Who knows what could’ve happened if Tiger Woods didn’t run into a stampede of roadblocks along the way?
Michael Bamberger has a book out, “The Second Life of Tiger Woods.”
A few folks know ⎯ if they’ve read local sports sections over the years ⎯ that Tiger’s got some slight local connections to this area.
It was in 1981 that Tiger, one day shy of his sixth birthday, was invited to play a 9-hole exhibition match with Redlands Country Club girls’ junior champion Michele Lyford ⎯ a future CIF-Southern Section champion.
Lyford, then an early teen who’s now a Northern Californian said, “I was twice his age, but he was half my size.”
Lyford related that it was Dave Stockton, another area product, who kidded Tiger a few years back that “he knew of the girl that beat him.”
Might be the only one.
So it’s up to us, as readers, to find out if Bamberger ⎯ a terrific golf writer ⎯ notes any connections between Tiger and Redlands in his book.
I can settle that right now: He doesn’t.
In another day and age ⎯ and year, for that matter ⎯ Sunday would’ve been the final round of the U.S. Open.
Pandemic, or not, it’s still Father’s Day. That’s one they can’t take away from us. Right?
It’s been a tradition for me. I love good books. In this case, a good sportsbook might be on the horizon for your favorite Dad. If you’ve got nothing else in mind as a gift, at least think of a good book on sports.
Bamberger on Woods is a nice read.
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I’ve got to admit, I was interested in Mark Paul’s book, “The Greatest Gambling Story Ever Told.”
Only thing I can tell you is that 1988 Kentucky Derby winner Winning Colors, a filly, had some interesting connections. It’s quite a read.
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So Mike Eruzione broke down and wrote a book? Hmmm.
If you don’t know that name, maybe you won’t like the book. This guy was captain of a USA team four decades ago. Lake Placid, 1980. Ice hockey. His book isn’t called “Do You Believe In Miracles,” but you might recall the event that spawned that magical comment.
Forward by Al Michaels, who uttered that famous phrase when he called the moment for ABC with just seconds left in the semifinals against the Russians.
Eruzione’s book is called “The Making of a Miracle.”
Just one of 20 players, Eruzione, the U.S. goalie, wasn’t even on the ice when time ran out.
It’s why you’re supposed to love the Olympics.
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On baseball: Bill Ripken might be able to shed some light in “State of Play: The Old School Guide to New School Baseball.”
Forward by Ken Rosenthal, keep in mind that Ripken is an Emmy Award-winning studio analyst for MLB Network. I’m glad he wrote “State of Play.” In my view, he’s the most intrepid analyst on that network.
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On football: Got to admit, nothing has stirred my fires in recent months.
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On basketball: How can we leave out “Mamba Mentality?”
You get no extra points if you guessed the author of this one, by the way.
Phil Jackson and Pau Gasol gave us insight.
It’s about Mamba’s preparation ⎯ weights, mentality, film study and midnight workouts. If you’re not getting the idea, maybe this book isn’t for your Dad.
If you’re an up-and-coming athlete, male or female, go to your Dad after he’s read this book. He’ll be fired up on your behalf.
To my knowledge, this is the only book on my list that made the New York Times bestseller list.
It’s still hard to believe that Kobe, and his daughter Gianna, are gone.
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Another on basketball: Leave it to John Feinstein (“A Season On The Brink”) to spiral up another college hoops classic, “The Back Roads To March …”
A Duke graduate who loved underdogs, guess who he picked to win that 60-59 outcome between Duke and Butler? He was rooting for himself. This Duke dude couldn’t have said it any sweeter when he rooted against overtime ⎯ only because he had a midnight deadline.
“It’s not wrong to root for yourself.”
As a veteran of 40 years of writing, and deadlines, I wholeheartedly agree.
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I’d been waiting for “Under The Black Hat” to come out. Jim Ross, who shouldered lots of WWE responsibility, was a huge part of pro wrestling. It was huge, folks. You know all the names. Ross was The Voice. Forty-seven years.
Full disclosure: I grew up in the Bay Area city of Hayward, living on a street near Pepper Gomez and Pat Patterson ⎯ two “star” wrestlers in that geographical wrestling area before Vince McMahon’s worldwide spectacle hit the road.
I was a big fan, scoping out those houses near my Underwood Avenue residence where Gomez and Patterson lived.
Another note: Rocky Johnson, another famous wrestler from that area, is the father of The Rock, Dwayne Johnson, who was born in Hayward. Never knew what street he lived on, though.
Ross cultivates the business, readers.
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Another on baseball: “Lou Gehrig: The Lost Memoirs.” Normally, I’m not a guy that gets interested in yet another book on a guy that was born over a century earlier. This one got my attention because Gehrig is the author. Seems he once wrote a regular column that appeared, in among other places, the Oakland Tribune.
His writings. His memories. His struggles. Like this one:
“As a hitter, I was a bust. During that first year, I played for Commerce (New York) High, I had a batting average of .170 and I don’t believe I hit more than a half dozen balls out of the infield.”
This is good for Dads to keep their kids’ hopes ⎯ not just in baseball, but all sports ⎯ in gear.
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As a writer, I really enjoy reading others’ writings. My kids have a hard time getting me a good read for Father’s Day. I’ve read most of them.
Happy Fathers Day to all you dads out there!
(If you’ve got a sports tip, a little chatter on sports, hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org.)