Into Every Life, A Little Yin Must Yang

Zeus - King of the Gods

Praying to Zeus worked better than a call to my Uncle Sal: A trip to the car wash is a window into the downfall of humanity. It’s where all hope goes when it wants to get lost, which is why I always try to make the scene after hours in order to avoid the lines. Last weekend I gave it a shot mid afternoon.


Lemme preface this by saying that I tend to be a wand guy, preferring it to the claustrophobically inclined automatic touchless which offers zero guarantees that you’ll make it out alive (Yeah, I read the fine print). The port I chose to wait behind featured a husband and wife team who cleaned their fifteen year old Honda Civic as if it were the Hope Diamond. After which they broke out their shammy towels, which is obviously against the rules. There were three possible outcomes if I decided to call them on this. One, they apologize and move. Two, it gets stupid quickly. Three, they ignore me and . . it gets stupid a little less quickly. I chose the fourth outcome and got the fuck out of there whilst cursing my newfound diplomatic nature. Alas this temporary annoyance was resolved soon thereafter.

It rained the next morning.

Bud Light on us': Budweiser parent now offering money back to customers to boost sales

Making (Bud)Light of the latest fifteen minute boycott: When conservatives joined together to condemn Anheuser Busch for promoting transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney last month, it begged me to ask the question.

Culture wars. What are they good for?

This particular petty party is really the muchest of ados about absolutely nothing. Anheuser Busch isn’t going anywhere and if the flatlining continues long enough, they’ll simply rebrand and reload and nobody will even remember this latest boycott. Thing is, I didn’t even know who Mulvaney was until these conservatives introduced me, so guess what? Her brand will be just fine as well.

I shouldn’t complain too much seeing as how Bud Light 24 packs are going for less than four bucks right now, and I need to stock up on water for the summer.

Hitting rock bottom (again!) with my B movie addiction: My list of regrettable cinematic excursions is something I’ve cultivated over several decades. Crystal meth would’ve been easier but I was never much for Nick Nolte impersonations. I am the B movie keeper whose extensive collection of anti-classics includes Attack of the Killer Clowns, Samurai Cop, Maniac Cop, Manos: The Hands of Fate and Birdemic. And while the guys at RiffTrax aided and abetted in a fair share of my rock bottom moments, the truth is, I was a lost cause long before I ran into them. But Cocaine Shark proved to be worse than any of them, which is saying lots . . . and nothing much.


I gave up on Cocaine Shark after ten minutes because it was as if a bunch of middle schoolers had gotten hold of a Power Point presentation and murdered the soul of all things proper and good. And I can imagine Ed Wood’s reaction to this diaper inferno would’ve been something like, Oh hell nah!

Derrick White buzzer beater: Celtics force Game 7 vs. Heat following chaotic final two possessions | Sporting News

Why the games will always matter: You can’t get any closer than my Miami Heat got on Saturday night. Three seconds separated them from their second trip to the NBA finals in four seasons. And then in the blink of an instant replay, it was all gone and now they’ve got to ship up to Boston and pray that Jimmy Butler has one more big game left in his arsenal.

But if my only takeaway from the Celtics buzzer beating dagger was heartbreak, I’d be doing this sports thing all wrong. I can’t hate the fact that my team lost what might’ve been its best chance to play into June, because if you would’ve told me they would have any chance at all a couple months ago, I’d have taken it.

Maybe Jimmy has one bullet left in this showdown, and maybe he’s all out. And you know what? Either way, I’m going to love this guy for everything he’s meant to the organization since he showed up for work in Biscayne Bay. And those band of undrafted misfits and their Hall of Fame coach too. Because together they made it further than anybody could’ve predicted, and they gave me moments that don’t get stolen away if Game 7 goes to the other guys. There is no shame in what has been a magical ride. Tonight will serve as Miami’s high noon, where we look forward to next week or wait till next year.


Baseball Trivia ’22

Baseball season is underway, so Imma asked me to come to the plate with a pinch-hit grand salami with a bit of baseball trivia. It’s a bit long, but hey – have some fun with it!

The answers are below the closing background music, so you may want to write down your answers. If you want some background music, click the music video below. All music is from The Natural.

Part 1: Where?

Multiple Choice (answers used only once, not all answers used): Candlestick Park, Comiskey Park, Fenway Park, Forbes Field, Fulton County Stadium, Griffith Stadium, Polo Grounds, Riverfront Stadium, Tiger Stadium, Yankee Stadium

In what stadium did the event occur?

1-1 Willie Mays over-the-shoulder catch in deep center of a Vic Wertz drive.
1-2 Don Larson’s World Series perfect game.
1-3 Reggie Jackson’s monstrous homerun off the light tower in an All-Star game.
1-4 Mickey Mantles 565-foot homerun.
1-5 Hank Aaron’s homer number 714 tying Babe Ruth.
1-6 Hosted baseball’s first All-Star game.
1-7 Wind blows pitcher Stu Miller off the mound in an All-Star game.

Photo by Tim Gouw on

Part 2: Where? Again

Multiple Choice: (answers used only once, not all answers used): Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, New York, Minneapolis, Montreal, Philadelphia, Seattle, St. Louis, Toronto

In what city is the old stadium located?

2-1 Baker Bowl
2-2 Briggs Stadium
2-3 County Stadium
2-4 Exhibition Stadium
2-5 Griffith Stadium
2-6 Hilltop Park
2-7 Jarry Park
2-8 League Park
2-9 Sick’s Stadium
2-10 Sportsman’s Park

Photo by Pixabay on

Part 3: More Where?

