Illustration by Sam Woolley.

Time for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Today, we’re covering open air shitting, the Amish, Kevin Durant, and more.

Your letters!

Jen:

After all the shenanigans with the Atlanta Braves moving to Cobb County, I’m in the market for a new team. I’m originally from Niagara Falls and grew up a Mets fan. Should I just go back to rooting for the Mets, which would also give me a chance to actively root against the Braves, or should I pick a new team? Don’t tell me to become a Cardinals fan.

Of course you should go back to the Mets. What excuse did you ever have for leaving them? Because they suck and are terminally incapable of handling any whiff of lasting success? Pfft. That’s not good enough. Now is the time to atone for your shameless bandwagon-jumping and join back with the Mets in time to see all of their best young pitchers accidentally fall into the pit of Sarlacc.

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Anyway, what’s happening with the Braves is, even by modern standards, utterly repugnant. It’s the most brazen stadium ripoff since the construction of Paul Brown Stadium, and it might even be worse than the Marlins sticking Miami with the tab for their new dump. The Braves are abandoning a relatively new, perfectly good stadium (I was there three months ago… it’s a fucking nice ballpark!) in favor of a new joint outside the city that’s inaccessible to public transit in a deal that was deliberately engineered to avoid formal approval of the voting public.

And do you know what the shittiest part of it is? It’ll work. Even in Atlanta, which is the most fair-weather sports town in the country, there will be SOME people willing to endure miserable traffic and sky-high ticket prices to watch that team live in person. I don’t know who these people are, or why they exist. If common sense prevailed, the average attendance at that new stadium would be ZERO. Even then, the Braves and the good folks at Liberty Media would probably still turn a profit anyway from TV revenue. That’s the bitter irony to all this: the idea that these stadiums are needless in every possible way.

So, feel free to abandon them. The reason these franchises are able to get away with murder—pilfering public funds and making a lasting, detrimental impact on entire metro areas—is because of irrational fan loyalty. My favorite NFL team is opening a billion dollar stadium this fall using public funds that DO NOT EXIST and won’t ever exist. I shouldn’t support them. I should leave them for fucking dead. But do I? NO. No, because that would be against Man Law, or whatever. I put too many years into watching them fail only to give up now. I’m committed, even though I hate it. This is how owners win, every time out. So by all means, take your loyalty and flush it down the toilet. Go root for the Mets, who are run by a family that profited off of the single largest pyramid scheme in history. GOOD FOLKS.

Steve:

On the way to work this morning I heard a Boston sports radio caller theorize that the NBA orchestrated Durant’s move to Golden State in an attempt to improve LeBron’s legacy even further. Their reasoning was that if the NBA forced Durant go to go Golden State, the backlash would retroactively diminish the negative effects of The Decision, and in the words of the caller “elevate LeBron’s career past Jordan, which is what the NBA wanted all along.” Is this the hottest Durant take?

He’s not wrong! Obviously, he’s insane to couch this as some kind of deliberate move on the NBA’s part (if you’re the NBA, it behooves you to have several watchable teams instead of just two or three). But it’s reasonable to compare this with The Decision and its resulting hysteria, in which I gleefully took part. Back then, I said this: “Look at what Kevin Durant did today. He signed an extension well before he could have filed for free agency, announced the signing, and then went back about his business. He didn’t need all this dog-and-pony show bullshit.” Goddamn. Look at me extolling the virtues of doing free agency THE RIGHT WAY. All this time, it was DURANT who was the true cocksucker! How dare he expose me as the idiot that I am.

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So that’s not the be-all-end-all of hot Durant takes, not when we have years and years of them coming our way. If Golden State flames out next season and fails to win it all, it will be because of EGO. And if they DO win it all, but Durant only averages ten points a game or whatever, then he’s a shameless carpetbagger. Either way, you’re gonna get takes. EVERYONE WINS! Look at this hideous column from Michael Rosenberg today:

He can do this. It’s a free world and a free market. But where is Durant’s competitive spirit? Barely a month ago, Durant walked out of Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals after his Thunder lost the last three games of an epic series. Competitive zeal should have made him want another shot at those guys. Isn’t that why we watch, why we play, why we care? I can buy a ring, just as I can ask a tailor to make an ugly green sport coat, but that wouldn’t make me a Masters champion.

