Here are the four most common e-mails I get:
1. Stop being lazy, write more columns.
2. What does the (fill in some theory or saying I wrote about years ago) mean?
3. Have you ever written about (fill in some topic)?
4. Where can I find the column where you wrote about (fill in some random story)?
With that in mind, we came up with the Sports Guy Glossary. Remember, I have been writing for ESPN.com for nearly five years now — much of my audience started reading somewhere along the way and couldn’t possibly be expected to remember the origin for terms like “The Stomach Punch Game” (from my Levels of Losing column) or “The Coach is killin’ me!” (from the Norv Turner Theory).
Again, if you’ve been reading since 2001, this page isn’t for you. But if you’re a more recent reader, here’s some stuff you might have missed along the way.
Also, if you think we missed something here — and let the record show that not one but two interns helped me out with this — feel free to e-mail us to suggest an addition.
Onto the glossary …
COLUMNS DEVOTED TO THEORIES
• 13 Levels of Losing
• 20 Most Annoying Baseball Fans
• 20 Rules for Being a Sports Fan
• Baseball Brawls Guide
• Baseball Hall of Fame Pyramid
• Eight Traits for Crappy College Bowl Games
• The Ewing Theory
• Guidelines for Underrated Movies
• The Power of HORSE
• How to Make a One-Sided Fantasy Trade
• How to Spot Casino Trash
• How to Watch Sports With Guys
• How to Win at Fantasy Football and Annoy People
• NFL Playoff Gambling Manifesto
• NFL Simbotics
• Tremendous Upside Potential
• The Unintentional Comedy Scale
• The Vengeance Scale
• Wet Blanket Girlfriends
• Why 1984 Was the Greatest Year Ever
• Yearbook Quotes for High School | Part II
How to Drive a Woman Crazy
A. Compliment Shakira
B. Compliment Mariah Carey
C. Compliment Jennifer Love Hewitt
How to Know if You’re Watching a Chick Flick | Part II
• How to Know You’re a Super Bowl City
• How to Know You’re Watching a Great Series
• How to Avoid the Girlfriend on Sundays
• How to Get a Female/Mother out of the Room During a Game
• How to Spot the Guys Who Wield Just A Bit Too Much Power
The bouncer at any snooty bar … the deli counter guy who only gives samples to people he deems worthy … ice skating judges (especially the French ones) … softball umpires … the guy at Best Buy who checks receipts before you can leave the store … sixth-grade gym teachers … bank tellers … bartenders in crowded pickup joints … condo association presidents … sports radio hosts who hang up on callers when they don’t agree … everyone who works at a video store … stewardesses on long airplane flights … movie theater ushers … the maitre’d at any restaurant in Vegas or Manhattan … and the hotel worker in charge of the volleyball games at any resort.
• How to Know Your Life Is Jumping the Shark
• How to Gamble at a Baseball Game
• How to Gamble on Non-Sports Things
• How to Go for the Ballpark Cycle
• How to Judge a Jaw-Dropping TV Night
• ‘How to Judge a Hot Actress’
• How to Know Your Lady Has Reached “Girlfriend Status”
They reach “girlfriend status” the moment they leave something at your house and it isn’t an accident. During those first few weeks, they always try to leave things and pretend it’s an accident, like a dog marking its territory … but once things progress and you have a conversation that includes the sentences “I thought I’d leave a couple of things here for when I sleep over” and “OK, that sounds like a good idea,” then you have a girlfriend. That’s the bottom line.
‘How to Be a Guy’
… General Guy Code
… Three No-Brainer Rules
… Levels of Betrayal
• How to Make a Good Sports TV Show
• How to Make Random Bets at a Wedding
• How to Act in Vegas
• How to Spot Casino Trash
THEORIES, TESTS, DEFINITIONS & COROLLARIES
• 150-Minute Rule
This all goes back to my 150-Minute Rule: Nothing should last for more than 150 minutes, unless there’s a really good reason. Remember, the MTV Generation totally changed the way we watch TV; three-hour-plus baseball games aren’t nearly as appealing as they were 25 years ago, when we only had six other TV channels. And sitting in the stands for that long … forget it. It’s like being trapped on a coach flight from Boston to Vegas.
