and one I completely agree with at a fundamental level.
Ackley lost himself in his second year. I have often wondered if the beard was a sign of psychological weakness or lost-ness, a mask to hide behind. The pure athletic talent is still there.
I'll be honest, the M's made Ackley such a key ingredient in their future plans that it stuns me they haven't done more to get through to him. If multiple managers can't, then contract somebody gifted in sports psychology to work with him. The frustrating thing about Dustin is that he is precisely a kind of hitter the M's need. Until Cano came along we penciled him in as a future #3 hitter. He has that sort of chops in him, it's just locked away in a closet inside him dying to get out, and he's lost the key.
As you say, if the M's haven't solved him by now, they aren't going to. It's going to take some other team's approach, some other coach or something, a change of scenery that opens up possibilities he doesn't see here. And when that happens, Seattle is going to rue their inability to do what someone else will have done.
Hitting a baseball is a skill built, like no other, on the concept of an acceptable rate of failure. In professional baseball we find the Peter Principle* proven on a daily basis.
The best players get on base ("succeed") about 40% of the time, almost at any level. If you exclude BB's, as a pitching failure but not a hitting success, then the best players suceed ("hit their way on base") only about 33% of the time. Or they hit for extra bases more than 14% of the time. Mike Trout is approximately Frank Robinson/Micky Mantle/Roy Hobbs and he hits his way on base 31% of the time, gets on base 40% of the time and goes for extra bases about 14% of the time. He's as good as it gets. He fails lots.
Kyle Seager is a heck of a player: He hits his way on base 27% of the time, gets on base 35% of the time and goes for multiple bases 11% of the time. As a pure hitter, he fails 73% of the time.....and yet he's an All-Star. Some people can handle that frequency of failure. Some can't.
Failure is the base rule of the game of baseball. Only when your failure rate exceeds some commonly accepted standard do you wash out. The best shooters in the NBA succeed more than 50% of the time. NFL kickers are shakey-bad if they succeed less than 75% of the time. Quarterbacks who succeed less than 60% of the time are destined to carry a clipboard.
Baseball is different. Common failure is acceptable.
Yet we scratch our heads and wonder why the fresh-faced kid in Carolina Blue, pictured above, has failed at a skill wrought with failure.
It is my belief that Dustin Ackley has lost his baseball self, and as a result, lost the Golden Boy skillset he owned like no other college player of the oughts decade.
And I think he lost himself because the failures piled up. He went from succeeding 40% of the time as a hitter, to suceeding 25% of the time....and that 15% made all the difference to Dustin Ackley. AA and AAA are easy for Ackley. His internal level of acceptable failure is not exceeded. A 30% success rate in AAA is not alarming to him. He stays relaxed, stays himself, and puts the barrel of the bat on the speeding ball. But at the MLB level the natural decline of the success rate, due to facing a bunch of pretty good pitchers, plays with his mind. A 26% success rate (as a rookie) doesn't match the identity of a Golden Boy. He is no longer the best. And he is no longer comfortable. A lifetime of being the best is erased in an increasing stack of failures. And if he's not the best........well, that destroys his own image and he goes searching.
A House of David beard? C'mon. This is a guy who is either hiding (from himself) or looking for something magical in facial hair. Either way, he's lost. Well, at least in my 2 cent psychological evaluation.
Eric Wedge blamed all of this on SABR-dudes: “It’s the new generation. It’s all this sabermetrics stuff, for lack of a better term, you know what I mean?” Wedge said. “People who haven’t played since they were 9 years old think they have it figured out. It gets in these kids’ heads.”
Some of us blamed it on Wedge. I was one. The idea that Ackley was an opposite field gapper and should develop that came from Wedge, I think. Yet if you watch any highlight film of the early Ackley what you see is a RF line-drive/fly ball hitter. Watch for yourself and watch how often he gets on top of his right leg, something he almost never does today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGgkJJ2lLxI
But the reason isn't really important. Having Ackley find himself again is. I don't know if it can happen for us. Really. I think he's too lost in the Seattle world. Trade him to the Orcs and watch him catch fire. I'm serious. Who better to mentor this kid than another Golden Boy who failed at a rate in MLB that he could not internalize. I speak of Billy Beane, of course.
