Remember when I cruised to the title in NBA.com’s celebrity hoops draft last spring, even though I’m not really a celebrity? Well, they invited me back to defend my title. Just to make a repeat more difficult, they added two extra teams (giving us 12 in all), stacked the league with some bigger names so we would cower in their star power (Spike Lee, Will Ferrell, Kid Rock, Jimmy Kimmel), and convinced Kenny Smith not to allow his kids to draft his team again. But that wasn’t going to stop me. There’s only one way I’m ever losing a celeb fantasy league: if NBA.com hired a Miami football player to repeatedly swing his helmet against my head right before the draft.
Anyway, we had the draft online Monday. I ended up with the seventh pick and landed every guy I wanted through eight rounds (Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Jermaine O’Neal, Ray Felton, Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer, David West, Speedy Claxton). In the ninth round, I decided to draft my man Rajon Rondo just because Meat Loaf was drafting two picks behind me and apparently follows this stuff. Even though it was a little early, I needed to pull the trigger on Ronnie Dough because I couldn’t afford to be pinched by the Loaf. So I’m answering e-mails and watching the picks unfold online, and George Lopez is on the clock, and I’m not even paying attention, and suddenly, there’s Rondo’s name next to the Lopez’s spot. And it takes about four seconds to realize, “Wait, that’s my sleeper pick,” followed by another 30 seconds of complete shock that GEORGE FREAKING LOPEZ just took my sleeper pick — really, the only guy I wanted to make sure I landed in the entire draft — and if that wasn’t bad enough, he took him ahead of Brandon Roy and Randy Foye.
Totally ruined the draft for me. I’m going to win going away … I don’t even care. And it bugged me off and on for two days, but after Dough’s Bias-like sequence at MSG Tuesday night (follow-up dunk in traffic, steals the inbounds pass, makes the layup and gets fouled), I’m officially declaring war on either Lopez (if he made the pick and somehow knew that Rondo was a mega-sleeper, which is exceedingly doubtful) or the pipsqueak intern from NBA.com who drafted Lopez’s team and knew I liked Rondo (overwhelmingly possible). Well, you listen to me, pipsqueak intern. I’m going to find out your name. It might take a day, it might take a week, it might take five years, but I’m going to find out your name. Then I’m coming after you. And I’m not stopping until you’re either dead, framed for a murder or reassigned to the WNBA.com Web site. Then you can tell everyone there how you stole Rondo from me as you’re fetching them New York Liberty attendance stats. You hear me? Nobody grabs my sleeper. How dare you.
(Of course, you could trade him to me right now for Mike Dunleavy Jr. and all will be forgiven. I’m easy that way. Consult things over with G-Lo and get back to me.)
You can check out the league rosters here. And while we’re here, everyone keeps asking me for fantasy hoops sleepers. Here’s a seemingly random list of legitimate sleepers, robo-sleepers, guys who will make the leap, guys who will be one level better than they were last season, guys ready for a comeback season, and guys in a contract season who should be better than usual, in no particular order: Bosh, O’Neal, Chauncey Billups, Roy, Dunleavy (I know, I know), Boozer, Josh Smith, Jarrett Jack, Ben Wallace (some Juvenation Machine potential on a new team), Leandro Barbosa, Rashard Lewis, Luol Deng, Mike Miller, Speedy Claxton, Danny Granger, Tim Duncan (huge season ahead), Shaun Livingston, and, of course, Rondo. So there you go.
Onto the mailbag. As always, these are actual e-mails from actual readers:
Q: Right now, there’s a 6-year-old kid in New York wondering if the Yankees will ever win a World Series in his lifetime.
–Frank, Portland, Maine
SG: I just spent the last 10 seconds high-fiving myself.
Q: What’s with the “We just won the World Series” type of celebrations that the first round winners of the baseball playoffs are throwing? I don’t remember it always being like this, am I wrong? I understand that in the past when the baseball playoffs were win one series and you’re in the Series (plus you had just won your league), a team might have had cause to celebrate, but it seems overkill now. Could you imagine watching A-Rod celebrating after batting .135 as a seventh hitter if the Yankees had beaten Detroit? Thank you, Tigers!
–Rob Hallawell, Coronado, Calif.
