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Fuck The Possession Arrow

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FunbagTime for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag.

Before we begin, a brief CORRECTION. Last week I defended the practice of baseball teams fucking around in spring training and inviting the likes of Russell Wilson to take a few stunt at bats. In light of Chris Berman “managing” a game for the Giants this past weekend, I have changed my mind. Spring training stunts are shitty and evil, and I do not condone them. I RENOUNCE SEEING BERMAN IN A FULL BASEBALL UNIFORM.

Your letters:


Is there a rule, in ALL OF SPORTS, worse than the college basketball possession arrow? No. No is the answer.


It’s the worst. I hate it. The possession arrow ALWAYS goes to Duke. You and I know this intimately. I have never seen a possession arrow not go in favor of Duke. Duke is like fucking True North for that thing.

If they came up with the possession arrow just to account for potential height disparities, well then they need to find some NEW way to face off for possession of the ball. You could do an XFL-style race to the ball. You could have players play rock-paper-scissors for it. Or see how long each dude can spin the ball on his finger! Just give me SOME sort of tossup alternative that does not involve the ref pointing to the asshole scoring table and consulting a big stupid arrow. Oh, it’s Duke ball? What a fucking surprise.


College basketball has so many issues right now. The programs are all hilariously corrupt. The coaches are deranged oligarchs. The shooting is fucking god awful. And yet, all the NCAA has done about this is budge up the shot clock by five measly seconds. They need to do more. I want a four-point line, I want Wisconsin banned from the sport, and I want the possession arrow replaced with arm wrestling. INSTANT IMPROVEMENT.

I don’t even like the arrow in my nine-year-old’s intramural league. If you make a great hustle play and tie up some clumsy-ass dribbler, you’ve earned the right to jump for that goddamn ball. I don’t care if you’re playing against the ringer team from Bruiser Elemantary that is mysteriously stocked with boys who already have hair on their nuts. I say let my kid jump for the ball and get his shit wrecked. It’s the ethical thing to do.



I was watching the tube the other day and it appears the good folks at the Prego spaghetti sauce company have a new slogan. “Love the splatter.” What the hell were these people thinking?


Yeah what was wrong with “IT’S-A IN THERE!”? I grew up on shitty daytime TV and Prego ads featuring a goomba voiceover going, “Garlic? EET’S EEN THERE! A-PREGO MAMA MIA!” They’d always have this closeup on a rustic wooden spoon scooping up the sauce to prove to you, the consumer, that this was indeed tomato sauce. We still bought Ragu anyway.

But it’s still fundamentally stupid to use spatter as the selling point for your terrible jarred pasta sauce. I already know that, if I get tomato sauce up to a simmer, and then I take the lid off the pot to check in on it, the sauce will attack me and bukkake my shirt in flecks of lycopene. I don’t want to be reminded of that when I shop. How about you invent a sauce* that doesn’t spatter instead? Then you’d be onto something. I could wear 50 pounds of tactical gear and a Kevlar apron and I’d still find a way to get tomato sauce on my undies when I heat it up. It’s unfortunate.


*Don’t tell the Italian crew of the Deadspin staff this but I think using a quality jarred pasta sauce like Victoria or Rao’s is fine. I’ve made my own sauce and it’s good, but sometimes there isn’t time for that shit. I’ll eat Victoria sauce right out of the jar.


Let’s say the Pee Pee Tape is leaked (LOL) to the media and it clearly shows Donald Trump commanding Russian prostitutes to play watersports on the bed where the Obamas slept. Does it honestly have any effect on Trump and the Presidency? The tape of him admitting to sexual assault did nothing, why expect different from the alleged Pee Pee Tape?


Yeah, he can just say it’s fake and have a solid third of the nation believe him, because that’s just how things are now. That 35 percent of the country lives in an alternate news dimension where they’d believe Fusion GPS supplied the urine to Hillary and the voice on the tape is actually Obama doing his best Trump impression in order to frame him. TOTAL SETUP! IMPRISON?! Everything can be faked now, which means that everything can also be CALLED fake, and that doubt can be technically reasonable even when the evidence is verified.

I do think it changes a bit if Trump is actually ON the tape, and not just somewhere off camera providing background commentary. Like if he’s sitting there in the corner, cackling with Kirill from Eastern Promises and going, “These girls are doing a GREAT GREAT JOB of soiling that bed”), that would probably get some negative coverage. This is because it’s possible that the girls involved are underage, and because video has a way of eliciting a public reaction that words do not. I know we’re already long past the point where Trump’s fuckups SHOULD have ended him. Instead, Republicans have fully bought into his cult of personality and forgiven virtually all his sins because he has introduced them to a whole new world of horrible shit they can get away with. “You mean we can poison water for babies and still get elected? SWEET!”