Doc asked me a while ago what I would suggest (based on my golf background ) would best help Ackley succeed again. Mostly I said something (perhaps pure gibberish) about him getting on top of his right leg and watching lots of tape of Pete Rose.
This morning I found this as the last line on Ackley's UNC Bio page: "Lists "Rambo" as his favorite movie and "The DaVinci Code" as his favorite book • Modeled his game after Pete Rose."
I kid you not. Pete bleepin' Rose.
Doc can tell you about this next part far better than I: The Taoist philosoper Lao Tzu is credited with saying, "Returning is the motion of the Tao" and "Going far means returning." (I talk about this stuff in my World Cultures/History class)
Ackley needs to return to himself if he wants to go far. The first thing I would tell him is to shave. Shave! Hey, look like a Golden Boy to play like one. I've long argued that what ruined Tiger Woods' golf game was not anything physical. The guy who was untouchable/infallable/unbeatable/teflon/titanium-tough was caught with his pants down. For the first time ever his armor was dented, badly. For the first time ever he bled. Tiger the Terminator became Tiger the guy trolling for parking-lot wham-bams with waitresses. Or Tiger the guy doing stuff with Vegas "honies" that was supposed to stay in Vegas. What suffered was not his putting touch or game off the tee, but the mental image he had of himself. As long as he was untouchable and the Golden Boy he was unbeatable. Take one away and the other went, too.
The psychology of sport is a fragile thing.
Dustin Ackley is broke. He will unbreak when he finds himself again. He will unbreak when he sees the Golden Boy in the mirror. It won't happen the other way around.
I don't think that happens in Seattle, BTW.
But if is is going to happen then you have to quit focusing on something physical, as there really isn't a solution there. McClendon realizes this, I think. He said that the key would be playing Ackley when he was hot and sitting him when he wasn't. "Well, gee! Now that's brilliant!" you might say. But in a way it quasi-kinda is. The Golden Boy was one that succeeded 30+% of the time, after all. Only play that one. But you have to hope, then, that Dustin Ackley has an exceedingly short memory. So short that he doesn't remember why he's sitting when he's sitting.
I'm not sure that Ackley exists. In fact, I'm sure it doesn't.
You want to watch Dustin Ackley hit again? The rookie Dustin Ackley, I mean: Ship him elsewhere. He's lost in Seattle. Probably Sleepless, too.
Doc, I'm sure there is an aiki concept that focuses on centeredness and an awareness of who you are. Well, I'm not "sure" there is, but I would bet quite a bit on it.
Dustin Ackley needs to return to himself, then he can go far. Centeredness, Dustin, centeredness.
I'll bet tons you can help him more through some sort of breathing exercise than you can by changing his stance.
I'll bet tons you can help him more by having him concentrate on the fun he had hitting frozen rops at UNC than you can be telling him to have a "quality" AB.
I'll bet tons that he hits again in Tampa or Boston or Washington.
But if we're going to keep him here, then sit him for a while. Tell him to shave. Tell him to laugh. Tell him to enjoy the travel like a kid would. Or like a 19 year old UNC student. Let him play 1B once in a while. 2B, too. Tell him to have fun. But rolling him out for o'fer after o'fer is bad business, bad baseball and bad psychology.
But then, I'm a bad analyst, too. Ask my daughters! So your mileage will probably vary.
*The Peter Principle is the principle that "in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to their level of incompetence".
It was formulated by Dr. Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull in their 1969 book The Peter Principle. Peter's Corollary is interesting, too. Maybe more so. We can leave that for another thread, but it might have great value in baseball organizational analysis.
and one I completely agree with at a fundamental level.
I think a golfer, if his coach told him "the first thing to do is shave," would very likely comply immediately. If I were the second coach I might tell him "fire Scott Boras." Greed for success is stitched tightly into Ackley's personality, if you ask me.
Ackley RETAINS a very plus HIT tool in the majors - his swinging strike rate is extremely low. The eye confirms. Ackley can tell a strike from a ball, and he can make hard contact, better than most current MLB'ers.
However, he just can't make the PWR game work against MLB pitching -- in AAA he still hits plenty of 2B and HR, despite the wood bats -- but against top quality pitching, each time he tries to drive the ball, his entire game goes south.