SG: Glad someone brought this up — it’s my single biggest pet peeve with baseball right now, other than the fact that anyone complained because Fox fired Steve Lyons for a confusing joke that was absolutely misconstrued, when the reality is, he should have been fired for reasons like “breathing” or “blinking.” Anyway, I have three thoughts on the champagne thing:
1. No baseball team should be allowed to celebrate with champagne until they win the pennant. If you want to pour liquor on one another, pour cans of beer. The way it works now, a baseball champion has four separate champagne celebrations in a five-week span (playoff berth, LDS, LCS, World Series). I’m all for guys looking for an excuse to pour champagne on one another — in fact, I think we should be able to bid on the experience on eBay, as I’ve written before — but four times in five weeks??? What happens if a baseball player gets married? Do they throw four bachelor parties for him?
2. Not nearly enough players pour champagne on the announcers anymore. This used to be a tradition and guys would go out of their way to torture Pat O’Brien, Brent Musberger and others, and they would always be secretly furious that somebody messed up their hair. I can’t even imagine what would happen if someone poured champagne on Jeannie Zelasko; she’d probably punch them in the face.
3. I’m not sure when we started celebrating first-round victories like “The Price is Right” contestants, but I watched a bizarre game on NBA TV a few weeks ago in which the ’76 Celtics clinched the title in Phoenix, and not only was there a complete absence of guys jumping around, hugging and happily running around with their arms raised, you could see Dave Cowens and Paul Silas shaking a couple of hands, then walking off the court like they had just finished playing an exhibition game in October. The following year, the Blazers won the title at home, the fans charged the court and they carried a shirtless Bill Walton off the floor. So SOMETHING must have happened between 1976 and 1977. I just want to know what.
Q: I can’t believe that I’m about to write what I am about to write. But after seeing “The Departed,” it’s time to put serious consideration into DeCaprio/Damon being on the brink of becoming the Pachino/DeNerio of their generation.
–Chris, Arlington, Va.
SG: I don’t know don’t they need a few more years of quality work before we start comparing them to Pachino and DeNerio?
Q: Dare we ask where Monday night’s Cardinals loss ranks in the “Levels of Losing” pantheon? It certainly wasn’t stomach-punch material, because nobody in that stadium really believed they were ever going to win, even up 20-0 at halftime. Those fans just knew something bad was going to happen and it did.
|FROM THE FANS|
Two cool YouTube clips from readers:
From Jeff F. in Philly: I know how much you love that “Blair Witch” footage from Big Papi’s walk-off single versus the Yankees. So how bout this one from Lito Sheppard’s return against the Cowboys last week.
From Brent S. in Thailand: Thought you’d want to see this home video on YouTube of the Tigers clinching against the A’s. I got chills just watching it.
SG: Well, you just answered your own question. That was a textbook Guillotine Game. You know what else was interesting? That may have been the first time that an NFL team prevailed in a “no f-ing way game,” those “Madden” games where something gets triggered in the artificial intelligence and the game decides, “there’s no f-ing way you’re winning this game.” I just had one last week — a six-game winning streak that ended in Jacksonville when I turned the ball over EIGHT TIMES in the first half. Of course, the big difference was that I threw the controller against a wall and angrily pressed the RESET button, whereas Lovie Smith and the Bears had to keep playing and hoping that the Bears D and Denny Green could combine to make up a 20-point deficit without a floundering Rex Grossman having to make a single play. Which actually happened. Amazing.
Q: I just got into watching “Lost” about three weeks ago thanks to the two seasons of DVDs. By the Sports Gal’s definition, am I a bandwagon “Lost” fan?
–Rodney, Bloomington, Ind.
SG: You spent the time plowing through DVD’s and watched every episode, so no. She’s against people getting caught up by watching a one-hour clip shows — it’s like joining a book club and then reading the CliffsNotes for each book. Please don’t tell me I’m going to be answering multiple Sports Gal questions.
Q: When do we get to start e-mailing the Sports Gal? I’m not gonna lie: I haven’t disagreed with any of her mini-columns yet. She’s reading my mind, and I obviously need another contact with a woman who (presumably) agrees that Eva Longoria juuuuust might be Satan, or that Jessica Simpson’s downward spiral is impossible to not watch. (Did anyone predict Ashlee’s overtaking her? That nose job, combined with Jessica’s train wreck status, disproportionate weight gain, and circus of haircuts and extensions, caused a total shift in their dynamic.) Anyway, I totally think the Sports Gal should have her own mailbag. Or at least the ability to talk Us Weekly-related shop with your fans, who have now become her fans. Thanks!