This is so, so naïve on my part, but I am still hanging onto the fraying belief that, if Trump is formally charged with some kind of high crime AND the pee tape is presented as evidence, that would result in… something. I’m not saying he’d get run out of office, even though he would very much deserve it. But I have to hang onto the belief that things are cyclical, and that we can somehow survive this goddamn Presidency, and that all of these blows to Trump will eventually do SOME harm to him. That’s really the only thing keeping me going at this point. I know that isn’t how this world works. I know the bad guys often win. I just wanna live long enough to see SOMEONE get cuffed, and watch all of Trump’s assets get frozen, repossessed, and burned to the fucking ground. I don’t think that’s a lot to ask.


Would you rather sleep on a bed stained with a modest amount of dried blood or dried semen? For the record I’m not planning on doing either…


And it’s not my own? Probably the blood. If there’s semen there, I’d just end up picturing HOW it got there, you know? It clearly came from a penis, likely a hairy one. A big hairy penis attached to a big hairy weirdo who decided to use the hotel bedding to wipe himself off rather than walk five feet to the bathroom to grab a tissue. What a sick bastard. Much better to pretend my hotel bed was the scene of a horrific murder.

Ever wake up with blood on your sheets? Like, when a scab comes off by accident when you sleep and there’s a splotch of dried blood on the pillowcase? I immediately turn into a CSI forensic investigator when that happens. “The pattern of blood here would indicate that this was a NONFATAL wound. Possibly a shaving cut.” I secretly relish cracking the mystery. “Oh! Oh it was my surgical tape leaking! Well, I’ll be.” Blood is really intriguing in ways that semen is not. There’s no mystery as to how semen gets in places.



Is it possible that we overrate the aisle seat on an airplane? It’s much closer in status to the peasant middle seat than it is to the throne that is the window seat (I guess it’s closer literally, too). Yes, the theory of extra legroom is nice, but it’s not like you can actually leave your legs in the aisle all flight. It’s inevitable that some four-eyed booger-eater, sprinting for the LAVATORY mid-flight, will break his arm tripping over your Keds. And how many flight attendants have to drill me in the shoulder with the drink cart before I start getting comp’d free Bloody Marys.


There’s also the fact that a lot of airlines board aisle seats LAST. If you travel alone and in aisle seat, as I usually when I travel for work, you’re gonna end up in a Zone 56(h) of the boarding process. Your carryon bag will be seized and burned in front of you.

That said, I still almost always spring for the aisle seat because I have a weak bladder AND a bad back. I need a clear pathway to the toilet so that I can pee, and also potentially steal a moment in the back galley, stretching my arms and listening to the attendants gossip before they kick my ass out (sometimes they’re nice and give me a water on the way back to my seat, which makes me feel like a true galley insider).


That’s important on long flights, because the middle seat is obviously terrible, and because the window seat is only cozy in theory. In reality, the fuselage of the plane bends in such a way that there’s not quite enough room for my left foot in a window seat. There’s a noticeable bump on the side, and that’s enough to RUIN me on flights. I’m not some young buck who can knot himself into a window seat and then sleep like a rock for three straight hours. I feel every imperfection of the seat every second I’m sitting in it. I should really drink on flights more.

So, to answer your question, the aisle seat remains the lesser of three evils. If it’s a super quick flight and I just want to get off the plane fast, I might suck it up and take a middle seat that’s 15-20 rows up from the next available aisle seat. But otherwise, I’m sticking with the aisle. It’s the only decent option for oversized humans like myself.



Why do chicken wings cost SO MUCH? Ostensibly, they’re a throw-away item. Is the price of these things ($1 each!?) so high because: 1 - The sauce is expensive 2 - It is costly and time consuming to obtain said wings or 3 - Because fuck you, they can be.


The last one. Wings are like movie theater popcorn, where a business takes the bulk of its profit margin from selling you cheap foodstuffs at a substantial markup. And you’ll pay it. Of course you will. If you’re rolling into a sports bar and you got chicken wings on your mind, well then BIG CHAIN RESTAURANT has you right where they want you. You’re not gonna NOT order the wings just because they cost $12. Wings are also, by far, the safest and most popular order on virtually any menu. Even when a restaurant fucks up a wing, they’re still pretty edible. So they can jack up the price on it a little because it’s still a better play for you to order them, rather than order some $18 mystery fish taco. That always ends badly.

