Illustration by Sam Woolley/Deadspin/GMG

Time for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Today, we’re talking baseball, football, nut butters, and more.

Your letters:

Bloodshark:

If Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un had a boxing match, which one dies of a heart attack first?

Kim is just 33 years old. I know Trump has a good six- or seven-inch height advantage on Kim, but come on. Trump is 71 and subsists on a diet of dumpster grease and fried animal skin. I watched Trump during the debates. Standing for any lengthy period of time is a real struggle for him. That’s why, when he gives speeches, he grabs the podium like it’s a walker. Kim is taking him out. I don’t care if Trump supposedly knocked Don Jr. to the ground once. Don Jr. is soft. It takes minimal dad strength to put him down. I’m going with Kim in a 3-round TKO. By the way, I would pay real money to see this fight. At least three bucks. And I’d pay even MORE for the weigh-in.

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Oh hey, you want another unverified Trump rumor? Here it is: Trump once pissed off American avocado farmers (BIG CADO!) because he promised a foreign head of state that he would buy their avocados (whether or not a president can just up and buy a bunch of avocados from another country is debatable). Anyway, what allegedly closed the deal for Trump was something like the following exchange:

TRUMP: Are your avocados better than the Hass avocados?

HEAD OF STATE: Yes.

TRUMP: Can you make guacamole with these avocados?

HEAD OF STATE: Yes.

That was all it took. Deal done. No one tell Trump that you can make salsa from tomatoes. His mind would be blown.

Joe:

Would you enjoy baseball more if it were three innings of baseball with nine-out half-innings as opposed to the current iteration? I feel like the game would go by faster and there would be more offense. Boom! Why aren’t I the commissioner?

No. No way. You don’t want a half-inning to last an hour. Pitchers would die. Small children would pass out from exhaustion in the stands. Ever sit through a long half-inning, with six pitching changes and 10 runs scored? It’s torture for any neutral observer. And for the pitching team, it feels like you’ve been condemned to hell and that the half-inning will literally never end. The longer any inning goes, the harder it gets to secure an out. So if you have to get NINE outs just to get to your turn at bat, the psychological toll on everyone involved would be disastrous. They’d have to sprinkle stadium pretzels with powdered Xanax.

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Besides, baseball and football both benefit from downtime. They are sports designed for the American attention span. I’m the kind of shithead who cherishes the opportunity to tweet about a cool play rather than watching the cool play itself. It’s basically an illness at this point. So no, I don’t want baseball being reformatted into inning megablocks. Keep it nice and choppy so that I always have an excuse to get up for beer.

Jeff:

What is the hardest semi-regular word to type correctly? I seem to always struggle with “balloon”. For some reason my finger never wants to type that second “o” and I end up with “ballon”.

I have very hard time with any word that has three vowels in a row and/or multiple vowel pairings: lieutenant, connoisseur, beautiful, etc. Fuck these words. They are not efficient words. If you need three vowels to get the sound across, the word is flawed. YOU HEAR ME, FRANCE? The next time a French person uses a hard consonant will be the first. Drooling is not a language, Pierre!

Also, if you’re typing on a phone, the A will fuck you good. I have … let’s say generous-sized fingertips. That means I’m constantly hitting the SHIFT key instead of the A by accident and ending up spelling shit like “fRt,” and “bLls.” Annoying. It’s probably not good for my health that an iPhone keypad and autocorrect can team up to give me a conniption at least five times a day.

Ryan:

Which item is most likely to be made out of necessity (too much of an item, ingredient spoilage, etc.)? Personally, I have only ever made banana bread after extra bananas started to go bad.

Probably anything to do with leftover bread: French toast, bread crumbs, croutons, etc. You buy a fresh baguette and it takes exactly 10 minutes for that thing to turn hard as a rock. So I like to cut it up into cubes (so much work), then toss it in a pan with a shitload of butter, olive oil, salt, and parmesan. PRESTO, you got yourself a shitload of croutons. In theory, these could last a week. In reality, I eat half of them right there at the kitchen counter.