In what stadium would you find the following?

Multiple Choice: (answers used only once, not all answers used): Alameda County Stadium, Astrodome, Crosley Field, Ebbets Field, Fulton County Stadium, LA Coliseum, Municipal Stadium, Polo Grounds, Veteran’s Stadium, Wrigley Field

3-1 Chief Noc-a-homa
3-2 Grounds crew in spacesuits
3-3 Harvey the mechanical rabbit bringing baseballs to the umpire
3-4 Hilda Chester ringing a cowbell
3-5 Moon shots
3-6 The Bull Ring
3-7 Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance home field
3-8 Visitors bullpen in left-center field (in play)

Photo by Pixabay on

Part 4: I Can’t Get Enough Where (Click?)

Identify the city linked to these franchises.

Multiple Choice: (answers used only once, not all answers used): Boston, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Houston, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Seattle

4-1 Beaneaters
4-2 Colt 45s
4-3 Highlanders
4-4 Redlegs
4-5 Pilots
4-6 Spiders

Photo by Wendy Wei on

Part 5: Miscellaneous

5-1 True/False – Ken Griffey Jr (last played in 2008) is the Reds third highest-paid player in 2023.

5-2 Name the Padre pitcher who served up Pete Rose’s hit to become the all-time leader in hits. (Choices: Andy Hawkins, Dave Dravecky, Eric Show, Goose Gossage, LaMarr Hoyt)

5-3 Name the player who broke up the most no-hitters with a homerun. (Hint: 81 times)

5-4 Name the two cities where former major league stadiums are now college football stadiums.

5-5 He (a Hall of Famer) threw three shutouts in four days.

5-6 Name the pitcher with the most career wins that never won the Cy Young Award.

5-7 Name the four Alou brothers who played in the majors.

1-1 Polo Grounds (Mays catch)
1-2 Yankee Stadium (Larson’s Series perfect game)
1-3 Tiger Stadium (Reggie’s HR)
1-4 Griffith Stadium (Mantle’s HR)
1-5 Riverfront Stadium (Aaron’s HR)
1-6 Comiskey Park (first All-Star game)
1-7 Candlestick Park (Wind blowing Stu Miller off the mound)

2-1 Baker Bowl (Philadelphia)
2-2 Briggs Stadium (Detroit)
2-3 County Stadium (Milwaukee)
2-4 Exhibition Stadium (Toronto)
2-5 Griffith Stadium (Washinton)
2-6 Hilltop Park (New York)
2-7 Jarry Park (Montreal)
2-8 League Park (Cleveland)
2-9 Sick’s Stadium (Seattle)
2-10 Sportsman’s Park (St. Louis)

3-1 Chief Noc-a-homa – Fulton County Stadium (Atlanta)
3-2 Grounds crew in spacesuits – Astrodome (Houston)
3-3 Harvey the mechanical rabbit bringing baseballs to the umpire (Municipal Stadium – Kansas City) Hello – Charlie Finley anyone?
3-4 Hilda Chester ringing a cowbell – Ebbets Field (Brooklyn)
3-5 Moon shots (Wally Moon HRs at the LA Coliseum)
3-6 The Bull Ring – Veteran’s Stadium (Philadelphia)
3-7 Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance home field – Wrigley Field (Chicago)
3-8 Visitors bullpen in left-center field – Polo Grounds (New York)

4-1 Boston Beaneaters
4-2 Houston Colt 45s
4-3 New York Highlanders
4-4 Cincinnati Redlegs
4-5 Seattle Pilots
4-6 Cleveland Spiders

5-1 TRUE – Junor Griffey is the Reds’ third highest-paid player in 2023 Click?
5-2 Eric Show served up Pete Rose’s hit
5-3 Rickey Henderson broke up the most no-hitters with 81 leadoff HRs
5-4 Two baseball now used for college football: LA Coliseum (Dodgers & USC) & Boston’s Brave’s Field is now BU’s Nickerson Field
5-5 Walter “The Big Train” Johnson threw 3 shutouts in 4 days.
5-6 Cy Young (511 wins) never won his own award Click?
5-7 Four Alou brothers: Felipe, Jesus, Matty, and Boog Powell (wouldn’t you change your name if it was Boog Alou?) Click?

I Ain’t Paying For That

From the blog that has produced such classic hits as The Vibe and Speaking Of, comes the latest look inside the sick mind of its content wizard. Apologies in advance, and please, if you find this piece to be objectionable or ill suited to anyone with common sense, feel free to register your complaints here.

This article of my constitution has to do with big league sports and why I refuse to pay in. I haven’t been to a Yankees game in years while my consumption of the other three sports has rendered me anorexic. To paraphrase Dickens, I don’t have anything against big league sports and I have everything against big league sports.


NFL commissioner Roger Goodell signs contract extension

Roger Goodell- He’s the NFL’s rain maker. By 2027, the league will be raking in approximately 25 billion pigskins annually; only two years late on Goodell’s projection all the way back in 2010. That’s some primo caviar cake if you’re an owner, but just another bill if you’re on the other side of the ticket window.

Europe has become a thing, with several games a year played on the other side of the pond. Which is great news if you live in Frankfurt or Great Britain, but not so great news if you’re a season ticket holder stateside and they’re stealing one of your Sundays.

