Rick Reilly Go Fish: Freak Celebrity Sighting
Bumped into former Pittsburgh Steeler Hall of Famer Lynn Swann this week at Augusta, although that's not unusual. Swann goes everywhere. He even ran unsuccessfully for governor of Pennsylvania. What was unusual about it was Swann was wearing a green jacket.
Swann is one of the newest members of Augusta National. If you know him, start buttering him up now before he changes his number.
He wouldn't talk about it. But I did find out he's played eight times already. Also, I found out he really doesn't need a fourth there any time soon.
To my knowledge -- and that's all we can go by here because Augusta National won't comment -- Swann became the first professional team athlete to ever get into the club.
Beats being the governor.
It's entirely possible that, this weekend, you could be watching Hawaii quarterback Bryant Moniz deliver spirals on your TiVo when the doorbell rings and there will stand Moniz himself, delivering your pizza.
That's because Moniz is not just the starting QB for the Rainbow Warriors, he's also a pizza delivery guy in Manoa, Hawaii. The sophomore from Wahiawa, Oahu, is a walk-on who still doesn't have a scholarship. He got the starting job October 10 when starter Greg Alexander went down the week before.
Moniz, who is also raising a child, couldn't afford to give up the pizza job, so now he's going to school, starting at QB, and raising a family, all in 30 minutes or less. He's the pizza guy with everything on him.
Hawaii fans go pie-eyed when Moniz shows up with their pepperonis. He may be the only delivery guy in America who gets invited inside for pictures and autographs.
Unfortunately, Moniz is 0-4 as a starter. And you just know that sometime Moniz will be standing there after being paid, his hand out, asking for a tip, when the lady will go, "Yeah, stop throwing off your back foot" and close the door.
-- with additional reporting by Philip Fisher
Spoke with Andy Roddick on the phone to ask him if he feels any hangover from his epic Wimbledon loss to Roger Federer in July. Was there one shot he wishes he could have back?
"Nah," he says. "You probably expect me to say that volley I missed (that would've put him ahead 2-0 in sets). But you were there, you know how gusty it was. At first, it looked like it was going long, but then the wind hit it and I thought it might get down. I couldn't let that happen so I had to try. Just hit it a little too hard."
Does he believe, like me, he got screwed by Wimbledon's no-tiebreaker rule in the fifth set, the one that forced him to hold serve nine straight times or lose the match? Federer, conversely, always had the option to break back if he got broken. Completely unfair and one of the main reasons the tiebreaker was invented. "That's just tradition," Roddick said. "It's kind of our version of the designated hitter rule (in baseball). Some people like it, some people hate it."
And his battle on Twitter with pal Serena Williams over their bio pictures? "It's just that she's all over my photo being cheesey. And all I said was, 'Wait a second. You're using a photo you took yourself wearing just a sports bra. I mean, really?' She said, 'Don't be jealous because my abs are better than yours.' So I guess this means my next one has to be me with my shirt off."
I've seen him with his shirt off. That's one shot he won't want back either.
Filmed a terrific Homecoming with Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade in Chicago Thursday night that was by turns emotional, funny and healing. Expect a 2010 air date.
But I learned five things about him I never knew:
1) He's afraid of birds. When they released a real hawk at an Atlanta Hawks game one night, he nearly ran back into the locker room.
2) He has "at least" 500-plus pairs of shoes.
3) He does a killer Shaq impression.
4) He once scored 90 points in a single day in high school (two games).
5) Secret dream job: singer.
Played Gozzer Ranch in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, the other day, and who drives up but Wayne Gretzky, who's a member. Turns out Gozzer just had their member-guest tourney, and he and his guest won the men's half, while his wife, Janet, and her guest won the women's half.
Uh-oh. That's not going to go over well with the members.
On the other hand, Gozzer Ranch is so indescribably beautiful, it's hard to be grumpy about anything. But beauty is not what makes it unique. What makes it unique is:
- No dress code. You can wear jeans and a muscle shirt if you want.
- Rock n' roll blaring from loud speakers at the range.
- The guy who takes your penny and flattens it into a ball marker on the first tee.
- The dilapidated old farm houses along the course which are, in fact, snack shacks full of free and fabulous food -- like root beer floats, ice cream sundae bars, elk sausage, deviled eggs, homemade chocolate, every kind of candy and a drawer full of warm, exotic nuts. Nobody works the shacks. You take what you want, self-service.
