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

Your letters:

Adam:

Who is/was the best Old Sports Guy (by which I mean of people who played into their 40's)? I’m of the generation that was actually raised watching both Bartolo Colon and Jaromir Jagr, but I also caught the tail end of Robert Parrish’s absurd 21-year NBA career that ended when he was 44! I think I’m firmly on Team Jagr if only because, all things being equal, he seems to be the most fun.

I’m taking Bartolo over Jagr because Bartolo is fat, and nothing makes an athlete cooler than being both old AND fat. It gives hope to the rest of us. And Bartolo has always been fat! He’s PRESERVED in his own fat, like a leg of duck confit. I wish they made the whole league out of Bartolo Colons. I want an XLB that bans any player under age 35 and 25 BMI. The ratings in the flyover states would SKYROCKET.

Now, here is the part where I completely contradict myself and tell you my favorite old man athlete of all time is Rickey Henderson, because he’s Rickey Henderson. Rickey is in his own separate universe of existence and I will always love him for that. I want an all-Colon baseball league, and I want an all-Rickey baseball league, and I want the two leagues to stage a championship game in a town dump. Winner gets a free group meal at TGI Friday’s.

As for the other greatest olds in sports history… let’s go ahead and remember some old guys right now!

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  • George Foreman. I’m more than happy to entertain conspiracy theories about Michael Moorer taking a dive, but I swear that doesn’t taint my memory of watching Foreman knock his ass out despite looking like he kept a Barcalounger over in his corner. Look at how old and soft Foreman is there. There isn’t a single contour on that body.
  • Charlie Hough. Look how old this motherfucker looks! And in every photo! I swear Charlie Hough came out of the womb smoking Marlboros and filling out greyhound race forms. Chelcie Ross was 46 back when Major League came out, and somehow Hough looked twice as old. I can’t even imagine what kind of grandpa strength he had. I bet he could rip an engine from an engine block with his bare hands. Speaking of strong old dudes…
  • Nolan Ryan. He was 46 when he beat the shit out of Robin Ventura on the mound. And by the way, rooting for old guys is not strictly the domain of other old guys. I was 16 when that fight went down and I was absolutely cheering for Ryan to turn Ventura’s face into wet sausage meat. This was back when I could daydream not merely about being a pro athlete, but also being a freakshow pro athlete who plays at an All-Pro level until age 68. “There’ll never be another athlete like this Magary fella!”
  • Craig MacTavish. I may get this wrong, but I believe MacTavish was the last player to take advantage of the NHL grandfather clause that allowed old dudes to skate around without a helmet on. That guy wasn’t gonna let anything fuck with his hair. I respect it.
  • Vinny Testaverde. Any QB draft bust becomes lovable once he turns into a 40-year-old journeyman and manages to put up at least one shockingly competent season. When he was drafted, Vinny was the dipshit meathead rolling into bowl games in Army fatigues. Then he joins the Jets and leads them to the AFC title game and suddenly it was AY IT’S-A MY GUY VINNY! LOOGIT DIS FUCKIN’ GUY!
  • Both Niekro brothers. I dunno how these guys didn’t get their own CBS pilot.

 

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  • Vince Carter. I won’t lie: I thought was he long retired until I saw him pop up in a Kings uniform this year and had my skull blown. Tyronn Lue was in the same draft and he’s a shitty old coach now!

I know there are better old athletes in history than the men above. Tom Brady (ugh), Brett Favre (UGH), and Roger Clemens (God, fuck everything) all played well after age 40. But fuck them. They are not old old guys, in my opinion. I don’t want my old guy to be some freak, or some sociopathic competitor who artificially elongates his career through the ingestion of smuggled fruit bat semen. I want my old guys to look old, and I want them to play old. I want them wrinkly and grumpy, I want them to have pockets of fat in weird places. Those are the guys who will always have my heart.

