Big Night at the Yard.

On Pace to go 468-0 with 6552 Career Strikeouts.

Well, well, well.  Bully for Washington.  Stephen Strasburg’s arrival in the Major Leagues was handled with more care than Tiger Woods’ return to golf.  When the Washington brass passed on debuting Strasburg against the home run happy Reds and decided instead for the AAAA Pirates, they in essence put the ball in Strasburg’s court.  I’d say he responded pretty well.  What a debut, short of throwing a no-hitter I’m not sure what else the kid could have done.  It was such an occasion that a major media conglomerate put together a round table immediately after the game featuring myself, Jim Nantz and Tim Kurkjian.  The following is the transcript from that session.  (If you can’t do the Kurkjian voice in your head, I’d just go ahead and skip the rest of this).

NANTZY:  Welcome to the Nation’s Capital, folks.  The cradle of government, but tonight that majesty draped cradle turned into the intersection of pomp and circumstance.  Stephen Strasburg:  Phenom.  Savior.  Faith healer.  He took the mound tonight and toed the rubber of destiny, ultimately weaving a tapestry of excellence that will serve as championship fabric here in Washington D.C.  We’ve assembled a terrific panel tonight to frame this historic scene.

ME:  Easy Nantzy, this isn’t Butler Cabin?

Kurkjian:  Jim, if I may interrupt.  We continue to be involved in a downright historic baseball season.  You might have to go all the way back to Fernando-mania to find a debut like the one Stephen Strasburg made tonight, and let me tell you something Fernando didn’t face any of this type of scrutiny.  The funny thing is, Fernando featured a screwball, and do you know what the name of Strasburg’s girlfriend’s pet chihuahua is?

ME:  Screwball?

Kurkjian:  You guessed it!

NANTZY:  So Fernando then.  Is that where the comparisons start?  The grand Mexican warrior, riding his burro into the hostile seas of Los Angeles, captivating a frenzied, starving city with wins and flair do we see that type of personality with Strasburg?  Are we on the verge of Strasburg-Mania?

ME:  It probably depends on how good he is with Twitter.

Kurkjian:  Did you know the symbol of Twitter is a bird?  That reminds me of Mark “the Bird” Fidrych who exploded onto the baseball scene in 19 hundred and 76.  Now Fidrych was no Stephen Strasburg, and he CERTAINLY didn’t have these types of quality pitches, but you talk about impressive debuts.  The Bird was right up there.  Did you know he was a Massachusetts kid?  The home of another Bird.  Larry, who incidentally is not on Twitter.

NANTZY:  So, I’ve heard Fidrych, I’ve heard Valenzuela.  Both interesting ways to frame the latest and greatest development in the pastime of our nation, we heard just moments ago that President Obama wants Stephen Strasburg to throw a fastball into the leaking oil well in the Gulf, Mr. 3PT, are we overstating things?  Where would you rate this debut?

ME:  On a scale of Carlos Carrasco to Brett Myers, I’d give it a Brandon Duckworth.

NANTZY:  I’m sensing you weren’t that impressed, that the magnitude of the magnificence missed its mark.

ME:  Nice alliteration Nantzy, and don’t get me wrong 100 mph is a great thing but he went 0-2.  And Pittsburgh is probably the 3rd or 4th best team Strasburg has faced this year.  Have you seen the Altoona Curve play at all?  They’re doing things up there, but impressed?  I haven’t been impressed with something in baseball since Jessica Biel got out of the pool in Summer Catch.

NANTZY:  Ladies and Gentlemen, we seem to have diverging opinions here.  The only thing left to do is to go deeper into this.  That’s what she said.  Kurkjian, what else do you have for us?

Kurkjian:  Well, Jim, I just spoke to “Cowboy” Pete “3-Knuckle” Brown who not only works for Elias Sports Bureau, but also is an advance scout in the Brewers organization, and was Strasburg’s kindergarten teacher.  He told me that no one has struck out this many hitters in a big league debut since James Rodney Richard struck out 15 in 1971.  Now you want to talk about a power pitcher, no one was more fearsome, or more ferocious than J.R. Richard.