- Guys who sneak out from the trees and fill your divots with seed so you don't have to. After all, you're so full from the snack shacks, you can't bend over anyway.
Used to be the one person I wanted to meet in the world was the great American humorist, Dave Barry. Not anymore.
Got to have breakfast with him, his wife, Michelle Kaufman -- the Miami Herald sportswriter -- and their very polite daughter, Sophie, 9, during Wimbledon.
Barry is our generation's Will Rogers, only funnier. He is always funny and you have no idea how hard that is. Tragedy is easy, comedy is a bitch. And he's so regular-Joe and humble, it's impossible to compliment him. Where would you start anyway? The man has written more than 30 books, nearly all of them best-sellers.
I asked Michelle if Sophie gets his humor yet. "Oh, yeah," she said. "It's just her friends who don't." Apparently, Dave will be driving the car pool to school, give Sophie a kiss on the head and say stuff like, "OK, honey, go out there and get all C's!" Or they'll be leaving Sophie with the babysitter and he'll say, perfectly deadpan, "OK, Sophie, we'll be back about 11. Be sure to have the guns and knives put away by then." And Sophie will just smirk and the babysitter will look horrified as the door closes.
And Sophie will say, without looking up from her artwork, "That's just my crazy dad."
Yes, it is. And thank God for that.
This is how heart-skipping the view is from the terrace of The Hotel Splendido in Portofino, Italy. We were nearly at dessert when we realized we'd been sitting next to Ozzy Osbourne the whole time. Five feet away, wearing strangely sedate gray pants, his trademark purple glasses, his hair hanging into his ice tea, dining with his wife, Sharon. Not eating bats.
There were two very odd things about it. One, he didn't need to buy a vowel. Eavesdropping was easy. He couldn't stop talking about the death that day of Michael Jackson. Two, 20 feet away, a piano player in a very awful orange satin jacket was playing Burt Bacharach medleys that dripped syrup by the gallon. There was a day when Ozzy would've hurled himself off the terrace just to keep from hearing them.
Anyway, here's the only link to sports. One of the guests said Ozzy had been working out in the hotel's health club that day. No, really. Working out!
Maybe it hit him that day: How is it I'm still here and Michael Jackson's not?
Despite being scheduled against Game 2 of the Lakers-Magic series, the Cedars-Sinai Sports Spectacular still drew a huge crowd of 1700 to the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Sunday night in L.A. Besides Ochocinco, Dwyane Wade, Ryan Scheckler, Laila Ali, Baron Davis (who donned an Afro wig and introduced Snoop as though he were part of the posse), Warren Sapp, Blake Griffin and dozens of other sports stars, I saw Hasheem Thabeet, the skinny, ever-smiling 7-3 UConn center who figures to go in the top five of the coming NBA draft. I asked him what he thought of the lottery.
"Oh, I was SOOOO happy!" he beamed. "I see that the Los Angeles Clippers win the first pick!"
Why did this make you happy, 'Sheem?
"Because I know this means I do not have to play for them!"
Kid's a quick learner.
Saw Nuggets coach George Karl the other night. Actually, I only saw his backside. All night, play after play after play: stared at George's glutes.
My buddy gave my wife and me two "fantastic" courtside seats to Game 3 of the Nuggets-Lakers series. "And you're right next to the Nuggets bench!" he glowed. Which was exactly the problem. My seat was two seats off the Nuggets bench, at what used to be the press table before the Nuggets sold the area to paying customers. But my seat also happened to be exactly behind where Karl leans against the table and watches the ENTIRE game. He had hip replacement surgery, so he likes to stand. And stand. Not move. Not walk. Not pace. Not kneel. Stand. And the man is not small. He is the approximate size of a drive-thru Starbucks. Honestly, I saw about a third of the game. I spent the other two third trying to crane my neck around George's derriere to see.
Later, my buddy asked me what I thought of the seat.
"Looked like about a 42 to me," I said.
Saw Michael Phelps at the Kentucky Derby, then saw him again a week later in his hometown of Towson, MD, as I interviewed him on a funny and emotion-filled night for Homecoming (airs July 2 on ESPN.) His coach, Bob Bowman, owns a couple race horses, so he's getting into the ponies. I asked him how he did betting and, like all of us, he had a tale of heartache and woe.
