Illustration: Elena Scotti (GMG)
FunbagTime for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? [Email the Funbag](mailto:funbag.deadspin@gmail.com).   

This week we’re talking about Notre Dame, New Year’s resolutions, whether you too can be a Football Man, and of course, Mitsubishi. 

Our colleague Drew Magary is still recovering, so this week’s Funbag will be hosted by us, a couple of Real Car Guys: Patrick George and Michael Ballaban of Jalopnik. Please do keep sending Deadspin all your beautiful questions.

Advertisement

Now then: It’s the Sports Time!

Ken:

Question 1. Patrick, do you feel any remorse over what you’ve done, you goddamn Texan thieving piece of trash?

Question 2. Ballaban, stab him before he steals your hockey team for Houston.

Question 3. How fucking dare you get the 2020 Winter Classic? Have you no decency?

Question 4. Seriously Ballaban, stop him before it is too late.

Patrick George: Fuck no. History will absolve me. Future generations will realize that I was merely liberating those MTA buses, not “stealing” them, and that I was justified in doing so every time the F train was bad on weekends.

Advertisement

Oh wait, is this some kind of hockey thing?

Michael Ballaban: I’m not even sure there’s a question in here, but I’m glad that this terrible sporpsball blog will finally focus on the greatest game humanity has ever created, some old-time HUKKEY.

And of course, that clearly means there’s some old-time whining about the NHL’s vaunted “Southern Strategy,” which, whatever. I think we’ve finally reached some equilibrium there. No, there will never be a team in Quebec City ever again (when was the last time you ever heard of Quebec City? Montreal is a far-off and exotic land, and you want me to drive three hours NORTH of that? Get outta here it doesn’t exist), but there won’t ever be a team in Atlanta, either. Fine. Whatever.

Advertisement

And with the Dallas Stars in total meltdown mode, complete with the CEO phoning media outlets himself out of the blue to call his own players “fucking horseshit,” it’ll be many many decades before we see a team in Houston. So whatever there, too.

But if we’re just talking about the idea of bringing an outdoor hockey game to the Cotton Bowl? Well then I am IN. You kidding me? While the NHL somehow got outdoor ice to work in Los Angeles a few years ago, outdoor ice in general is an absolute crapshoot. It can be anywhere from perfect to a cruel arbiter of pure chaos, with pucks flying in bizarre directions and knees exploding left and right. That’s the sort of entertainment you don’t normally get from a Dallas Stars game, especially with its two most prominent players being fucking horseshit.

Yeah, they’ll probably turn it around by next year, but I refuse to stop this.

Jeff:

I’ve recently noticed that while I’m filling my tank at gas stations, more and more people are pumping their gas with their cars still running. I had thought this was a big no-no and that there was potential for a spark and massive explosion. This is what we were taught in driver’s ed, right? I get that it’s cold (I live in Michigan) and people want to keep their car warm, but isn’t this dangerous? I’ve looked for instructions or stickers at the pump indicating that you should turn off your car while refueling, but I can’t find any (though I still see the no smoking signs). Was the chance of explosion an urban myth? Have gas tanks or engines been changed to be idiot proof? Or should I fear a fiery end the next time I fill the tank? Please help!

Advertisement

PG: Let me start by saying that as a former crime reporter I’ve seen just about all the ways a person can die, but that’s never been one of them. The only gas fill-up explosions I’m aware of are when people do stupid shit like this, or when a Lamborghini or Ferrari catch fire. And that’s supposed to happen on those cars. You want them to catch fire. It’s part of the authentic high-end exotic ownership experience.

I think this is very rare especially on modern cars—old ones can have all kinds of leaks or wiring issues you may not know about—but to be safe I believe you should turn your engine off. How cold can the car get in the two minutes it takes to fill up? And touch the metal of the car to discharge any static electricity. When you aren’t on fire later, you’ll be glad you erred on the side of caution.

Ballaban: Just accept that the explosion of your car is inevitable, and embrace fiery death.

Advertisement

Alex:

I put “sports questions” in the subject line to try and fool spam detection.

Why do you think the Mitsubishi Lancer didn’t catch on as well as the Subaru WRX? The Lancer Evolutions and Sportbacks still hold up stylistically even if they look a little Fast & Furious.

