Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Illustration by Sam Woolley
Illustration by Sam Woolley
FunbagTime for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag.

Your letters:


What is the worst craft food? I’m talking about perfectly good food or drink that doesn’t need a hipster upgrade. What artisanal items are worse than their normal counterparts?


Coffee. I’m with Mina Kimes. Fancy coffee is a fraud. Not only does it taste worse than shitty diner coffee, but it also comes with a whole accessory economy of pretentious bullshit that makes it even worse. I’ve been in one of those Blue Bottle places that looks like an Apple Store on the inside and every cup is hand-dripped through some elaborate process involving copper tubes and ancient stills and civet intestinal tracts. And you gotta stand in line and then wait another 10 minutes for your shit even if all you ordered was a plain-ass coffee. It’s bullshit. These people have tricked themselves into believing that this kind coffee is superior, just like when I talked myself into buying that Stereolab CD. I’m willing to tolerate wine nerds when they go on and on about wine, because I know that they know that they just wanna get drunk. Coffee nerds have no such excuse. Some more bullshit artisanal items:

BURGERS. Every burger place now has a handful of new “takes” on the burger. “It’s the Greek burger! With a lamb patty and mint aioli! As seen on Food Network’s Dumps, Holes, and Shitholes!” Or some super high-end restaurant will have a $60 burger on the menu made with WagYobe beef flown directly in from a Himalayan cow massage parlor. Never order one of those burgers. A regular bacon cheeseburger will ALWAYS be better, especially if they use low-grade buttock meat that’s 60 percent fat. That’s the good burger.


SODA. Coke Classic is better than any small batch celery root seltzer produced by the Switchel Brothers.

CUPCAKES. I think we can all agree that the cupcake trend is played out and anyone still waiting in line to buy a fancy red velvet cupcake for $5 is a moron. IN MY DAY CUPCAKES WERE HALF A GUINEA FOR A BUSHEL THEY WERE! Any cupcake with a lot of frosting is good. You can only fuck it up by adding gold leaf and flecks of dried jackfruit.


FRIED CHICKEN. I have had multiple instances in life where I’ve gone to some restaurant and ordered the fried chicken and eaten it and been like, “Well shit, I could have just gone to Popeyes instead.” Because it’s true. Every food on this list has been more or less perfected on a mass scale, and any attempt to improve upon it either results in A) Diminishing returns or B) Fucking it up outright. Next time I go out to eat, I’m getting something I know Popeyes can’t do better. Like sashimi. Very questionable sashimi at Popeyes.

POTATO CHIPS. Get those taro chips out of my fucking face and get me a bag of Lay’s.


WATER. Ever drink Evian? It’s fucking terrible. You may have already heard about the trend of water sommeliers, who are somehow even more insufferable than coffee fetishists. Even worse, they exist to discourage customers from drinking tap water, which is both a modern miracle and a lot better for the environment than shipping water culled from a Danish fjord all the way to some prissy asshole restaurant. Most tap water outside the state of Michigan is safe to drink, and is also pretty tasty. I don’t want extra magnesium added, and I don’t want to be told that water is supposed to taste like a battery marinade.

BEER. That’s right! FIGHT ME, BRO. I’ll just run away and you’ll be too full of oatmeal cream IPA to catch me.



What’s up with all of the “sexy Clay Matthews” ads?

Clay Matthews is in a lot of ads because he is very beefy and has long blonde hair and is basically the NFL’s Fabio. He really gets your Aunt Mildred’s juices flowing, tell you what. And with A.J. Hawk out of the league, Clay has the Romance Novel Linebacker market cornered. He’s not even good! It’s a shameless display of hunk privilege.



I’ve recently relocated back to NYC after four years away. I’m commuting by subway and one of the biggest changes is the both the proliferation of cell phones and internet service on the subway. It’s not uncommon for my fellow commuters to scroll through their photos while on the train. Most of the times, we’re butts to nuts with zero privacy, and some of these pictures are best described as requiring a lot of privacy. Do I have an obligation to avert my eyes to avoid these personal photos? Or is this residual religious shame instilled in me as a child that I need to grow out of?


