By Tim Baffoe-
(CBS) As I kind of took in Election Night (I say “kind of” because unlike people who decide to feed off of emotion when it comes to making decisions regarding our country, I opt to pursue the logical, such as believing a smart guy like Nate Silver and that time-tested thing called math, and saw election night as fait accompli), I kept hearing or reading now and again about President Barack Obama playing basketball that morning.
There are those who would take that as an opportunity to deride him. “Why is he playing hoops when he should be caring about our country?” Some awful people would even take the black-guy-and-basketball easy, uncreative route. I know there will likely be incredibly stupid comments beneath this column that warp the point and use it as fodder for political vitriol, but I won’t read them, so go nuts.
But I thought at the time, ya know, our President digs sports. And that’s cool. Sports don’t consume him, they don’t impact his vocation. But they are a respite for him, as they are for all of us. With the recent comments Mike Florio made about Charles Tillman and his soon-to-be child, it’s good to once in a while step back and realize that sports are an opiate and shouldn’t come before the more important things. The President understands that.
And he’s not much of a phony when it comes to sports either. Most stuffed shirts in politics have to pretend they have their finger on the ESPN pulse when in fact they really don’t and usually end up embarrassing themselves.
The President is different, though. He likes and is interested in sports. Certainly he’s prepped before interviews like any politician about some game specifics, and of course he’s not ready to host a talk show about the White Sox or anything like that—though I’d put taking Sox postgame calls up against leading the free world as far as stressful goes any day—but he knows what’s going on, and he uses his favorite teams as an opiate from the rigors of real life just like we do. Not yachting or “summering” or owning a team.
Take that as a negative if you wish. I find it refreshing. Now he just needs to stop enjoying sports in mom jeans.
On to your questions. All emails and tweets are unedited.
Watching that game against the Panthers brought something to my attention, the aggressive mindset of the Bears offense. I understand the desire to be aggressive but does Mike Tice understand that being aggressive doesn’t always mean lobbing the ball 40yards down the field? The intercepted pass to Brandon Marshall was a throw that never needed to be made. I know you need to take your shots down the field, but he threw into triple coverage and the ball was under thrown… Jay’s mistake, but also Tice’s design leaving Marshall on an island. Aggressive offense was on display in the last eight minutes of the game! That is the game plan the Bears need to stick to in order to be aggressive, not taking unwarranted chances on the home run play. What are your thoughts on the offensive game plan this past week?—Blake Achterhof
The Joe Paterno piece I wrote last Friday pulled rank over a mailbag, or I would have included this question. But it is still pertinent.
Sure, the offense vs. Carolina was horrid for most of the game, but it made a complete 180 against Tennessee a week later. It went fairly unappreciated by many Bears fans how good the offense clicked because the story of the day was Charles Tillman and a defense that embarrassed the Titans.
When you have a Jay Cutler and a Brandon Marshall, an offensive coordinator can be—hell, probably should be—aggressive. Home run plays in the first quarter count the same as in the fourth. The beauty of having Marshall is he’s so big he can create the go-up-and-get-it plays, and while that will produce interceptions once in a while, it will likely pay off many times more, either in catches or favorable penalty flags. Those home run threats festering in the backs of opponents minds can also benefit Matt Forte, especially catching the ball out of the backfield. Tice also certainly knows, though I’m sure he’s not trying to abuse it, that he has the luxury of a historic defense here that can bail him out often if need be.
For so long Bears fans bemoaned conservative offenses, and now that the team has its most talented receiver ever, a second fiddle that when he’s back from injury makes this team much more dangerous, with the most talented Bears QB to throw him the ball and one of the league’s best running backs to keep defenses honest, people want to dial it back? No thanks. I chalk up the Carolina performance to the first game lacking Alshon Jeffery, a guy who helps to make it so Marshall isn’t going for a ball against three guys, and a week later they were able to adjust (and admittedly play a much worse defense). Also, bad games just happen sometimes.
The Carolina game isn’t indicative of what the Bears are, just as the Tennessee game isn’t totally so. They’re somewhere in between, probably leaning toward the latter, and I’ll take that. Of course, I say this before they take on a grown-ass man defense like that of Houston this coming Sunday night.
