Plane Crashes, Wife Beaters and Bad Comparisons

Justin July 24, 2010 0

I’m gonna start this week with part of a reader comment.  This was written by someone named jumpshooter, in reference to my review a couple of weeks back.

There is some wit to your writing, but don’t try so hard to be clever in these SI reviews. Half the time — the last item about the autistic kid, for example — it’s not clear whether your you truly like or dislike a piece, or whether you’re just trying to set up a joke.

Jumpshooter’s point is well taken. Unfortunately, he is 100% completely incorrect. I don’t try too hard to be clever. That’s a god-given gift. My problem is that I don’t try hard enough not to be.

I have a friend from high school who is now a pilot for a mid-sized commuter airline. Yesterday, he sent me a text message from the cockpit a couple of minutes before take off:

“Hey, the Little River Band is on my plane. Is that newsworthy?”

I responded immediately with the first thing that came to my mind:

“The only way that’s newsworthy is if you crash the plane.”

Now, if you were just two people, sitting in a room, having a conversation and one person said “How would the Little River Band being on a plane ever be newsworthy?’ and the other person responded, “They would have to crash,” that would be a little bit funny. Both people would probably chuckle.


I immediately regretted sending that message. And the worst part.. he recieved the message but then turned his phone off so he could begin the flight. So, I just had to sit there with that horrible feeling in my gut until he landed a few hours later.

A few months ago, loyal commenter Beltway Buddy sent out a mass email which, for some reason that I can’t remember, included a picture of a woman who was born with no arms and no legs.  No one else on the mass email list responded, but I couldn’t resist the lure of the Reply All button. And because I am so damn clever, Jumpshooter, my response made reference to the fact that beltway buddy and his lovely wife are expecting a child:

“Hey, I didn’t realize you guys got the ultrasound pictures back”

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH ME? I just insinuated that my best friend’s child would have horrible birth defects. (Aside from the obvious ones that come with having Beltway Buddy as your father.) ((HOLY SHIT, I JUST DID IT AGAIN!))

Again, I felt horrible. So bad, in fact, I made up a reason to call Beltway Buddy and had a dumbass phone conversation to make sure he wasn’t too angry. He wasn’t. It’s par for the course when you’re saddled with my friendship.  I’m just too clever for my own good.

Anyway, Jumpshooter, thanks for reading. Go fuck yourself.

Sports Illustrated, July 26th, 2010


Here’s a letter that someone took the time to sit down and write to the editors of Sports Illustrated:

All the attention paid to the shake-up in the Big 12 and LeBron’s free agency will fade with time, but the fiasco that is the Gulf oil spill will no doubt continue to affect us for generations. Football and basketball are just games. What’s going on in the waters so close to all of us is about life and death.

Benjamin David, Port Washington, N.Y.

Ummm… yes. That was the point of Gary Smith’s article from a couple of weeks back. Thanks for summarizing it, Benjamin David of Port Washington, N.Y.

Why did Sports Illustrated decide to publish this? It adds nothing.


Driving Force by Michael Bamberger

Short and sweet, just like I like my British Open summary articles.  Louis Oosthuizen had a great tournament, but we don’t need to turn him into a great humanitarian just because he invited a black guy to his wedding. Brian Moore came to my Bar Mitzvah. That doesn’t make me Abraham Lincoln.

Get Ready by Pablo S Torre

I will always have a soft spot for Miles Austin because he played at Monmouth University, which is pretty close to where I grew up.

Here are a couple of facts about the school:

Wilson Hall1. Here is a picture of Wilson Hall, the school’s main administration and classroom building. It may look familiar to you. It was used for the exterior shots of Daddy Warbucks’ Mansion in the 1980 film version of Annie.

2. Sometime in the mid-90’s, I went to a Monmouth basketball game and was chosen from the crowd to take part in a halftime 3 point contest against another fan. AND I WON! (by a score of 1-0.) As a result, I received a free lunch for two at a sports bar in West Long Branch. Izzy and I enjoyed ourselves very much, thank you. I was also invited back to compete again. This time I did not win.

A third fact, which is actually relevant to this story, especially when considering this excerpt:

he set Monmouth records in career receiving yards (2,867) and touchdown catches (33).

Monmouth has only had a football team since 1993, so it’s not like he’s been competing with centuries of tradition in setting those records.

Other than that minor complaint, this is an excellent profile of an up and coming NFL star. And bonus points to Pablo Torre for actually writing about Austin instead of using this as a chance to profile Kim Kardashian the way many other reporters would.

Thumbing His Way Back Home by Thomas Lake

I was really enjoying this off beat take on the career of Braves Manager Bobby Cox. Then I read this:

Cox could not leave the game at the ballpark. And while it seemed as though he had mastered his anger—confined it to the one place where he could churn it into loyalty and success—that notion came into question the night his wife called to have him arrested. It was May 7, 1995. He had been drinking, and he spilled a drink on the carpet. She made a comment he didn’t appreciate. The police report said she told an officer that her husband grabbed her by the hair and hit her in the face.

And then I’m supposed to jump right back into Bobby Cox is a loyal baseball man who should be admired for jumping in front of umpires to save his players from ejection?

No. I will not do that.

Bobby Cox is a wife beater.  That should merit more than just the “things weren’t always great for Bobby Cox”  treatment.

The Unexpected Hero by Gary Smith

Our great friend, reader and sometime contributor, John from 200 miles from the Citi, once said to me, “I hate getting into any article from Gary Smith because I know someone’s going to die at the end.” And now, I think that every time I start reading a Gary Smith article. So, thanks for that John. I definitely felt like it was coming when Smith mentioned that Floyd Little was having some mental issues as he grew older.

Enter a shadow. It’s the one that crosses Floyd’s face the day he discovers that he just pissed in his trash can and threw trash in his toilet. The day he asks his wife where his cellphone is … as he’s speaking on it to someone else.

But that’s pretty much the last we hear about Floyd Little’s mental issues. It’s strange. That’s my only complaint about a really well written and enjoyable piece.

POINT AFTER by Selena Roberts

It’s quite a feat to write something I completely agree with and still manage to rub me the wrong way while doing it. But, Selena Roberts pulled off the  trick this week. I can get behind remembering Bob Sheppard and honoring guys like Vin Scully, but there’s no reason to turn it into a “back in my day..” argument against the new generation of sportscasters.  Bob Sheppard wasn’t a broadcaster. His role is different from the people who are. Just because they both speak out loud for a living doesn’t mean they should be compared.

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