By Tim Baffoe-

(CBS) The Cubs lost in the most Cubs way possible short of forfeiting due to locusts to open the 2012 season Thursday. Good thing I’m at peace with that. But I still heard fans jumping off the ledge after the game, and that both makes me weep for sports fandom and hope that such people never come back. Overall, though, I think Cub Nation feels the same way I do about the season to come, so there is hope for sanity.

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I hope White Sox fans can be realistic in majority as well. Be nice to Chris Rongey. It’s not his fault, but this is.

Oh, and happy Passover and Easter to all.

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

What will be @DanMcNeil670‘s reasoning behind being absent? Time to play the DaanMaacNeeel Speculation Game! #TFMB—@Chiumbrella

I’ve actually been asked this question in private several times, and my answer every time is that I honestly do not know and have not inquired about it. (And to kill two birds with one stone, I don’t work at The Score studios, and I’ve been there twice total. The off-air goings-on rarely if ever make it to my ear, so as far as this question and others I get about Score guys and how they are personally, I can only say that every one I’ve met has been nothing but nice—off the air—to me, and I know little about any rumors that go around.)

I’ve had one conversation with Mac, and that was two years ago while we shared a cigarette outside the Boers and Bernstein Roast. I don’t even remember what we talked about, and I’m sure he wouldn’t recognize me if we crossed paths.

That said, whatever has had Mac off the air, I sincerely hope the outcome is positive. He seems like a good dude, and since he returned to The Score a few years ago, a void in entertaining midday radio has been filled. The way his absence has been treated light-heartedly on the air leads me to believe everything with him will be okay, and I’m glad if so.

During the school year, I’m teaching during most of the McNeil and Spiegel Show, but I’m lucky enough to be on Spring Break for the next week and will definitely be tuning in on Monday when Danny Mac makes his triumphant return. Then I’m sure he will do his best to quell the sewing circles out there speculating all the odd scenarios they have him supposedly in.

My money is on plastic surgery gone horribly wrong, by the way.

I just took a leak and the streams were split. One was clear, the other yellowish. Wtf? I’m dead serious. #TFMB—@JOSH_MCDANIELS

According to urologist Arthur Goldstein, M.D., one of the most common reasons for a split stream is doing one’s business standing up with just an unzippered fly. This can often be remedied by either urinating while sitting down or completely dropping one’s trousers while standing and urinating. I advise you to do one of the two at all times from now on, especially when at the Patriots offices and practice facilities and especially when your players are around.

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As far as the separate colors, I believe it’s a metaphor for your future. On one side you have a clear, pure path, beckoning you to live and work in a positive fashion and not be an insane piece of garbage. On the other side, you have the dirty, nasty path—the one that pretty much sums up your coaching career thus far. You now have a Frostian opportunity here, and I hope to hear you someday say, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–/ I took the one less traveled by,/ And that without my pants.”

What are your feelings on sideline reporters – mild nuisance or pandering twits? As you can tell, I don’t think very highly of them. I’m all for the gaining of as much information as possible, but often projectile vomit when I hear someone asking, “What was going through your mind when you hit the game winning shot? Or “how do you plan on scoring more points than the opposite team?”

If 99% of athlete responses are just stock clichés anyway, then what’s the point? Yes, every once in a while you get gems from Bart Scott, Shaq, Tony Allen, Carlos Zambrano, etc… but I can do without the good if it means getting rid of the bad.  How can we make it end? (If we can’t make it end, then can’t all sideline reporters look like Erin Andres? Or maybe be Erin Andrews)—Eddie Griffin, Lincoln Square

I, too, hate most of the TV sideline reporter situation. The pregame, in-game, and postgame interviews with players and coaches are 99% awful and bring the viewer little to nothing of substance. The only information of use that sideline reporters convey during games is about injuries, but even then the sideline reporter is overall a useless middleman. Notice a baseball radio broadcast: rarely is there someone who reports from down near the field, yet injury information makes its way to the radio booth seemingly without any difficulty.

The one guy who gets it right is Zach Zaidman during WBBM Bears broadcasts, and I’m not just saying that because we’re both paid handsomely (ha!) by CBS or because we’re both handsome Gingers. Zaidman doesn’t bring any fluff to the broadcast—he’s sharp, to the point, thorough, and pertinent. That’s all I ask if there has to be someone on the field.

The sound bite gems that we get once in a while during sideline interviews wouldn’t really suffer if sideline reporters were eliminated. Personalities like Bart Scott, et al have a way of pushing to the surface no matter what, and there are still press conferences, locker room interviews, etc. that produce those great nuggets.

Erin Andrews has become an exception, not as far as what info she brings, but in that she has become bigger than her job. She is now part of viewing product, whether she likes it or not or will admit that or not. I begrudge her neither for being an attractive woman nor having a creepy throng of droolers that tune in to see her, and the same goes for other pretty faces who do the job such as Pierre McGuire. If the job exists and attractiveness helps somebody get that job, I can’t fault somebody for it. At the same time, I don’t tune in to a TV sports broadcast for T and A. Cheerleaders, flaunted boobies at Cubs games, and such exist to distract from what’s bad on the field/court/ice and tap into the animalistic nature of perverts and idiots. Sadly, broadcasters know that there are so many of those people that T and A warrants exposure on a broadcast.

Don’t get me wrong—me likey pretty ladies very much. I prefer my sports to be just sports, though.

Overall, the sideline reporter helps fill dead air, brings a faux sense of “being in the game” for the viewer, tells useless emotional background stories, and relays injury information. Essentially, the sideline reporter is the appendix of sports media—doesn’t help, can kill.

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 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

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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, 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.