Could be that the stadium is a huge part of the problem. But it looks from here, as well, as though Ackley doesn't know how to cope with a role that is contrary to his self-image.
Contrast Logan Morrison, who is not being fairly rewarded for his excellent swings this month, but who maintains a centered approach. It's not a fair comparison, but it's an illustration of the Zen point you make Moe. Golfers are extremely expert w/r/t the connection between attitude and performance.
I have no doubt that, one day, Ackley will play 2B for somebody (say, the Rangers) and hit .300/.380/.460, becoming one of the game's best players, another Dustin Pedroia. But I despair of it happening here -- at Safeco Field, and with all of the negative conditioning he's gotten here.
Change of scenery guy.
...though I do agree he needs to shave that hideous monstrosity. To me, the main thing is in the approach to hitting and the hitting mechanics. He needs to simplify. Basically, he needs to stand closer to the plate so that he can cover the outside strike without lunging at it, and then he needs to start pulling the ball in the air again. I feel fully qualified to give him that advice based on my experience as a twelve year old little leaguer thirty years ago. :)
Good words Moe and everyone! Well said that baseball is both attitude and ability. Both are necessary, at least to have long term success. Very similar to golf. Lack of confidence can toy with mind. Mind can mess with fundamentals. Vicious cycles. I don't get to watch Ackley much but I thought he was real deal out of NC. People forget, every team would have grabbed him. Now Ackley reminds me of several guys I played golf with decades ago. Some college world-beaters never made it for a myriad of reasons. Some who were only good, then became world-beaters. I have often wondered if Ackley has similarities to Bobby Clampett. Supposed to be the next Nicklaus in the 70's, he was well on his way to success....until he toyed with his swing after a disappointment in the British Open. Both a junior and college stud. Absolutely great guy. Worked extremely hard. But lesser players eventually bypassed him. Hard to figure out isn't it? It would be great if Ackley woke up on another side of the bed and we found the former guy in the batter's box....Soon!! Thanks for the thoughts everyone!
Ackley's road numbers are significantly better than his home stats, but only to the point of making him a serviceable 2B, not the college player of the decade. I think you hit it on the head Moe. I so hope that he comes around, and quickly, before it's too late for him in Seattle.
Just a passing thought that maybe it's not a mental issue with Ackley but a physical one.
It's eerily similar how Brad Miller's early career path has mirrored Ackley's, they both looked homer happy early in their MLB career. Ackley once mentioned to a reporter when he was having success hitting the long ball when he was first came to Seattle that he actually looks to hit a homerun every At-Bat; now maybe that's the correct mindset to have but it seems a little off especially if you compare that to the way Cano approaches his at-bats.
Anyway about 1+ months ago Shannon Drayer published in her blog (it was just a quick passing, one sentence comment) that Ackley is having issues with his ankle again. As we recall in the 2012 offseason, Ackley had ankle surgery to remove bone spurs in his left ankle.
I have no way of knowing if this is actually affecting Dustin's performance at the plate, and I'm just as perplexed and disappointed in the fact the he has never come close to being the player everyone expected - heck I would take James Jones level of performance at this time.
That being said Ackley has had 2-3 month stretches where he begins to hit the ball with authority and looks like the player we all expected that he should become. Looking at his SB numbers pre and post surgery - he doesn't even attempt SB's anymore and he was a player originally known for at least having above average speed.
I do not have any personal with ankle issues or how Ackley issues with bone spurs may create issues with his swing, though my younger brother had to have his ankle fused in his early 30's because of ankle pain (alleviate the pain he would limp around, this would limit his ankle pain but this overcompensation would make his whole body sore by days end), but it could possibly be the reason for Dustin's current poor performance and why historically he has run hot and cold - just maybe when his ankle is feeling good his performance begins to have an upswing
Tricky things, ankles. I would think the thing to do would be to shut him down for a few days if that was the case. Maybe the AS break was the goal. Get him there and then get him rest.
Neat stuff, Jeff.
Bobby Clampett was the classic case of a guy locked into mechanics and who lost the ability to "play" like he did when he was a kid. He competely dominated Southern Cal junior golf, which is heady stuff. He was the Low Am in both the US Open and the Masters, back in the late 70's. I remember the particular British Open you mentioned. He completely unwound.
