Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Wells Fargo Update

Regular readers of the FGR know that I live in Baltimore a/k/a "Charm City", "The City that Reads" and "The Greatest City in America" (that one always draws a condescending snort from my New York friends). Actually, about nine years ago the FGW and I fled moved out of downtown Baltimore to one of its many bordering suburbs where people can watch the local news with less fear of being on the local news. Unfortunately, there is a fair amount of truth in the way Baltimore is portrayed in shows and movies like The Corner (drugs), Homicide: Life on the Street (murder), The Wire (drugs, murder, corruption and a lack of journalistic integrity) and of course the most extreme example, The Sum of All Fears (nuclear winter though, that hasn't actually happened . . . yet).* But I can handle all of that with the help of a high end home security system and enough city experience to know that you walk fast, don't make eye contact, avoid dark alleys and never flip-off the guy in the Lexus with the gold trim.

I'd like to think they didn't design
it that way but you never know.
What I can't handle is living in a town where the only sports topics that generate any interest whatsoever are (in order), (1) the Ravens, (2) the Orioles, (3) lacrosse, (4) Preakness and (5) Michael Phelps. Notice I didn't list football and baseball first and second because, as I have noted in the past, most Ravens' fans couldn't name the starting quarterbacks of seven other NFL teams. (Oh come on, you've got Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, The Other Manning, Tim Tebow and then those two guys who just got drafted, Sid Luckman and Reggie Jackson's grandson. There, that's seven). You may find this hard to believe unless you live here, but you could actually make a strong case that the Orioles should be No. 1 on that list despite their recent history of ineptitude. We're not even 1/5th of the way through the season and the fact that the Orioles have the best record in baseball has fans acting like a bunch of guys who were just rescued by a cruise ship full of porn stars after 14 years on a desert island.

Careful hon. Sometimes the desert
island is safer than the cruise ship.
What does all of this have to do with the Wells Fargo Championship? Well, as luck would have it, the Orioles are broadcast on Sundays by the local CBS affiliate, WJZ, so even though there are probably 50+ channels airing sports, we don't see any golf until the final out of the O's game is recorded. This often means that the golf coverage that starts at 3:00 for everyone else isn't scheduled to start until 4:30 for us which allows three interminable hours for the completion of a baseball game. If I ever get to the point where I have nothing better to do on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in May (when the games are almost meaningless) than watch three hours of baseball on T.V., you have my permission to reenact this scene in my living room - "The Untouchables". (By the way, if you were seated at that table and, at 1:18 of that clip, you didn't see the expression on Capone's face change and realize it was time to fake a heart attack, then you deserved what was coming).

"Two things. You take out the
trash and empty the dishwasher."
So there I was on Sunday at 4:30, cold beer in hand and ready to watch what was setting-up to be one of the best finishes of the PGA season featuring a couple of its most compelling players (Fowler and McIlroy) on one of its best courses (Quail Hollow). Making this moment even more savorous for me was the fact that I had just been home alone with the kids for two days AND spent the previous hour and a half driving around neighborhoods trying to pick a paint color for our house.** By the time I sat down, all of my debts had been paid and it was one of those rare moments of adulthood when you feel like Marsellus Wallace just looked at you and said, "yeah . . . we cool."

"So here we go, two outs in the top of the 7th and the Orioles have the go ahead run on 3rd base." NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! Three hours to play less than six and half innings?!? Even though the O's scored the go ahead run on a Mark Reynolds' double (which I was actually more excited about than I would have anticipated), I knew the game was going extra innings . . . which it did. Seventeen of them to be exact. By the time they were done, the playoff at Quail Hollow was over, my beer was warm and I was hot. The only time I can remember being more irate in this situation was when they preempted the golf for snow storm coverage so, instead of getting a brief reprieve from feeling snowbound in Baltimore by watching Phil Mickelson at Pebble Beach, we were treated to Rob Roblin sitting in a f---ing lawn chair in the snow . . . are you f---ing kidding me!?!?! (Local News at its Finest). So there's your Wells Fargo Update. I hope you enjoyed reading it more than I enjoyed not watching the goddamn tournament.      

Endnotes

* The Sum of All Fears is based on a book by Tom Clancy*** in which terrorists unsuccessfully try to blow-up the Super Bowl in Denver with a nuclear bomb that malfunctions. When the book was made into a movie, however, the writer and director decided they needed to go all the way and actually detonate the bomb at a game which led to the following discussion:

Producer: "We can't blow-up Denver, everyone loves Denver. Is there a city with a football stadium we can use that no one would mind seeing blown off the map?"

"It's not as bad as we originally thought.
It turns out the target is Baltimore."
Director: "Hmmm . . . Detroit?"

Producer:  "No, they've got the car thing and Motown."

Director: "Oakland?"

Producer: "Better . . . but San Francisco would take some collateral damage so that won't work. Remember, they only threatened to gas San Francisco in The Rock. You knew they were never going to do it."

Director:  "I know. Baltimore!"

Producer: "They have a football stadium?"

** If you've never done this, it's just like trying to pick paint colors for rooms in your house but while standing in rooms of other people's houses. Only you're not standing, you're driving so it's really like trying to pick paint colors for rooms in your house while running through other people's houses. We added to the enjoyment factor by doing it with three kids in the backseat propelling the experience to the top of the list of times we should've ponied-up for a babysitter but didn't. After an hour of agreeing to almost every color combination I saw and the FGW saying "I don't know, maybe", I finally took a stand against the color green at which point she said "I think green could be really nice, you just have to picture it, we could have a different shade of green trim and we could do the shutters in . . . " That's when I blacked-out and drifted into a telephone pole.

*** (You're damn right I'm going to endnote an endnote). I used to occupy the endless customer-free hours at the golf store where I worked**** by reading Tom Clancy books. One day I was reading The Sum of All Fears when a guy walked-in looking for some birthday gifts for his wife. I spent a few minutes peddling the useless golf gadgets that non-golfers like to buy for golfers (raise your hand if you have not received a ball retriever) and then went back to the counter to read my book. When he came up to pay, we had the following exchange:

"Hey dumbass, my picture
is on the back cover."
Customer: "How do you like that book?"

Me: "It's OK. Kind of slow. Definitely not as good as his other ones."

Customer: "Don't worry, it picks-up towards the end. Let me borrow your pen . . . what's your name?"

And with that, Tom Clancy signed my book, thanked me for my help and walked out of the store. The moral of this true story is, as always, that I am an idiot.

**** An endnote for an endnote in an endnote . . . for more about the golf store, here you go - The Masters Preview.


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