• The ’70s Bad Ass Quadfecta
During the climactic lifetalk with his father, Kelly completes the ’70s Bad Ass Quadfecta, which goes like this: If you’re under 15, you’re appearing in a movie/TV show/Afterschool Special from the ’70s, and you ride a motorcycle, smoke butts, bristle at authority, own a bitchin’ jacket AND know how to shoot some stick — all in the same movie/TV show/Afterschool Special — lemme tell you something, the other kids WILL respect you. That’s just the way the ’70s worked.
• The Alec Baldwin Club
Jon Gruden is in the Alec Baldwin Club, along with Jeff Fisher, Bill Cowher and Marty Schottenheimer. You know how Alec Baldwin can make crappy movies for a few years, but all it takes is one good movie and you’re thinking, “Alec Baldwin, I love that guy, he’s great,” and forget about the crappy movies? That’s what all four of those coaches are like. You can’t keep them down for longer than 2-3 years. You just can’t.
• The Bed Test
When you watch sports day in and day out on the East Coast, eventually you develop an uncanny ability to correctly answer this question: “If I go to bed now, is there a chance I might miss something memorable?” In other words, “Will I be kicking myself tomorrow morning?”
• The Boof Complex
Remember how Boof improbably became Mrs. Teen Wolf and beat out the Token Hot Blonde Chick after the big game? Well, she gave hope for an entire generation of budding Boofs … because, in real life, Teen Wolf is going with the Token Hot Blonde Chick 98 out of 100 times. That’s just the way it is. I’m sorry. And yet there’s an entire generation of Boofs who watched C. Thomas Howell swimming for Lori Loughlin at the end of “Secret Admirer,” Mary Stuart Masterson dressing up like a chaffeur and bagging Eric Stoltz over Lea Thompson in “Some Kind of Wonderful,” or Ally Sheedy putting on some makeup and landing Emilio Estevez at the end of “The Breakfast Club,” and they assume that the world works like this in real life. Which it doesn’t. In fact, you could argue that ’80s movies owe reparations to an entire generation of aggrieved women in their 30s suffering from the Boof Complex right now.
• Booty Call Contract Rules
Anyway, I think the Booty Call contract comes with six provisions …
• The Channel Flick Test
I’m going to apply my time-proven “Channel Flick Test” introduced last February, when I was arguing the merits of a “Teammate Half-court Shot” at NBA’s All-Star Weekend. Forget for a second how dumb it would be to watch teammates like Shaq and D-Wade launching as many half-court shots in 90 seconds, desperately trying to top Kobe and Odom’s score of eight. Would you turn the channel? Of course not.
• The ‘Cheers’ Corollary
Great teams are like great TV shows — sometimes change can be refreshing, but you never want to rattle your nucleus too much. That’s why “Cheers” remained lively to the bitter end, because it successfully integrated new characters (Rebecca, Woody, Frasier, Lilith) while maintaining its core group of stars (Sam, Carla, Norm, Cliff). Shows like “Oz,” “ER” and “7 Lives XPosed” couldn’t say the same.
• The Cooking Show Test
You might think you’re against cooking segments. But see what happens next time you’re half-asleep and watching food getting cooked on a late-night TV show. You won’t change the channel. I’m telling you. There’s something satisfying about seeing the host dig into a seafood primavera that somehow took five minutes to prepare and cook. There just is. And that goes back to a basic problem with TV in general — for whatever reason, network executives go out of their way to avoid showing things that we actually want to see. They overthink things. They never apply the Cooking Show Test.
