Mailbag is back again. Three straight weeks now. That’s called consistency. I could be biased, but it seems like the questions get better each week. To participate, or to have your problems solved, send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Some people think the worst part of watching a game is listening to the announcers. I agree that many of them are absolutely terrible, but even the decent ones are easy targets. Instead of hating, though, I enjoy their idiocy. Making fun of them gives me one more thing to do during a game. What’s your stance on announcers, and what’s your biggest pet peeve with the guys calling the game? Jack Tors, Paoli, PA.
A: Announcers have it rough, and here in Philly guys like Wheels and Mike Quick get constantly killed by the fans. I think fans take a lot of their tension and frustration in watching a game out on the guys calling the action. If something is going wrong, it’s easy to pick apart the announcer, if your team is losing the national guy is obviously biased against you, that kind of thing. As far as most Philly fans are concerned Joe Buck hates Philadelphia and every Versus announcer is rooting for the Flyers to go 0-82. I definitely give the broadcasters plenty of grief. It’s an ego thing to a certain extent, too. I know more than this idiot! I don’t want to take them completely off the hook, though, plenty of times they can be awful. As far as a pet peeve goes, I’m going to go with what is fresh in my mind, and that’s dated references. Last night I’m watching a bit of the ALCS and Tim McCarver compares Austin Jackson to Bobby Bonds. BOBBY BONDS! Perhaps you know Bobby’s son, Barry? Who also happens to be retired? I don’t need Timmy dropping Lil Wayne lyrics, but Bobby Bonds retired 30 years ago.
Q: Is there anything harder in the world than carving a pumpkin? I’m being serious. I think I’d have a better chance of removing my own spleen than making a reasonable looking Jack-O-Lantern. Talula Vincent, Schwenksville, PA.
A: Great question, Talula. The last time I attempted to carve a pumpkin I was in college and was hacking away at the poor gourd with a butter knife that I had borrowed from the dining hall. It’s also possible I was NOT sober. So, I’d have to say, yes it is the most difficult task in the world. Nothing is more frustrating than watching someone who is good at carving pumpkins. You saw away at yours for 20 minutes just to make a square nose and some flashy bastard next to you has created a perfect likeness of Andy Reid or some such nonsense. IT’S NOT FAIR. I feel like there is a secret club of pumpkin carvers and they have all the tricks to making great Halloween keepsakes. Like, don’t use butter knives. Or, never try for ears! Those types of things that always trip up the common folk.
Q: Why can you never pull off a fantasy football trade? P. O’Houlihan, Norman, OK.
A: The popular answer here is that everyone overvalues their players. Dez Bryant? Oh, he’s a precious TREASURE. I don’t care if he has 35 points for the whole year. Those 35 points are SPECIAL! He’s an untapped oil well of potential, that Dez Bryant. I’ll give him up for…LeSean McCoy AND Jason Witten. Then the trade dies right there on the table. This does happen, I can’t deny it, but I’d also say fantasy football isn’t conducive to trading in general. Look at real life trades. What percentage are salary dumps? What percentage involve draft picks, or prospects? It’s hard to do that in fantasy unless you are in some hardcore keeper league that trades picks. Real life GMs overvalue their players too, so the blockbuster deal, in real-life or fantasy football is pretty much a pipe dream.
Q: I saw an Amish guy playing golf the other day. Giant shirt, suspenders, beard–the whole 9. He was riding a cart and had a cell phone. What gives? Dom Stickley, Lancaster, PA.
A: First, I’d wager you didn’t see an Amish guy playing golf. You saw a guy playing golf who was dressed up like a farmer. And, even if he was Amish, what’s the big deal? I’ve never understood people’s desire to police the Amish. You see a little Amish kid efforting down the street on a scooter and someone is always like, ARE THEY ALLOWED TO HAVE THAT? Like it’s a nuclear powered submarine or something. Do you really care if the Amish start using phones? This technology has been around for over a century. You also have a cell phone. Don’t get jealous. As long as they keep making delicious pie and sturdy sheds I say give them as much modern technology as they want. The mules could use a break.
Q: So, Theo Epstein is headed to the Cubs. If he manages to end their World Series drought, does that make him the greatest GM in sports history, considering he already ended the curse in Boston? Vince, Chicago, IL.
