The Evster's Guide to an Enjoyable Mini Golf Experience

The Evster's Guide to an Enjoyable Mini Golf Experience

The place across from Boardwalk Hall in A.C., via atlanticcitynj.com

Let me just start by saying that I am not one of those über-serious miniature golf weirdos who feels the game needs to be played a "certain way" in order to have fun. This is mini golf for crying out loud -- a game played by children, adults, and sweaty disgusting teenagers who make out after every hole -- and should be played in whatever fashion that will bring you the most enjoyment out of your golfing experience.

In a country like this, where we are free to choose our own putters, and move the ball with our feet, and appear on an episode of HBO's Real Sex with golf balls jammed in our mouths, I am fine with you doing whatever you want. But if you want to stay TRUE TO THE GAME and respect this great nation of ours, it is important that we are all on the same page -- and follow a certain number of unwritten codes -- so that we can pass on our love of mini golf to the next generation of putt-putters. We cannot let this timeless American treasure be tarnished by a bunch of complete and total perv-jobs who have their erotic sex romps filmed for a late-night cable television program.

Because miniature golf is a family game!

And with family games, comes all sorts of differing opinions as to what types of behavior is acceptable. For example, my 6-yr-old cousin, Dennis, feels that it's totally okay for him to putt the ball while it's still moving, constantly tapping it around like a hockey player, and then turning to look at me when he finally gets it in the cup, thinking I should be excited that he got a "3". But Dennis is an asshole. That's no way to play mini golf, and you're not getting a 3, Dennis, you're getting a 6. Because you're not Mario Lemieux, you don't even know who Mario Lemieux is, and you didn't share your funnel cake with me last night even though I asked very nicely for a very small piece. So for this post, Dennis's, and other amateur's opinions, will not be taken into consideration. Only mine will. Because this is America. And in America, bloggers have all the power.

The first key to an enjoyable miniature golf outing is selecting the right course. Take a 3-block stroll down Ocean City's boardwalk and you will pass no fewer than 12 mini golf courses, each with their own little bells and whistles designed to draw you in. It is imperative that we support courses that are both challenging and innovative, while also providing a certain amount of mini golf amenities that we have grown accustomed to in this disgustingly rich and spoiled country. For example, a course does not necessarily need one of those little wooden podiums at every hole for you to lean on and add your score up (although what a bonus!), but it does need at least one goddamn bench for us to sit on when we get tired and cranky and sunscreen starts dripping into our eyeballs. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you which courses on Ocean City's boardwalk are worth playing, because I am absolutely terrified of that place -- SO MANY TEENAGERS -- but I can tell you what to look for and what to stay away from when scouting 'em out.

Nice gazebo, via tapmag.com

You want to play a course with a maximum amount of ridiculously large, stupid, googly-eyed ornaments (including windmills, ramps and erotic sex caves), because miniature golf is stupid. To hit your ball and have it disappear into some dumb fairy gorilla castle, and then dramatically reappear nowhere near the hole is dumb, but it's also amazing! The more elaborate the design, the more tunnels, and secret Snorkel Holes (I call them Snorkel Holes) the better. If a course has a pirate ship and caves and WATERFALLS, then bing bong you've hit the jackpot. This shows that the course owners TAKE PRIDE IN THEIR BUSINESS. Running water and rock canyons and gigantic palm trees are also a mega-whopper-super-bonus, serving as a sweet cooling oasis from the flaming ball of fire in the sky that will one day kill us all.

Back to Snorkel Holes, by far that greatest invention in the history of the sport, or hole designs where the ball goes in one hole, and shoots out another. Snorkel Holes are the best -- the feeling of watching your ball disappear into one cup and then sprinting down the hill to see where it pops out, can only be topped by the feeling of watching that ball roll in for an ace. Now, people who appear on a certain late-night cable television program will argue with you that this excitement pales in comparison to that of a certain other type of erotic ball play, but remember, they are sickos. That being said, it truly is amazing how comfortable those people are with their bodies, and I really feel like we, as Americans, could learn a whole heckuva lot from them if they could just stop being so disgusting for five minutes of their lives.

Of course, Snorkel Holes leads us to the age ole debate of whether or not you're allowed to scope out a Snorkel Hole before actually teeing off on that Snorkel Hole. If you ask my cousin Dennis, his fat dumb face will tell you that "Sure, Cousin Evan, it's just a game!" but I am here to tell you that this kid is WRONG, and it is totally unacceptable for you to place your ball into one of the holes before hitting it and seeing where it ends up. If you want to walk down the course, check it out, and see how the green is shaped before teeing off, fine, but any other type of reconnaissance mission-like behavior is strictly prohibited.