Anyway, have fun talking to Gritty or whatever it is the Deadspin guys do.

PG: I love that you think our daddy, Univision, is investing any sort of resources into things like spam detection.

Advertisement

As for your question: It’s because Mitsubishi is a jamoke-ass company that never, ever has its shit together. We’re talking about an automaker that had a gigantic clusterfuck fuel economy cheating scandal in Japan not with some sophisticated, top secret high-tech engineering trickery like Volkswagen, but by over-inflating their tires for better results. That was it! And they still got caught! Carlos Ghosn had to step in and save their ass, but now he’s maybe going to prison. They’re especially fucked now. When Elon Musk starts dating Lindsay Lohan later this year and she introduces him to cocaine, he’ll get annihilated on the white stuff and then announce he’s buying out Mitsubishi in a tweet that gets him sued by the SEC again.

The Lancer Evo was and is a kickass car, though always the slightly more hard-edged choice over the WRX STI—which is really saying something because even the stock suspension on a WRX STI does to your spine what a root canal does to your face. But the real problem is that to attract The Youths, Mitsubishi had this bad habit in the ’90s and 2000s of financing anyone who walked into a dealership and had a pulse. Needless to say this bit them in the ass later, so now they’re too broke to do anything rad like the Evo again, even if Elon shows up. I legit don’t know why any American car dealers still put up with them unless they’re all somehow tax dodges or fronts for the mob.

Anyway, the Evo will probably come back as a hybrid seven-seat crossover, and all of us who saw 2 Fast 2 Furious on opening night can drink paint thinner together to celebrate. At least we have the Honda Civic Type R in America now.

Advertisement

Gritty sends his regards.

Ballaban: On the extremely rare occasion that I see a new Mitsubishi on the road, I’m always like “holy shit, a new Mitsubishi,” both because I need to be reminded that it still exists, and because I am shocked that anyone would buy one. There’s literally zero reason to buy one in a world where you can just get whatever equivalent Honda or Toyota and it’s fine and you know they’re not completely pulling out of the American market in the next five or ten years.

The Lancer Evolution, specifically, didn’t catch on as well as the WRX because Mitsubishi gave up on it. You can see that in big ways, mostly in that Mitsubishi doesn’t make it anymore, but in smaller ways, such as Mitsubishi basically selling a car from 2007 right up until the car’s demise in 2016. There was the VIII and IX in quick order before that, but Evo X lingered on a long-ass time until it was irrelevant.

Advertisement

(For those unfamiliar with the cars and just stumbling upon today’s Jalopnik-edition FUNBAG, first and foremost let me say hi, hello, welcome, and I’m sorry; and also that selling a car that’s essentially untouched for nine years is definitively weird.)

Mitsubishi used to sell fun, interesting cars like the Montero, Eclipse, 3000GT and Lancer Evolution. Now it sells cars that are like Hondas and Toyotas and Nissans in every way, except slightly worse. It will probably die in the U.S. soon.

Jake:

I’m 25, so I’ve never seen Notre Dame win a national championship. I’ve only ever known them as a middling team with an inexplicable fan base. How much of their fan base is because of their name? “Fighting Irish” is the perfect moniker for my drunk and racist relatives (most of whom have never been to Indiana) to get behind. Would Notre Dame be the economic power house it is if they were called “The Lions”?

Advertisement

PG: Notre Dame is pointless, yes. I also have never understood the appeal of this school or its football team. Hell, I didn’t even know the school was in Indiana until I was in, like, my late 20s. I thought it was in Boston, same as the rest of America’s worst white people, usually the ones seen sporting those horrific Fighting Irish stickers on the back windows of their Chevy Cavaliers.

When was the last time they won a championship? 1988? Shit, that makes me feel good about being a Texas fan, something that I couldn’t even safely talk about in public until about a week ago.

It’s not the name or the mascot, though—the school owes so much misplaced prestige and mythology to a football movie where the main character is bad at football. Like Rudy, and the Catholic Church as an institution just to be safe, Notre Dame probably shouldn’t be a thing anymore.

Advertisement

In fact, Notre Dame is canceled for 2019. It’s time. You heard it here first, on Deadspin.com. This is the official stance of this sports blog now. Please send any thoughts on this matter to Megan Greenwell.