OH YEAH. That is the shit. I wanna ferment that paragraph in sugar and live yeast and then age it in a barrel. This is only the beginning. I can’t wait. If Golden State loses more than ten games next season, Durant will be Satan.

By the way, my official stand on all this is akin to Tom Ley’s. Durant is obviously free to do whatever he wants. He shouldn’t be denigrated for giving himself the best chance to win, and the Thunder themselves have handled the loss with a remarkable amount of graciousness. But FUCK DURANT ETERNALLY for making this move and making Warriors fans somehow more insufferable than they already are. It’s awful. 2017 is gonna be one long parade of tech bro haughtiness. They don’t even have to say anything about it. I can smell the smugness on them from the opposite coast. I hope they choke on broken Gorilla Glass.

Beau:

If the 50 states broke up and went to war with each other who would win? I think a popular pick would be Alaska or Hawaii because their isolated and could just wait until everyone else blew themselves into oblivion. I think that’s bullshit. I think California is overall no. 1 seed.

Someone asked me this a while ago and I somehow answered the question without actually answering it. I’m just fucking up all over the place. My gut answer was Texas, because Texas is heavily armed and people there would be REALLY INTO shooting people from other states.

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But Texas is surrounded on three sides by other states, including Louisiana, whose citizens would hide in swamps and bombard Texas with gumbo cannons from afar. One of the reasons that the United States, as a whole, is a military force is because of geography. With command of two coastlines and a nearly endless mainland of rugged terrain to retreat into, plus lots of natural resources, the United States is virtually impregnable to invasion. There’s an old quote falsely attributed to a Japanese WW2 general: “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.” That shit is true, and it helps me sleep at night. COME AT ME, ISIS.

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So in a fifty-state war, you would want a state that mimics the geographical advantages of the continental United States. That means, you guessed it… FLORIDA.

Imagine trying to invade Florida. You’d have to attack either from the North, or from one of the coasts. Then you’d have navigate miles of gator-infested swampland and extreme heat and elderly drivers just for the right to square off against an army of cannibalistic lunatics all high on bath salts. No thank you. I’m not fucking with Florida. Those people scare me to death. Here’s how I would rank the states by wartime prowess:

  1. California
  2. Florida
  3. Alaska
  4. Hawaii
  5. Texas
  6. Louisiana
  7. Washington
  8. Montana (you can hide in the mountains!)
  9. Maine

My current home state, Maryland, would be way at the bottom. Given Maryland drivers, we would all die commuting to the invasion.

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Chris:

When going to a sporting event, how many times is it acceptable to leave your seat and make your row mates get up so you can scoot by (not including initially getting to your seat or ultimately leaving)? I say you get two opportunities to leave and come back, max.

As someone who has a weak bladder, I agree. I usually make two trips out before I start getting death stares. That does NOT count halftime, or any other moment during the game where people tend to get up en masse. We’re talking about leaving in the middle of game play, or at any other point where everyone is seated. After two trips to get beer and piss, the row’s aggravation increases exponentially. That’s when I usually start openly apologizing as I wipe my ass across the row of disgruntled fellow patrons. SO SORRY. PARDON ME.

Also, if you’re at the movies, you get ONE exit to pee, maximum. And even that’s pushing it. I can’t tell you how much of a fucking failure I feel like when I gotta get up in a darkened theater and block everyone’s view of Batman on my way out to piss. Then I end up pissing for longer than I thought, knowing I’m missing a key part. Then I zip up too soon because I wanna get back, then I have to unzip and finish, then I gotta head back in and interrupt everyone all over again. My dick should go to jail for that.