Andrew:

Since high school I’ve had chronic dry eye (not even from drugs - thanks D.A.R.E.). To curb its effects, I carry eye drops at all times, especially at work. But I also keep some in my refrigerator at home. Right there with the mustard and take-out soy sauce packets. Swear to god, it’s a complete ocular orgasm. The best part of waking up is Folgers in my cup and chilled treats for my ashy eyeballs. Some friends think I’m weird but I think they’re missing out on one of life’s most simple and satisfying pleasures.

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I will not hesitate to try that. For, like you, I ALSO suffer from dry eye disease, which I did not realize was a thing until I woke up one day and it felt like someone had removed my eyeballs and run them through a Dyson airblade. So I go to the eye doctor and he’s like, “Oh yeah, you have chronic dry eye. Take these drops.”

I’m like, “Okay, and how long do I take the drops before it goes away?”

And then he’s like, “LOL it doesn’t.” That’s 40 for you. Turning 40 means every medical condition is permanent. Are your eyes dry? Does your arm randomly hurt? Do your feet feel prickly sometimes? Yep, you’re gonna die that way. It’s the worst. I had to go from weekly contact lenses to dailies, which cost a mint. I had to buy AREDS2 vitamins to prevent macular degeneration. I even had to buy drugstore reading glasses, which is one of the absolute surest signs of being old and washed. I’m just five years removed from bitching about restaurant menu fonts. “I can’t read this without my pocket flashlight!” Look at me, man.

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I WAS YOUNG ONCE JUST LIKE YOU. Now I’m this… this THING. It sucks! And do you know how much eye drops cost? It’s $12 per drop. BIG DROP is taking advantage of the afflicted by marking up repackaged contact solution by 500 percent. These daggum big business types!

[shakes cane]

[takes out dentures, gets ready to fight]

So take care of your eyes. You never know when they’ll turn on you and become a pair of Sankara Stones burning their way through your skull.

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Paul:

I know it’s a fact that if you’re paid by the team, you’re not going to be very critical of your team. I understand that. But, I just heard the Thunder color man, Michael Cage tell his broadcast partner Brian Davis, “Russell’s been working the glass like a wood cutter”. What the fuck does that mean? I don’t understand that. This happened with about six minutes to go in the Thunder’s regular season. After a whole season of listening to these two knuckleheads, I’m quite sure my IQ has dropped significantly. Are all team broadcast crews this bad?

Well look, you already know how shallow the pool is for broadcasting national games, right? It’s such a tricky job that the few dudes who can do it well (and even some who can’t) get paid handsomely and get paid for LIFE. They will keep Uncle Al in the booth for a solid 10 years after he’s passed away.

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So yeah, it stands to reason that your favorite team’s local crew would be a step down in competence from there. If you factor in cronyism, it makes the quality even worse. Think of shameless bootlickers like John Sterling in New York and Larry Michael in Washington. Those guys are a special breed of terrible because they slobbed knob to get the job, and they’ll keep slobbing knob to keep the job. Also, their homerism acts as a convenient cover for their lack of broadcasting skill. The homerism is the priority (and I’m guilty of indulging this because when something awesome happens in sports, the first thing I want is to hear is the local radio call of it). You can hoodwink a fan into tolerating that shit because it’s THEIR guy. You could have the most skilled, objective play-by-play guy in the universe, and local fans would bitch the SECOND that dude agrees with a call going against them.

By the way, my extremely lukewarm take is that the Thunder didn’t need to suspend Davis for his “cotton-pickin’” comment. I mean, you can definitely talk to him about it and tell him not to use it again, but I don’t think he exactly had malicious intent when he deployed it. Honestly, I mostly remember that phrase as a flimsy cover for profanity. I didn’t even think of the racial aspect of it before, because I am a moron. It’s fine to retire the phrase for good, but I didn’t think they had suspend him. I say save your broadcaster suspensions for when they bite escorts.