Ballaban: The ENTIRETY of Notre Dame’s fanbase is down to it being called “the Fighting Irish.” You kidding me? The Whites love a good ethnic stereotype, especially if it involves a fighty Irishman (anything you’re reading into it about hurtful notions involving the Irish and alcohol are on you, bud, not me, I didn’t say that, that’s on YOU), and “fighty Irishman” is the last stereotypes the Whites will ever have left. Hell, the Italians can’t even claim Columbus anymore, since everyone knows what a piece of shit he was now.

Without the “Fighting Irish” moniker, Notre Dame would be exposed for what it is. It would just be another middling school in the Big East that never wins anything and nobody cares about and has no reason to care about. It would be Rutgers.

Advertisement

Can you remember the last time Rutgers even existed? YOU CANNOT.

Go Notre Dame Lions.

HALFTIME!

Miles:

I’m an above average 6'2 180 pound 29 year old male. If I was put in as a running back on 1st and goal from the 1 and given the ball (up to) four straight times what are the odds I score a touchdown given NFL talent everywhere else on the field?

Advertisement

PG: It’s good to have a healthy fantasy about how good you are at sports, like how I feel like I could at least keep up with a couple of these spoiled petrostate billionaire teens who dominate Formula One in a go-karting race. But let’s break this down and look at some of the best running backs in the game right now:

Le’Veon Bell: 6-foot-1, 225 pounds

Ezekiel Elliott: 6-foot-0, 225 pounds

Todd Gurley: 6-foot-1, 231 pounds

David Johnson: 6-foot-1, 225 pounds

What I’m saying is all these dudes outweigh you by a good 40 to 50 pounds, so no, I do not think you have anywhere close to the bulk needed to break through a defensive line if needed. You would probably be dismembered instead. Sorry.

Advertisement

If you don’t believe me, march to your nearest local National Football League (NFL) stadium, loudly proclaim: “I am the one true Football Man! Permit me to play!” and then demand to be put in.

It’s basically what Rudy did, and look where that shit got him.

Ballaban: You will not score that touchdown. Never. Ever. Never ever never never ever. At 29 not only are you too old and decrepit to be beginning your NFL career, but it’s nearly impossible to overstate the ability of your average NFL defensive back or lineman compared to even the above-average 6-foot-2, 180-pound 29-year-old male. The average defensive tackle alone is 6-foot-3 and over 300 pounds. That is a lot of man to run through right there, and there’s more than one of them. Even the backs are monstrous and huge compared to a normal human being. And unless you are running marathons at the gym, these professionals are doing massive amounts of work just to make sure they can play the entirety of a football game. Despite their mass, you will run out of steam before they do.

Advertisement

If you want to know what this would be like, now is as good an opportunity as ever to re-watch kicker Pat McAfee tell the story of that one time he tackled a guy in a game:

McAfee was subsequently drug tested, which the NFL would tell you is random, but that We All Know is because no mere mortal (and an NFL kicker, while still a professional athlete, is as close as you’re going to get to a mere mortal in an NFL game) should ever be able to get through any NFL player.

Advertisement

Keep in mind that McAfee hurled his body so hard that he himself went flying, and just barely managed to take down a guy who was completely not expecting it. This will not be your case.

The only chance you’d have is with some gimmick-y trick play. I’d watch that.

Jake:

Watching a Lakers game, and Lonzo Ball’s free throw percentage is 49%. Shouldn’t every NBA player be extremely proficient at free throws? Is there any applicable gimme in professional sports? There no goalie, no wind, no intangibles. Literally every free throw is a guy, a line and a hoop. Shouldn’t every professional basketball player be perfect at this? These are incredible athletes who train their entire lives to hone a specific set of skills, why are some of them still missing so many free throws when the old man from that GIF has perfected the art?

Advertisement

PG: I don’t think you should be allowed into the National Basketball Association (NBA) unless you can regularly nail, like, 82 percent of free throw shots. I would get my ass beat even harder than Football Man up there if I tried that, but I guaran-fucking-tee you I could sink at 49 percent of my free throw shots in a basketball game. And I’m terrible at basketball. Forty-nine percent isn’t good!

