Leave the Red Sox,take the cannolis

Still haunted by Len Bias

Ramblin’ through a cultural wasteland

Thoughts while wondering if Randy “Pink” Floyd ever played football in college …

You know you’ve gambled on too many 1 p.m. NFL games when it’s 3:45 and you’re gnawing on your toenails.

If Albert Pujols is 21, then I just turned 17.

The three greatest extended runs by a go-to-guy in the history of mankind were Michael Jordan (Bulls, 1991-1998), Larry Bird (Celtics, 1981-1988) and Richard Dawson (“Match Game,” 1974-1981).

bill simmons
There’s comedy, there’s high comedy … and then there’s every time Tony Banks calls an audible at the line of scrimmage for the 2001 Redskins. They should have the PA system play the old Benny Hill music in the background when it happens.

I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited for a TV event than the Hugh Hefner Roast on Comedy Channel next month.

Every morning I check my e-mail thinking to myself, “Maybe that this will be the day that US Magazine asks me to contribute to their ‘Fashion Police’ section.” And you think I’m kidding.

Speaking of magazines, People Magazine’s “Where Are They Now?” issue includes the Quote of the Year, courtesy of former “Saved By the Bell” star Mario Lopez: “I’ve always said I wanted to be the Bo Jackson of entertainment. I want to do it all.” And you wonder why I spend $109 a year on a People Magazine subscription.

Things I’ve never understood, chapter 732: Barefoot kickers in the NFL.

I wish you could break up with people for reasons like “I’m sorry, you failed your physical yesterday.”

With the possible exception of Michael Jackson’s face, J-Lo’s rump has to be the most mesmerizing body part on the planet right now. It’s like an “Andre the Giant”-type phenomenon. We’ll be telling our grandkids about it. I feel very strongly about this.

Daniel Snyder looks like he may have belonged to a Dungeons and Dragons club as a kid.

“Eating Stouffer’s French Bread Pizza Without Burning Your Mouth” should be turned into an Olympic Event. I’ve never made it past Bite No. 3.

I’m still waiting for the Game Show Network to create a show that features 1) models holding up clothing items from Banana Republic, and 2) contestants trying to guess if the clothes were made for men or women.

That reminds me, while we’re on the subject of inexplicably absorbing TV channels, how long must we wait before somebody launches the Wrestling Channel, MTV Classic and the Talk Show Network? Every day that passes is a day where we could have been watching Letterman reruns, Roddy Piper smashing coconuts into Jimmy Snuka’s head on “Piper’s Pit” and Puck sticking his fingers into Pedro’s peanut butter on “The Real World.” This needs to happen. This has to happen.

When Fox started using a Smashing Pumpkins song to promote the 2001 baseball playoffs, I think that officially rammed a salad fork into the Grunge Era.

Speaking of Fox, here’s my impersonation of every Fox promo we saw over the weekend (all 3,423 of them) condensed into one: “It’s just one of those days, as Jeri Ryan joins the cast of the groundbreaking new series, ‘The Bernie Mac Show’!”

If you said “Hello” to Charlie Manuel, he’d probably be stumped for an answer.

Is anyone else waiting for Vince McMahon to announce a special “Survivor Series” match between Barry Bonds’ son and Mark McGwire’s son, with Rudolph Giuliani’s son as guest referee?

All right, I’ll admit it: I enjoyed “Zoolander.”

It kills me to say this, but I always enjoy when Yankee fans chant the names of their players and emphasize the second and fourth syllables: “Der-RICK Jee-TERR! Der-RICK Jee-TERR!” It works for some reason.

When Garth Brooks is flipping channels and stumbles across the “SNL” rerun where he performed as his alter-ego “Chris Gaines,” do you think he throws up in his mouth?

Is there an “East Coast” offense? Is that what the Redskins are running?

The Day Hockey Officially Died For Me: Last week when I was flicking channels and noticed that the Bruins were playing on the road against some team called the “Wild” … and I had no idea whether the game was being played in Canada or the United States.

There isn’t a more perversely enjoyable word in the English language than “henchmen.”

Houston, St. Louis and Cleveland all lost in the first round of the baseball playoffs, and I guess my question is: What year is this?

If you ever started a Celebrity Break-Up Pool, David Arquette-Courteney Cox, Drew Barrymore-Tom Green and Kid Rock-Pamela Anderson would definitely be the Jeter/A-Rod/Nomar of the first round.