Did you ever read any of Homer Kelly's stuff, Jeff? "The Golfing Machine?"
Kelly, who began his analytic process back in the 40's IIRC, thought you could perfect the golf swing by reducing it to mechanical concepts: Accelerators and vectors and such. Clampett, of course, was a Kelly disciple. Other teachers have borrowed and adapted his stuff.
One of my former students who became a golf pro is now a course designer and builder of custom putters. Quite successful. He was a Kelly devotee. We talked a lot about that stuff. I got lost in the geometric/mechanical stuff.
If Ackley is a Clampett, a prodigy who got lost in the weeds of mechanics, then he will likely never emerge on the other side as the player he was.
Watch his eyes. I agree the beard is bad and a defensive move. He had 7 defensive runs saved in June, he's no longer a deficit out in LF. He may well be beyond Salvation in Seattle, if so hopefully they move him and he can get his mojo back elsewhere. He's been badly devalued but ultimately it's on him.
Moe, small world at times isn't it? Fun stuff. Thank you for taking the time to write. I always enjoy your comments. I would love to find out if we know many of the same people....only I have been away from Seattle and golf for too long. I grew up with the "Golfing Machine." I met Mr. Kelley a few times when I was probably about 12-13 years old at Broadmoor. I can say that he watched me hit balls and I am sure he was not impressed nor did I understand his comments. Very nice man though. I was taking lessons then from Ben Doyle at Broadmoor, one of the original proponents of the Geometric Oriented Linear Force. When Ben moved to the Carmel area, I used to go stay with him. So I eye-witnessed up close how good Bobbly Clampett was growing up. Bobby was indeed capable of dominating golf way beyond college. I know that a lot of people don't like the "Machine" but in many ways it isn't radically different than the approach a Ben Hogan gave to the endless work of perfecting his own swing. The trouble most have with the application of "Machine" principles is that it shouldn't be kept at mere physics but one must be able to use the principles and then adapt it to the individual to build a sound, repeatable golf swing adapted to their skill level. The basics are the same but a Johnny Miller body will look different than a Lee Trevino (see how long I have been away!). Both were very sound and repeatable even though they looked completely different. I am probably like many "Machinsts" where I wanted to swing perfectly more than just hitting good shots. Bobby got lost after that sad Open seeking to rework everything had had built his game upon....a little here, a little there until the only thing that was front and center no doubt was confusion. When confusion starts to reign, all talent is quickly neutralized.
I lack first hand knowledge of watching Ackley living in Colorado but have wondered if in the black hole of his slumps he has listened to too many people so that he now has a hard time pulling the trigger and just ripping the ball by going with the pitch. Both golf and baseball will mentally destroy people in a hurry. A guy like Ackley has the talent to overcome the last couple of years and be great again. But in my little opinion, most reach a point where they don't come back. Very hard to do. But it has to be said the capability is there. Sadly, I doubt it would happen in a Seattle uniform. I hope I am proven wrong on that.
I have had fun working with pitchers in particular using much of what Kelley and Doyle taught me for golf. I also pitched growing up and the two mentally are very similar. Both require an understanding of physics but, in that, making it simple so it is repeatable.
Sorry to be so long winded Moe! Now you have me wanting to go hit a bucket! I look forward to more!!! Do you teach golf in the Seattle area?
Doc, no doubts about Ackley baseball skills. After reading everyone again, there is a part of me that knows not all players will move to the next level and find success. I wonder about your words of the large stadium (If I remember, NC had moved their fences in????) but also the wood bat (no longer the live college bat that was used in his day). He can and should be much better but something happened. Those two factors and then add skilled pitchers that prey on weakness? Maybe even leaving the warmth of the Carolinas to the wet cold of Seattle? Suddenly there in Safeco the wood bat feels like it is made out of balsa?
Very boffo stuff, Jeff. You have definitely made my day! I completely agree with you about Kelly's ideas being rather un-radical. I'm sure that he felt he was simplifying the teaching of the golf swing and was moving it to something systematic, understandable and repeatable. He was ahead of the world in that regard. The vernacular was mechanical, of course, and it lost me. But it was, in many ways, just a different way of saying the same thing. Mac O'Grady was a believer, too...if I remember correctly. Now there's a name, huh?
