Friday Fives: Say it ain’t so Hulkster

A fistful of comments, asides and quick hits on the state of sports.

It seems like more and more of my thoughts turn to the subject of aging. I wonder why?

The Rainbow Warrior turns gray

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JULY 25:  Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 3M Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

We all slow down with age, some more than others (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

When exactly did Jeff Gordon become an old driver? The way his final Sprint Cup season is unfolding, the one-time wonder boy of racing might as well be like one of those elder gentlemen driving 35 mph in the left lane. With his blinker on.

Last weekend’s 42nd-place finish at the Brickyard – his heretofore favorite place in the world – only deepened what has been a mostly disappointing farewell tour. He’s winless in 20 starts, with two top-five finishes, and three poles.

Gordon has won four series championships. He forged a classic rivalry with Dale Earnhardt and provided a bridge for a whole new generation of fans to cross. Now he is just kind of in the way.

C’mon, Jeff, take those plastic flowers off the antenna. Trade in that 2006 Crown Vic for something a little more aerodynamic.

Let’s go, gramps, it’s the skinny pedal on the right.

Your fans want to know that there is at least one more win in the tank.

Coach, it’s OK, just nod if you can hear me

COLUMBIA, SC - SEPTEMBER 27:   Head coach Steve Spurrier of the South Carolina Gamecocks reacts after a bad play against the Missouri Tigers during the fourth quarter on September 27, 2014 at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina. Missouri won 21-20.  (Photo by Todd Bennett/GettyImages)

The very spry and very cantankerous Steve Spurrier (Todd Bennett/GettyImages)

Speaking of old, how about that Steve Spurrier?

He is now facing the eternal struggle of every guy who tries to make himself look younger. The strategy almost always backfires.

For men of a certain age, there are some tellingly desperate cries for help: The toupee, the convertible, the pair of skinny jeans.

For the 70-year-old Spurrier, his latest over-reaction to the suggestion by the AJC’s Mark Bradley that he might be nearing the end of his coaching career was the same kind of pointless railing against the advance of time. Coach, we are all but sandcastles at low tide.

No, the impromptu press conference/rant didn’t look good on him. Any more than an earring or a new gold chain would have.

Try to embrace these septuagenarian years. Hike those pants up a few inches. Put on the Hawaiian shirt. Surrender.

But at least we might make a couple of concessions for Spurrier’s benefit.

Don’t call him the Ol’ Ball Coach anymore. It is now the Surprisingly Vital Ball Coach.

And, yes, we now can consider, “Hey you kids get off my lawn,” a recognized defensive play call.

The less than incredible Hulk

Does this man, Hulk Hogan, look like someone who'd say anything objectionable? (Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Does this man, Hulk Hogan, look like someone who’d say anything objectionable? (Paul Kane/Getty Images)

If there is anything I’d want to see less than a Hulk Hogan sex video – certain matings are best left to the more graphic nature channels – it’s a Hulk Hogan racist rant video.

Apparently out there, somewhere, in a world that increasingly baffles me, is just such a video combining both those unsettling elements. There’s a big lawsuit as a result of the sex part. And in the fallout to the rant, the WWE kicked out its most famous performer.

Now, consider what you can get away with in professional wrestling. You can hit a guy with a folding chair. You can call him just about everything written on the wall of a bus station restroom. You can gouge and spit and kick and come off the top ring rope. So, to actually get expelled from such an enterprise must require the most heinous of speech crimes.

It, honestly, is quite sad to see one of our leading cartoon characters caught up in such a messy situation. We look to our pro wrestlers for uncomplicated, mindless mayhem. This is sort of like learning Foghorn Leghorn was a Soviet sleeper agent.

It’s feeling like 1985 again

Past and present intersect: Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost with former K.C. and St. Louis skipper Whitey Herzog. (Ed Zurga/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

Past and present intersect: Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost with former K.C. and St. Louis skipper Whitey Herzog. (Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

With the St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals both holding the best records in their leagues, and with the Royals loading up for October by trading for starter Johnny Cueto, I’m having a fit déjà vu.

Has it really been 30 years since the I-70 World Series, named after the interstate linking St. Louis and K.C. on Missouri’s opposite ends? Never thought we’d even sniff that possibility again.

I’ll always remember that Series, won by the Royals in seven games, not for anything that happened on the field, but rather for the journey between cities. That forever will be the Series marked by the late, venerable Atlanta Journal columnist Furman Bisher stopping with his traveling companions for lunch at a roadside McDonald’s. To his everlasting credit, Furman was not conversant with the menu. Scanning his options, he was struck by a relatively new item (OK, it had been out for six years or so). “I think I’ll try a Happy Meal,” he declared in his courtly way.
So let’s fill up the car with some of that $1.20-a-gallon gas, pop some Madonna into the cassette player, maybe load up on one of the last cases of New Coke. Be sure to bring one of those cells phones the size of suitcase, in case we break down.

Road trip!

Now the bunker play gets serious

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV - JULY 05:  Sangmoon Bae of South Korea tees off on the eighth hole during the final round of the Greenbrier Classic held at The Old White TPC on July 5, 2015 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.  (Photo by Darren Carroll/Getty Images)

It already has been established that Sang-Moon Bae is something of a marksman. (Darren Carroll/Getty Images)

Well, here’s a hazard that pro golfers almost anywhere else in the world never will know.

South Korean PGA Tour pro Sang-Moon Bae – winner of two Tour events, currently No. 30 in the FedEx Cup point standings – will soon be returning home to begin two years of mandatory military service.

His rank now is 110th (in the world rankings). By the end of this season it could be just: “Private.”

Since South Korea still is technically at war with the North, men between 18 and 35 face two years of military service. Bae fought the good fight to avoid his call up, appealing for an exemption, but was denied earlier this month. He announced that he would “humbly accept” the ruling, and report for service hopefully at the close of this PGA Tour season.

As Bae tries to extend his stay on the Tour as long as possible, it is fair to say no other pro will be as motivated entering the Fed Ex playoffs. Each round represents another reason to delay Korean boot camp.

Here’s hoping he makes it all the way to the Tour Championship in Atlanta. We’ll give him a fine send-off.

And if not, maybe he’ll at least be eligible for one of the discounted military tickets at East Lake.

Reader Comments 0

7 comments
BobbyDawg
BobbyDawg

American Pharoah wins the $1,750,000 purse Haskell Invitational at Monmouth in Canada over the weekend!

freezboy
freezboy

Sad this blog only got 5 post

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

The thing I remember about the 1985 WS was Don Denkinger making one of the worst calls ever at 1st base to cost the Cardinals what would have been a series-clinching win in game 6.

freezboy
freezboy

The KC/StL series sounds intriguing...Spurrier lives on ...Hulk dies...as it should be...WOOF 

Jimmy24
Jimmy24

Hey, Steve-don't know much about NASCAR, do you? Jeff Gordon is hardly in the way. True, he's had some unfortunate incidents where he's been taken out by someone else, such as last week. If you're going to cast him as a 42nd. place driver, perhaps you need to finish the story to explain to explain what happened. Otherwise, you should reserve your comments in favor of those who regularly cover NASCAR.

freezboy
freezboy

Money truly does not buy intelligence....and while I need to sharpen my pencil regularly....I'm not stuck in the confines of my own vacuum.

freezboy
freezboy

Can't be any worse than Ted Nuggent......cat scratch.. is still an all time favorite of mine...