Jan 25, 2006 

Which Old Slugger Will Play More? Thomas Or Bonds?

New Athletic Frank Thomas


The A's signed the once-mighty Big Hurt, Frank Thomas today. It's quite probable that his contribution next season will equal his paltry $500,000, one-year contract.

Thomas is not the savior that the folks over at AthleticsNation believe him to be. According to their carpetbagging leader, Blez, this signing makes the A's contenders to the American League pennant.

Ridiculous, unless we're talking about a time machine that brings the Frank Thomas of the early 90s back to Oakland.

Billy Beane is not a genius or he would have won a pennant by now. He is smart, though. There is no risk in bringing in Thomas, bad knees or bad attitude, at a half million dollars with incentives.

You can't say Thomas puts the A's over the top in the American League when they may be the third best team in their division. The Angels are still intact and Texas looks like they finally have a coherent plan in place. Even the White Sox had little problems winning the World Series without Thomas for most of the season.

The best the A's can look for is a facsimile of another aging slugger with major mobility issues: Dave Parker.

In 1988, the once-formidable rightfielder with a rifle arm lumbering speed came to Oakland armed only with a big bat and a fatherly clubhouse demeanor. That's a combinations that the perennial low-budget A's have never had in their sights.

Thomas, despite his aloof and strained relationships in Chicago with Jerry Manuel and Ozzie Guillen, may be ready to allow his seniority and leadership shine with the much younger A's. Nothing humors a superstar more than knowing his team can win the whole thing without him.

In 2006, the A's won't lean on Thomas nearly as much as those A's of the late 80s did with Parker. The A's will be very careful with Thomas' health and its very likely that he will again spend a good percentage of the season on the disabled list. If that's the case, Beane has assembled this team with a slew of interchangeable parts. Dan Johnson can move from first to DH and the same with Nick Swisher.

The real race is who will play more this season; Barry Bonds across the Bay or Thomas in Oakland. I'll say Thomas, although come September the story of the A's season will barely mention the contributions of Frank Thomas.

Jan 23, 2006 

Bonds Weasels Out Of Another Predicament


Playing baseball in a glorified exhibition tournament never made much sense for the decrepit Barry Bonds, anyway.

There's two ways to look at Bonds' decision not to play in March's World Baseball Classic. One, it was a detailed public relations ploy to make sports most selfish player an American hero or that his balky knees are not responding well to training.

Both are plausible.

Never underestimate lawyers and agents and our society's romantic notion that Americans love a good comeback story. The year-long battle of dodging steroid questions took more than the veneer off of Bonds' career accomplishments it flirted with destroying it.

What better time to deflect the harsh criticism with the possibility that Bonds could hit that one defining, uniquely patriotic homer and begin to scrub away the sticky questions of cheating, lying and drug-use.

To believe that this was an orchestrated media ploy designed to be played out for the last two months only to reach its pre-determined end today is not a stretch. For one reason: why would a player with thrice-operated knees who barely withstood the rigors of one month of the baseball season risk his precious health for the Team USA? It makes no sense, especially if you eliminate the aura of Bonds from the equation. It just made no practical sense.

That his health is not progressing as planned is also very possible. As Mike Celizic of MSNBC.com wrote, the mere mention that his family entered into his mind when deciding not to play is a red herring designed to distract us from the truth.

To go further, every instance where trouble has arisen in Bonds' life during the past year and a half, the use of his family and especially his son, has functioned as a smokescreen to either not perform on the field or deflect harsh questions and criticism.

What Bonds may be deflecting is the fact that the guy who hit five homers in 42 at-bats last season playing three times a week might be the best the Giants can hope for in 2006.

Jan 21, 2006 

Holmgren's Coaching Chops Go A Long Way


(Sun., 3:30pm; SEA -3 1/2)

Unlike the equally road-bound Steelers, the Panthers are not healthy and with those bumps and bruises comes an exposure to the weaknesses of the their second and third-string players.

Carolina's loss of DeShaun Foster hurt the Panthers much more than having a wobbly Shaun Alexander in Seattle's backfield. How could the loss of the NFL's offensive MVP not sting as much as losing Carolina's back-up?

An increased in attention to the Panthers' WR Steve Smith will be this game's focal point. Smith has been Carolina's gamebreaker in each of its two playoff road victories. It's highly unlikely that Seattle's Mike Holmgren did not sit down with defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes and decide to double-team or triple-team Smith all day and take their chances with aging WR Ricky Proehl not beating them.

