Commentary

Time to open the old mailbag

Updated: December 28, 2011, 1:33 AM ET
By Duff McKagan | Special to ESPN.com

After writing 50 columns for ESPN in the past year, I'm changing things up this week by answering some of the many emails you've sent in to my mailbag.

Duff: I know exactly how you feel! I'm a Cleveland sports fan from Columbus, and not only get to see the Browns blow it year in and year out, but the Cavs were on the verge of winning it all and blew it! And then, as if it couldn't get worse, I got to watch the Buckeyes come oh so close two years in row, only to watch them lose it at 4 in the morning from the Persian Gulf aboard an aircraft carrier! I feel your pain, but keep the faith, Sooner or later, our teams have to win, right? Right?!
John-Ryan
Boulder, Colo.

Answer: Damn, I hope so John. Well, at least your Buckeyes were dominant for a few years there (I was lucky enough to see the first game of that undefeated 2003 season at The Horseshoe against Texas Tech). The Browns have Colt McCoy and Mike Holmgren as a GM. That program has as good a chance for an uptick as any. Cavs? Well, that is probably a different story.

Hi, Duff. Great write up. Longtime fan of you and your music and Northwest sports in general (born and raised here in Washington). Just finished your book and it was great. Glad you made it out alive :) Nothing better than talking rock 'n' roll and football. Thanks for all you do and here's hoping the Hawks can go 10-6 … well it could happen!
Allen Reed
Puyallup, Wash.

Answer: Thanks for the props on the book, Allen. It just seems that rock 'n' roll and sports go hand in hand for whatever reason. The Seahawks have made great improvement throughout this second half of the season, but alas, 10-6 was not our lot. Here is hoping for a .500 season anyways!


I'm in the Navy down in Florida and though I'm not traveling the world at this moment I feel you on the disappointment that is Seattle. I love my Hawks, Huskies and M's and will defend them to the death, but it seems like I'm always being let down. Just wanted to say I enjoy your articles and it's good to know there are other fans out there.
Jon Borden
Jacksonville, Fla.

Answer: Well, we've got the Huskies in the Alamo Bowl against the mighty Baylor Bears. Let's get a win, eh?!


I too feel the Seahawks-Mariners pain. Been a Seahawks fan since the beginning with my mother back in Albuquerque. (Mom was a Husky.) And now it seems Seattle has hit the lowest of lows sports-wise except for the Sounders. Thank God for that, finally a Seattle team to lift us out of the doldrums! You need to get on board man!
Andy Simonson
Suquamish, Wash.

Answer: Yeah, I'm not sure how I can get my head around soccer. I went to a game this year, and totally dug the excitement that was happening down there at the Sounders game. The fans are unreal for sure. But not growing and playing soccer (I was the football/basketball/baseball guy), has probably got a lot to do with me not fully getting with "the program."


[+] EnlargeMarshawn Lynch
Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PresswireThe playoffs and hopes for 10-6 are out of the question, but the Seahawks still have Marshawn Lynch and a shot at 8-8.
Duff: I'm a lifelong G'N'R fan. I was born a few years too late (1978) to have caught the real G'N'R band on your original tours, but grew up in the early 1990s rocking out to y'all all the time.

I recently read Slash's autobiography and currently am about 3/4 of the way through your recently released autobiography. After reading your columns now for the last year or so and your new book, I wanted to say you are an inspirational guy. I read through your highs and lows and felt really moved to tell you that although I don't know you I was definitely touched by the story you had to tell. Very uplifting. Keep rocking man!

BTW, being from Tennessee I am a Titans fan and would be honored for you to follow the Titans! I know some folks from the Seattle-Tacoma area and they call the Titans the East Seahawks, or something to that effect based on all the Washington/Seattle players we now have. Anyway, just wanted to tell you all that. Give us Titans fans another shoutout and keep in mind you and your band are always welcome down south in Memphis, Tenn!
Doug Carriker
Memphis, Tenn.

Answer: Go Titans!


Just read your book … I laughed, I cried … I want more! The only sports I have ever been interested in are The Ohio State Buckeyes football! However, I am so glad that you are putting your columns on Facebook for all your fans. I am a very new fan … only a couple months … (long story). However, being able to read your columns just may turn me into a broad-range sports fan, after all! Keep it up, Duff! Also loving Loaded, especially "Dead Skin"!
Holly Lhamon
Columbus, Ohio

Answer: Thanks, Holly. Yes, me not actually being a "sportswriter," and keeping away from stats and whatnot, has probably opened up a few people who would otherwise find sportswriting boring. But, there are plenty of people out there who, conversely, find my writing about sports just a fully unholy thing.