The fact that you actually knew Homer Kelly is really cool. And that Ben Doyle (pretty well known for the other folks reading this) was your teacher is almost as cool.
When I was a player I was a range monster. I was a "machinist" trying to get into exactly the "right" position (for me), mostly at address. I enjoyed hitting balls way more than playing, except for tournaments. I built a little over the top-Hale Irwin fade-move that eliminated the left side of the course and popped a bunch of soft fades out there where I could find them. I had a terrific short game and ground out a bunch of pars....but could never really go real low. I couldn't get out of my own way to do it. My own personal Ackley curse. I know.
I was was influenced by an old pro here in Oregon named Boots Porterfield. We played together and I watched his swing: a classic '60's type move. I never consciously tryied to copy it but I'm sure some of it found it's way into my own stuff. Whenever I would be struggling and he would come on to the range to watch me hit some shots. I would relax and then stripe about 10 shots in a row. He would say, "I can't help you," and walk away. It happened bunches of times. I think I learnd that relaxing was the key to repeating from all that. Years later, playing with another old pro he said, "Your swing reminds me of a guy named Boots Porterfield!" It was a great complement.
I'm actually a 33-yr high school teacher here on the Oregon coast (was a long time coach) and while I never formally coached the golf team I worked with them lots. My mentor as a teacher and coach has been named the US western regional HS golf coach of the year a couple of times. He's long retired as a teacher but only recently as the coach. I will do so in a couple of years, but we still talk the swing talk over a glass of scotch.
When my daughters were little (they are now 18 1/2 and almost 16) I decided that playing tournaments all over was too expensive in terms of time lost with them. I have played progressively less and less since. I'm not much of a hit and giggler. I still practice in the summer and I can still gear it up and find a game, for a bit....but I would much rather be standing in a river with a fly rod chasing steelhead.
Ironically, over the last 10 years or so, I've become more and more a fan of (and experimenter with) much of the approach of Moe Norman: Somewhat adapted, of course. On the greens it's George Low to whom I listen.
At first blush, most would think that Moe Norman is about as far from Homer Kelly as you can get. But I think there is more than some similarity. Moe Norman was also trying to build the simplest most repeatable motion, after all. Have you played/toyed with the Moe Norman stuff, Jeff?
My family actually has the world's most stupid dog, a schnauzer-mix named Moe (from Larry, Curly and, of course).....and that's where I get my user name, not from Moe Norman.
OK. I've bored everybody else. I'm done. Thanks so much Jeff. You really did make my day. Your note and the Geman win in the World Cup more than balance out the Mariners' loss.
But I will finish with this: I'm always very interested when Doc writes of his Aiki expertise and practice. I find much similarity in it to things golfy. Balance and flow and harnessing energy were certainly most of what Kelly and Norman were working on, in their own way. And of course, there is a "spiritual" component to both the Aiki Doc writes of and the golf you and I loved. At least when they are done right.
Just ask Shivas Irons. He might be the best teacher of them all.
Much appreciated. Truly.
His troubles began when Lloyd moved him up to the top of the order, desperate for offense. He tanked immediately, and it was ugly. Sending him back down to 7 or 8 didn't fix things. Edit: Nah, that was just a coincidence. Looking at the game logs for the season, Ackley just sucks as a major league hitter.
Moe, thank you! I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this! With the non-Mariner days for the All Star vacation, excuse me taking up space to write you back. Boots Porterfield?! Wow! Swing like that man? You have done well! I had the opportunity growing up to meet a bunch of the guys who used to play in the Hudson Cup. I don’t even know if that still goes on…it was competition between better club pros under the PNGA. I caddied for several guys from Oregon. The best one was Bob Duden. Anyway, thank for your words. I must say, Ben Doyle was one of the special people of my life. Great family. And Moe Norman? I wish I could have watched him hit shots. You are right. Very different techniques but ultimately seeking the same repeatable action day in and day out. I have seen stuff from Moe but never have worked hard enough at golf since basically quitting after the 1980 NCAA to even think of incorporating anything. But now that I am helping with a high school team again, would like to do more research on him. Seems like such a simple technique and philosophy. And I bet you do great working with the kids. It is clear that you have a wonderful and rare understanding of the game!