In theory, yeah you should try to look away. This is especially true if you’re leering at someone who is sending an email or working on some work document or engaging in some other relatively benign online behavior. There’s a sordid thrill in stealing a glance at other people’s business, but you can’t GLARE at it. You get your quick peek, and then you get out.

HOWEVER … If I’m dicking around with my phone in public, I need to understand that other people might see it, and I need to accept the consequences of that. If I’m looking at photos of boobs and butts, I have no right to be upset at people who shoot me dirty looks if they happen to see it as well. In any public space, it’s hard to look ANYWHERE and not see a screen now. There are so many screens that people have gotten used to having them out everywhere, and sometimes they don’t give a shit if people see because they assume A) Other people are also looking at questionable shit in public or B) Other people are too busy looking at their own phones. But that doesn’t give you the right to openly surf for Japanese Octopus Fucking or other weird shit on a bus. Have some discretion, for God’s sake.


I was on a flight the other day and they had The Night Of on it, so I watched a few episodes (FIVE-SECOND REVIEW: I didn’t like it that much, if only because of all the Turturro foot shots… WTF, man). Anyway, there was a scene where Omar from The Wire is banging a prison guard. Anyone sitting next to me or walking down the aisle could have seen it. But a lot of them were also watching R-rated shit too! Just a whole plane full of butts and boobs. I felt awful, and yet most people seem to have readily accepted a world where people can’t help but look at everything, but then feel bad if they look too much. It’s all really weird.


What food has the most impossible serving size to stay at or under? Is it a condiment like ketchup or mustard, a food like pizza or hot dogs, or a dessert like ice cream? At first I went ketchup because I put 2 servings on everything but I can’t stop eating pizza!


Cereal. Go look at the serving sizes for cereal. It’s a fucking joke. When I was single, the average box of cereal lasted two days at most. All these high-paid food lobbyists have deliberately gamed the system so that nutrition labels have smaller-than-average portion sizes, which makes them seem healthier to consumers even though they aren’t. Thus, a box of Corn Pops supposedly has 11 servings. Please. I ate two boxes of Pops just typing this paragraph. FUCK YOU, YOU EVIL SUGAR PEDDLERS.

By the way, have you ever been on a diet where you actually measure food? I know you’re supposed to do this if you’re trying to keep your weight down, but it’s fucking unbearable. To get a measuring cup and scoop out one sad, tiny cup of cereal … I can’t. It barely covers the bottom of the bowl, man. I am not starving on a life raft. I should not have to ration food out like I’m on the brink of cannibalism. Every time I measure food, I give up on the idea of healthy eating entirely. It’s not worth living like that.



Which RomCom couple is most screwed as soon as the final credits are over?

 The Graduate. That’s the whole point of that final shot, where the moment wears off and Dustin Hoffman and Katherine Ross realize how fucked they are. A year later, Hoffman is probably back to MILF hunting and Ross is crawling back to the dude she ditched at the altar because he’s got a steady job. Pretty depressing when you think about it.


The other obvious choices are Knocked Up and virtually any Woody Allen movie. If you’re fucking Woody Allen at the end of a Woody Allen movie, bad things are in store for you.


Let’s say you had the opportunity (for free) to own a 5,000-square foot penthouse apartment in NYC overlooking Central Park. The only catch is that there is a 30-foot anaconda that lives there as well. But here is the could never touch you and you could never touch it. For example, you could wake up and it might have its jaws open ready for feeding...hanging off the ceiling, an inch away from your face...but nothing would ever happen. You move towards it, it always moves away. Question is...could you do it?


Oh hell yeah. I could flip that apartment within four days, no problem. In fact, I could get MORE people bidding on it because of that anaconda. They think they’re getting a discount on the Snake Apartment, just like a Murder House, only to realize that fifteen other assholes are thinking the same thing! I’d be rich! RICH I TELL YOU.

