I’ve been getting a lot of baseball related messages lately. I find this odd considering the Phillies season was lost long ago. The only Phillies news I want to hear is about the outright release of Michael Martinez. In regard to everything else, kindly stop texting me, and read the mailbag.
Q: If it’s considered the ultimate exit for a player to retire after winning the Super Bowl, can a fan do the same thing? Because if the Eagles ever win a Super Bowl, that will be the last game I ever watch. End on the highest of highs. Make sense? Or, am I being dramatic? Bill Bolt, Glen Mills, PA.
A: This is a novel idea, but I don’t think you–or anyone else–could ever pull this off. And to answer your last question–PRETTY DRAMATIC. The reason why I don’t think this is possible is because I don’t think people watch sports for one specific outcome. Of course the win matters, the championship matters, but I don’t think anyone is a fan of a team solely to watch them win the Super Bowl. I think the Eagles are an extreme case, because they’ve never won a Super Bowl and with each passing year the prospect of it seems even more fleeting. It’s gotten to the point where you can be 30 years old and you’re saying, what if they never win IN MY LIFETIME? You’re bargaining. Give me the Bowl, I’ll stop watching forever. It would never happen. Even if you could pull it off for a little while, what if the very next year the Birds were playing Dallas in the NFC Championship game? What are you going to do that day, PLAY CANASTA? You’re going to watch the game–and love every agonizing second of it–because that’s what sports fans do.
Q: Can announcers stop making a big deal out of “Monday Night Football?” We’ve already moved the big game to Sunday and now there is another prime time game every Thursday. Considering the slop they trot out there, isn’t this just another game? Howie Coesell, Oxford, PA.
A: I love hearing old-timers talk about the beginnings of Monday Night Football. They talk about how ludicrous the idea was at the time. It was just slightly more preposterous than putting a MAN ON THE MOON. Who watches football at night? That’s when the stories are on. Fast forward some decades and Monday Night Football became a perennial ratings powerhouse–a real fixture of Americana. But then someone at a TV network decided that the marquee game should be played on Sunday Night, while relegating Monday Night Football to cable. So instead of watching Jacksonville/Cincy on Sunday Night, that became the trash we now usually see on Mondays. It really makes no difference. Both games start incredibly late and take forever to play. The only people who stay up and watch are the die-hards and the degenerates, but your issue is that MNF insists on trying to maintain its brand while not providing the same product. What if M&Ms starting melting in your hand? Are they still M&Ms? I DON’T THINK SO. So, what we see now is a football game on Monday night, but not Monday Night Football. I think you’re spot on, Gruden and Company should shut up about it and just announce the damn game.
Q: What food do you think is most reliant on the condiment? Heinz Dijon, Dallas, TX.
A: Two foods immediately come to mind. Hot dogs and chicken fingers. You know what I haven’t done in a while? Taken down some chicken fingers on the road. You decide you can’t sit there and eat for eight minutes, you’ve got to get back BEHIND THE WHEEL. And as I’m sure you know, utilizing a dipping sauce while operating a motor vehicle is tricky business. So you eat those fingers dry and end up a bit disappointed. But, at least you’ve got the breading. Maybe some pleasant GREASINESS. That brings me to the hot dog. People have strong feelings about what to put on a hot dog. Ever tell someone you use ketchup instead of mustard and then they HAVE AN ANEURYSM? That’s the best, but what most people agree on is that a hot dog needs something. How do I know this? Go your basic sporting event and see the lengths people go to when applying condiments to their dog. You have to unwrap the sumbitch, then there are relish packets, the line for the ketchup machine–that onion thing–you can miss SEVERAL INNINGS. All just to avoid that plain dog. Hot dog is the clear winner.
Q: Is there any way the Nationals can come out of this Strasburg decision looking good? They pretty much have to win the World Series, right? Otherwise you can argue that Strasburg could have altered the outcome. Pitch Limit, Chevy Chase, MD.
