"Hell may have no fury like a woman scorned but heaven hath no sweetness like a sports fan vindicated." - Samcat

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Genetics, Relationships and General Lunacy

Or, I swear this is not my fault, I've been provoked!

The following are all email conversations I've had in the last 48 hours.

Kristen and her Dad email about the big game on Sunday (gulp).

Dad: Nice diatribe on the Pats yesterday for your blog.
I just finished “The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty,” which was pretty good, and certainly a happy ending. Especially liked the chapter largely devoted to Darryl. What a poor, sympathetic soul! Let me know if you want it.

Just started on “America's Game,” the NFL history/business story book, and it's very engrossing but a long read. I will recommend to you for background!

Kristen: Darrrrrrrryl! 'Bout time the Mets sign him again, isn't it?

I will read the Olney one for sure. Of course, now that the Big Unit is a Yankee, I suppose it loses a bit of its luster. What does that make it: if you can beat them, join them anyway?

Colleen and I were talking about "America's Game" the other day. She'd read a review of it and wanted to know if I'd read it. I've actually gotten into lots of discussions with people recently about the marketing behind the NFL and why they have such a successful product. Pretty interesting stuff. Colleen's quite the football fan, you know. Although she grew up a Giants fan so there's always Eli to make fun of.

Did we get you "Bloody Sundays" for Christmas too? I can't remember and that looks like an interesting one as well. I need new reading material.

I have spent the better part of the last three days working up an irrational hatred of Ben Roethlisberger or, as I've taken to calling him, The Hamburgler. His goody-goodiness is really starting to get on my nerves. Everything you read is all, "Ben loves his mom and his dad and apple pie and Jesus and has never so much as crossed against a light." I still hope Big Willie pounds the snot out of him on Sunday as I don't feel he's been properly welcomed to the NFL, Eli Manning style. That said, Bettis and Staley are bigger points of concern than the rookie, I would imagine. But I'm sure Belichick's thought of everything. The about face on the part of the national media after the Colts whupping is downright funny. Everyone now says, "I give up. I'm picking the Patriots until they prove otherwise." Now how are they going to get motivated by claiming a lack of respect?

Dad: Well the best part of the Yankees book is the post-epilogue, the final unwritten chapter. I won't spoil it for you but it's not apparent until the very last words in the epilogue.

Methinks Darryl has a long-term contract with another outfit now that wears solid orange uniforms with long numbers on the back.

Re: Big Ben, remember that the NFL coaches these kids on what and what not to say to the press. You can't have it both ways. Here's a guy that may be squeaky clean and all that but at least he's not like the Big Straw above. So in that line of thinking don't you think America is starting to get a little sick of the aw shucks, win one for the team Pats, especially after they continually physically mow everyone over? I think Bill Cowher has done a great job of maximizing Big Ben's limited talents behind Bettis and Staley as you say, but he's responded well for a rookie. Pitt sure presents a different challenge than the always beaten Colts don't you think? A completely different match-up. I think that you're looking for a new villain now that Peyton has been brought back to earth but it's tough to dig up something on a soft-talking, God fearing rookie from the Midwest!

Guess I don't know much about Bloody Sundays.

Kristen: Or maybe I just don't like the Midwest or any of their products! Or I just need a reason. And I have to dislike the Steelers, they broke our winning streak. That's not nice. I really don't much care if the rest of the world is tired of the Patriots. I'm loving it. And, as I said in my posting yesterday, a true team is rare in professional sports. I still don't think the vast majority of the country's football fans get that yet. You'd think they would have paid some attention after the first Super Bowl but we were dismissed as "lucky." And the Pats can continue to mow people over however they see fit, Baby Ben included. Perhaps I am looking for a new villain, but if the Pats make it through this weekend, my hatred shall fall squarely on the shoulders of T.O. and Freddie Mitchell and his stupid hat. Because I don't see Atlanta getting past Philly. And I like McNabb. I'm still holding a grudge against Pittsburgh for so thoroughly underestimating us three years ago.

And no way Pittsburgh should have won that game on Saturday. It took some Yankee-level choking on the part of Doug Brien (whose body will, I'm sure, be found washed up on the banks of the Hudson River any day now) for them to squeak by. Plus, I hate those god-forsaken Terrible Towels and Bill Cowher's giant, protruding chin.

Cowher has been nominated as a member of the charter pledge class of the "Athletes and Coaches Who Look Like 70s Porn Stars" Fraternity. President Gary Sheffield and VP Dave Wannstedt presiding. Chairman Jeff Fisher also in attendance.

Darryl will break out soon enough to inflict himself on the rest of the world again. Let's hope it happens in February so we have something to follow in the dead month of sports. Perhaps he can start up a softball league with Jose Canseco.

Dad: I hope Brady doesn't fall victim to his own success, what I'd call the Jeff Gordon syndrome. You know, good looking, successful athlete with charm and humility and all that so that folks just want to root against because he's all of the above. And then when he has a falling out with his good-looking wife - pow - they are all over him!

