Some habits are very hard to break.
You're looking at one today.
Surprise! I'm back!
Don't get me wrong. I didn't suddenly have a Brett Favre moment. I am not coming out of retirement - again and again. I have been officially retired for over a year and plan to stay that way.
When you work at a job for 50 years as I did in the sports department of Paddock Publications, you do form those habits that are difficult to change even in a new life. I realized that in late January, well over a month into retirement. I found myself still collecting sports quotes for my annual column.
That's when I decided to continue looking for those quotes in 2009. I asked the Daily Herald management if I could continue writing this annual column even in retirement, and they agreed, which made me feel good. Old sports writers never die. They just fade away for 364 days.
The hunt for quotes continued over the next 11 months, and you're looking at the result today.
If you're searching for any quotes related to the Tiger Woods story, you'll have to go elsewhere. As Phil Taylor wrote in Sports Illustrated about the shocking fall of a major celebrity, "It would remind us that no matter how fascinating or entertaining a scandal might be, it is always a sad story."
However, it is interesting that professional golf does continue to provide me with some of my favorite quotes every year.
I hope you enjoy this 2009 version of the humorous side of our wide and wonderful world of sports:
Doug Buffone, former Bears' linebacker who teams with another former Bear Ed O'Bradovich on WSCR radio for lively post-game commentary, after Chicago netted only 2 total yards in the second half at Minnesota: "I could go down on Rush Street and find 11 drunks and they'll do a better deal than that!"
Buffone again, after the same game: "The football IQ on this team is zero!"
Buffone again, after the same game: "You spend more than five minutes with Lovie Smith, and you will lose your will to live!"
Lou Piniella of the Cubs, on criticism that he was too mellow as a manager during a losing streak: "What do I need to show fire for? I'm not a dragon."
Mark Buehrle of the White Sox, joking about President Barack Obama, an ardent Sox fan, who called to congratulate him on becoming the 18th pitcher in major league baseball history to throw a perfect game: "A 30-second phone call, and I'm like, 'What? That's all he's got for me?"
Andree Gilbert, mother of 21-year-old Blackhawks star Jonathan Toews, on her son's conspicuous maturity: "If I hadn't seen him being born, I would swear he's older."
Johnny Damon of the New York Yankees, when asked for an example after saying there were a lot worse things than taking steroids: "Murdering someone."
Vince Vaughn, actor and Notre Dame fanatic, on crying at movies and how it's OK to let the water works run in certain situations: "You get the green light when it comes to 'Rudy.' "
Gary Player, 73, on the state of his golf game: "I hit it so short now, I can hear the ball land."
Joe Paterno, Penn State football coach, on how he would lobby the Nittany Lions into a BCS bid even after home losses to Ohio State and Iowa: "I would call people and say, 'You owe me, or if not, you better watch out. There might be a horse's head in your bed."
Niklas Backstrom, Minnesota Wild goalie of the National Hockey League, after a 3-0 win over Anaheim: "You have a better chance to win when the other team doesn't score a goal."
Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers' quarterback and father of four, on being a dad: "The thing our kids hunger for is our time. And believe me, I have to fake it real hard that I care about Barbie dolls."
Bill Self, Kansas basketball coach, on his children's NCAA tournament brackets: "They better pick Kansas, or it's bread and water for the month."
Pete Carril, former Princeton basketball coach, after the school had put his name on the court and raised a likeness of him to the rafters: "First, you walk all over me, and now you hang me."
Jerry McGee, former PGA and Champions tour player and Pittsburgh Steelers' season-ticket holder, after his son, Mike, wed Annika Sorenstam the same weekend the Steelers hosted a playoff game: "I told Mike he's out of the will."
Brian Orakpo, Texas defensive end, explaining at the NFL combine why he'd be a good fit in any NFL defensive scheme: "A versatile guy is a guy who can be very versatile."
Mike Diantonio, New York Knicks coach, after Nate Robinson took a shot at the wrong basket: "If that's as dumb as we get, that's not too bad."
Darren Rovell, a television sports reporter, on Eritrean-born runner Meb Keflezighi, a U.S. citizen since 1998 and hailed as the first American to win the New York City Marathon in 27 years: "Nothing against Keflezighi, but he's like a ringer who you hire to work a couple hours at your office so that you can win the executive softball league."
Bill Grier, San Diego basketball coach, on why Academy of Art University lost a game 74-23 before facing his team: "Picasso didn't play."
Dallas Braden, Oakland A's pitcher after teammate Jack Cust hit a towering home run that stayed aloft for nearly seven seconds: "I had time to run to the bathroom and come back, and he was still on third."
Bobby Capobianco, Indiana freshman basketball recruit, explaining the coaching style of the Hoosiers' Tom Crean: "Naturally caffeinated."
Victor Rhee of Prospect, when asked by the Daily Herald's Marty Maciaszek after another Knights' football victory if his parents had a good idea of what they were doing when they named him? "I think they did it on purpose."
Robert Herron, a reserve linebacker on the Washington Redskins, blasting fans for booing during the team's lackluster home win: "Who are you to say you know what's best for the team, and you work 9 to 5 at McDonald's?"
Randy Johnson, Giants pitcher and career .125 hitter, after going on the disabled list with a torn rotator cuff suffered during an at bat: "Obviously the first thing I thought is that I won't be able to do my instructional hitting video."
Rodney Harrison, former NFL All-Pro safety, describing how he would have handled being traded to the Raiders, as former Patriots teammate Richard Seymour was: "I would have driven to Chicago, taken the elevator to the top of the Sears Tower and jumped off."
Mike Scully, head pro at Medinah Country Club, describing the golf game of club member Michael Jordan: "He putts like he shoots free throws - anything within 15 feet is doing down."
Rory McElroy, 19-year-old Irish golfer with long hair, on why he won't see a barber: "I'll lose all my power."
McElroy again, when asked what he came away with after spending seven weeks in the United States playing the PGA tour: "A tan."
Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves, after surgery on his left hand that required three screws and left a prominent scar: "There goes my career as a hand model."
Phil Taylor, sports writer, on the trials of relief pitcher Brad Lidge, who went from being perfect one season to terrible the next: "It's like going to sleep as James Bond and waking up as Inspector Clouseau."
Bud Foster, Virginia Tech defensive coordinator, on senior tackle Cordarrow Thompson, who slimmed down from 340 pounds to 301: "Gravy used to be a beverage for him."
Mike Hargrove, former major league baseball manager, on what qualified him to serve as Italy's bench coach during the World Baseball Classic: "I know how to spell lasagna."
Don Nelson, Warriors coach, explaining why rookie guard Stephen Curry has been coming off the bench: "How can the guy start in the NBA without any tattoos?"
Did you smile?
It's nice to be back for one day.
Happy New Year!
Note: If you'd like to share a comment with Bob Frisk, please e-mail Daily Herald Sports Editor Tom Quinlan at firstname.lastname@example.org and it will forwarded to Bob.