I took my kid to a Wizards game two weeks ago and, before the game, I took him to a restaurant nearby to grab dinner. This was a PJ Clarke’s-type joint where you can get basic bar food and it’s, like, 35 percent nicer than what you’d get at a Chili’s but also 50 percent more expensive. It was the kind of place assholes in suits go to eat a classy burger. The menu was roughly 35 pages. We’re talking about a doorstop here. It was like a Cheesecake Factory menu. Overwhelmed with options, I said FUCK IT and had a dozen wings for dinner. It was the smartest decision I’ve made in ages. I was licking the plate clean and ordering my second Bulleit Rye by the time my son was on his third French fry. The Wizards lost by 24. It was a quality night of dadding. Even when they’re overpriced, you rarely regret a wing.




Why do zombies only want to eat non-zombie people? Wouldn’t it be easier to eat each other first?


Because zombie flesh is already dead and tastes bad. The zombies need fresh, live flesh to satisfy their primal appetites. That’s just biology right there. Everyone knows this. Would YOU eat zombie meat over regular person meat? You would not.

By the way, if you’re still watching The Walking Dead, you have my permission to bail. It’s okay. No one will judge you for it. I bailed when they were still stuck on that farm (this stretch lasted from season 2 through season 26), and I regret NOTHING. In fact, it’s an active joy to bail on a bad show and watch with sadistic glee as a bunch of poor bastards keep slogging their way through it. Try it!



Ever notice people are always like “Wanna feel old? Such and such movie/show/album/song came out 20 years ago!” “When you think 1998 was 10 years ago but it’s actually 20” or “if Back to the Future came out today, Marty would travel to 1988.” Has this always happened throughout time, or have we all experienced some weird time perception thing that happened as a result of a 1900s/2000s century transition?


I think it’s just an easy way for the Buzzfeeds of the universe to connect with a certain audience. Everyone my age saw Back to the Future and liked it. So when Buzzfeed does some shit like, “Hey, remember when you were a CHILD?!” I instinctively react like, “Oh yeah! Oh wow, these guys were kids back then too!” It’s the same reason network sports producers will toss up some graphic that drives home how long Tom Brady has been in the NFL. “When Brady was a rookie, The Partridge Family had a No. 1 hit!”

The funny thing is that those gimmicks are usually wrong. If anything, old shit feels even OLDER now to me because of the speed of culture. Since the news cycle is so fast, and since there are so many more entertainment options now than there used to be, certain cultural artifacts end up feeling more distant than they actually are. Like, remember when Trump threatened the Pope? That was just two years ago. But because so much awful shit has happened since then, it feels like generations have passed. I go to sleep at 10 p.m. at night and sometimes when I wake up it’s like an entire year’s worth of news has happened in the interim.


The culture is packed tight now. The Internet doesn’t pause for a breath. It’s just a neverending deluge of SHIT. When I was a kid, there was no internet and like, only three good movies a year. Those were big stretches of empty space in between happenings, which I filled by watching ads for Prego pasta sauce. The more shit happens, the more time seems to pass.

So when you tell me Titanic was 20 years ago, I feels like 40 to me. Think of all the stupid crap I’ve watched and read since then! I’ve really lived it up. If anything, I should feel much older than I actually am. Neat!



When throwing out certain pieces of garbage (water bottles, crumpled up paper, etc.) is it worse to under-throw the basket or overthrow?


It’s worse to overthrow, because that means I have to walk farther. Why do I throw things into the garbage from afar? Yes I do it because I enjoy being sporty and pretending I’m Vernon Maxwell nailing buckets from six blocks away, but the real reason I do it is that I don’t have to GET UP and walk over to the garbage to dispose of my refuse, because that’s hard. So even though under-throwing the basket makes me look pathetic and weak, at least I don’t have to walk five extra steps to pick up my burrito wrapper and ceremonially dunk it at point blank range. In the game of office basketball, whoever moves the least wins.


Who is/was more hated? Brady’s Patriots or Lebron/Wade’s Heat? As a Heat fan since their inception when I was 7, I recognize my bias, as I have chosen to forget how much the world hated my team after Lebron’s Decision. But still, they can’t have been more hated than these fucking Patriot shitbags, right?


Yeah, no way. The Patriots are hated more, and they’ve been hated for far longer. The Heat were despised for just two years. Everyone took a dump on them when they lost to the Mavs, and then they beat the Thunder and it was like, “Okay, LeBron probably made the right move to go down there,” and then LeBron left after the next title and now everyone has gone back to not giving a shit about the Heat. The Heat weren’t CONTINUOUSLY despicable the way the Pats are.

And don’t forget about the fan element. Like, the only annoying Heat fans I can think of are bandwagoning eight-year-olds (like former Deadspinner Rohan Nadkarni), and this lady…


They have NOTHING on Pats fans, who have put real time and work into the being the absolute worst. If you could take away all of the Pats titles or all of the Heat’s titles, which team would you pick? It’s not even a question. In fact, history has borne out that LeBron’s Heat were treated unfairly, including by me. Apart from the horrid refereeing in the Mavs series that made me everyone want to take a shit in David Stern’s coffee, that was a likeable, fun Miami team. I have regrets.