It's a smart move. Without RB Stephen Davis and now Foster, do you really think third-string running back Nick Goings will be a threat against a good Seattle run defense?

Seattle has proven unbeatable at home this season (9-0)and in the past few weeks has been able to changed the momentum of a game in their favor despite not playing very well.

The Battle In Seattle will not be much of one. Overwhelming take Seattle with the 3 1/2 points. Seahawks 33, Panthers 21.


Pittsburgh's Road Odyssey Runs Through Denver


(Sun., 12:30pm; DEN -3 1/2)

The Steelers defied all odds last season by going 15-1 with a rookie quarterback. In this year's playoffs, Pittsburgh has done everything needed to get the AFC Championship Game in Denver.

They quickly erased Cincinnati's Carson Palmer on the second play of their opening game on wildcard weekend, thereby, sucking all of the exuberance out of the Bengals and their vocal fans.

Last week, against all odds, they defeated a Colts team that just four weeks prior some were calling one of the best in NFL history. They did it in the league's loudest venue and beat its best player--Peyton Manning--and did it convincingly.

So, if they've done all that, what's stopping them from beating a less-talented Denver team?

Pittsburgh, along with Carolina, present the two most aggressive and experienced teams left in the playoffs. This should come in handy when presented with possibly the NFL's most daunting locales--oxygen-starved Denver. Coupled with the loud fans, the mile high altitude of Denver could play a role in this game. Enough with the intangibles.

The Steelers are in a good frame of mind right now; a winning daze, but so is Denver.

This game will come down to the Steelers defense against Denver's offense. Both teams are playing to their strengths. Pittsburgh is 8-2 on the road and Denver is 9-0.

The Steelers defense may suffer from a frenetic two weeks on the road, but the backup duo of Willie Parker and Jerome Bettis may be able to control the clock against Denver's defensive line.

Denver's Jake Plummer isn't prone to making big mistakes anymore and he needs to be contained. If he can get out of the pocket and make plays out of nothing it will portend to bad things for Pittsburgh, especially if it happens with five minutes left in the game.

This will be a tough game. Most likely coming down to whomever has the fickle last possession. I'm betting it comes down to Pitt's Jeff Reed splitting the uprights. Nevertheless, take the points with Pittsburgh. Steelers 24, Broncos 22.


Cheerleader Of The Week--Top Cat Jenny

Carolina Top Cat: Jenny
Originally uploaded by wonderbread74.
Being named Cheerleader of the Week has been advantageous to the team that employs her. Every time, except the gag recipient Lucretia, has won their week's game.

Carolina's Jenny's biography (click "Jenny") contains so many possible ways to go joke-wise.

She's a mechanical engineer. Engineer this piece of man machinery! Nah, too vulgar and I'm not sure exactly what that means.

Her favorite charity is the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Of course, we can all wish.

But check out her favorite quote: "Enjoy the little things for one day you will look back and realize they were the big things."

It's the exact frame of mind that Tailgater's blog colleague at Jay Tray hopes every woman believes.

Hey, no such thing as a free plug. Oh, I walked right into that one.



Jan 20, 2006 

Knicks' Davis Picked On The Wrong Guy


The last laugh might be NBA player, Antonio Davis and his wife.

After jumping into the stands, in an apparent heroic dash to rescue his wife, Davis received a five-game suspension for the act.

The fan, Michael Axelrod of Chicago, made no contact with either Davis or his wife, Kendra Davis, after cheering for a call against the Knicks.

Today, on TNT's pre-game show, Charles Barkley ridiculed Axelrod for already having a lawyer and public-relations guy. He even called for the death of all lawyers, by the way.

Is Axelrod an opportunist? No, but he's very well-connected.

Watch out Mr. and Mrs. Davis, Axelrod's father is a well-known Democratic media consultant.

David Axelrod has worked on campaigns for a who's who of Democrats from Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Chicago mayor Richard Daley.

Did the PR machine of the NBA need a faceoff with a Democratic media powerhouse regarding the Ron Artest melee last year in Detroit?

In the end, if the NBA does not placate the Axelrod's there is a high possibility that the easy caricature of a rogue NBA will come back to haunt them in this case.

Jan 19, 2006 

Players Should Fire Davis Immediately

Originally uploaded by wonderbread74.