NANTZY: J.R. Richard, fascinating stuff Tim.  Mr. 3PT, who have you spoken to since the final out in this masterpiece was recorded, since the ultimate vision of Abner Doubleday was realized right before our eyes on this pristine evening?

ME:  Well, Jim, let me check the old call log here.  First I called my bookie and told him I wanted to pound the Lake Show in the 2nd quarter.  Then, I got a text from Charlie Manuel that said, “Well I mean, you  know, I mean 14 punch outs is pretty good ya know, but you know one game is just that, and we’ll hit.  I know we’ll hit, but you know that’s a pretty good start to a career or a season you know.  So, I’d say good for Stroudsburg, the only thing is you know, I probably would have had him throw more pitches.”

NANTZY:  Tim Kurkjian any concern that Strasburg was overworked tonight?

Kurkjian:  Look Fellas, this is a young kid, and he’s got a great pitcher’s frame.    The last thing you need to worry about is pitch count.  The five greatest right-handed power pitchers of all-time are without a doubt, Walter Johnson, Nolan Ryan, Bob Gibson, Christy Matthewson and Tom Seaver.  In their careers they averaged, AVERAGED 138 pitches per start.  All this talk of pitch counts, saving arms, and everything else, there are some scouts out there I talk to that think it’s all just a big waste of time.

ME:  There’s also some scouts that sit in the stands, drink and eat peanuts all night, what are you getting at?

Kurkjian:  Well I’m glad you asked, because I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re all sitting here again in 15 years talking about the career of Stephen Strasburg and I’ll say, there’s only been four players in history of  baseball who had the same first and last initial and still went on to be multiple World Champions those players are, Mickey Mantle, Don Drysdale, Rariano Rivera and you guessed it…Stephen Strasburg.  I’m Tim Kurkjian, ESPN.

ME:  If I’m back here in fifteen years with you guys, I’m going to throw myself in front of a subway train.

NANTZY:  Well folks, on that note I think we’ll call it night from here in the hallowed nooks and crannies of the District of Columbia.

ME(Interrupting):  What the f*ck does does District of Columbia mean, anyway?  I’m serious, I have no idea.

NANTZY:  Right, well as I was saying good night to everyone in Tivo Land.  I want to thank our guests tonight, Mr. 3PT and Tim Kurkjian for their analysis, but most of all I want to thank Stephen Strasburg, the young Californian with the pre-gun shot Roy Hobbs arm and broad back that is going to carry the historied Washington Nationals nee Expos to the highest of high baseball heights.   Goodnight, and stay classy Northern Virginia.

Oh, Look Who’s Here.

Can't Break An Egg.

What a fortuitous moment of serendipity today.  It was a pristine day in the greater Philadelphia area.  Not only was the weather an absolute gem, but 1/2 of the albatross weighing down our beloved Sixers was removed of his duties late Thursday morning.  Things were really looking up.  What else to do on such an afternoon?  Well, play golf, of course.  I piloted the whip over to Dog Track Golf and Polo Club for a quick eighteen.  The old game still needs to be a little thawed out as they say, but I was out there swinging hard.  The rest will eventually take care of itself.  Things were going pretty easy and breezy until about the sixteenth tee when out of nowhere this cart comes flying up over the hill in a cloud of dust.  My friend and I step back and take in the sight.  Out of the cart wobbles this 5′ 4″ character wearing a giant Daiwa visor and representing the worst case of bald head sunburn I’ve ever seen.   I can’t help but think the guy looks a lot like Jeff Van Gundy.

VAN GUNDY:  Mind if I join you guys for the last couple.  I’m kind of in a hurry here.

(Van Gundy shuffles onto the tee.  He’s rocking a straight 90s wide-stripe golf shirt with sleeves that come down to his forearms and a wrinkled pair of cuffed khakis that almost swallow his bright white sneaker cleats)

ME (under my breath to my friend):  Is that Jeff Van Gundy?

VAN GUNDY:  Damn straight it’s me.

