Pardon me if I seem a little rattled. I just endured my most terrifying moment in months: The sight of my favorite Celtic (Al Jefferson) writhing around on the floor during last night's Pacers-Celtics game, then getting helped off the floor and carried into the locker room. Fortunately, it turned out to be a high ankle sprain and he's only missing four weeks. But it still ruined my night.
I know, I know. You're finding it hard to feel sorry for a Boston fan right now. But Big Al was my only foreseeable silver lining as a sports fan in February and March, when I don't get to root for a championship team for two whole months. So the thought of losing him for the season was pretty sobering.
Anyway, I was able to bounce back and finish this mailbag. As always, these are actual e-mails from actual readers:
Q: What is Berry Melrose doing??? That is the biggest question I would like answered about the NHL lockout! Is he having the same meltdown as Ron Burgundy did when he was off the air? You work at ESPN, can you answer this? Please tell me the Mullet is still in full effect.
--Kevin Devoy, Minneapolis
SG: I'm not supposed to mention this, but we have Melrose cryogenically frozen like Austin Powers right now. If the hockey lockout ever ends -- and it probably won't, but just in case -- we're immediately thawing him out and showing his seven-minute pee live on ESPNEWS. Don't tell anybody.
Q: I think EA Sports should add a feature to NBA Live: 2006 that would allow players to attack the fans. Imagine being the Heat and taking Shaq into the crowd to kill 15 people?
--Dan, New Brunswick
SG: Couldn't they just merge NBA Live and Grand Theft Auto and set it in Portland? Not only could you try to win the NBA title with the Blazers, but you could have missions between games: Raise pit bulls to fight against Qyntel Woods and his dogs; steal pot from Damon Stoudamire; fight the Portland police when they catch you asleep in your car at 4 a.m.; frame Ruben Patterson for a felony assault; switch your urine with the ballboy's urine before an unexpected drug test; assassinate Dick Bavetta before he referees your game against the Knicks; and so on. And during games, you could inexplicably charge into the stands and start punching spectators -- it would be just like randomly attacking people in Grand Theft Auto. Of course, the ultimate goal would be to overthrow David Stern and take over the league.
(By the way, I think I would pay like $3,000 to play this game.)
Q: Could you do me and the millions (and millions) of your toilet-based readers a favor -- In your longer columns -- Running Commentaries, etc., please add some instructions like "Mercy Flush", "Wipe" and "Its been 15 minutes, the boss is probably looking for you". Judging by the number of your column printouts left in the bathroom, it would help.
--Glenn McGregor, Washington DC
SG: Sure! I'll start with this column. Hold on ...
Q: Bill, my nemisis. Remember Vietnam? You know, tiny country, only known for one quasi-victory, then for the most part faded back in to oblivion? Remember they were dominated by the French (as homoerotic as that sounds), then eeked out a win over the US after spending hundreds of years in the way back seat to Europe and the U.S.? See the analogy I am trying to make here, Bill? You see, the Yankees are the United States ... they have the most money, they have the biggest weapons, and they, for the most part, never lose. People love to hate the U.S., just as they love to hate the Yankees, mostly because people wish they were born in the U.S., and people wish they were born to fathers who knew enough to root for a winning team, and not for a bunch of choke artists that have not won a series in their lifetime. Every once in a while, a nobody team like the Red Sox, like Vietnam to the U.S., will come along and remind the U.S. that while certainly dominant, they are not unbeatable. And then what happens? Vietnam, like the BoSox parties for a while, gets drunk, loses the face of their team to the Mets, and, in the words of the great Tyson, fades back in to Bolivia. Meanwhile, people will keep hating the Yanks, will keep hating on the U.S., but its all good, cause now all Vietnam does is make shoes for NIKE. Love you.
--Chief Macho, NY, NY
SG: See, that's everything I ever wanted in a reader e-mail -- insane, delusional, funny and improbably coherent, and all from a guy who calls himself "Chief Macho." The bar has been raised.
Q: Why do Steeler fans carry Terrible Towels?
--Thomas Moore, Stow, Ohio
Q: So when their team craps the bed in a big game, they can clean up the mess afterwards.
--Thomas Moore, Stow, Ohio
SG: That's not fair ... I like the Steelers fans. It's not their fault that their coach spent the year gearing his team around power football and ramming their running game down people's throats, then pretty much confessed to his team, "I don't have faith that we can get two yards" on the biggest play of the entire season. Seriously, how do you NOT go for it when you're down by 14 in the fourth quarter? Worst-case scenario, you get stuffed, you're still down two possessions and the Pats are stuck on their own two. That was crazy. Can you remember another playoffs with this many coaches tightening up that memorably? Where can I get on a No Limit Hold 'Em table with Cowher, Schottenheimer and Herm Edwards? Can I bid on this on eBay?
(And honestly? I was disappointed -- I wanted the Steelers to go for it. That had all the makings of a phenomenal goal line stand for the Pats. I feel cheated. Damn you, Sergeant Slaugher. Damn you.)
Q: What's up with the reviews of the top sports movies of all-time? I am waiting patiently for your review of Vision Question.
--Shawn, Hanover, NH
SG: Was that the one with Matthew Modinette?
(FYI: The Top 72 Sports Movies countdown comes back next month. We should be hitting number-one by 2026.)
Q: On your Hall of Fame pyramid: Love the idea, but my father and I devised this plan over dinner recently. It's pretty simple actually. The Baseball Hall of Fame should hold 40 people, and no more than 40. When the time comes for a great candidate like Bonds to be elected, they have to vote one of the other 40 out. Talk about a great debate! Or perhaps I just want to intergrate Survivor into all facets of life.
--Brett, Los Angeles
SG: I'm with you.Although 40 seems a little low -- 200 seems a little more reasonable. By the way, if we ever wanted to kill off Rob Neyer, this would be the way to do it. This would make his head explode. I'm not even kidding.
Q: At all the weddings/rehearsal dinners I've been to, the bridesmaids always get together and sing a stupid song or recite a silly poem. They are never funny and everybody there has to give them the courtesy laugh. Can you help explain why girls are incapable of giving wedding toasts?
--Matthew Brown, Washington, DC
SG: I have a story about this: At my friend Chipper's wedding, the bridesmaids and their extended college friends banded together to sing "Oh What A Night!", only they customized the lyrics for the night that Chip and his wife met. The song lasted for three hours and 45 minutes -- well, it seemed like it lasted that long -- and caused my buddy JackO to break a dinner plate over his own head. And that's when I decided there should be serious restrictions on women attempting to speak or perform extemporaneously if they've been drinking. It should be like getting a driver's license -- we're not saying you can't do it, but you need to pass a few tests first. It's nothing personal. We're just trying to protect the general public.
Q: You asked for a death scene with Michael Rapaport in your holiday mailbag, and it is provided: "Deep Blue Sea", where not only does he die, he is bitten in half by an shark with a modified brain. Let's just meditate on this: A shark's brain is modified, giving it intelligence, and one of the first people it kills is Michael Rapaport.
--Tom Kolodziej, Memphis
SG: Excellent point. We did some research on this - as it turns out, Rapaport had more death scenes than any actor of his generation: "Deep Blue Sea", "The 6th Day", "True Romance", "Kiss of Death", "Cop Land", and "Higher Learning". Six death scenes! He's like the Kenny of Hollywood. Somehow I forgot all six death scenes. The lesson, as always ... well, you know already ...(2:30 p.m. edit: My mistake -- Rapaport was NEARLY killed in "True Romance" and "Cop Land" but survived both times ... he was also killed in "Palmetto" and beaten up at the end of "Zebrahead" and we never found out if he survived that one. So here's the official count: Five deaths, two near-deaths, one unknown. Plus, the death of his career in "Metro". Thanks to everyone who e-mailed us about this.)
Q: If I you were looking to get busy with a female athlete, say, a soccer, field hockey or lacrosse player, don't you think it would be accurate to suggest that a woman's bedroom behavior could be prognosticated based on her position on the field? For instance, anyone who plays attack/forward is wired to have a more aggressive personality. They want to score. The further backward you go position-wise, I would think they would be more defensive in the bedroom. This means, of course, that a goalie is the most defensive in the bedroom of all positions. Do you think my case has any merit?
--Brendan Curran, Boston
SG: This could be the first-ever mailbag question designed to get me fired AND divorced.
Q: Have you ever found yourself walking through McCarran Airport thinking how great it would be to just start yelling, "CERRANO'S GOT THE DISCS!!! CERRANO'S GOT THE DISCS!!!"?
--Dave, Plainsboro, NJ
SG: Good one. That reminds me, does anyone else love DeNiro's new commercial for American Express? Every time it comes on, I'm absolutely transfixed. My oldest friend ... my east ... my west side ... my private side ... (gulp) ... my heartbreak ... (big gulp) ... my heartbeat ... my life happens here ... my card is American Express. Greatest 30-second ad of all-time; even D & D Advertising couldn't have come up with something that good. I'm just worried that they'll expand it to 60 seconds and ruin it with goofy additions like "My pizza parlor ... my bookstore ... (gulp) ... my favorite place to drop a deuce."
Q: I'm a high school senior who will be a freshman at The College of the Holy Cross next fall. If you could use a single word to describe the coeds at HC, what would it be?
--Ray Gustini, Washington, DC
SG: I can't speak for the kids that are there now, but back in my day, the word would have been "gorging."
Q: What do you think is THE defining song of the 80's? Not the most popular, but the song that if you were putting a disc of one song in a time capsule for 100 years and they were to open it, what song would scream "This is why the 80s rules." I say it's Blue Monday by New Order, but I'm open to suggestions
--Lance Hughes, Lubbock, TX
SG: That's a great "Driving on a road trip and needing something to argue about for 50 miles" question. In my opinion, a quintessential 80's song should accomplish five things:
A. It should make you think that, except for the rare exceptions -- like the Killers or Franz Ferdinand -- they don't make music like this anymore.
B. It should be happy and moody at the same time, the last song you would ever hear before driving your car off a bridge.
C. It should have a definite beat -- you could dance to it, clean your car to it, drive 110 MPH to it, etc -- and it should definitely sound like something that could have been used in Miami Vice (in an opening montage or a "driving around Miami and checking out hot chicks" scene, not a car chase or a "Tubbs hangs out in a strip joint and pretends he's Jamaican" scene).
D. It should make you question your own sexuality for about 0.87 seconds before you say, "Ah, screw it, it's a good song."
E. It should be dated, cheesy and a little overdramatic ... but not so much that the song isn't still enjoyable even now.
Anyway, these would be my six choices (with apologies to "Relax" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, which wasn't quite morose enough since it was about an orgasm):
1. "The Promise," by When In Rome
2. "Suedehead," by Morrissey
3. "Uncertain Smile" by The The
4. "A Forest" by The Cure
5. "The Killing Moon," by Echo and the Bunnymen
6. "Age of Consent," by New Order
So there you go. And yes, I spent about 90 minutes coming up with that list. And you wonder what I do all day.
Q: Not that there is anything wrong with this, but have you ever noticed that most NBA team names sound like gay bars? Bulls, Bucks, Rockets, Cavaliers, Nuggets, Mavericks, Jazz, Hawks, Blazers, Warriors, Heat, Bobcats, Pistons, Spurs, Timberwolves, and Grizzlies all sound like they are catered to the leather and mustache set. I also think Magic, Wizards, Kings, 76ers, and Pacers sound like male performance enhancement pills. Rockets could also fit into that category as well.
--Scott G., Chicago, IL
SG: The NBA ... it's FANNNNNNN-tastic! I love this game!
Q: You wrote in your last mailbag, "Can you remember a better foursome in one conference than the Steelers, Pats, Colts and Chargers? Even the Best Picture category in the 1995 Oscars wasn't that loaded." Please tell me you were referring to the 1994 Oscars with such classics as, "Pulp Fiction", "Forrest Gump", "Shawshank Redemption", and "Quiz Show". And not 1995 with such films as "Babe", "Sense and Sensibilty"and "Il Postino."
--Jordan K., Hastings, MN
SG: You're right, I referenced the wrong year. (Thumping chest.) My bad, my bad. (End thumping chest.) While we're here, we have a soap opera channel, a game show channel, a sitcom channel ... why hasn't anyone launched an awards show channel yet? Who wouldn't watch edited telecasts of the 1977 Oscars with Travolta and Stallone, or Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas gunning for a 1985 Emmy? You're telling me this wouldn't grab more viewers than Trio did?
Q: I want Mike Martz's head brought to me on a platter.
--Kensey, Chicago, IL
SG: Would you like fries with that?
Q: In your TiVo analysis of the C's, try and count how many times Pierce "calls for the ball" with his hands. I'm guessing any given game it's around 6. I haven't played basketball on a high level, but I do know that I can't stand that guy when he's on my team. It's the same guy that comes back to the huddle and says "I was open on that play." I hate that guy.
--Matt Fratt, Boston
SG: I love when Danny Ainge writes in under the pseudonym "Matt Fratt." But you're right, there's nothing worse than That Guy. If I were an NBA GM, I would gravitate towards guys who look like they would be fun to play pickup hoops with -- LeBron, Steve Nash, Josh Howard, Chris Kaman, Kirk Hinrich, Ben Wallace, Fred Hoiberg, Andrei Kirilenko, Luol Deng, Tayshaun Prince, J-Kidd and Bobby Simmons, to name 12 -- and avoid any of those "We can win, but it has to be on my terms" guys (like Pierce, McGrady, Marbury, Crawford and everyone of that ilk). I would be the Bizarro Isiah Thomas.
(And speaking of Isiah, it's time for a mercy flush.)
Q: Is there a recorded instance of someone playing Golden Tee at a bar and then picking up a girl from the same bar on the same night?
--Michael R, Richmond, VA
SG: Good question. Sadly, the Elias Sports Bureau doesn't keep track of something like this, although they cover just about everything else. In fact, after Mark Blount's historic triple-zero last week -- 0 points, 0 rebounds and 0 blocks in 22 minutes -- I e-mailed Rob Tracy at Elias and asked if that was a record for centers. Within two minutes, Rob e-mailed me back saying that Greg Foster submitted a quintuple-zero (0's for points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks) in 23 minutes back in 1999.
So that got me thinking: Wouldn't it be nice to have Elias covering your entire life? Like, you could be sitting around one day thinking, "What was the name of that girl who made out with me at Chuck LaPosta's wedding back in 1994?", and then Elias would scurry off to find the girl's name, plus give you the cup sizes of every girl you ever hooked up with at every wedding, along with the average cup size numbers for you and all your friends? And this would happen in like 3 minutes? Maybe some day.
Q: Having recently caught myself doing things I never thought I would do (e.g. sipping "calm" tea at Starbucks, noticing the differences among various types of Chardonnays, etc.), I decided to draw the line. The line was drawn by making a pledge to never do certain things for the rest of my life -- for instance, to never wear a scarf, to never eat sushi (continuing my lifelong streak), and, finally, I pledged to never see the movie Sideways despite intense pressure from my girlfriend. Say it ain't so, Sports Guy. I was shocked to read your reference to that movie, and I'm not sure if I should question my own rules for life or if I should question whether I ever understood you at all. I'm confused.
--Pat, Quincy, MA
SG: You act like Sideways was Mona Lisa Smile or something; it was probably my favorite movie of 2004. Totally original, extremely well-written, laugh-out-funny, quirky casting, inspired performances, rejuvenated the careers of Virginia Madsen and her breasts ... I mean, what more do you want from a movie?
Q: I have to phrase this question carefully. In fact, you may be contractually obligated to NOT answer this question. However, I can't help myself, so bear with me. There is a certain network. This network airs night games for a certain league that plays a certain sport during the colder months of the year. These games are generally good games (often better than the offerings on the following night.) The only problem with these games is that I want to hurl my two Red Sox World Series championship DVD's through the TV screen anytime the play-by-play guy or the two analysts open their mouths. They are god-awful. Am I alone in this feeling?
--Neal Tumquist, Deerfield, NH
SG: Nate, you want to talk about a guy who can't answer that e-mail? You want you talk about a guy who would get reprimanded for even acknowledging what you just said? I mean, here's a guy who's obviously baiting me, and I can't say a word. I want you to watch something right now ... watch how I avoid answering this question ... watch how I just move onto the next one ... watch this ... BAM!
Q: Has Dajuan Wagner strung together the most inexplicable string of injuries in the history of sports? He missed 14 games his rookie year with a bladder infection, had an inflamed liver and pancreas last season, and now he has an inflamed large intestine. Have you ever seen anything like this? He's a 20-something kid with the body of an 80-year old.
--Marcus, Baltimore, MD
SG: Yeah, is he contagious? I feel like the league should step in and force Cleveland to trade him so he doesn't infect LeBron somehow -- he's like the NBA's version of the "Real World" roommate who came down with Scabies. Speaking of LeBron ...
Q: In your last NBA column you commented that LeBron was combining the best qualities of MJ and Magic. You were talking about the gambling and womanizing right?
--Tom E., Hamilton, NJ<p>
SG: That was this month's "Really evil e-mail that made me laugh out loud."
(By the way, your boss is looking for you. Start wrapping things up.)
Q: When are you going to go Pat O'Brien on us and make the switch from sports to become a full-time entertainment guru? At this point, it seems inevitable.
--Felix J, Austin, TX
SG: I couldn't possibly cross my legs with as much gusto.
Q: Surely you could persuade ESPN to let your father interview Mark Blount? I'd pay to watch that. Halfway through, your Dad could start looking bored, stop asking questions. Awkward silence could follow and if Blount got annoyed, your pop could just say; "I don't care, I've been paid."
--Steve Beagrie, Scotland
Q: I read in one of your last columns how much your dad hates Mark Blount. I couldn't agree more. I have this theory I tell everyone when we're watching the Celtics games, and it never fails. As soon as you turn on the game, if Blount is in, he'll do at least 3 things that are just horrible in the next 90 seconds. Seriously, try it next time. Am I totally offbase here? Have you ever noticed this? Is there already a theory that exists for something like this? The other night, I watched him blow a layup, get dunked on after a backdoor cut, and then have a pass bounce right off his hands under the basket -- all the span of a minute. I can't take it anymore. Please test this theory out. More people need to know about it.
--Greg, Newton, MA
SG: Needless to say, we had a two-way tie in the "Who can write the most bitter e-mail about Mark Blount?" contest this month. When Jefferson was getting helped off the floor last night, my Dad actually said, "Why couldn't it have been Blount?" He's starting to show some William Ligue Sr. tendencies -- if you ever see him shirtless at a Celtics game, call security.
Q: So I bought the Live-Aid DVD, which was somewhat of a jip because it didn't have the concert in its entirety (how do you leave out Zep doin' Stairway?). But anyway, the DVD also showed the "We Are the World" video which raised this question: What would you say is the sports equivalent of Dan Akroyd singing with the likes of Michael, Bruce, and Stevie? I mean, how on earth did he get past security? Had he given Bette Midler a lift and since it was January, maybe it was too cold to stay out in the car?
--Donald Marquez, Union City CA
SG: Come on, that's easy: The sports equivalent to Ackroyd's "We Are the World" appearance was Jimmy Fallon kissing Drew Barrymore -- on the field, on live TV -- right after the Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years. In fact, they were shown in a closeup within 60 seconds of the final out. And every Red Sox fan is determined to pretend that this never happened, and that it didn't taint the moment even a little bit ... so it wasn't a huge deal. Just like the Aykroyd thing.
Q: Dear Bill -- I wrote a fantastic joke (I swear, I wrote it) that I think is right up your alley. What is Eddie Van Halen's favorite type of hamburger? A Roethlisberger. If you ever want to use this joke in your column, it'd make my day (or maybe even my week).
--Patrick Yerby, Ann Arbor, MI
SG: Yup ... these are my readers.
Bill Simmons is a columnist for Page 2 and ESPN The Magazine. His Sports Guy's World site is updated every day Monday through Friday.