–Melissa, Los Angeles
SG: My God. I feel like the new Dr. Oppenheimer.
Q: Those of us from Cleveland are not surprised at all by the recent struggles of the Patriots. We knew years ago that Belichick was exceptionally overrated; now the whole world will know it. Take away Brady, the receivers, a great defense and a clutch kicker, and the Pats are this millennium’s Buffalo Bills instead of the last great NFL dynasty. Belichick had nothing to do with it. Now that most of his talented players are gone, you’re about to see the head coach Browns fans remember as being one of the worst in their history. The Deion Branch thing is just the beginning, my friend. It’s going to get worse, trust me on this.
–Bill Stano, Phoenix
SG: That was an excerpt from Bill’s upcoming book, “The 100 Dumbest E-mails Ever Written.” Get ready for next week’s excerpt, “Why I Completely Trust Denny Green With A 20-Point Lead.”
Q: Who belongs in the “Diane Lane All-Stars”? You know, the “surprisingly simple, yet completely unattainable over 40-year-old’s,” as well as women who never seem to make your significant other jealous because they agree? I vote Diane Lane as president, with Sheryl Crow as VP.
SG: Let’s get something straight: Until “Two For the Money” was released, this group was called the Rene Russo All-Stars. I have no problem renaming it for Diane Lane, just like I probably need to change the name of the Ewing Theory to the A-Rod Theory at some point, but to not mention Russo’s name at all was simply a slap in her Botox-riddled face. We should also mention that this All-Star Team could have been named after Raquel Welch, Sharon Stone, Julie Christie and Meredith Baxter-Birney (the all-time hottest TV mom) over the past two decades. But here are other All-Stars you forgot to mention: Jaclyn Smith (the senior member of the team); the lead singer from Berlin (surprisingly hot in the VH1 show that reunited ’80s bands); Jacqueline Bisset; Cheryl Hines (a perennial All-Star); Sandra Bullock (surprisingly frisky these days); Arianna Huffington (the sleeper of this list); Maura Tierney (aging like a nice burgundy); Kelly Ripa (as soon as she turns 40); and, of course, Jim Lampley.
Q: How come “Inside the NFL” is not on HBO’s On Demand? It is such a pain to try to find when it is on after Wednesdays.
–Matt Higgins, Palmyra, N.J.
SG: Matt, you’re making too much sense. Stop it. If the show was On Demand, more people would watch it. That’s crazy talk. Throw some water on yourself.
Q: What [is] the Sports Gal going to do with your testicles at the end of the season after her picks beat yours. Is she going to display them in a jar on the mantle? Maybe hang them from her rearview mirror in the car?
–Brad W., Rochester, N.Y.
SG: I feel like Lt. Caffee when Smiling Jack Ross is telling him in the bar that his case is going to fall apart in court and he has to resort to the “you’re a lousy bleeping softball player, Jack!” comeback. Hey, speaking of Cruise, back when I was in Milwaukee two months ago, my buddy Gallo and I were in our hotel room on Sunday morning watching “A Few Good Men” and openly laughing at the Cruise scenes. That movie has now been transformed from a serious drama into a “Naked Gun”-like comedy. It’s unbelievable. Anyway, I’ve been thinking of ways to salvage his movie career and came up with a few ideas for him:
1. Release one of those “Tom Cruise, Visionary” documentaries about himself, kinda like the one Amber Waves did about Dirk Diggler, only make it a mockumentary and have Christopher Guest direct it. If Guest is willing to sell out “Spinal Tap” for a Volkswagen ad, I’m guessing he’d make a Cruise mockumentary.
2. Play Stefen Djordjevic in “All The Right Moves 2,” with Djordjevic coaching Ampipe High and trying to turn their program around. By the way, Lea Thompson just said yes to this. Seriously. It happened in the last five seconds.
3. Play a renegade Scientologist cop in the fifth season of “The Wire.” Everyone loves “The Wire.” Even the most vicious message boards and blogs on the planet can’t think of anything bad to say about “The Wire.” A no-lose for Cruise.
4. Either “Cocktail II” or “Dawson’s Creek: The Movie.” I’m happy with either choice.
5. What about a semibiographical movie about a controversial, diminutive professional football owner (Randall Binder?) who inadvertently destroys one of the league’s most famous franchises (the Washington Injuns?). Maybe Cruise could even base his portrayal of a real-life owner. You know, assuming he knows someone like that?