Unfortunately, Snorkel Holes are complicated to build and difficult to maintain, so in the mid-90s, a lot of course designers (mostly in the 'burbs) started to get away from the tubes and pipes and Snorkel Hole layouts that we so thoroughly enjoyed. These courses featured a lot more straight shots from the tee box to the hole, with little stupid shrubs and mulch and hills off to the side to distract us from the fact that it was just a stupid straight shot. This was an era of total bullshit. Just a bunch of money-grubbing Norwegian landscape architects (led by the infamous Nørfslven Vlüørvlensen), designing simplistic holes in an attempt to simulate executive office practice putting. This way, they could make money off of HONEST AMERICAN CONSUMERS LIKE US without actually investing in elaborate tube systems or GIGANTIC WHALES WITH FEET. But those Scandinavians will never see another one of my hard-earned American dollars. If you happen upon a course like this this summer, playing hole after hole with dumb, straight setups (and sand traps, and rocks, get those rocks off the course!), simply walk up to the counter, slam your putter into a fence, and refuse to pay for a goddamn thing. Your veiled threat won't really matter, because most mini-golf places make you pay before you play, but your family will respect you for being a total raging lunatic, which is really all you're going for these days anyway.

All respectable mini golf courses should end with a free game hole. If not, then the course owner is a communist. Even the worst round of golf, one where your little cousin beat you by four strokes BECAUSE HE CHEATS AND DON'T THINK I DIDN'T SEE YOU KICKING THE BALL, DENNIS, can be salvaged with an ace on the 18th. This is your chance to stick it to the world and say, "Yes, I paid for this 1/2 hour of entertainment, but I am NOT paying for it next time. And yes, I understand that I'm not going to be playing by myself next time, and will most likely be bringing my entire family back again and spending another 30 or so dollars, but one of us will play for free if I remember to bring my free game voucher. Now what did I do with that voucher? It's in the trash, isn't it? I threw it in the trash. Dag nabbit."

So there you have it, folks.

What you have? I'm not really sure. But I hope you've had a few minutes to sit and think about this great American pastime of ours, and how best to spend a shitty summer afternoon with your shitty family.

Honestly, you're probably better off going to the movies.

Despicable Me 2 seriously looks hilarious.

Those guys have googly-eyes.

Follow The Evster @TVMWW.

J.P Crawford knocking on MLB's door after overcoming slow Triple A start

J.P Crawford knocking on MLB's door after overcoming slow Triple A start

ALLENTOWN, Pa. --- After a slow start at Triple A, J.P. Crawford is once again showing everybody why he's not only the top prospect in the Phillies organization, but one of the top prospects in all of baseball.

Crawford's average was still hovering around or below .200 one full month into his promotion, and that was considered a sign of improvement. Then the 21-year-old shortstop got hot for real, batting .333 with seven multi-hit games during the month of July. His power has been coming around too, socking all three of his home runs for Lehigh Valley over that span.

It probably was only a matter of time until Crawford's bat came alive. In fact, never before had he experienced such a deep, prolonged slump.

"It was tough," Crawford admits. "It was the first time I ever went through something like that, but thankfully I have good teammates to pick me up and keep me thinking positive. I just tried to stay within myself and I got out of it."

Ironpigs manager Dave Brundage was one of the first to point out Crawford had never struggled to quite that extent, observing that it wasn't necessarily a bad thing that it happened either. Crawford agreed, adding that it's better to get the unpleasant yet inevitable experience out of the way now, before his highly anticipated arrival in the major leagues.

"I definitely would rather have it here than if I make it up there," said Crawford, notably not taking his eventual promotion to the Phillies for granted. "I'd rather learn from it now than suffer from it later."

Crawford entered Tuesday's Ironpigs doubleheader batting .267 with a .341 on-base percentage and .356 slugging since his May 20 call-up. That's beginning to approach the numbers from his stint at Double A Reading, where he hit .265 with a .367 OBP and .416 slugging across parts of 2015-16.

As for what's changed, Crawford made some tweaks to his approach that helped him break out. Most of all, he's simply getting back to what made him successful in the first place.

"Just trying to stay within myself, as far as not trying to get three hits in one at bat," Crawford said. "Recently been trying to put the ball hard back up the middle and it's been working.

"I'm just using less of my body and focused on using my hands more, like I'm used to, not thinking too much at the plate, staying confident in myself and just doing me."

Brundage suggests the reasons behind Crawford's initial struggles, aside from the challenge in making the jump to the next level, may have been a matter of circumstance for the left-handed batter.

"He had a little tough luck early on and was kind of getting his feet wet, just a lack of experience at this level," Brundage said. "I think he's getting himself more comfortable, he's feeling more comfortable with the bat, just trying to make some adjustments along the way and they seem to be working.

"He's had much better at bats. That, and we haven't faced — not that he can't hit lefthanders, because he's done a better job against lefties — but there for a run I think we faced nine out of 11 starters were lefthanded against us, so that makes it a little bit tougher when you're trying to gain some experience, when you're trying to make it here at Triple A."

There's little doubt Crawford will get his first taste of the majors with the Phillies come September when the roster expands, if not sooner. He's now demonstrated he can hit at every level of the minors. There's only one step left to take, and that's up to the big leagues.

But Crawford isn't getting ahead of himself. He knows he's knocking on the door. He also understands what the expectations are once he gets there, and that there's a lot more hard work ahead.

