Time for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Today, we’re covering Ali, pasta, vomiting, youth sports, and more.

Your letters!

Matthew:

Why do baseball players have to wear caps? In pretty much every sport I can think of, required head gear is there for legitimate protection (football, lacrosse, and hockey helmets; head gear for wrestlers) or to offer a strategic advantage (swim caps for swimmers and water polo players). Baseball caps don’t seem to serve a real purpose. They might offer modest protection from the sun. But, sun glasses do that more effectively. And, other athletes who spend hours in the summer sun (tennis players and golfers) don’t have to wear head protection.

But where would you store your secret supply of pitching Vaseline? In your crotch? We can’t have that. Also, how would I know what team you play for? I need you to wear a uniform cap with a large letter on it so that I can recognize that you and your teammates are on the same team.

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In all seriousness though, if you look at the MLB dress code, there’s actually NOTHING there as it pertains to wearing a cap out on the field. Caps are only mandatory if you interpret the first rule of the dress code (“All players on a team shall wear uniforms identical in color, trim and style”) as applying to them. I assume that all teams have their own particular dress code rules as well (like the Yankees forbidding facial hair, because they’re humorless pricks), and the first player to run out to the field without a hat on (Bryce!) would probably be suspended for eighty years.

But Matthew is right. The only functional reason to wear a cap out on the field is for sun protection. Otherwise, caps are there mostly out of tradition, and because they look cool (“Look everybody! I’m a ballplayer!”), and because MLB and BIG HAT want that merchandise front and center at all times.

I think if a cap makes you legitimately uncomfortable out on the field, you shouldn’t have to wear one. Most leagues have overbearing uniform policies that serve no purpose except to eliminate joy. If it’s a pleasant summer evening and I want to play left field with my tousled locks swaying freely in the breeze, I should be able to do that. I don’t wanna run out there, feel my head getting hot, take that hat off between at bats to cool off and wipe the sweat from by brow, put it back on, and then repeat the process fifty times. Lemme go bareback, man. We could usher in a whole new era of cool baseball hair as a result. Afros! Dye jobs! Widehawks! We could make STARS with that hair, by god! I think you should be able to run out there with a fucking Foam Dome on your melon if you want. FREE BASEBALL!

Ryan:

What are the worst causes of vomit? Too much red wine is #1 for me.

Well wait, are we talking about everyday causes of vomiting? Because those pale in comparison to chemotherapy vomiting, or to contracting some rare tropical disease that liquefies your innards and forces you to barf them out. I think I’m comfortable in saying that those are worse. I’ll take a bad hangover over yellow fever any day.

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But for your average causes of vomiting, here is how I would rank them, from worst to merely awful:

1. Food poisoning. It’s the worst. Not only is the vomiting continuous and painful, but you also have to deal with the trauma of knowing someone—likely the 17-year-old at Wendy’s who doesn’t wash his hands after masturbating in the employee bathroom—did this to you. So not only are you barfing, but you’re ruminating on the specific dish that ruined you, and grubby bastard who made it. This is why I will never return to Pizzeria Uno.

2. Stomach bug. Like food poisoning, this usually comes with the dreaded companion diarrhea. I think they should make a special barf funnel toilet extension that you can use if you need to barf while shitting. You grab the funnel, unleash hell, and the funnel pipe leads right to the bowl.

3. Prescription drug side effect. They gave me Percocet once after back surgery. Never again. You Percocet addicts out there… you must REALLY like Percocet to want that nausea in your life.

4. Someone punched you in the tummy so hard that you literally barfed. It’s physically possible!

5. Hangover. I have separated this out from standard, drunken booting. As a rule, the barfing is worse the longer you try to hold out. Like, when you barf at noon the next day. That’s an awful moment. That’s when you know you’re not getting that day back.

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6. Trauma. Sometimes it’s a relief to vomit in the face of grief, but that relief is usually fleeting. Once you flush the toilet, the memories start to come back. That’s what you get for watching “The Ridiculous Six”.

7. Overeating. True story: Once, as a fat kid, I ate too much at a Chinese buffet and barfed over a mall railing down to the atrium below. No one got hit with the barf. I still belong in jail though.

8. Drunk. RALLLLLLY!

Katie:

So I was making spaghetti for my kids last night, because it’s the easiest thing I can make while they each play a keyboard while running through the kitchen screaming, and I realized it took a good minute for the submerged part of the spaghetti to soften enough so that I could stir it and get the rest of the spaghetti under the boiling water. So when do I start the 11-minute timer? When I first drop it in, in which case is half of each noodle undercooked? When it all goes under, in which case is the other half of each noodle turning to mush? What do I do here?

This is why I break the pasta! If only Scott Conant had understood!