There is something about New York—along with other high-priced metropolises—that deludes people into accepting living conditions they would otherwise NEVER tolerate. Paying $1,500 a month to live in a parking garage fire hose cabinet is totally normalized there. The idea of living in a house with, like, a lawn, becomes completely absurd. “Yes, I live in an abandoned water pipe covered by a tarp, but I’m in NEW YORK! Top of the world, Ma!” I would gladly live with that serpent if it meant having central air in a prime location.



I’m couch shopping with my wife right now and I’m hungover. I’ve been farting on every couch. Got me thinking: what do you think is the average number of farts a couch absorbs on the showroom floor?


At least a couple dozen by the day. But that wouldn’t stop me from buying the floor model so I could save a cool $500 bucks on a sectional. That fart discount is legit. Much better than the snake discount.

I won’t lie: Furniture shopping is kind of fun*. I took the kids to a nice furniture store a while back and it was kinda like hanging out in a mansion. There were lots of wooden shelves and classical music and huge sofas to lounge on. It was nice! Every guy bitches about getting dragged to a Pottery Barn, but then you walk in and feel 50 percentclassier just looking at all the WASP-y merchandise. I’ll take furniture shopping over clothes shopping or car shopping any day of the week. OH WOW, HONEY! LOOK AT THIS DIVAN! IT’S ALL FUR! SO SOFT! Shopping is lot more fun when you can sit on your ass doing it.


*Does not apply to any trip to IKEA. IKEA is hell.


Have you ever ordered fried chicken (not just the wings, full on fried chicken) from a Chinese restaurant? They chop it all haphazardly to the point that I get a little unsettled trying to eat it. It’s like they put on a blindfold and hack away at a chicken before flouring it up to fry so you end up getting pieces that consist of the upper part of a leg and half the thigh, or upper thigh and lower breast connected.


I have indeed ordered fried chicken from a Chinese restaurant, and it’s delicious so long as you understand that Chinese restaurants gives ZERO fucks about bones. They aren’t deboning anything for your soft white ass. And you’re right about the butchering: most Americans are used to the standard cuts (wing, drumstick, thigh, breast), but Chinese restaurants don’t give a fuck. They take a cleaver and hack that shit any way they like. I’ve had pieces of fried duck from places that are, like, 90 percent bone. Bones and odd cuts are your problem, not theirs. You gotta fight through those bones with grit and determination. Don’t go crying like GLORY BOY about them. You will choke on a wishbone and you will LIKE it.



The wild card should not be considered the playoffs.

Whoa hey, that is a weapons-grade take and I can’t let it go unaddressed.

(puts on garish sport coat)

(fancy TV hair)

QUITE FRANKLY I BELIEVE THAT THE WILD CARD PLAYOFFS ARE THE PLAYOFFS. If the regular season is over, and you’re still playing and eligible to win a title, that’s a playoff, kid. The only exception to this are the four play-in games to the NCAA tournament, which are sucky and annoying and it bothers the shit out of me anytime one of those teams makes noise once they reach the proper field of 64. I want my clean bracket back.


In general, I like a playoff field that has wild card entrants and byes (football, baseball) over fully expanded fields like in hockey and basketball. The former is the right balance of rewarding teams that were good all season long, but also including other teams that could get hot and make a deep run. It’s when half the fucking league gets in that I turn into Mister Crotchety. “In my day there WAS no playoff! And your reward for winning the conference was a one-way ticket to go fight the Japanese!”


I went to the NCSU v. Notre Dame #HURRRICANEBOWL presented by Papa John’s and it got me thinking, what’s the best disaster to happen in a sporting event for you to tell stories about, assuming everyone ends up okay? Blizzard? Hurricane? I’ll be talking about the time that Matthew shit on Raleigh while we showed GRIT in the sands and used coolers for floatation devices until my kids put me in the ground.