Personally, I vote for “All The Right Moves 2.” Although they should give it one of those twist titles like when Clint Eastwood followed “Every Which Way But Loose” with “Any Which Way You Can,” something like “All The Right Moves… And Then Some.” That could work. But we need Cruise back. I’m not prepared to lose him yet.
Q: You’re the only person who could help me. There needs to be a Porno Classic Channel along the lines of ESPN Classic. They could rebroadcast Adult Video Awards from the early ’90s. There could be biographies on Randy West, Peter North and Marilyn Chambers. They could show “classic” movies from the ’80s. Even a 30-minute segment show on the evolution of the porn mustache and how its affected other forms of media. You know you would watch this constantly!! You live in L.A. You are a respected sportswriter. You have powerful friends. You can help make this happen! We can start at the grassroots and keep building support until we have financial backers. You can even be interviewed for the “Porn: Remember the ’80s — The Transfer to Video” segments. Please help Sports Guy, you are our only hope. This is your duty. With great power comes great responsibility.
–Derwood, Toronto, Ontario
SG: Two things scare me here: First, that I was the only person who could help you on this, and second, that I found myself nodding the entire time and thinking, “Yeah, the Classic Porn Channel, this could actually make money …” Although I’m not ready to see a 45-year-old, nicotine-ravaged Christy Canyon yet. I’m just not. Lemme think about it, Derwood.
Q: Have you been keeping up on MTV’s TV show “Two-A-Days”? I watched last week’s episode where they showed Repete’s dad and guess what his name is? Yes, its Pete. So you have Pete and his son Repete. I am thinking of changing my name to Pete so I can name my son Repete.
–Brendan Collins, New York
SG: But here’s the question nobody is asking: When Repete has a kid (and for all we know, this might already be in the works), would there be family pressure on him to name the kid ThreePeat? And would he have to pay trademark fees to Pat Riley?
Q: Add The Killers to the list of “Bands whose debut album was fantastic and whose second one sucked. In case you haven’t heard it yet, “Sam’s Town” is like “the season after” for every Super Bowl runner-up. Why do bands do this? Is it because [its] first album achieves so much success that it’s hard to live up to the expectations? Or does selling millions of CDs turn every lead singer into Keith Hernandez where they think they can do anything?
SG: You have to look at it from the band’s perspective: No matter what happens, the band members can’t win. If they release another album that sounds like the last one, everyone kills them for not being original. If they go in another direction, everyone fumes that they didn’t release another album like the last one. So successful bands have one of two choices — keep shifting gears and taking chances, or convince the lead singer to shoot himself or accidentally drown so they will live on forever and everyone can talk about how great they were. I’m glad they chose the first option. And I didn’t mind the second album, just thought the lyrics were a little over the top — it’s like a cross between “Born to Run” and every ridiculous Simple Minds song ever made. Either way, you have to support any band whose drummer decides it’s a good idea to look exactly like Jason Lee in “My Name Is Earl.” For a few years, anyway.
Q: Thoroughly enjoying the Sports Gal’s mini-columns, and quite frankly, it’s worrying me a bit. You need to embrace her comic merit before it’s too late. We have a real potential Burgundy/Corningstone situation developing here, and I’m worried that if you ever have even a slight slip-up, she’ll be working full time at Page 2 while you’re homeless, fully bearded, drinking milk in the hot Southern California sun.
SG: Andy escapes.
Q: Did you see the Barrett-Valuev fight? THAT’S our world champion? What the hell has happened to heavyweight boxing? I will say, though, that I found Valuev’s resemblance to George “The Animal” Steele to be quite amusing.
–Mike Molloy, Chicago
SG: The great thing about Valuev is that, as soon as someone knocks him out, he’s going to become the next Andre the Giant from a Hollywood standpoint. Back in the day, Andre played Big Foot on the “Six Million Dollar Man” and Fezzik in “Princess Bride” and made appearances on “B.J. and the Bear,” “Greatest American Hero” and “Conan the Destroyer.” Then Gheorge Muresan tried to take the mantle in “My Giant” and failed miserably. Now there’s a giant vacuum in Hollywood. I feel like Valuev can feel the void. Especially if there’s a part for a creepy 7-foot Russian serial killer with a bulging forehead and back hair. By the way, I think he’s replaced Chris Kaman as “The Guy Who Would Be The Most Frightening To See If You Woke Up And He Was Suddenly Standing Next To Your Bed at 4 In The Morning.”
