Golf, CAA, and Blur: While We’re Waiting…


Happy Thursday, humble denizens of Cleveland, Ohio, United States of America, Earth, Milky Way, Universe. May your Thursday be … superb. The Indians are entrenched in first place — well, at least adjacent to a trench, or mid-trench digging. It’s at least a shallow ditch at this point. Despite Wednesday’s disturbing loss thanks to Cody Allen’s blown save (more on that in a moment), may the Indians remain in first place position, regardless of trench status. The Olympics are still entertaining me as we await the home stretch of the pennant race, but while we’re waiting… .

Does golf have a shaky future due to its lack of young consumers? Despite Dick’s Sporting Goods’ positive annual forecast and stock jump, while its golf chain Golf Galaxy suffered a 4.3 percent decline in sales over last quarter — this after ESPN’s Darren Rovell reported that Nike was terminating its golf equipment business amidst falling revenues. Bloomberg attributed some of the dwindling or stagnant revenues (depending on your viewpoint) to “fewer younger players sticking with the sport.”

I may be in the minority of, if not readers, at least adult white males intrigued by the idea of hitting things, but I’ve never been a golf enthusiast. My dad attempted to inculcate me with the virtues of golf at a young age, but it just never took to its anxious. I fear (or profess) that golf is just never going to catch on with me. Like country music, I love the idea of golf, but have always been turned off by the execution. I concede that golf is something I ought to enjoy. I love being outdoors, beautiful scenery, physical recreation, and spending time with “the boys.” And just like I can empty a few cans and sing along with “Wagon Wheel,” I’ve always enjoyed whacking at a bucket of balls at the range or so, where the consequences are null and the commitment faint.

But golf has always demanded too much patience and discipline for me to thrive at it, and too much time and money for me to devote myself to it. We all have a limited and ever-shrinking amount of “free” time (increasingly a misnomer), and five hours of golf has never seemed like a good use of mine. It didn’t help that waking up early on a weekend to wear silly pants was usually a non-starter for me. More than anything, I’m a 0 or 90 mph-type person: I’d rather do activities that require much more (biking, whitewater rafting, flag football) or much much less (euchre, watching a movie, drinking and staring blankly at the wall). To me, golf often felt like an activity that middle-aged dudes used to convince themselves they were exercising, or an excuse to ditch the family for the entire day to drink — and since I don’t have a family and will likely die alone, I don’t need an excuse to drink on Saturday afternoon.

Again, I want to like golf (and it’s professionally and socially harmful for me not to like it), but I just don’t think it’s for me. It’s possible many people of younger generations feel similarly, and a golf without Tiger Woods has a shelf life. In any event, I think it’s time to accept I won’t ever be any good at golf. But if anyone wants me to drive a cart, smoke cigars, and shoot the shit over well-groomed lawns for a few hours, I’m in — as long as I don’t have to pathetically hack at a little white ball 120 times during said time.

I recently purchased Powerhouse by James Andrew Miller, an oral history released last week that’s subtitled “The Untold Story of Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency.” I haven’t had time to read much yet, but it’s a fascinating book if you’re interested in business, power struggles, seemingly omnipotent influence, and the unseen machinations that orchestrate high-profile events, and grown men sniping at each other like characters on a show on The CW.

Powerhouse is also entertaining fodder for conspiracy theorists, because while The Illuminati (as perceived) may not be real, the people who package the writer, director, and actors together for a movie about The Illuminati and get it into theaters are real — and CAA has had their fingerprints on much of what’s transpired in entertainment in the last 40 years, including, yes, Cleveland sports.

See, LeBron James is a former of client of CAA. (Inexcusably, there is not an index in the book, so I can’t find without some effort where and how much James is discussed in the book.) Two high-profile teammates of James you may know were CAA clients as well: Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. As Brian Windhorst reported in 2012, James’ former agent at CAA Leon Rose “and fellow CAA agent Henry Thomas, who represents James’ Heat teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, worked closely together in bringing the stars together two years ago” in Miami.

James left Leon Rose in 2012 to sign with Rich Paul, formerly of CAA himself. Now James and Paul are at Klutch Sports, where Paul represents other NBA players such as James’ fellow Cavalier Tristan Thompson (what a coincidence!), J.R. Smith (who recently split with Leon Rose, again, at CAA), and recent first-round pick Ben Simmons. It’s not a stretch to say that James, Paul, and Klutch Sports are determined to be a worthy adversary to CAA going forward, or to say that if James and Paul were not on the same page with James’ departure from the Heat to the Cavaliers, it either wouldn’t have happened or Paul would not be representing James.

Anyway, this was all a long aside to point out that if you’re interested in the inner workings of the NBA, the types of decisions that may guide James’ going forward, and the fate of professional sports over the next decade, you might be intrigued by the inner workings at CAA. It doesn’t hurt that Miller (who also wrote oral histories on ESPN and Saturday Night Live) conducted an alleged 500 interviews in his exhaustive reporting for Powerhouse, and that the book contains humorous anecdotes about Sylvester Stallone, Bill Murray, Peter Sellers, and dozens of others.

Random Calvin and Hobbes strip of the day. As demoralizing as Wednesday’s ninth inning grand slam was at the hands of the White Sox, let’s not dump gasoline on a guy who’s only blown three saves all season in 26 opportunities. This is only a drill, Indians fans. REPEAT: THIS IS ONLY A DRILL!


And now for the random 90s song of the day. I felt like picking a Blur song for the R90sSotD, as it seemed long overdue to pick Damon Albarn and his crew to balance out the Oasis that has been featured in this space before. I was further tempted to pick something off Modern Life is Rubbish, my favorite Blur album, but most of the songs were too much of a bummer for mid-August. So today’s R90sSotD is the joyously insincere “Boys & Girls,” which may be tonally disingenuous but is catchy as hell.

The video for the anthem to promiscuity (or, depending on how you interpret it, gender-queering?) is (as usual) a gleeful 90s relic, with intentionally amateur camerawork of Blur performing and dancing in front of a green screen, all the better to impose faux spring break (or as they call it in the U.K., “holiday”) footage behind it. It’s awesomely obnoxious. Watch the video if only to see Albarn’s disgusted eye-rolling and tacky Fila jacket. If everything you knew about 90s British culture originated from music videos and the movie Trainspotting, you’d assume the country was nothing but people roaming around in ugly jumpsuits looking to score heroin.

Love in the 90’s
Is paranoid
On sunny beaches
Take your chances …