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12 Golf Course Perils

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I've always hated golf. I think it has something to do with the compulsory lessons of my youth and the uncomfortable shoes. But, seeing as the British Open is upon us, I thought I would once again venture into the world of pastel-colored plaid, silly looking hats, and carefully manicured grass. The following are twelve perils you probably won't ever encounter on a golf course but should still be aware of—turns out my hatred for the game may have been a defense mechanism in disguise.

1. Lightning

Lightning commonly strikes the tallest object, so when a human is standing in an open, flat area holding a metal golf club, he is transformed into a lightning rod. Hence why my golfing in a thunderstorm is particularly dangerous: every year around 90 people are killed by lightning strikes.

2. Carpal Tunnel

Yup, carpal tunnel. No longer just a common cubicle ailment, carpal tunnel can affect golfers who spend a considerable amount of their time playing golf. Starting with a feeling of numbness and a weakening of the hands, carpal tunnel can be deterred by a loosening of one's grip and regular replacement of grips.

3. Wild Animals

KingCobra.jpg Many times a golf course provides the perfect arena for an impromptu battle of man versus wild. For example, Jim Stewart was attacked by a 10-foot cobra while golfing in Singapore. He killed the cobra with his golf club only to see another snake emerge from its mouth. Other reported incidents have included a one-eyed, 11-foot alligator; crocodiles; hungry bears; a monkey who likes to strangle people; and, of course, dancing gophers.

4. Trains

At Ludkin Links in Fife, Scotland, the 5th green is bordered by a set of train tracks. This situation proved disastrous for Harold Wallace, who was struck by a train while crossing the tracks.

5. Mortar Shells

The greens keeper at Elephant Hills Country Club in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, has his hands full. Pristine holes can often be riddled with craters caused by mortars shot over the Zambezi River.

6. Dead Bodies

Pelham Bay and Split Rock Golf Course was never featured in The Sopranos, but it should have been. Rumor has it that the course, located in the Bronx, is a popular site for dumping dead bodies. Between 1986 and 1992, police found 40 dead bodies in Pelham Bay Park, where the course is located.

7. Flawed Design

In January of this year, a woman sued the Owl's Creek Golf Course in Virginia Beach for $1 million after she was hit in the head by an errant ball, resulting in a brief hospitalization. She claims that the layout of the 16th and 17th holes put herself and other golfers at danger due to their close proximity.

8. Surfacing Ball Retrievers

BallDiver.jpg Golf ball diving is quite a lucrative business ($1.50 - $4.00 per ball), causing many to don scuba gear and plunge into golf course lagoons. These divers can be quite startling to golfers, though, when they emerge from dives. Michael Fleming, a golf ball diver in Georgia, once startled a lady who was looking for her ball in a lagoon, causing her to tumble into the water.

9. Modern Warfare

The green zone in Baghdad is now home to a golf course. The Crossed Swords Golf Course is surrounded by 15-foot walls while guns blast and Black Hawk helicopters whirl in the distance. Each golfer is allowed three clubs and must carry around a patch of grass from which to drive his ball into the holes, which are comprised of baked bean cans. Taking cover when mortar shells penetrate the blast wall is highly recommended.

10. Aroused Libidos

Pennsylvania police were recently called in to investigate a private outing at the Cherry Valley Golf Course one afternoon. What they found were lap dance stations between holes and naked women roaming the course. Despite several verbal threats by one of the golf course's employees, the ribald festivities were shut down.

11. Emergency Landings

Clipper.jpg Golf courses make for effective landing strips. Just ask Robert Kadera of Lake Villa, Illinois, who recently landed his 1949 Piper Clipper on the Marriott Resort Crane's Landing Golf Course. Kadera did not radio in a mayday and crash land his Piper Clipper, but rather made use of the golf course because his son was late for his tennis lesson across the street.

12. Belligerent Ex-Policemen

Recently in Orange County, ex-policeman Raymond K. Yi flashed his badge, cocked his gun, and shouted, "Get the [expletive] out of my way, old man. I could kill you," to Gustavo Resendiz, a fellow golfer at the course. The violent episode occurred after Yi repeatedly broke golf etiquette. Resendiz threw Yi's ball into a nearby creek in retaliation, and Resendiz pulled his gun.

