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Los Angeles Dodgers' Freddie Freeman, left, hits a solo home run as Atlanta Braves catcher Travis d'Arnaud watches during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, April 18, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Freeman's all-star moment

OK, we normally talk about winning the weekend. Or losing it.

Freddie Freeman, you have won at life buddy. Period.

It's hard to imagine a better way to handle yourself than how Freeman did with a pregame interview with Braves on-field reporter for Fox SportsSouth Kelly Crull. You can watch it here. https://twitter.com/BallySportsSO/status/1516234135962099718 (Side note: Nice follow-up question Kelly. Well done, ma'am.)

And when Freddie gets to speaking about returning to Atlanta later this summer to play and how much he loves Braves County, well, it got a little dusty over here. I'm not crying. You're crying.And because he's Freddie 'bleepin' Freeman, he homered in his first at-bat against his former team.Dang. What a night for one of the true really good dudes in all of sports.

War Freddie.

 

Golf's first swing

So the first FootJoy to drop into the Saudi golf waters belongs to Robert Garrigus.

The long-hitting, one-time PGA Tour winner has applied for permission to enter the first tournament hosted by Greg Norman and his Saudi backers. The event is in London in June and is the first from the group that has caused so much angst among the professional golf world.

According to PGA Tour rules, which require players to submit a request to play on a different tour 45 days in advance, the deadline for current Tour players to apply for the London event is next Monday.

Garrigus assuredly will not be the last some-what familiar name to be linked to the event. Not since the tournament is reportedly going to have a $25 million purse and pay $4 million to the winner.

Whether you believe that's the Saudis trying to wipe away their long-standing human rights abuses or not is up to you. But it's not like almost all of the folks in almost all walks of business and sports are not catering to the massive market in China.

Which brings us to Garrigus and other PGA journeymen who have made a very good living but could be staring at a large infusion of cash by playing well in these Saudi events.

Garrigus is 44 and has been on and off the PGA Tour since 2006. His win came in 2010 and he has not played in a major in almost a decade. His best showing this year in four PGA Tour starts is a T-16 at Pebble Beach.

In his career, which included 20 starts on the Korn Ferry our last season, he has made almost $15 million but only $320,597 in the last four years.

Garrigus is playing in New Orleans on the PGA Tour this week and likely will be a coveted interview in the coming days. And for a guy who likely just broken even playing golf since his last top-10 finish four years ago, it feels like a professional risk worth taking, no? Even if, as Phil Mickelson may say, you have to deal with some 'scary mother bleepers' along the way.  

Here's hoping that the PGA Tour handles this properly and not with some Manfred-like strong-arm nonsense or an Emmert-esque head-in-the-sand routine.
 

COVID tales

So mask mandates are being removed on airlines.

But athletes and sports personalities are being forced to sit out events because of COVID protocols in other locales.

Strange times indeed.The airlines have revoked their mask mandates after recent court rulings. We know the various stances from the various sides, and the differing views from state to state.

As for the athletes, an unvaccinated Philadelphia 76ers player will not be allowed to play in Toronto, which seems rather silly since he was allowed to play against these same Raptors in the first two games of the series.

So there's that.

And maybe most importantly, news came this morning that Mel Kiper Jr., the Godfather of Draft Day takes, is unvaccinated and will not be at the draft.

I love the draft. You know this. I very much enjoy Mel's work — and especially his back-and-forth with Todd, Todd, Todd! McShay — so I am saddened by this news.

Kiper will cover it remotely but it will not be the same.

Hey, by this point in time either you're vaccinated and boosted, had it or are willing to roll the dice with this thing.


This and that

— Speaking of Garrigus, according to this anonymous polling of caddies on TheCaddieNetwork.com, Garrigus is considered to be one of the very best golfers in the world in terms of treating caddies well. If memory serves, Brent Henley — Kip's younger brother — carried Garrigus bag for a while in the early 2010s.

— Speaking of the Braves, when Jeff Franceour is not on the Braves regional broadcast, the trio of Chip Carey, Brian Jordan and Paul Byrd is all-but-unlistenable. Egad it hurts the ears. Frenchy brings out the best version of Chip, and the other two puts too much on Chip which makes that crew sound somewhere finger nails on a chalk board and the noise Jim Carrey makes in "Dumb and Dumber." And we all know you can't triple-stamp a double-stamp.

— Speaking of Freeman, all of the praise for the Braves former first baseman is warranted. It was one of those really cool sports moments. But this is not a shot at the Braves current first baseman, because in a line-up litter with dudes struggling to find a groove, Matt Olson is cooking. He collected three hits last night and is slashing a cool .452/.566/.714 friends.

— And we're back to the Braves conundrum of which do you trust less, Yoscar Hnoa or Sean Newcomb? The former allowed five earned in 3.2 innings and walked four. The latter allowed one earned and four base runners in 1.1 innings. Together, the disaster that is Hnowcomb has allowed 14 earned runs in 11.2 innings and walked 10.

— Did you make it all the way through both "Better Call Saul" episodes last night? Our 24-hour no spoiler rule applies. Be warned — and be prepared to discuss tomorrow.

— Loaded TFP sports section this morning with an introduction to the Mocs new hoops addition from Mean Gene Henley as well as Weeds prepping the Big Orange caravan coming to town and Paschall catching up with local favorite Keith Mitchell.
 

Today's questions

True or false it's Tuesday. That's true. Morning Ernie and Mrs. Ernie.

True or false, you like Freddie more this morning than you did even yesterday afternoon.

True or false, there is no one in sports broadcasting better at their one thing than Mel Kiper Jr. is at the NFL Draft.

True or false, the two NL all-star first basemen this summer will be Freeman (voted in as a starter) and Matt Olson.

As for today, April 19, let's review.

Candace Parker is 36 today.  

Kate Hudson is 43 today. Not sure she has a Rushmore, but she has her masterpiece in "Almost Famous."

Does Kate and Goldie make the mother-daughter acting tandem Rushmore? Go. (And feel free to email me your thoughts at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com until the comments get corrected.)

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