The introductions to the weekend Ryder Cup (page 38) matches provided by NBC commentator Dick Enberg were not only a study in mixed metaphors but also an embarrassing bit of high church. A sampling from Enberg's Sunday sermon, delivered as a voice-over to the accompaniment of schmaltzy strains:
"Would his choice as leader be able to separate gentle and kind, and deliver unrelenting tough? Like the trophy, the smallest in size, with eyes that connect like steel rods to a heart and a bulldog spirit and a talent that sent reverberations through the New York oaks." Translation: Nice-guy Corey Pavin hit some great shots, though none of them literally through the oaks.
"But has [ Europe captain Bernard Gallacher's] hero, his world conqueror, succumbed to injury and time?" Translation: Is Seve Ballesteros toast?
"Alas, the German gentleman had positive replies to encourage, and 1993's most heartbreaking story had authored an inspiring revival." Translation: Bernhard Langer played well.
"The leader, the bulldog, took the final bite, the Americans' last shot of the day magnificent and mesmerizing." Translation: Pavin's chip-in on Saturday was a beaut.
"But a new day, and 12 chances to regain the rhythm, the inspiration to reach the goal, each man striding alone to answer a continent's call." Translation: Europe can still win.
"The captain, the men, the home team await the prize, the Ryder Cup." Translation: America's golfers are going to war, baby.
The Manager Gently Weeps
Last week the possibility that the Pirates might leave Pittsburgh brought tears to the eyes of manager Jim Leyland. That recalled the final day of the 1987 season, when Leyland, having led the over-achieving Bucs to a fourth-place tie, wept with joy.
In the eight years between those saline secretions Leyland earned a reputation as a shrewd, hard-nosed skipper as he guided the Pirates to three division titles and 631 regular-season wins, among the best in the majors over that span. None of this quite puts Leyland in a league of his own, but it does contradict the drunken pronouncement of Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own—apparently there is room for crying in baseball.