The Commish once proclaimed PSL’s as “good investments. These personal seat licenses are annual fees you pay in order to own a seat. and can range from $500 to $100,000. For a seat. Your safety isn’t guaranteed and neither is the starting time if the league decides to flex your 1 o’clock game to prime time for the cash. If you live in a cold weather city, sucks to be you!

I ain’t paying for that.

Kyrie Irving Covers Nike Shoe Logo W/ 'I Am Free' Sticker After Split From Brand

Kyrie Irving- The dude ain’t evil, but he is a schmuck on wheels. The media culls for content and Kyrie is trough-ready, with clueless and sometimes hurtful commentary that shows how insular his privileged world truly is; he’s a poster man-child for the baller brats who wish to maximize their bank accounts sans the sweat.

Irving might’ve been an all-timer if he had put in as much work in the gym as he does out of it but the narrative of his career will speak to all the talent he left on his cutting room floor. He might play lights out for the rest of the season and lead the Mavericks on a deep playoff run. Or he might decide to take a vacation to clear his head. You never know with Kyrie.

I ain’t paying for that.

Behind That Bonkers Golden Knights Pregame Show: 'We Threw Everything On The Wall' : The Two-Way : NPR

The Coolest Game On Earth Lost Its Mind- The NHL is as close as I’ll come to extending an olive branch to watching a live performance. It’s the most exciting of the four major sports in real time and you mostly get what you pay for. But the very fact that a team such as the Las Vegas Golden Knights can live and breathe in their league really turns me off. If you’ve not seen their pre-game show, don’t. It would make Wayne Newton cringe.

I ain’t paying for that.

This used to be my playground- I’ll still take in a baseball game so long as it’s minor league or independent in nature. But the MLB will remain in my rearview until doubleheaders, day World Series games and bunting become a thing again. In other words, nah.

The game can still captivate me, but these days it’s in small doses. For every Ohtani. there’s a Tatis, whose boundless talents get snagged in a perpetual cycle of bad decisions. For every Steve Cohen who- love it or loathe it- will do anything to make the Mets a winner, you have Reds owner Phil Castellini, who has threatened to move the team out of the town they’ve called home for more than one hundred and fifty years. For every team like the Rays, who milk every last penny out of their roster in order to field a winner, you have the Marlins, who didn’t get that memo.

And now we’re getting change for our dollar’s worth. But all the artificial sweeteners the league has added to a sport that is damn near unrecognizable won’t cure their ills. We’ll get pitch clocks when making the batter stay in the box and the pitcher stay on the mound works better. And oh yeah, fewer commercials (Peter Ueberroth forbid!) would shave palenty off the average game.

If you’re waiting for baseball to return to its roots, take a seat because it’s going to be a while. For that to happen, the sport would have to buy into the fundamentals. They would have to choose substance over swagger. They would have to stop emulating the faster, meaner sports and get back to churching with Kinsella and Kahn and Angell. It would be an abrupt departure from the coordinates they are currently following. And they would have to admit their glory days are entirely in the rearview. Unless or until they get down with some common sense?

I ain’t paying for that.

The Sorryless 81st Annual Super Bowl Preview!

Vintage Photos of the NFL That Show How Football Has Changed

Apologies to Jim Nantz, but our Super Bowl preview is the tradition unlike any other. And thank God for that.

Before I get to the good stuff, Imma give you a heads up on a HUGE get for my interview collection. Next Sunday I will be sitting down with Tom Brady to talk about life, love, football and his addiction to retirements. And you don’t have to subscribe to another streaming service to get it, so there’s that.

The week leading up to the big game turns into a big, fat news hoagie . . .

Aaron Rodgers announces that he will marry himself. “My soulmate was right here all along,” he says. Podcast pal Pat Macafee will preside over the ceremony, after which the former Packers QB will report to his new club- the New York Jets. Subscriptions to the New York Post soar as their back page headlines welcome him to town with “Hiya, Huasca!”.

The quarterback carousel gets kicking: Carson Wentz joins Grey’s Anatomy, Ryan Tannehill joins a tribute band and Jimmy Garoppolo joins Porn Hub.

In his weekly press conference, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones claims he’s not impressed with the rival Eagles second trip to the big game in five seasons. “Super Bowls are all well and good, but I get to enjoy the perks of being boss and they’re every bit as satisfying. Like . . when I go to the mall, I can park anywhere, no charge. When I go to the movies they let me pick my seat. And when I go to Cracker Barrel, free refills,”.

The league announces there will be a four team European division beginning in 2025. UK’s team will be the London Fog. Madrid will introduce the Spanish Flies. The Frankfurters will play in Germany and Denmark gets Something Rotten.

Urban Meyer confesses he wants to give the NFL another try, after which all thirty-two teams change their contact information.

Tom Brady’s second retirement is proving to be even better than his first. “I joined a D&D Club, ate a whole mango and learned my kids names.” He also cancels his trip to New England where he was expected to sign a one day contract with the Patriots so he could retire as a member of his original team. Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross steps in and signs Brady to a two day contract and pays him $50 million guaranteed if he promises to friend the Dolphins on Facebook.

As for the main event . . .

It’s learned that George Santos had offered to sing the National Anthem. He claims to have graduated from Julliard and says he could have had a successful career in music if he hadn’t decided to become an astronaut. He boasts that he is an EMT in his spare time and could have assisted in the event of a medical emergency. “In high school I gave the star quarterback mouth to mouth. In fact, I gave the whole team mouth to mouth. Under the bleachers, after the game.” The NFL ignores the request.