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Pop Culture
The Simpsons's Classic Baseball Episode Gets the Mockumentary Treatment
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Fox Sports, YouTube

Opinions vary widely about the continued existence of The Simpsons, which just began its 29th season. Some believe the show ran out of steam decades ago, while others see no reason why the satirical animated comedy can’t run forever.

Both sides will no doubt have something to say about the episode airing Sunday, October 22, which reframes the premise of the show’s classic “Homer at the Bat” installment from 1992 as a Ken Burns-style mockumentary titled Springfield of Dreams: The Legend of Homer Simpson.

As Mashable reports, “Homer at the Bat” saw Montgomery Burns launch his own baseball team and populate it with real major league players like Wade Boggs, Steve Sax, and Jose Canseco to dominate the competition. In the one-hour special, the players will discuss their (fictional) participation, along with interviews featuring Homer and other members of the animated cast.

It’s not clear how much of the special will break the fourth wall and go into the actual making of the episode, a backstory that involves guest star Ken Griffey Jr. getting increasingly frustrated recording his lines and Canseco’s wife objecting to a scene in which her husband's animated counterpart wakes up in bed with lecherous schoolteacher Edna Krabappel.

Morgan Spurlock (Super-Size Me) directed the special, which is slated to air on Fox at either 3 p.m. EST or 4:30 p.m. EST depending on NFL schedules in local markets. There will also be a new episode of The Simpsons—an annual Halloween-themed "Treehouse of Horror" installment—airing in its regular 8 p.m. time slot.

[h/t Mashable]

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Big Questions
Why Do Baseball Managers Wear Uniforms?
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Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Basketball and hockey coaches wear business suits on the sidelines. Football coaches wear team-branded shirts and jackets and often ill-fitting pleated khakis. Why are baseball managers the only guys who wear the same outfit as their players?

According to John Thorn, the official historian of Major League Baseball since 2011, it goes back to the earliest days of the game. Back then, the person known as the manager was the business manager: the guy who kept the books in order and the road trips on schedule. Meanwhile, the guy we call the manager today, the one who arranges the roster and decides when to pull a pitcher, was known as the captain. In addition to managing the team on the field, he was usually also on the team as a player. For many years, the “manager” wore a player’s uniform simply because he was a player. There were also a few captains who didn’t play for the team and stuck to making decisions in the dugout, and they usually wore suits.

With the passing of time, it became less common for the captain to play, and on most teams they took on strictly managerial roles. Instead of suits proliferating throughout America’s dugouts, though, non-playing captains largely hung on to the tradition of wearing a player's uniform. By the early to mid 20th century, wearing the uniform was the norm for managers, with a few notable exceptions. The Philadelphia Athletics’s Connie Mack and the Brooklyn Dodgers’s Burt Shotton continued to wear suits and ties to games long after it fell out of favor (though Shotton sometimes liked to layer a team jacket on top of his street clothes). Once those two retired, it’s been uniforms as far as the eye can see.

The adherence to the uniform among managers in the second half of the 20th century leads some people to think that MLB mandates it, but a look through the official major league rules [PDF] doesn’t turn up much on a manager’s dress. Rule 1.11(a) (1) says that “All players on a team shall wear uniforms identical in color, trim and style, and all players’ uniforms shall include minimal six-inch numbers on their backs" and rule 2.00 states that a coach is a "team member in uniform appointed by the manager to perform such duties as the manager may designate, such as but not limited to acting as base coach."

While Rule 2.00 gives a rundown of the manager’s role and some rules that apply to them, it doesn’t specify that they’re uniformed. Further down, Rule 3.15 says that "No person shall be allowed on the playing field during a game except players and coaches in uniform, managers, news photographers authorized by the home team, umpires, officers of the law in uniform and watchmen or other employees of the home club." Again, nothing about the managers being uniformed.

All that said, Rule 2.00 defines the bench or dugout as “the seating facilities reserved for players, substitutes and other team members in uniform when they are not actively engaged on the playing field," and makes no exceptions for managers or anyone else. While the managers’ duds are never addressed anywhere else, this definition does seem to necessitate, in a roundabout way, that managers wear a uniform—at least if they want to have access to the dugout. And, really, where else would they sit?

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