(Van Gunds gives us both dead fish handshakes, and at this point I notice the giant war club he’s dragging behind him)

ME (Pointing at the driver):  Is that Jack Hamm’s “The Hammer” you’re wielding there?

VAN GUNDY:  This old gal?  This is a Killer Bee son.  It’s 56-inches long.

(Van Gundy stands the driver up so I can see it, and the top of the grip tucks neatly under the brim of his visor)

ME:  Oh sweet, what’s that made of?  Notanium?

VAN GUNDY:  US Steel, baby.  Mind if I lead us out?

ME:  By all means.

(Van Gundy tees his ball up on this giant contraption.  It’s a good six inches off the ground.  He sets up to the ball, all spread out and nine miles away with this flag pole he’s swinging.  He takes two waggles, jerks it back about waist high, whips it through, and comes dead underneath it.  He obliterates the tee.  The ball drops softly onto the tee box.)

VAN GUNDY:  Where’d that go?

ME: You’re on the short grass.

(It takes Gundy a second to see the ball sitting there, and when he does he goes off on a wild streak of profanity.  For a second I think he’s going to snap the Killer Bee over his knee, but he gathers himself, and re-tees.  This time he starts it dead left, and shapes one back into the right rough about 165 out.)

ME:  Killed.

(Van Gundy seems immensely satisfied with himself.   I let him admire for a moment before shoving him out of the way, and teeing off myself.  I rip a knee high trap-pull into the left rough.  Ball speed?  170 mph.  Launch angle?  1.4 degrees.)

VAN GUNDY:  Why don’t you ride with me kid, I can help you with that hook.

(I’m about to correct him, tell him it was a rope-smother draw, but instead I just get in the cart.  When we sit down, I have an unfortunate look at his sunburned head.  He catches me staring, and I realize I have to say something.)

ME:  So, your parents must be wildly unattractive.

VAN GUNDY:  What’s that now?

(Van Gundy is working on his scorecard.  Quick math on my part reveals he has himself at 4-under par)

ME:  I said, so how close did you actually come to biting Alonzo Mourning’s ankle?

VAN GUNDY:  Oh, well.   Pretty close.  Damn close.  Heat of the moment.

(Van Gundy floors it, and drives up the fairway.  About 100 yards past his ball, he stops the cart and gets out)

VAN GUNDY:  Somebody must of picked mine up.

(Van Gundy tosses a ball onto the fairway, and I look around, not seeing another group within three holes of us.)

ME:  I think it’s about a 9-hybrid back in the other direction.

VAN GUNDY:  Horse sh*t, I nutted it.

(Van Gundy skulls a grounder up the fairway, jumps back in the cart and we head over to my ball.  Of course my clubs are on the other cart, I’m standing there waiting for my buddy to hit and drive over.  Van Gundy get impatient.)

VAN GUNDY:  What the hell you waiting for?  Hit one of my clubs.

( I look into the bag of mis-matched garbage.  I need a 7-iron, and find a Cleveland VAS.  Morbid curiosity makes me hit the thing.  I safety chunk it onto the front fringe.  I get back into the cart.)

ME:  So, what’d you think about Eddie Jordan getting canned?

VAN GUNDY:  Who?

ME:  The Sixers coach.

VAN GUNDY:  Are they in the D-League?

ME:  I don’t know to be honest with you.

(Van Gundy watches my friend hit up onto the green, and then motors along the cart path.  We pass his ball again.  He hops out of the cart, unzips a pocket of his bag, and takes out a ball.  I exchange a couple glances with my friend, and then we both watch Van Gundy saunter over to about 15 feet from the pin, and mark an imaginary ball.)

ME:  Nice shot in there.

VAN GUNDY:  Wait’ll you see me putt.

(Van Gundy is plumb-bobbing with the first Teardrop putter I’ve seen in 20 years.  He has one eye closed tightly, and I realize for the first time that his fly is down.  I wobble one up to about 4 feet and throw a dot on it, my friend lags it up and taps in for par.  Van Gundy puts his ball down a good yard ahead of his coin, and then steps away.)

ME:  Fifty Bucks says you miss.

