By Tim Baffoe-
(CBS) NCAA Tournament! 80 degree temperatures in the winter! NFL free agency! NBA trades! Blago! Hell of a week, no?
My bracket already sucks because I suck. Yes, I am going to do a brief, yet taboo whine-fest about bracketology.
I’ve never won a tournament pool. The closest I’ve ever come was in 1999 when I had Duke to win over UConn and went into the championship game in first place in points with the next five or so people behind me having UConn as champion. I went from first place to out of the money in one game because of Khalid El-Oompa Loompa and company.
On top of that I was bussing tables at a restaurant while the game was going on—also known as getting treated like crap—and immediately after the owner growled at me that I had a phone call—which was a no-no and had never happened to me before there—and on the other end was a group of friends loudly laughing and insulting me in unison. “Get your own damn relish tray, [expletives]” was furiously mumbled a few times the rest of the night.
So you know whether or not your bracket will be nuked shortly, my Final Four is Kentucky, Marquette, Wisconsin, and North Carolina, with the Tar Heels over the Golden Eagles in the final game. Sorry if I’m notifying you too late.
On to your questions. All emails and tweets are unedited.
Can you see the recent Rams/Redskins working out for the Skins? I understand they traded up for RG3, but is one player who is yet to prove himself in the NFL really worth two 1st rounders and a 2nd rounder? I know the Bears gave up a similar haul for Cutler, but at least he was proven in the NFL. Although the part of me that has been a Rams fan since Madden 03 rejoices for STL.—A product of your classroom
First, I’m confident enough in my teaching abilities to print that question with its grammatical errors. This person is not reflective of my magic.
“Damn, it feels good to be Rams fan,” Geto Boys once said. I fall into it all the time, too—the “Oh my gosh I love this trade we’re gonna be so awesome forever” initial exclamation when one of my favorite teams makes a deal, either getting players or picks. Funny how fans treat the acquisitions of draft picks.
It reminds me of being in fourth grade at St. Cajetan School and doing the science project of hatching chicken eggs. Every student got a fertilized egg and put theirs in an incubator I assume our teacher stole because Catholic grade schools can’t even afford air conditioning or indoor plumbing. I’m pretty sure it was actually a popcorn machine, come to think of it. Anyway, the eggs went in and were monitored daily by a crack team of 30 10-year-olds. Every kid was so excited to be parent to a future McNugget. I named my bird “Michael Jackson” the day the egg was first placed in my hand because the King of Pop at the time was to me the very symbol of awesomeness. This chicken was going to be so great it could captain the Costa Concordia.
Cruel as the world is, though, some eggs ended up hatching, some didn’t. Michael Jackson died in the shell. Poor little guy was all tiny and green when I finally gave in to my teacher telling me he wasn’t going to hatch. He received a hero’s funeral being placed down the back of a girl’s plaid jumper. My only solace was that the chicks that did hatch pooped all over the classroom, and many died within days, or as we youngsters were informed, “picked up a few at a time day by day by a farmer for his farm.” The farmer was Janitor John in reality, though he did wear bib denim overalls.
Oddly enough, neither the Rams nor Redskins have “won” this deal yet, and it’s possible neither will. I highly doubt that, but no draft pick is guaranteed to not suck.
As it stands right now, the Rams come out the best in this thing. They move down just four spots—where an immediate impact player will still be such as Justin Blackmon—and gain those picks you mentioned above. Plus, they are still in a position where other teams may get panicky on draft day and look to move up, thus getting the Rams more picks and still a solid guy in the teens like a Michael Floyd (sorry, Bears fans).
RGIII can be a great player—he has all the pertinent tools and seems to be one of the more mentally sound guys to come out of college football in a while. The Redskins have tried to give him weapons in signing Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan, and they have an offensive line that isn’t awful but also a questionable running game. Rex Grossman had success at times last season with less than what Griffin will have.
I just hate the idea of putting all of a team’s eggs in one basket as the Redskins sort of have. In five years we all may look back on trading up for Griffin as a savvy move. We also could be laughing at the 2012 Washington offseason as well.
why won’t Jose canseco go away? Does anybody even care? #TFMB—@dharn55
I engage in mocking Canseco on Twitter most times he tweets because he’s a famous person who’s not very bright (and most likely insane; therefore, making fun of him is enjoyable, petty as it may be.
People only care about Jose Canseco in the same way they care about watching a car accident or watching homeless people yell at inanimate objects. He’s a freak show in more ways than one who takes his daily bipolar extravaganza to Twitter, which is the perfect storm of biting criticism and scathing wit toward a retired baseball Promethean consequence. He cannot understand why he is so loathed by so many, chalking it all up to humanity’s natural hatred for those who are honest. I agree that’s true as far as humanity goes, but that is certainly not why Canseco takes heat. It’s one thing to be nobly honest. It’s another to try to feather one’s nest under the guise of being a crusader.