Play by play announcer Kevin Burkhardt is denied entry into State Farm Stadium despite showing his credentials. No one on the Fox Sports team is able to verify his identity, leaving the network without a lead announcer. Rob Lowe’s hair steps into the role.

The Chiefs win the coin flip, after which Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni throws the challenge flag because the officials used a Missouri quarter. Fox Sports lead analyst Greg Olsen agrees, “The Missouri quarter is notoriously inclined to a north/south verticality so when the ref high pointed the coin its spin was partial, thereby deferring to the Chiefs ever so slightly,”

The Eagles jump out to a 21-0 lead as Mahomes throws two pick-sixes, prompting Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd to proclaim the Chiefs quarterback as “the biggest bust since that Cats movie!”. Kansas City mounts a furious comeback, propelled by four Mahomes touchdown passes to take a 28-24 lead at the half, prompting Cowherd to proclaim that Mahomes is “the most dominant football player since Tecmo Bowl Bo Jackson!”.

For the halftime show, Rihanna performs a live concert from the moon. Since time moves more slowly in space, the forty-five minute performance equals one day on earth, so the game picks up on Monday Night. While the music is universally panned, it does produce one highlight as Matt Kowalski, George Clooney’s character in the movie Gravity, is found alive.

In the third quarter, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts scores on a 125 yard run before it’s called back on account of the fact the field is only 120 yards long. On the very next play Hurts scores on a ninety-nine and a half yard run, which is also called back on account of a holding penalty. Two plays later, Hurts scores on an eighty-one yard run with no flags on the play. Greg Olsen credits Hurts’ tenacity, “In that situation, you’re looking to gain positive yards in space while genuflecting just enough in order to produce missed tackles and reduce the risk of mid-air collisions and Hurts is a master at it!”. Congress alleges that Olsen is attempting to steal their identity.

To open the fourth quarter, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid calls for a  “Smothered Hash Browns” flea flicker in which Mahomes tosses the ball back to himself, catches it, and then flings it the length of the field to himself for the touchdown. After the play, Mahomes announces he will donate his left ankle to science while coach Reid admits he wasn’t calling a play at all. “I was ordering from the Waffle House menu so it was a win/win!”

The game is tied at fifty-one with four seconds to play and the Chiefs pinned inside their own two-yard line, prompting Greg Olsen to say “Kansas City has time for at least three plays and another Waffle House order with Mahomes under center,”. Sure enough, Kansas City’s gridiron god uses all of two and a half seconds to get the Chiefs within field goal range at the Philadelphia thirty yard line. There’s only one problem; the team is down a kicker when Harrison Butker gets poked in the eye by a penalty flag. Kansas City signs Rob Gronkowski to attempt a 47 yard field goal, which he nails. The game winning kick is negated by a penalty, backing the Chiefs up five yards after which Gronk hits a 52 yard field goal, which is also negated by a penalty flag. A third field goal attempt is blocked by a Chinese spy balloon after which Andy Reid lets Mahomes throw a Hail Mary. The Chiefs have twelve men on the field- thirteen if you count the Uber Eats guy- but the refs don’t throw a flag since they ran out of them. Mahomes’ sixty yard toss into the end zone bounces off Travis Kelce’s helmet and right into Mahomes’ arms for the game winning score. Mahomes takes home the Super Bowl MVP trophy and becomes a featured item on the Applebee’s menu- The Mahome-burger: An Angus beef patty, hot mustard and GOAT cheese.

The Chiefs disputed win leaves Philadelphia devastated. Long time Eagles fan Will Smith calls the loss “a slap in the face,” while Jalen Hurts requests a trade back to Alabama. As for Kansas City, the Chiefs receive the blessings of former capo Robert Kraft and the team is the overwhelming favorite to win next year’s Super Bowl and sweep the Oscars.


Hells Bells, We Have A Series

Phillies-Padres Game 5 live updates: Philadelphia defeat San Diego 4-3 to advance to World Series - 6abc Philadelphia

It wasn’t supposed to work out this way.

The Phillies were 21-29 to start the season and it cost manager Joe Girardi his job. That’s when the town turned its attention to the state of their football team, figuring their boys in pinstripes were as done for as the Mudville Nine. And just when the team was starting to show some life under interim skipper Rob Thomson, Bryce Harper went out with a fractured thumb in a late June game against the San Diego Padres of all teams.

What happened from that point on is baseball at its most ridiculous.

Which means to say, in a division which housed the World Series champion Braves and the Steve Cohen super-funded Mets, the Phillies snuck in the back door and somehow ended up being the last act standing on the biggest stage.

They first had to get past the St. Louis Cardinals; an organization that knows October on a doctorate level. In the swan song seasons for two future Hall of Famers- Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina- the Cards were as formidable a bunch as any when the matchups were released. And all Philadelphia did was sweep them right out of their best of three opening round series.

From there it was on to Atlanta to take on the hottest team in the MLB over the last couple months. And did I mention they were the defending heavyweight champions? I don’t think the Phillies got that memo, because they took out the Braves three games to one in a series that never really felt that close.

And so it was up to the San Diego Padres to put the ghost of Balboa to sleep for another winter. The Padres were underdogs mainly because they were neighbors with the Dodgers, who kicked their asses all year long, until it counted most. But let’s face it, as much as I crushed on them, San Diego bought itself one hell of a chance to win it all. And in today’s game, that’s what counts.

