Now that we’re not picking NFL games anymore, I imagine the mailbag probably becomes the highlight of the week. It’s all downhill after Wednesday anyway, right? That’s what I thought. Got a few interesting submissions this week…
Q: Do you think there’s any chance an old, hanging-on Kobe Bryant would ever do a farewell season with the Sixers? If he did, how do you think he’d be received, and is Kobe going to keep being like MJ and retire a few times, comeback and play too long in the end? Howie Brown, Pottstown, PA.
A: An interesting hypothetical, but I can’t see Kobe ever playing for the Sixers. Kobe would have to develop into a ring-chaser and the Sixers would have to be close to a championship for him to even consider it, I think. But, I don’t think Kobe is going to go trailblazing around for a ring like Barkley did, or like Karl Malone did, or like Shaq did at the end of their careers. I’m sure Kobe would like to get 7 rings, or at least 6 to match MJ, but he knows Jordan won all those on his own merits. He didn’t tag along for anything. So, I think Kobe takes his chances in L.A. for a few more years (Maybe they swing Dwight Howard somehow) and that’ll be it. The only other reason I could see him staying around is to climb the scoring list. Kareem is way off in the distance, but he’ll likely get past Jordan to 3rd without too much strain. You’ve got to remember that even though Kobe is 33, this is his 16th NBA season. How much longer can he grind? I can safely say, though, if Kobe somehow ends up on the Sixers–if he can’t bring himself to retire or whatever–the fans will totally embrace him. Fans in Philly are harsh, but they’re also pretty easily won over. Kobe isn’t J.D. Drew. If he showed up here, it’d be a total love-fest.
Q: So, I was at a grocery store the other day and there was a guy there re-loading the ATM. He looked very nervous. His eyes were darting all over the place and it made me think he’d been robbed before, or at least he’d seen too many heist movies. We made eye-contact and I almost felt like I had to tell the guy I wasn’t there to hold him up. Relax, bro. But, then I thought, what if I was here to steal the cash? Do you ever place yourself in grandiose robbery schemes? Ken Affleck, Charlestown, MA.
A: I don’t have much faith in my skills as an armed robber of banks, armored trucks, ATMs or anything of that nature. I have a strong fear of consequences. I don’t think about how it’d be cool to have the money, I think about my life as a jailed citizen. Not good times. About as close as I get to imagining anything like that is when you go to a bank and you see tellers and other employees handling all that cash. Personally, I get all excited if I see a few thousand dollars in nice crisp hundreds in a drawer, but that’s their life. They are immune to the sexiness of cash. I would not rob my own bank if I was an employee, I’m just saying that for a while it’d be a very good time–for me–to handle all that money. I also have an ATM-reload story, not pertaining to theft, just a public service announcement. I was once at an ATM that was getting refilled and I debated for 10 seconds whether to wait it out or to go somewhere else. Well, I decided to wait. HOW LONG COULD IT TAKE? Well, as soon as you wait for that first minute, you’re like, I’ve got to stay now…I’ve already waited. It took a LONG time for this guy to sort it out. Many, many minutes and I don’t know how long he was there before I showed up. So, finally he leaves, I go up to use the ATM and it doesn’t work. The moral is, never, ever wait for the ATM guy. Ever.
Q: After the Super Bowl I heard Gisele talking to Tommy B. and I noticed that she has a pretty good accent on her. I’m not going to use the term, “broken english,” but I didn’t like what I heard. Obviously, Gisele is one of the hotter ladies on the planet, but do you think Tommy B. ever gets annoyed with that accent? Jay Pritchitt, Los Angeles, CA.
A: It’s hard for me to picture Tom and Gisele interacting as a couple because they are both so famous. Do they ever just sit around having a conversation? I DON’T KNOW. I think the accent is kind of part of the package, is it not? If Tom didn’t like the accent, I imagine they don’t end up together. You’ve got to remember that while Gisele is a Brazilian supermodel, Tom Brady wasn’t exactly a man without options. YOU’D stay with Gisele for a while no matter what simply because, well…you know. But, Tom could have just rolled Clooney-style and moved onto someone else who you also find ridiculously good-looking. Personally, and this will probably sound terrible, I think the accent would bother me a little bit. I’m just trying to be honest. I enjoy a good accent if English is your first language. A southern drawl, a British accent–no problem. But, do you sound like Sofia Vergara on Modern Family? That might wear on me after a while.
Q: Over lunch the other day I happened to be thumbing through a Phillies 2010-2011 roster. They list where each player is born and where they currently reside. What struck me is that if you take out the 2 guys from Cuba there were only about 5 other guys on the entire team that don’t currently reside at least in the same state as where they were born. Is this strange that the vast majority of the team has lived in the same area for their entire life?