Peter:

Suppose there is a QB prospect who is universally heralded as a can’t miss Franchise QB— like Andrew Luck in 2012 or Peyton Manning in 1998— but he is terrified of flying. Not just terrified, but flat out refuses to fly even if it means he will go undrafted and will not make an NFL team and have to put his communications degree to use. How would this affect his draft stock? Would he go from being a #1 pick to being undrafted? East-West coast trips would be tough, but I think a team would still take him #1 and John Madden him across the country.

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If he’s black, he goes undrafted. If he’s white, he goes No. 1 overall and they have a team of musclemen carry him from game to game in a solid gold litter, Cleopatra-style.

In all seriousness, I don’t think it would affect his draft stock all that much. I mean, you’d DEFINITELY get scouts wringing their hands over it, because scouts are deranged and because they need to justify their existence despite the fact that NFL teams all draft, surprisingly, with roughly the same success rate. This how you end up with Josh Rosen being scrutinized into oblivion; it’s what happens when every NFL team has completely deluded itself into thinking its methods of player evaluation are more detailed and superior to some other team that does all the same shit. So yeah, you’ll get some anonymous shithead leaking to Andy Benoit that he’s concerned “a quarterback who fears flying is too soft to face an NFL pass rush!” And how can the head coach install a game plan with his QB still out on the road? MY GOD, COACHES MIGHT HAVE TO ADJUST HOW THEY DO THINGS! That’s clearly unacceptable.

But the dude would still get drafted because there comes a point in the draft when your flaws make you a bargain instead of a risk, and because some smart team out there would decide it doesn’t make a fucking difference if the dude can fly or not. I think plenty of athletes already HATE flying. But that terror tends to subside when Jerry Jones drafts you and shows you the inside of his $15 million chartered fuck plane. Suddenly, flying doesn’t seem so bad! They just load those guys up with streaming movies and barbiturates and suddenly the problem solves itself.

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HALFTIME!

Marcus:

When do you add cheese and seasoning while cooking scrambled eggs?

I usually add both while the eggs are cooking. I heat up the pan, then I add the butter (or olive oil, which I gotta use for health reasons), then I scramble the eggs in a bowl and dump them into the hot pan. Then I add in the cheese and herbs and salt & pepper as I stir. If I got a big ticket item in my eggs like sausage or mushrooms, I sauté those in the pan first before adding the eggs.

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But I’m gonna tell you something: There’s really no wrong way to scramble an egg. Everyone has THEIR way of doing it, and it gets annoying after a while. Professional chefs get all fetishistic over cooking eggs because it’s one of those simple things that supposedly can only be elevated by a TRUE MASTER. You have to add a dash of purified Danish spring water, then beat them with a pewter candlestick to properly aerate them, and then you must scramble them over an open hearth while Vivaldi plays in the background.

And that’s fine. But really, have you ever had a bad scrambled egg? I’m talking real eggs, not the powdered egg shit they use for the prison brunch buffet. Real eggs are nearly impossible to fuck up, and even when you DO fuck them up, they’re still good! I always throw a shit fit when I’m cooking eggs sunny side up and yolk breaks, but do I throw that ruined egg away? Of course not. I add one MORE egg to the pan and treat that over-hard egg as an extra reward for my existential suffering. So long as you add salt, an egg is gonna be tasty. Pretty much the only person who could render an egg inedible is the President.

Los:

Are people that drive with their dogs on their laps the worst?

Yes, although I have to really figure out driving with a dog in the car. We once bought a safety harness for ours so that we could buckle him in with a seat belt. It will not shock you to learn he didn’t care for this arrangement. Now he just roams around the cabin of the minivan and looks out the window. Then the kids laugh, and then they scream at me to look at the dog being funny, and then I drive us straight off a highway embankment. It’s not the safest arrangement. If I rear-end someone, that dog is gonna end up welded to the stereo console.