It’s a blizzard. Sorry, man. Snow > Rain, every time. Here are the rankings:

  1. Extreme snow. I just watched Michigan play Indiana and I would have changed the channel after six seconds if there hadn’t been snowflakes whizzing across the screen. I could watch football snow porn on a 24-hour loop. And that was just light snow. I want that stadium BURIED, especially if I’m a sucker enough to attend live in person. I would double the height of the snowdrifts every time I told the story. THE DRIFTS WERE 20 FEET HIGH! PEOPLE MADE APARTMENTS INSIDE OF THEM!
  2. Earthquake. “The stands started shaking and I just thought it was because of LEGENDARY ROOTING POWAH OF RED SAWX NATION!”
  3. Extreme cold. Even if there isn’t snow, you still get to brag if you braved some horrid Ice Bowl just to watch Blair Walsh shank a gimme kick. If I had actually gone to last year’s Wild Card game, I would have spent the rest of the year talking about it, like I had come back from a failed expedition in the Arctic. “By the third quarter, our men had run low on whiskey and coffee. We had to shoot the dogs and use their hides for warmth. ‘Twas an awful time.”
  4. Social unrest. “I was in the stands when the SWAT teams rappelled down from the stadium roof!”
  5. Fog. Everyone my age remembers the Eagles/Bears Fog Bowl, which is funny because you couldn’t see anything that was happening on the field. Normally, that would be a huge problem. But no, no people were entranced. What’s going on in that fog? Have all the players crossed Beyond The Veil?!
  6. Rain. You deserve credit (and some ridicule) for braving the elements to watch two teams fumble every other down in a fucking monsoon. But rain isn’t as cute as snow, and the only way you can spin to get people’s attention/admiration is by noting that it was part of a larger storm, like Hurricane Matthew. And even then, what’s there to say beyond, “It sucked”? It’s not like you can throw rainballs at the field. You were wet and miserable for four hours, and I’m kinda glad I wasn’t with you.


I pick my seven-month-old daughter up from daycare, and every day all of the people that work there will say “Bye Anastasia” to my daughter on our way out. So, considering my daughter is seven months old and can’t say “bye” back, it puts me in a weird spot. I feel like it would be really impolite to ignore them, and they’re all really nice people, but I’m not sure how I should handle it. My usual response is turning her toward them and saying “bye” in a soft, high-pitched voice, but I always feel really stupid when I do that. Is there a correct way to handle this interaction?


Yeah you say “Thank you!” and then you say, “Bye!” And make sure you do that thing where you kind of sing it. “BYEEEEE!” Like you’re on your way to a tap dancing lesson. Everyone knows that dads are awkward and anti-social, so just get your cadence down for the exit and make a clean getaway. That’s how I roll in any dad situation: school fairs, playdates, pick-ups, etc. I am a “Thanks, BYEEEEE” machine. I’m like an expertly programmed android at this point. Stick me at the Disney World exit and I could make everyone feel weird and uncomfortable on the way out.

One of the biggest adjustments that new dads have is in the increase in talking to strangers. When I was single, I talked to friends and family and steadfastly avoided every other type of living creature. But you can’t do that once you have kids. When you become a dad, there’s this entire population of strangers you have to start regularly interacting with: pediatricians and babysitters and teachers and soccer moms and dozens of other people. It takes a while to get used to dealing with all these new people. Call it 10 years. After a solid decade, you’ll have that “Thanks, BYEEEEE” down.



A few of us were eating dinner the other night and a buddy of mine couldn’t catch his sneeze in time and got about 70% of a wet sneeze right into his stir fry bowl. Without hesitation he moved right along and proceeded to get a big ol’ fork full and continued eating. He got a lot of shit for it while, surprisingly, I sat silently and pondered if it really was that bad. I mean, it’s his own saliva anyway, right?


Yeah, I’d keep eating it. I’d have to find live maggots in my food bowl to go tossing it, frankly. What am I gonna do, buy ANOTHER one? And wait for it? That’s insane. I’m eating my snot bowl and not worrying about it.


The Lakers are totally going to retire both of Kobe’s numbers right? Other people have had multiple organizations retire their number, but I don’t think anyone has had one team retire two numbers for the same player. Was that his plan all along? It seems very Kobe-esque.


