So as soon as I realized was actually going to have to do this fucker, I appealed to friends and relations to basically provide me with content. I asked a collection of sports fans and sports haters alike to appeal to the wisdom of the Deadpsin commenting crowd. (I described you as a bunch of erudite, contemplative types who revel in polite conversation, because, let's face it, no one would have participated if I had told them what a bunch of lunkheaded monsters you are.) After the jump, a selection of questions and rants. Tee off at will. And, hey, we're almost halfway done and you've only made me cry once! The day's going great!
Emma Garman, writer/expatriate: I'm quite distraught about my future husband Rafael Nadal's stomach injury. Is it serious? (And when does he turn 21?)
Caroline Wexler, television writer: I only care about Philadelphia teams but don't have time to really follow them until they reach the playoffs or whatever the proper term is for the various sports. (Yes, i'm a fair-weather fan. and clueless.)What are the chances that the 76ers or Flyers [None. -Ed.]will win the championship or whatever its called this season? Also, who are the good players for both those teams this year? What is Larry Brown doing now?
Balaji Gandhi, dude I went to high school with: Why are Selig, the players and owners getting so much damn credit for this new collective bargaining agreement when all it does is confirm that there will be a work stoppage in 2012?
Michael Malice, web type: We all know what about what football fans and soccer fans are like. But what interests me are the women...how would you describe the types of women who like each individual sport, e.g., female baseball fans are ____; female basketball fans are ____.
Seth Mnookin, author, Feeding the Monster: What's worse, the absence of an MLB salary cap or the absence of an actual MLB testing program for PED's?
What's more disturbing: the fact that Steinbrenner combines a complete lack of knowledge about how to construct a winning baseball team with a willingness to spend obscene amounts of money or the fact that in 2006, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays got more money from the revenue sharing program than they spent on payroll?
Omar Minaya: the most overrated executive in baseball or the most overrated executive in all of sports (for all time)?
Are Brooklyn Dodgers fan or Boston Red Sox fans more annoying?
Who spends more time moisturizing: A-Rod or Jeter?
Felix Salmon, EconomonitorWhy doesAmerican Football have to be so ridiculously complicated? I do understand that an American Football team isn't really a team so much as two — or more — teams: one to go forwards and one to go backwards, and then possibly other ones on top which I don't understand at all. And then when Michael Lewis writes about American Football in the NYT, I find utterly incomprehensible stuff like this:
He can survive poor play by his linebackers, or interior linemen, or receivers, or backs. His concerns about his quarterback are predictable. His concerns about his left tackle and the cornerback are telling: they mirror almost exactly the shift that has occurred in football finances since Parcells became a head coach. When free agency arrived in 1993, defensive backs were the lowest-paid players on an N.F.L. defense. Offensive linemen were just about the lowest-paid players on offense, and the left tackle was paid no more than any other lineman. The cornerback is now the best-paid defensive position and the left tackle the second-best-paid offensive position; indeed, after the quarterback, the left tackle is the highest-paid position on the field.
Is it really a prerequisite for being able to read something about American Football that I know the difference between a linebacker and an interior lineman and a receiver and a back and left tackle and a cornerback and a defensive back? I love to watch soccer: it's very clear what's going on, and it's easy to tell when someone does something amazing and beautiful. But American sports in general, and baseball and American Football in particular, seem to be specifically designed so that the real beauty of the game, if there is any, is visible only to true aficionados. I'm perfectly happy to give American Football a chance — but is it happy to give ME a chance to even begin to understand it?
(By the way, as an Englishman, I'm perfectly happy to admit that cricket is just as opaque as American Football in this respect. But we're English: we're MEANT to be elitist. What's your excuse?)
Random Literary Agent, literary agent: What is it with guys knowing every sports statistic, from every sport, through history? It's like some secret store of knowledge to which women have no access.
Sasha Frere-Jones, music critic: Australian football is fucked up. I saw it on Tv when I was in Melbourne. Like the best of soccer and American football combined. They go every which way and can kick and pass and there isn't much ultraviolence. And the game rarely stops. No weird play-acting to draw fouls.
Anonymous Fan, renaissance man: A couple weeks back when that pitcher guy flew into the building, Mike and the Mad Dog had ragged on him earlier in the week—the Yankees had just been sent home from the playoffs. Apparently at one point, Mad Dog Russo fell into the horrible announcer cliche, "If I'm the Yankees..." and then something about not having any fun clowning around town after losing.
I hate it when announcers say "If I'm" Like there were any possiblility of it... It's so fucking arrogant. I'm on the radio or TV, so rather than say "Dennis Green is fucking fat and retarded," I'll say, "If I'm Dennis Green, I'm going to be watching my diet." Makes it sound like I am a real thinker.
"If I'm Chad Pennington, I'm going to have to throw the football more than 3 miles an hour."
"If I'm Chris Russo, the only Yankees team I am on is the Syosset Latch Key Yankees"
"If I'm Mitch Albom, my next book is called the TWO GREATEST PILLOWS, AKA MY MOTHER'S BREASTS"