Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Which Sport Has the Best Bench Area?

Illustration for article titled Which Sport Has the Best Bench Area?
FunbagTime for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag.

Your letters:


Of all the major team sports, does baseball or basketball have the best bench area? The NBA celebs are okay, but it’s got to be baseball with the dugout, right? It’s like you’ve got a secret club. This doesn’t include the pitchers in the bullpen, who might as well be at a bar across the street. Dead last is football.


It’s baseball. Not even close. Both bench areas in baseball are better than any other bench area in any other team sport. You get you own little shelter that you are apparently free to treat like complete and utter shit, with no fans or execs or media people or “friends of the owner” getting in the way. You get comfy benches and little cubbyholes for all your crap. And once you’ve been taken out of the game, you’re free to go back into the swank clubhouse to ice your shoulder and watch the game on TV (BUT NO CHICKEN AND BEER). You can even play pranks on people DURING the game in the dugout. And the bullpen is even better, because you can get up and play catch if you feel like it, or just hang out on the fence like a goddamn farmer talking to his neighbor.

By contrast, a football sideline is the worst place on Earth. There’s NEVER any room. You are always in the way of a teammate, a coach, or the athletic director bringing a group of donors around for an in-game tour. And your view of the game action is awful. Every sideline warning in football occurs because everyone on the sidelines is just trying to see what the fuck is happening and they can’t. And unless you just came out from game action, you can’t sit. Imagine being a football benchwarmer and just sitting down on the sideline benches for no reason. You’d be thrown off a cliff if you did that. THE COOL ZONE IS FOR FIRST STRING, SHITBOY.

So football is the worst. Hockey is the second-worst, because they cram a dozen fully equipped players into a cattle pen. And the NBA is second-best, because you get a front-row seat, but you gotta sit on one of those folding chairs. That’s not good lumbar support! Sometimes the chairs are all bolted together, so you have a row of outdoor wedding chairs on the sideline, with no room to spread your legs at all because Dougie is sitting next to you and he’s 6-foot-18 and his hairy legs are already touching yours. It’s like resting your legs against a dead animal.


Let’s say the NFL wanted to implement an in-game “home field advantage” component that was on par with baseball allowing the home team to bat last. What would be a reasonable football equivalent?

College overtime is basically the equivalent format, because the clock is taken out of the game, and regular gameplay is replaced by “innings”where each team gets the ball once. That’s their turn at bat. So if you wanted to establish “Home field” in football, you would do away with the clock in regulation and just swap series the entire game, with the home team always getting last ups (this link says that you are more likely to win a college overtime game if you get the ball second). But then Andy Reid would never be able to fuck up the clock, and we would all be deprived of that enjoyment.

In general, I gravitate toward sports with clocks and shun sports that have no clock (baseball, tennis, golf) or abnormal clock-keeping (soccer) because I am an American, and I have many important things to do, so I need to know that the game will end EVENTUALLY so that I can go back to searching for myself on Twitter and stuff. I watch sports like I’m trying to make good time on a commute. LET’S GO, PEOPLE. HURRY THE FUCK UP. SOME OF US HAVE LIVES YOU KNOW.



Why don’t catchers have earpieces that contact coaches? I don’t see why an NFL linebacker can hear calls from an offensive coordinator, but MLB can’t tell a catcher that some batter is weak against sliders down and away. I’m guessing it only goes back to some bullshit about “the code of the game.”


Wouldn’t the Cardinals just hack it? ZINGGGGGGGGGGGGG.

Anyway, you’re talking about a sport that is famously in love with its own analog methods and is generally averse to any form of new technology, no matter how useful that technology may be. Baseball people get hard for manual scoreboards, for crying out loud.


If they gave catchers a special radio, your grandpappy would be up in the stands with his pocket radio and newspaper and crying out DURRRR THAT ISN’T THE GAME WE GREW UP WITH DURRRRR. Baseball is only gonna implement certain things like replay only when it proves glaringly necessary (and they’ll still fuck it up somehow). They’ll skip out on anything else because they are, at all times, trying to bring in new fans while also trying to maintain their bullshit sheen of charming old-fashionedness. Baseball is the burger shop that proudly says it hasn’t changed its recipe since 1908, even if the burgers aren’t that good. I’m surprised they haven’t renamed the whole enterprise ARTISAN LEAGUE BASEBALL in order to attract retro-fetishists.


So, some friends at the office found a golf-club shaft with no actual club attached. This sparked a lively discussion about would you rather get hit with the skinnier end of the club (more PSI) or the handle end (that has a grip, hence is softer).