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Only a handful of states have laws explicitly requiring a pet to be harnessed on the road. Other states, like mine, put driving with a dog on your crotch under the larger umbrella of Distracted Driving. So technically, you can get a ticket for hand-feeding Muffy kibble while you’re merging onto a highway, but I don’t think it’s enforced all that strictly. I really gotta put a partition up in the back of the car, so that the dog can hang back there and lick his castration scar without distracting anyone. And I’ll get right on that until I see the estimate and deem it too expensive.

Derek:

What has the average person consumed more of in their lives; cold foods, room temperature foods, or hot foods? Let’s say that liquids count and adding a cold thing to a room temperature thing (ala cereal) makes the entire food cold.

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We shouldn’t count liquids because, between water and beer, there’s no way you’ve consumed more hot or room temperature foodstuffs than cold ones. Not a chance. I don’t care if you’re Peter King and you drink enough coffee to kill a small tiger. Cold liquids are gonna win in the long run. Let’s just keep it to solid foods, in which case I wanna break this down scientifically…

BREAKFAST: Usually cold (cereal) or room temp (some kind of pastry or breakfast bar)

LUNCH: Usually room temp (sandwich, salad) or hot (microwaved shit)

DINNER: Usually hot

BRUNCH: Usually hot (eggs, bacon, waffles, pancakes)

SNACKS: Usually room temp

I’m gonna make a wild generalization here and say that the average American eats 27 lbs. worth of snacks daily: chips, cookies, crackers, beef jerky, whole cans of bread crumbs, etc. I can personally take in triple the amount of calories from general snacking than I can from set meals. Also, I get very impatient when I want to have a snack, which means that I am not willing to wait two whole minutes to microwave that piece of leftover chicken. It’s going into my tummy as is. Therefore, without resorting to doing any kind of actual math, or research, it is my belief that the average person eats more room temperature food in the course of a lifetime. Put “room temp” and “cold” in the same bucket and it’s a rout.

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Also, this answer probably varies depending upon where you live. Minnesota just got a foot of snow in April. People there run around with thermoses of hot chicken-and-stars soup dangling from their collars, like a band of Saint Bernards.

Richard:

Let’s say the Cavs are swept by the Pacers. At that point, LeBron is clearly done in Cleveland, right?

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I stand by my take that he should have gotten together with the Cavs and agreed to be traded prior to the deadline. Instead, the Cavs traded everyone else away and now LeBron is surrounded by two used Kias, a sack of marbles, three pitching prospects, and an old pack of Garbage Pail Kids. I guess he’s probably gonna leave, and I can’t blame him. Dan Gilbert is a oxygenated pile of shit who deserves nothing but bad things.

I just don’t really know where LeBron can go. Despite being the greatest player in the universe, he’s oddly screwed. He can go carpetbagging in Houston or Golden State, or he can go to some big market team like the Lakers and have the same talent problems he had in Cleveland, or he can hook up with some callow squad like the Sixers and hope to be the final piece. He should probably just take the next regular season off, and then hold some kind of playoff auction for his services. Pony up $80 million, and you get to rent LeBron for eight unforgettable weeks. I see no conflicts here with the current NBA pay structure. WHO SAYS NO?!!!?!?!???!!

Tom:

I am both broke and cheap, and yet I would find a way to spend upwards of $100 to watch Mueller interview Trump live. Am I alone in this?

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Probably not, but I personally wouldn’t pay it because I am cheap, and because I really, truly cannot listen to Trump talk anymore. I’ll read his tweets, and I’ll read highlights from transcripts where brags about invisible planes, but I can’t hear his voice. I’m spent. I’d rather fucking die than hear him say one more goddamn word.

Besides, it’s not like Trump would CONFESS to Mueller. Mueller could ask him the most pointed, detailed questions ever, and Trump would just blast right through them. “No collusion… no collusion… HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO GENE SIMMONS WHO WAS ALSO A GREAT GREAT BUSINESSMAN. We all love KISS, right? We’re gonna bring that back.” The only things I wanna hear from Trump are things I know he’ll never ever say. So no, I wouldn’t pay money to watch that shit.