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Jacob:

I’m on a cross-country trip and I was just sitting at a gas station outside of Effingham, Illinois, which is apparently Amish country. I haven’t seen an Amish family in awhile and it got me to thinking: When do the Amish give in? I think they have under 80 years left until they succumb to technology.

They’ve already started to do that. You can use batteries, and you can be DRIVEN in a car somewhere if you’re hard up for a ride. Like any other long-standing institution, the Amish have had to adjust in order to preserve what they deem to be the most important parts of their culture. If they have to allow the occasional iPhone to prevent all teenagers from abandoning the religion, they’ll do that. I’m sure some Amish elder isn’t thrilled with the idea of a phone going off during barn-raising hours, but you have to make some concession to the times.

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By the way, even though it’s easy to goof on them, I admire the Amish. I wish I had the balls to shun technology and WORK THE LAND, as they do. There’s that deep satisfaction in doing everything yourself, making your own clothes and building your own home and not taking any shortcuts around it. And when you live like a 19th century frontiersman, you get a lot more joy out of the smaller pleasures in life. When pa busts out the fiddle, that is your Star Wars. And it IS important to preserve certain traditions that serve as a spiritual anchor in the universe. That’s all cool shit that has been co-opted by hipsters and foodies alike, often in hilarious fashion. But the Amish are the real deal, so I support them, so long as there isn’t any incest or any weird shit like that going on.

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HALFTIME!

Kyle:

I have a friend who just recently introduced his new girlfriend to our group. She seems nice enough, but has latched on to our nicknames for each other. Now she uses them more than we even use them for each other and in the most unnatural way possible. How long does someone new to a group have to let go by before they can start using the nicknames? Are they ever allowed? If this person is so bad at nicknames, how do you get them to stop?

You probably don’t. What are you gonna say? “Hey, only Dave gets to call me J-Bug, missy.” That won’t fly. That’s the risk of nicknames. Once you start calling each other Q and Buttrod, there’s no stopping others from following suit.

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I think everyone has had that moment where some interloper comes into your CIRCLE OF BROS and you’re like, “Whoa hey, that person isn’t one of us!” This happens with any new girlfriend introduced to a new bro ecosystem. I’ve BEEN that bro! I’ve been the guy who’s like, “Bro, Mike’s new girlfriend is such a drag, man.” Like the very presence of the girlfriend is enough to make you resentful and territorial. And whether or not the newcomer really DOES suck (it can happen!), you’re better off accepting that the dynamic of your group has changed and do your best to be welcoming and friendly. That’s better than stewing like a dick anytime JackO’s loser cousin shows up for a round of beer pong.

Adam:

What percentage of gimmes would we actually putt in if playing partners weren’t kind enough to let you just pick it up? I say 65%.

What? No way. That’s too generous. I say it’s TEN percent. Look at how often seasoned professionals miss those short putts. They’re difficult to finish off, PLUS lots of guys will take those putts lackadaisically and miss, because they take them for granted. Even though I’m unofficially retired from golf, I lost count of how many times I assumed a putt was easy, putted it with one hand, missed it, missed it AGAIN, missed a THIRD time, watching the ball roll off into a hazard, and then retroactively made the whole affair into a single gimme stroke. I cheated more than Bill fucking Clinton. And you know what? I was right to do it. Those putts should have gone in. It’s not my fault God is a bastard.

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CJ:

While watching the swimming trials this past week, a group of us wondered how we would fare collared to the Olympic hopefuls. I came up with the idea of a “Perspective Olympian” who could provide proper perspective to the average viewer. For example, while Phelps and Lochte are battling the Japanese guy Rowdy Gaines worshipped about in the 200m medley, a normal guy off the street would be in Lane 1 showing us just how much better these guys are than us. This would work for swimming and track events, pretty much the only things people care about (other than hoops and maybe gymnastics).