Could the NBA's union president be dumber than the president of the United States?

The New York Knicks' center, Antonio Davis, hopped the scorer's table and ventured up the stands eerily similar to the vicious and infamous melee that broke out with the Pacers' Ron Artest in Detroit last year.

No punches were thrown and very little occurred after Davis jumped into the stands but why in this post-Artest NBA would the any players, yet alone, the union president stir up such awful memories?

The NBA handed down a five-game suspension for Davis, but what else will happen to the Oakland-born center?

Nobody is talking about Davis' union post. This is the example that the players are led by? The very person who was privy to everything that happened regarding the Artest aftermath is the first one to again jump over the invisible barrier between athlete and spectator.

Does it matter that nothing happened physically after he jumped the scorer's table or that the fraternity of basketball players call him a nice guy?

Aside from the once-in-a-lifetime spectacle of an athlete fighting with fans in the stands, when was the last time you saw an athlete confront a fan, period?

Davis should be relieved of his post immediately. Warranted or not, Davis had no business entering the seating area. That is his wife was somehow in danger is proving short on evidence. If anything, Davis' wife may have been the aggressor. It seems more like a macho-soaked and cowardly excuse for making an enormous mistake.

Davis leads the weakest union in the North American sports. Get ride of him. They can do better.


Who Hired Turner? Nolan Or York


The sports pages of the San Francisco Chronicle were grasping at straws Tuesday over the hiring of former Raiders head coach Norv Turner as their new offensive coordinator.

Both columnist Gwen Knapp and Niners beat writer, Kevin Lynch mentioned the last time a former Raider head coach rekindled his career across the bay leading the 49ers offense good things happened.

The analogy sought by the two was the hiring of Mike Shanahan in 1991. The writers somehow want to believe Turner's hiring is some sort of omen for good things in San Francisco.

Shanahan took the reigns of the West Coast offense and arguably brought it to new heights with Steve Young as quarterback. Of course, history tells us that Shanahan would subsequently leave the Niners for Denver and win back-to-back Super Bowls with John Elway.

Rest assured, this is guaranteed not to happen again. Turner's nine-year coaching career can simply be attributed to the good fortune of landing in Dallas at the moment that the threesome of Troy Aikman, Emmit Smith and Michael Irvin came of age. How much coaching did Turner really need to do to get those guys to be a prolific offense?

The real story here is who actually hired Turner? Did head coach Mike Nolan make the pick or did the 49ers' schizo front office do it?

Press reports are not clear on the subject. Both Chronicle stories led us to be Nolan made the hiring, but does that make sense? Who made the hire is very important here.

If Nolan did, then it paints a portrait of a head coach willing to let bygone-be-bygones. Turner let Nolan go when he was the Redskins' defensive coordinator. It also shows a willingness on Nolan's part to shore up their anemic offense with a known quantity, if not a dubious one.

If Nolan didn't do it, then it illustrates the enormity of the problem with the once-formidable Niners. In this case, it would seem that the Niners are hovering a qualified, freshly-fired NFL coach on the sidelines unless Nolan doesn't start winning.

You shouldn't put it pass Dr. John York and company on this subject. The 49ers have not shown any semblance of plan since they bowed out of the 2002 playoffs.

Nolan's first year was seemingly a success by the low standards this franchise has set. Four wins and a propensity to playing good defensive football at home was far above the play under Dennis Erickson.

Here's hoping good ol' Norval does for Alex Smith and Brandon Lloyd what he did for Kerry Collins and Randy Moss.

Jan 14, 2006 

COUCH NOTES: Redskins vs Seahawks


Pre-Game: 1:35pm - Tony Siragusa was talking about how loud the Seahawks fan were. A rock concert at 120 decibels doesn't seem to loud, especially when the stadium was only registering around 100.

12:38 1st Qtr: Seattle's Shaun Alexander fumbles. Who would have thought that the NFL MVP would be the one playing cautiously. Washington's defense looks far more apprehensive than the beginning of last week's game in Tampa Bay when they were "tenacious".

3:02 1st Qtr: Alexander suffers a concussion. Did you hear how quiet the stadium got? Just like Carson Palmer's injury for Cincinnati last week, the pall over the players and fans was significant. The difference today appears that the Seahawks became instantly deflated by the injury and Cincy was pumped up before falling in the third quarter against Pittsburgh.

