Stop the presses. The Americans are good to go. Nobody does ‘Big’ like the US. They’re annoyingly obsessed with big. Whoever wins the NBA are World Champions in basketball, even though the 30-team league comprises only teams from the stars and stripes and one from their neighbouring clover leaf.
It has been admitted here umpteen times previously that baseball is one of the very few disciplines this corner hasn’t a clue about. I know there tends to be significant Asian interest the action therein, but, calling whoever eventually reigns supreme in the curious code World Champions is, for me, elasticating reality a smidgen too far. However, we can only speculate as to how grandiose they will become around affairs of the oche now that they appear to have a foot in the door thereof.
Darin Young went quite close to making a breakthrough of sorts a couple of years back, but, in the last few days Danny Baggish has broken through the barricades in not only making it through to the third round but taking out two time, back-to-back champion Adrian Lewis as the latter’s struggles on the board continue.
Under normal circumstances, his mere usurpation of ‘Jackpot’ would’ve been headline stuff in itself. But then, what’s normal anymore in a world controlled by suits and brown envelopes? So maybe it was fitting that it Baggish’s netting of the Big Fish – a 170 checkout – was what more or less got him over the line.
For me the story has to revolve, however, more around the continued struggles of the exceptionally gifted Stoke man. You don’t become a bad player overnight, no more than you do a good one, but it’s actually upsetting to see someone proven to to have magnificent abilities struggle so badly. The nearest comparison one could draw is with a golfer caught up in the yips. From a spectating perspective, it is genuinely upsetting to see somebody with such latent talent struggle to the point you can see their pain.
As a sports fan as much as anything else, the hope would be that Lewis can work his way back to form, simply because he is too good a player to just fade into obscurity.
Speaking of returning to form, it was brilliant to see Fermanagh’s Brendan Dolan doing likewise and also Joe Cullen. Outside of the Belleek man’s fine performance against Eddie Foulkes, the continued re-invigoration of Simon Whitlock brightened an otherwise an emotionally exhausting, devastating day.