Q: So when are you going to rate the fake and real Boston accents in “The Departed”?
–Tom Bakerink, San Rafael, Calif.
SG: When I write about the movie. Waiting for everyone to see it first. (And you should.) I will say this: It may have been the best movie ever for Boston accents. Going in, I was prepared to bitch about someone botching an accent and almost felt let down afterward that everyone did a decent-to-great job. In retrospect, I almost wish that they had hired Kevin Costner for Martin Sheen’s part, just to mix things up.
Q: Do you realize that Rich Harden’s name could be “Dick Harden”?
–Josh Billington, St. Louis
SG: Here’s my question: is there anyone under 40 who goes by the name “Dick?” When did that name go out of style? What was happening in the ’50s, when people routinely went by the name “Dick,” and there was a famous TV show named “Leave It To Beaver?” And why did names like Ethel, Franklin, Agnes and Marge go out of style, to the point that nobody would ever name their baby daughter Marge? Will the same thing happen in 50 years to names like Jennifer and Liam? I’d love to read a book that traces the history and trends of various names. I’m convinced that half of the girls 20 years from now will be named Sophie or Lily. We’re going to have a “Real World/Road Rules Challenge” in 2026 where Sophie A. is feuding with Sophie D. and Sophie G. while Liam N. and Liam W. are forced to pick sides.
Q: One thing that is great about living in L.A. is the random encounters with adult movie stars. One time I was at Whole Foods in the valley with my girl when I saw Aurora Snow in the dairy section. I was with my girlfriend so couldn’t say anything to her, not that I would know what to say, but as I was walking past her, another guy was staring at her with his wife (I am assuming) and kid in tow. As we passed each other, we locked eyes and gave each other an appreciative nod and grin. I love L.A.
–Brian DeCato, Westwood, Calif.
SG: The great thing about this e-mail is that three-fourths of my readers either (A) just finished Googling Aurora Snow’s name, or (B) are sitting on the bowl right now reading a printout of this column and thinking, “As soon as I’m done here, I have to go back to my cubicle and Google Aurora Snow’s name. Ladies and gentleman, Google! No wonder they can afford to pay $1.6 billion for YouTube and inherit the thousands of impending copyright lawsuits. Good luck, fellas.
Q: Is it possible that George Bush is the white Art Shell? Mismanages a defense, has no idea what the hell is going on half the time, and is in wayyy over his head. Think about it, on 9/11, when he sat there at the school for like 5 minutes after finding out what happened, staring out into space thinking about which Happy Meal he was going to get later, that’s Art Shell every week on the sidelines! Whether you’re for or against Bush, this is funny.
–Lanire S., Philadelphia
SG: (Afraid to say anything …)
Q: In 25 words or less, explain Bob Ryan’s hair.
–Bob N, N.J.
SG: It’s like Alexander Hamilton’s hair if he won the duel against Aaron Burr, then hopped on a motorcycle and fled the scene at 80 mph.
Q: Just reading your 2001 article on Joe Torre where you compare him to a lucky blackjack player. So does that make Torre the guy who hits it big at blackjack, but doesn’t know when to walk away from the table, and thus risks losing everything he won? He still knows when to hit on a 12, but the baseball gods, who blessed him with all that good fortune for so many years, have finally changed dealers, given him a bad shoe, and put a couple of dumbasses at his table.
–Ken, Toronto, ON
SG: I think you’re right. Poor Joe stayed too long at the table, lost his partner in crime (Don Zimmer) and started playing with buddies who had bad luck (like Don Mattingly and A-Rod) while everyone else kept telling him to go to bed. But Joe kept saying, “No, no, two more shoes” and didn’t even care that Jaret Wright and Carl Pavano were sitting at first and second base and the new dealer had a first name with no vowels. Now he’s one more squandered season away from coming back to his room at 6 a.m. and having his passed-out buddy mumble, “How’d you do?” followed by Joe saying, “I was up five grand before the cards went cold, finished up $800,” then taking his contact lens out in the dark and passing out on top of his bedspread.
