Friday, February 23, 2007

Sox spring in full swing: plenty of insanity at 11:00

Schill may never wear the Red Sox again after this season, and an absent Manny wants to attend a car auction-in New Jersey.

A week into spring training and the never-ending circus that is the Boston Red Sox is already in awe-inspiring, Big Top form.

America's favorite (or most despised, depending where you're from) hardball soap opera added a few new chapters Friday down in sunny Fort Myers with no fewer than two major stories unfolding on an otherwise tranquil late February afternoon:

-Curt Schilling demanded, and was refused, a contract extension for 2008

-Manny Ramirez, who is not scheduled to report until March 1st, will not make a previously scheduled appearance Saturday at car auction in New Jersey.

As Dan Shaughnessy so aptly stated in his scathing Schilling article today, "covering this team is like doing layup drills on an 8-foot rim."

First the deal with Schill. After dropping hints for the better part of a year that 2007 would most likely be his swan song, what does the man who never met a microphone he didn't like do promptly upon arriving at camp? Announced to the world (and his bosses) via his radio program that he did in fact intend to suit up next season and he was going to need a new contract in order to do so, pronto.

To which Red Sox brass replied "huh, what? You're doing what and you need what?"

Theo the Gorilla had this to say about Schilling's demand: "Curt's going to be 41 and at that age we get a little more conservative. There's a bit of a sliding scale based on age," Epstein said. "The deeper you go into your career, I think the more hesitant the club might be to guarantee salaries years in advance."

Translated: "Although Curt nearly gave his right foot for this club, at his age we cannot advocate giving him a truckload of money due to the fact that said surgically-repaired foot may eventually detach from his leg, prohibiting any chance of a decent R.O.I. from any future deal."

Look, I'm not saying Congressman Curt should have taken his contract situation to the pulpy pulpit of sports talk radio, but I do know that as much as this guy has done for this club (namely back up his guarantee to bring a title to Boston) he deserves any final contract he wants, decreasing contributions and declining health be damned. Much like Patriot legend Adam Vinateri should never have been allowed to leave New England, Schilling should end his career in Boston.

As for the latest in the ongoing Univison variety show known as MannyBeingManny, the delinquent Dominican is still "helping his mother recover from her recent surgery" and unable to make it to FM until next week. Yet he was scheduled to appear at a car auction in New Jersey that is featuring a car of his that was customised for him by famous car crafter Troy Trepanier of Rad Rides by Troy.

Word quickly spread that ManRam was definitely set to appear at the show, along with other celebs like Reggie Jackson, Saturday at noon in Atlantic City; needless to say coming on the heels of the whole "Manny quit on the team" fiasco of last September" the "I'm unable to make it to camp yet I can travel to Jersey to make some extra bank off an appearance fee and a car sale" story went over like a lead balloon in the organization.

So Manny finally begged out of the appearance, yet still stands to make a tidy profit off the sale of the car. Which brings this story to a humorous conclusion. In researching the importance of this car to Manny I came across this Globe article from August 2004. It is meant to show that despite the chaotic life Manny leads, he still made time to travel to rural Illinois to pick out the color for the soon-to-be-painted '67 Lincoln Continental convertible he planned on giving to his father as a birthday present.

Obviously confident with the importance of the car to Ramirez as well as his creations' important place in the grand scheme of things, Trepanier offers up this little nugget regarding Ramirez and the metal masterpiece he was creating for him:

"This is a car you're going to keep for the rest of your life. You're not going to sell it. It is a big project. It is a car you're going to rebuild, new engine, new interior, brakes, suspension. You've got to be patient. I think he's going to love it."

Rad Troy was completely oblivious that he was in Manny Land.


Corey Dillon is done winning Super Bowls

Disgruntled. Tired. Banged-up. Conflicted.
All of the above may be used to describe (former) Patriots running back Corey Dillon after the 32-year-old bruiser sent mixed messages today regarding his football future, hinting at retirement yet "willing to look into offers from other teams."

