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

Joe:

Drew (Or Whomever They’ve Dredged up This Week As a Replacement)

I’ve got one of those weird ass food things I’ve rarely seen anyone else do.

I’ll happy open up a can of Pizza Sauce and eat the whole damn thing with a spoon. It’s always been the only part of a pizza I really cared about and one day I basically just said “the hell with it, I’m eating the damn thing.”

Google is of no help, there doesn’t seem to be some kind of support group out there for me on the internet. I met one other person into the same practice, some random girl I knew in college. She was probably my soul mate and I blew it. At least my wife’s cool with it. I’d have expected most people to have left me over it by now.

Anyways, how messed up is this one?

I’ve been living in Minnesota for 8 years now without caring about the Vikings, but if you can make me feel better about this I’ll convert and be a fan.

Okay, first of all, fuck the Vikings! Drew is dead, I am your captain now, and I say you will root for the Raiders.

Eating pizza sauce straight is not that weird—or it shouldn’t be, anyway. The piece of this that makes you a feral animal is not the spoon, but the fact that pizza sauce shouldn’t come from a can. The jarred stuff tastes so much fresher, but what you really should be doing for actual pizzas is taking literally 10 minutes to whiz up some canned whole tomatoes with salt, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a blender/food processor/immersion blender. It will make way more than you need for one pizza, and you have my full blessing to eat the rest of it with a spoon.

But if you insist on remaining feral and putting shitpaste on your pizza, go ahead and eat it out of the can too. The key distinction here is between an ingredient and a topping. Pizza sauce sits on top of a food, meaning you end up eating a decent amount of it plain anyway, meaning you can eat it even more plain if you’re into that. Olive oil gets cooked or absorbed into things, which means eating it plain is disgusting. This is why eating straight peanut butter is fine, but if I catch you eating straight butter you’ll be evicted from human civilization. Condiments are a slightly confounding third category, but because they’re most often absorbed by bread, you may not eat them plain. Especially mayo, obviously.

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Dave:

I can’t get over how the true believers in the #TheProcess are using this year as evidence that the process was a success - this comment on the Deadspin post summarizing Boston’s elimination of Philly from the playoffs just kills me. Boston is the counter-argument to the process. Both teams were bad in 2013-2014 (first year of full-on process tanking). Boston could have gone full process at that point, but instead they opted to try to be good and have made the playoffs every year since - and they managed to steal a bunch of draft picks from teams like Philly along the way. The team that just eliminated Philly has zero players remaining from 2013-2014 so you can’t argue they were starting with a better base. They now have a ton of young talent, 2 All-Stars that aren’t even playing, and some great draft picks over the next couple years. Isn’t that a better model than the process? Sure, it requires making smart moves and that could be a deal-breaker for most teams... but it just seems like a better way.

I really wanted to answer this question just so I could laugh at the people who fell for an incredibly obvious joke. But even fueled by a series of hilarious texts in which a friend narrated a coworker’s breakdown—“I still don’t get what the Process has done to Deadspin. Even if this is satire, still the worst take I’ve seen. This is why I keep The Ringer as my go-to site”—I couldn’t muster up the energy. The real Process was the souls it destroyed along the way.

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Cameron:

I went to Goodwill this week and walked out with a pretty decent pair of flip-flops. I understand, and agree, that buying used flip-flops is insane/disgusting but is it secretly more crazy to discard perfectly fine flip-flops? It’s not like they take up too much space, they’re dynamic (inside, outside, poolside, etc.), and if you don’t like them then huck them in the trash!

To be perfectly clear, flip-flops are not “dynamic.” They may be worn to the pool, to the beach, in your home, to your dorm-room shower, end list. If you are not walking on sand, you should not be wearing flip-flops in public.

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This goes double for used flip-flops, a concept nearly too disgusting to contemplate. Flip-flops should be purchased, new, for under $5, and discarded the moment they encounter something gross, as whatever it is has surely been absorbed by the rubber and now sits poised to give you any number of incurable infections. (Doctors, don’t @ me.) If they’re intact enough for Goodwill to resell them, Cameron, why did their previous owner get rid of them? Throw away the demon flip-flops, my man.

Dennis:

Imagine some genie/witch/fairy could guarantee your favorite team a championship the next upcoming season, but as a trade-off you couldn’t watch or listen to any of the games or watch any video replays on TV or the internet. Would you do it?

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I am trying to see the argument for accepting this deal, Dennis, but I simply cannot. What would possibly be the point of my team winning without me getting to experience it, from my point of view? It’s not worth bragging about if I haven’t gotten to experience the actual joy. And I sure as hell do not give a shit about granting joy to others! This is an unequivocally bad proposition, and no dissenting opinions will be tolerated.

Ian:

I recently concluded that my personal Hell would be spending an eternity trying to pass a person who’s walking just a little bit slower than myself. This is, by all logic, no worse than a minor inconvenience in my day, but it annoys me to no end. I realize that this is an opinion, and thus varies from person to person, but I also believe some annoyances are universal. What is the worst minor annoyance?