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Some of the greatest foods in human history were birthed from similar necessity. People smoked and spiced extra meat to keep it from spoiling. All good soups come from old bones and table scraps. You can even make bread soup, and it’s good. One time I made Cocoa Puff treats (like Rice Krispies treats) out of stale Cocoa Puffs, and they were awesome. No one else in the house touched them, but that’s because they’re ignorant. I finished the whole pan to prove a point, dammit.

I am always looking for ways to repurpose leftovers into something that isn’t leftovers. Like fried rice. You can pretty much make fried rice out of any shit you got lying around: old chicken, boring vegetables, human remains, ALL OF IT. Or a frittata! A frittata is just an omelet with future garbage in it. Read Kitchen Confidential and you know that Sunday Brunch is basically cleaning day at your local trattoria. Transforming leftovers is the hallmark of a TRUE CHEF.

Anon:

Recently, I was at a small music venue near my house and ran into my ex-girlfriend from college. For some background we broke up over eight years ago right after we graduated and haven’t really been in contact since. Maybe seen each other twice in that time span and not for 4-5 years. She lives in a different state and we are not involved in each other’s lives at this point. After the initial shock of seeing her wore off, we said hellos and chatted for a few minutes and I was ready to move on. I was at the venue with my current girlfriend and not really interested in hanging out with ex. The ex was upset with what she perceived as a “brush-off” by me and expected to hang out with us/me longer. My question is should I feel obligated to hang out with her at the venue? If it makes a difference she dumped me way back when.

That’s ridiculous. What are you gonna do, hang out the whole night? With your current girlfriend right there? Fuck that. I say it’s rude for your ex to even show up! She should have to leave the venue.

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I’m all for amicable splits, but if you haven’t spoken in ages, you’re not obligated to stand there and spark up some revitalized, platonic version of your previous relationship. You’re not a bad person if you just want to cut it off entirely, forever. That’s your choice as a free citizen. And if that miffs her, who gives a shit? What’s she gonna do, continue to no longer have sex with you? You’re not boyfriend and girlfriend anymore. You’re not anything. That’s always a nice feeling, when you’ve achieved genuine closure on an old relationship and you can pull the power move of being like, “I have no obligation to you of any kind anymore.” It’s empowering. The entire Kelly Clarkson discography is based on that moment. Savor it, baby. Next time your ex steps to you at a concert, blow smoke in her face and say, “Didn’t you hear the news? IT’S OVER, HONEY.” That’s the classy move.

Kevin:

Is Nutella good?

Of course it is. It’s so good that Nutella has so far been undamaged by BIG NUT BUTTER’s attempts to eat into its market share. Jif has a knockoff Nutella now. And my grocery store has an array of chocolate butters and cookie spreads and spreadable candy that take up a whole shelf. I’m always tempted to try the other crap, but Nutella is the KING of European dessert slop. You know they serve it with breakfast in other countries? We’ve got some catching up to do.

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One time I bought this Nutella alternative at Ikea. It was tasty, but it was no Nutella. And really, who wants to eat something with a diarrhea blob mascot on the label? There could have been pickled herring in that shit for all I know. Swedish food can be unnerving.

Alistair:

So let’s say a new Confederacy secedes from the United States. What do they go with as their capital this time around? My money is on Texas or Arizona.

I assume they’d just keep Richmond as the CSA capital. The part of Virginia is still VERY Southern. You’ll still find dudes who talk like Foghorn Leghorn there. “Why I do declay-uh, this is as fine a day fuh a Suhhhhtunh Insuhrecction as I have evuh seen!”

