This is a new weekly column from Leitch. It has words, and pictures. It's called Ten Humans Of The Week. It might or might not work. But here it is.
Today's piece of fun, courtesy of The Awl (more on that site in a bit) and The Atlantic Monthly ... it turns out that there's one more great reason to make fun of Yankees fans: They have a more difficult time sustaining an erection than you do.
And it's not their fault! It's all the secondhand smoke! (Or something.)
There's no way that ED cases are five times higher among Yankees fans than the general public, but baseball's aging population combined with the stress and smoking factors inherent to New York might make it especially prevalent among its home fans. With that in mind, maybe Levitra et al should spend a little more on stadium sponsoring and less on commercial ads, if only to give life to the "Earth Dissection" fib.
I have to say, of all the potential insults that could come down at Fenway Park this weekend — and there are so, so many — the HARD STATISTICAL EVIDENCE that Yankees fans have a hard time keeping boners would have to be pretty high up the list. Here is what I encourage The Atlantic Monthly to do: I want a power poll. (So to speak.) I want to know, based on the factors they're looking at here, which sports team's fans can keep their erections, and which can't.
I work from certain basic assumptions:
*** Redskins fans' penises are painted and dressed like elderly women.
*** Cleveland fans keep erections until they very, very end ... and then lose them.
*** Philadelphia fans boo their own penis even when it's working.
*** Detroit fans' penises are rotting and decrepit ... but they're still proud of them.
*** Packers fans' penises have ... you know, I was going to make a cheese joke here but changed my mind.
*** Oakland and San Francisco are equally proficient at keeping erections.
*** Mets fans are better than Yankees fans.
*** White Sox fans are better than Cubs fans.
*** Cardinals fans are better than Cubs fans.
*** Everyone's better than Cubs fans.
Come on! Play along! It's fun!
Alex Balk. In the wake of whatever the heck happened on Deadspin this weekend — to touch on it as briefly as possible, Moe rules — I thought back to the last time we had a former Gawker editor running the site here. Yep, the great Alex Balk, who famously introduced himself with "Okay, listen up, douchebags: I don't like you and you don't like me," who was equally amusing and treated just about as well. Alas. It happens. Anyway, a couple of years removed from Gawker and a few months removed from Radar, Balk is back, with the also-awesome Choire Sicha, at The Awl, which is smart and mean and goofy and everything you might want from a blog. I'm trying to talk them into letting me write about Woody Allen. No luck so far.
Dave Cullen. Up for some light beach reading? Tired of busting out that dogeared copy of The Lovely Bones and concerned you might not get iPhone service out there in Montauk? Of course you are! Worry not! Dave Cullen's Columbine, which I wrote about for the magazine this week, isn't exactly a pick-me-up — I know, shocking, right? — but it is a pretty amazing book, riveting and terrifying. Call me crazy, but that sounds like a perfect beach book to me. Why do we insist our beach books be mindless fluff? If you're too disturbed by something you're reading, put it down and just lie around doing nothing: You're on the beach! Sure beats reading in a cold dark room. (Note: I am assuming, speciously, that people still read books. Sorry.)
Trey Hillman. Whatever your thoughts about the Royals, you have to envy the denizens of Kansas City — home of a great jazz museum and a Negro Leagues baseball museum! — because, for whatever reason, they have more outstanding baseball writers than just about any city in the country. (I'd put St. Louis in second place, so, yeah, go Missouri!) This is not necessarily good news for the Royals, though. While the rest of the country is all, "Whoa, the Royals are in first place, their manager must be a genius!" the loyal scribes of KC town know better, and know better in hilarious ways. To quote three favorites:
Rob Neyer: "[Kyle Farnsworth] threw Thome a fastball down the middle, he did. Gave up a long, three-run, (eventually) game-losing home run, he also did. And Royals manager Trey Hillman? He sat on his hands and watched it happen. That's what he did."
Rany Jazayerli: "Hillman is getting no slack with me this year. He cost us this game, plain and simple. He cost us a two-game swing in the standings with a divisional rival. The odds that the outcome of this game – the outcome of Hillman's decision – keeps the Royals out of the postseason are something like 1%. Think about that: it's still Opening Day, and there's a one-in-a-hundred shot that the Royals just blew the division."
Joe Posnanski: "I think it's fair to say that Trey has not yet figured out how he will use the bullpen - and that's probably not a good thing since, as far as I can tell, these games count in the standings."
John Madden: Rather than come up with yet another remembrance of John Madden — who, first off, isn't actually dead, and second, I've already done that — I thought I would reflect on his career in the most useful way possible: A grand history of his video game. (Remember, he was the one who insisted it be 11-on-11 in the first place.) By the end, you couldn't tell the difference between video Madden and real Madden, which is why he should be on the game forever, in the same way Bob Sheppard should announce hitters forever at Yankee Stadium, even after he has died. This wouldn't be that hard, right? Just get every popular announcer in the world right now — and there have to be some, right? — say every name in the phone book, making sure all future generations are covered. Hell, they make enough money.