Does the skinny end have a broken tip because the club head is gone? That jagged metal at the tip will fuck you up good. Either way, I’m taking the handle end because of that soft grip, and because the wider end disperses the blow across a greater surface area. Getting hit with the other end would be like getting whipped. Getting whipped fucking HURTS. I’d rather be hit with a full deli salami than get whipped. That nasty little crooked end would draw blood. I bet that was Bob Knight’s favorite motivational tool.


Does the Queen of England have one of those seats in the bathtub to take showers, or do you think she has royal servants cleaning her?


No way she has servants washing her nude body. That would be far too sordid for a weird, uptight British person. The Queen showers privately, and she probably has a little mini-throne in the shower, because old people are frail and can’t stand for very long. Then she dries off with a monogrammed towel (laid out by a handler earlier in the day), retires to her boudoir, looks outside her window at tourists on the street wearing cargo shorts, then shakes her head and says to Prince Philip, “Oh, look at that. Simply DREADFUL. Quite RUBBISH. People have become so terribly forward now.” Then she has a lackey catch one of her farts.

This is a random tangent, but I have found that the majority of old people in the world spend their time sitting all around all day and complaining about how weird every other person on Earth is. That’s all they do. Like, they’ve become so set in their ways that anyone else who does it differently is a mutant freakshow. “Look at that man’s hair. What kind of person does their hair like that?” That’s 24/7 with old people.



How much better would Twitter be if there were something equivalent to the verified checkmark, but for teenagers?


I’d pay three dollars to positively ID teenagers on Twitter and in Internet comments. It would be like a driver’s permit. And it would improve online discourse, because I’ll always give a teenager a pass for a bad comment, because teenagers are idiots. Only Keith Olbermann would keep engaging with them. We could reduce flame wars by 23 percent if I knew I was arguing about Trump’s electoral chances with a 16-year-old from El Paso. I want to argue with GROWNUP MORONS ONLY.

My oldest kid is in fourth grade, and the teacher is teaching them how to comment on blog posts. This is 100 percent true. They have to write a blog post for class, and then all the other students get to comment on that post, and the teacher shows them the right way to comment. I find this both invaluable and utterly terrifying. One of those kids is gonna throw down a HITLER at some point during the school year. It’s a lock. “You know who else hogged the playground monkey bars, Jenny? DO YOU?!”



Think about the Target hacking scandal or computer freeze-outs at work. Ever think about why that doesn’t seem to apply to regular ol’ stoplights? Given how shitty our infrastructure is, you’d think we’d hear tons of stories in the news about a group of stoplights at some intersection showing green simultaneously, causing everyone to crash into each other during a horribly fateful split second. Anyway, are America’s electricians / stoplight manufacturers / civil engineers THAT good at their jobs? Or are we all just lucky as fuck?


That’s the beauty of having an antiquated, rapidly deteriorating national infrastructure: Our grid is not on the grid. You can’t hack a stoplight if the stoplight is controlled by a gang of pigeons pecking at an exposed lead wire. That shit is airtight.

Anyway, yes, it IS surprising that no one has managed to hack into our air-traffic-control systems or our master Amtrak switchboard to cause unimaginable damage to millions of people commuting daily. Maybe it’s a reassuring sign that there are simply some atrocities that a hacker will not commit. Maybe Nikolai in Kiev sees the kill switch on our stoplights and lets his finger hover jussssst over the ENTER button before deciding to spare us all and go eat a kebab instead. Or maybe he just hasn’t figured it out yet, and we’ll all be fucked eventually. It’s probably the latter. I’m gonna try not to think about it.



What if the whole world transported back to when the dinosaurs were roaming the earth? With the knowledge we have now and without the modern-day technology and advancements, would we be able to survive?


Well, no. An asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs, and so it probably would have killed us all as well. If you take the asteroid out of the equation, then the answer is YES, because dinosaurs did not cover the entire planet at all times back in the Jurassic period. If six billion people suddenly showed up in that area, some of them would probably settle in areas that are NOT heavily populated by man-eating raptors and shit. Frankly, I bet that dinosaurs would be the least of our worries compared to volcanic air temperatures, foreign bacterial strains, and terrifying flying insects that were size of fucking eagles. No, thank you.

Anyway, many of us (me) would find ourselves trampled under a pack of rampaging brontosauri, but enough people would be able to stick around to mine resources, build modern tools and technological instruments, and wipe out all the dinosaurs before getting smashed by that meteor. It would be our finest achievement.





When you are shampooing your hair, do you also shampoo your eyebrows?? I went for a long part of my life not doing this and not thinking anything of it. Now I can’t imagine not doing it.


Like, do you rub it in and stuff? Wouldn’t all the lather fall down and get in your eyes and sting and make you howl in agony? That alone is enough to keep me from ever doing it. I figure the shampoo runoff does the job for me anyway. Am I missing out? Are there bits of coffee cake in my eyebrows currently? I feel like you can keep your eyebrows clean and lustrous simply by, like, scratching them for half a second. Maybe it’s different if you’re a swarthy guy and you’ve got the Scorsese brows.


