Commentary

Another edition of Mr. Manners

Originally Published: October 21, 2009
By DJ Gallo | Page 2

The weather may be changing, but good manners never change. It's time for another edition of Mr. Manners.

Mr. Manners

Dear Mr. Manners,

Cameras caught me spitting a loogie on the baseball before I threw a pitch. I needed especially filthy stuff to pitch out of a jam, but now everyone is saying I'm a cheater. Where did I go wrong?
-- Mariano R, New York City

Dear Major Loogier,

Those with refined manners never expel bodily fluids in public. If you must put spit on the ball, consider hocking all over the inside of your glove before heading out to the mound. Ask your teammates to join in so you have enough to get through a long inning. Or bypass the spit route altogether and put a bit of Vaseline under the tip of your cap. When you go to your cap to apply the Vaseline, the opponent will think you are tipping your cap to them ... just as a true gentlemen would do!
-- Mr. Manners


Dear Mr. Manners,

I have an awful head coach. I wish him gone, but I don't know how to do it. We stripped him of his play-calling duties, thinking that was a pretty good hint, but still he didn't resign. How can I politely get rid of him? Will I have to fire him?
-- Daniel S, Washington, D.C.

Dear Capital Conundrum,

The firing process is the least enjoyable part of management. When I tire of my Mr. Manners interns and secretaries, I try not to blame it on their job performance. It could just be that their skills could be better utilized elsewhere. Instead, I let them know it's because they've put on a few pounds or I've found someone more attractive whose willing to work for less. Usually they end up quitting and insulting me in the process, proving the art of manners is still lost on most.

You are on the right track with your efforts. If you keep dropping hints, he should eventually realize what you are saying and resign. Maybe put up a Bill Cowher Fathead in his office. Or install a tanning bed in his office with a sign that reads "For Mike Shanahan." Or, if you want to be less subtle, ask him to sign a fan petition requesting his dismissal. Or just start such a petition among team management and ask him to sign that one.
-- Mr. Manners


Dear Mr. Manners,

My team is down 3-1 in the NLCS. But that doesn't change the fact that we love rock 'n' roll. Bruce Springsteen is in Philadelphia, so we went to see him. Now some fans are saying we have our priorities out of order. I don't feel like we did anything wrong. What do you say?
-- Joe T., Philadelphia (by way of Los Angeles)

Dear Born in the Lose-S-A,

Good manners are all about perception. See my picture at the top of this column? Stylish. Refined. That's what I let you see. You wouldn't know I'm not wearing any pants in that picture.

You see, manners are all about keeping up appearances. So should you have gone to that concert? Probably not. Fans like to think that athletes have no other interests outside of playing a game and, if you have lost, they expect you to stew over your loss and not enjoy your life in any way. At the same time, if you truly do have no outside interests, they also like to say that you are dumb. It's sort of a Catch-22 there. ("Catch-22" is a book, which you probably don't know because you come from the world of sports and everyone in sports is dumb. Or perhaps you do know the book, in which case, do you think you get paid all that money to sit around and read? Do you think you're better and smarter than everyone else? Get your priorities in order!)

Anyway ... going to concerts after a big playoff loss -- no, probably not a good idea because of the perception it creates. Unless it was an emo concert. That would be acceptable. Of course, no one at an emo concert has ever picked up a bat or ball in their life. But, you know, in theory.
-- Mr. Manners


Dear Mr. Manners,

I was pulled from my team's game the other night for a defensive replacement. I left the dugout and took a shower. Turns out that while I was in the shower our closer blew the game. Poor form to be lathering up and not on the bench with my teammates, cheering them on in such a big situation?
-- Manny R., Philadelphia (by way of Los Angeles)

Dear Clean Being Clean,

A man of good manners never apologizes for cleanliness. As they say, cleanliness is next to godliness. I'd rather be next to God then sitting on the bench next to some scrub middle infielder who reeks of chew and liniment.
-- Mr. Manners


Dear Mr. Manners,

I got into a scrum recently with Scott Hartnell of the Flyers and he bit me. I expressed displeasure about being bitten. Then I hear Don Cherry rip me for complaining about being bitten. What? I'm at fault here? I'm not the one biting people!
-- Kris L, Pittsburgh

Dear Evander Hockeyfield,

A refined gentlemen lives above the din. Don't concern yourself with what others are saying about you. Just live an exemplary life and know you can never please everyone. And remember: Don Cherry is not the expert on manners, I am. But if you want advice on a seven-piece suit that looks like a bed of petunias -- you know, for Halloween or something -- he's your guy.
-- Mr. Manners


Dear Mr. Manners,

Recently I played in a football game against the Florida Gators. I was just trying to play the game, not hurt anyone or anything, but I sacked Tim Tebow and knocked him out of the game with a pretty bad concussion. People say that by hurting Tebow, I proved that he is mortal and therefore crushed the universal hope that he would one day save the world. They say life is empty, dark, hopeless. I sure hope that's not the case. What say you?
-- Taylor W, Lexington, KY

Dear Unlucky In Kentucky,

Don't beat yourself up about it. We all make mistakes. What you did is akin to the Oval Office janitor tripping over the president's chair and accidentally hitting the red button when breaking his fall. It's an innocent accident. Yet it doesn't change the fact that we're all going to die now.

Get to a bunker. But don't run or push. It's not polite.
-- Mr. Manners

DJ Gallo is the founder and sole writer of the sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He also is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and has written for The Onion and Cracked. His first book, "SportsPickle Presents: The View from the Upper Deck," is on sale now.