And besides, well-respected, good-guy Jeff Fisher? Is there no limit to the scope of your scorn?

Kristen: Brady has no good-looking wife because he is my boyfriend and all the women of New England – and probably some of the men – would dismember her during pre game tail-gaiting festivities. But more to the point, Shaughnessey of all people had something to say about that yesterday:

“Then there's Brady, who has every God-given attribute that could make him a complete jerk and engender tremendous jealousy. The clutch quarterback is simply just too talented, too good-looking, and too poised. Not fair. He's the guy we all secretly hated in high school because we wanted to be him, but the Patriot quarterback is careful to spread the gold and the glory around the locker room. He works as hard as or harder than anyone else. He plays hard and plays hurt. He eschews the entitlements that generally come to the star QB. He is, in fact, the anti-Pedro Martinez.” - Dan Shaughnessey, Boston Globe.

Not that Danny Boy could resist a completely unnecessary shot at Petey but I think he has a point. There is nothing about Brady, save for his success if you’ve been the victim of it, that makes him the slightest bit offensive. Very Roethlisberger, I’ll admit. And perhaps that’s the reason I’ve had just about enough of Baby Ben, I’m tired of him treading on Brady’s turf. I’m tired of hearing about how his is one of the greatest seasons ever as a rookie (which, yeah, no denying that) and that Brady doesn’t count because he threw three passes his first season. Three passes? Are you kidding me? That makes someone not a rookie? I suppose technically but that’s like claiming that a baseball player who gets five at bats all season and then never plays again can be considered a big leaguer.

I think I’m tired of everyone pretending they’ve never heard this story before when, in fact, they heard it three years ago. All credit to Ben and kudos to Tommy Maddox for sitting down, shutting up and supporting the rook but THIS JUST HAPPENED three years ago. Our memories are not that short. Not in New England anyway.

And good for Pittsburgh. Good for the Steelers and good for the fans. This is special and they should enjoy it. But if the Steelers lose on Sunday – which I am by NO MEANS guaranteeing because I am scared silly for that game – I don’t want to hear word one about how The Hamburgler is “just a rookie.” No excuses. As I shall not resort to Colts-type whining about getting man-handled by their defensive backs if the Pats don’t pull it out.

I have no problem with Jeff Fisher and I think he’s a good coach. But he does look like a 70s porn star. Just because he’s in the company of Gary “Balco” Sheffield and Dave “I wash my hands of this” Wannstedt is not a commentary on his personality. Merely his physical attributes.

Kristen and her ex-boyfriend discuss Jason Varitek's new contract.
(and no, this is not why we broke up)

Kristen: See what the Big Schill has to say?

“I knew that if Jason Varitek didn't come back, we had no chance to repeat as champions. No chance. None." – Curt Schilling

Me and the Big Schill, we're on the same wavelength. Shut it, Jason.

Jason: Schill voted for Bush, he's an idiot. And you are heavily biased because you want to have a million of Tek’s babies...So bottom line is my opinion stands... Tek’s overpaid.

Kristen: For all I know, Tek voted for Bush too. And while I would not agree with his political views - nor Tom Brady's, nor Schillings, nor, I'm sure, many other professional athletes' - I agree with Schilling's assessment of Varitek. And the fact that I want to have a million of his babies is largely inconsequential towards my opinion and assessment of his value to the Boston Red Sox.

I want to have a million of Richard Seymour's babies too but that does not mean I think he's irreplaceable. I think Varitek is. And apparently Theo agrees with me. So neener.

Jason: Theo knee-jerked a desperation move, that’s all. I bet he agrees with me.

Kristen: He does not. Nor do I think you disapprove of the move as vehemently as you appear to. I think you just like arguing with me since you know the whole Varitek thing is the one aspect of sports fandom on which I cannot be rational.

The Kim signing, now that was a knee jerk...

Jason: Kim was not a knee jerk, it potentially could have been a great signing.

If this was any other off-season Varitek'd be laughed at and kicked in the nutz. But because Pedro left and because Lowe left and because Cabrera left, and because no one was left from the World Champion 2004 team, Theo did it to save face and not panic the fan base. It is a bad contract no matter how you look at it. It was a reactionary move that makes no financial or baseball sense. It was a knee-jerk reaction to the mass exodus of champions.

Kristen: LA LA LA, I can’t hear you! See what you’ve reduced me to with your petty arguments? Are you proud of yourself?

Kristen and Kerri email while Kristen is on hold with the Red Sox as she attempts to get group tickets for her company outing:

Kristen: It’s very quiet around here. I feel like this is what it would sound like if the entire department had a hangover.

Kerri: Are you sharing something, Kristen? I tend to get giddy when I have a hangover. And my typing skills suffer terribly.

Kristen: No, no. No hangover this morning. Although I just talked to K and she said, “Butch wanted me to call you and see if you wanted to come over on Sunday and watch men with tight butts run around and bang into each other.” So that doesn’t bode well for the state of my head on Monday.

It’s just eerily quiet. Perhaps this would be life without Amy. So sad.