VAN GUNDY:  Bank that.

(Van Gundy gives his putt a rap, and its going to miss by a foot, but he chases it to the hole, and does the triple tap-in.)

VAN GUNDY:  Bingo!  You can owe me, boy.

(I’m stifling laughter as I put my ball back down for my par putt.  As I line it up, Van Gundy jams the flag in the hole, and walks straight through my line.)

VAN GUNDY:  Let’s keep it movin’ ladies.

( I guess this passes for “that’s good” in Van Gundy speak, and we go back over to the carts.  He coaxes me into his again.)

ME:  What’s the hurry anyway?  You meeting with the Sixers or what?

VAN GUNDY:  The Sixers?  F*ck no.  I’m here to go shopping with Jay Wright.

Ran Into A Guy.

Gotta Stay On Top of the Suit Game.

So, you all know me.  Always like to keep things fresh.  And, it is awards season, so I end up stumbling into Boyd’s downtown to pick up a new suit.  I’d like to officially deny the rumor that I needed a new one because my winter physique had blown out the armpit seams on my old one.  My old one, you ask.  Yes, a true baller finds the one suit that fits all occasions, and then tries to avoid those occasions at all costs.  But, much like the dessert pizza at the Pizza Hut buffet, some things cannot be avoided.  So, I went to Boyd’s.  You’ll never believe who I saw.

Now, I walk into Boyd’s, and its like blood in the water.  They smell a big sale, but this is a classy joint so they can’t jump me right away.  I was definitely throwing off a vibe, though.  I was wearing my dress denim, which are actually just my regular jeans the day after I wash them once a month, but regardless they were looking crisp.  I wandered around the shoe section a little bit, gave a Gucci loafer the eyeball, and finally a sales guy approached me.  I could tell he wasn’t their closer by the size of his tie-knot, but what’s a guy to do?  You get who you get.  I wasn’t going to let him off easy.

Sales Mutt:  Can I help you, sir?

ME:  I doubt it, but I need a new suit.  And I know this is swanky place, but I only have ten of these to spend, so don’t think you’re going to fleece me.

(At this point I pull a twenty dollar bill out of my pocket, grab it by both ends and pull it tight, right in front of his eyes.  We hear the telltale pop of cold hard cash.)

The kid gets a look on his face like he just chugged a Keystone Light, and is about to point me in the direction of Men’s Wearhouse when I cut him off.

ME:  I’m just messin’ with you slap nut, I’m about to make it rain Hickey Freeman.

Twenty minutes later I’m sliding into a finely made suit designed to be worn by someone in far better shape than me, but I won’t know exactly how I look until I emerge from behind the curtain, and glance at myself in the mirror.  I feel like I’m looking good, and I’m mildly amused by the fact that I’m already sweating into the dress shirt they gave me to try on underneath my new purchase.  I burst out from behind the curtain with the required flair, but stop dead in my tracks.  Who is standing before the mirror, a team of minion tailors attending to his every need?  Villanova coach, Jay Wright.

Me:  God dang, who’s this tall drink of water?

(Jay can see me in the mirror, and he looks horrified, but then he realizes that yes, I am kind of hitting on him, but only in a joking way.)

Me:  Sorry, I just always wanted to say that.  Jay Wright, what are you doing here?  I always thought your clothes were made by Santa’s elves, or at least a team of silk breathing angels.  This is quite an honor.

(Jay flashes his freakishly toothy grin, and seems to relax a little bit)

Jay:  I’ve been coming here for years.  Tommy always takes care of me.

(Jay nods toward a tiny man fiddling with the cuff of his jacket.  Tommy mumbles something, and goes back to work).

Me:  I see that.  They gave me the kid with training wheels.  I’m going to drop him off at Joe Bank on the way home.  He’s not ready for the big leagues.

Jay: That’s where my assistants shop.

Me:  I can tell.

(I leave Jay alone for a second, and take a look at myself in the mirror.  I’m not quite sure I’m feeling the ensemble.  I look modestly in Jay’s direction for an opinion.)

Me:  What do you think?