"Every race, I bet $20 on the eight horse, because that's my lucky number," Phelps said, referring to the eight gold medals he won at the Beijing Olympics. "All the way up through the 10th race, I bet the eight horse and it never wins. So, for the Derby, I don't bet the eight horse. What comes in? The eight horse (Mine That Bird). I'm an idiot." By the way, a $20 bet on Mine That Bird to win would've made Phelps nearly $1,020.
As for the 2012 London Olympics, Phelps isn't saying what events he'll swim nor how many he'll enter, but I'd put money on the sprints. I watched him lift Saturday morning and the man's a beast. He's 203 pounds and even more ripped in the upper body. I watched him put on a 44-pound vest and do 10 pull-ups—the hard kind, where your arms go all the way down. It's a long way off, but I'd get your "win" bets ready.
Sign that The New Depression is already here: Ran into NBA Commissioner David Stern at the Pepsi Center for Game 1 of the Denver-New Orleans series. He flew in commercial. No more NBA private jet for The Commish for awhile. "I just don't think it looks right," he said. And not just commercial. The night before he'd been in Portland and flew to Denver the next morning on Frontier, which is an all-coach airline. David Stern, in seat 32B. Good thing he has short legs.
Saw Muhammad Ali at Celebrity Fight Night in Phoenix. Fight Night has to be in the top five of fundraisers in the country, with much of the dough going to fight Parkinson's disease, and Ali never fails to make it. Also, Ali never fails to try his Baby Ruth trick. Someone will come up to Ali and gush, "Oh, Champ, this is one of the great honors of my life, meeting you! Is there anything I can do for you?" And Ali will whisper into their ear, "Can you get me a Baby Ruth?" And the guy will tear apart heaven and earth to get him a Baby Ruth bar. Some people have even left the party, gone to a 7-Eleven and brought one back. And when they hand it to him, Ali's wife, Lonnie, will snatch it away and scold, "Muhammad can't have sweets!" The giver will want to dig a hole and hide. Ali will grin. Nice try.
Bumped into new Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel and his two brothers, Jack, 28, who's in camp with the Indians, and Justin, 24, who's in the White Sox farm system. Matt's going to make more than $14 million this year while Jack's going to be scraping by on the Wendy's Super Value Menu. I couldn't help asking Jack if he ever felt steroids—or his refusal to use them—has kept him out of The Show.
"I don't know. I mean, how do I know who made it up there because they were juicing and who didn't? When I came up I was an 88-91 (mph) guy—screwball, splitter—like a lot of guys. And then, all of a sudden, guys who threw exactly as fast as me were suddenly 92-94 guys and they get the call. How do I know who cheated and who didn't? It just—it kinda sucks."
Small irony: Cassel's mother, Barbara, is an Emmy-award winning set decorator, who designed, among others, the set for Dirty Sexy Money. In baseball, they got the "dirty" part right.
Bumped into four-time-major winner Raymond Floyd at Pebble Beach last week. He was telling stories about his amateur partner for 20-plus years there—Clint Eastwood, director and star of the critically acclaimed "Gran Torino." "I always said that what Clint does isn't really acting," said Floyd, 66. "He just is. What you see on the screen is pretty much what he's like. Man, the people love him. Remember "Dirty Harry"? Do you know how many times I heard somebody holler, 'Make my day!'? I got so sick of 'Make my day!' Except one time. We got to the green and a young woman was standing right in front in a full-length raincoat. She yells, "Hey, Clint! Make MY day!' and opened up her raincoat. She was buck naked under there! Just nothin' on!" Eastwood didn't play last week, which was just as well. There's nothing really sexy about women shooting him with their thumb and forefinger.
I saw John Krasinski from The Office not long ago. He was in Leatherheads with George Clooney and Clooney kept trying to get him to go one-on-one in hoops. Krasinski is about 6-3 and played hoops at Newton South (MA.) High and Clooney is about 5-11 and a complete gym rat. So the last I'd heard the bet was up to $2000. What happened? "He beat me," Krasinski admitted. "He was really good." But Clooney—coolest guy in the world—refused to take Krasinski's money. So Krasinski had an NBA standard base, pole and hoop sent to Clooney's house in Lake Como, Italy. "Now, if you're driving along in a yacht on Lake Como and you see all those incredible, elegant villas, you'll know the one with the NBA hoop is George's."