Do the same left-lane rules on the highway apply to surface streets that are multi-lane? I feel they should. Slower cars should stay in the right lane, and if they need to take a left somewhere, should only get into the left lane when they are about to turn. Not four miles before the turn.


Ideally that would be nice, but surface streets don’t work that way. There aren’t four miles between each left-hand turn, which means that I gotta stay the fuck away from the left lane in case some bastard suddenly decides to hang a left into the Jimmy John’s parking lot without even bothering to signal.

If the street has more than three lanes on either side, your best bet is the center lane, which keeps you away from both the shitheads turning left and the shitheads double-parking on the right. In D.C. proper, the middle lane is basically the only lane that isn’t under construction and/or blocked by an off-duty MetroBus. It’s the only passable lane. The other lanes are basically for long-term storage only. You can try and keep left on surface streets to establish a through-route, but you will inevitably be thwarted by a goddamn fruit truck at some point. I prefer to act like a superspy and bob and weave between open lanes, like I’m trying to outrun international drug traders through a Marrakesh street bazaar. Really adds a bit of excitement to my trip to the bank.



If it was discovered that every time you masturbated to completion you lost a pound, how would this change the world? Would gyms continue to exist? Would we all become health-crazed chronic masturbators? Would anything change at all?


You’d have to be sure not to overdo it, because you could get Faporexia and masturbate yourself down to a mere 70 pounds. You would have to consume enough calories to keep up with your libido on a daily basis. No problem, right? After all, the only thing I like more than excessive self-gratification is excessive overeating.

BUT … if you can just jerk away the pounds, you might end up overconsuming everything in sight: tacos, beer, chips, brisket, etc. Your appetite could become bottomless, depleting our natural resources more rapidly than even at our current pace. Soon, we would all be starving and at war for the last few scraps of food on Earth, desperate not to touch our own genitals, lest our atrophying bodies waste down even further. DON’T YOU SEE IT WOULD KILL US ALL?!


Also, I would never visit a gym again. Ever. It would be both unnecessary and DEEPLY unsanitary.


How many years until we see a rapper perform at the Super Bowl Halftime Show? Dare the NFL and networks risk having a [gasp] “controversial” rapper on TV for 12 minutes?


Like as a headliner? Do the Black Eyed Peas count? They started out as a hip-hop group until they slowly transformed into … well, whatever the fuck the Black Eyed Peas are. If your former hip-hop group has been watered down into a stock-music warehouse for Bud Light Platinum commercials, then Roger Goodell might almost think about considering charging you $6 million to buy a Personal Halftime License for the right to be subjected to 9,803 different performing guidelines that would put you on the short list for Acceptable Halftime Performer.

But if you’re talking about, like, Jay Z or Kanye West or Eminem? It’s unlikely, because that one lady flipped the camera the bird that one time. That can’t ever happen again. Best to keep the rappers to guest appearances, so that Roger can yank them off the stage with a very large cane the second they pose even a mild threat of spewing something potentially controversial. His crack team of pre-cogs will be able to tell from 5,000 feet away if a guest performer is about to say BLACK LIVES MATTER on-camera.


I bet you the only rapper they’d currently consider for halftime is Macklemore. Why can’t the rest of you hippity-hoppers be more like that fine young man? He’s the first one into the studio EVERY DAY.


I am planning my friend’s bachelor party. The wedding will be in early April. Recently I’ve learned that the wife and I are expecting our first child; she is due in early March. Should I schedule the party before or after the due date? Is it better to leave an extremely pregnant wife for a weekend of debauchery, or an exhausted wife and newborn for a weekend of debauchery? Either way, will I ever hear the end of it from her? Should I bother coming home from the party?


Go BEFORE the birth. Do not go after. You are needed after the delivery to go buy diapers in the middle of the night and wash bottles and have vases thrown at you. But beforehand? You should be okay. Your pregnant wife is already in a great deal of pain and discomfort while you’re standing there like a fucking PUD, unable to do anything helpful whatsoever. In fact, the more you try to help, the more you reveal your worthlessness. Look at you, standing there with your mouth open. WHY SHE OUGHTTA TEAR YOUR HEAD CLEAN OFF. YOU FUCK. YOU DID THIS. You’re probably better off not being around anyway. So long as you are in no danger of missing the ramp-up to the delivery, you should be okay if you plan it around the Super Bowl or something.

By the way, the bachelor party is usually the first time guys have to deal with formal event planning. And it’s fucking terrible. I had no idea how bad I was at trying to coordinate a group of fellow humans to do something. If I were a wedding planner, I’d kick in the bachelor-party planning for an extra 8 percent.



