. The SuperStation beamed his imperfect voice from sea to shining sea, and though there were always others alongside — the Professor and Ernie at the beginning, Don and Joe later on — Skip was the one we thought we knew best. He was the funny one, the snarky one. He was Harry Caray’s son and Chip Caray’s dad, but somehow he was always just Skip.

As Munson is to worry, Skip was to grousing. He wasn’t from the neo-announcer’s school of happy talk. Skip hated the Wave and the Infield-Fly Rule and said as much at every opportunity. When he did a call-in show on WSB in the ’80s, he suffered clever callers only grudgingly and the bozos not at all. But because he was Skip, we didn’t much mind.

Indeed, that was the beauty (and the incongruity) of Skip Caray: In an industry predicated on likeability, he really didn’t care if you liked him or not. He said what he thought — near the end of a lopsided game, he famously intoned: “If you promise to patronize our sponsors, you have permission to go walk the dog” — and if he happened to ruffle the tender sensibilities of listeners or management … well, tough.

It’s cliche but true: We’ll never see his like again.

RELATED ON OTB:  Fathers Day for the Carays – A Special Day at the Park


John Mark Stallings Dead at 46

John Mark Stallings with dad Gene StallingsJohn Mark Stallings, the son of former Alabama head football coach Gene Stallings, died Saturday morningat the age of 46.  Gentry Estes of the Mobile Press-Register notes that, “He suffered from Down syndrome, and became an unforgettable part of the Crimson Tide’s football family during his dad’s successful tenure in the 1990s.”

Mal Moore, Alabama’s athletics director, issued a statement on behalf of the ‘Bama family:

“I’ve known John Mark Stallings his entire life,” Moore said. “I want to extend my deepest sympathy to Coach Stallings, Ruth Ann and the entire Stallings family. For someone who never played or coached a game, I think John Mark may have touched more Alabama fans than any other person ever did. I would like to thank the Stallings family for sharing their love for John Mark with all of us.”

John Mark was indeed a fixture at the Capstone during his dad’s too-short tenure there.  He’ll be missed and all of Bama Nation’s hearts go out to the Stallings family.


Favre Unretires, Rejoins Packers Tomorrow

Brett Favre will be reinstated and report to training camp with the Green Bay Packers Monday.

The NFL announced the move Sunday after commissioner Roger Goodell had held off on granting Favre’s request for reinstatement for nearly a week, hoping Favre and the team could resolve their standoff. By reinstating Favre, Goodell is following through on a recent promise to force action.  The reinstatement will become effective at 1 p.m. EDT on Monday.

Favre’s agent, James “Bus” Cook, confirmed that Favre plans to fly to Green Bay on Sunday and report to the Packers on Monday.  “That’s the plan,” Cook said in an e-mail to The Associated Press on Sunday.

Favre could be on the field as early as Tuesday.

Favre retired in March but has been having second thoughts. Team officials have insisted they are moving on with Aaron Rodgers, though, causing tensions to rise between Favre and the team.

It is not clear whether Favre’s reinstatement indicates that he has rejected a long-term, multimillion-dollar marketing agreement offered by the team. Reinstatement could force the Packers to increase their offer to Favre in hopes that he remains retired and avoids turning their training camp into a media circus this week.

Team officials publicly have ruled out releasing Favre, fearing he would immediately sign with division rival Minnesota. The Packers could still also trade him.

The team has a scrimmage at Lambeau Field on Sunday night, then does not have another scheduled public practice until Tuesday morning. Favre’s arrival in training camp could cause a major disruption to the team, although he would not likely begin practicing with the Packers right away.  Coach Mike McCarthy has said the Packers have a plan in place should Favre report to camp. He first would have to pass a physical exam and a conditioning test, then would likely be limited to individual drills.

Goodell told the NFL Network on Saturday that he thinks the situation has lingered long enough.  “I think we have to force it,” Goodell said. “I think it’s come to the point where there need to be some decisions made on behalf of the Packers, on behalf of Brett, on behalf of all the fans.”

Truly a bizarre spectacle although, frankly, not one that obviously required Goodell’s intervention. Favre is under contract with the Packers and they retain his rights.


Visitors Since Feb. 4, 2003

All original content copyright 2003-2008 by OTB Media. All rights reserved.