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Ten Foot Mailbag: Ozzie, Baby Rose, and Toe Salami

Ozzie Guillen.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Ozzie Guillen. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Tim Baffoe - clean background Tim Baffoe
Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa before earning his de...
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By Tim Baffoe-

(CBS) Friday night is The Score’s 20th Anniversary Celebration Roast. I’ll be in attendance, as I was for the thoroughly entertaining Boers and Bernstein Roast two years ago and the… interesting Ozzie Guillen Roast last year.

If you’re going to be there as well, please only approach me if you’re not a complete weirdo or if you don’t wish violence upon me. I look forward to what I’m sure will be a great night put on by all involved, particularly emcee Matt Abbatacola, who I know will come up with some creative and memorable stuff for the evening.

Several times this year I’ve found myself thinking about what The Score means to me. I didn’t begin listening to the station until about 10 years ago, so I can’t say I’ve taken in the whole twenty years of eccentric glory.

I was fortunate enough to get a summer job laying asphalt for the Chicago Department of Transportation. My very first day the only thing my foreman said to me was “If you want to drink, bring your own. If you get caught in a bar or liquor store, I’ll kill you.” It paid extremely well for a 20 year old, and despite the manual labor and extreme heat conditions, I enjoyed the gig and my coworkers and the lots of… “down time” we were afforded. I still have the golden shovel my last crew gave me, “The Animal” as they called me because no truck had ever dumped a pile of steamy black tar and stone that I couldn’t handle, when I left them to become a teacher.

A coworker was always gabbing about things that these sports radio personalities were talking about, and it got to the point where I decided to try out AM 670 just to keep up on the conversation. I was immediately hooked. Guys like Mike North and Mike Murphy were like nothing I’d ever heard before. They were so passionate about Chicago and its sports, to a point of borderline mental illness (and what I later found out probably was), as I had always been even as a little kid, and while I didn’t always agree with all the opinions I heard on the airwaves, The Score hosts spoke to me.

Then there was The Boers and Bernstein Show. I had no idea that talk radio was allowed to be so funny and sophomoric and dirty and stupid and smart and uncomfortable. If the other hosts spoke to me, B&B were making love to my twisted mind. It took a while before my first call to their show because, honestly, they scared the hell out of me, so I got my caller feet wet by being an idiot a few times on “Jag Bag” as “Piazza’s Boyfriend” and some other moniker with “What’s Your Beef?” and “Tool of the Week” (and I still never got my damn Brown’s gift certificates I won for being Caller of Show.)

Eventually I trembled and stuttered my way through my first “Who Ya Crappin?” as Ten Foot Midget. I don’t remember what it was about, but Terry and Dan laughed. They couldn’t have known it at the time, but that laughter created this monster—had there been a groan or snide remark or even silence after my maiden voyage, I would have never called again. So blame them.

I can’t imagine there not being The Score because rarely there is a day I don’t listen to it at some point, whether on my ride to school with Mully and Hanley or Terry, Dan, Matt, Jason Goff, Laurence Holmes, and the rest of the afternoon and night guys keeping me from going postal while I deliver pizzas. And it somehow helped lead to me doing this stupidity you read before you, thanks to the mistake of Dan, Mitch Rosen, and Adam Hoge.

Here’s to 20 more incredibly odd and great years to all at the station. You guys and girls are the best in the business.

On to your questions. All emails and tweets are unedited.

as a writer how do u feel about Ozzie basically blaming the interviewer? He knew exactly what he was saying—@southsidesports

Well, Ozzie didn’t exactly blame the reporter from Time; rather, he said he believed there was a misinterpretation of his Fidel Castro comments in the translation from Spanish to English. In his apology press conference Ozzie even said, “I’m not blaming the journalist. I’m blaming myself.”

Ozzie knew what he was saying inside his own head, but I do believe he did not understand at the time how his comments would be taken by the Cuban American community and Americans as a whole. He doesn’t endorse Castro. He doesn’t endorse the awful things Castro has done to his people or those of any dictator in the world. He’s not a proponent of Venezuelan dingbat Hugo Chavez no matter how many handshakes they share when Ozzie returns to his native country.

Ozzie is a product of capitalism. He owes with wealth, his possessions, and his celebrity to being successful in a free market (a free market that he found initial success in by being just an okay baseball player). Communism doesn’t even serve Ozzie’s lifestyle (and especially not his sons’ lifestyles) unless he was to choose to hold office in a Communist regime, which he has no desire nor need to do.

Was what Ozzie said incredibly dumb? Yes, at least if you or I said it. But for some reason many people have yet to learn that every time Ozzie says something not related to baseball we need to take a biiiiiiiig step back and examine it in the context of the World of Oz before we fly of the handle at a largely uneducated man making comments only tangentially related to politics.

Taking a sports figure’s political opinions (even though this really wasn’t one) seriously is often more dangerous than that person’s words themselves. Too many irrational people need to take a deep damn breath, tell themselves “This person plays a game for a living and doesn’t create sociopolitical policies. I can get angry, or I can ignore the words… or maybe even laugh at them.” I prefer that latter. Being offended is a choice, and when you make that choice, you let the offender win, whether he was trying to or not.

I went to see this Japanese Doctor the other day to have this hangnail removed from my big toe. This guy tells me that if I wrap some salami around my toe the preservatives in the salami will make my hangnail go away. I think its bull[oney] but my question for you is Should I use Genoa, Pepperoni, or Chorizo?—Connor in Okinawa

I haven’t practiced medicine since I was banned from doing so at recess in kindergarten, but I eat my fair share of cured meats. Definitely don’t waste good chorizo on feet (where in Japan can you even find chorizo?)

Go with actual hard salami if you can find it there. Salami is flexible and lasts for weeks, maybe even on feet. A big toe might even add some nice tang to the meat for a bonus sandwich afterward. Avoid dogs during your healing process for sure.

There need to be more ailments that can be cured with cured meats, by the way.

You think Drose missing games has had anything to do with his baby on they way? We all know he is very family oriented.—@Tragicblue

No, no, no, no. What male athlete has ever missed time due to a wife’s or girlfriend’s pregnancy that didn’t involve serious medical complications? If she was giving birth, okay, but just a pregnancy? C’mon.

Could you or I call off work for that reason? “Hey, boss, just found out my wife is pregnant. I’m not coming in for the next six months.” And then I’d be looking for a new job.

The only thing that has ever kept Derrick Rose off the court is an injury that keeps him from being productive. Period. There are few competitors in this world more tenacious than Rose, and a simple pregnancy (I can call it that because I’ve never been involved in one) wouldn’t even register on his list of reasons to miss time.

And I hate the level of newsworthiness that Rose having a baby is considered. Wow, he and his girlfriend are doing something that has occurred 107,603,000,000 or so times! Amazing! Let’s talk about it for some reason!

Will it impact his play? How will this affect his mental state? Will his mind be on more than just the game? Right, because every athlete that is a father has had his performance negatively impacted by the birth of a child.

I hope Rose and his lady have a healthy baby, preferably a boy that can be a Bull in 20 years, and that Rose is a good father. Congrats to him.

Wednesday night commences the Stanley Cup playoffs, arguably the most grueling tournament in professional sports. What is your favorite playoff hockey memory, excluding all your “kick the can” accomplishments—John McKenna

Is “kick the can” another name for street hockey? If so, I didn’t play much of it as a kid. I can’t ice skate or rollerblade and have never been able to, so whenever my buddies organized a game I was relegated to goalie.

Far and away my favorite NHL playoff memory is Patrick Kane somehow defying geometry to score the winning goal of the 2010 Stanley Cup Championship. Other than the Bulls’ championships, that’s all I have—I’m a Cubs fan, I was three years old when the Bears last won it all, and the 1988 Fighting Irish National Championship team is a foggy memory.

I think some people might take exception to you calling the Stanley Cup playoffs the most grueling tournament in sports. The NBA playoffs are no cake walk, the NCAA Tournament might be the hardest to win due to its randomness, and while hockey is an incredibly physical game, I’d fancy a guess that the repeated car accident that is any NFL game, let alone a playoff game, is more physically “grueling” than an entire hockey series. I’m not belittling the mental anguish players go through to win a Cup, but every sports tournament playoffs—even a tennis major—are extremely grueling in their own right.

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.

Want your questions answered in a future Mailbag? Email them to tenfootmailbag@gmail.com 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 small Ten Foot Mailbag: Ozzie, Baby Rose, and Toe Salami

Tim Baffoe

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.