AJ Daulerio's Cultural Oddsmaker runs every Friday. Email him to let him know what you think.
Sergio Garcia shamed the game of golf after last weekend's loogie-hocking incident during the 13th hole of CA Championship. His smug attitude already soured some fans and media since his arrival on the tour, and now even some of his minimal supporters have turned on him. (Could you imagine if Joe Buck was broadcasting? He would've completely lost it on the air. Then gone home, punched his wife, had an aneurysm, and died.) It's a bit ironic, though, that a sport that prides itself on gentlemanly conduct is also a game that, on an amateur level, is one that promotes more public urination than any other sport. Has anyone ever played a round of golf either on a public or private course and not pissed on a tree or the side of their golf cart? But spitting — bad form.
If you look at the replay, the whole action seems rather tame. But because it's on the golf course and not, say, the spit-covered streets of Chinatown, there are more people who furiously object. Spitting in Chinatown is somewhat tolerated because — so I've been told — Chinese people believe it's healthy and, also, shoos away those pesky, demonic Grudge-like disturbances: if you hold onto your spit (or swallow it) don't be surprised to go home and find an undead Asian boy thrashing around in your bathtub. If this was Sergio's thought process, I'm sure the hefty fine he'll pay will have been completely worth it.
The reality is that incidents like Mr. Garcia's putt-and-pwooft are just endemic of the way most of our generation's professional athletes behave. If they're not spitting after a missed shot, they're attacking the fans in the stands. Or they're attacking each other at casinos. Or shooting people. Or taking pictures of their freshly shorn pubis region. Or insulting the Jews. Or forcefully entering a teenage hotel employee from behind in a Colorado resort town. Sergio's spitting, for right now, is nothing compared to what we'll see from other athletes in upcoming months, years, and generations.
So, today, I'm throwing down six bottles of Mucinex, stuffing my bottom lip with Kodiak, and calculating odds on what the next on-field appalling act by an athlete will be.
Let's go shopping for some knockoff Prada handbags and tiny pet turtles, after this jump.
Genital Exposure: 2/1
Obscene gestures are outdated. However, it's crucial to leave a lasting impression to show your frustration or to taunt an opponent. Randy Moss's fake moon ("THAT'S A DISGUSTING ACT...") showed us a new technique of how to infuriate other players, refeerees — and Fox sports broadcasters — beyond the typical endzone dancing or spiking in the face. And in professional football, where one-upsmanship is so pervasive, we're not that far removed from a player taking the 15-yard penalty and a game ejection by celebrating and in-your-facing with various parts of their anatomy. Soon, you'll have players not only grabbing themselves, but actually whipping out their monsters in exultation to show up other teams and referees. Although the fines are stricter, you're telling me if Chad Johnson scores a touchdown on a defensive back that's been killing him all day, he's going to let a fine stand in the way of showing that DB "The Gobbler"? And with defensive celebrations becoming common, we aren't too far away from Derrick Burgess unveiling the "Angry Plums" after a big quarterback sack.
Athletes most likely to engage: Chad Johnson, Warren Sapp, Terrell Owens, Javon Walker, Ray Lewis
These are long odds because of the amount of time it would take to actually take your pants off and poop on the field/court/ice. I'm thinking the best chance for this to happen would be in baseball — after a horribly called third strike, a close play at home plate that costs the game — where sometimes the arguments can continue for a long period of time. Plus, hockey and football uniforms would take too long to strip off. Also, dumping would be a great way to object to a call if you were on a swimming or water polo team. Just think if Michael Phelps was called for illegally using the wall (or whatever the terminology is for that foul) and been denied his world record-breaking time. Dramatic water splashing and barking obscenities would not accurately convey his displeasure. Not as much as a bobbing piece of crap.
Athletes most likely to engage: Milton Bradley, Frank Francisco, Najeh Davenport, Tara Kirk
Setting Things on Fire: 1/1
We've seen plenty of athletes (and managers) throw things on the field or the court. It doesn't take that long to conjure up a memory of a furious middle reliever pounding his glove on the bench, karate-chopping the water cooler or tearing the bullpen phone off the wall. It happens all the time and, most of the time, it's for showmanship. And who could forget when Tim Hardaway tossed the replay monitor onto the court after a bad call? If he had an incendiary device, something would've been set ablaze — perhaps Marv Albert's hair or, most likely, John Amaechi. But we've seen how far basketball players go and how, when consumed by rage, they completely forget about the safety of others. Chairs on the court, balls thrown into the stands, going after fans — what's keeping a player from heading back to the locker room and then coming back with a Molotov cocktail? If not the pros, then definitely the New York City Public League Basketball Championship.
Athletes most likely to engage: Ron Artest, Carmelo Anthony, Stephen Jackson, Milton Bradley, Kyle Farnsworth, Brett Myers
Breaking Wind: 3/1
In baseball, this supposedly happens all the time — especially if you don't like the catcher. You just step up to the plate, step out of the box, and blast one right in their face. Umpires will give a warning, and the game resumes, usually with a high inside pitch to the ribcage for the batter. In other sports, farting (or queefing) calls for automatic suspension, especially if done on another player's face, or worse, an umpire's. Yet we've gotten so far past this point in other sports that the one place it's left is another gentlemanly (genteladyly) sport, tennis. Think of last weekend's incident involving Serena Williams being mercilessly heckled by a fan in Miami for her sluggish play. At times, throwing rackets, screaming, storming off the court, or accusing fans of being racists are not enough to show frustration — especially if there aren't any calls in their favor. Soon, tennis players will be grabbing the microphone from the judge's stand, and unleashing their roaring sphincters to protest. What do you mean it didn't hit the line? Fwoorrrrrp. (Or in a lady's case: pffffffwiii-pop!)
Athletes most likely to engage: Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Justine Henin, Mary Pierce