End of the 1st Qtr: The Seahawks are controlling possession beautifully. It reminds of the Baltimore Ravens against Oakland in the 2000 AFC Championship Game. Seattle doesn't seem poised to making the Redskins pay for it, though.

Halftime: Seattle RB Maurice Morris is coming up big in replacing the injured Alexander.

10:11 3rd Qtr: Hasselbeck scores to make it 14-3. The momentum was slowly flowing towards the Seahawks. After this last score, the defense seems more visibily inspired. Seattle is a timely turnover away from putting this game away.

6:08 3rd Qtr: Redskins QB Mark Brunell is finally finding his weapons--Santana Moss and Chris Cooley. It's about time. The 'Skins punter is wearing his foot out with seven punts through half the game.


Redskins, Panthers, Colts, Patriots To Advance

'Skins QB Mark Brunell
Originally uploaded by wonderbread74.

Last week playoff novices in Byron Leftwich, Jon Kitna, Chris Simms and Eli Manning showed just how intense the road to the Super Bowl can be. All miserably failed. Look for the trend to continue in the Divisional Playoff round.

Denver's Jack Plummer, Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck and Chicago's Rex Grossman (or Kyle Orton) will be under the gun this week. All should fail in advancing their teams to the final four.

WASHINGTON @ SEATTLE (Sat., 1:30pm, Line: Sea -9 1/2)
The Skins are The T's pre-playoff sleeper and everything seems in place for another road upset.

Wind and rain is forecast for Saturday's afternoon game in Seattle. As if Matt Hasselbeck didn't have enough trouble with Washington's swarming defense.

One of the great surprise of last week's win for the Redskins was its hard-hitting defense. They constantly had a hat on every Tampa runner and the turnovers led to crucial points in the 17-10 win.

In that game, Washington's offense was stymied, but look for WR Santana Moss to have a big game and for the Redskins to negate NFL MVP Shaun Alexander.

Take the 9 1/2 points for sure. In bad January weather anything can happen.

NEW ENGLAND @ DENVER (Sat., 5pm, Line: Den -3)
These are still the two-time defending Super Bowl champs were talking about here. Didn't you check out their thoroughly systematic win last week against Jacksonville?

New England may not have the wide receivers to exploit Denver's porous secondary, but somehow--like he always does--Tom Brady will find the right receiver.

The Patriots will win squarely on the backs of their defense. If Denver can't score they will not be able to keep the Patriots off the board.

Again, a playoff rarity, take the points and look for the Brady to increase his playoff record to 11-0.

PITTSBURGH @ INDIANAPOLIS (Sun., 10am, Line: Ind -9 1/2)
Indy rocked Pittsburgh two months ago on Monday Night Football, other than a fresh Ben Roethlisberger, not much has changed.

I'm not a big fan of Roethlisberger but he seems to get just enough done to get the Steelers W's. That type of QB is usually nearing 40 and past his prime. They call those guys "wily vets".

Nevertheless, the story of the Colts' season will not end during this round of playoffs. Too much is against the Steelers against the number one seeded Colts.

One, the dome will be ear-splitting in Indianapolis. Second, Peyton Manning has something to prove (whatever that means?) and third, everyone forgets about Indy's defense. It's what won them the tough games against New England, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.

The Steelers are a good team and 9 1/2 points is too much to give in this situation. Take the Steelers and the points.

CAROLINA @ CHICAGO (Sun., 1:30pm, Line: CHI -3)
This is the toughest game of the weekend to prognosticate. The huge wildcard is whether you believe Chicago's number one rated defense will hold the Panthers to three points again like they did during the regular season.

In that game, the Bears allowed only 55 rushing yards, but gave up 169 yards to WR Steve Smith. Smith didn't score a touchdown, but if Chicago's employs that same philosophy chances are that he'll burn them for one or two TD's.

It's not a good sign when your hanging your chances on the possibility that the combined score of the game is under 17 points.

Unseasonably tolerant weather in Chicago will be the bane of Bears. Carolina has a great defense, too and a return to Charlotte for an all-wildcard NFC Championship game seems sure. Take the Panthers and the points.

OVERALL: 28-18.

Jan 13, 2006 

Why Can't The Packers Cut Ties With Favre?


What does leading the NFL's worst offense get you? Try a cozy head coaching job in the land of Vince Lombardi.