One more thing: Throughout LeBron’s career, it seems like he’s always stuck on a team that has one or two other stars, and then a bunch of fucking dreck to fill out the roster. For once, it would be nice to watch him play on a team that has more depth than the Cleveland Browns receiving corps.


Now that we watched three of Jeff Fisher’s failed quarterbacks tear it up this year it makes me wonder: is Steve McNair actually one of the greatest ever? He went to three Pro Bowls with Fisher coaching! In adjusted Fisher terms that’s like 10 MVPs.


Possibly! One of my oldest hot takes is that Steve McNair wasn’t all that great. I spent the majority of McNair’s career waiting for him to absolutely blow the fuck up, and he never did. He never threw more than 24 TDs in a season. He turned the ball over a lot. He rarely made his wideouts better than they were. I was promised Air McNair but only ever got flashes.

In retrospect, Fisher clearly had a lot to do with this, because he kept McNair in dry dock for two years and then demanded he be a caretaker QB for the rest of his existence. Jeff Fisher was pathologically terrified of letting quarterbacks do ANYTHING. It is the most damnable coaching legacy I’ve seen in a very long time. Over a span of two decades, this man managed to preside over nothing but lumbering, PROFOUNDLY unexciting offenses.


So yes, maybe McNair could have become an All-World dynamo if he had simply had better coaching. Maybe he would have fulfilled the potential he showed at Alcorn State and become a lethal quarterback piling up Madden stats in every NFL game. Then again, that guy had a lot going on, you know what I mean?


I run our office bracket pool. A guy always enters a bracket for him and one his family member does. However, guy no longer works here. Not only does he no longer work here, but he was asked to resign due to some shady stuff with his ability to manage, shortages/stealing, etc. He still works in town, at a rival business within our industry and has hired several of our good staff members away to go work over at his place. He just left me a voicemail asking to get into our bracket pool again. I’m well within my rights to tell him (politely or not) to buzz off, right? Do most places allow outsiders into their pools?


Since you run the pool, you get to decide who can and can’t join. I think the standard protocol is that everyone is welcome because A) It drives up the pot and B) People are lame and sometimes just getting them to join a stupid office pool is like pulling teeth, so you can take any eager participants that you can.

So normally, I would tell you to let the fucker join, if only so you can watch him lose his money to your HR director’s five-year-old nephew. But if he’s an actual white collar criminal, and you’ve already got a decent-sized pool, then I say don’t bother replying. This is not a democracy. This is an office pool, and YOU are the Supreme Leader. Bask in the power.



Do you think Rey, Finn or Kylo Ren have ever had sex? Not necessarily with each other, but in general.


Yes. The Star Wars movies are supremely chaste, which is fine. I don’t need a gritty, R-rated Star Wars where they show full tauntaun insertion. But off camera? They fuck. There’s a star war going on, man. You gotta release that tension somehow. Kylo Ren definitely fucks the help. Then he probably asks them to stay the night so he can talk to them, and then they gotta find a way to politely leave the space boudoir so they can go hang back at the Star Destroyer bar.

Email of the week!


Every day in our sad little cafeteria at work, I see this 50-something guy eating a bowl of cereal and a dessert for lunch. That’s it: cereal and dessert. No sandwich or leftovers from home or anything else from the cafeteria. The only variation is the brand of cereal and the type of dessert. Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Apple Pie. Life and a slice of red velvet cake. Some of the pairings even make an odd kind of culinary sense (Lucky Charms and pumpkin pie, for example). I’m torn... part of me feels sorry for the guy because that’s a pretty pathetic meal, and yet my inner nine-year-old kind of envies him because if I could get away with it I’d eat sugary garbage cereal nonstop. Is he a weird kind of genius, or has he just given up? Why would a grown man do that to himself? EVERY DAY?


I respect the move. Cereal and pie works for this man, so who am I to question it? I usually look down on unadventurous eaters, but office lunches are a different kind of thing. If you have a certain meal routine that gets you through the work day, and it works with your budget, I’m not gonna judge. I used to bring a turkey sandwich to the office with a bag of chips and a Coke Zero. That sad little sandwich was always my oasis in the middle of writing shitty legal copy. I kept it in my work bag so that it would be soft and lukewarm by midday, which is fucking weird but that was how I liked it.

So I’m down with pie guy. I’m not gonna yuck his yum. Sometimes you deserve a big honking slice of black forest cake at 12:30 p.m.

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About the author

Drew Magary

Drew Magary is a Deadspin columnist and columnist for GEN magazine. You can buy Drew's second novel, The Hike, through here.