Anyway, when the pasta is too big for the pot, the ideal solution is to use a larger pot. But you and I know that we aren’t doing that. No one wants to wash a goddamn lobster pot just because of a spaghetti dinner. That’s an extra three seconds of scrubbing that I refuse to abide.

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So, outside of breaking it, what I would do is take a wooden spoon and just mash the pasta down into the water. It usually gives away pretty quickly, and then you can start the timer. So long as you stir it so that the pasta doesn’t stick together and leave you with a spaghetti bundle—which is the worst—everything should turn out fine. Just don’t overcook it or I will have you blacklisted.

Jake:

Has Trump ruined the red baseball hat? I can’t wear my awesome Lonestar Beer hat anymore without feeling like people assume I support that Orange Asswipe. I feel like this is the worst case since Hitler’s mustache.

No, you’re fine. Go ahead and wear the beer hat (although not in the outfield if you don’t want to). If someone is too stupid to READ the hat, they’re probably voting for Trump anyway.

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By the way, the only thing that looks more ridiculous than Trump’s hair is when he decides to cover it with one of those hats. You can tell he doesn’t want to pull down the hat too far and ruin his weave, so it just sits on top of his head… a strange and futile attempt to stave off hat head. Why even bother? Just put MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN on your tie or something and leave the hair alone.

Thomas:

Would you rather have Steph Curry’s shooting ability or Zach LaVine’s dunking powers? All other aspects of your game remain the same. For me, this isn’t a debate. It’s LaVine.

Oof. You know, normally, I would want the useless dunking power. I swear it would never get old for me. I would quit my job and just spend all day throwing down monster jams. I would show up at playgrounds unannounced and hustle local teens into betting five bucks against my dunking prowess, and then ruin their shit with a 360 tomahawk thunder clap. I wouldn’t work on any other part of my game, ever. I would dunk all day and then put DUNKN on my license plate to let people know about my powers.

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That said, Curry may be the first player to make me question that choice. Like, dunking is awesome, but a lot of other players can do it. Curry’s insanely fast shooting motion and his ability to nail shots from the locker room is inimitable. It’s almost enough to make me wanna forgo dunking like a god. Imagine how many HOT LADIES you could impress with those skillz. RONI ROSE LOVES THE LONG SHOT, PEOPLE.

But I’m still taking the dunkage. I’d kick myself if I ever turned that down.

J:

With The GOAT Muhammad Ali gone… Does (Crying) MJ have the Most Famous Person Alive Title?

No, because I think Obama and The Pope both have Jordan beat. I just think the Presidency and the Papacy come with certain built-in advantages that are difficult for a retired athlete—even the best ever—to overcome. Our own Kevin Draper was considering conducting a poll to see if young TEENS only know about Michael Jordan from the crying meme and not from being, you know, the greatest basketball player who ever lived. But we never did that poll because A) It was a dumb idea and B) I don’t think I really wanted to know the results. Some kid out there has no clue who Jordan is, and I want that kid beaten with a stick. I even cornered my children and explained who Jordan was to them specifically so that they would not grow up as ignorant losers.

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Anyway, I think that Ali died as the most famous man on Earth. When I told my oldest kid he had died, she was like “MUHAMMAD ALI DIED?!” She was stunned. I had no idea she knew who he was. You must just instinctively know about him at birth. Like you’re born, and then the doctor slaps you on the ass and whispers in your ear, “Hello! Muhammad Ali was the Greatest,” and then off you go. There will probably never be an athlete that famous ever again, and there certainly won’t be another athlete that beloved again. Ali didn’t become a global icon because of a 15-point adidas marketing plan.

Andy:

Once the Warriors win back to back NBA Championships this year, their honeymoon with America will be officially over, correct? Draymond Green has already started the heel turn with the series against OKC. Plus as much as America loves historic dynasties, much like travel, dynasties are only glamorous in retrospect.

I think that’s exactly it. I hate all dynasties AS they occur. And then the dynasty goes away and some schmuck team wins it all and I’m like, “Well they’re good, but they’re no DYNASTY.” Unless it’s my team winning, I am never happy with sports in the present.

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Anyway, the goodwill surrounding the Warriors is fading this postseason because of Draymond (obviously), and because of the tech bro fans—I like to deride them all as tech bros even if that’s probably untrue. Doesn’t matter. FUCK THOSE TECH BROS.—and because they’ve made this NBA Finals into a foregone conclusion, which is especially cruel because we’re talking about the city of Cleveland being denied a title here. Poor fucking Cleveland. They steamroll through the Eastern conference while jacking up threes, and then they run into Golden State and they look like the Washington Generals. They look like extras out there. It’s pathetic. So yeah, fuck the Warriors for that. And fuck Kyrie Irving.

HALFTIME!

Matt:

My 3-year-old son has a new favorite hobby. After every bath, he runs into the living room (company be damned) and jumps on his mini trampoline in the nude, watching and giggling as his little donger flops around. This is totally normal, right?