When the Pads came from behind in Game 2 to tie the series at 1-1, I thought maybe the momentum had shifted. And then Ranger Suarez shut down that expensive San Diego lineup in Game 3 . . . and then the Phillies fought back from a 4-0 deficit in the first inning of Game 4 to win it .  . and then tonight. And those bells that just won’t quit.

“Listen for the bells tonight,” My friend Tye texted me this morning. It was in reference to the bells that chime at Citizens Bank Park when the home team starts impersonating that Balboa guy. The bells mean it’s the fifteenth round, they mean it’s time for the something extra to show itself before the lights go out. And this Phillies team, like them or loathe them (I’m somewhere in between), they’ve been ringing those bells since June. Every time they get knocked down, they find that something extra that gets them off the canvas just in time.

Tonight it was Bryce Harper, digging deep with the Phils down 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth. A runner on first and a chance to show the town and the baseball world that when you talk about the best players in the game, you’re gonna have to consider the guy who works just off I-95. Harper laid off a 1-2 changeup that had a return trip to San Diego written all over it. And then he got his pitch, and he knew exactly what to do with it, depositing it over the left field wall. Phillies 4- San Diego 3.

The rest became postscript. And now it looks like these Phillies will be going to Houston on Friday to take on arguably the best team over the last half decade in the Houston Astros. No trash can sign stealing nonsense this time, the Astros simply kill you with precision. And they’re not just dangerously talented, they’re hungry as junkyard dogs. Because of course it was never going to be an easy road to immortality. It never is with this Phillies team, and they seem to like it that way.

Those bells just got another round.

The Longfellow Rules

“(Baseball) breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall all alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.” 

-A. Bartlett Giamatti

Bart Giamatti was the shortest tenured commissioner in the history of the game, and perhaps the last real one. Because while his predecessors- Selig and Manfred- have been prolific at pimping and gimmickry, Giamatti used a deep and abiding love for the game as his compass. He would’ve been in all four corners of the country this October, taking it all in and penning more of that good thing.

Expanding the postseason was a gonna happen dynamic that has prevailed upon our need for love and romance on the diamond. And this October fortnight has been swoon worthy:  In the span of a week’s time, the MLB saw not one, not two but three one-hundred win juggernauts go by the wayside: You could almost understand the 101 win Mets going belly up since it’s become their fall standard ever since Mike Piazza left the building. But then the Braves got outfeisted (my word) by the Phillies in an accidental prize fight that went Balboa in a hurry.

Surely the Dodgers would hold strong against the National League’s barbarians best efforts to tear down the gates. Hell, not even Poe could kill the corporate beast from Chavez Ravine. And the Padres really didn’t feel like the team that was gonna do the slaying, in spite of their drinking game deadline deals for the two Joshes, Bell and Hader, along with the sweet swinging Juan Soto. And did I mention the Dodgers went 14-5 against their neighbors to the south during the regular season? As Sam Rothstein woulda said, There’s nuttin to see heah. 

Umm . . . . Sam?

Padres 5- Dodgers 3 FINAL

I woke up to that because I have the Padres in my notifications, like a side thing. My main men still reside in the Bronx, and they still have life thanks to Gerrit Cole’s balls to the wall seven inning samurai special in Cleveland that sends the divisional series to the fifteenth round tonight. Baseball royalty was my family seal, having been born in the Bronx and raised by a woman who used to talk shop with the likes of Mantle and Berra and Houk. But let’s face it, for the vast majority of baseball citizenry, rooting for the Yankees is akin to hoping Brad Pitt gets laid. It’s like being cool with Bill Gates winning Powerball. And I completely understand.

The Astros are baseball’s version of the smartest kid in class who decides to cheat on his SAT’s. It’s a damn shame their sign stealing went all fetishy because they have been Scarlett Lettered ever since. Nobody outside of Houston is going to love an October that ends with these guys on top and you know how I know this? Because most baseball Americans would gladly root for the Yankees to take them out.

That’s just sad.

It’s probably why I have such an affinity for the NLCS pairing. San Diego bills itself as “America’s Finest City” while Philadelphia . . . does not. And I think it’s adorable how both fan bases have a bit of an inferiority complex even if they would never admit as much. And it doesn’t hurt one Manny Mota of an iota that neither of these clubs was supposed to be here and yet, here they are.

That’s baseball theater at high tide right there. While most sports have to be broken down to their simplest elements, baseball is already there. It’s a game where the pitcher tells the ball what to do and the batter tries to talk that ball into doing something else entirely. It’s a game of hunches and hot streaks and quirks and yes, magic. That too.

I mean, if Bob Stanley or Calvin Schiraldi could’ve gotten any-fucking-body out on a crisp October night in Queens, Sawx fans wouldn’t have had to wait another eighteen years before the curse of the Bambino was lifted across town in the Bronx. And if Joe Carter’s wrists would’ve been a tick slower, the Phillies get to a game seven with Schilling in Toronto and I really would’ve loved their chances in that one. And if Johnny Damon doesn’t take third against the Phillies in 2009, maybe the Yankees World Series drought would be (Yikes!) twenty-two years instead of thirteen.