I had some decent moments in golf but totally relate to your “Ackleyitis” with the game. I had won state and city championships and then in college had some good memories but friends lovingly started calling me “Weiskopf” because the results didn’t match what they thought the swing should have produced. During college my life quickly changed hitting a semi-truck head-on. I totally lost the desire to compete in the battle against pain. A Ben Hogan I was not. But all without any regrets!
Now at 57 I have taken what I don’t know about golf and translated a lot of the same to pitching. Both of my 6’5” sons pitched. The oldest just finished Marine Infantry School. The youngest will start college in a month. Saturday night he pitched in a big 18U tournament in Arizona. Won 2-1, complete game (7 innings) with 3H, 14K and 1BB. The radar hit 89mph but in the last inning was still throwing 88. So that is my fun now. As they are done with high school, I still want to help a few kids with pitching but now will assist with the golf team. Get this, I don’t play much so my irons are still what I used to play with, 1974 Staffs that I got in a trade with Mike Reed for my Hogans. People look at them like they are from some museum. I need new grips though!
Moe, I look forward to more banter back and forth!!!! I thoroughly have enjoyed!!
Man Jeff, you and I are contemporaries. I'll be 57 in October. HS class of '75, U of O in '79.
I tried out for the U of O team for 4 years, never made it.....rightfully so, in fact, as I didn't have near the game then. They had some of those Jacobsons and Sanders playing for part of that time.
If you played in the NCAA's you had real game.
Did you know Boots Porterfield? He was the pro here during almost all of my formative years. I used to sit and watch him hit balls. I loved his move. When he passed away (in Eugene) a couple of years ago I teared up when I read his obit in the paper. He influenced me in many ways, most that I didn't realize until much later. I once shot a 68 while playing with him. After we holed out on the 18th he shook my hand and said "That was a fine round of golf, young man!" I was in my mid 20's, I think......and I still remember it as if it were yesterday. The complement, I mean.....not the round. It meant a great deal to me to hear that from him.
I never knew Bob Duden, although I think I had the honor of meeting him once. But he was THE standard of NW golf when I was growing up. When I was a kid I caddied in a Pro-Am for a NW pro named Greg Snider. His Am partner was Bob Allard. Remember him? Won the US Am didn't he? I was probably 12. Allard hit his drive OB on the 18th, I remember. Did you play with Mike "Radar" Reid? BYU, if I remember right...but wasn't he a Seattle guy? Wow!! On one of Chuck Hogans' mental game tapes, Reid talks about getting really hot on the greens at one point in his professional career by trying to imagine that he was putting down a line that was framed by singing green worms. He just tried to putt between the two lines of worms. How cool and simple is that.
The daughter of my long-time golfing partner just finished her freshman year playing for ASU. She finished 5th in the Pac-12's and 32nd (I think) in the NCAA's. She's home for the summer and was really struggling on the greens (claw grip and everything). I took her aside one day on the practice green and told her that Reid story. She's the best female athlete we've ever had go through here (All-State in volleyball), and by all accounts was the longest hitter at the women's NCAA tournament (and she's not that big)....but she's gone all Ackley on the greens. She can't get out of her own way. I thought the story would help her. She recently flew to LA to play in a qualifier for the Women's US Am and didn't make it...so my efforts probably didn't help. She is in the Women's Publinx coming up soon, in Tacoma, I think.
Most of my highly competitive golf was from '85-'98, or so. I managed to play my way into the Northwest Open in '93 or '94, I think. I was on the range with guys I recognized from TV. Neat stuff. I was one under after 5 in the 1st round, then failed to get up and down from 15 ft and then splashed it in the first lake I could find. I made a quick triple and meekly faded from view.
I managed to get into 3 Rosauers' Opens in Spokane. It featured lots of great NW players at Indian Canyon. I missed the cut all three years. Opened with a triple the first year I played (hit a layup shot with a 8-iron through a dogleg and into a dark dark spot. I still remember thinking, "That was a pretty good shot, what am I doing here?") and then missed the cut by one or two. Great fun and a real cool old-style golf course. I'm sure you know it.
