Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Random Thoughts

Mrs. Featherbottom
I'd like to know why Fox's Nanny 911 and ABC's Super Nanny are both on television the exact same night. I'd also like to know why there are two weekly shows about the tenets of proper nannying, let alone one. But I'd really like to know which network copied the other on this one (that answer seems obvious with Fox in the mix)?

What pathetic go-getter gathered his douchebag executive cronies 'round a well-lacquered oblong table in the eighth-floor conference room one sunny afternoon and chirped, "You know what you guys, I overheard at the bathhouse last night that another network is developing a Mary Poppins-type reality show about slightly above-average nannying...Sheila, we gotta steal that idea, it's ratings gold. Boffo!" Seriously, how much money do these fuckers make to do this? $75,000? $150,000? More? If you're gonna pull the feeding tube out of anybody, let it be these people. Please let it be these people.

Outback Steakhouse has created a whole ad campaign around its brand new concept: "Call Ahead Seating." Doing my best old-school SNL David Spade impersonation here...I liked this idea the first time I saw it, when it was called "Reservations." Clever girl, Outback.

The Name Game
The sixth annual Mustard's Fantasy Beisbol League draft takes place this weekend, with five out-of-towners flying into the Large Apple to join the four NYC-based owners for the live draft on Saturday (not surprisingly, Spanish Miguel will be drafting via Instant Messenger in, where else, Madrid). Here's the rub: I need a funny team name for the year. Got any suggestions?

The casual sports fan thinks fantasy baseball is a made up of a bunch of dorks loafing in front of their computers and checking their team stats 17 times a night. And it totally is.

But there's also tons of comedic value: in the Grade-A shit-talking, in the war-rooms at the intense five-hour draft, and most of all, in the team names. My favorite team name was several years ago, when Chuck B and I managed "Verger's Mom Stankiewicz," an homage to former Yankee scrub middle infielder Andy Stankiewicz and our friend Verger's mom's poon.

Two years ago the native Manhattanite CB and I were the "Great New York Boobs." But when we kicked out an unsatisfactory owner and needed to fill another spot last season, the league performed a mastectomy and split up the Boobs. So in the interest of poor taste and high comedy, I skippered "Nancy Reagan" to a disappointing fourth-place finish. Hey, what can I say, I like my First Ladies like I like my custom suits: single-breasted.

So now I need a name for this season...this is clearly the toughest part about fantasy baseball.

While We're Talkin' Baseball
I'm not sure how this happened, but over the course of the past 15 months, I've read seven books about baseball (No, no, not six, seven! I said seven! Nobody's comin' up with six). And I strongly recommend every single one of 'em to you sports-lovin' folks.

The Longball taught me about the 1975 baseball season and postseason, about the Big Red Machine, about the Oakland A's, about Foul Pole Fisk and the Boston Red Sawx. Ball Four turned former Yankee hurler and author Jim Bouton into a social leper, cast aside as a pariah after revealing baseball's secrets to the adoring public. David Halberstam's Summer of '49 chronicled the amazing 1949 seasons of Joe Dimaggio's Yanks and Frozen Teddy's Sawx. Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Lineups is one of the greatest bathroom books in history, as is Allen Barra's Brushbacks and Knockdowns, in which the author constructs fantastic arguments for some of the best debates in pro baseball.

But the last two, both of which I've read in the last two weeks despite being a slower reader than Eric Clapton's son (30 stories in 5 seconds, ouchhhhhh), have been the best. My favorite sportswriter of late, Buster Olney, scripted the definitive book on the 1990s Yankees, brilliantly describing the birth and collapse of baseball's first post-free agency dynasty. The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty (excerpt here) basically brought tears to my eyes: After watching largely soulless Yankee teams try and fail to win the World Series the past few years, I've really longed for the Pauly O's and Scotty Brosiuses and Tinos and Sojos that brought the heat each and every night. And Olney takes you inning by inning through the final night of the dynasty, Game 7 of the 2001 World Series loss to the Arizona D-Bags, while weaving through the personal and professional stories of each Yankee. He mocks the Boss, he empathasizes with Cashman, he tells the tale of the greatest team for which I've ever rooted. Ten out of ten.