I watched the highlights of that Padres clincher against the Dodgers a couple times; once for the game highlights and once just to take in that magnificent engine of a crowd in full throttle. That sea of misbegotten browns and yellows that spun its mad rebellion as their princes slayed kings. And if you listened closely enough, you could almost hear them questioning all the answers.

Why not us?


The Ugly Truth Only Gets Uglier From Here

Well that was quick.

Less than a week ago, the Miami Dolphins were the feel good movie of the year; scoring king-sized kudos from even the hardest grading critics in the industry. Their offense was bringing disco back while their defense had achieved a James Bond rating for its ability to get its ass kicked for two acts before winning the final fifteen minutes. Add to that, their coach was the natty professor who had a knack for stealing the aces at winning time.

And then it all went dark last Thursday night when quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was thrown to the turf by Josh Tupou, the hulking defensive tackle for the Bengals. It was the kind of sum of all fears moment that hushes up 65,000 fans right quick. As Tagovailoa lay crumpled on the ground with his arms seizing up and his fingers pointing to the sky in a frightening gnarl as the result of his brain having been reduced to a pin cushion, shock prevailed.

That shock quickly turned to anger as the sports world focused its crosshairs on the Miami Dolphins organization. Players prayed in between cursing emojis and executives lashed out under cover of anonymity and then Baltimore Ravens boss John Harbaugh broke the seal by claiming that he was “astonished” at the Dolphins handling of their franchise quarterback. He was referring to the fact that Tua had been knocked out of a game briefly against the Buffalo Bills only five days earlier.

They’re not wrong, but that doesn’t mean I’m willing to accept their angst ridden diatribes as the kind of gospel that is actually going to change a damn thing. Because it’s not. The Dolphins followed the same blueprint as most NFL teams who send their players into harm’s way when it seems fairly obvious to those of us who don’t wear shoulder pads for a living that maybe they should keep them out. We would love to believe that our favorite teams abide by the Dalai Lama rules of fair play and responsible practices, but that’s not how the league works. Even with all the concussion protocols in place, the league still favors pennies on the dollar solutions to brain injuries; from pop-up tents on the sidelines that administer quickie in game evaluations, to a roaming herd of independent contractors signing off on player wellness with pencils.

For their part, the Dolphins front office only fed the fire by having their coach address the media last Friday. Mike McDaniel was clearly doing his best to stay out of social media jail as he came off in his usual awkward manner; now less charming seeing as how the subject matter was a frightening brain injury that leaves Tua Tagovailoa’s career in question. But here’s the thing. McDaniel never should have been the point man in this sordid mess to begin with. That responsibility has to go to someone who writes the checks in the organization, either literally or figuratively. Preferably, both.

When Mike McDaniel tells us he had every confidence that his guy was good to go on Thursday night, I believe he’s telling the truth. Any plus or minus I give to how much is actually true comes down to a couple of things: What Tua told him and how he looked, and the assurances of medical professionals. On both counts, I truly believe the coach would not have put the kid out there if he had any serious doubts. And if John Harbaugh wants to take time away from his Father Flanagan act, I would tell him the same thing.

As for all the sports talking heads and union poohbahs who are busy top hatting the Dolphins into a corner, here’s an illuminating observation to munch on. Heading into last Thursday night’s game, not a single one of these concerned individuals issued a peep of concern for Tua’s well being. So, I gotta ask. Is it a matter of doth protesting too much because they’re a part of the solution, or because they realize they’re a part of a much larger problem?

I know which one I’m going with.


The “Catch ’22” NFL Season Preview (See what I did there?)

The Funniest & Most Awkward NFL Photos Ever Taken

Another NFL season is going longhand, so Imma provide some expert analysis on what to expect. And before you give me shit for calling myself an NFL expert, have you watched a football talk show recently? It’s like watching kindergartners recite Macbeth, only much less adorable.

When thinking up ideas for this post, I tossed with sharing my fantasy football experience. But you guys don’t want any part of that and neither do I. And I figure it makes little sense to prognosticate on the pigskin when my football knowledge can fit into Bethany Frankel’s bikini. Instead, I’ll stream the consciousness out of this fucker and hope for the best.

Let’s hit it! . . .

The Rams Super Bowl win in Los Angeles was the second time in as many years that a team hoisted the Lombardi trophy in its own stadium, with Tom Brady and the Bucs having turned the trick the season prior. In the first fifty-four years of the big game, not a single home team won it in their crib. So thank God for the Cardinals, who will return us to the old normal since they ain’t getting close to Glendale in February without tickets. If you have a beef with my expert opinion, please lodge your complaint here.

The Creme de la Creme of the league this year? Imma give you the top five:

Buffalo Bills: In a couple months, the temps in Orchard Park will be colder than Melania Trump’s diary, so for the love of all things Scott Norwood, let these people dream!

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: For exactly nineteen seconds, I was actually feeling sorry for Tom Brady, what with all that unhappy wife goss that’s been harshing his football mellow? But then I realized that feeling sorry for Tom Brady is a bigger sin than watching a Netflix reality show on Sunday.

Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers is the smartest guy in the room. According to Aaron Rodgers. But he’s a great player and he’s the QB on my fantasy league team so I’m rooting for the dude.

Kansas City Chiefs: We’re looking at a solid decade’s worth of the Chiefs being in the title conversation with Mahomes under center. You’ll know their window has closed when he starts going bald. Which will be a depressing day in Kansas City, and for men everywhere.

Los Angeles Rams: Outside of Cincinnati, I’m hard pressed to find someone who hates these guys. If they win it again, that’ll change.