• The Dave Campo Corollary
Using the Dave Campo Memorial “Any time you can upgrade from a horrible coach to a good coach, that’s worth at least four wins” Corollary. I’m a big believer in that one.
• Dead Man Walking Game
From the “Levels of Losing” column.
Remember the ’96 Masters? The one where Greg Norman fell apart in sections and slapped up the 78, so Nick Faldo sneaked in the back door and won the Green Jacket, even consoling Norman after the tournament because it was that bad? That defeat was 10 times more devastating to Norman than the victory was satisfying to Faldo, if that makes sense. It affected one person much more deeply than the other. You could argue that Norman was never the same. There should be an easier way to describe these moments in sports — only because they happen from time to time, and there’s no way to quantify that dynamic when it happens — so maybe we should start calling them “Faldos.” Seems simple enough.
• The Fantasy Cohort
We need to come up with a better word for fantasy partner than “partner,” if only because the previous paragraph made it sound like the T-Man and I live in West Hollywood, own two cats and have matching beards. Here’s where we really feel the aftereffects of the premature demise of Rich Hall’s career, because he definitely could have come up with a Sniglet for this. Anyway, I vote for “fantasy cohort.” Much better than “fantasy partner.” Um, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
• Field of Dreams Theory
I think the world is separated into two kinds of people — people who loved “Field of Dreams,” and people who don’t have a heart. If I were dating a woman and she said she didn’t like “Field of Dreams,” I’d immediately dump her. I’m not kidding, either. It says a lot about a person where they stand on “Field of Dreams.” To answer your other question, when I was single, I never really had one big test for prospective girlfriends. It was more like a series of smaller tests: If they liked “Field of Dreams,” “Halloween” and “Hoosiers;” if they got along with dogs; if they laughed at the “Jackie Rogers Jr.’s $100,000 Jackpot Wad” sketch on “SNL”; if they felt comfortable wearing the Bird jersey to bed; if they didn’t mind the fact that I watched 12 straight hours of football every Sunday; if they put up a token fight to pay on one of the first few dates; if they liked going to Celtics games; and so on. I was pretty picky. Now I’m married, and I might as well be dead.
• The Four Beer Analogy:
Let’s say you’re hitting a sports bar with your buddies for Monday Night Football. You could have two or three beers, throw down some chicken wings, play some Golden Tee, wager on the home team, bond with your boys, then head home when the outcome has been decided. Or you could do everything from above, but keep throwing down beers until you’re bombed and someone has to drive you home. Either way, it’s going to be a good time. Well, unless you have four beers. That kills you. You’re not sober enough to drive home. You’re not quite drunk enough that you feel like you really let loose; if anything, you’re more groggy than anything. And you drank just enough that you’ll have trouble getting up for work/class the following morning. The next day, you always end up wishing you had more beers or less beers. Just not four.
• The Four Rules of Life
For instance, three of the four most important lessons I ever learned in life came from my stepdad:
1. The only person you can count on in life is yourself.
2. You can’t be happy with someone else until you’re happy with yourself.
3. Don’t lie and don’t break your word.
(Note: The fourth lesson came from my Aunt Jen, who taught me, “If you’re interested in a girl, always meet her Mom because all girls end up eventually turning into their Moms, with no exceptions.” We may need to have Bill James figure out a formula for that one.)
• High Horse Factor
It all comes back to the High Horse Factor. You know how sports columnists and radio hosts love hopping on high horses and villifying targets like Tyson, how they get all carried away and start gunning for the Pulitzer, how they write lines like “He’s the monster in all of us” and say things like “They could be fighting in my living room and I wouldn’t watch it”? Nobody rated higher on the High Horse Factor than Tyson, the grizzled sports columnist’s wet dream. Just once, I would have loved to have seen one of these media people tell their editors or producers, “You know what, I refuse to discuss Tyson on the radio anymore,” or “Please don’t send me to cover this fight, because I refuse to write about such a scumbag.” Never happened.