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I know the country is currently having a full-on breakdown and it’s easy to think that Trump will lead us directly into Civil War 2.0, but it’s not gonna happen. The main ideological split in American today is city vs. rural, and not just North versus South. Go 20 miles outside of any city and you’re basically in hick country. There’s no real way to separate America’s warring factions into distinct territories, so that we can finally have it out and just start bombing the shit out of each other. We’re all stuck with one another until we all die. This is normally the part where I act like a Pollyanna and say WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER, GUYS! LET’S WORK IT OUT!

But no. No, I think I’d be happier if every hick moved to Alabama so that we can formally boot them from the Union. As America is presently constituted, I feel like I’m at a family reunion that won’t end.

Bill:

If a kid kneeled for the national anthem at the Little League World Series this week, would that be the moment that brings about the take singularity: the moment where the Whitlocks/Steven A Smiths/Colin Cowturds watch in stunned silence and then say “I got nothin”?

Nope. There is no take that cannot be taken, my friends. You should know that by now. So if little Johnny from Pleasantville decides to take a knee and tell ESPN that his favorite emoji is a raised fist, you can bet that the Take Economy will find away to adjust. Cowherd would immediately blame Kaepernick for corrupting our children. Bayless would declare the boy braver than LeBron ever was in the clutch. Whitlock would eat his own poop on camera. And I would be sure to craft a 600-word post that strains to make obvious points seem rebellious. The takes stop for no one, dammit. Takes find a way.

Brian:

Pick and rank the five shittiest owners in the NFL. My fantasy league agrees on Snyder at #1 but no others.

Well, they’re all bad in very distinct ways. Do you abhor cheap owners above all else? Then Mike Brown is your man. Or do you hate meddlesome tyrants? That’s the Double J. What about clueless old fogies? Let me introduce you to the McCaskeys. The NFL ownership club contains every known variety of evil: greed, vanity, selfishness, corruption. So I’m partial to the owners who do their best to be EVERY kind of evil, namely:

1. Snyder

2. Haslam

3. Johnson

4. Spanos

5. York

I think that’s about as good a starting lineup from hell as you’ll find. I know that Vikings owner Zygi Wilf—who is an actual criminal—probably belongs on here too. But hey, the man does pony up for free agents, so there’s that.

HALFTIME! 

Andy:

My wife and I are catching reruns of ER on TV currently. She’s younger than I am and didn’t watch the show when it first ran, and people from work are giving her shit because she’s watching a show from 17 years ago. They’re assholes, right?

The joke’s on them. While your girlfriend’s co-workers strain to keep up with every new show and avoid spoilers like they’re flying bullets, she gets to take the full ER journey unencumbered by any peer pressure or FOMO bullshit. That’s not a bad way to experience a show. Wait until Clooney leaves! She’ll be CRUSHED. Oh, and remember when that one dude had a helicopter crash directly onto him? Wild shit! When Paul McCrane dies on camera, he REALLY dies on camera. Goddamn, I remember how huge ER was when I was in college. They had viewing parties in the dorm common room and everything. You’ve never seen so many people in sweatshirts and sweatpants, steadfastly avoiding coursework.

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I know one of the reasons people watch prestige TV is so they can tweet about it and all that, but it’s also freeing to watch a show that’s so far from the zeitgeist that you never have to worry about it getting spoiled or overhyped. In today’s pop culture, you basically have to watch shit NOW or wait eight years so that absolutely no one is paying attention anymore. A couple of my relatives told me to watch Wallander, and so I did. Absolutely NO danger of having Twitter spoil that show if you dig in. From now on, I’m only binge-watching old crap. I’ll let you know how my marathon viewing of Quincy goes.

Chris:

Which number is less appropriate for an adult to find funny: 69 or 420? Also, which number is funnier?

Oh, 69. Weed is funny but it’s usually only funny if you’re high. Sixty-nine is the GOAT of funny numbers. And you should never be ashamed of a well-timed 69 joke, like when 69 people die in a ferry crash and the first reply tweet is “Nice.” The more insensitive the “Nice,” reply, the funnier it is.