Jay: I’d lose 20 pounds.

Me:  Jay, whoa.  Come on, we’re bonding here.  I know it doesn’t look it, but I was a 3-sport intramural star at a D-III college.  That’s about on par with your illustrious career at Bucknell.  This is an athlete’s body.

Jay: It looks like you swallowed the athlete’s body.

Me: W0w, you’re kind of a dick, huh?  Are you upset?  Did I interrupt Tommy’s ball-cupping session?  And, by the way, that tie is hideous.  You look like Michael Irvin.  Why don’t you get out of here and go recruit another guard.

(Jay’s about to fire back for a second, but thinks better of it.)

Jay:  I think I like you.

Me:  I know I like you, you arrogant bastard, come here.

(I shove Tommy out of the way, and lock up Jay in a  real back-slapper.  I try to muss his hair, but it’s impenetrable.)

Jay:  I’m sorry about what I said earlier.  You look pretty sharp.  I used to wear Hickey Freeman before my last extension.

Me:  What’s that you got on now?

Jay:  You wouldn’t have heard of it.

(We both bust up laughing at this, and I turn to Slap Nut who’s just been standing there the whole time taking cell phone pics of himself the mirror, trying to make it look like he’s standing next to Jay)

Me:  Go scare us up a bottle of scotch, mullet.  I need to have a drink with this sumbitch.

(While the lackey scurries off, I return to street clothes, and I’m in such a jovial mood that I decide to buy the shirt I pit-stained.  I pop back out from behind the curtain, and there’s Slap Nut pouring some sweet nectar over some ice, and Jay has already transformed into look #2).

Me:  So Jay, are you gonna go with the pin-stripe, or the pin-stripe?

Jay:  I’m getting ‘em all baby, it’s March Madness.

Me:  Touche.

(I pick up the two glasses of scotch, and hand one to Jay who seems a little distracted with Tommy fiddling around with his inseam.  He takes the glass, and we both take nice reflective sips.)

Me: So, Jay, tell me about these Villanova girls….

Brush With Greatness.

Eddie Jordan Out and About.

So a while back I ran into Mike D’Antoni at Davio’s in Philadelphia.  Wild times.  D’Antoni turned out to be quite a character, and not only that, he bet me his Knicks would lose to the Sixers the following night.  Joke was on him.  The Sixers pulled out a one-point loss.  He didn’t know what I know.  Andre Iguodala doesn’t make last second shots.  You know who does know that?  Eddie Jordan.  The coach of the Sixers has a front row seat to the atrocity that is Sixers basketball, and who did I happen to bump into at the ‘Nova game on Wednesday Night?  You guessed it, Eddie Jordan.  The conversation went down something like this:

I was sitting in a Club Box.  That’s the section where you pay more money for tickets so you can have a bad view of the action, but don’t have to walk as far to get a beer.  I won my ticket off some unassuming idiot in the parking lot in a heated game of cornhole.  This poor kid had been drunk since mid-morning, and I was making every shot I looked at.  I put things in holes (that’s what she said), what can I say?  The kid was better off anyway.  He was a Notre Dame fan, and Adrian Dantley ended up playing like garbage.  So, I cruised into the box with about ten minutes left in the first half.  The score was, Who-Cares? to Who-Cares?   I took a seat at the bar, and waited for the bartender.  When she wandered over, I had one simple question.

ME:  Is that Molson Canadian…in a can?

BARTENDER:  Yes.

ME:  I haven’t had a Molson since the Molson Ice Keg Blackout of 1999.   I’ll take two, and keep ‘em coming.

I slap a ten-dollar bill down on the bar with authority.

BARTENDER:  They’re 8 dollars each.

ME:  F*ck You.

She’s about to kick me out, but then I crack a half-smile, muss her hair, and slide her a counterfeit fifty.  Problem solved.  She turns around to fill my beer pong cups with Molson, and I peruse the room.  There’s a guy standing in the corner that looks a lot like Eddie Jordan.  I wonder if he’s still the coach of the Sixers.  I go through my Sixers coach progression…Matt Goukas, Jim Lynam, Larry Brown, Eddie Jordan.  Yep, he’s the guy.  I grab my two Molsons and head over to him.