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You’re looking at this all wrong, Ian. Passing a slow walker is one of the best opportunities on God’s green earth to feel smug and morally superior. Sure, it might require an extra couple of steps to the side to get around them while they’re zig-zagging all over the place because they’re texting instead of watching where they’re going, but when you finally pass them your brain lights up like a Christmas tree. “I’m in such good physical shape!” “I’m so busy with all my places I have to be!” “I’m a contributing member of society!”

Today, my nominee for worst minor annoyance is when there’s a hiccup that momentarily pauses the hold music on a customer-service line, and you think you’ve finally escaped the living nightmare that is listening to smooth jazz in anticipation of talking to a woman named Sylvia who will not be able to help you at all, but then the music kicks back up again and you start to fear you’re going to die without ever talking to Sylvia. Here are a few others:

  • The little packet of silica gel that comes in a pill bottle with an opening so small that you can’t pull it out and it obstructs the pills’ exit and you have to go find tweezers just to get your damn pills.
  • Workplace networks that require you to change your password every 60 days and won’t let you use a password you used 16 cycles ago even though you didn’t even remember using it then because your limited brain space finally dumped that one piece of useless information.
  • The stupid white dongle that’s required to use headphones with my phone, which makes no sense in the first place, and which is now breaking after less than a year of use.
  • Ketchup packets are too small! It takes 14 of those suckers for a child-sized fries.
  • Paywalled online publications to which you pay money that won’t save your info so you have to log in anew every time (seriously, New Yorker, 99 bucks a year times 1.2 million people has gotta be enough to solve this issue.)
  • People standing in the back stairwell on a city bus, thus preventing people from exiting through the back door.
  • When perfect strangers try to grab my dog’s tail because it looks like an adorable cinnamon bun and they are overcome with an urge to unfurl it.

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I have to stop there because now I am too mad! So now when Ian makes me think about all the tiny things I hate, thus totally destroying my mood and productivity is my worst minor annoyance, thank you.

HALFTIME!

Jack:

Who is the most irrelevant football team in the NFL? I don’t necessarily mean the worst, because we all love talking about teams like the Browns in the offseason, but the team that you are most likely to forget exists? My choice would have to be the Bengals?

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I think it’s not the Bengals because every once in a while they’ll come out of nowhere to humiliate the Ravens out of a playoff spot or humiliate the Steelers for no particular reason or whatever. And can a QB who looks like a terrifying ginger troll doll ever be truly irrelevant?

There are two correct answers here: the Bucs and the Chargers. The Bucs are number one because they’ve been so uninterestingly bad for so long. Their last five seasons resulted in records of 4-12, 2-14, 6-10, 9-7, and 5-11, and they weren’t even true playoff contenders at the end of that one winning season. They’re also sitting on the second longest playoff drought after the Browns, a team you correctly point out is far too much fun to ever be irrelevant.

The Chargers are a less-obvious candidate for Most Irrelevant because they now play in the second largest market in America, but within L.A. they’re the JV team people barely remember exists. Nobody goes to see them play, nobody cared when they were in the playoff hunt last year, their QB is boring, and their star running back is … fine. No city should have more than one NFL team, and neither L.A. nor Vegas should even get one.

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Erik:

I was thinking the other day about near-misses in the entertainment world. Which almost-happened bit of casting or other personnel decisions (e.g. Elton John being chosen as King Crimson’s vocalist, or David Lynch directing “Return of the Jedi”) would have changed the world as we know it the most?

For my money, the choice would be O.J. Simpson nearly being cast as “The Terminator.”

Think about it. If that had happened, maybe the Juice finds himself on a new path and he never kills Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. Robert Kardashian never becomes a household name and we’re never subjected to his family. Arnold’s career doesn’t reach the same heights, and he never becomes Governor of California, further normalizing grossly-unqualified celebrity politicians.

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The problem with this answer is that The Terminator would have sucked with O.J. instead of Arnold, so the movies wouldn’t have done nearly as well at the box office (turns out the first one was kind of a flop anyway!). So I remain unconvinced that it would have been enough to put him on the path of goodness and light and non-murder. Meanwhile, Conan the Barbarian/Kindergarten Cop/etc. would have been sufficient to get Arnold in with George H.W. Bush, which is really what launched his political career, and Trump didn’t need Arnold’s help to do the Things He Did.

Here’s a theory: Gwyneth Paltrow nearly being cast in Titanic (it’s murky whether she turned it down or was just the runner-up to Kate Winslet). She gets the Oscar nod instead of Winslet, keeps doing prestige films, and now she’s the one racking up six more nominations and thus is never dissatisfied enough to start a company dedicated to making terrible medical advice worth a quarter-billion dollars—and still growing, faster than a jade egg–induced vaginal infection. Goop is almost certainly more responsible than any other single company for the trillion-dollar, largely bullshit “wellness industry,” and James Cameron could have spared us all.

