By Tim Baffoe-
(CBS) “I’d like to begin by saying f*** Lance Armstrong. F*** him and his balls and his bicycles and his steroids and his yellow shirts and the dumb empty expression on his face.”
George Carlin opened the final stand up special of his life, It’s Bad For Ya, with those words. I almost immediately thought of Carlin when the story crossed the wire that Lance Armstrong, American prince and massive charlatan, was giving up his fight against allegations of performance-enhancing drug use by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, and I was sad that Carlin wasn’t still around to come up with something witty and brilliant regarding it all.
In Carlin’s final stand up special he goes on to criticize how often we are told who our heroes should be and whom we should look up to, Armstrong for a long time being one of those “heroes.” I take great pleasure in Armstrong having to concede and lose his Tour de France victories and be banned for life from cycling, even if it allows him to spin this any way he wants with neither having to admit guilt nor having to hear several former teammates testify that he was not clean. But I also lament that there will be more Armstrongs in the sports world and probably are others right now.
We will again be force fed our idols, our people who appear to be doing good and whom we’ll encourage our children to emulate, and we will again be shocked and disappointed when we learn they were peddling snake oil all along. Excuse me—maybe you will. I won’t be shocked or disappointed.
I don’t idolize athletes, and I don’t encourage others—kids or otherwise—to do so either. Charles Barkley was right. Athletes are not, nor should they be, role models. When they are, worshippers get what they deserve, and that’s usually a slap upside their soft heads.
On to your questions. All emails and tweets are unedited.
your thoughts on t shirt jerseys please…—@CollinsChrisD
Hey, it’s the former Brendan McCaffrey, Chris Collins! “Shirseys,” as I like to refer to them, should never be worn by anyone other than kids and women that look hot in them.
I owned several basketball jerseys as a kid. The three I rocked the most were my Tim Hardaway Warriors (he was my favorite non Bull back in the day), Alonzo Mourning Hornets (loved the Hornets colors when they first started in Charlotte), and my absolute favorite Allen Iverson Georgetown. Then I grew up and decided that wearing a guy’s jersey was just too… lame. I still own a few jerseys. They’re nice pieces of clothing that I see more as collector’s items than something I want to wear and get dirty. Memorabilia like that should be framed, not have beer spilled on it.
Grown men wearing jerseys will never end. I get that and don’t try too much to fight that plague. But there is absolutely no reason for an adult male to wear a shirsey. “Hey, I like to play make believe, AND I like to do it in a completely half-assed way!” Shirseys are the trashiest of sports attire. There’s something to be said when even hipsters prefer to go with the real thing for their irony instead of the clothing equivalent of Hamburger Helper (bye, potential endorsement!). The only redeeming quality of a shirsey is that it so rarely is custom made to have a fan’s name on the back—you don’t play for the team, loser.
In order to help Shirsey Boys understand exactly how they’re viewed by the rational, bathed public, and to completely steal a great idea from the great Vince Morales at Miller Park Drunk, here’s what your Chicago shirsey says about you.
Michael Jordan: you’re reminding everyone of when basketball was still good to watch and not occupied by thug rap gangsters with tattoos and guns in their shorts that are too long with those headbands but you rooted for Team USA this year because ‘Merica and Kobe is no MJ and Lebron is gay and Larry Bird would kick his ass on the court and in a fight and Jerry Krause is a fat Yoko Ono.
Derrick Rose: you think he’s “one of the good ones.”
Brian Urlacher: you’re racist.
Jay Cutler: you’re wearing something Jay Cutler would snidely mock you for wearing, and you don’t understand that he would love to see you fall down a flight of stairs.
Starlin Castro: you have a propensity for blacking out at random times during the day, but everyone still loves you.
Mark Grace: he’d probably hate you.
Mark Prior: you’re homeless or being photographed after a successful coup in an African country.
Kerry Wood: your “We Got Wood” shirt was too dirty to wear today.
Paul Konerko: you think that because a slow, otherwise-unassuming-if-you-saw-him-at-the-Piggly-Wiggly guy can smack a lot of taters, you two are somehow connected.
Adam Dunn: you asked for Konerko for your birthday but got this instead.
A.J. Pierzynski: perfect.
Frank Thomas: you lie to yourself about Big Hurt Beer.
Mark Buehrle: you’ll be damned if a guy playing for a different team will make you throw away $9.99 worth of poly-cotton blend.
Magglio Ordonez: you’re female.
Robin Ventura: finally, you get to break that baby back out!
Jonathan Toews: other Blackhawks fans are embarrassed to sit in the United Center with you.
Patrick Kane: you’re Patrick Kane.
What is your favorite Chicago neighborhood? Least favorite?—@JMLeeker
Being raised in the Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood, I’m pretty partial to that part of the city. Middle to upper-middle class, fairly cosmopolitan, only passively racist, great place to raise kids.
My least favorite neighborhood is whichever one has kids getting shot at any given time. Nineteen people in Chicago were shot between Thursday night and Friday morning. Nine-damn-teen. And several of those shot were teenagers. Absolutely inexcusable and disgusting, and it happens on a weekly basis here with very little outrage by the city at large.
You wouldn’t be apathetic to a tumor in your body. So why is most of Chicago indifferent to the incredible amount of violent deaths here?
As a Cubs fan that vended for 12 years at both parks I know first hand the tendencies of both fandoms.
The Cubs have the neighborhood recent college grads, the rich north shore and the tour buses from Iowa. The Sox have a few rich fans from the north shore, Homewood and Oakbrook, but their fans are mainly middle to lower class blue collar workers from Blue Island and Indiana. They simply can’t afford it. They constantly bitch about the price of beer and hot dogs because even though the buy it, it still hurts.
They cant afford to go to many games especially with families. You see full houses on kids day and Mondays because thats when a family can afford it. When the prices go up for the Yankees they will stay away. The are in a big market but the share it with the Cubs making their share a small market. Bottom line is the average Sox fan can’t afford it. It took me a decade to figure that out. you need to as well. I remember in 2000 and 2005 when they were in first place and they drew a few 13,000’s in September. It just is what it is.—Joel
Fair enough, but I’m amazed that people continue to fail to see my message in my column from Wednesday, and that’s that I understand many Sox fans are strapped for cash right now. At no point did I say that the White Sox should come before feeding a family or paying bills. People affected by the economy have every right to put a baseball game on the financial back burner.
And this obviously isn’t representative of 100% of Sox fans, Tom Fornelli, just as I assume you aren’t one of the many idiots that wrongly believe the neighborhood around U.S. Cellular Field is dangerous, and that’s a reason not to attend a game.
But if much of a fanbase chooses to not spend money on its favorite team, I have a hard time sympathizing with it feeling it’s being treated like a small market team and fanbase (or at least Chicago’s middle child) by national media, and much of the White Sox fanbase does make that complaint quite often. Again, every major city has been hit hard by the economy and unemployment, yet 33,000+ are showing up to see an awful team in the Mecca of baseball that is Denver. MLB attendance is up as a whole about 4% from last year when the economy sucked, too. Fans aren’t making excuses elsewhere. Why then in Chicago with a first place team?
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.
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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. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read more of Tim’s blogs click here.