Page 2 columnist
As always, these are actual e-mails from readers ... I edited for space and threw in some additional comments when necessary. And while we're here, thanks to everyone who takes the time to write an e-mail and send it along.
Here we go ...
"As a female sports fan, I must say that you and your readers are definitely dating the wrong girls. There are girls (reasonably attractive girls, who are completely heterosexual) who dig sports as much as you guys. We regularly attend sporting events, never miss "SportsCenter" or "Baseball Tonight" and would be horrified at missing part of any game for a Lifetime-made-for-stupid-chicks movie. We can tell you that Pedro was Pedro in San Diego last night, Luis Castillo has a 34-game hit streak (with 56 games being the record held by Joe DiMaggio), and the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup, all while making you a gourmet dinner.
"And more importantly, we care that Pedro was Pedro in San Diego last night, Castillo has a 34-game hit streak, and the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup! Just this morning, several of us gals were up at 4 a.m. to watch World Cup soccer. So, when you guys feel ready to turn in your nonsporting, Lifetime-watching, girly girls, give us true Sports Gals in Southern California a call."
(By the way, I'll be auctioning off Kari's e-mail address on eBay later this month.)
I noticed that as well ... add that to the list of "Things the NBA Needs to Change," along with the ridiculous offensive charge rule, which was exploited by Jason Kidd throughout the playoffs. Until recently, the offensive player was always given the benefit of the doubt, especially if he was committing himself to a two-step move that ended with him heading in the air toward the basket. The only way a charge was ever called was if A) the offensive player was completely out of control, or B) the defensive player was planted as the offensive player was starting his move.
Somehow that changed ... now the offensive player can be in the middle of his move, the defensive player can scurry over, stop on a dime, quickly plant his feet and absorb the contact as the offensive player goes airborne. Just idiotic. For one thing, you're inhibiting offensive players from going to the basket by giving the defensive player more leeway, which isn't in anyone's interest, least of all the fans. And somebody is going to get seriously hurt one of these times. They need to change this back, pronto.
1. Chicago's R. Flanagan: "Please tell me you saw what was arguably the funniest interaction ever. It was during the first undercard fight, when they cut to the Tyson entrance. Mike is walking in and what seems to be a female production assistant in a headset says, 'Hey, Mike.' Tyson then delivers the elevator eyes and sticks his hand out, pulls her in and kisses her while saying, 'Hey, how you doing baby?' The production assistant makes an 'I'm getting kissed by a rapist!' face and runs away. I had a party for the fight and once everyone arrived, thanks to TiVo, I played the scene over and over again with rolling on the floor."
2. From M. Pullen: "What the hell was Cuba Gooding Jr. on? Was that (pre-fight) interview with James Brown not a perfect 100 on the Unintentional Comedy Scale? I'm getting the giggles just thinking about it. Cuba all hopped up, bouncing off the walls, he was like one of those comedians on BET who bomb, just running off, being loud and not making one bit of sense. Watching Brown try to keep some semblance of sanity during that segment was hilarious, especially when Cuba got up, went behind the seats and started shadow-boxing, and Brown said, 'Hey, there's no railing there,' and he had to try and pull Cuba back into his seat before he fell to his death. Kudos to Brown for a heroic performance, considering next he had to deal with a punch drunk and incomprehensible Joe Frazier! I can't believe no one has mentioned this Cuba Gooding Jr. thing."
(Note: I mentioned Cuba in the Tyson column, but couldn't find the right place to give the incident its proper due -- one of the goofiest interviews of all time, right up there with the time the "Cheers" cast appeared on the "Tonight Show" when they were all sauced. You really had to see it. Either Cuba was on something, or he's completely insane. There's no middle ground.)
I always thought it happened right after George got engaged, which was a Top 10 episode for me. Remember how it ended, with a bummed-out George watching "Mad About You" in bed with his fiancée? Things started to go downhill after that -- the situations became a little too contrived and formulaic. Hey, it happens. There were still some good shows after that, but it was never as consistently good. At least for me. Sitcoms only have about a four-year life span before you have to start changing the cast around to keep things fresh. That's why "Cheers" was saved when Coach and Diane Chambers departed when they did (although Coach departed because of natural causes, but still ...).
