Before we get into the bag, you know what bothers me? When a summer thunderstorm provides absolutely no relief from the heat. It rained last night. Stormed. Today? 95 degrees, thanks for asking. I don’t understand the weather. I only pretend to understand it, but this is total horsesh*t. How does the humidity replenish so quickly? Whatever, I’m spending the whole day inside. Rouse me in September. Back to your pictures and questions…as always, apologies if I didn’t get to use your submission.
Q: Do you think the guy who first discovered ice cream immediately ate himself to death? Or at least until he had to spend some extended time in the outhouse? T. Hill, Bird in Hand, PA.
A: With great innovation comes great responsibility, great discipline. Think about the first man who discovered fire. Wouldn’t it have been tempting to go around setting things ablaze all WILLY NILLY? Maybe that’s what they did, I DON’T KNOW, but more often than not, man has an amazing ability to know his own limits. Sure there are exceptions, the kid at sleepaway camp who took seven “showers” a day comes to mind, but I imagine once our hero got a couple of half-gallons in, his body started sending him signals. I imagine the first brain freeze occurred sometime during the 10th century. Something to think about, though, back in the day, people weren’t quite as addicted to sweets. They were far more rare, more of a delicacy. A six-ounce Coke used to be all anyone could handle. Full grown men were like 135 lbs. So, I think if ice cream had been invented in modern times, it would have created a scene of gluttony similar to Wing Bowl, but considering the history, I bet it was far more subdued.
Q: My roommate came barging in the other day carrying a pizza and a couple of other bags and promptly dribbled the pizza right onto the floor. It fell awkwardly. It stayed in the box, but some damage was done. He got very, very upset. I actually thought he was going to cry for a second. Are tears acceptable in this situation? Dusty Mist, Berwyn, PA.
A: It all depends on the circumstances. Was he already having a bad day? If that’s the case, LET IT OUT, Big Guy. I imagine he was probably looking forward to that pizza for hours. Almost every day I have to decide what I’m going to have for dinner. Usually this happens on the way to the grocery store, but on nights when I’m having pizza—I know ahead of time. That sh*t is planned out. I’ve never dropped a pizza, but I imagine it’s like getting cheese-slide on the ride home times ten. It’s amazing how little things can set you off, especially around food. If you want to see me get pissed–have some cheeseburgers on the table and no ketchup in the fridge. The cheeseburgers will still be fine, I could find some other condiment probably, but it’s not the same. It’s not how I ENVISIONED it. And, I think that’s what happened to your roommate. He was ready to destroy some pristine slices. So, even though they stayed contained in the box and the pile of pizza probably tasted OK, it’s still a night-killer. The real question is, say the pie is destroyed. Do you suck it up and re-order? Do you go to a different pizza place? Call for delivery? Lotta questions.
Q: What are the top 5 things the average baseball fan or someone who hasn’t played at a high level doesn’t realize about the sport? H. Art Tenny, Jacksonville, FL.
A. That’s a really tough question, because my first instinct to get all elitist and take about NUANCES, but baseball is an open book. It’s right there for you. I think it’s a lot easier to understand than football or hockey, and I think your average baseball fan probably knows more about the subtleties of the game than in other sports. Not many football fans can speak intelligently about offensive line play, and it’s almost completely ignored unless there is a sack, but the nature of baseball makes observing individual performance in a team game much easier. But, let me think of some items for you. 1) Baseball players have freakish hand-eye coordination. They may not be the group most likely to have 2% body fat, but if I was picking someone in a random game of skill, say darts, or ping-pong…speed quarters? I’d take the baseball player every time over an NBA guy, or bleepin’ Messi. 2) The majority of players are disturbingly superstitious. I think it’s the long season. 3) If you listen to the sound a ball makes coming off the bat, you can stop getting excited for warning track fly balls. 4) Getting hit with a fastball…KILLS. And, taking one say in the…thigh can turn most of your leg purple. 5) There’s probably a guy on every coaching staff who partially owes his job to being entertaining. Again…long year, gotta keep it light. Interesting stuff, right?
Q: Do you think firework celebrations would be better if they just went ahead with the dang finale a little quicker? Especially if we’re talking redundancy in the buildup. How long is too long? Em Eighty, Lansing, MI.