ME:  You look like you could use a beer.

JORDAN:  No thanks.

ME:  Shut up, and take the beer Nancy.

At this point Jordan looks a little offended, but then I chug both beers in a matter of moments, and hand Jordan the empty cups.

ME:  Can you throw these out for me Playboy?

Jordan gives me a hard stare, and adjusts his tie.  Then I slap him on the cheek, and bust out laughing.  Jordan’s expression turns flat, but when he doesn’t hit me, I convince him to come over to the bar. I order another couple of beers, and Jordan asks for a Sprite.

ME: Sprite?  Why not ask for chocolate milk?

JORDAN:  I can’t be out drinking.

ME:  I know, I know who you are.  You’re Eddie Jordan.  You’re the guy the Sixers are going to fire after 23 games next season.

JORDAN:  Think I’ll make it that far?

Jordan starts laughing at his own joke, and snorts some Sprite out of his nose.  This guy is an absolute mess.

ME:  I would have canned you already.  What are you doing here anyway?

JORDAN:  I wanted to see some good basketball.

ME:  Right, well maybe Jay will give you a job when the Sixers get rid of you.

JORDAN: He wouldn’t have me.

ME:  No sh*t.

EJ looks down at his Sprite when I say this, and I sense he’s getting a little sad.  I realize he doesn’t have the outlaw personality of Mike D’Antoni.  I’m going to have to nurture him a little bit.  Take him back to his happy place.

ME:  It must have been cool being Michael Jordan’s brother.

JORDAN:  We’re not related.

ME:  Get the hell out of here.

Jordan shakes his head, and I realize I really stepped in a pile.

ME:  So, you’re like Randy Jackson.  Famous last name, but not famous.

JORDAN:  I guess.  I coached Michael though, when he played for the Wizards.

ME:  Michael Jordan never played for the Wizards.

JORDAN:  Yeah, he did.

At this point I feel bad for the guy, and just agree with him.  He’s so down that even the bartender is weirded out.  She sets a six-pack of Molson cans on the bar next to me, and flees the scene.

ME:  So, how’s A.I. working out?

JORDAN:  Is that the skinny guy?

ME:  I guess.

JORDAN:  I can’t keep everyone straight.  I haven’t played that tall white guy in a month because I forgot his name.

ME:  He blows anyway.

JORDAN:  I figured.

ME:  Listen, Eddie, I think you need a beer, or how about we go to a show?  Some guy slipped me two free tickets to Christine’s Steakhouse and Cabaret outside.  How about 8 ounces of sirloin and a lap dance.

JORDAN:  Not even strippers like me.

At this point I’ve completely had it.  I had been running so high after my run-in with D’Antoni that I just assumed all NBA coaches were wild S.O.B’s.  Jordan was a complete downer.  He was turning my Molsons into Coors Light.  I’d had 4 in eleven minutes, and didn’t feel a thing.  I had to cut my losses.  I slid the tickets to Christine’s across the bar to him, and got up, grabbing my six-pack.

ME:  Here you go Eddie, in case you change your mind about that sirloin.  I’m going to check out the student section.

Star Sighting.

Can I Interest You in a Cheesesteak Egg Roll?

So I went to Davio’s in Philly for dinner tonight, and I did my usual, show up a bit early, take in the scene.  I headed over to the bar, and grabbed a stool.  The bartender, not realizing I was a heavy hitter, ignored me for a second before coming over.  He slid a napkin in front of me, and said, “What can I get you?”

ME:  How about drunk?

That’s my standard first line.  It doesn’t even matter what the bartender says, I just fire right back with that.  Bartenders are witty guys, though, so he played along…

BARTENDER:  Ok, any particular route you are looking to take?

ME:  Why don’t you shoot a splash of tonic into that bottle of Tanqueray, and slide it over here.