If someone in the shitter next to you at work sneezes, do you say, “God bless you” or simply ignore it?


You mutter it. Half-grunt it. Then he can half-grunt a “thank you” back, and the exchange is complete. Full enunciation is not welcome in a public bathroom.


My wife and I just had a baby, and when we were finally ready to have a babysitter watch our kid for the first time, we realized we had no idea what our obligations were with regard to her dinner. So we ended up making this pretty nice pasta salad—tomatoes, roasted asparagus, fancy little seasoned mozzarella balls, basil, etc.—with enough for leftovers. She seemed grateful when she saw it, which was a relief.

Well, when we got back and the babysitter left, we felt awful—it looked like she didn’t touch the thing. However, when we looked closer, she had eaten EVERY SINGLE PIECE of mozzarella out of the salad, and nothing else! She took down like $8.50 of mozz, then just left the rest of the bowl out on the counter like nothing happened, taking it down from like a B+ pasta salad to a C at best for the rest of us.

So three questions:

1. What’s the etiquette for feeding a random internet babysitter?

2. Am I allowed to be furious at her, or should I just quietly simmer with Seinfeldian rage?

3. Am I within my rights to hire the same babysitter again, and to just leave a big ball of mozzarella out on the counter with a sticky note that says, “Dinner”?


No, man. That’s 100 percent on you. Don’t put out some kind of communal salad and expect a teenager to adhere to whatever unwritten rules you had for it in your mind. Of course she ate just the cheese. The cheese is the best part! That’s what I would have done. Asparagus is poison to an 18-year-old. And don’t expect there to be leftovers. You can’t leave out food for someone and then demand they only eat a third of it.

Here is the deal with feeding babysitters. First, ask them if they need to be fed. They will always say no, because teenagers would rather starve than express any kind of positive emotion to an adult. Then, you feed them anyway by putting out a pizza. And if the babysitter wants to eat just the cheese off the pizza, or eat just the crust, or wipe her ass with the pizza, it’s fine. It’s her pizza now. So long as she doesn’t invite her boyfriend over and blow him on the couch, she can have as much or as little pizza as she likes. That’s the deal. Don’t go all Iron Chef on a teenager who is 100 percent guaranteed to not appreciate your efforts.



Do you consider the thumb to be the part from the tip to the second knuckle, or does it go from tip to right near the wrist? Also, thumbs are weird.


I was wondering about this when JPP nuked his thumb, because the initial report was that he lost a “portion” of the thumb, and I was like, “Well, a thumb’s not that big. If you lose a portion of the thumb, you lose the thumb.” Then the pictures came out, and I had to go wash my eyes out with gasoline.

Medically speaking, I think your thumb extends only to that second knuckle. All your fingers have metacarpal bones that connect them to your wrist. The thumb is a little bit different, because its metacarpal bone has a much larger range of motion, but if you break a metacarpal bone, I believe your diagnosis is a broken HAND, and not a broken finger/thumb. You get into the meat of the hand, you are in Handland. That is the hand’s turf. The thumb is not allowed to sell meth in there. We should probably ask an actual doctor about this.


By the way, ever crack that elusive knuckle down there, where the thumb’s metatarsal hits the wrist? It’s quite something. Just yank on your thumb and the magic happens. I’ve damn near torn my thumb off trying to crack that fucker. It was worth it.

Email of the week!


Having seen many action movies in my day, I have observed that both bad guys and vengeful good guys are quite fond of using Zippo lighters to start fires. They will usually flick open the lighter and say something menacing while mean-mugging their victim before dropping it into a pool of gasoline or other accelerant in slow motion while walking away as the flames fill the screen behind them. I have owned several Zippo lighters over the years, and since it costs at least $30-40 for a decent one, I was always super pissed if I lost mine or it got “borrowed” forever by a friend.

So anyway, the majority of movie villains smoke, or at least used to back in the 1980s and ’90s, so why didn’t we ever get a scene of them stopping to enjoy a cigarette while they listen to the muffled screams of their fully engulfed victims and then patting all their pockets before realizing they don’t have a lighter anymore? Do they keep a box of new Zippos in their trunk? If a wronged man becomes hell-bent on fiery revenge, is his first stop to order a bunch of Zippos on Amazon Prime? If you use them often, you have to refill the lighter fluid like once a week, and I’ve never seen a villain trying to aim the little stream into the bottom of the lighter without getting it all over himself. I have so many questions, and I thought you might have some answers.


I have none, but GREGGGGGGG shares your concerns.

Drew Magary writes for Deadspin. He’s also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at You can also order Drew’s book, Someone Could Get Hurt, through his homepage.


Photo by Getty.