No! FUCK NO. You don’t get two numbers retired. Apparently, Kobe says he wants them to retire the No. 24 jersey and not the No. 8 jersey, but maybe he’s just saying that as part of his fiendish plan to get double banners. “No no, you guys! I’m fine with just the one jersey. Really, I am. Don’t make a fuss and retire BOTH of them. That would be crazy! I mean, certainly I’d be honored if you did, but it’s really not necessary. Wow, two numbers. Amazing how much history each number has, when you think about it. Those were the two numbers I wore during my illustrious career, making me inarguably the greatest Laker of all time. Go ahead and give the 8 to (barely audible sigh) a rookie. I’m completely fine with that.”

Anyway, he gets the one retired jersey (I think they should overrule him and retire the No. 8) and that’s it. If they retire both jerseys, it will set a horrific precedent. What’s to stop some future star from rocking a new number EVERY year, so that he gets a dozen of them retired? Hmm? It’s a slippery slope.



Peyton Manning was at the park where my kids play soccer this weekend. His daughter was playing on the field before my son played, and he was watching from the end line & playing football with his son. I was about 3 feet away from him for a good 5-10 minutes, but I didn’t talk to him. Several other dads approached him and exchanged pleasantries & Manning was very nice and talkative with them. Should I have approached him? He’s been spotted at the park before, but there are only two more weeks left in this soccer session. If I see him again next weekend, should I say hello?


I think you should only do it if circumstances give you an opening. Like if he happens to be next to you and your kids get tangled up on the field of play, that’s a good chance to meet cute and be like, “Whoa hey, getting pretty physical out there!” You’re not just going in cold. Peyton Manning is insanely famous and probably used to having people walk up to him all the time. He’s probably gonna be nice to you regardless. But it’s better if you meet him for a reason, like if it’s your turn to bring donuts and coffee and he partakes. Then you’re not a weirdo fan going up to him. You’re just another dad, doing dad shit. Maybe you two could be friends. Maybe he’ll invite your kid over for a playdate and ask you to stay for a beer. OMG AND THEN WHAT IF HE WANTS TO GO INTO BUSINESS WITH YOU? That could happen! You guys could become buds for life and go on wild Vegas jaunts together! That’s all on the table if you play your cards right, my friend.


Who is your favorite pop music guilty pleasure? For me it’s P!nk - hands down.

BLARRRGHHHHH NO WAY FUCK PINK. God, I hate Pink. Every Adele song is, “I’m not over you.” Every Kelly Clarkson song is, “I’m TOTALLY over you.” And every shittyass Pink song is, “I’m over you and I’m gonna burn your fucking house down to prove it because I’M SO PUNK.” Pink is just Avril Lavigne with a better management team. I wanna pull a Mr. Blonde on myself anytime one of her songs comes on the radio. I’m not even ashamed to like lots of pop music now. I like Carly Rae Jepsen and Katy Perry and other bubblegum shit. But Pink is where I draw the line. There’s a “No Pink” rule in my car and even the kids understand and obey it.


Email of the week!


My wife has a 10+ year old rat terrier, which she got years before we met. Given that she got the dog when she was in college, she never bothered to really train or socialize the thing, so it’s quite poorly behaved and aggressive towards other dogs. It’s really a useless animal, I pretty reasonably hold it in great disdain, but I continue to put up with it because my wife adores the dog, and I like staying married.

A few months ago the little bastard finally did something useful and caught a rabbit that had the nerve to exist in our backyard. My wife pulled the rabbit away before the dog could kill it, and apparently the rabbit went on his merry rabbit way no worse for wear. My question is this - am I right to be mad at my wife on the dog’s behalf?

That dog was bred to kill small animals. It has spent every minute of its entire life with a vermin blood lust I can’t imagine. All he wants to do is kill small quadrupeds. And just when it’s about to reach the pinnacle of its little canine existence, its raison d’etre is snatched away because my wife feels bad for a rabbit. She took away the one thing that dog has ever wanted. Isn’t that a monstrous thing to do to something you claim to love?


Not when you’re the one who’s gonna have to clean rabbit guts off the lawn. 

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

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