One more note on the Yankees: I was rooting for them to fire Torre (whose only real crime seems to be that he blew out his set-up guys every year) and replace him with Piniella (who sounded like Michael J. Fox after about four gin and tonics during the playoffs this fall), if only because Piniella went off the deep end in Tampa (why am I the only one who remembers this?) and would have been a disaster in pinstripes (as things stand, we’ll have to settle for him ruining the Cubs). But my buddy JackO (diehard Yankee fan) claims that Torre lost the respect of the team, that the Yankees turned into a passive, business-like team of rich guys who didn’t get along, didn’t retaliate whenever pitchers threw at their guys or took Jeter out at second base and didn’t seem to have any real sense of urgency. I countered that there’s something to all of that, but you win in October with good starting pitching, a deep bullpen and clutch hitting; if those three things aren’t happening at the same time, it doesn’t matter how much money you spent on the team.
Anyway, out of all the Yankee fans I heard from, the most rational argument came from Jonathan T., who sent along the following post-mortem:
“In 1996-2000, it wasn’t just that they had great chemistry (which they did), they didn’t have nearly as much offensive talent so they were forced to play true October baseball. The current Yankee lineup isn’t built for the postseason. You just can’t rely on three-run homers with the great pitching in the playoffs, while you can in much of the regular season (especially playing Tampa and Baltimore 38 times). With a great set of contact hitters and speed guys –Damon, Jeter, Abreu, Melky, Cano — this team should be hit-and-running, stealing at every opportunity, taking extra bases, bunting, etc. However, with power hitters like Sheffield and A-Rod clogging up the end of the lineup (such as Game 4, when A-Rod hit eighth), they can’t. There is actually TOO MUCH talent. Are you honestly going to bunt with runners on first and second and no one out with the 25-million-dollar man up? Of course not. But if former eighth-place-hitter Scott Brosius is up, it’s a no-brainer. So it’s not just their lack of chemistry but the fact that playoff teams thrive off role players. Even if you take a loaded team like the Mets, they still have guys like Endy Chavez, Jose Valentin and Paul Lo Duca. Baseball front offices, regardless of the payroll, should build their teams like baseball teams, not fantasy baseball teams.”
(Note: The Yankees are NOT allowed to hire Jonathan T. as their VP of Common Sense. I’m never handing over his e-mail address. Ever.)
Q: Please tell me you saw “How I Met Your Mother” last night. Did the writers blatantly steal your “it says a lot about a person where they stand on Field of Dreams” theory to spark Ted and Robin’s first fight?
SG: I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and call it a remarkable coincidence. One for the ages, really.
Q: Do you think the Miami locker room was similar to the “Anchorman” scene after both of those fights ended? “Boy that escalated quickly. I mean, that really got out of hand fast. Reddick, you swung your helmet at a guy!”
–Nate, Arlington, Va.
SG: Good one. I was just disappointed that the big brawl overshadowed the raucous Holy Cross-Dartmouth brawl earlier the same day — at this point, I’ll take any mention of Holy Cross football in the national media, even if it’s because we were throwing down with some Ivy Leaguers.
Sorry, I can’t resist.
Hey Dartmouth, you come into our house, you should get your behind kicked! You don’t come into the HC playing that stuff! You’re across the Mass Pike over there! You don’t come into Fitton Field, baby! We’ve had a down couple of years — OK, we’ve had 14 straight down years — but you don’t come in here talking trash! You hear me! You don’t come into the HC like that!
Q: Read the article on Tiger today and wanted to give you my take on him. You weren’t standing next to the Ali or Jordan of this generation, you were standing next to the Mozart or Picasso of this generation. From what I’ve gathered, Tiger is one of the few child prodigies who has become the best in his field. Mozart did it and Picasso did it. There are some mathematicians and other scientists who have done it, Pascal I think is one, but the list is short. Now golf may not be music or art, but the fact remains that Tiger is in rare company.
SG: Excellent point. I’d love to read a Gary Smith feature about this — that’s a great premise. By the way, find me another column that inspires people to Google Aurora Snow and Pascal within five minutes of one another.
Q: You recently wrote an article about craziest athletes, “Tysonic athletes” in sports history, but forgot to mention one of the most Tysonic athletes ever: Bill Romanowski! He broke Kerry Collins’ jaw in 1997, committed several dirty hits and threw a punch at Tony Gonzalez in 1999. And we all remember 2003 when he punched Marcus Williams in the face and broke his eye socket. Most recently he was <a target="new" href="banned from Pee Wee football games after having to be restrained from killing a 12-year-old kid after he tripped his son. The guy is mentally deranged. How could you possibly forget Romanowski?
