With one of the odder weeks in sports that we can recall having just passed, we thought we’d take a moment to review four stories that grabbed headlines this week and left us, more than once, scratching our heads in complete wonder …
And to think, Halloween is still three and a half weeks away …
* * * * *
First off is this gem: Seems that third-string quarterback for the Ohio State Buckeyes, Cardale Jones, thought it wise to share his true feelings regarding attending classes on social media, tweeting Friday, “Why should we have to go to class if we came here to play FOOTBALL, we ain’t come to play SCHOOL – classes are POINTLESS.”
Ohio State’s athletic department immediately deleted the post – not to mention Jones’ entire Twitter account – almost immediately, but not before several media outlets had grabbed hold of the statement and rebroadcast it on both a regional and national level.
A statement released by the Ohio State University later in the afternoon commented, “We allow our student-athletes the opportunity to express themselves via the social mediums. What we do ask of them and communicate to them [however] is the importance of being respectful, appropriate and aware that their communications can impact many people.” The release continues: “We remind that others may have different views and opinions on what may and may not be appropriate, so always remember not to post or tweet anything that could embarrass themselves, their team, teammates, the university, their family or other groups, organizations or people.”
Interesting enough, Jones, who currently sits behind starting quarterback Braxton Miller and back up Kenny Guiton, has not played a single down for Ohio State in his time in Columbus.
The quarterback, notes ESPN.com, signed with the Buckeyes in February 2011, but was forced to spend last year at a military prep school in Virginia in order to boost his athletics.
* * * * *
Paul Casey, formerly ranked No. 3 in the world of professional golf, was preparing for a 20-foot eagle putt on the par-five 12th hole at Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at Kingbarns Golf Links in St. Andrews, Scotland on Friday when a stray dog ran onto the course and snatched away Casey’s ball.
“It’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever had happen on a golf course,” Casey told reporters following the round.
Accounts of the incident suggest t the dog originally trotted onto the course at the 12th tee, then followed Casey down the hole as he played his second shot.
It wasn’t long after that the stray canine took hold of Casey’s ball and refused to give it up, despite plenty of coaxing by Casey and other onlookers.
When the dog skirted off toward the 13th hole, a spectator in the crowd following the action somehow cornered the thief, retrieved the ball and returned it to Casey, who then had the ball inspected by a tournament official.
The official determined the ball was still in playable condition and allowed Casey to use it once more on the ensuing putt, which unfortunately fell short of its target.
Casey instead ended up with a birdie on the hole.
* * * * *
Thought that Michael Phelps’ sports career was, pardon the pun, all washed up after his final Olympic campaign this past summer?
Phelps, playing in the second round of team play at the same Dunhill Links course mentioned above, upstaged much of his professional competition by sinking a 153-yard putt on its par-4 6th hole.
According to the Associated Press, the putt, hit from the front edge of the green, rolled slowly downhill toward the hole, taking about 17 seconds to complete its journey – a time, notes the AP writer, slightly quicker than it takes Phelps to swim 50 yards.
Phelps, playing with a 16 handicap and thereby receiving a stroke on his score card, told reporters following the round, “That was the longest putt I’ve ever holed. It was pretty incredible, watching it dive in was a pretty cool feeling. So to be able to have a net hole-in-one was pretty special.”
The Olympian wasn’t done there, however, recording a net eagle ‘2’ at the next hole to move to 9-under overall with his assigned partner – who, as luck would have it, ended up being Paul Casey.
* * * * *
And saving what may perhaps be the best for last …
Last Saturday, as the Nationals took on the Cardinals in St. Louis, Washington outfielder Michael Morse took the first pitch from Kyle Lohse with the bases loaded and hit a line drive toward the right field corner, where the ball tapped a sign and bounced off the right field fence before dropping back onto the field of play near Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran.
Beltran, not knowing if the ball was live or if Morse’s hit was a home run, wisely threw the ball back toward second, which set off a chaotic scramble by Nationals players unsure what to do next.
One run did plate for Washington, but runners at second and third held, while Morse, thinking he’d hit a grand slam, continued running toward second base.
That led St. Louis second baseman Skip Schumaker to give chase to Morse, who, befuddled, began to backtrack and reverse toward first. Schumaker eventually caught Morse, with the Nationals outfielder quickly called out by the first base umpire.
Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson took to the field to contest the call, which led to a review of the play by the game’s officiating crew and a reversal of the call to a grand slam.
Still one problem, however – three of Washington’s players, including Morse, had never actually completed running the bases and recorded their respective runs.
That led to the umpires calling Morse back to the batter’s box (sans bat) and the rest of the Nationals players back onto base in order to complete the grand slam cycle.
The ensuing reenactment is classic, with the entire sequence of events viewable here: http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jspymd=20120929&content_id=39215386&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb