Illustration: Chelsea Beck (G/O Media)
FunbagTime for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? [Email the Funbag](mailto:funbag.deadspin@gmail.com).   

Today, we’re talking about why baseball has no left-handed shortstops, flossing, Worcestershire sauce, toenails for teeth, and more.

Your letters:

Roger:

Should fans say “we won/lost/suck/etc.” when talking about whatever team they support, or use “they” instead? As fans have zero impact on any sporting outcome, I feel they should not be using “we”. Where is the line drawn for being able to use “we” in this context? Broadcasters?

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Broadcasters should never use it, and I know your local team’s home announcer like Herbert Longjohn or whoever is explicitly paid to be shamelessly in the tank, but it’s still incredibly cheesy when they cross that line without shame. What’s more, it actually DEPRIVES hometown fans of excitement, because when John Sterling acts like every fucking ball the Yankees make contact with is a home run, then it blunts the surprise and joy of an actual home run being hit.

Time for me to pivot with an eye-roll of a HOWEVER and tell you that I really don’t think it’s that bad when plain old fans do it. I rarely do it because, of course, I am a loosely professional journalism person. But I also avoid it because someone will just inevitably call me out for it anyway. “Bro, you’re not on the team, bro.” You think I’m not aware of that? I don’t go to the Vikings’ glorified Magna-Tile of a stadium and demand to be let into the locker room to see my teammates. I know my place in the hierarchy of things. I’m in the gimp cellar. I’m superfluous to the whole enterprise except for when Zygi Wilf wants money for shit.

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But the whole point of being a fan is feeling like you belong to something bigger than yourself. When my team wins, I don’t keep a stone face and go, “Well, I didn’t play in the game so I have nothing to celebrate myself.” I jump around and pump my fist and scream out YEEEEAHHHH WE DID IT MOTHERFUCKER as loud as I can and then I apologize to my family for doing so. Why? Because it was a team effort, baby. I wouldn’t have had such a nice day without seeing my team win, and they surely wouldn’t have been able to do it without the karmic fortune of KNOWING, instinctively, that I was at home cheering them on with all my might. I buy the jerseys. I pay for Sunday Ticket. I high-five other fans at the bar when my team does a good thing. I roleplay as coach and/or GM and scrutinize every last transaction the team makes and devise future transactions of my own that they should pursue. I want to be PART of this. That only feels like a vicarious waste of time from a distance. When you’re in it, it feels perfectly natural and joyful. My team has never won a title and never will and I STILL enjoy the ritual of it all.

So yeah, when no one is looking, I lash to myself to the Vikings with a shameless WE. “We still get too many fucking penalties!” etc. It’s a cheap way of insinuating myself into the team and somehow giving myself a portion of the credit when they do well. I don’t deserve that credit, but who fucking cares? Lying to yourself is half the fun. This website started out being pro–Royal We and later turned against it for solid reasons. But that’s in the more general writing sense, when people want to ascribe how they individually feel about something to society as a whole.

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Sports fandom is different. Anyone trying to well actually your use of “we” there is both a killjoy who probably works for NPR and/or a hypocrite who buys replica Super Bowl rings from Jostens anytime their team wins a championship.

I’ve shamed people for over-using “we,” especially Boston fans. But it’s time I got over that … except, again, for Boston fans doing it. Use we. It’s fine. You have my permission. LUCKY YOU. It’s not like it’s gonna make you LESS annoying when you’re watching the Lakers play basketball or something. If you’re a fan, it’s your God-given right to make it all about you. If you’re Larry Michael and do it, you can go drown in a toilet.

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Mick:

My partner insists on flossing after she brushes, whereas I floss before I brush. Who is in the right here?

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Neither of you. According to the official website of Colgate toothpaste, it doesn’t matter. When I first read this, I suspected that BIG TOOTHPASTE might be lying in order to make sure you use more toothbrush than you require. Perhaps they know you should brush second but would prefer to cover up their research! So, for a second dental opinion, I consulted the august New York Times, which never met an issue it couldn’t meekly equivocate over. Sure as shit, they reported that some dentists say X while others say Y. Meanwhile, Bret Stephens says that giving children free toothbrushes at the dentist is a slippery slope to The Holocaust Chapter II. Classic Times.

Personally, I floss first. I never gave a shit either way until I got married, after which my wife explained that you should floss out all the shreds of flank steak first so that you can then sweep them away with your brush. Made sense to me. I barely bothered to floss anyway when I was single. Now, I do it every night like a good little boy, except for when I’m on a business trip. That’s my vacation from flossing.

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On a totally unrelated note, I get searing pain in my jaw anytime I drink cold liquid. So weird!

Devin:

Can Trump reliably play himself into a tie in a game of tic-tac-toe?

Intellectually, yes. Even a child quickly sorts out that tic-tac-toe usually ends in a tie. I know this because I’ve played it against my children on many a restaurant kiddie placemat. Sometimes they slip up and I take advantage, which is both thrilling and evil. But usually, we end up gridlocked. So I think Trump, who continually operates with the brainpower of an 8-year-old suffering from encephalitis, could work out a way to play himself into a stalemate.

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But of course, that’s not what he WOULD do. I just watched the man spend an entire week inventing weather patterns and demanding actual scientists back him up on it. He is not interested in stalemates, or gray areas, or ambiguities. He wants a clear-cut winner and loser, and he wants to be the winner. So if you gave him a tic-tac-toe board, he would rig the game so that he “won,” and then deliberately ignore the fact that he also lost. Then he would give himself a fucking trophy and have a plaque commemorating the victory bolted to the dining room wall at Doral. I can’t believe we’re all gonna die because of THIS guy. I expected the harbinger of Global Thermonuclear War to at least be a bit more of a badass.

Speaking of tic-tac-toe, I’m gonna date myself here and tell you that I never realized that game was an exercise in banging your head against the wall until I watched the old Matthew Broderick movie WarGames, specifically this scene…

That was the first time I said to myself, oh, so THAT’S why no one ever wins that game when I play it. That was also the first time I’d ever heard someone in a movie explain that “futility” is an important concept for both people and machines to understand and accept. Before that, every movie I saw taught me old tropes about never giving up and never surrendering in the face of adversity. And now here was Stephen Falken saying that some endeavors are demonstrably pointless, and that reasonable people ought to know when to quit while they’re ahead and move onto solvable problems. Thirty-six years later, the fucking President of this country would call Falken a pussy and then nuke Greenland because an actress on Twitter told him that he couldn’t buy it.

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Garrison:

I think Roth mispronounced Worcestershire on the podcast once. Did he? How are you supposed to pronounce it? Why are there multiple interpretations of how to say this word? Is this a region kind-of-thing?

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Roth says he may have done that on purpose. The scamp. He says, “Woosta-sher-shire is how I’d say it if I was trying to do it right,” which is definitely not how I pronounce Worcestershire. I pronounce it Wooster (like the town in MA)-sure. According to this AOL article—and what more trustworthy source could there be for such inquiries, apart from the official Colgate toothpaste website?—I am doing it right. Let’s make the President say Worcestershire out loud. I bet it would be an adventure.

In other “how do you say X?” news, Luis showed everyone on staff this guide to how people say THE. Until I read that post, I never realized that I do, indeed, switch up how I say “the” depending upon what the following word is gonna be. If the next word starts with a consonant (“the dog”), I say THUH. If it starts with a vowel (“the end”), I say THEE to prevent slurring. Ain’t that some shit? DOST THAT NOT BLOWETH THOU’S MIND?

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Jim:

Would you rather have toenails for teeth, or teeth for toenails? Normal hygiene for either is required (you’d have to trim your teeth or brush your toenails).

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Teeth for toenails. You can’t eat with toenail teeth. In fact, you’d almost certainly end up shredding your mouth in the attempt. Also, everyone would see those toothnails. No way to hide them. Just a fucking nightmare all around. I’d look like a Scottish person.

So I would have teeth for toenails. They’d be easier to cover up, and my toes look like shit anyway. That happens to guys, where your toes sprout patches of Austin Powers chest hair and the skin around your toenails gets all cracked and red. I go to the gym every day and am subjected to the sight of toenail fungus cases on other men that no one should ever have to witness firsthand. Fucking horrifying. Swapping teeth in there would almost be an improvement over the current state of human anatomy.

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Chip:

My wife is pregnant with our son. My dad and grandfather were both lifelong Bills fans. I’m a Bills fan too, but I’ve moved away from upstate NY and now live in LA. Our son will grow up in LA and be lured by the Rams. Am I obligated by tradition and family legacy to try to raise him as a Bills fan or can I save him the heartache and not even try?

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Don’t bother. Why saddle your child with Bills fandom if you don’t have to? Let him sort out his own team, if he even ends up liking football at all. He’ll probably end up rooting for his DFS team every week anyway. I know I do.

I’ve told this story before but my youngest son doesn’t give a shit about the NFL and the other two kids are Skins fans, my older son more so than my daughter. I am fine with this. I fucking hate the Skins but that’s my problem. We live near D.C. so it makes sense for the boy to latch onto the hometown team instead of his father’s choke fetishist team situated half a country away. I figured that if I demanded the boy love the Vikings, he’d end up loving the Packers instead. Just to spite me. I wanted him to be free to make his own choices and live with them, and so he has. Natural consequences, amigo. He doesn’t know to hate Danny Snyder yet. But it won’t be long.

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Similarly, you could push the Bills on your kid, but he’ll just end up rooting for the Pats anyway. Leave him be and maybe he becomes the seventh Chargers fan to exist in L.A. County. Special little guy!

HALFTIME!

Matt:

I am curious if you could go a whole month using just one roll of toilet paper. Co-workers say no but I think it would be a slam dunk. Am I missing something here?

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I wouldn’t be able to do it. I know this because I have a STRONG and ACTIVE rectum, and also because I once disclosed here how many sheets of TP I used per wipe and people reacted as if I was Jair Bolsonaro personally burning the Amazon rainforest to the ground. Okay I probably use way too much, but I haven’t really reduced my squares-per-capita usage since that reprisal. That’s how much I fear the stinkfinger.

So I could not make a roll of TP last a month. Especially a single roll. Toilet paper now comes in Double Stuf quilted rolls that are so thick that they get stuck in the little TP holder indent in my bathroom wall. Then I try to get some and the paper tears off with a single tug. Then I swear loudly. I could maybe make one of those rolls of Maxi-Charmin last through the next world war. But a regular, single roll? Nope. I’d be wiping my ass with discarded Eggo waffle boxes by Week 4. You might fare better if you’re still well-versed in the bachelor lifestyle: wiping your ass once a week and eating instant oatmeal packets for dinner and what not. But when you get older and fussier like me, it’s not as easy.

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I used to run out of TP when I was single. I would sit down to take a shit, without flossing, and realize the roll was on its final spin, with no reinforcements ready under the sink. That’s one of those moments where you realize you don’t want to spend the rest of your life alone. One time I had to waddle to the kitchen and grab some paper towels to use. I have not yet recovered.

Michael:

Best dip: who ya got for the best all round? Salsa vs. hummus, etc.

I think guacamole is probably my choice. I’ve never been unhappy to see guacamole at a table. You put that out on a spread and my eyes go right to it. OOOOOH, TASTY GUAC! I am helpless against its powers. Here are my rankings, independent of an old post Jolie Kerr did on the same topic:

  1. Guacamole
  2. Queso. Move this to No. 1 if it’s got chorizo in it, which it ought to.
  3. Sour cream and onion dip. And not the homemade kind. I’m talking about the tub of Helluva Good dip made with fully hydrogenated whale blubber that they keep in the dairy aisle.
  4. Smoked salmon dip. MY smoked salmon dip, to be precise. Contains woostersure sauce! Also works with Trader Joe’s canned smoked trout, which is a shockingly good product. This has been your Yuppie Minute, sponsored by Yeti.
  5. Crazy feta. My grocery store sells tubs of this shit for like $6. It’s an aggressive ripoff, especially when you can make your own. And yet, it’s so good I could eat it straight out of the container with a spoon. I wanna put crazy feta on my Pop Tarts. I have no shame.
  6. Chocolate fondue
  7. Hummus. Hummus is also a good sauce. I just dump it right on my kebabs and rice. So creamy!
  8. Salsa verde
  9. Regular salsa. Liking salsa verde more lets you know I am a man of evolved and refined tastes.
  10. Seven-layer dip
  11. Baba ghanouj
  12. Cocktail sauce
  13. Tzatziki
  14. Wiping my ass with a paper towel
  15. Artichoke dip. Artichoke dip is just a way for people to inflict hot mayonnaise upon you. I don’t even like artichokes. The whole enterprise is the work of a crime syndicate.

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I’m sure I forgot something in there. Crab dips are ubiquitous in Maryland, but a lot of those crab dips are just artichoke dip with a more expensive ingredient swapped in. Beware. I’ll just order my crab unadorned, thank you. Also, a lot of people swear by buffalo chicken dip. But, as someone who had a bad run-in with bleu cheese after a bout of food poisoning, I really don’t want it united with mushed chicken in a Pyrex dish.

Michael:

Do you think you could count, out loud, for 24 straight hours without stopping? Let’s assume you take about one second between each number and don’t have more pressing business to attend to that day. If you couldn’t, what number would you give up around?

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I can’t even stay awake for 24 hours straight. What do I look like, a cocaine addict? I would give up counting after 100 seconds, if not sooner. I have no patience. I check the time when MEDITATING, for shit’s sake. Ages ago, I did the 100 pushups regimen and worked my way into being able to do more than 50 at a time (I swear!), then quit because A) It hurt my back and B) I got sick of counting. The latter sounds like a brag. BRO I COULD DO SO MANY ‘SHUPS I GOT SICK OF IT BRO. But, for real: whether it’s counting for pushups or for stretching or for lifting weight or for head counts or for kindergarten homework, I get bored and disoriented after hitting, like, 10. I lose count. I get antsy. I want to go get a snack. I don’t want to count SHIT. You could hand me a stack of $1,000 bills (please do) and I wouldn’t even muster the energy to count THAT. I deserve to be scammed.

Aaron:

Which is the more intolerable group: old people or children?

Am I related to either group in this scenario? Because I live with my kids all year round and am still sane. But then I go up to visit my folks and start lashing out at them after roughly 48 hours.

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Anyway, if we’re taking familial relationships out of the equation, the answer is clearly children. Would you rather be stuck on a flight with 200 little kids or 200 old fogies? I REST MY CASE. Sure, old people are all intractable assholes whose past professional actions and current electoral actions have almost certainly brought about the literal demise of mankind as a whole. But at least they won’t bust out an iPad next to me on an airplane and watch Dora without fucking headphones on. It’s a worthwhile tradeoff.

Furthermore, I may be a dad now, but that doesn’t mean I find other kids cute and lovable. They’re still EXTREMELY fucking annoying, perhaps even more so than I was single. Now the obnoxious kids AND their shithead parents annoy me in equal measure. When I die, I won’t be able to see or hear any of them, and that’ll be a good time.

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Amerigo (not Vespucci):

Which cheap beer would say is the best, and which would you say is the worst?

Does Heineken count as a cheap beer? Probably not. Heineken remains the worst beer I’ve ever had. Even those sweet keg cans they used to sell didn’t help matters. Heineken smells and tastes like a beer that’s been left on a beach for a week. I’d rather drink a can of fermented artichoke dip. If Heineken is too froufrou to count, then I’ll say Rolling Rock. Among mass-produced cheap beer, Rolling Rock has the most uneven taste-to-packaging ratio. The bottle is cool. The beer is grizzly piss.