Just imagine if the former 49ers offensive coordinator, Mike McCarthy, would have presided over an offense that was 30th ranked in the NFL instead of 31st. It's possible that the New England Patriots would jettison Bill Belichick in favor of McCarthy. No, but maybe in a bizarro world.

It's obvious that the Green Bay Packers chose keeping Brett Favre around for another year instead of looking over McCarthy's scant resume. McCarthy was Green Bay's quarterback coach in 1999 when Favre threw 22 interceptions.

The Packers needed to cut the cord on Favre before they risked any chance of a competing in the near future. There are two opposing philosophies working in cheese country. They possess a definite quarterback prospect in Cal's Aaron Rodgers yet they are beholden to the ghosts of the glory years under Favre.

Those years are about three years in the rearview window and won't be reversed with the hiring of a former assistant of dubious distinction.

What would be so wrong with nudging Favre towards retirement and looking to the future with Rodgers? It's not like the season ticket application aren't running thousands deep.

Now, for the Niners. What to do, now? The only way that the offense could be worse is if the NFL awards a 32nd franchise to Paris and stocks it with mimes.

Jan 12, 2006 

Cheerleader Of The Week--SeaGal Tiffany

SeaGal Tiffany: Would Ya?!
Originally uploaded by wonderbread74.
It's interesting, either Tiffany can't spell very well or the Seattle Seahawks PR department forgot to spell check "definately".

Anyway, I'm pinning it on cheerleader error.

Cheerleader of the Week, Tiffany, is quite the dichotomy in tight shorts and pompoms. Majoring in Comparative Religion, the holy-rolling cheerleader finds little irony in shaking her ass on the Lord's day.

What's her favorite vacation spot? Somewhere tropical.

How about the balmy climate of the inside of my 98.6 degree Levi's.



Jan 6, 2006 

Will Davis Cede Control Of Decision-Making?


The Norval Turner era mercifully ended in Oakland last Tuesday. Gee, we hardly knew ya'. Get outta here!

Since The T is all about speculation--shall we begin?

Figuring out whom Al Davis will choose as the successor to Turner usually comes with a distinct template. First, no defensive coordinators need apply. Second, a propensity to bend over (backwards?) to the demands of the Raider Czar is a must and third, a gratuitous mention of Art Shell returning from coaching oblivion must be floated exactly one day into the search.

Except for number three--which already happened--this search for a new Raiders head coach might give a glimpse into whether the aged Davis is nearing the end of his Silver and Black reign.

Davis, 76, has been scene strolling the pregame sidelines with the aid of a walker--albeit a black version to match his Raiders jumpsuit. Could Davis' health and the delegation of control over the team's decisions about to change starting with the next coach?

A few reports have mentioned off the record accounts of a struggle within the Raiders organization to bring in a fresh faced talent to Oakland. The fact that opposition has developed in the ranks is enough to believe that Davis is, indeed, ceding control of the team to others.

Of course, this would be huge. There are few teams in all of North American sports that are more cozy with such a stubborn addiction to running a team in the old-fashioned ways. With Davis, a few things are non-negotiable. The same jersey and logo will never be tinkered with and the deep threat philosophy of the 1960s is always en vogue. These factors will never change with Davis in complete control. Retro as a clothing line is cool, but retro football is a losing proposition. Since beating Tennessee in the 2002 AFC Championship Game the Raiders have won 13 games.

A commitment to an array of flashy wide receivers like Randy Moss and older quarterbacks is a wasted expenditure in a league where defensive speed and running the ball effectively is the name of the game.

It remains to be seen whether a defensive mind like Chicago's Ron Rivera might be considered or if the old school ways of Davis will prevail. No matter what, this off-season will go a long way in forming the future of da Raidahs.

Jan 5, 2006 

Cheerleader Of The Week--Tara

Ben-Gal Tara: Would Ya!?
Originally uploaded by wonderbread74.
The comically named Ben-Gals--the cheerleaders of the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals are enhanced--and we're not just talking about the fake jugs--by Dr. Tara W.

The four-year vet of the Ben-Gals is working on a Ph.D from the University of Cincinnati by which having a side gig as a cheerleader makes all the sense in the world.

Her advice: "You can't adjust the wind, but you can always adjust your sail."

Hopefully she's not referring to a gynecological problem.



Jan 2, 2006 

The Raiders Season In Five Minutes

In every season there is one brief moment when all the problems and glories present themselves. Saturday's New York Giants/Oakland Raiders game presented both in one series.