Kerri: Very sad indeed. And I too am dreading the state of my head on Monday morning. I shall be a good girl. I shall try to be a good girl.

Kristen: I’m thinking that I’ll behave if the Pats are doing well. Because then it’s just natural euphoria. But if they are not doing well – perish the thought – I may need some Silver Bullets to dull the pain. Thank god for Butch and his man purse of Coors.

Did the lights just flicker or am I insane?

Kerri: Yes, they did just flicker. I am going on a pub crawl on Saturday, so that could very well determine my fate on Sunday, which in turn will determine my fate on Monday.

Kristen: Ah yes, the domino effect. Any thoughts on how you see your boy Donovan fairing against the Falcons? And is T.O. coming back for the game? Did I hear that somewhere?

Kerri: I never know what to believe about T.O. He is a wind bag. You know I will be rooting for my man Donovan despite the fact that Mike Vick is more or less the QB version of Troy Brown, I think it will be a good game. But not to worry, if the Eagles make it into the SB I will be sticking w/ Tommy Boy, although Mike will be provided with endless entertainment at my expense and will be relentless in the questioning of my loyalties.

Kristen: It’s perfectly all right to have an NFC team. This is why I have the Packers and Boyfriend Brett. You only run into problems when and if they meet each other in the championship, which, in this instance, is a real possibility. But then you just stick with the team you’ve been with the longest. It’s like my dad being a SF Giants fan. He wouldn’t know what to do if the Giants and the Sox met in the Series but I guess it would be sort of a win/win for him. Poor guy, he had to deal with the Giants losing in seven games in 2002 and the Sox losing in excruciating fashion in the ALCS last year. Yup, last year. Because this year? Not so much with the losing.

Speaking of winning, I’m on hold with the Sox ticket office to ask them about limits on group tickets and they answer the phone, “Thank you for calling the 2004 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox.” Hee. Never gets old.

I’ve been on hold for 17 minutes. They’re lucky they’re the World Champion Boston Red Sox. I would not put up with this type of treatment from the Diamondbacks.

Kerri: Have you even talked to anyone?

Kristen: Terry Francona keeps coming on to say hi and remind me to use the right field concourse and to reassure me that Red Sox fans are “wicked awesome.” Damn that Terry Francona, giving me false hope that I’ll actually be talking to a real person. Damn him!

Kerri: That freaked me out the first time I called them – stupidly I thought he was actually fielding some calls that day.

Kristen: How funny would that be? “Yeah, hi, Terry. What’s up? Thanks for that whole World Series thing and I’m sorry again about almost running you down in Brookline but I have to say, the hell did you bring Pedro into Game 7 for? I mean, I know it doesn’t matter now and everything worked out well but that was a colossal brain fart on your part. ‘Preciate it if you don’t do it again. Now how ‘bout some tickets?”

Okay, we’re at 23 minutes. They are clearly abusing my unconditional love.

Kerri: Dare you to say that to whoever answers the phone.

Kristen: Or I could tell them, “Could you put Terry back on? We were having a good conversation.”

Kerri: Are you at least on speaker?

Kristen: I have not spoken to an actual person in the past 24 minutes. Right now, Don Henley. And not even “Boys of Summer” Don Henley. Crappy Don Henley. This is abuse, plain and simple. I’ll bet Joe Andruzzi personally answers the phone if I call the Patriots.

Kerri: My condolences. No one should have to suffer that abuse.

Kristen: This is what you get if you call the Pats, Ty Law and Richard Seymour answering the phones. And smiling. Because they love me.

Mr. Blue Sky…doo be doo be doo…Please tell us why (please tell us why) you had to fly away for so long…God, I’m cracking up. This isn’t going past 35 minutes. I won’t allow them to do this to me.

Kerri: What’s the count now?

Kristen: 30:21, 22, 23…

Dude! He never needs to throw another interception in his entire life and I will still collapse into a fit of giggles every time his name is mentioned solely because he did not have his defensive line kill the person who thought it was a good idea to post this picture on peytonmanning.com.

Kerri: God bless you child. I don’t make it past 10 minutes

That picture needs to be enlarged and paraded around Gillette next time they play there.

Kristen: They have two more minutes. Then I am slamming the phone down defiantly.

I’m sayin’, right? That is, quite possibly, the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. I will now spend hours scouring the internet for similar pictures of Baby Ben.

All right, screw ‘em, I will not be abused like this and made to listen to “Fire!” against my will.

Kerri: Pointer Sisters version?

Kristen: No, actually, that may not even be the title but it’s the song that goes “Fiiiiiiiire” that they used in the trailers to “Ladder 49.”

Kerri: Gottcha.

Kristen: Which will now be stuck in my head for the rest of the day. Freakin’ Red Sox. What have they done for me lately?

Kerri: Oh, I dunno- maybe finally won a freakin’ championship after a mere 8 decades or so.

Kristen: Oh shit, that’s right. I keep thinking that didn’t really happen and I have to go through the long, cold winter spewing bile and vitriol at them with only the Pats to calm me. Old habits.