David:

Who are some random athletes (solo or team, any league, any era) that you just like? Players where you think, “That’s my dude,” even for no particular reason. I’ll give you an example: I totally dug Jim Edmonds. Dude just seemed like he was good at everything, he was stoic as hell, and for a while at the end of his career he just like stopped taking a step before swinging and was still hitting off field dingers. Another one for me is Becky Sauerbrun, who’s just so fucking solid on the USWNT and seems like the kind of person you’d call if you ever got your car stuck in a tree or whatever.

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On some level, Edgar Martinez will always be my favorite baseball player. I hated the Mariners; they routinely destroyed my A’s during my formative years. But whereas Griffey haunted my dreams, I could never summon up any antipathy toward Eeeed-gaaaar at all. (“Well, #actually, everyone loved Edgar,” one of you jerks surely will respond; to which I can offer a hearty “Go to hell!”)

The common thread among many of these athletes in anyone’s life, I think, is that they did some cool shit when you were between like 9 and 14 (admittedly, this does not explain both Edmonds and Sauerbrunn unless you’ve been a tween for two decades). This could be one great dunk on Jordan or a season hitting .350 or a penchant for hilarious quotes. Call this the SI for Kids test, unless you’re young enough that you’ve never touched a magazine made from paper. For me, it’s Edgar, Michelle Kwan, Picabo Street, and Reggie and Cheryl Miller, and I love them all as if they raised me.

Shawn:

Is it still considered babysitting when watching one’s own child? Friend with a newborn continually refers to it as babysitting when busy with his child. Child was by choice, I think and not a whoopsie. The only parent I’ve ever heard speak in this manner. May we get an official ruling?

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Shawn, I beg you tell me how to get your version of the internet, where it’s apparently not just one giant cycle of memes about how Dads Are Parents Too and backlash against those memes and on and on forever. I want to move there and never again think about the Most Feminist Take on dads. To answer the question, though, it’s definitely not babysitting, his spouse probably hates it when he does that, and if he stops now both he and you still have a chance at living a blissful online life unencumbered by knowing who Woke Daddy is or what G*mergaters think about him. I’ll root for you, since apparently I’m beyond all hope. :( :( :(

Jake:

If you’re in your 30's is it wrong to think about people you knew in high school when you masturbate? Firstly because they were underage when you knew them, and just in general is there a statue of limitations where if you haven’t seen someone for 10-15 years should you just not be masturbating to some amorphous memory of them?

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What?!? No!!! Jake, my man, you have been owned by your own over-active conscience.

You’re not thinking about an actual person when you masturbate, you’re thinking about some idealized version of that person—the version where they don’t do that annoying thing with their mouth and don’t wear that ugly T-shirt so often and aren’t sneezing all the time from seasonal allergies and there’s nothing to distract from their hotness. That’s why fantasizing about celebrities is so effective; you don’t know them at all, and thus don’t know any of the stuff that makes them real, obnoxious humans. Masturbating to an amorphous memory—whether of Paul Newman in Cool-Hand Luke or of that cute point guard you never talked to in 10th-grade Spanish—is the ideal situation.

If your fantasy is specifically about you, in your current state as a 30-something, hooking up with someone from high school in their former state as an underage person, that’s less than ideal in a way a sports blogger is poorly positioned to advise you on. But the vast majority of adults’ high-school fantasies aren’t statutory rape–adjacent precisely because they’re based on amorphous memories that have almost no relation to real people. So if you fit in the latter camp, I beg you, chill out and masturbate freely.

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Email of the week!

Vince:

I recently attended a Triple-A baseball game and was the sole spectator in an area with a great view of the visitors’ bullpen. One of the relief pitchers was told to get loose.

Just prior to warmup tosses, I watched the pitcher rub some kind of substance onto the bottom of his glove hand palm. Every few pitches, he would quickly rub the index and middle finger of his pitching hand on the sticky spot of his glove hand palm. When the pitcher entered the game, I saw him go to the palm again as his teammates were throwing the ball around the infield.

What is a fan’s responsibility after observing what appears to be a clear violation? Is there a way to report a pitcher during a game for blatantly cheating? Or should I shut up, enjoy my hot dog and beer, and let this guy cheat his way to the Big Leagues?

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This is an easy one, Vince! Tattling on this unnamed pitcher would have put you on the express train to hell.

First of all, he wasn’t “blatantly cheating.” The general policy in baseball has always been that you can use pine tar or sunscreen or whatever as long as you’re not too obvious about it. In your case, evidently no player or coach on the home team could see what he was doing, and so few fans cared about this game that you were the one guy on earth who knew? Sounds like the pitcher did exactly what every other pitcher does, and I hope he has a bright future in the majors ahead of him. And from the wording of your question, it seems like you’re not even accusing him of using the substance during the game? That wouldn’t even break the rule in the first place! The fact that you even sat there agonizing about this instead of scoring the damn ballgame or trying to catch a foul ball or just chilling the fuck out makes me worry about all the things your moral compass is ignoring in favor of this non-problem. I sentence you to a few shifts at your local soup kitchen.

Anyway, pine tar should be legal.