But camera-shy Corey sounds perfectly clear regarding one aspect of his career- he's done carrying the rock for the New England Patriots after 3 seasons, 3,180 yards, 39 touchdowns and 1 large diamond-studded ring.
Dillon was an instrumental part in New England's 3rd Super Bowl title, rushing for a Patriot record 1,635 yards in the 2004 regular season after being released from his own personal purgatory with the Cincinnati Bengals. But it's no secret that the press-hating Dillon seethed over his decline in carries (from 345 to 209 to 199 last year) as well as the emergence of rookie Lawrence Maroney in 2006, forcing Dillon into becoming almost a situational back, primarily a short yardage & goal line specialist.

Combine the attractiveness of Maroney's age (22), productivity (722 yards) and contract (rookies don't make much) with Dillon's aging legs, declining numbers and bloated salary (he is owed $4.4 million for 2007, part of a 5-year extension he signed in 2005) and Dillon knew the handwriting was on the wall for him to be used even less than Chucky used the A-Train the last few years.

But instead of hanging around with a model franchise as an important part of a team that has a chance to make the Super Bowl every year he wants another shot at starting glory despite the fact that he is about 4 years past his prime and is a locker room cancer waiting to happen on a less-disciplined team. So he asked out of his contract, which the cash-thrifty Pats happily obliged, and although he dropped some hints about wanting to spend more time with his family and such, if a better deal (i.e. being a featured back) comes around then Corey will suit up for an 11th season.

Thanks for everything, Corey. Don't let the reality check hit you in the ass on the way out.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Basketball great Dennis Johnson is dead

Former Boston Celtics guard Dennis Johnson passed away this evening after conducting a practice for his D-League basketball club in Austin, Texas. He was 52.

All reports state that Johnson seemed fine during and immediately after the practice. But while he was standing outside the team's facilities joking over a parking ticket with a team employee he collapsed and never regained consciousness. He was pronounced dead a short time later.

Johnson played in the NBA for 14 seasons, won 3 NBA titles and is considered to be one of the greatest defensive players of all time. After earning the Finals MVP trophy for Seattle in 1979, the man affectionately known as DJ was traded to Phoenix, where he spent three seasons before being traded to Boston in 1983. He was well known for shutting down the best player on the other team, and his handcuffing of Laker great Magic Johnson in the 1984 Finals is the stuff of legend.

Growing up a Celtic fanatic I remember DJ as being the calming influence on those dynastic teams of the '80s. Bird was The Man, McHale was the Second Banana, Chief was smokin' his peace pipes and Ainge was like a pre-neutered pit bull. But DJ was like the cool uncle of the group, always guiding the team with a firm hand, dishing the rock at the appropriate times to the proper superstar or hitting a huge money shot/clamping down on the opponents' hottest hand when necessary. As a fan you just felt more comfortable with DJ on the court, a true mark of a great player.

Interestingly enough DJ had not been elected to the Hall off Fame as of this past year for reasons that have been contemplated by columnists everywhere. This omission comes despite the fact that the man averaged 14 points & 5 assists for his career, made 5-All Star teams, 6-All Defensive first teams and with Bird helped complete one of the most historic basketball plays of all time...

... I can still remember the game like it was, well not yesterday but just a few years ago: Boston vs. the HATED Pistons, 1987 Eastern Conference Finals Game 5. The Celtics trailed 107-106 with just seconds to play. As Isiah Thomas prepared to inbound the ball it appeared as if the C's were headed to Detroit for Game 6 facing a 3-2 deficit. Then The Play happened, and the sound of Johnny Most calling it will echo in the ears of basketball fans for decades to come:

"and there's a steal by Bird...underneath to DJ- he lays it in!"

Bird gets all the credit for the steal, but what would he have done had DJ not come streaking in from mid court and hit the slicing, reverse layup that won the game and propelled the Celts to a hard-fought 7-game win?