• The “How Much Would You Pay?” game
Did you ever play the “How Much Would You Pay?” Game? Like, what’s the maximum amount you would pay for a copy of “Madden 2004?” Or, how much would you pay to know for sure who killed JFK? Or, what’s the most you would pay to see Zack from “Paradise Hotel” get punched in the face? Well, my buddy Sal and I were playing this game with the NFL Package last week. I decided I would pay up to $2,000 dollars for the package. After that, you couldn’t justify the price when we’re getting five games a week on free TV, anyway. But Sal claims that no price is high enough for him and the NFL Package; if anything, he would start selling some of his stuff if it came to that. Now that’s a true football fan. Even I wouldn’t go that far. And yet I digress.
• The “I can’t believe you haven’t seen that yet!” movie
My buddy Gus has a theory that every person has one “I can’t believe you haven’t seen that yet!” movie. For instance, Gus hasn’t seen “E.T.” yet. Impossible, you say? I’m telling you, he has never seen it. And the more people tell him, “I can’t believe you haven’t seen that one yet!” or “Do yourself a favor and see it, would ya?”, his defiance becomes even more resolute. He’s never seeing “E.T.”
• The “I Have to Call One of My Buddies Right Now to Discuss What Just Happened” Test
• The “I Remember Exactly Where I Was When I Watched This Game” Test.
• The Jeremy Piven Phenomenon
Plus, when you’re acting in the same movie with this many non-actors, the Jeremy Piven Phenomenon takes hold. You know how everyone keeps saying how brilliant Piven is on “Entourage?” Well, he’s sharing screen time with the likes of Adrian Grenier and the bully from “Rocky V” — he’s good, but he’s not that good. Those guys make him look like a young Pacino.
• The Jim Jones Theory
I have a theory on this: I think 90 percent of parents can’t believe how miserable they are, so they make a secret pact and try to get everyone else to have kids, just so everyone else is in the same boat and they don’t have to hear stories about four-course dinners, Vegas trips, romantic getaway weekends and everything else. They’re like Jim Jones in Guyana — “Drink the Kool-Aid, seriously, it’s phenomenal! You have to try this!”
• The Kansas City Roto Corollary
If you have no Royals, you’re probably in first or second place. One Royal, third place. Two Royals, fourth place. Three Royals, fifth or sixth. Four Royals, seventh or eighth. More than four, you’re in dead last and already preparing for your football draft. And here’s why I’m telling you this: My buddy Hench and I have a team with Mike Sweeney, Angel Berroa, Ken Harvey and Andy Sisco. Let’s just say we have a stronghold on seventh.
• The Kareem Corollary:
No matter how loathsome an athlete was during his prime, once he hits his twilight years, everything’s water under the bridge.
• Keith Hernandez Status
When an athlete reaches “I’m Keith Hernandez” status and their confidence becomes simply outrageous — that’s when you know someone is in the zone. That was one of my favorite Larry Bird moments, the Dallas game in ’86 when they were down two on TBS with like 10 seconds left, so he pulled up in the open court and drained a crazy running 3, with the implicit understanding being, “You know what? This is a ridiculous shot, but I’m Larry Bird and I’m on national TV, and I can do things like this.”
• The Kitchen Sink Game
Sometimes I wonder if the NFL is less complicated than we think.
• The Anti-Sink Game
There’s a flip side to this theory: The Anti-Sink Game.
• The Lacey Underall All-Stars
We’ve covered this before on the site, but Helen Slater (who played Billie Jean) was a charter member of the Lacey Underall All-Stars for “Hot Chicks From the ’80s Who Burst On the Scene, Won Everyone Over and Were Never Seen Again,” along with the girl from “Just One of the Guys,” Tom Cruise’s girlfriend in “Rain Man,” Ferris Bueller’s girlfriend, the blonde from “Can’t Buy Me Love,” Axel’s hot friend in “Beverly Hills Cop,” Phoebe Cates, Justine Bateman and Michael J. Fox’s blonde infatuation in “Teen Wolf.”
