Back Nine: Is it just me, or are the Heat toying with us?

Published: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, June 10, 2013 at 9:48 p.m.

The Back Nine comes at you after a weekend in St. Augustine with my dad, who is hanging in there and still the best guy I know to have a cold one with in the Oldest City.

10. Every time I watch this Miami Heat team in a playoff game, I can’t help but think they are is just toying with us. Doesn’t it seem the Heat only play as hard as they have to? They lose a game and everybody overreacts and then they come back and win the next game (11 straight times in the postseason including five this year). Sometimes I think they get bored with the game and slip up and lose and LeBron James tries to show off his versatility and they lose. And then they win. And in the end, I have no doubt they will win the championship. This series could go seven. In fact, the Heat may want it to go seven just to keep the ratings up. But when they want to win it, they will. That’s my take on it.

11. I was flipping around Sunday night and stopped at the Heat-Spurs game and heard this from my wife — “That’s Udonis Haslem?” She hadn’t seen him in awhile because she watches zero NBA games, but someone who remembers the chunky Florida center probably wouldn’t recognize this chiseled athlete playing for Miami these days. He’s a real success story. I talked to him several years ago about his weight loss and he said it happened when he was overseas because he didn’t like the food. But here’s a question I have — does he ever actually wear his mouthpiece? It seems like he’s always chewing on it.

12. There are a lot of things that I understand but will never get. I don’t get tattoos that cover an athlete’s body or why there is so much loud music at NBA games. I don’t get why the catcher in women’s softball games throws the ball to first after a strikeout for the third out of an inning. And I’ll never get why a college pitcher will throw an 0-2 pitch nowhere near the strike zone. I know, it’s a waste pitch. But why waste anything? I don’t get golfers who change equipment after they make it big and don’t go back to the old ones when they struggle. And I certainly don’t get computer rankings in any sport. For example, Rafael Nadal dropped a spot in the ATP rankings after winning the French Open. That makes no sense.

13. But I do get this weekend. Not only is Sunday Father’s Day, which is my favorite holiday of the year, but it’s the final day of the U.S. Open. I’ve already written that I don’t think Tiger Woods will end his majors drought (which I’m sure assures you that he will win) not only because of how tight the course is but because he often struggles with speedy greens. So who will win? You might as well draw a name out of a hat. But if I had to pick, I’d take Matt Kuchar. So now you know he won’t win. At any rate, I can’t wait to watch the train wrecks that make the Open so much fun to watch. And watch out for Billy Horschel, the former UF golfer who is back on his game after struggling at The Players. His tie for 10th at Memphis puts him fifth on the money list with $2.7 million earned this year.

14. I will also watch the College World Series, and, for some reason, I’ve been hooked on the Super Regionals this year even though Florida is long gone from the NCAA Tournament. Indiana scoring 21 runs in two games on FSU’s pitching staff was stunning as was Vandy getting swept by Louisville in Nashville. Is this the year to be a Louisville fan or what?

15. There have been reports (mostly on Twitter) that Florida will draw Alabama as its second opponent from the West next year in football. Will Muschamp can’t catch a break. He comes into the league when South Carolina is the best it has ever been, Georgia is a national power, FSU is almost back and then he gets Alabama while it’s working on dynasty credentials and LSU every year. And he didn’t get Miami when they were awful (but gets them this year when it’s dangerous) and last year instead of getting a home game against an Auburn team that ended up going winless in the league, he has to travel to Texas A&M, which ends up having the Heisman Trophy winner. Does someone in the league office have a vendetta against the Florida coach?

16. The men’s track and field team deserves a lot of credit for sharing the national title, especially to win it like it did. To win the final race and win it that way two years in a row shows that these athletes have the clutch gene. OK, so they got a break when Texas A&M dropped the baton. But so much of sports is what you do with an opportunity. Just think how many of the seven straight national championships for SEC football teams required someone else to mess up. Go ahead, I’ll wait. By my count it’s five of the seven. Anyway, Mouse Holloway deserves a ton of credit for doing such a good job.

17. The Tweet of the Week comes from my friend Matt Hayes, who covers college football for The Sporting News — “NCAA lets UNC investigate itself in massive academic fraud case; takes Freeh Report as gold. 2 biggest cases ever, and NCAA does no work.” I’m a sucker for any tweets ripping the NCAA. But that’s just me.

18. On the beach Sunday in St. Augustine I was thinking that bodysurfing should be an Olympic sport. That way I’d have a shot at making an Olympic team. I also listened to some great music while getting a sunburn. Try these — “Wanna Feel It” by The Olms, “The Way It Used To Be” by City & Colour and for a deep vinyl cut Rare Earth’s of “What’d I Say.”

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at And follow at

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top