I know you are a great M's fan, what do you think of the impending move of the Astros to AL West now the M's will play two California teams and two Texas teams?
Kathy Johnson
Seattle

Answer: I guess the Mariners are going to further expand on their dang air miles. No MLB team travels as much.


Duff: I travel a fair bit from California to Washington, Idaho and Montana. I always take runs wherever I am. The course along the river in Boise by the university is a good one. It wins the award for the most people saying "hello" to me as I ran. I started to think folks thought I was famous, needed encouragement, or maybe they were just that friendly.
Brian Lucas
Newport Beach, Calif.

Answer: Gym etiquette is as different as are places you go to. Running is the best way to get out and really get a grip on the particular locale you might find yourself in.


Duff, I stumbled upon your column on ESPN while looking for something else. I was surprised that you do this. I was a fan of you music back in the late '80s and early '90s and now will pick back up on your latest offerings. I too am a fan of "the skip." I love sitting at home picking up far-off signals, especially during baseball season.

On nights when I have nothing to do the next day I like to take a drive and see how many different cities I can pick up. Radio is a great (and unfortunately) dying medium that most under-30 people don't appreciate. Anyway, you have a new column fan and I'll be sure to check out your other publications columns. Keep up the great work and be well!
John McIntosh
Chicago

Answer: Hiya John. Yes. From what I understand, getting radio from far and wide (otherwise known as the "skip") is much easier in the Midwest. No mountain ranges getting in the way, as is the case out here in the West. It's a fascinating thing for people like us I guess.


I just wanted to say thank you for a great message in your book. I picked it up after being a huge fan of your music and became a fan of you the person. I struggled with addiction until I found jiu-jitsu four years ago and have not looked back. I enjoyed reading your story and how martial arts has helped you as well. Thank you, by the way, the new Loaded record is fantastic. Good rock and roll is hard to find these days.
Jason Wood
Atlanta

Answer: Keep it up, my friend.


Duff, I am fascinated by your point of view and commentary. It is always good to know that like the general public; famous rock stars should not be lumped in one category. BTW, what do you listen to when you work out?
Mark Slaughter
Dallas

Answer: I listen to some Fear or Slipknot or Refused. The hard stuff works for me in the gym.


[+] EnlargeBarack Obama
Maxwells/AFP/Getty ImagesOh, that's right, hurling.
Always a big G'N'R fan, you've always been just kind of "there" in my conscience. One of the core guys of a rock band that had one of the greatest runs of all time, I never really thought too much about Duff McKagan as an individual. Truth be told, if I had to take a guess at what type of person Duff McKagan would be, I would first think of a negative stereotype; see: Sebastian Bach. An uneducated, overly self-entitled, primadonna whose time passed two decades ago. Instead I find your stuff on ESPN, of all places, and take a look so I can laugh at the rocker trying to write. And it's good. Really even tones, insightful, and self-deprecating. In fact, you had a couple of lines in there that I'll take with me. Very impressed, dude. Thanks.
Brian McMillan
Houston

Answer: I got a case of the self-deprecations back in the '80s or early '90s. I made a bunch of money somewhere around then, and then paid others to deprecate me. It was the best of times, Brian, the best of times.


Duff, first time responder, longtime reader … I have a feeling you might mean "hurling" not "curling" when you are back in Ireland. Hurling is the lacrosse\field hockey Gaelic game. Curling I don't think is massively popular in Ireland, but I'll stand corrected if you write about Cork vs. Limerick in curling … to be sure, to be sure.
Ciaran M
Adelaide, Australia

Answer: Damn it, man Yes, of course I meant hurling. Curling is for wieners!

Musician Duff McKagan -- who writes for Seattle Weekly, has written for Playboy.com and now has his autobiography out -- writes a weekly sports column for ESPN.com. To send him a note, click here and fill out the form.

Michael "Duff" McKagan, a founding member of Guns N' Roses, writes a weekly column for Playbook Sounds and is a passionate sports fan. McKagan is currently playing in Loaded and Velvet Revolver, is a prolific writer, including an autobiography, "It's So Easy: And Other Lies."