Perfectly acceptable. From the very beginning stages of life, little boys know exactly just how hilarious it is to have a penis. It’s instinct.

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Frankly, I don’t even know how other parents get their kids to wear nice clothes, if any clothes at all. They must dress them at gunpoint. I, on the other hand, am not willing to die on that hill. If the kid wants to go to Sunday brunch wearing a burlap muumuu, that’s a choice he’ll have to live with. Every time I see a child under five in khakis and a tie, I am both baffled and ashamed. This is the main reason we don’t attend church regularly.

David A:

What’s the most annoying thing parents yell at kid’s games? It has to be the ubiquitous “Good eye!” right?

I love “Good eye!” because you’re congratulating your kid for being too much of a coward to actually swing at the ball. “Oh! Oh he didn’t swing! He must have anticipated that fastball missing the corner of the plate. YEAH, THAT’S IT!”

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And then there’s the sister cheer to “Good eye!” which is “Good cut!” You don’t even have to make CONTACT with the ball to get people to yell, “GOOD CUT!” You can just take a big swing and parents will be like, “Good cut! That absolutely would have been a home run if you hadn’t missed it by eight feet!”

Anyway, I’m gonna take your question and expand it to all youth sports. We’re gonna leave out any blatantly abusive shit for this. These are the bland, pointless cheers that people yell out fifty games a game without even realizing it.

1. Shouting your child’s name. This is what I do at games, mostly so that the child knows I am still there and that I didn’t sneak out to the hallway to check my phone or buy gummi bears. You will learn to hate the name of every other child present.

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2. “Pass it!” They never do this. They dribble the ball for a bit, and then they lose it, and then we all go home with the game a scoreless tie.

3. “That’s okay!” This is what parents cry out anytime their child fails. Oh, the other team scored? THAT’S OKAY! You fell? THAT’S OKAY! You missed the tying free throw? THAT’S TOTALLY OKAY. You didn’t shatter daddy’s dreams at all by whiffing on that meatball pitch!

4. “Good job!” I’ll refer you to JK Simmons on this.

5. “Look alive!” One thing you’ll notice about youth sports is that the children usually pay less attention to what’s going on than you do. You gotta scream out to the kid to pay attention so that he’ll look up just before getting a goal kick to the face.

6. “Get back!” Again, they never do this.

Shaun:

Is it acceptable for adults with no kids to voluntarily go to the zoo and enjoy it? I say no, those people are assholes.

It’s fine, especially if you’re talking about a zoo that’s in the middle of a city park. Sometimes there’s nothing to do, so you go look at elephants pooping for an hour. Perfectly acceptable way to kill time. Ever have a zoo date? That’s a solid date option. It lets the girl know that you are a fun and spontaneous person who enjoys the company of large, confined animals. And the musk in the gorilla cage? PURE SEX. The zoo is always a decent backup date option.

CJ:

Why aren’t there any serial killers anymore? Gone are the days of Bundy, Son of Sam, the Zodiac Killer, the Nightstalker, Jeffrey Dahmer, etc. Do you think that the mass-shootings that have plagued America have replaced the serial killer?

You’re right to say that serial killers are a dying breed. This study from Radford suggests that there were 25 serial killers operating in the US as of 2014, which is terrifying until you look back and see that, in 1987, there were 172 of them. Holy shit, the 80s were terrifying.

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Anyway, this decline in serial killing coincides with an overall drop in violent crime over the past few years. Also, it’s not so easy to get your serial killing done when everyone knows about serial killers now. I am PRIMED for serial killers. If you kill someone and you got a wispy mustache and cheap glasses, I’m not letting you kill again. I know your deal. Any time there are two murders in a single town, a cop looks up from his paperwork, sips his coffee, and asks out loud, “What if they’re CONNECTED?!” Law enforcement knows much more then they used to about how to identify and prevent serial killings. (Maybe that’s why mass killings are more common now… you take out as many as you can knowing that you’ll be caught). It’s not like in the 1920s or whatever, when your local sheriff would see two people split in half with an axe and laid in a Pentagram and say to everyone, “Well, this is hell of a coincidence!”

By the way, this is all good news. I don’t want serial killers back. That’s a trend I could do without. I remember the seeing police sketch of the Night Stalker back in ‘80s. I didn’t sleep for a week. Just come shoot me in the face, man. Don’t go breaking into my house and scaring the daylights out of me. Some hipster is gonna try to bring it back. He’ll be an artisanal serial killer. He’ll cut people with an antique fish knife and violate them with a bottle of switchel. Then he’ll plant a fern by the body and declare that the killing was sustainable.

Cam:

I don’t get who brings their dog to soccer/baseball/football game etc. guy. I mean, I have a dog. I walk it around the neighborhood. I would never take it to my kid’s game. Is this just an attention grab?