1. Scottie in Virginia: "While I was reading your review on the U.S. soccer team, I realized your snooze on your alarm goes off every nine minutes, too. Is that a universal snooze time? Can't it be extended to 14 minutes, or 17 minutes? What's the significance of nine minutes?"
2. Dante Simpson in Ohio: "Has there ever been a more inexplicable casting decision than Bob Golic on 'Saved by the Bell: The College Years?' How did this work? Did Golic's people say, 'We need to hook up Bob with A.C. Slater and Screech,' or did the 'SBTB: TCY' producers say, 'Who should be the RA? Oh, I know. Bob Golic.' I can't begin to fathom this one."
3. Heather in New Jersey: "I was at a bar last night talking with a guy friend I hadn't seen in awhile, when another girl that I don't know comes over to say hello. Now they're talking away and I've been stopped in midsentence. I spent a few awkward minutes sipping my drink, looking around, trying desperately to not look like I just lost a conversation faceoff. Is there any graceful way to escape this situation?"
4. Steve from Baltimore: "Is there a term for it when something un-jumps the shark? If there isn't, one should be made. It has to incorporate John Travolta in it somewhere (à la 'Pulp Fiction')."
5. California's Jason Rexing: "Has 'Jumped the Shark' jumped the shark?"
6. Ed Murphy: "Is it me or is Joe Randa's permanent Joker-esque grin one of the most annoying sights in all of sports? At first, you think it's just a s--t-eating smirk for when he's doing good, but it's always there! He even had it on his face right after he made an error last night. Does he know he looks like that? Is it a medical condition? Someone has to tell the man. It's kind of freaky and borderline disturbing."
7. Graham in Memphis: "I think the most underrated phenomenon in life is the ability to stagger back to your hotel drunk and not get lost when you're in a new city. Have you experienced this? Doesn't matter if it's your very first time there, you always make it back without getting lost. Why is this? Do we have a GPS system installed in us that only goes off when our blood-alcohol level exceeds a certain point? Why hasn't this been researched more thoroughly?"
8. Brad in Memphis: "If you put Chris Webber and Kevin Garnett on the same team, would they fight over the ball the first three quarters, then stare blankly at each other the final four minutes of the game?"
9. KM Scully: "What would happen if Shea Ralph married Shea Hillenbrand? Would she become Shea Hillenbrand or would he become Shea Ralph?"
(I racked my brain coming up with another bad warden decision and couldn't think of one. By the way, Andy's poster has to be No. 1 on the list -- it led to Andy's escape, the exposure of wide-scale corruption in Shawshank, the prison guard from "Bad Boys" and "Highlander" going to prison, and the warden losing all his money and blowing out his brains. )
1. Jim Z. in Minnesota: "My friends and I were talking the other day and we've decided that MTV needs to make a show called 'Clubbin' with Mark Madsen.' Think of the comedy ... it would blow everything out of the water. An MTV crew could just follow the Lakers and Madsen around the country. Each week there could be a new NBA player to serve as co-host with him. Think of the great moves guys such as Vlade Divac, Todd MacCulloch and other big, uncoordinated, white guys could showcase. They could even bring some guys out of retirement, like Bryant 'Big Country' Reeves. It would certainly be a huge ratings winner. I would even get HBO if they carried that series. Why isn't this show in production right now?"
2. Matt K. from Massachusetts: "I saw 'Minority Report' last night. Pretty good flick. More importantly, it gave me an idea to help out our New England teams. In staying with the basic idea of the movie, there should be a machine that transmits a signal to a secret location just outside of Beantown, where a renegade band of rabid fans waits to stop all bad sports moves before they happen. Just think of all the good that could have been done in just the last 10-15 years for the Red Sox even. Just as Lou Gorman is about to trade away Jeff Bagwell for Larry Anderson, a SWAT team comes in and hogties him, preventing him from doing so. Or when Dan Duquette gave Steve Avery his contract ... glass flying everywhere, Dan crying for his mother, but the Sox saved from another bad roster move. Championships would become standard fare in Beantown."