That play would mark the beginning of the end for the Celtics dynasty. The previous spring #1 draft pick Len Bias died of a cocaine overdose 2 days after the draft, and after DJ helped Boston advance past Detroit they lost to the Lakers in the '87 Finals; the team has not made it back to the championship since.

In the ensuing years age, malaise and tragedy would combine to derail the Green Machine. Playoff one-&-done appearances became the norm, a coaching carousel produced no "next Auerbach', Bird retired before the '92-'93 season and then beloved guard Reggie Lewis died suddenly in 1993. This season started with the death of the architect, Red Auerbach, and has seen the team lose a franchise-record 18 consecutive games en route to another possible #1 draft pick.

But Celtics fans will always have the great memories, and when it comes to that category DJ was responsible for more than his fare share, including one of the greatest memories of all time.

RIP, DJ. You will be missed, but you will not be forgotten.


Oscar Nominee Review: The Departed

The Departed

Rated: R for graphic violence & language

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, Vera Farmiga,

Directed By: Martin Scorsese

Run time: 1 hr, 51 mins

Nominated for:
-Best Picture
-Best Director
-Best Supposting Actor
-Best Adapted Screenplay
-Achievement in Editing

Martin Scorsese takes a respected Asian thriller and turns it into an American crime classic

This is the year. Mark it down, book it, put it in the bank, count on it, 100% guaranteed. Scorsese will win his elusive first Oscar this Sunday for his work on this epic restyling of the Chinese cult classic Infernal Affairs.

How do I know this to be fact?

What better way to reward a director who not only coaxed an Academy Award-nominated performance from the man formerly known as Marky Mark but also elicited Oscar-caliber work from no less than four other members of his A-list cast? If Marty doesn't take home the golden statue for this effort then you can be sure he never will. He may even stop trying.

Scorsese and screenwriter William Monihan took the 2002 Hong Kong crime thriller and transported it to modern day Boston, utilizing the same storyline- moles inside both the police department and the mob- to craft a mesmerizing tale of loyalty, deceit and big city police politics that intertwines Hollywood fiction with urban crime lore.

The story centers around two young Massachusetts police officers: one an up-and-coming detective named Colin Sullivan (Damon) and the other a smart street kid named Billy Costigan (DiCaprio.) Both will end up being central figures in an investigation targeting Irish crime boss Frank Costello (Nicholson), but for very different reasons. Before I go any further I must say that Scorsese nailed it on the names; EVERYBODY in Beantown grows up knowing at least three Sullys and one Costigan, as well as a Fitzy, a Costello and five Murphs.

As Sullivan rises up the ranks he becomes the department's eyes and ears for their intense investigation of Costello, a legendary figure who rules the South Boston area with the looks of a grandfather and the ruthlessness of a Colombian cocaine baron. The Feds and local authorities can never nail him on the myriad charges they suspect him of, mainly because he always seems to be one step ahead of the law, and for good reason- Sullivan has been a confidante of the old man since 'back in the day', when Costello took care of little Colin and his mom after his father died.

Meanwhile Costigan has been targeted by the department's undercover unit and is approached, not so gracefully, by Captain Queenan (Martin Sheen) and Detective Dignan (Wahlberg), who go out of their way to persuade the wayward Costigan to turn into an undercover agent and infiltrate Costello's inner circle.

Queenan: "Five years from now you could be anything else in the world, but you will not be a Mass Sate Trooper."
Dignan: "You got a 1400 on your SAT; you're an astronaut, not a Statie."

In what could be considered an homage to the Godfather, they made him an offer he couldn't refuse: go undercover and bring down Costello or have his name erased from police records and booted out of the department forever.

Thus begins Costigan's new life as a delinquent local thug, complete with an arranged rap sheet, fresh jail term and just enough inside connections to get him in contact with the big man himself. Once a level of loyalty is established between Billy, Frank and Costello's right hand man, Mr. French (Ray Winstone, Sexy Beast) Billy becomes privy to a lot of the unseemly practices Costello has his hands in, namely extortion, murder and selling weapons-grade computer microprocessors to Chinese gangsters. The problem is, every time he tries to set up Costello and his gang for a bust "someone" on the inside of the department tips them off, and the game of cat & mouse between the government & the hoods continues with no end in sight.