Of course it is. Half the reason people own dogs is that that they can take the dog out and have other people tell them what a cute dog they have. (This also happens with children but is nowhere near as successful.)

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I’m fine with dog days at the park because clubs confine the dogs to a single section. You can’t just trot Fido out to the 700 level and have him sniffing beers all around. They manage it correctly. Plus, it’s baseball. It’s slow. Petting a dog makes for a good diversion. It’s not like bringing a dog to a hockey game. If you brought a dog to hockey game, no one would see any of the goals scored. I think outfielders should be allowed to have dogs with them on the field. No hats. More dogs.

My only concern about bringing your dog to a baseball game is that the dog will get overheated. I always feel bad for hot dogs. The dog just sits there, bathed in his sweaty fur, with his tongue falling out of his head. That poor bastard. Someone get that dog a dish of ice-cold Miller Lite.

Matt:

What is the age at which a person is best at driving? I’d say somewhere around the mid-30s when parents start going batshit crazy over their child’s safety.

I can’t agree with that. I live in a soccer mom area, and they drive like crazy people. Not only do they toot around in SUVs that are more heavily fortified than a Mad Max car, but they got four screaming kids in the back and will run you over if it means getting them out of the car a tenth of a second faster. Also, there’s no telling when your kid will launch a water bottle at you from the backseat, and that can cause problems on the road.

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I think you’re a better driver right BEFORE parenthood, especially if you’re pregnant or married to a pregnant person. If I’m driving a pregnant woman around, I have to keep a steady speed and not make any sudden moves, or else she’ll turn nauseous and then throw up all over the dashboard. So I would say your late 20s are your best driving time, followed by your 50s, then your 30s and 40s, then your teenage years, and then your senior citizen years, when you drive like a crazy person because you don’t really care anymore if you live or die.

Marc:

I love eating pepperoni slices as a snack. But I could eat the whole goddamn bag in one sitting. I like taking an inch thick stack at a time. I’ll die soon, right? It’s worth it though I think. Agree?

Agreed. One bag of pepperoni is one serving. Sometimes I buy the turkey pepperoni to trick myself into thinking I’ve done my body a favor. But I already know I’m giving myself colo-rectal cancer by age 42. I have no regrets. That pepperoni stack tastes like a million dollars. It’s the Pringles stack of meats.

David:

How long do you need to know someone before you are allowed to give them a nickname? I have a new co-worker that started about a week ago. Before we even exchanged low-level sports banter he started calling me Dave-O. I hate this. Is this guy being too familiar with me or have I become an old biddy?

No, fuck that guy. You can’t just hang a nickname on someone you barely know, especially if it’s one as lame as Dave-O. A nickname should arise organically. Like, one time, I was in the school cafeteria, and some friends dared me to eat an entire jalapeno. So I did, and then I turned red and threw up all over the dining hall. After that, they called me Jalapeno. That’s the natural way of going about moniker distribution. Only army sergeants and Rex Ryan are allowed to nickname you the day they meet you. “From now on, your nickname is TURDLICK!”

Byron:

I’ve been wondering this since the early 2000's, when Dusty Baker managed my beloved Giants: Why does he, a manager, wear two massive forearm wristbands with his uniform every game?! They don’t appear to have plays on them (a la QB-style wristbands that are coming into favor in college baseball), and they don’t appear to be heavily branded, like for a sponsor. What’s the deal?

He says it’s to keep his hands free of sweat, the way James Hetfield uses them (OH YEAH!), but a friend of his says he does it because he likes to pretend he’s still playing. And you know what? I support his delusion. If I were a retired baseball player, I’d probably be buried in my uniform. I’d be like Miss Havisham in Great Expectations, just sitting in a parlor in my baseball spikes, ready to go back into the game at any time. I’d never let go. I would die alone and crazy and eternally stuck in the past, and it would be AWESOME.

Email of the week!

Tim:

Last year, towards the end of my freshman year of college, I went into the dorm bathroom to take your average shit. A little less than half way through the process, the kid that lives next door to me walks in. Now this kid had the worst diet I have ever seen, and he dropped the WORST smelling shits I’ve ever experienced. There were times throughout the year where I left mid-shit because he stunk up the bathroom so bad. In hindsight, this should have been one of those times.

I am peacefully going about my business in the third stall, when I see him walk into the first stall. He does his thing pretty quickly, then leaves. Suddenly I hear what sounds like the sink start running. I was very confused because I thought I heard him leave, and I didn’t see anyone else in the bathroom. Within seconds, poop-infested toilet water begins flowing into my stall and I had to take the remainder of my shit with my feet held in the air. I waited for the water to drain and eventually got a look at the damage he did to that toilet. It was actually impressive that he did so much in such a short period of time.

Arrest that man.

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