"I mean, it's cool, but I'm trying not to think about it," Crawford said of an impending promotion. "I try to just go about my business, day by day, try to find a way to get better before the game and try to win the game that night."

Report: Nigel Bradham arrested for involvement in Miami assault

Report: Nigel Bradham arrested for involvement in Miami assault

Another Eagle is in trouble with the law. 

According to NBC6 in Miami, linebacker Nigel Bradham was recently arrested after an incident on Miami Beach. 

Bradham, 26, turned himself into Miami Beach Police on Monday, "charged in the beating of a worker at the Hilton Bentley hotel," according to the report. 

The Eagles released the following statement Tuesday afternoon: “We are aware of the recent incident involving Nigel Bradham in Miami. We have been in contact with Nigel and the proper authorities. Due to the ongoing legal process, we will have no further comment at this time.”

Per the NBC report, six people began arguing with the employee about "the length of time it took to bring them an umbrella they had paid for" and the argument became physical. The victim sustained cuts and was allegedly punched in the face and smashed in the back of the head with a bottle. The report continues to say the six people got in a vehicle and sped away. A phone was found at the scene, along with a receipt that showed Bradham paid for the umbrella with his credit card.

An arrest report obtained by NBC claims Bradham "without provocation, struck the victim in the nose with a closed fist, causing the victim to fall to the ground."

"I saw the drill, then I'm going to try to take the drill to come to fix the umbrella for them," the worker, 50-year-old Jean Courtois told NBC, saying he needed a drill to fix the umbrella before bringing the group the umbrella. "He say 'hey, I pay my money for me to set up for me to fix the chair for me. You don't want to fix the umbrella for me.' Then I say 'OK, I'm going to try to take care of it for you.' Then he hit me in my head."

The Eagles signed Bradham to a two-year deal worth $7 million ($4.5 million guaranteed) this offseason. 

The linebacker is expected to be the team's starting strongside linebacker, next to Jordan Hicks in the middle and Mychal Kendricks on the weak side. 

Bradham's best season came in 2014, while playing under Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz in Buffalo. That season, he had 104 tackles, 2½ sacks and an interception in 14 games. 

The Eagles seem to have three decent starters, but if Bradham misses any time, it could be a big blow. The team doesn't have much in the way of depth behind Bradham and the rest of the starters.

Want to play corner for Jim Schwartz? Must worry about more than deep ball

Want to play corner for Jim Schwartz? Must worry about more than deep ball

The Eagles might not have any top-flight cornerbacks, but they certainly have a lot of guys with some talent.

Many of them are young, and all of them are battling for just several roster spots.

That hodgepodge of talent has made the corner position one of the more intriguing spots at this year's training camp. We're not sure how it'll all shake out, who will be the starters, who will be the depth players.

But one thing's for certain: Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz wants all of them to be aggressive.

"It's going to be fun to watch the corners compete," Schwartz said after practice Tuesday. "We have some guys that can cover. We have some guys that have a great opportunity here. If they'll get up and they'll challenge receivers, like I said before, if you can cover — you can't cover many people if you don't want to challenge guys. That's God's honest truth. I could play the deep ball. I'd get my ass 50 yards deep and you couldn't get one over the top of me, but I couldn't cover anything else.

"There's a fine line in there. And the fine line is you obviously have to play the deep ball in this league, but if that's the only thing you're worried about, you're not going to cover anything else."

Schwartz said he's happy with the blend of veteran and young players on the roster, before rattling off five names: Nolan Carroll, Leodis McKelvin, Ron Brooks, JaCorey Shepherd and rookie Jalen Mills.

The one notable omission from that list of names is second-year player Eric Rowe, who finished last year as a starter, but has been somewhat of a forgotten man this spring and summer. On Monday, head coach Doug Pederson mentioned some "hiccups" Rowe encountered learning the new defensive scheme (see story).

Even with Rowe buried on the depth chart for now, there are still plenty of talented, young corners fighting for jobs.

Carroll, on the other hand, isn't young. He's 29 and a returning starter from last year. Schwartz praised Carroll's smarts and said he's been a resource for younger players. But Carroll is also coming off of a fibula fracture and subsequent surgery. That's why he's one of the select vets that reported to camp early.

"This is important for him now," Schwartz said. "It's a good opportunity for him to come back before the full club gets here, just to sort of test it out and see how he's feeling. You don't want to judge too much. He might need a day here or there. It helps that he's a veteran player."

It seems Carroll, on a one-year deal, has a decent shot of being a starter opposite McKelvin. During the spring, Brooks worked outside in the base package and moved inside to the slot. At times, the rookie Mills also played in the slot.

Schwartz said corners in the slot need a different set of skills than the ones outside. They need to have the "courage" to take on big-bodied running backs and the occasional pulling guard. They also need to cover differently.

"It's very rare that you're getting the same routes," he said. "You're not getting the same routes from the slot as you are from the outside. So there's a different skill set. Some guys can play both, some guys can't. So it's our job to determine over the next six weeks where all the guys fit in that."