It's in these scenes in the middle of the film, as Billy tries to stay one step ahead of Frank while Colin tries to keep Costello abreast of every upcoming raid that Scorsese's magic is realized. The story lines and characters co mingle and swirl around each other in such a way that you can't tell the good guys from the bad guys and vise versa. Any cop could turn out to be on the take and any criminal could turn out to be an undercover agent, and the dialogue and acting accurately depicts the incestuous relationships cops and criminals enjoyed in the hey day of the Mob in Boston. Up is down, down is up, good is bad- it all comes together to form a tangled web of duplicity.

Even the lone female in the film, Vera Farmiga's psychiatrist Madolyn, is playing both ends against the middle; she is shacking up with Colin in his tony condo overlooking the State House while seeing, professionally & otherwise, Billy. This aspect of their parallel relationships reminded me of the Michael Mann classic "Heat", where DiNiro's & Pacino's lives were always running parallel to each others and the viewer kept waiting for their paths to cross. And when they do, let's just say the sparks fly.

From this point on describing the film in further detail would spoil way too many things, and if there's one thing I'm not it's a spoiler. The cops learn they have a rat on the inside while Costigan frantically tries to escape his life in crime's inner circle before Costello wipes him off the face of the planet. It becomes a race to see which man discovers who the other is first, and the body count really rises towards the end as the nooses stars to tighten around everyone's collars. The last ten minutes of this film are filled with more "oh my god, did I just see that?" moments than a month's worth of American Karaoke auditions.

To quote my wife's reaction: "I think I'm gonna be sick."

After being snubbed five previous times in his quest for Oscar glory Martin Scorsese has come out guns blazing (no pun intended) with this first-rate adaptation of an already well-respected film. Easily his best work since "Casino" in 1995, the diminutive director did what many directors before him have failed to do: elicit career-best work from nearly every member of an all-star ensemble cast.

Many have debated/raged over why more of the actors weren't nominated, and with good reason. Nicholson gives a nuanced performance that truly carries the film. His fearless, foul-mouthed Frank is the emotional center of the movie, a fascinating ball of pensive planning and bloody execution whom the entire cast revolves like moons around a planet. Based on real life Boston underworld figure Whitey Bulger, Nicholson carries himself like the legendary Southie gangster, which makes him all the more creepy in the role.

Damon and DiCaprio both give the performances of their careers. Gone are the timid, unsure choir boys of their earlier roles replaced by slick, confident and cunning adults who think they control their own destinies until they realize it's too late. Wahlberg, the other Boston native along with Damon, makes the most of his small-but-vital role thanks to hilariously profane comments and an unexpected final appearance. Even the lesser characters played by Winstone, Sheen, and Baldwin (has he done anything bad in the last 5 years?) brought weight to the proceedings, although I must confess I was less-than-thrilled with Farmiga's performance.

But like I said to the wife, what can they do when nearly every member of the cast could have been nominated? The academy can't pick everyone (now I sound like an Oscar apologist.) Still, Nicholson should have and Damon or DiCaprio could have easliy have landed noms for their work.

Perhaps being from Boston made this movie a little more special to me. The scenes of Back Bay, the Fens and the State House combined with the (surprisingly decent) accents and Mass-related terminology (triple deckers, Rte 128, L Street and the Southie projects- a place I have frequented too many times for my liking) made me fell like I was back home again for a couple of hours. That and the constant swearing, senseless fighting, backstabbing and utter hypocrisy of the government and police forces all made me pine for the days of hitting Kelly's Roast Beef on Revere Beach while cruising around waiting for the next melee to break out.

Ah the good old days growing up in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

And all it took was a little Italian director from the New York telling a tale about an Irish mobster from Boston based on a story from a Hong Kong screenwriter to bring me back.