• The Larry Holmes Corollary:
Remember Holmes? He held the heavyweight title for seven years, right after the heyday of Joe Frazier, Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. If Holmes had come along about eight years earlier, he would have been thrown right into that second tier of “Capable Opponents” along with Jimmy Young, Ken Norton, Ron Lyle, Earnie Shavers and everyone else, the guy’s just a notch below the Big Three. As luck would have it, he missed every relevant fighter from the ’70s, and his prime crested about two years before Mike Tyson started banging heads. Luck of the draw.
• The Reverse Maddox Corollary
• The Marv Levy Theory
After you get the wind knocked out of you enough times as a fan, you never truly bounce back with that particular team. We watched it happen with Marv Levy in Buffalo, or Denny Green’s Vikings teams, or even those Browns teams back in the mid-’80s. Once you pass a point where your fans can keep trusting you, it’s all over. And everyone dredges up the negative stuff in training camp, and it continues all season, and the fans are waiting to put their guard up any time there’s a hint of failure in the air. Eventually, you just have to clean house and start over. There’s no other way.
• The MJ/Rodman Corollary
You can only take a chance on a colossal head case if there’s an alpha dog around to keep him in check. Just look at Dennis Rodman’s career — he was fine with Isiah and MJ and a time bomb with everyone else. Same with Vernon Maxwell and Hakeem; Dennis Johnson with Bird (everyone forgets that DJ wore out his welcome in two cities); Stephen Jackson with Duncan; even Cassell and Spree with KG last season. Crazy guys suddenly don’t seem as crazy when they’re playing with someone they respect.
• Mom Status
My Mom has always been a sports litmus test for me. If she’s asking, it’s probably a big deal. And this Yankees-Sox rivalry has officially reached Mom Status.
• The Movie Test
As far as I’m concerned, New Orleans is one of three American cities that passes the Movie Test. In other words, when you’re spending time in a certain city, do you feel like you’ve been inadvertently thrust into an actual movie? For instance, walking around Vegas feels like the greatest IMAX movie of all-time; the entire experience doesn’t even seem real. Same with walking around downtown Manhattan: mammoth buildings, crazy people, stores galore, random celebrity sightings, one recognizable landmark after another … it feels like you should be walking around with three cameras trained on you, as the director barks out orders and you struggle to remember your lines.
• The No F-ing Way Game:
The game where you’ve won too many games in a row during a season, and the PlayStation activates that “There’s no f—— way you’re winning this game” chip.
• The Norv Turner Theory
This also led to Hopper’s famous theory that NFL owners should play blackjack with prospective coaches before they actually hire them, just to make sure they’re getting the right guy. As Hopper always says, “You can learn a lot about a person when you’re playing blackjack with them.” In the words of Kurt Angle, “It’s true, it’s true.”
• Oh-My-God Factor:
Of course, the crucial difference between good athletes and great athletes is the “Oh My God!” factor, those occasional moments when an athlete comes up with something so astounding that we can only scream, “Oh my God!” Remember Dr. J going under the basket for that reverse against the Lakers, or Elway’s lob pass to Vance Johnson in Cleveland? Oh my God. Michael Jordan is the all-time “Oh My God!” captain. Barry Sanders and Gale Sayers are charter members. Julius Erving, Magic, Dominique Wilkins and Larry Bird are all there. Elway, Marino and Joe Montana. And Favre. Jaromir Jagr, Mario Lemeiux and Wayne Gretzky. John McEnroe and Tiger Woods. Pedro, Randy Johnson and Doc Gooden. There’s a special locker for Bo Jackson. Kobe Bryant is damn close. Randy Moss and Michael Vick might make The Leap soon. And we keep room on the list for anyone else capable of making plays that inspire teammates, bring fans out of their chairs, break an opponent’s collective back and make you believe.