A: I think you want to be right in the twenty-minute range. That’s my stance as an ADULT. As a child I may have said the ideal duration was 311 minutes. I used to go to Veterans Stadium to see the fireworks every year and I don’t remember being bored. I never sat there and thought…where’s the “dang finale.” In recent trips to the fireworks, I have found myself looking forward to that finale. I attribute this to my ever dwindling attention span. It’s pathetic. Part of the fun of going to see the fireworks is incorrectly guessing when the finale is going to occur. There will be a two second pause and you think to yourself, “Here it comes, BITCHES,” but no…false alarm. This happens over and over. I forget every year exactly how big the grand finale is. You see three go off at one time–was that it? NO. You’ll know it when you see it. It very rarely disappoints, but part of the reason for that is because there is a bit of a buildup. You can’t rush these things. Ask San Diego. They accidentally set all there fireworks off at once, and while it created a helluva fire ball, the overall quality of the show I would rate as poor. As an aside on fireworks, isn’t it funny the disparity in what impresses us in terms of fireworks when we go see them and when we set them off ourselves? A rogue bottle rocket can entertain a crowd of dozens in your backyard, but when you make the effort to go somewhere? Sh*t better be huge.
Q: With the Olympics coming up, is it all right to root for someone who isn’t from your home country? Can you pull for Usain Bolt in the 100, or do you have to hope (insert American sprinter’s name) pulls some miracle upset? Carl Griffith Kersee, Austin, TX.
A: Well, you are asking someone who is pretty patriotic. You are also asking someone who doesn’t really care about track AT ALL. I’d say the Olympic sports, especially ones that are central to the games and not big professional sports in the States (think swimming, not basketball) are more spectacles of athleticism. What I mean is, you shouldn’t feel bad if an American isn’t good at a particular sport. Hey, table tennis is not our thing, right? That doesn’t mean you can’t get caught up in an especially heated match–choose a favorite. In terms of Usain Bolt, I think you are watching, or rooting in the interest of seeing something you’ve never seen before. Sure, it’s just numbers on a clock. If someone ran a 9.9 100 meters in front of you and then an hour later you watched someone break the World Record, those feats would look awfully similar, but when you group them together, with the clock–it takes on a whole other meaning. I’m sure a lot of people haven’t seen Bolt take a step since the last Olympics, so they’ll be expecting him to dominate. Track is a great sport for the favorites it seems like to me. They get plenty of love. So, go ahead and root for Bolt, (hopefully he runs), you don’t have to make up a story about a Jamaican relative, or anything like that. Now, when it comes to other sports…you’ve got to wave the flag. You cannot think the Spanish basketball team is feisty. They are shifty, garbage playing Euros, and they need to be put in their place.
Q: Can I get some updated thoughts on your boy Bryce Harper? Now that’s he up in the Majors, what’s your stance on him? Do you think he should be in the All-Star Game? Heidi Hammels, Philadelphia, PA.
A: What’s great about Harper is that there is always a story about him. Earlier in the season we had the now famous, “Clown question, Bro,” situation in Toronto and just today I saw a story about Harper’s swaggy ride and another about him training to be firefighter in the off-season. Harper seems to be trying to find a happy medium between Lil’ Wayne and a sober Mickey Mantle. Harper claimed he wanted to do the firefighting thing to “have something to fall back on,” but if I were him, if things got tough…I’d just sell my car. No need to charge into burning buildings. Of course, all this happens because Harper is 19, and all 19-year olds are idiots…even the ones that sound smart and ma-toor. All things considered I think Harper has done a surprisingly good job of not embarrassing himself. Of course, now that he’s actually on the Nats and the Nats are about 1.34 million games ahead of the Phillies, I can no longer take much pleasure in his exploits. Should he be in the All-Star game? .280, 8 homers…I’ve got to say no, according to Bud Selig’s travesty of a ruling. Do I want to see him? Yes. Has he earned his way into a game that decides home field? No. I’m not a believer in the, “he’ll have plenty of chances,” rationale when dismissing young talent, but Harper hasn’t been quite good enough this year to force his way onto the team. That said, I wouldn’t have minded if Bryce won the fan vote for the final spot.