I’d pay a mint to see that fat fuck led out of the White House in cuffs though.

Jacob:

I live in a small town with only one convenience store. I have a bit of a crush on a clerk. She’s cute and chatty in a nice way. She often has Archer reruns on in the background so I at least know we have a similar sense of humor. I’ve worked in the service industry and seen plenty of female employees get unwanted advances. I REALLY don’t want to be that guy, and I don’t want things to be super awkward getting gas, coffee, etc. My instinct says to just enjoy the brief interactions for what they are but part of me wonders if there could something more. Any way to thread the needle with testing the waters without being making things awkward?

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Well, does she like you? Does she flirt? Does she banter with you more than other customers? Does she playfully punch you on the shoulder when you make a funny? Does she look at you with dreamy eyes like the waitress in Baby Driver looks at the baby driver, eyes that tell you that the two of you should run away together and be in love forever and ever and ever?! No? Shit. Everyone deserves to run away with the Baby Driver girl.

Anyway, the obvious answer is to make your move away from her workplace. If it’s a small town, I assume there’s only one bar, and it’s a rowdy country bar with a bunch of sawdust on the floor and a mechanical bull in the center. Maybe she goes there and then you can give it a shot. Maybe a redneck named Big Jim tries to horn in on the action and then you can be like STEP OFF, BIG JIM. Then Big Jim hits you on the head with a beer bottle and all hell breaks loose, but your girl is crazy impressed because you defended her honor. That would be sweet.

If that’s NOT an option, if you find yourself terminally unable to run into this girl outside of the Mobil Mart… well look, you’re a grown man. You can probably figure out a woman’s cues from small talk, right? If she’s really chatting you up when you’re in line for mini donuts and it’s clear that she enjoys your company, there’s no harm in asking her if she wants to grab a beer or a cup of coffee sometime. If she says no, just be cool about it and carry on. That way, at least she knows you like her but you aren’t a pushy dickhead about it. That could serve you well when she finally breaks up with Big Jim’s cousin, Big Randy.

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NOTE: Please don’t attempt chat this girl up if I’m behind you in line, because I’m in a hurry and I will stab you if you cost me time.

Email of the week!

Frederic:

After doing my own time service to my country as an officer/lawyer (JAG), it is beyond doubt that the uniformed services use jargon on a level that’s worthy of a higher ranking on your list. The only jargon-like word I enjoyed using—sarcastically—was “knowledge dart,” i.e., “Oh my, then he threw out this knowledge dart.” The worst, by far, was “socializing” something, whether a document, an idea, or a plan because saying “discuss” is too practical.

For jokes, we (the lawyers - Navy, Air Force, and Army guys) would carry on discussions using as much jargon below as possible just to highlight the absurdity of how it sounded. Below are words and phrases that I heard on my Afghanistan tour alone. Use at your peril. Happy to clarify the meaning of any of them.

knowledge dart

fidelity

granularity

flash to bang time (time from idea to execution)

toss out this floppy fish (asking a question)

reinvent something new

I’m agnostic on this

socialize it

level the bubbles

ground truth / run this to ground

readjust our fire

azimuth check

get a clear sight picture

go VFR direct on the “glide slope” (pilots - “VFR” means visual flight rules)

top of the waves / wave tops

disirregardless

for your FYI

very tight shot group

long pole in the tent

deep dive

circle back

run the traps

who’s who in the zoo

nested

major muscle movement

run it through the wickets

good idea fairy

atmospherics

touch points

bandwidth

send it to me on digits / electrons / ‘trons

Okay, you win. In a related story, the other day I got a PR email with the subject line, “You’re Fired: A Manager’s Guide to Tasteful Off-Boarding,” and now I want to burn everything.