Peter King. You have to hand it to Peter King: It takes guts for a guy so often lampooned by the Internets — though, I suspect, with more love than afforded Rick Reilly — to sign up for Twitter. (Blame Oprah!) He's willing to get his hands dirty: He's even following me! Perhaps wisely, he's keeping his early Tweets focused entirely on football, and, all told, I'd have to think he's worth checking out closely during the draft. But it's Peter: It's only a matter of time until we start seeing 140-character tidbits about the guy farting next to him on an airplane, field hockey teams and the ribs over at the Shake Shack. Which is fine. You must give the masses what they desire.
J.E. Skeets, It's virtually impossible to give everybody's NBA-obsessed Canadian enough love, but I'm gonna try to pile on nevertheless. The grand Basketball Jones podcast — and I don't know how to do one of those links that send you to iTunes, so just go here — is relentlessly entertaining every day of the year and elevates into angelic status come playoff time. (Love to Tas Melas too, of course.) Plus, their theme song is by Phoenix, whose appearance on "Saturday Night Live" a couple of weeks ago absolutely tore the place apart and pretty much secures their spot as this summer's soundtrack. (Laugh, smile, dance, while all your jobs disappear! Wee!) Skeets can say he was into Phoenix before it was cool to be into Phoenix, though, because he's not an asshole, he probably won't. SKEETS.
Stephen A. Smith. The first real "ambitious" project I ever did for Deadspin — assuming you don't count the retroactively lame guide to ESPN anchor speakers fees I ran on the site's first day ever, back on September 8, 2005 — was my field trip to "Quite Frankly With Stephen A. Smith. Stephen A. was an obvious target for the site in the early days, because he was so overhyped (ESPN PR got him a feature story in Sports Illustrated! Really!) despite no major accomplishments and, to my view, no actual fans. The show, predictably, was a disaster, but I always felt Stephen A. improved once the spotlight on him dimmed, and, QUITE FRANKLY, I even liked his blog. All told, I'm sure it was worth it for him: He got paid a boatload of money, was invited to some Allen Iverson parties and made a fan in Kevin Love. I'm honestly gonna miss the lug.
Matt Taibbi. I know everyone's desperate for another Hunter S. Thompson, but I've never quite understood why people are so eager to bestow it onto Matt Taibbi, least of all the author himself. (Note: I have a history with Mr. Taibbi.) The guy can write, sure, I guess, though I think people are just desperate for someone writing about politics somewhere other than a blog to say the words "puke," "dildo" and "retarded." But mostly, honestly, I find him, in the wake of this economic clusterphooey, to be the opposite side of Glenn Beck, stirring up mock populist outrage for the sake of empty rhetoric. (To be sure, Taibbi's empty rhetoric is more entertaining, and considerably more sane, empty rhetoric.) Take, for example, Taibbi's enjoyable but shockingly dunderheaded column for Men's Journal about Brian Cashman, which basically tries to connect AIG to ... well, to Brian Cashman. I had started on a big takedown of this piece on the Tumblr site, but once I realized ShysterBall had already done it, and far better than I would have, I just gave up. Highlight: "At least there is one small bit of value to this article: I now know that if I want to get published in Men's Journal, all I need to do is drop bombs for 15-20 paragraphs and froth at the mouth a little. Wait, a lot." You can make a fine career out of it, actually.
Chien-Ming Wang. When a former sterling starter all of a sudden turns into a pumpkin in Pittsburgh, they just call him Zach Duke and move on with their day. In New York, when it's Chien-Ming Wang, he turns into a creature of intense fascination and curiosity. Witness these remarks about Wang in the wake of his 34.50 ERA.
*** "There are adjustments he has to make. We really believe he's capable of doing it but we've got to help him." — Joe Girardi.
*** "He's got a lot of work to do to get his numbers to where they would be normally." — David Cone.
*** "He's going to pitch, he's going to get confidence, and he's going to get better." — Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland, whoever that is.
*** "I watch video, everything's the same as last season." — Chien-Ming Wang. (To be fair, it appears these are the only nine English words he knows.)
Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger said it was like watching Tim Wakefield pitch if he couldn't throw his knuckleball. That's just kind of like watching a regular person pitch, isn't it? Like you or I? In case you ever wondered what would happen if you started three baseball games ... this is what would happen.
Vince Young. There's something wonderful about the word "hoopla." It has a great old-timey feel, like a way they'd describe a wicked googly, or an Civil War re-enactment. ("Come, kids! There's hoopla out there! Hoopla!") I even love the definition: "bustling excitement or activity; commotion; hullabaloo; to-do. sensational publicity; ballyhoo." Who wouldn't want to be a part of something that has the words "hullabaloo," "to-do" and "ballyhoo" in it. It sounds like a word you'd use when trying to sell a monorail. Anyway, Vince Young is promising no more "hoopla," and the fact that he used that word, in particular, kind of makes me love him all over again. "Watch out for the hoopla, kid!" Wait ... he doesn't think "hoopla" is a tequila brand, does he? He might.