• The Other Shoe Theory
“The Other Shoe” theory, which centers around the premise that “All women should be considered crazy until proven otherwise.” Whenever one of us started hanging out with somebody, the other would always ask, “Did the other shoe drop yet?” In other words, did the new girl have any visible baggage? Was she hiding a trait that could potentially submarine the entire relationship? Was she way too close to her family? Was she secretly nuts? You’d be amazed how many times the other shoe ended up dropping.
• The Over-Clapper
Is there anything worse than an Over-Clapper, the guy in a sports bar who feels the inexplicable need to applaud after every play?
(In case you’re scoring at home, I’d rate the most annoying people in a sports bar or lounge this way, in order: The Over-Clapper; the Inconsiderate Chain-Smoker; the “Guy Who Sits Down Right In Front of You And Blocks Your View” Guy; the Guy Who Keeps Taking Cell Phone Calls; the Over-Excited Guy; the “Guy Who Gives Running Commentary and Thinks He’s Phil Simms” Guy; the Drunken Idiot; the Guy Who Gets A Little Too Angry; The Guy Wearing Too Much Team Paraphrenalia; and the “Guy Who Won’t Sit Down and Watch the Game But Keeps Popping In Every Five Minutes To Ask About the Score” Guy.)
• The Pantheon
That’s a term my buddies and I created back in college, defined then and forever as “the highest level of transcendence.” Pantheon Guys endure; you remember them, regardless of whether they peaked for two seasons or 20. It doesn’t matter how long those guys were on top … just that they peaked, and we were there, and even if it only lasted for two seasons, you were saying to yourself, “Good Lord, that guy is good.”
• “Pulling a Jackie”
My buddy Gus’s wife has an uncanny knack for entering the room and starting up conversations during pivotal moments in any sporting event or video game, usually in the ninth innings or with two minutes to go in any third period or fourth quarter, and almost always with disastrous consequences.
(This phenomenon is right up there with the Bermuda Triangle, the Loch Ness Monster and Breckin Meyer’s career — I don’t know anyone who can explain it, yet I have at least a dozen male friends with girlfriends/spouses who consistently keep “Pulling a Jackie.” It’s like some silent radar signal goes off — important game happening, big moment, must inadvertently sabotage, must fluster my boyfriend …)
• The Rafael Palmeiro Rule
If anything, the Rafael Palmeiro/steroids saga reminded everyone of a time-worn lesson: Never, ever trust a good-looking guy with a nice mustache. Those are always the guys who sleep with your ex-girlfriend and leave the dinner table three seconds before the check arrives. Always keep these people at arm’s length. I’m telling you.
• The Same Nickname Corollary
I’m cool with Larry Johnson being called “LJ,” and here’s why: If you have the exact same name as the athlete who made the nickname famous, the I think it’s OK to assume the nickname, as well. For instance, if there’s another Mordecai Brown some day, we absolutely have to call him “Three Finger” whether he has 10 fingers or not.
• The Schnozzaroo
Don’t we need to come up with a nickname for the Broken Nose Mask? What about the Septumator? Or the Schnozzaroo? More importantly, why are they such an afterthought? NBA players care so much about hair, tattoos, shoes … yet they happily slide on these ugly plastic masks for two straight months, no questions asked. Wouldn’t you think they would paint them like hockey goalie masks, or even go with the intimidating Hannibal Lecter-style mask for a big playoff game? We need to spruce up the Schnozzaroos.
• The Shaky Scale (NFL Only)
Here’s how it works — rate every team’s coach and quarterback on a Shaky Scale from 1 to 10, with Brady and Belichick being a “1” and the Norv Turners and Patrick Ramseys of the world counting as perfect “10’s.” When you add the scores for each team’s coach and QB, if it’s 15 or higher, then that team can’t possibly make the playoffs.