A: I don’t think it’s strange. Most baseball players make enough money that they can live wherever they want during the off-season. I think if you found a Phillies roster from the 70s or 80s you’d see a lot more guys living year-round in the Philly area. Now guys just break off to their corners of the world during the off-season. I think since it’s likely that most players will bounce around to at least a few cities during their career they feel like it doesn’t make sense to keep uprooting their families. So, they pick a home base and that’s where the kids go to school, etc. I guess one logical choice is their hometowns or a place they are familiar with. Also, a lot more baseball players come from California than come from say…Wisconsin. The fact that favorable winter destination states produce more players might play a factor in this as well. For example, Roy Halladay is from Colorado, but he doesn’t live there. Derek Jeter grew up in Michigan, but he doesn’t live there. Ryan Howard is from Missouri, but he’s building a house in Florida. I think guys either end up where they’re from, where they played a long stretch of their career, or near the Spring Training spots.
Q: I’ve got a friend who claims he can tell if a pizza is going to be good before he opens the box. He says it’s a “feel” thing. I think we can all say comfortably that this is ridiculous. Is it necessary to keep patronizing him? Honey Crust, Charlotte, NC.
A: I’ve got to say, I have a bit of a soft spot for people who make food related claims like this. It reminds me of the people who say they can differentiate between M&M colors. I’ve never seen this done successfully, but when someone talks about it, I’m always QUITE interested. I wonder what it is about the pizza box that allows him to “know.” Did you ever think that he is something of a Mentalist? Maybe he’s noticing weight, grease saturation, aroma, temperature–several things that you take for granted–and compiling that data into a reasonable conclusion? That would be very impressive. Now, do I believe that is what he’s doing? NO. I would venture a guess that he’s just attempting to be entertaining. I’ve eaten more than my share of pizza and sometimes you don’t even know by looking at it. I saw a divine looking slice at a pizza place one time when I was visiting NY. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and so I went back a few days later and got a pizza. Awful. You never know, but you’ve got to let your friend have his fun. It’s his THING. People need things.
Q: What do you think is a bigger problem for the Flyers: Shootouts, the fact that the East is totally stacked, or the fact that they still don’t really have a goalie? J. Snyder, Philadelphia, PA.
A: The Flyers lost ANOTHER shootout last night. This time to the Islanders. The Flyers have the special combination of having goalies that are terrible in shootouts and players that don’t score. That’s tough to overcome. In the past, it was always the Flyers didn’t have the shifty, Euro-style guys to score those types of goals, but with Giroux, Jagr, Briere and company…I’m not sure what the excuse is anymore. Also, Lavy probably needs to stick to a rotation. Pick five guys and have them practice it all the time. No more throwing chances to Wayne Simmonds (love you, Wayne!). The shootout losses cost the Flyers plenty of points, but I don’t think it’s a long-term concern. And, believe it or not, Bryz has been playing a little better. I’m not in FULL panic mode about the goalie. Just regular panic mode. A lot of these concerns do seem trivial, though, because they are dwarfed in my mind by the beastly Eastern conference. The Rangers are…I’m going to use the term, “flippin’ stacked.” The Bruins are…ditto. They both have better goalies than the Flyers have. This doesn’t even take into consideration Pittsburgh and Jersey who are both suddenly hot. Getting out of the East is going to be a damn chore this season. I don’t see how the Flyers pull it off as currently constructed.
Q: Yesterday I became aware of the fact that you can rent a pet. I think everyone has joked about taking a puppy out to the park to pick up women, but this is actually happening. How do these companies live with themselves whoring out cats and dogs for whatever occasion? Kitten Conrad, Conshohocken, PA.
A: You can rent anything. Designer bags, a U-Haul, a chainsaw–whatever. That’s the world we live in. There’s probably some poor, unsuspecting lab mix in Central Park RIGHT NOW helping a guy “make time” with impressionable young ladies. I guess the companies probably argue that they hope a “renter” will eventually turn into an owner and then you’ve got one less pet that needs a home, but I can’t say I’m a fan of putting a cat or dog through this haphazard lifestyle. I also can’t imagine the type of person that picks up a dog for a weekend or something and then just drops it back off on Monday. How do you do that? Are you DEAD INSIDE? I guess there are just too many pets out there that need homes and if a pet rental agency keeps a “fleet” of pets from being put down then they serve a purpose, but I wish such things were not necessary. Maybe someone out there wants to rent a dog for a while and tell us about the experience.