Ballaban: These ARE incredible athletes who train their entire lives to hone a specific set of skills, and that set of skills is not just “play basketball.” It’s to do different things in basketball. Steph Curry will be great at shooting threes, because that is what he has specifically trained himself to do, likely at the expense of awe-inspiring dunks.

The same goes with free throws, even if it is just a guy and a line and a hoop. The Hack-a-Shaq strategy worked because Shaq concentrated all his energies on being the big man in the post, which he was good at, instead of practicing free throws, which he was not. Shaq is still in the Hall. He’s fine. He’s a living testament to the ability of Just Being Very Large above all else, without being perfect at anything.

Advertisement

Michael:

Out of all the sports, why is the NFL the only league that holds its version of an all star game at the end of the season? Would the Pro Bowl be better if it was held Week 9 of the regular season, or should the MLB, NBA and NHL all star games be pushed back until after their respective seasons have concluded? I get that no one likes the Pro Bowl, but how can we be sure those midseason exhibitions actually feature the year’s best players when the whole season hasn’t even been played yet?

Ballaban: Oh, I totally get the NFL’s rationale here. All of these all-star games are pretty irrelevant, so you might as well embrace death and tack it on at the end of the season when nothing matters anyway. If it came in the middle of the season you’d get situations like Alex Ovechkin skipping the festivities altogether.

Advertisement

Which, I get. It’s in the middle of the season, and the players are worried that if they get hurt in a stupid meaningless exhibition game, they’ll be out for the rest of the games that matter. And while you’re off doing all the all star game shit, all your competitors who AREN’T fancy-shmancy “all-stars” are resting. So they come back from the break all rested, and you’re tired and you suck, theoretically.

But if we all embrace death as we should, because none of these all-star games matter, and none of this matters, then it follows that it doesn’t really matter if the year’s best players are in it or not.

In fact, it might be better that way. Just throw Some Guys in the slam dunk competition, see what happens. It worked with Nate Robinson and Spud Webb.

Advertisement

There’s no way this can go wrong.

PG: I can’t say I’ve ever watched any of these end-of-year all star games. There’s no stakes, and stakes are what make sports really fun to watch. These are usually just ratings grabs during quiet TV seasons and—as Mike noted—set up so nobody can get needlessly injured.

Key to what you said is “Nobody likes the Pro Bowl,” so to me the issue is less one of scheduling and more of making the Pro Bowl good and awesome. Maybe the NFL’s best athletes can just play a different sport? I’d pay good money to see Antonio Brown punt Tom Brady into a wall in a NASCAR truck, to watch Cam Newton literally dunk on Drew Brees.

Advertisement

And the sport’s gotta be different every year. One year it’s ice hockey, the other it’s a three-man sack race. Truly the person who can succeed in all of those, and repeatedly, is the greatest athlete of their time. Now you have stakes, my friend. Now you have a game worth watching.

Ryan:

Wouldn’t it make more sense to make a new year’s resolution on your birthday rather than when the calendar year changes? I know there is an obvious marking of a “new year” but it should be your own personal new year as an earthling when you resolve to change or learn things. Who gives a shit what you resolved to do in 2012. It’s when you start hitting or approaching certain age milestones that you should be doing the introspection.

Advertisement

PG: This is a question of accountability, really. Almost everyone likes to set goals for the new year, but I’d say most of us rarely follow through with them. In 2019 I am probably not going to take a screenwriting class, get in better shape, start on a book, go to Japan, and personally restore my old BMW to near-showroom condition. I can tell you that I *am* going to sit on my couch every night trying to get to 100 percent on Metal Gear Solid V.

Everyone can get away with this because everyone does it. But if we had birthday resolutions instead, you, individually, will be singled out once a day each year by your friends, your family and yourself, asking “Did you accomplish all the shit you wanted to last year?” And you know the answer will be no, because we can’t all be astronauts, really.

Keep resolutions for New Year’s, so we can all collectively keep getting away with not accomplishing them.

Advertisement

Ballaban: The ENTIRE POINT of “New Year’s Resolutions” isn’t to make yourself better. It’s to make yourself feel better than other people. I can’t believe I even have to explain this right now. Everyone KNOWS how hard a New Year’s resolution is to keep, which is why it’s so much more impressive for everyone else when you actually do drop 50 pounds in the first two weeks. The convenience of having it start at Jan. 1, rather than on your birthday, is so that everyone has the same starting line, for which to judge yourself by your peers.