• The Shue Phenomenon
Applies whenever a less famous sibling suddenly becomes more famous than their famous sibling (like Andrew Shue surpassing sister Elisabeth during his first few years on “Melrose Place”, before she dramatically reclaimed the throne with “Leaving Las Vegas”). And I mention this only because Kevin Dillon’s improbable passing of Matt Dillon (thanks to “Entourage”) has to be the greatest moment in the history of the Shue Phenomenon … in fact, Clint Howard would need to direct three consecutive Oscar winners to approach what’s happening here.
Is there a more underrated SLANFARE (the acronym for “surfing late at night for anything remotely entertaining”) cable movie than “Varsity Blues”?
• Spork Flicks
When a chick flick disguises itself as a sports movie … that’s a spork flick. “Bull Durham”? Spork flick. “Jerry Maguire,” “Tin Cup” and “Love and Basketball”? Spork flicks. Heck, even “Rocky” could have been classified as a spork flick.
• Stomach Punch Game
From the “Levels of Losing” column.
• Stouffer’s Frend Bread Pizza Syndrome:
Putting together a basketball team is like cooking a Stouffer’s french bread pizza — you have to preheat the oven, wait 15 minutes, slide the pizzas inside, wait another 35 minutes, check to make sure you didn’t burn them, let them cook another five minutes, pull them out, then let them cool down for another 10 minutes so you don’t burn your mouth … and then, and ONLY then, do you eat the pizzas. That’s how the good general managers build their teams. But these new-wave owners and general managers want to eat the pizza right away, so they slip them in the microwave, zap the hell out them, scarf down in three bites and end up burning their mouths, and the pizza doesn’t even taste good as it’s going down.
• The Table Test:
It all comes back to my world-renowned Table Test, which can be used for any actor, athlete, writer or broadcaster. It centers on one phrase: “I’m not sure if Person X brings anything to the table.” Hey, sometimes that’s not a bad thing. We all have friends who don’t say much or add much, but they’re fun to have around, know when to laugh at the right times and generally fit in with everybody else in your group (the Robert Horry of friends). And maybe they don’t bring that much to the table, but they also don’t take things off the table — they aren’t rude, they aren’t inappropriate, they aren’t stupid, they don’t act like drunken idiots, and so on.
Think of it this way:
Scenario No. 1: Person X brings something to the table.
Scenario No. 2: Person X brings nothing to the table.
Scenario No. 3: Person X takes things off the table.
In certain circumstances, you can get away with bringing nothing to the table (No. 2); for instance, I’d much rather hear a play-by-play broadcaster pull a No. 2 over somebody trying too hard to be a No. 1. That doesn’t fly in Breckin Meyer’s case — he pulled the No. 2 routine in “Road Trip” and didn’t really affect the movie either way (not exactly what you’re looking for from your lead). In the pilot for “Inside Schwartz,” Meyer tried to be much more animated — throwing his arms out, hopping around, making goofy faces, desperately trying to show life — and ended up filling his pockets with silverware, salt shakers and tablecloths. He calmed down a little in the second episode … but not nearly enough. In a best-case scenario, Meyer could loosen up and eventually bring nothing to the table (No. 2). And that’s a best-case scenario. Not a good omen for the show.
• The Third Man in a Porn Scene
Now I’m killing time (at the blackjack tables) and cheering my buddies, carefully observing the “No running commentaries if you’re not playing,” “Stay at least four feet away” and “Don’t touch anyone’s chair” rules. Ever see a porn scene when an actress works with multiple partners, and she ends up settling on two of them while the third guy basically stands next to the action and keeps busy, hoping for a call that never comes? And you have no idea why he’s there in the first place? Well, that’s me. I’m the proverbial “Third guy in the porn scene.”
