Sunday, September 30, 2012

Today's High 5: Choker Edition

5. I'm trying to figure out which team delivered the bigger choke: the White Sox, the Panthers or the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Eenie ... meenie ... miney ... choke!

4. After beating the Tigers on Sept. 17, the White Sox were 3 games up in the AL Central. They won only 3 times since and now trail Detroit by 3 games with 3 games to play. That's a lot of 3's, and this particular 4-of-a-kind is a losing hand. After all these years, the White Sox are still an all-or-nothing, swing-for-the-fences group. And sometimes the home runs just don't come. Adam Dunn has gone deep plenty this season, but his 0-for-13 (with 7 Ks) over the weekend, as Chicago lost 3 of 4 at home to the Rays, is a nice reflection of who the Sox are. Paraphrasing the great Gary Gaetti: It's hard to hit the baseball when you have both hands wrapped around your throat.

3. The Panthers led 28-27 at Atlanta with 69 seconds to go, and the Falcons had the ball at their own 1-yard line with no timeouts left. It's hard to choke that kind of situation away, but choke the Panthers did. I'd like to give a big thumbs up to Matt Ryan for the miracle comeback, but his 59-yard lob wedge to set up the winning field goal never should have worked. I'm still wondering what the defensive backfield of my adopted team was thinking on that one. The Panthers actually could have put the game away without Atlanta even getting one last chance but Cam Newton, who otherwise had an outstanding game, fumbled on what would have been a clinching run. So now the Panthers are 1-3, a promising season ready to going down the drain. Heimlich maneuver, please!

2. Somehow, the U.S. Ryder Cup team managed to cough up a 10-6 lead going into the final day at Medinah. Although lots of credit has to go to the Europeans, who made incredible shot after incredible shot, the fact is that several top U.S. players simply fell apart. Jim Furyk followed his U.S. Open choke job with a hackathon of equal chokiness Sunday. And what can you say about Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker, who combined to lose 7 1/2 of 8 possible points over the weekend? Stricker looked especially hopeless, which helps explain why a player of such talent just about never even contends in the majors. You have to wonder why U.S. captain Davis Love III put Stricker in the critical 11th position on Sunday. Hey, maybe captains choke, too.

1. OK, the results have been tabulated. And the Choke of the Month -- make that Choke of the Year -- goes pretty handily to ...

The U.S. Ryder Cup Team.

Congratulations, boys! While the other contenders merely choked, you found a way to pull off a historic collapse of Cubbian proportions!!

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