So now that I’ve got the top five Vegas favorites accounted for, I think you would probably sleep like a baby if you were to place a wager on the sixth highest ranked club. Because the Los Angeles Chargers are my choice to win it all in the desert next February. I utilized the Porpoiserean Theorem in order to reach this conclusion.

It goes like this . . .


The Miami Dolphins passed on Justin Herbert in the 2020 NFL Draft, allowing the Chargers to grab him one pick later. In his first two seasons, Herbert has thrown for more yards and more touchdowns than any quarterback in NFL history. Of fucking course.


The Miami Dolphins have also swiped left on Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Joe Flacco since the turn of the millennium. Those guys have combined to win ten rings while the Dolphins were busy scheduling tee-times.


Being passed over by the Dolphins is the football gods way of saying “You’re welcome!”.

NFL Memes (@NFL_Memes) / Twitter

In the AFC, I expect the following to happen . . .

The Cincinnati Bengals were an offensive line away from winning it all last year thanks to Joe Burrow, but Super Bowl hangovers for the runners up is a thing and I know this to be true because I read the science. And they have a mosh pit of talented rivals to contend with in the Ravens, Jaguars, Raiders, Dolphins, Broncos and Colts. You know what happens in a mosh pit? Nothing good.

  • Did you know? . . .Drug lord Pablo Escobar built his own prison? Which sounds super impressive until you consider that the Cleveland Browns do that every season.
  • Did you also know? . . . The league produces “Super Bowl Champions” merch for both teams before the game is even played? Then they ship the losing team’s duds overseas. Which means that in some remote village on the other side of the world, they tell stories about the greatest football team of all the time . . the Buffalo Bills.
  • Oh, and here’s one more . . . Brett Favre’s first NFL completion was to himself.

Meanwhile, in the NFC . . .

Everyone is chatting up the Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers. Which means some other team is going to be representing the conference. The ‘some other team’ list is less inspiring than a QVC flash sale. We have the Eagles, Cardinals, Panthers, Saints, Vikings and Cowboys and If I’m being honest, I don’t see any of them making it to February.

The Cowboys bill themselves as ‘America’s Team’ which makes them the football equivalent of that MAGA hat. The Lions are like the EV people who insist that everyone has to be on board with them even though it makes little sense. The Falcons are too liberal and the Seahawks are too conservative . . . and I just won a bet that I could tuck politics into this post and get away with it. Woohoo!

Of course, no NFC representative means that Fox Sports will have to use a holographic roster for the Super Bowl. This could work out really well if they can get Rob Lowe to take a break from brushing his hair so he can play QB. Jamie Foxx as diva receiver feels totally right. Jeff Bridges as the ornery old coach trying to score that elusive ring before the lights go out?





A Personal Football History

Marc and I not only love sports, we are also loyalists who relish in the joy of victory and hurt with the pains of disappointment. With one of my teams having unexpected success this year, Marc asked me to weave a story.

Growing up in southeastern Ohio in the 1960s, most people in my area were either Cleveland Browns fans or followers. The Browns were the closest team to us – a time long before cable – a time when an antenna delivered three television stations. The Browns were the weekly game that I watched, but I most enjoyed watching the upstart AFL games while rooting for Charlie Tollar, Billy Cannon, George Blanda, Charley Hennigan, and the rest of the Houston Oilers.

In 1968, the AFL expanded into Cincinnati. Many friends hooked up with the Bengals, others stayed loyal to the Browns. Me, the contrarian, latched onto the Miami Dolphins – a team with Flipper as a mascot – a team with my favorite Dolphin: Howard Twilley.

In the fall of 1971, I went cross-state to college where I would be around many Browns fans – but I stuck with the Dolphins. Before the 1972 season started, I told my friends that the Dolphins would not only win the Super Bowl, they would do so going undefeated (17-0). They laughed, then astonished when it happened.

After graduating in 1976, I went to a different corner of the state for my first job in the Cincinnati area. Already a Reds (baseball) fan – a lifer, I quickly gravitated to the local Bengals. Finally, an opportunity to root for nearby team.

At the end of the 1980 season, I suggested to a friend that we get Bengal season tickets for the following year because I felt something special on the horizon. We purchased them, and I still recall the ticket price per game – $9.75.

The 1981 season was unbelievable, finishing 12-4 and winning the division. Locals realized that most of the games were over by halftime. Those Bengals were more than good. They were very good! They ran their West Coast offense for many years before anyone knew that term. Plus, the defense was superb.

That season’s AFC Championship Game was a classic – and I was there. It’s known as the Freezer Bowl – the coldest NFL game on record with a raw temperature of -9F (-23C) and a wind chill of -59F (-50C). That was very cold, and I stayed the entire game to witness history.

The win gave the Bengals their first trip to the Super Bowl. My team lost that game, but I still say they were the better team.

I was still a season ticket holder in 1988 when the Bengals made their second trip to the Super Bowl. Two evenly matched teams hammering each other. The Bengals lost late in the game.

The Bengals would win a playoff game in 1990 before losing in the second round. Then came what Bengal fans call The Lost Decade – an era of ineffectiveness and a lot of losing. It took the Bengals 15 years to return to the playoffs. From there, they made it seven of the next 11 years – but losing every time – losing when favored. Finding a way to lose the game in 2015 that was ready for the taking – a win to break the streak. But no – a win didn’t happen. Losing marked the franchise and the city. Losing hung on the fans.