Enjoy your statue, Marty. You deserve it.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007


In case some of my less-observant readers haven't noticed I have changed my format (again.)

Please bear with me as I attempt to find the proper template that suits my style.

As soon as I find a style then I will settle on a look.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation, and once again any input/feedback is always welcome.

As long as it's positive.



Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Athlete Police Blotter

The sports ticker has been flooded today with stories involving athletes in various stages of legal trouble. Therefore, due to my contractual obligation to report on all the scummy goings on with our sports icons, I bring you the latest installment of...

Law & Order: Special Athletic Division

-The Super Bowl may have ended weeks ago but MVP candidate Dominic Rhodes evidently is not done partying. Rhodes joined the Athlete DUI Club when Indy Staties pulled him over for driving 81 in a 55-mph zone. At 3 am. In a Dodge truck. Oh yeah, he's a free agent as of Feb 28th. He attempted to use the excuse "I'm going to Disney World" but the cops didn't buy it.

-Speaking of the club DUI Hall of Famer Koren Robinson has been ordered to spend 90 days in jail as a result of his latest arrest for evading police last August. The oft-troubled Packers wide receiver has been arrested so many times over the past 6 years that there are rumors he might replace Tweener on Prison Break.

-Speaking of trouble-prone NFL players Pac Man Jones finds himself at the center of another legal controversy, and this one is a doozy. He and members of his posse are being questioned in a shooting incident at a post- NBA All Star game party at Vegas strip club Minxx. Stories are pouring in speculating about what happened, such as free-flowing cash from rapper Nelly caused an all-out riot, but let's not jump to conclusions just yet. Let's all assume Jones is guilty before letting him off on this one.

-Gonzaga star Josh Heytvelt has been charged with felony drug possession stemming from his bust for possession of controlled substances i.e. hallucinogenic mushrooms. The 6'11" sophomore forward has been suspended from the team since he was busted along with a teammate Feb 9th when cops pulled over his car and found the shrooms in a gym bag. The suspension is actually convenient, though, because it allows Josh to work on the new MTV athlete reality show, Shroom-n-Days.

-Fellow NCAA baller Jamar Smith of Illinois will be charged with felony DUI after an accident on Monday night left him and his passenger, teammate Brian Carlwell, injured. According to Smith, a sophomore guard averaging 8 PPG, good for 4th on the team, had been drinking tequila & beer before driving his busted old Lexus into a tree. That sound you hear? It's the Illini bubble bursting.

- But the strangest cases of all has to be that of Atlanta Falcons defensive lineman Justin Babineaux, who was arrested and charged with animal cruelty resulting in the death of his girlfriend's dog. I have nothing here- this is just a sick story either way you look at it.

Other weird news comes from the gastric bypass surgery of former Pats coordinator & current Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis. The malpractice case was declared a mistrial a day before it was set to go to the jury when one of the jurors passed out in the courtroom. Listening to arguments surrounding the condition of Weis' intestines is thought to be the cause of the suspicious ailment.

As many of you may know that ratings juggernaut known as American Karaoke invades living rooms across America for three nights this week, which means I will be holed up in my office until Friday.

Look forward to many more posts.


Monday, February 19, 2007

MannyBeingManny, Papa Brady and the NBA All-Yawn game

It's been a busy beginning to the week as the news wire is crackling with a plethora of interesting stories, some less earth-shattering than others.

The NBA All Star game was a complete dud; file that under the less-than-earth-shattering category. As usual the affair was nothing more than a glorified exhibition game featuring a zillion bad passes, numerous missed dunk attempts, plenty of solo showboating with zero defense played. Kobe Bryant took home the MVP trophy for the West in their 153-132 over the East squad thanks to his 31-point, 5-rebound 6-assist performance, which included no less than four impressive, crowd-pleasing dunks.