All right, I’ll say it: Every David Gray song sounds the same.

I wish there was a “Black Sheep” Giambi brother who worked for the A’s as a bullpen catcher or something, just so he could have pulled a “Shooter from Hoosiers” and wandered onto the field in a drunken stupor, holding up the game as Joe Buck said, “You hate to see this happen” in a hushed voice, and Jason and Jeremy ran out to right field to escort their brother back to the bullpen. That would have been fun.

Hey, does it bother anyone else that Canadians make better bacon than us?

Thank God for NBA.comTV, or else I would have forgotten that the whole “Isiah and Magic kissing each other on the cheek before each playoff game” was the most disturbing tradition in sports history.

You know, the D-Backs should paint their faces white and play their home games in Central Park to complete the “Baseball Furies” effect.

After the Chargers drafted LaDainian Tomlinson with the fifth pick of the 2001 draft, the Patriots drafted Richard Seymour with the following pick, and I guess my point is this: Being a Patriots fan is like being a 120-pound man in a maximum-security prison.

I enjoyed the Mark McGwire Era.

Since the Counting Crows released “August and Everything After” in 1994, lead singer Adam Duritz has dated Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, Lara Flynn Boyle, Monica Potter and (current girlfriend) Nicole Kidman. I will now light myself on fire.

(I mean, Cox, Aniston, Boyle, Potter and Kidman? We haven’t seen a run like that since Bill Russell won 11 titles in 13 years with the Celtics. Is anyone else just dumbfounded by this? I can’t be alone here. Can Bob Ley devote the next “Outside the Lines” to this?)

That has to be the explanation, right? Right?

When it comes right down to it, every Brad Johnson pass is clearly intended to get Keyshawn Johnson killed.

The NBA needs to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the ABA/NBA merger with “Turn Back the Clock” days where everybody has to wear tight shorts. I might cough up a lung if this happened.

Let’s face it: Ichiro is the most consistently interesting all-around baseball player in recent years.

I always thought the most destructive invention of the 21st century was Red Bull … and then Dunkin Donuts unleashed the “Coffee Cake Muffin” on a startled American public. Good God. Will the madness ever end?

If the Yanks and D-Backs end up playing in the World Series, I hope someone promotes it with the catch phrase, “Welcome to Buck Showalter’s Personal Hell!”

When you get stopped on fourth down in “Madden 2002” and Pat Summerall rubs it in with the old “Why go for it there, John?” question … well, it’s just plain enraging.

TBS keeps pushing “Cliffhanger” on us … and I’m not buying.

I have another celebrity “face” for you. Remember the expression that Michael Corleone has in “Godfather 2” after his wife tells him that she didn’t really have a miscarriage? Now imagine his eyeballs were popping out of his head like Toni from “Love Cruise: Maiden Voyage.” What do you have? It’s the Marty Mornhinweg Face! Run for your lives!

Needless to say, “needless to say” and “literally” are literally the two dumbest expressions of all time.

The best perk from marrying into the Schottenheimer family would be the complimentary job as an NFL assistant coach.

I might as well come out with this since you’ll probably find out eventually, anyway: I picked Trent Green in the third round of my Roto draft. It’s true. It’s all true. There, I said it. Now you know. It’s out there. Now we can finally move forward.

Speaking of Roto, having Shaun Alexander as one of your spare running backs is kind of like going into a coat you haven’t worn for six months and finding a $20 bill in the pocket.

Jim Mora has about as much chance of making it through the season as Moses Malone has of being used as a “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” lifeline.

Is it safe to say that no player in NFL history will sell fewer replica jerseys than Ben Gay?

I would have loved to have been there the moment when Larry Johnson decided to retire and the Knicks management pretended to be disappointed on the conference call — “You sure, LJ? You don’t want to give it one last run?” — when they were really high-fiving each other, opening bottles of Verve Cliequot and hastily calling Anthony Mason’s agent on another line. These are the things that need to be shown on “SportsCenter.”

Finally, here are my predictions for the rest of the baseball playoffs: Atlanta (in five) and New York (in seven) advance, setting up the Braves-Yanks World Series rematch that we’ve been waiting for like a hole in the head. And the winner?

(Banging my head against the desk …)

Bill Simmons writes three columns a week for Page 2.

Filed Under: Series, Sports, The Sports Guy

Bill Simmons is the founding editor of Grantland and the author of the New York Times no. 1 best seller The Book of Basketball. For every Simmons column and podcast, click here.

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