It comes to down to perspective. When the Giants stuffed the Raiders on four straight plays from the one-yard line it looked, from the Giants' perspectives another piece of evidence showing a team of destiny. From the Raiders perspective, it was the final rude awakening for an inept and deplorable season.

Watch the decisive series here, presented by YOUTUBE.COM.

Jan 1, 2006 

Danica Patrick Almost Changed Us In 2005

Whoa Mama!: Danica Patrick
Originally uploaded by wonderbread74.


The T likes to hope (like to think) that the realm of sports is much more than boxscores and betting pools, but a unique glimpse into our society.

It's why 2005 was much more than the Chicago White Sox finally bringing a World Series title to the Windy City, the New England Patriots winning their third Super Bowl in four years or the Bay Area's two pro football franchises turning in equally dismal 4-12 records.

If the world of sports mirrors that of our society then 2005 signaled the beginning of decay.

The atrophy was no more glaring than the year's most infamous moment--Rafael Palmeiro waging his finger in defiance before Congress.

Palmeiro would later join the 3,000 hit club and a week later fall under the hypocrisy of a reported positive drug test.

At that same Congressional hearing the visions of the hulking stars of 1998's "magical" run to Roger Maris' homerun record trembled before the poignant criticism of John McCain, among others.

Mark McGwire cried and did his best Ronald Reagan impression by conveniently not recalling a thing. Sammy Sosa forgot how to speak English and whistleblower, Jose Canseco, looked like a hero before he appeared on VH1's kitschy reality show, The Surreal Life.

All the while, the biggest fish in the steroid scandal, Barry Bonds, put his run at the homerun record on hold while his body began to deteriorate--from age or the lack of performance-enhancing drugs--you be the judge.

If wondering whether the world of sports was actual clean or a mirage wasn't enough the worst natural disaster in American history effectively wiped the city of New Orleans off the map.

Already a suspect demographic for sports franchise, both of New Orleans' sports franchises jockeyed for a way out of the market while the citizens of the region wondered how their lives would be restored.

How the sleaziness of Art Modell, the former Cleveland Browns owner who moved the team to Baltimore, could be topped was unimaginable until Saints' owner, Tom Benson, attempted to openly negotiate with the mayor of San Antonio before the levees were patched and the city drained of water.

The New Orleans Hornets, on the other hand, surreptitiously ducked out of town as the Oklahoma City/New Orleans Hornets when nobody was looking or possible because nobody cared.

2005 wasn't just about cheating and money. Yeah, right!

In the Bay Area the Oakland Athletics did the impossible. No, they didn't win the World Series with a bare-bones budget. A's management somehow dramatically raised ticket prices without charging their fans. Instead, they wiped out the entire upper deck--20% of the stadium.

The idea was to create greater demand for A's tickets and foster more season tickets. How course, greater demand equals more expensive tickets for the fans. Gone are $10 upper deck seats and the revered $2 Wednesday will be brought back with a few thousand seats for sale.

C'mon, A's fans, you didn't think, in your utopian baseball theory, that you would win the World Series without it costing you a lot more money.

If the sports world became a lot like Enron and Worldcom in 2005, it almost rocked the social order of America for the better.

Numerous media outlets routinely rank the Top 10 highlights of the past year around this time. The White Sox, steroids and the Patriots were the usually suspects, but forgotten was the one highlight that almost happened.

If Indy car driver, Danica Patrick, would have finished those last six laps at last year's Indianapolis 500 her accomplishment would surely have been the top sports story of 2005 and assuredly one of the most important stories of the past 50 years.

Danica Patrick was the silver lining to the trying year of 2005. For one afternoon she captivated the entire sports world with the unthinkable--a woman winning the Indy 500. She exhibited poise, grittiness and beauty in a sport that was dreadfully occupied by the same good ol' boy attitude that fostered segregation and racism 50 years before.

Alas, she didn't sip milk from the famed winner's circle at Indy and finished fourth, but for one day she made the hopes of women like Michelle Wie and Morgan Pressel far more plausible. And don't think there wasn't thousand of little girls around the country who didn't take a place on the couch next to Dad. The seed was planted into many of those girls that a girl can do anything a boy can do.

Soon, possible within this new year, a young woman will finally beat the boys at their own game and our society will be far better for it.