Canseco needs attention because he only knows how to be an entertainer. It’s all that feeds his ego like most entertainers. Comedians need people to laugh at them. Writers need people to read their words. Athletes need people to watch them, even when there is nothing of substance to watch anymore. That’s when someone like Canseco becomes desperate, making weird claims, trying out for Mexican League teams, and just plain old begging for attention. I tried to get a movement started to have him fight JaVale McGee, but it didn’t catch on.
If Canseco actually does fight Shaq—with the loser donating to the winner’s favorite charity, which ironically in both cases would be to Jose Canseco—people will watch. It will run on highlight shows. It will be forgotten a week later until Canseco finds another way to put his name in the news. Americans love feeling better about their own pathetic lives by watching others who are more pathetic, especially pathetic celebrities. That is why reality television and gossip magazines, mind-numbingly stupid as they are, will never go away.
Perhaps unfortunately, the only way I see Canseco “going away” is if he loses the fight vs. himself. He has spoken on more than one occasion of his “nightmares,” how so few people love him, and other issues that most medical professionals would likely consider alarming. Many celebrities have met untimely deaths due to their inabilities to handle the loss of greatness in the public eye. I hope that’s not the case for him. I have more jokes to write, you know.
If you were going to federal prison would you milk your remaining hour of freedom driving around the town your prison is in?—Brian
Definitely not if it was in Littleton, CO. 1) Columbine High School. 2) I have relatives there. Nobody wants to spend his or her last free hour with any of my relatives in Chicago or abroad. 3) A hatred of the town inspired two guys to create South Park. 4) Beliebows (that’s what I’m calling Tebow fans from now on).
And Blago is getting what he deserved, but not because he’s dirty. It’s because he’s a dumbass. He’s no more corrupt than most politicians—heck, he might not be in the top 10%. But he is a world-class sociopath who could have made it much easier on himself had he just given the cookie-cutter press conference apology soon after he was pinched. Instead, he chose to value the camera over logic. Bye, idiot.
There won’t be any Gus Johnson this March (well maybe if FX is broadcasting Big 12 baseball). Who’s your breakout/playing for a contract announcer this tourney?—Wax Wacko
Per AwfulAnnouncing.com, here are the CBS and cable affiliate broadcasters by pod for the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament:
Louisville: Verne Lundquist, Bill Raftery
Pittsburgh: Kevin Harlan, Len Elmore, Reggie Miller
Portland: Brian Anderson, Dan Bonner
Albuquerque: Spero Dedes, Bob Wenzel
Nashville: Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel
Omaha: Marv Albert, Steve Kerr
Columbus: Tim Brando, Mike Gminski
Greensboro: Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg
All the play-by-play guys listed above are veterans (I consider Dedes joining CBS’ college hoops coverage in 2010 being a qualifier for vet status) except first-timer Brian Anderson, who has been doing Milwaukee Brewers games since 2007. Everyone who watches these things is pretty familiar then with all the styles other than his and maybe that of Dedes.
I certainly don’t expect Dedes to become a phenomenon like Gus Johnson as his style is usually more toned back. So I guess that leaves Anderson as the wild card. I can’t say I know much about his work, but clips of his that I found show promise (3:31 mark unless you want more Bob Uecker and/or Young Jeezy). Anderson also seems to work well if his partner is terrible and has no place in the business.
His call of the Indiana/New Mexico St. game Thursday night was pretty subdued. That might be chalked up to him getting his feet wet calling basketball, which certainly isn’t the same as calling baseball where subdued works 95% of the game. Thursday’s fairly boring game also didn’t lend itself to any memorable calls either.
My hope for Anderson in future games is that he doesn’t go into this set of broadcasts thinking that he has to be Johnson-esque or remarkable in a “this is going on Youtube” way. There is no other Gus Johnson, and trying to be another one would only be catastrophic. The best play-by-play guys are organic and come into their catchphrases and special moments of excitement naturally. The absolute worst thing for me would be not just watching my bracket get torn like a Melissa McCarthy onesie but to also have it soundtracked by a guy trying too hard. Good luck to Anderson, though.
Thanks for emailing, tweeting, and reading. If your question did not get answered this time, that does not necessarily mean I am ignoring it. It may be saved for the next mailbag. Hopefully you’re a slightly better person now than you were ten minutes ago. If not, your loss.
Note: Fantasy Baseball season is almost upon us. I’ve finished everywhere from first to beyond last in roto and H2H leagues for ten years, so send me your fantasy questions!
Want your questions answered in a future Mailbag? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet them with the hashtag #TFMB. No question, sports or otherwise, is off limits (with certain logistical exceptions, e.g. lots of naughty words or you type in Portuguese or you solicit my death). If you email, please include a signature.
Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa and Governors State University and began blogging at The Score after winning the 2011 Pepsi Max Score Search. He enjoys writing things about stuff, but not so much stuff about things. When not writing for 670TheScore.com, Tim corrupts America’s youth as a high school English teacher and provides a great service to his South Side community delivering pizzas (please tip him and his colleagues well). You can follow Tim’s inappropriate brain droppings on Twitter @Ten_Foot_Midget , but please don’t follow him in real life. He grew up in Chicago’s Beverly To read more of Tim’s blogs click here.