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My favorite cheap beer is (well, was, since I can’t drink anymore) Miller Lite. It was probably my favorite beer, period. I once went to a fancy brewery in Deep Ellum, Texas and asked them which home-brewed swill of theirs was CLOSEST to Miller Lite. This was in Dallas, so I assume they were used to the question. I still felt like an asshole. I want to drink a beer I don’t have to think about.

Matt:

If you somehow lucked your way into billions of dollars, hopefully without sacrificing your soul to the devil, what type of sports franchise would be the best to own? I personally think billionaire me would be pretty happy having a baseball team, but I suppose there’s an argument to be made for a basketball team as well. Thoughts?

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Oh, a football team. You only have to go to 16–20 games a year, if that. You get a sick luxury box. You get NBC broadcasting every reaction you have to every play like it’s gonna be archived in a fucking presidential library one day. And you get to be one of the ELITE 32 people on Earth worthy of entry into the Shield Club. No wonder those guys are high on their own prestige every waking minute. If I owned an NFL team, I’d be a rotten prick too.

Bonus points to being an NBA owner, because you can hang out courtside every game and act like people are happy to see you there. And bonus bonus points to being a soccer owner abroad. You can be a legit war criminal and still own an EPL team. NO ONE GIVES A SHIT! The perfect life!

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Matt:

There are no left-handed throwing second basemen, shortstops, third basemen or catchers in the majors. Any hot takes on this? Would you enjoy seeing some team trot out a left-hander at short for example?

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I don’t think I’d even notice. I didn’t notice the larger trend before you pointed it out to be. I write about sports for a living. Great effort on my part.

Anyway, I’m gonna talk out of my ass and tell you that the counter-clockwise arrangement of the base paths is to blame for this. If the base paths went the other way around, every infielder would be a southpaw. As it stands now, those paths are such that when you field a ball, you have to make the throw to your left. That naturally lends itself to throwing the ball right-handed, because you’re already in the proper stance to make such a turn and throw if you’re facing home plate. If you were lefty, it would be more awkward. You wouldn’t think this would be a problem for some world-class shortstop who also happens to be left-handed, but I guess the evidence proves otherwise. This is leftism, is what it is. Ned Flanders would be appalled.

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Email of the week!

Dave:

At lunch today, I choked on some lukewarm, cafeteria-grade bbq pork sandwich. At first I tried to play it cool, thinking it was just a small piece that needed some help getting down. I stood up and walked away from the table and took a sip of water. The water went nowhere. It just sat in my throat and that’s when I knew I had a problem. I was getting no oxygen. I ran back to the table to get my coworkers’ attention (note: I DID NOT use the universal sign for choking but instead was punching myself above my gut, trying to give myself the Heimlich. That was my survival instinct?). It took three people giving me the Heimlich before the food finally came up. Towards the end I could feel myself blacking out.

Now, while it was traumatic, and it was embarrassing to have the entire cafeteria standing around looking at me while I spit up half-chewed barbecue, what I really found myself pissed off about was that I didn’t get to have some life-changing epiphany or have the most important things in my life flash in my mind, like my wife and 1-year old son. No, instead, as I felt myself beginning to lose consciousness, I thought about what a bullshit way this was to go out. Sure, not every death is going to some badass exit from the world, but this wasn’t even good food, let alone worth dying over. That was going to be my final thought, pettiness about my exit music.

So, are near-death experiences bullshit? Is it normal for people to come close to dying and then change the way the live now that they know “life is too short”, or is what happened to me more common, where nothing in my life is going to be substantially different. Maybe I’ll give my wife and kid an extra long hug when I see them next, but you bet your ass tomorrow at noon I’ll be shoveling down my throat whatever slop my work decides to serve that day.

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Well, I nearly died last year and have since used my recovery to continue writing about wiping my ass online. So yeah, near-death experiences are not always what they’re made out to be.