I understand the rationale behind this, but I don’t think it’s necessary. I can already tell Usain Bolt is fast. I don’t need him running alongside some clumsy doof like Greg Howard to hammer the point home. If anything, that would just cheapen the event. Also, it would take away a lot of the joy I derive from having NO perspective on sports. I hate perspective. I prefer to be callous and judgmental about ALL athletes, and heap scorn upon them when they fail publicly. I can’t have anything getting in the way of that furor, especially some no-name schmuck out there helping to highlight the prowess of the athletes on display. I only want the BEST out there, CJ. I demand that the fittest and brightest stars tear each other to pieces while I watch with a bucket of chicken in my lap.

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James:

Out of 183 moons in our solar system, some of them with legitimately badass names, (looking at you Ganymede), how the actual fuck did we name ours just ‘moon’? Did we sell ourselves short? And who gets the right to name the moon?

Because ours is THE moon. It’s the definitive moon. All the other moons can fly off into oblivion for all I care. I know that scientists cream their pants just because Titan has ice, but fuck Titan. You and I know it has no REAL aliens. Total waste of time. Our moon is king of all moons because it’s close by, and our astronauts have pooped on it. It needs no other name to prosper as outer space’s #1 barren deathrock. Titan can suck its dick.

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Adam:

My state (Indiana) doesn’t sell alcohol on Sunday. What do you think would happen if I grab a case of beer, toss a twenty dollar bill at one of the cashiers, and walk out?

You get arrested. I know how states like Indiana work: the pettier the offense, the more vigorously authorities will pursue you. You think some 300-lb. store manager there isn’t frothing at the mouth to bust your ass for trying to make off with a case of Schlitz during the Sabbath? That is old Earl’s time to shine. He will pursue you to the ends of the Earth to bring you down.

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By the way, we desperately need a universal Federal standard for alcohol sales laws. I’ve had enough of this Puritanical bullshit. Here in Maryland, you can’t buy beer at the grocery store, unless it’s a specific kind of grocery store that somehow is grandfathered into selling beer and wine because it also sells canned British food. In Connecticut, they used to pull a shade over the beer aisle on Sundays. And in Pennsylvania, I once had to go buy a six pack at a damn bar, with the bartender putting individual cans in a plastic bag for me to carry home. This is insane. It’s not 1921. Let everyone sell booze, god dammit. Do you how much it irritates me to have to drive three whole extra minutes to pick up a bottle of Old Overholt? THIS IS TYRANNY.

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Bones:

Given the choice, would you rather win a true Grand Slam (i.e. all 4 major golf championships in the same calendar year) or win the last 3 majors of one year and the first 3 of the following year (i.e. 6 consecutive major championships without ever winning all 4 in the same year)?

The true Grand Slam. That’s immortality, baby. I’d never have to pay for breakfast at a Denny’s ever again.

I know it’s arbitrary to elevate certain feats simply because of the vagaries of the calendar, but I’ll always prefer a calendar Grand Slam to a Tiger Slam, or a single-season hitting streak to one stretched out across two seasons. What if you acquired a bionic arm during that offseason? What if those few months off gave you all the time you need to recover from a bad hip and a nasty divorce? THAT’S CHEATING. I demand all of your athletic achievements occur within an arbitrary time frame in order for them to count properly.

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Dan:

If Pittsburgh got a NBA team, would they be more-or-less guaranteed to have the same black/yellow color scheme as the other 3 teams or would the owner pick different colors just to force cheap people to buy new t-shirts instead of just reusing Steelers and Pirates garb?

I think they would make more money by glomming onto the Steelers’ color scheme and insinuating themselves with those mouth-breathers than striking out on their own and giving the Pittsburgh Towelhumpers a green uniform. So yeah, they’re sticking with tradition.

By the way, it’s weird that Pittsburgh is the only sports town with an ironclad color-scheme across all franchises. Only the Knicks/Mets/Rangers/Giants come close, and that doesn’t really count because of all the other New York sports teams. Pittsburgh is eternally black and gold, and no one will ever fuck with it. I’m shocked Boston hasn’t tried to co-opt their own little piece of real estate on the color spectrum. KELLY GREEN IS OW-AHS FOREVAH!