In other words the game just like every other game for the past 15-20 years. What, did everybody think that just becasue the game moved to Vegas that it would suddenly morph into a well-played, competitive contest? This game is what it is- a glorified exhibition game featuring a zillion bad passes, numerous missed dunk attempts, plenty of solo showboating with zero defense played.

The good news for the Association? No players were arrested and/or shot this weekend in Sin City. So the entire experience was a positive.

Also in the "less than earth shattering" department we have word that mercurial Red Sox slugger (it's a new law, we have to describe him like that) Manny Ramirez will...drumroll late to training camp. What? You're kidding me? I would have never believed it (please set sarcasm radar to high.) More surprising is the source of the startling information, via the Globe- Gascan Julie Tavarez.

Tavarez passed the word along to Red Sox brass that ManRam would be about a week late for camp due to his mother's pending surgical procedure. Nice of Manny to inform his employers by way of the tried & true "have my buddy tell them a bald-faced lie about my mother" method. Classy.

Let the circus sideshow that is Manny Being Manny begin!

Speaking of sideshows a story broke involving 3-time Super Bowl champ and God-loving Catholic poster boy Tom Brady yesterday that could finally put a dent in his once-invincible armor: his exgirlfriend, actress Bridget Moynihan, has let it be known that she is preggers with the potential next greatest quarterback in NFL history, spawn of Tom.
Yes Tommy Boy is going to be a baby daddy. Unfortunatey the couple has been split up for over 4 months and Brady has moved on to supermodel/DiCaprio throwaway Gisele Bundchen, so this triangle of intrigue is sure to light up both the gossip pages as well as the sports sites for months to come.

This is a huge story not only for Patriot Nation but for the sports world as well. How will the news that a successful, well-liked white athlete go over with the same public that has criticized African-American players who have found thgemselves in the same position- fathering a child out of wedlock? Or in Shawn Kemp's case, a dozen or so.

Not to mention the fact that Tom is a staunch Catholic, and unless the church has suddenly turned ultra-liberal I do belive they frown upon such acts of bastardry.

All I know is this isn't a good thing for any of the parties involved. Except the baby. He's set for life.

To quote Dan Patrick: " I always thought Brady had the best protection?"


Bill Murray: Actor, Comedian, Golf God

This tournament organizer is swept off her feet by Wild Bill

Evidently I missed a lot of things this weekend while I was spending all day Saturday at the Little League field and all day Sunday at the Outback Champions Pro Am: five people died in avalanches out west; 3 more hikers went missing on Mount Hood (which could bump Anna off the news for a couple of days); and Britney Spears finally went insane.

But pardon me if I let all that stuff slip my attention, for I was busy being entertained by one of the greatest actors of our generation, a man known just as well as Carl Spackler, John Winger, Dr. Peter Venkman and Steve Zissou (true Billophiles will know in which movies he played these characters)as his by real name.

Of course I'm speaking of Mr. William James Murray.

But his millions of friends just call him Bill.

Murray entertained thousands of spectators at the TPC of Tampa Bay course in Lutz this weekend, and I'm not just talking about his stellar golf game. The Oscar nominee (Lost in Translation), Emmy & Golden Globe winner not only won the Pro Am event with partner (and incredibly good sport) Scott Simpson, but he signed about 450,000 autographs (some even for free-more on that in a minute), mugged and played for the cameras, and joked with everyone from his playing partner to the fans to the beefy sheriff's deputies assigned to protect the silly star.

I've been to quite a few major golf tournaments and plenty of baseball games, spring training and regular season, and I can honestly say I have never seen anyone, celebrity or athlete, sign more autographs and interact with the public more than Murray. Minutes after my buddy Butch and I got there (BTW-thanks for the tix, Butch and FedEx) Murray and Simpson were coming up to 18, where our FedEx suite was located, because they teed off early at the 10. Of well, we thought, we missed him tee off but we'll be right here when he comes up the fairway to 18. About 10 minutes (and two free beers later) Murray and his group start approaching the 18th tee box. How could we tell? By the Tiger-esque gallery that raced to the box minutes before any golfers were sighted. "Must be Murray" we brilliantly surmised.