Unless you fail. Which you will. In which case you can just blame it on the fact that everyone KNOWS these resolutions are dumb and impossible to keep anyway, and no gives you shit for it.

WIN-WIN.

Richard:

How much does trump know about GoT? He used to be an entertainment tonight junkie so he probably knows of it. I doubt he ever watched it but maybe heard enough to have an aid make a VHS tape of all the topless scenes? I think he has the poster just because it’s a picture of him.

Advertisement

PG: If you haven’t, I encourage you to read The New Yorker’s profile of Mark Burnett, the producer of The Apprentice, and thus a man we have to thank as much as anyone for Trump. It is he who turned Trump from a ne’er-do-well real estate tycoon everyone in New York City roundly and correctly knew to be a fraud, to a national symbol of “business” and “deals” and “success.” But behind the scenes Trump was so clueless and unprepared when it came to his role on the show that producers had to “re-engineer” entire episodes in editing to make it even resemble something coherent. They made “a court jester into a king,” turning his crumbling offices into gilded palaces for the sake of television.

All of this is to say that Trump probably isn’t very good at anything, except stiffing drywall contractors in Atlantic City and shameless self-promotion. I don’t expect he even has interests like television or books, and I highly doubt he could tell you anything about Game of Thrones or the wall, which—as it’s been pointed out repeatedly—didn’t work.

My guess is the wall thing and its terrible metaphor was the work of some fifth-tier White House intern, because everyone else in the administration with anything close to talent has either been fired, quit or indicted.

Advertisement

Ballaban: He knows absolutely nothing about the actual show, and we know this both because he doesn’t have the attention span to follow an entire hour of anything, let alone 50-plus hours of anything, but because he compulsively tweets about everything. He cannot stop. Whenever he gets a minute of Executive Time you know about it because he tweets about whatever detritus has slagged off of Laura Ingraham’s head that day. If he was watching GoT there’s absolutely no way you would NOT hear about it, as you’d see a tweet about how so many people are saying that Joffrey is actually just a tremendous king, the best.

He definitely loves that poster because it has a picture of him on it, though. You just know that whatever mutant flunkie that still works there (Miller?) showed it to him and tried to be like “oh it’s this great show that’s all about a BIG WALL and there’s this prince who doesn’t know he’s a prince and Peter Dinklage is in it giving an absolutely career-defining performance and Emilia Clarke is punching way above her weight but to be honest the writing as a whole has never really achieved the greatness that it peaked with during season four...” and blah blah blah he hasn’t heard any of it. All he knows is WALL and the big picture of himself and that’s enough.

Plus, can you ever imagine him ever sitting down in the White House movie theater with Ivanka and Jared and Barron and Don Jr. and NOT have him start staring at the seven devils all around him? Such a scene is preposterous. You cannot imagine it.

Advertisement

Email of the week!

Dan:

One fine day the topic of the “Real Doll” came up in conversation. If you don’t know what that is, Google is your friend (sorta). Yes, it is what you think - a four-thousand dollar lifelike sex doll - and the website is extremely creepy.

Being happily married and not rich, I can’t imagine being someone who’d buy one of the damn things. But what do you do if you just want to get rid of it?

Throwing a corpse-shaped article in the trash or hauling it to the dump is bound to attract attention. Disposing of it piece by piece might not work so well either. Procrastinating by leaving it in the attic is a no-go, unless you want to leave it for the next person to inhabit your place, or for your relatives to discover after you’re dead. (That sounds awful on many levels. Imagine having it entered as an asset in probate court.) Do you try to sell it? (“Used, but still a good runner?”)

Do you just swallow your pride in this case, and take your ex to the dump?

PG: Take it to Goodwill. Then write an Adequate Man blog about what happens next.

Advertisement

Ballaban: There is no judgment here, Dan, about you and your real doll. This blog is welcoming of all kinds. I’m sure your spouse loves you dearly, and will be totally understanding of your real doll, as they see you dragging its lifeless corpse to a dumpster. However you choose to dispose of it will be fine, I’m sure. There are no problems with this.