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James:

Is it wrong for a TCU/Oklahoma/Texas fan to relish all this terrible stuff going on at Baylor?

No. Being a proper college football fan means wishing hateful, terrible things upon your rivals, even if you have no deeper understanding of the implications of such a thing. How are you guys gonna compete with the likes of Bama and Auburn if you don’t actively try to sabotage one another by cutting brakes and planting cocaine on five-star recruits? TCU AIN’T FRAMED NOBODY!

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Besides, Baylor DESERVES to have all that terrible shit happen to them. Ken Starr is a filthy little shitbag, and Art Briles is potentially on the hook for legitimate criminal wrongdoing. Worst of all, the school has remained willfully obtuse throughout the process, attempting to punish themselves without attracting any additional scrutiny. You can root for their downfall while also conveniently sitting upon a moral high horse. WHY, MY FINE SCHOOL WOULD NEVER PUT UP WITH SUCH SHENANIGANS. College football thrives on the illusion that every school is dirty but your own.

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Pfunk:

From best to worst, how would you rank zoo/aquarium exhibits to accidentally fall into? Penguins #1?

Tortoises. I know a tortoise can bite your toe off, but they’re slow as hell. If my little kid falls into a tortoise exhibit, I can go get a Sno Cone before diving in to rescue him. So tortoises are number one, followed by prairie dogs. I don’t even think there ARE any prairie dogs in those exhibits. It’s just a way of holding up tourists before they crowd into the panda exhibit.

By the way, pandas are savages and if my kid fell into a panda habitat I would want Bobo mowed down in a hail of bullets within the first ten seconds. Go ahead and put pandas down at the bottom with sharks, grizzlies, tigers, cobras, polar bears, and orcas. Once you get into the fanged species, you’re splitting hairs when it comes to child endangerment.

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Rich:

Ok, the wife and kiddies are gone, and you have to take a shit. Do you leave the bathroom door wide open (Additional air flow to cut the stank) or do you still close the door?

WIDE OPEN. Tell ‘em, Homer.

The freedom is intoxicating. When I die and go to heaven, there will be nothing but a vast and empty meadow, with a single gold toilet right in the center of it. And I will get to take a twelve-century, open-air shit. I can’t wait to die, man. It’s gonna be nice.

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Email of the week!

Daniel:

So I played on a traveling baseball team in high school. For what we were, we were good, made up of some of the top ballplayers from a bunch of Kentucky county schools. But on the grand scale of teams at that level, we weren’t special. We played a big tournament in Johnson City where we were the longshots, the equivalent of 16-seeds. And we actually did well. Won our first game, barely lost our second (it was double elimination), won our third. There was some buzz about us. In the semifinals, we played East Cobb. They were the titans. Defending national champions. They had 15 different guys on D1 scholarships (as we were told). By contrast, we had one guy who walked on at UK and got cut. We were huge dogs.

But through three and a half innings, we actually led 5-3. The crowd had grown, and people were murmuring. Of course, it didn’t last — East Cobb scored 10 in the fourth and two more in the fifth to mercy-rule us 15-5. The question is, what do I get to brag about from that? Do we brag about going 2-2 in a tournament as big underdogs? Do I get to tell glory-days stories about leading through 3.5 innings against a team that strong? Sure, we lost, but we were never expected to be in it. Do 16-seed alumni brag about staying close to the #1 seed through half of the game? How much bragging can you do?

Do it all. Embellish. Tell people you were the Hickory of Kentucky high school baseball. No no, the BUTLER of Kentucky high school baseball. They’ll know exactly what you mean.

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Hell, tell people you BEAT Cobb. Who’s gonna fact check it? There are worse crimes than to bend history a little bit. I bet you could pick up at least 0.7 extra women this way.