Minutes later Murray, clad in black jacket (it was 50 degrees with 30 mph winds on a blustery day in Tampa Bay), black pants and black shoes with neon purple soles (I kid you not) sauntered up to the hole and unleashed a wicked drive that landed right in the middle of the fairway. Everyone was saying that Murray, a Pebble Beach Pro Am regular who had never won, was playing the best golf of his life, and that drive seemed to solidify that fact.

Although he three-putted the hole when he came off the green was when the true Bill Murray showed up. A large throng of fans had gathered along the ropes lining the exit to 18, right along side the giant Outback Steakhouse Party Tent, and I assumed Murray would have quickly signed a few autographs and hurried off, like many others do (such as Buccaneer Derrick Brooks.)

Instead Murray stood in front of the masses and signed for at least a dozen people, starting with a young boy who handed him a T-shirt with a picture of Murray on it. "And where did you get this shirt, son?"
"Target" the boy replies.
"So you went to Target and bought this shirt just to bring it here to have me sign it?"
"Yes" the boy says without hesitation.
"Well I'm gonna have to charge you for that" Murray responds as the crowd roars in laughter.
"How Much?" the boy asks.
"Five bucks" Murray tells him.
The boy turns around and says "Dad, can I have $5.00" as the crowd erupts again.

While the boy's back is turned a man alongside him says "I'll pay his $5.00 if you sign my picture,too", to which an apparently appalled Murray briskly turned and walked to his awaiting cart and partner. The crowd expressed its displeasure with the greedy gentleman, but Murray sauntered back and tossed the shirt back to the kid, stared down the guy who made the offer, and kept the boy's money. As he signed for a few more people he bantered with everyone the whole time. A couple of older ladies from a local charity in front of me asked to borrow a pen, and just as I obliged Bill came over and signed her paper. After scratching a few more John Hancock's he said "whose pen is this?" I told him it was mine and he said "I suppose you want something signed?" I removed my visor and he auto'd it, but I didn't have the balls to ask him if he was going to charge me.

Thankfully he didn't. But when a guy next to me handed a DVD of "Ghostbusters" towards him, Murray told him "$25.00 and meet me at the next hole." Then he (finally) got in his cart and sped off.

I later learned that Murray was taking "charitable donations" in order to sign certain items, i.e. "shit that would wind up on eBay 60 minutes later." Those items included shirts, DVD's, 8x10 glossies, dancing gophers (no lie), posters, etc... One guy said he was charging $35.00 to take a picture with him, although I never witnessed that therefore cannot verify it as fact. But I believe it. My guess is that his charity was the Bloomin' Onion girls at the Outback tent later. For people he thought were just wanting his signature for the thrill of it, on personal items like hats, programs, and tickets, he signed his arm off. He literally walked over to the ropes after driving on #9, his final hole, signed for about 12-15 people, then sprinted to catch up to his foursome who were waiting for him to hit his second shot. It was amazing.

As the gallery grew to witness his final hole he narrowly missed a 20-ft putt from the right of the hole and the crowd groaned audibly; when Simpson stepped up to attempt his short putt Murray said "these guys are really gonna go nuts when you make this putt". Simpson short-putted it to the mock delight of the crowd and angst of Murray, who put his hands in his head as if to say "how could you let me down like that, Scotty?" After making his final putt to finish at -20 Murray threw his ball into the crowd and entered the scoring cabin. Again a huge crowd amassed, awaiting the master showman's final performance. Minutes later he emerged, joking with the cops and chatting with a couple of "important" fans behind the ropes.

Then the man who launched a thousand memorable lines came over to the public and once again began his long signing ritual, joking, posing and collecting money for "charity" all the while.
"Bill, you are The Man!"

NOTE: I did not bring my camera, due to the large "no cameras permitted" warning on the back of the ticket, yet everyone & their brother had one. My mistake. These photos are from the website