In this tedious series of blogs about my sports pals, I have told you what we think and email about and what we don't. Now, before the Knicks start re-tooling their roster and the Jets annual QB controversy hits high-season it's only appropriate that I throw out what we should think and email about.
Topping that list-at least from my perspective and I haven't polled my pals-is the need to think and email more about Dennis Rodman. Were we all on a sugar cereal high or was he really sitting down discoursing with North Korea's mercurial leader a few weeks ago? And who set up that appointment? What security clearances were set up?
We should also be emailing about Erin Burnett, the CNN News anchor, because she's just about the most beautiful woman anyone has ever seen besides my even more drop dead gorgeous wife. There were a few babes almost as pretty that Mannix dated in a few offbeat episodes in the 1970s, but that was so long ago nobody can picture them anymore.
We should be wondering why James Earl Jones doesn't broadcast baseball games. With a voice as attractive and alluring as NFL Films announcer John Facenda, Jones should be announcing Cubs games every day. As a free public service sanctioned by the Internal Revenue Service, all 320 million Americans should receive free access to those broadcasts. He is an American treasure, a Frank Sinatra-quality voice.
We need to spend more time dialoguing about mediocre ballplayers from a wide range of sports. Let's face it, mid-tier ball players are more real and thought-provoking than really good and really bad ones. LeBron is great but not that interesting to think about; everybody does plenty of thinking about him. Several mediocre dudes leap to mind I think we should put at the top of our agenda: Blaine Nye, offensive guard for the Dallas Cowboys during the Drew Pearson-Roger Stibich era; Tyler Hansbrough, who was the nation's best college player a few years ago and is now the NBA's Bill Laimbeer/Kurt Rambis reincarnation; Bart Scott, who had the famous "couldn't stop a nosebleed" statement after the Jets upended the Patriots in the playoffs a few years ago; Lucas Duda, who can hit a bomb every 62 at bats for the Mets but fields fly balls as if they're hand grenade sin left field; and Kurt Bevaqua, who had an unforgettable name that rhymed with Aqua Velva (sort of) aftershave, and hit somewhere in the .237 range during his big-league career. All .237 major league hitters are mediocre at best.
But enough about mediocre ballplayers. People can only take so much of them. Sort of a boring group, to be honest.
Another topic my pals and I need to delve further into is why it took Major League Baseball circa 120 years to decide that when there is a base runner on first and third base he can't fake a throw to third and pivot to throw the ball back to first. The league outlawed this at the end of last season. They took more than enough time to think that one through.
On the NBA landscape, my pals and I have shared a picture or two of Miami Heat eccentric Chris Anderson, who sports tattoos on every part of his body except his calves and maybe thighs but his shorts cover those so can't be sure. His neck is a tattoo art museum. Augmenting that presentation, he rocks a spiked Mohawk about the width of a grade school ruler. It wasn't enough for him to have a Mohawk; he has to spike it. My pals and I need to have at least a one hour Skype session to sort out what makes this cat tick. Before we hold the call, we should divide the investigative prep work so it doesn't all fall on one person. One guy's job is to find out who has given him all the tattoos, assuming it's one tattoo guy.
We need to find out what Anderson-nicknamed the "Bird Man" presumably because he flies through life-talks about while getting tattoos. We need to know from the tattoo-ist where the conversations flow, how they begin and end. Does Bird Man talk about space travel, news of the day, or what? Another guy needs to talk with a psychiatrist familiar with cases such as the Bird Man. We'll settle-and in fact prefer--some half-baked diagnosis of what could possibly be going through this guy's mind. Another guy would be responsible for tracking him down in Miami. It would be easy to find him. Stake out South Beach clubs known for debauchery-not a tall order--and look for the guy with the spiked Mohawk probably on the dance floor groovin' with himself.
It's unlikely anyone else will sport the spiked do. If they do, they sure won't also have tattoos snaked around their neck. During our Skype, there would be only one rule: No judging the Bird Man. Our analysis would have to be fact-based and, while we could offer opinions and speculate on where the guy's head resides, we couldn't judge whether his act is right or wrong. This is 2013 and the world has progressed too far to go backwards in time. Tolerance of Bird Man would be paramount.
On a more cerebral front, my pals and I need to go tap into the expertise of two of our own carrying hard science backgrounds. Conrad and Quincy graduated with chemistry and physics majors, respectively. The first agenda item should be for them to explain both verbally, and via a scientific graph, how Bob Beamon was able to jump two and half feet further than any man ever had in the triple jump held in the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. Beamon achieved one of the most stunning accomplishments in sports history-it was unheard of to break the world record in the event by two and half feet. Mexico City's altitude played a part in him achieving this. But how and why? Conrad and Quincy need to explain how this worked in laymen's terms devoid of industry jargon. Song lyric leaps to mind: "I know this may sound selfish, but let me breathe the air."
Their second and related assignment will be to explain why opposing players have difficulty breathing, compared with all other NFL venues, when they compete in Denver's Mile High Stadium. Conrad and Quincy will also need to explain why ESPN's Sport Science program is tough to follow for the average person who graduated with a liberal arts degree.
On a subject near to my heart, our group needs to think and email for three straight days-with no subject digressions--about why no college or university in America has invited me to be its commencement speaker. In my mind there is no one better suited to share with undergraduates what college was all about and how life will unfold after leaving campus than me. I think about my undergraduate days more than anyone I know including every one of my group of pals. I should send out a list of questions, some multiple choice, some short answer, and some essay, asking them why they think I have been ignored so far to take on such a speech. My friends won't spend the time to take my quiz, of course. The whole subject will be ignored by them--as it should be-and we should move on to the next topic we should be talking and email about it.
Which is this: Why do we spend so much time focusing on subjects that don't matter much. Our group motto is "If it doesn't matter, we care about it." I won't pretend all have signed off on this but I'm the one writing this so I get to decide what our motto is.
We need to figure out what it is about the unimportant that is so viscerally critical to us. Sometimes we delve into politics and religion, but most of the time we make observations about sports that aren't about the games themselves. We are the anti-storyline group, the sideshow warriors. It's not about who wins the game with us. It's something else such as who kind of hairdo a player wears, what rock singer he looks like, how a game reminds of something else that has nothing to do with sports.
Yes, my sports pals should be thinking and emailing more about what we are thinking and emailing about and why. Each of us needs to send a 1,000 word essay on this topic by the end of the week. None of us will be required to read or comment.
But all of us no doubt will.