3. Oyster Bay's Stewart Glickman: "At the NBA draft, rather than being forced to listen to David Stern's anticlimactic announcements such as 'Fred Jones is not here,' why not jazz it up like the Oscars? Why not have an offstage announcer instead say 'accepting the traditional handshake with David Stern on behalf of Fred Jones is ...' And here's the kicker: Let the replacement be someone from the audience. Have a couple of the NBA suits go out into the audience, find someone in a Pacers jersey, bring him up front, meet the commish, immediately followed by the post-selection interview. Just imagine what this would do to sustain interest throughout the draft."
"Since you are taking counter-arguments, take this one from 'Seinfeld,' after a waitress walked away from some playful conversation with George at the coffee shop:
-- "George: 'You think she likes me?'
-- "Jerry: 'She is working for tips.'"
(It's funny, I'm the first person to defend Billy Buck about '86 -- he was the heart and soul of that team -- but even I can't defend this. That's an absolute outrage. I agree with Roger, the "Son of Sam" law should apply here.)
(I liked those. Upon further reflection, I'm throwing in guitarist Johnny Marr, as well, just because he helped carry The Smiths, Electronic and The The, three of my favorite bands from the 1980s and early '90s, and he had one of the most distinctive sounds around. Nobody ever mentions him for some reason. He's the Jack Morris of alternative rock.)
1. Charles Mansfield in New York: "Have you seen Jim Courier's haircut? He's a Wimbledon commentator on TNT. Unbelievable! He looks like Carol Brady."
2. Jeffrey McFarlane: "Great to see that your dad picked up Drew Gooden's horrible buttonless suit, but how could you miss that Gooden looked just like Dr. Evil?"
3. Jeff from Marlbourough, Mass.: "You hit the nail on the head with Quin Snyder at the NBA draft. The guy sat there emotionless for almost two hours before saying anything that sounded like he put some thought into it. He reminded me of those two women from the 'SNL' skits who have their own radio show -- the 'Delicious Dish' -- on National Public Radio. Every so often, he'd chime in there with "We played against him last year, mmm, yeah, wow, mmm, he was good, yeah ..."
4. Brian Carr: "Aimee Osbourne is the Chuck Cunningham of the 21st century."
5. David K. in Michigan: "Is it just me or is there an eerie similarity between watching Bill Laimbeer coach the WNBA's Detroit Shock and watching Tom Hanks coach the Rockford Peaches of the AAGPBL???"
6. CV Sullivan: "Did you see Game 6 of the Lakers-Kings series? Shaq was 100 percent from the free-throw line at the time I noticed, so I wanted to ask -- is it my imagination, or do Shaq's eyes become more crossed as a game goes on? At the start of the game he looked as normal as a 7-foot-3 guy who weighs 300-plus pounds can, but when they showed him at the line at various times in the fourth, he looked like an oversized Sammy Davis Jr."
(Speaking of Vegas ...)
Excellent question. The toughest thing for me has always been adjusting to the oxygen they pump into the place -- it practically makes you superhuman. Is there another place on the planet where you can remain awake until 7 in the morning without getting tired? It's like developing superpowers.
Speaking of that, North Carolina's Jim Hazen wonders, "After how many Red Bull and vodkas can you legally be considered insane? My count is four." Sounds good to me. That's why they call it "The Gambler's Delight." Between the oxygen and the drinks, you reach some sort of heightened sense of controlled insanity. Perfect for gambling large sums of money.
(Here's my theory: When Jeff Hostetler rose the prominence with the Giants in the early-'90s, his mustache was so cheesy and wispy that it ruined the mustache mystique for everyone else involved -- they took one look at Hoss and said, "You know what? I can't be in the Mustache Club anymore. I'm shaving mine off tomorrow.")
(Yup ... these are my readers ...)Bill Simmons is a columnist for Page 2 and ESPN Magazine.