Losing continued – and many times ugly. 2020 delivered the bright light of a new young quarterback named Joe. One from an Ohio town 3 hours away. One from my home area of the state. The season had some bright spots but still many losses. One with Joe missing many games after a devasting knee injury.

Nonetheless, 2021 had a glimmer of hope. But they were still the Bengals, and we were Bengal fans. We’ve been there, done that. While hopeful, we waited for the other shoe to drop. That’s what Bengal fans do.

While some early games provided hope, some mid-season games delivered ugly reality checks. Facing a difficult closing schedule, the light of hope was a meager flicker. Suddenly, Cool Joe led a dismantling of the dreaded Ravens then beating the vaunted Chiefs. Suddenly, the Bengals were playoff-bound and hosting a first-round game. Then Cool Joe delivered! The team broke the 31-year streak and released the fans from bondage. The local radio call says it all!

The reward for winning round 1 was a trip to Nashville to face the top-seeded Titans. History shows that the Bengals have NEVER won a playoff game on the road. NEVER! Led by some guy known as Cool Joe, another streak was broken. The Bengals were suddenly the darlings of the NFL. (Video will say click to watch on YouTube – so it’s viewable).

Winning or losing this week in Kansas City doesn’t matter. With two streaks broken and Cool Joe leading the way like a seasoned veteran, the franchise, the city, and the fans are winners again. Bengals fans are hopeful again. Bengal fans are proud again. Bengal fans are believing again. The Bengals are relevant again. This is something young Bengal fans have never experienced. At least I’m a seasoned fan who has.

Can the Bengals win one more? Maybe or maybe not. Then again, why not! Why not us! After all, we have Cool Joe.

The Big Business Of Name Calling

NFL Fines Washington Football Team $10 Mil After Sexual Misconduct Probe

Remember when winning made headlines? Yeah, that shit’s over.

Take the Washington Football Team (I’m thinking they stole this moniker from the classic video game, Tecmo Football), which has announced they will have a new name in 2022. Last year it retired the nickname Redskins; a name it carried since 1933 when they were still based in Boston. After years of refusing to do the right thing, team owner Dan Snyder finally came to his senses. Or maybe it was because his reign as King of the Iron Deficient Throne was being threatened and he needed him a positive news day . . either or.

Washington Football Team vs Eagles - Week 1 | Tecmo Super Bowl 2021 - YouTube

The once perennial contenders have won a single playoff game since the turn of the millennium. Which is one more playoff win than the Washington Sentinels. Seeing as how the Sentinels are a fictional team from the Keanu Reeves movie The Replacements, that’s no bueno.

None of this matters because the football team in Washington (the realish one) is as relevant now as it was back in the time of Gibbs and Theismann and Lombardi trophies. Don’t get me wrong, they’re a decent football team as things currently stand. But for most of the past two decades they’ve been winning headlines without winning much of anything else, which, come to think of it, makes them a perfect fit for that town.

Game of Thrones' 101: Who's Left from House Bolton?

We’re talking about an organization whose work environment was on par with anything the Fox News skirt hounds had going on. Washington was fined $10 million in January of this year for its “highly unprofessional” treatment of women. Which makes all the talk about banishing the derogatory nickname Redskins quaint in comparison. But since this post is about a more positive form of name calling, I will stay on message. For once.

A few ideas? On it . . .

Filibusters- Because the games will feel as if they’re never going to end, and yet . . nothing gets accomplished.

Vetos- For the team that has delivered rejection to its fan base for more than a quarter century. It’s perfect, really.

Scandals- I’m sorry, but it’s a slow news week without a good scandal in our national’s capitol.

Pork Barrels- It’s more dramatic than “The Hogs”, which was under consideration.

Motions- I really dig this one. It merges Congress with Motown.

Parliamentarians- Okay, maybe it’s a tad long, but it can always be abbreviated. Call them “The Parliars”.

Presidents- When they lose, they’ll make a federal case out of it. Never mind.

Luncheons- If you want to pack the stadium, this name will get ‘er done.

Monte Cristos- Can you imagine the concessions? It would be the best part of the game!

Hashtags- It merges a contemporary term used on social media with the term for lines on a football field. As an added bonus, slap a hashtag on the helmet and you’re trending, just like that.

Buckaneers- Add the k so as to avoid any legal hassles, and maybe . . just maybe, someone will confuse them with a Super Bowl champion this year.

Hollabacks- It’s a song from back in the aughts of 2000, fashioned in brass knuckle pearls by the great Gwen Stefani. I’m not gonna lie, I always thought this would be a cool team name. If I ever play Fantasy Football again, Imma go with it. And as the Pina to this Colada milkshake, an homage to girls wouldn’t be the worst idea for this franchise.

Of course, this entire exercise is a moot point since the new nickname for the team formerly known as the Redskins has already been chosen, probably. In the event there is still time and someone from the Washington front office is reading this and sees something they really, really dig? Have at it. All I ask in return is that you don’t offer me season tickets in return. I’m good.

Washington has some company when it comes to name changes, as the Cleveland Indians will also roll out a new nickname in 2022. Unlike their gridiron counterparts, however, the Tribe didn’t wait to unveil theirs. They will be going with the Guardians, and I cannot wait until they play the Angels for the first time. Think about it . . .

If you’re wondering what happened to all the Redskins merch, check Trump’s website.