This produced a laugh, and the bartender went to play with his glasses.   I also got a look from the guy sitting a couple seats down from me at the bar.  He glanced my way, and when I went to give him my “Yeah, you heard me right” stare…I realized it was Mike D’Antoni.  Formerly successful coach of the Suns, now wildly unsuccessful coach of the Knicks.  I guess wildly unsuccessful coach of the Knicks is kind of redundant.  He was about to look back to his drink, but I wasn’t having it.

ME:  Hey, I know you, you used to coach the Suns.  What do you do now?

D’Antoni thinks about ignoring me for a second, but I’m so engaging that he can’t look away.

D’ANTONI:  I coach the Knicks.

ME: The team that’s moving to Brooklyn?

D’ANTONI:  No, that’s the Nets.

ME:  Oh, you guys started 0-18?

D’ANTONI:  No, that was the Nets too.

At this point I tell D’Antoni I’m joking, and we both laugh like bastards.  I slide one stool closer to him, and tell the bartender I’ll have what D’Antoni’s having, as long as it’s a Gin and Tonic.  Then I tell the guy to take a hike so D’Antoni and I can talk mustaches.

ME: Great ‘stache by the way.  You tickle any strange with that while you’re on the road?  I was going to grow one, but it limits my Halloween costume possibilities to Andy Reid and Magnum P.I.

D’ANTONI: Tom Selleck is a f*cking god.

ME:  Preaching to the choir.  I loved him on Growing Pains.

D’ANTONI: You’re a wild man.  How about some cheesesteak egg rolls?

ME:  Thought you’d never ask.

At this point D’Antoni brings the bartender over, and orders like the pro’s pro that he is.  He even had the audacity to ask for extra spicy ketchup.  What an entitled prick.  I loved the guy.

ME: So, The Suns are having a pretty good year.

D’ANTONI:  I coach the Knicks.

ME:  Oh, right.  I don’t exactly follow the NBA.  I don’t relate to it.  How do you deal with these Gilbert Arenas-like hooligans?

D’Antoni gets a knowing smile on his face.  He rips his shirt open, sending buttons everywhere, and points to a giant tattoo of Biggie on his chest.  He then spins and does the double thumbs down, over the shoulder point to a tattoo of Tupac with angel’s wings on his back.

ME:  Oh, word.

D’Antoni continues to sit there, rocking the bare chest in the middle of Davio’s.  People start to stare, but this guy coaches Chris Duhon, you can’t make him blink.

D’ANTONI:  Where are the god damn egg rolls?  I’m starving.

D’Antoni grabs a bowl of nuts off the bar, and dumps them into his open mouth.  He chews for a couple of seconds and then spits them everywhere.

D’ANTONI:  Awful!

D’Antoni then grabs my drink to wash the taste out of his mouth, and leaves all this chum on the rim of my glass, and some nut residue floating in my delicious G&T.  I think about busting the glass over his head, but instead I just knock the rest of it into the lap of the chick next to me, and ask for another.

ME: So, are you guys getting LeBron, or what?

D’ANTONI:  Who cares, I have a 24 million dollar contract.

ME:  Would you come to NY if you were LeBron?

D’ANTONI: F*ck no, I’d go to the Suns.

I laugh so hard I get the hiccups, but then the egg rolls arrive and I cure myself by shoving a couple into my mouth.  D’Antoni ignores the egg rolls, asks for a spoon, and goes to work on the spicy ketchup.  When he’s cleaned both little bowls, he finally tries one of the egg rolls.

D’ANTONI:  These are damn good, I always thought they were just a garnish.

I give D’Antoni a look, but then he cracks a smile, and I know he’s busting my chops.  We both start laughing like a couple of middle-aged women watching Ellen.

ME: I’ll arm wrestle you for the last one, D’Antoni.

D’ANTONI: You got a better chance of getting laid in a convent than beatin’ me in arm wrasslin’.

D’Antoni inexplicably developed a Southern drawl, and I knew I was screwed.  But, I’m a pro too.

ME:  Hey is that Tom Selleck?

D’Antoni spins around like the gullible mutt that he is, and I grab the last egg roll.  I chug the G&T.  Slam the glass down like a sailor, and go join my party.