As much as I enjoyed the Yankees' story, this book pales in comparison to the greatest nonfiction sports book I've ever read: Jeff Pearlman's The Bad Guys Won! A lifelong Mets fan, Pearlman so unbelievably describes the story of the 1986 Mets that I could not possibly do it justice here. All I can say is, READ THIS BOOK IF YOU LIKE SPORTS. Seriously. Team planes and buses were moving bars where the players got absolutely shitcanned beyond all recognition, great stories about Doc and Darryl, the ego of Gary Carter, the hilarious pranks of the Roger McDowell and the Scum Bunch (Jesse Orosco, Danny Heep and Dougie Sisk), gangster thug Kevin Mitchell beating the fuck out of everyone including Straw, pre-Seinfeld Keith Hernandez facing a suspension for coke...the truth is stranger than fiction, and you couldn't make up a better story.

Plus there's that whole World Series Bill Buckner thing you may have heard about once or twice. And there's also a 16-inning clincher against the Astros in Game 6 of the NLCS, which kicked off the greatest team flight in sports history...I'll leave y'all hanging there, you have to read this book.

Greatest Ending Ever?
While waiting for SportsCenter to come on last night, AGU and I caught the last 30 seconds of the Vanderbilt v. Wichita State NIT game. With just three seconds left and Wichita State on the line down by three, the free throw shooter drained the first freebie. Then he intentionally missed the second shot, WSU actually got the rebound and put it in for the tie with less than a second left! Unbelievable, that never works! But after a timeout, the Vandy inbounds passer ran the baseline and heaved one about 92 feet, where a Vandy teammate was left WIDE OPEN under the opposing basket. He caught the ball and laid it up in one motion, and Vandy won it.

One team ties it up on a free throw, a board and a bucket with three seconds left, only to lose when they fall asleep on defense with less than a second left. I'm calling this the greatest ending to a basketball game I've ever seen, whether that's true or not. What a finish...

And speaking of finishing, this piece is over. Brain games...is now overrrr.


At 10:47 AM, Blogger Matty Mac said...

Super Nanny has that look in her eye that at one time or another, she was filmed taking it from behind from 3 huge black dudes named the Rhino, Cockasaurus and the Forearm. That may just be me, though.

Some fantasy team names:

Focusing on the past
Heart of Caminiti (can't say that I made that up)
Doc's Nose Candy
No Fehr
Daryl Kile's (sp?) Collapse

I locked down Dingleberry Soup for my teams this year.

At 11:23 AM, Blogger Sox1918 said...

The "similar players" section under Andy Stank's stats provided this gem...

Onix's Immaculate Concepcion

Ace, I might need to keep this one for myself.

long live the Boobs...

At 11:23 AM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Great team names...my favorite one ever was someone's fantasy football team name of "Ten Yard Fight."

I didn't watch either Nanny show, but after that description, I may have to tune in next week. Rhino, Cockasaurus and the Forearm -- that's fucking classic.

In other news, the comments work perfectly now.

At 11:24 AM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Do it up, Sox1918...all you.

Long live the Boobs.

At 11:41 AM, Blogger Matty Mac said...

"The fucking Easter Bunny did that to you?"

"Yeah. I told him that the Easter Bunny at the Menlo Park Mall was better than him and he got up and hit me."

"He's fucking dead."

At 4:24 PM, Blogger John Howard said...

Since this post was so long, I really don't know what most of it was about because I'm too lazy to read that much, but about the nanny shows, since there isn't crap on on Mondays, we watched both of them last night.

The one thing that I took away from them was that you have to be seriously fucked up as a parent to think it's acceptable to let your kid pee in the shower and in the street instead of the toilet just because he wants to, and even more seriously fucked up to think that it's funny, and even more seriously fucked up to let someone come in and tape this strange behavior for you to be embarrassed on television.

At 5:12 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

I don't like when people don't read posts based on length, but that's the way it goes I guess...sack it up and do a little reading, John!

I'll never watch a minute of those nanny shows, but Im sure I'd reach the exact same conclusions as you. Which leads me to ask, who the hell watches these shows on a regular basis and who the hell wants to be profiled on these shows?

"I wanna be known as a bad parent!"

At 5:30 PM, Blogger Shakespeare's Sister said...

One of the best baseball books I've ever read was You Gotta Have Wa, about Japanese baseball. (And the experiences of American players who play there.)

Seriously, get your hands on it for a great baseball read.

At 7:44 AM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Shake...I'll try to pick that book up one of these days.

At 11:42 AM, Blogger Shakespeare's Sister said...

No problem.

I've also got a baseball post up here in which you might be interested. :)


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