A: The conclusion I draw from the Strasburg situation (debacle?) is that the Nationals weren’t planning on being quite this good this year. And can you blame them? Everything went right with their rotation, Bryce Harper came up early and contributed, the Phillies spent the majority of the season in last place, etc. The Nats are obviously thinking long-term, so maybe they had a two or three-year plan to take over the NL East? If the Nats were gearing up for this year, they probably would have limited Strasburg’s work early in the year and had him available for the playoffs. Instead, the hard-throwing ace will be available…as a pinch-runner down the stretch. The decision to end Strasburg’s year has been met with a good bit of scorn. Anyone who pitched before 1990, people who hate Scott Boras, they all think this is the WORST DECISION EVER. The question is, how will the Nationals be vindicated? If Strasburg goes on to have a dominant career, people will say he probably could have survived another two months on the mound this year. If he breaks down, people will say he got hurt even though they were cautious. Even if they win the World Series, is that such a great result for Strasburg? Oh, we won it without you and now you have to spend the rest of your career wondering if you’ll get back and really contribute? Like I said, this was bungled in April–there is no fixing it.
Q: I was peering out my window the other day and I saw my neighbor mowing my yard. What I mean is, they had clearly overshot what I consider the boundary of our properties. Now, if he wants to mow my grass–go right ahead. But, is he setting the stage for some type of larger takeover? Pop Ertlyline, Downingtown, PA.
A: You’ve got to get out there and tell this joker to stop trespassing. You’ll want to be waving your hands above your head. You’re going to need to make elaborate hand gestures indicating the property line. You see, I took a property law class in college and when I managed to stumble in, I remember hearing scenarios like this. I’m no LAWYER, but I think that if you keep letting his character mow your lawn, it eventually becomes his lawn. OR SOMETHING. Don’t hold me to that legal decision, but hopefully it’s enough to scare you. It’s nice if you can get along with your neighbors, but it’s important to remember that they can NEVER BE TRUSTED. It’s all fun and games until a tree goes down, or someone wants to build a gigantic fence. The only other way to deal with neighbors is to be SUPER passive aggressive. If this guy usually cuts his grass on Saturday, you just rush out on Friday and start encroaching into his lawn. See where that takes you.
Q: What percentage of driving infractions witnessed by cops actually result in someone being pulled over and ticketed? Noah Signal, West Chester, PA.
A: I’m trying to think about how many infractions I witness a day. It’s a healthy number. Between rolled stops, blatant speeding, text-driving–there’s a real sea of offenses. I feel like most cops would rather not get bogged down in pulling people over for minor moving violations. They’re probably all after the BIG SCORE. Of course, there are probably cops who think everyone they pull over for speeding is going to have a cache of weapons and drugs in the trunk. But I think the majority of citations come when the cop/officer/trooper (does that cover it?) is specifically out looking for people to slap with fines. Speed traps, hiding behind some brush–cops are tricky. It’s the threat of that ticket that keeps people in check. Chances are if you run a red light you’ll get away with it, but what if you don’t get lucky? BANG. You’re out $150. The other day I was on the verge of being a bit late for work. I was cruising up to a light and it turned yellow. I had to make a split decision. If I ran the light, I’d probably be on time for work. If I stopped, I was going to be a minute or two late. I stopped, and as I did another car went flying past me and through the red light. I admired their aggression for a moment. Then I went through the light and saw them pulled over. It made me feel like the smartest man ALIVE. So, I’m going to say cops let go about 90% of the stuff they see, but the one time you try to get away with it? You’ll probably get pulled over.
Q: Hey, is anyone going to pick the Thursday night football game? It’s a pretty good one.
A: Funny you should ask. As a matter of fact, there happens to be a lot of action on the game. The line was set at Chicago (+6). Does that look a little too easy for the revived Jay Cutler-Face? Let’s see what the experts think.
Nichols (last week, 2-3): Chicago (+6) over Green Bay. I’ll take the Bears, but the Packers win. No way Rodgers loses three straight at home. Packers 35, Bears 30.
JCK (last week, 3-2): Green Bay (-6) over Chicago. I’ll be the contrarian and take the Pack.
Big Dub (last week, 2-3): Chicago (+6) over Green Bay. The Packers have lost their last two games, both of which were at home. The lost to the Giants last year to end their season and the 49ers this year to open their season. Both the Giants and 49ers play good defense and have a quietly good offense. What do the Bears have? A very good defense and an offense that is loaded with talent. Green Bay’s defense is a sieve and their offense looks disjointed against any kind of pass rush. If I were selling this pick, it would be my Game of the Year (until next week of course).
*MY D.A. Rankings are now posted on the D.A. page, and we’ll be back tomorrow with the usual picks post. Can’t wait.