A: I’ve always thought that one of the best things you could do in sports would be to end the Chicago Cubs’ World Series drought. If you carried the Cubs to a World Series you would have the cushiest life possible for all eternity in Chicago. Thirty years later you’d probably get standing ovations while you pumped gas, or while people fought over the right to pump your gas. 1908 was a very long time ago. I always had a player in mind, though, when I thought of this scenario. Someone like Mark Prior if he didn’t implode in the Bartman game and then blow out his arm. But, perhaps Theo could be the guy who gets all the credit. I’m not sure he’ll find Chicago’s ownership as accommodating as Boston’s, though. And, greatest GM ever? Doubtful. I’d have to do some research, but he feels more like a mercenary, no? Ask some Boston people what they think of him now. Saddle them with a bunch of huge contracts and leave town? Not so great.
Q: What would last the longest /shortest in your fridge/freezer? A gallon of sweet tea, a 1/2 pound of sliced deli cheese, or a 1/2 gallon of ice cream. I feel like a normal person would buy these for the week, but if something isn’t pre-portioned for me, I just tear through it with reckless abandon. Cindy Goldschmidt, Green Bay, WI.
A: I happen to go to the grocery store almost every day. People don’t understand this, think it’s insane. But, the store is literally right across the street and also, it’s not really safe for me to have food in the apartment that I don’t want to eat that very day. So, I certainly sympathize with this question. All three of those items are delicious. I could add on, but for the sake of time, I won’t. Let’s break it down. A half-gallon of ice cream has to last at least 4 days, right? That’s 4 pints, which is a solid serving of ice cream–Even for me. So, that’s out. It’s down to the cheese and the tea. I’m probably eating two pieces of cheese every time I open the fridge and possibly taking a swig of tea as well. Man, this is a tough call. I’m thinking unless the cheese was crazy thin-sliced that would go first. Then the tea, then shockingly enough, the ice cream.
Q: I’ve never had a hole-in-one. Every time I see one or hear about one the rage builds up inside me a little more. I play a decent amount of golf. I am not terrible. I’ve holed out a couple of times on non-par 3s, but I’ve never even really scared the hole for an ace. In case I’m approached by the Devil, what would you sacrifice to get that hole-in-one? Never breaking 80 again? 20 yards off the tee? Ugly beer cart girls for all eternity? Chet Houseman, Elkton, MD.
A: Well Chet, let me try to put myself in the frame of mind of someone who has never had a hole-in-one…honestly, though, I feel like I can relate a little bit. I had my hole-in-one when I was 15 years old. In the time since, it’s highly likely I’ve played more rounds of golf than you have in your entire life, and I’ll just assume I’m a better ball-striker than you, so who’s really suffering here? That’s right. I AM. But, getting back to your question, I’d certainly give up attractive cart girls. Here’s a little tip: They ARE NOT going to hook up with you. Past that, I’d be careful. I wouldn’t give up breaking 80 for 100 hole-in-ones. Of course, I’d rather hit 16 greens and shoot 75 than hit 8 and shoot 73. And, don’t give up your distance, that will leave you soon enough. If the Devil does show, I’d say have some faith in your own game. That ace could be right around the corner.
Q: Why does bread come in such large portions? Feel like a sandwich? How about a loaf? Oh, you’re making fajitas? How’s 20 tortillas sound? Hamburgers? 8 bun minimum. It’s total BS. Do I need to adopt a family so I can stop eating mediocre microwaved-thawed rolls? Kristen Pennypacker, Newark, DE.
A: The short answer is yes, you do need to adopt a family. I’ve gone down the frozen bread route before. It’s a tragedy and a travesty. And, just last week I thought to myself how much I wanted a grilled cheese, but I didn’t want to buy a whole loaf of bread. If you freeze a loaf for grilled cheeses, it won’t kill you, but buns are another story. There are two solutions I see, and one of them isn’t the Martin’s Potato Roll company selling 2-packs. The first solution is, invite someone over for dinner, maybe two people, who knows–get wild. The other solution is, deprive yourself. You’re craving fajitas? Well, lay off them for another month. Then, just break the string and have them 3 nights in a row. Problem solved.