Sarah:

What’s the etiquette on wearing headphones indoors? I find it unacceptably rude to keep both earbuds in while interacting with another human, but I see it all the time at coffee shops and restaurants. Just take them off while you’re inside a place! Right?

I think you should take them off when you’re speaking to someone. You don’t have to remove them EVERY time you’re inside, but if someone is yakking to you and has no idea if you’ve turned the music off, you gotta take out at least ONE earbud, or slip one of your headphones off to the side. Give them some sort of cue to let them know you’re not a complete ass. After all, putting on headphones is the universal sign of, “Please fuck off and don’t disturb me,” so you can’t voluntarily have a conversation with someone if they’re still on your head.

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This is what I do on planes, by the way. If I’m rocking out on my headphones and I see the drink cart coming, I slip off one headphone to let the attendant know, “Yes, I am prepared to order a seltzer … full can please!” And then they take another 15 minutes to get to me and I get impatient and slip the headphones all the way back on before they move a foot closer and I repeat the process all over again. It’s very fun.

David:

Can you explain the appeal of corn on the cob to me? It’s a vegetable, it’s annoying to eat, you get crap stuck in your teeth constantly - but it is a staple of summer eating. Moreover, parents love talking about where they got the corn from. “Oh this is fresh corn from Poolesville! Did you try the corn??” Well here’s a fun fact, all the food ever in existence came from somewhere.

Corn isn’t a vegetable. It’s a starch that you can pretend is a vegetable so that you don’t have to serve actual vegetables at a barbecue. I like corn on the cob because it’s easy to cook (just throw it on the grill) and it’s a convenient delivery device for both butter and salt. Also, like watermelon, I get to be a complete slob when I eat it, with pieces of corn flying all over and buttery corn juices dripping down my chin. It’s very freeing to eat like a pig. Also, if you’ve ever tried to cut corn off the cob—for sautéing, etc—you know it makes a goddamn mess. Those kernels spill out all over the place. I would rather just eat it right off the cob and, as you said, marvel at its freshness. “This corn tastes so LOCAL!” Since they grow corn everywhere, you’re never far from the fresh shit.

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When I was a kid, I was once passing through a cornfield because corn is grown pretty much everywhere. So I grabbed a piece off one of the stalks and brought it home to my mom. I was VERY proud of that one stupid corncob. She boiled it in milk and we split it and it was a quality Stolen Corn Moment. I reject your corn slander.

Jeremy:

I recently purchased a flight to attend a friend’s bachelor party in Vancouver/Whistler this fall. Long story short, after I paid for my non-refundable ticket, the trip was cancelled. I was the only one of my friends to have bought their ticket before the trip was cancelled (because I’m an idiot). Now that the trip is off, none of my other friends are planning on going to Vancouver obviously, and my fiance can’t go with me that weekend either. My question is should I just take the hit, eat the price of the ticket and not go, or should I go to Whistler by myself? I should say that I don’t mind doing things alone and have wanted to go to Whistler for awhile. Have you ever traveled or gone on vacation alone? Am I a lunatic for even considering this?

Can’t you just eat the change fee and save the ticket for another time? That’s probably what I would do. I actually have gone on vacation alone. It was 1997 and I had a Eurail pass, and the guys I was traveling with had to get back a week before I had to. So I spent a week alone traveling through Germany, Switzerland, France, and Spain. It’s nice at first. You can go anywhere you like and do whatever you wanna do. But it does wear on you. Think about business travel. You can only occupy yourself for so long before loneliness finally gets you. I like seeing new places but if I’m alone there’s always the nagging feeling that I’m missing out because I’m not sharing the moment with anyone, you know? So I’d eat the change fee and then go punch your friend in the dick.

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By the way, I went to Whistler once. I was a lowly ad exec on location in Vancouver, and one of the clients—a woman much older than me—wanted to see Whistler. This was early fall and there was no snow, but she wanted to check it out anyway. So I drove her, 75 miles and back. Ever spend three hours driving through the Canadian wilderness with someone you barely know, all to see a deserted resort town? Don’t.