What are your top 5 candies of all time? #TFMB #NeverForgetPBMAX—@franchise_davis
When I was young, I wasn’t huge on chocolate. Now I will consume it as lifeblood if put near me.
Last week on Halloween I gave away the super saccharine stuff to the trick-or-treaters and strategically kept most of the chocolate stuff for myself. This doesn’t make me a bad guy. I put myself in their shoes and understood that kids are candy garbage disposals for the most part and don’t really discriminate. So we both won.
Before I start ranking best candies, there are certainly some awful ones out there. If you eat anything containing coconut you should be deported. Butterscotch is the phonograph of candy—look at it curiously, ask yourself how people could actually enjoy that back in the day, and then wonder how long until you get to leave your grandparents’ house. Dark chocolate is the most overrated thing out there. It’s like someone said, “Hey, I like the taste of chocolate, but I wish it was also like eating black coffee.”
In descending order, the greatest candies ever are:
5. Rolos—they’re like the wise old uncle of candy. The one that doesn’t embarrass you like Brach’s hard candy. Simple, but always right. When I first tried a McDonald’s Rolo McFlurry I wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer.
4. All M&Ms except the original kind—Hershey’s has better chocolate than Mars, so regular M&Ms are weak. But throw a peanut in there or a pretzel or… or peanut bu… I… I need to be alone for a while.
3. Starburst—I can eat a whole bag of these and then lie down and curse the gods of sugar that my stomach has turned into a plastic grocery bag full of chloric acid. That includes the yellow ones that so many scoff at. Don’t like the yellows? Good, more for me. They’re like if you made crack out of sunshine. Thank you for all the crack sunshine, fools.
2. PayDay—salty, chewy, sweet, mother, teacher, secret lover. The best part about a PayDay is that gobs of chewed up peanuts and caramel get lodged against your back teeth, and if you possess great self-discipline like I do, it’s like getting a whole new PayDay if you wait a while before peeling that chunky awesomeness off of your gums.
1. Reese’s anything—chocolate and peanut butter together? No better combination since Hall & Oates. Here’s what the people at Reese’s should do. Go to a warzone. Any one, doesn’t really matter. Distribute Reese’s Pieces and Peanut Butter Cups to insurgents. Sure, some of the Reese’s reps will inevitably be murdered, but in the end, peace will prevail. Just watch.
And here are two email replies to the aforementioned Paterno piece for your enjoyment.
. . . your Paterno piece. Yes, yes, and yes again. You captured the the demon seed of denial that has infected and corrupted a whole section of the true blue Heartland and its professed values. Everybody knew. Everybody. It was whispered about and snickered over and, after all, who knew how many of these dirty boys were just asking for it. Hollywood Boulevard East, my man, in broad daylight and clucked over by all the Good Germans as they went about their everyday lives reaching for and squeezing their shares from the bucks to be turned in Joe Pa’s sacred wake. Let us never forget and learn from this season in a hell that masqueraded as happy valley – - but let us never forget that even now in the snake pit we call our culture even more young lives are being dragged down and degraded even as we have our everyday errands to run and, hey, someone else will surely pick up the slack.
Thank you for what you just wrote. I’ll keep it with me I hope for some time to come as I regard my own culpability in letting little evils slide in the winks and gestures and slips of the lip that pervade this fallen world. We need to know that feet of clay are just that. We need to safe guard against all attempts to idolize, knowing we were brought into this world to love and serve, not exalted. What began as good so many years ago has ended in ruin. For all. And now all that is left for any of us in this regard is to bear witness. Nothing can change the past. But perhaps in some small way you and I can change the future so that just one life can be spared.
God Speed.—Michael Boylan
Thank you for reading and for invoking Godwin’s Law, I guess.
You sir are a freakin [male genitalia] wad! Plain and simple. I wont bother to continue this because someone as uneducated as you could never understand exactly what Joe Paterno did or didn’t do! So do me a favor and go straight to hell!—Angie Chapman
Dontcha just love insults that try really hard not to be profane?
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 email@example.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 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.