–Kyle Johnston, Tempe, Ariz.
SG: It’s inexcusable. I have no defense. It’s like announcing an all-time NBA team and forgetting to include Oscar Robertson. I feel terrible. By the way, thank you to Tyson for delivering two classic moments on the heels of last week’s column:
1. The “I want to fight a woman who’s 60 pounds lighter than me” press conference. Right in the Tyson Zone. Didn’t even bat an eyelash when I read this.
2. When we were watching football last Sunday, they showed a commercial for his latest pay-per-view fight, a four-rounder against former sparring partner Corey Sanders, followed by the revelation that the fight would cost $29.95, followed by everyone in the room laughing, followed by my buddy Sal saying simply, “I’m in.” He was serious. You had to be there. I think Tyson could be 65 years old and missing an arm and Sal would splurge 30 bucks on a PPV just in case the old Tyson came back.
(But seriously … will there ever be another Mike Tyson?)
Q: I was just sitting here thinking that the only way that MTV could get more ridiculous would be to allow “Laguna Beach” castmates to appear on the next season of “The Challenge.” Can you imagine Cameron or Jason trying to get on Tonya? Or L.C. and Kristin going against each other in the Inferno? I want this to happen.
SG: I’m going to add the words “please” and “if there’s a God.”
Q: I am probably the 1,000th person to e-mail you this but how do you like the [Red] Sox being used in last week’s “Lost” episode? It’s great that Jack didn’t even believe Ben because he picked the Sox as the winner. What other unbelievable sports-related stuff could they have used from that time frame? Come on, I know you have the time and desire to come up with something great.
–Mike, Palmyra, N.J.
SG: The great thing about the Red Sox tape was that they set it up in previous episodes — if you remember, Jack’s dad ran into Sawyer at an Australian bar and talked about how he was a Red Sox fan, and that explained how he didn’t have any faith in anything, and then Jack told Sawyer the same thing about his dad (causing Sawyer to realize that he had been talking to Jack’s dad before). Then they brought it full circle with the Red Sox scene. Creatively, it was really cool and well done. Now I feel like Hollywood has brought it back to even for Game 4 of the 2004 World Series — the “Lost” episode canceled out Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore celebrating with the team right after the final out. We’re back to square zero.
(One other great thing about that scene: I only feel like 2004 happened when I’m reminded of those eight straight wins in a strange context — like a “Lost” episode, or Ken Macha leaving the door open for an Oakland comeback with his whole, “Terry Francona is a friend of mine, and he had a team that was done 3-0 once … ” spiel after Game 3 of the Tigers series. Part of me still feels like it never happened. All right, I’m babbling.)
Q: What’s with the random celebs grabbing the football helmet before every Monday night game? There’s nothing like hearing Carmen Electra awkwardly say, “I’m ready for some football.” Which random celeb picking up the glowing ESPN helmet would be the funniest? I vote for Steve Buscemi.
–AJ Heston, Lubbock, Texas
SG: My list looks like this: 1. Dikembe Mutombo; 2. Mike Tyson; 3. Dustin Diamond; 4. Ian Ziering; 5. Art Shell (if only because it would be funny to see him speak for the first time all season).
Q: I had to give an eulogy in my public speaking class today. I chose to eulogize Mr. Miyagi. I used you as a source. I failed. Just thought you should know.
— Jimmy, Columbia, S.C.
SG: Hey, Jimmy, keep your head up. As the great Joe Esposito once wrote …
Try to be best
‘Cause you’re only a man
And a man’s gotta learn to take it
Try to believe
Though the going gets rough
That you gotta hang tough to make it
History repeats itself
Try and you’ll succeed
Never doubt that you’re the one
And you can have your dreams!
You’re the best!
Nothing’s gonna ever keep you down
You’re the Best!
Nothing’s gonna ever keep you down
You’re the Best!
Nothing’s gonna ever keep you down!!!!!!!!!
(PS: Good luck getting that song out of your head for the rest of the day.)
Bill Simmons is a columnist for Page 2 and ESPN The Magazine. His new book “Now I Can Die In Peace” is available on Amazon.com and in bookstores everywhere.