Luke:

So De Smith says a work stoppage in 2021 is “almost certain”. If the owners lock out the players, and it goes on long enough to cause games to be cancelled, how will the teams who swindled their cities out of millions of dollars to give them eight games a year not be in breach of contract? Do the owners get out of their part of the bargain free and clear? Do they get replacement players? Do these cities even HAVE something in the contract that would allow them to sue?

Oh I’m sure NFL owners have language in their stadium deals that allows them to lock out players for decades at a time. They’re savvy like that.

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By the way, that De Smith statement is clearly just him jockeying in advance of a protracted labor battle. I have lived through numerous work stoppages, including the 1994 MLB strike that cancelled the World Series, along with the 1999 NBA lockout that gave us the Knicks in the Finals. I know how this works. Everyone makes a bunch of threats and puffs their chests, and then one side finally exercises the nuclear option, then the league shuts down, and then fans like me are like “TO HELL WITH BOTH OF THEM! Why, it’s like they don’t care about us fans at all!,” and then the players finally cave and the work stoppage ends with NONE of the problems plaguing the sport actively addressed. And then I tune back in because I’m a sucker. Should be fun! I love seeing live shots of Albert Breer standing outside a courthouse.

John:

Will the NFL eliminate the national anthem all together if more players start sitting down in protest?

I think they ought to regardless, but I don’t think they would retire the anthem just because players decided to kneel en masse. They would probably only consider it if a full-scale riot broke out at the stadium in the wake of a protest. And even then, I think they’d still play it, because skipping it would probably only make meatheads angrier. As in media and politics, the NFL values the opinion of its redneck fans more than any other subset of fans. Why? Fuck if I know. All I know is that the NFL has married its brand to nationalism, and it’s not giving up that bond anytime soon. They’ll keep playing the anthem, and players who protest will have to endure the consequences for it largely on their own, without much extra support outside of a mealy-mouthed statement from their coach or the Ginger Hammer.

Email of the week!

Hamilton:

We live in central Texas, any time my dad is back in Michigan or Ohio (where we visit relatives/he is from) he brings back food. Not like a bag of cherries or the buckeyes chocolate things, but sandwiches from a regional pizza/sub shop, pizzas, pasties, fried walleye, etc. He once carried on a Crave Case*TM of White Castle cheeseburgers on an airplane. Every year he calls his favorite regional pizza chain in Ohio to have them “cook halfway, quarter and freeze ten pizzas” and he picks them up in a cooler with dry ice, if driving. If flying, he checks them.

He came home with from a recent trip this week. He does this like a dog bringing a dead rat to the porch, super happy and pleased with himself while everyone else tries to mitigate their disgust. He invited my wife and I to his house the other night to sample a Crave Case that he had stopped in St. Louis to get while driving back from Michigan’s upper peninsula. He kept them in the passenger footwell of his truck and had the AC blowing on them to keep them as cool as possible. He microwaved them, and the buns where not soggy nor stale, probably as a result of whatever chemical they are made of, and the meat was… edible.

I had one to humor him, and something took over me and I kept going. Like nine White Castle cheeseburgers going. My wife has seen me eat some pretty rank things, like Skyline chili. She won’t eat it, but it is my guiltiest of guilty pleasures. This took the cake for the worst thing she has seen me commit. She didn’t dare say or do anything to harass me about it, as she knew my bowels would. And they did. A few days of the feel-bad-poops are the punishment for consumption of 20-hour old, crudely handled sliders. I should mention that our local grocery store sells frozen White Castle cheeseburgers. He knows this and still got them and traveled 1,200 miles with them. And I still ate them.

It probably should also be clarified that a crave case is 30. So how long or far have you traveled with cooked food?

I used to bring everything bagels from New York back on the train to D.C. By Philly, the whole train car smelled like garlic bits. I’m a terrible person.