23 February 2010

How Tiger Woods is Like Spring Training

I think that Tiger Woods apology conference was a lot like the start of spring training. A lot of hoopla and no substance. Does the return of Eric Gagne to the fringes of the Dodger roster count as substance?

There are really only two questions that matter in the Tiger Woods situation, and he answered neither of them. First, is he going to stay married to Elin? He did not say. You might argue that this is none of my business, but the state of being married or not married to someone is a basic public fact. And I'm not going to pretend to be above wanting to know if he and Elin are going to stay together, not after the bizarre car accident and all that followed. I'm not asking for details, for what has been said and all that. It's a basic question. Give us an answer, instead of just a long self-serving apology.

Second, and the appropriateness and relevance of this question is beyond debate, I should think -- when is he going to start playing golf again? Golf is the only reason Tiger Woods is important or famous. But he wouldn't answer that question either. I suppose his position is that he doesn't know. He doesn't know any of the answers to the important questions. Then why is he speaking to us? Don't waste our time if you have nothing of substance to say.

The Tiger apology speech last week really was like a Spring Training puff piece. Full of platitudes and the fake shine of vague optimism that now a trajectory to improvement and better times is being followed. Oh sure. Who is more believable, Tiger saying he's sorry to all the kids who looked up to him, or the journeyman pitcher saying this is the spring that the mechanical adjustment turns it all around for him? What about the middle infielder who will strike out less because he meditates?

In the battle of baseball and Tiger Woods, baseball wins, because I know when baseball substance will return. We drink baseball's spring moonshine because it's ultimately harmless, a manifestation of the desire we all have, to reach the pinnacle and take that pennant. Why would we drink Tiger's moonshine? He's just a guy desperate to hang on to the sponsorships he has left.