In LPGA, kids could miss their childhood
I have this problem, and it comes from being in this business for a long, long time. I've got too many opinions Ñ and only so much space to spill them. But here we go again:
nÊWhat's it say about the regulars on the LPGA Tour that a bunch of teenagers Ñ in some cases, young teenagers Ñ can march in and qualify for their tournaments? No offense, but can you imagine a 13-year-old or a 16-year-old playing in a major league baseball game? Or an NFL game? Sure, the NBA has a few youngsters, but at least they're out of high school.
nÊIt was about time Michelle Wie's father figured out his role. The old man's job is to stay behind the ropes. Be there for her. But he isn't a professional caddie, and if his daughter is going to play on the pro golf tour, she needs a professional caddie to help her with the protocol and the rules, let alone distance and club selection. This girl is going to play in two men's events later in the summer and, excuse me, but I'm still uneasy about this. I think there's plenty of time for those kind of stunts later, but I'd make sure she didn't miss out on being a kid.
nÊThat's a crafty bunch of ribs salesmen at Chili's, the restaurant chain. They've signed Esera Tuaolo, the former Oregon State and pro football player, to sing and play a little string music on a TV commercial. Tuaolo, who made news recently by revealing he's gay, may be a bonanza for the company. He's not well-known enough (the line under his picture in the commercial calls him 'Esera, retired athlete') for the gay-bashers to know who he is Ñ so they're not likely to hold the restaurant up to any kind of ridicule. Yet those who see him as a hero for coming out of the closet are probably so appreciative of Chili's willingness to use him that they're storming the doors to order that chicken-fried steak.
nÊI have to tell you, the Portland Beavers' Khalil Greene is one of the weirdest big league prospects I've ever watched. After seeing him for a few games, I'm still not sure what to think. He's stuffed with contradictions. For starters, he's playing shortstop, and he looks like a surfer. In case you hadn't noticed, there aren't too many blond American shortstops in the big leagues. Second, he's stocky Ñ listed at
5-11 and 190 pounds. He's a right-handed hitter and not particularly fast. In his first 26 games with the Beavers, he hit .315 with five home runs and a .556 slugging percentage. But he walked just three times while striking out 22 times. My guess is that he'll always be fighting people who want to switch him to second base or third Ñ just because he looks more like someone who should be playing those positions.
• David Hersh, 20 years after selling the Portland Beavers, is buying the Tacoma franchise of the Pacific Coast League. Dave, 20 years ago I would have bet you'd have owned the Yankees by now.