The Moe Norman stuff is thought-provoking. What appealed to me was the simplicity in it. maybe as my life became more complicated with too many other things(elected office, state-wide apopinted stuff, economic development) I needed more simplicity on the golf course. It took me most of a lifetime to figure that one out, however. I'm a slow learner, evidently. Some of the stories told by tour guys of watching Moe hit shots on the range are really cool.
You played the '74 Wilson Staffs? Fluid feels? Very classic. Along with the Armours, Haigs and Titleists, they may be the most iconic blades ever. Staff made a set of "Goosenecks" blades a while back...I nearly scooped up a set at a fund-raiser. Still kick myself for not doing it.
I played almost all of my competitive golf with the same set of Titleist blades I bought in '89. 1-W. I actually hit the one iron, too. When I stopped playing tournaments I was still playing with a driver and 3 wood, 1-W, SW and putter. I was using a metal headed Titleist driver with a plastic shaft. I was new wave. I still have those blades down in the garage, minius the 2 iron that I loaned to a friend and it disappeared. And I still play a set of straight forged blades that I made, heads by Raven golf.
The last few of years of my competitive career I was playing against college guys playing a different game than I. You and I grew up with persimmon, etc...and a balata ball that spun like a top and curved like a banana. But the new drivers and new ball changed the way young kids attacked the driver. Those young guys just whacked the snot out of the ball and really didn't care much wherre it wnt...then just went and hit it again.
Jeff, this is too cool. I appreciate the other folks letting us go on and on. Sorry I missed your response on the 14th, btw.
Good luck to your sons. When the the youngest throws for the M's make sure you scam me some tickets for his first start! :) And thank his older brother for his service for me. My oldest was a 4-year basketball starter and 2nd Team All-State in volleyball this year. They lost in the state championship game. It was fun to watch. She talked to some small colleges about volleyball, but she's off to the University of Montana in a month...studying Physical Therapy. Her sister is going to be a pretty good shooter on the b-ball team this year. She's off to basketball camp on Sunday for a week.
And thanks for putting up with my typos in my last note. When I reread it I cringed. Man, I hope none of my students see it.
Hope you get this.
Moe, I apologize for being so slow in getting back with you. I am hoping you see this!! I absolutely had a great time reading and rereading all you wrote. Busy last week. I figured that we would know or have met many of the same players. I did play a lot with Mike Reid. His older brother Bill was the Ass’t Pro at Broadmoor in Seattle where I grew up playing. Mike started coming out to spend the summers and part of the winters when he was about 17. And Bob Allard? Yes, so many of those guys could really play. And you trying out for the Ducks? Oregon always had very good teams. I think the best player our age I played with from Oregon growing up was Mitch Mooney who went to New Mexico. I got one of the spots with him in Salem or thereabouts for the World Junior in San Diego. After my car accident and finishing college I never paid attention to what happened to guys. But watching the US Senior Open saw a lot of guys and they too look older!!! I hated the rain in Seattle growing up but the Pacific Northwest has had many good players through the years. And yes, I played at Indian Canyon a few times. The last time I think in the WA State Am when I was about 17. I think it one of the few times I had all “4’s” on the card. Obviously I was stellar on the par 3’s!
I hope your daughter loves it in Missoula! Beautiful spot. Those are fun times watching the kids. Our youngest leaves for college in about three weeks. Thankfully he is close enough to drive, watch a game and even get home for bed. He has tournament again this weekend in AZ and is determined to hit 90+. He is about 6’5”/180+ so has a lot of room to gain weight and is finally getting real man-strength. We helped a friend with hay bales on Saturday and he is big time strong now. Mariners? You never know. So yes to the tickets someday!!! I think somedays he could do no worse than about half of the Rockies rotation!
And it is great to find out about each other’s adventures around the links. Someday as old timers it would be fun to share a cart for 18 holes!!! It sounds like you a lot of fun memories from the ’85-98. Golf wise I did nothing during those years. I played about 4-6 rounds a year max. Normally would go a year or two without hitting a practice ball. But it is still fun. I am grateful for Ben Doyle teaching me sound fundamentals but the it is hard to have good muscle memory when both the mind and muscles are shot!
Please don’t worry about typos! I have LOTS! In fact, right when I was hitting send I thought….you dummy, it is Reid not Reed. Tired!! Oh yes, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.