• Three Rules for the NBA All Star Game
1. As long as Jason Kidd can walk, he’s automatically in the game. Even if he’s 75 years old.
2. Each team is REQUIRED to have two true point guards on the roster.
3. If we can’t find four true point guards, and if Jason Kidd is somehow incapacitated, then John Stockton has to come out of retirement for one game.
• Throwbacks That Never Should Have Happened | Part II
I hope Mitchell & Ness releases a collection of throwbacks called Uniforms That Never Should Have Happened, featuring Franco Harris’ Seahawks jersey, Steve Carlton’s White Sox jersey, Bobby Orr’s Blackhawks jersey and dozens more anticlassics. Someday, Rice’s Broncos and Seahawks jerseys will join that illustrious list. So be it.
• Tiki Barber/Reuben Theory
I’ve never had Tiki on my team, but everyone who has him raves about the experience afterward. You know what he’s like? Ever had lunch with someone who ordered a Reuben? You think to yourself, “Grilled rye bread, butter, mustard, swiss cheese, greasy corned beef — that’s terrible for me, I’m not getting that.” And then you watch your buddy happily mauling the Reuben and you want to jam a fork in his eye and steal it from him. That’s Tiki Barber. He’s the Reuben of running backs (no offense to Reuben Droughns).
• The Tony Campbell Corollary
There are like 50 guys in the league trapped on benches who could put up stats if they ever played, as witnessed by the Mo-Pete Era in Toronto right now, or even Kendrick Perkins’s 13-rebound game last month. I had a reader call this the “Tony Campbell Corollary” once. Remember when Campbell was wasting away on the Lakers bench, then Minnesota grabbed him in the expansion draft, and he ended up scoring 23 a game? As long as you have one skill — like Dickau (who can shoot), or Andersen (who can jump out of the building) — that’s usually enough if you’re getting enough minutes.
• The Two Pacinos
Can you think of another actor with a career quite like Pacino’s career, where the guy from 1972-1983 (Godfather 1 and 2, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Cruising, And Justice For All, Scarface) seems like a completely different human being than the one from 1992-2005 (Scent of a Woman, Heat, Donnie Brasco, Insomnia, Devil’s Advocate, The Recruit). I’m not even talking about different actors; I’m talking about different human beings. Like how Pittsburgh Barry Bonds and San Fran Barry Bonds seem like two different people, right?
• The Tyson Zone:
“I think Ron Artest has entered rarified air now. He’s officially a person who, if a friend said, “Did you hear that (fill in celebrity’s name) just (fill in the insane behavior: urinated on a police officer, began breeding unicorns, etc.)?”, I would have no problem believing it was true. I think this space is occupied by Mike Tyson, Michael Jackson, Courtney Love, and the late, great ODB. Can you think of any others?”
— Brendan Quinn, Philadelphia, PA
SG: First of all, fantastic theory. I think we should call this “The Tyson Zone.” Others who qualify: Dennis Rodman; Omarosa; R. Kelly; Landon from “The Real World”; Najeh Davenport; Suge Knight; Flava Flav; Brigette Nielsen; anyone in G Unit; Billy Joel; Andy Dick; Lindsay Lohan’s Dad; Anna Nicole Smith; Margot Kidder; Tara Reid; Lil John; Gary Busey; Ricky Williams; any pregnant female; the late Bison Dele; Liza Minnelli; Paris Hilton; and Henry Winkler.
• The VCR Clock Test
As I wrote a few weeks ago, “Entourage” always managed to leave me disappointed, but I was always disappointed when it was over, if that makes sense. The show started at 10 p.m., kept me absorbed for a good 20 minutes … and somewhere around 10:23, I always found myself glancing at the VCR clock and thinking, “Shoot, it’s almost over.” That’s the VCR Clock Test.
Bill Simmons is a columnist for Page 2 and ESPN The Magazine and his Sports Guy’s World site is updated every day Monday through Friday. His new book “Now I Can Die In Peace” is available on Amazon.com and in bookstores everywhere.