By Tim Baffoe-

(CBS) Yeah, I said it. I saw The Empire Strikes Back as a kid and thought, “What the hell is this crap?” Though the Colt-45 guy’s clothes were pretty pimp.

And you know what makes the series infinitely worse? Like most bad entertainment, it’s the fans. Your conventions and dressing up and waiting in line is so pathetic. Much like stupid sports fans. You’re idolizing ancient mythological story traditions that megalomaniac George Lucas just borrowed and put in outer space. Genius! I’ll give the first three films (and don’t even come at me with the proper order of the series nitpicking) points for innovative cinematography, but that’s about it.

And today I’m getting hit with “May the Fourth be with you!” Kiss my Death Star and get away from me, weirdos.

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

Ok. I don’t like you and you don’t like me. But what is the protocol with social networking and a famous athlete dying? I.e. “R.I.P. Junior Seau” YOU DIDN’T KNOW HIM AND HIS DEATH IS NOT CHANGING YOUR DAY!!

Please let me note that I get loosing a childhood idol. I’m a pro wrestling fan. I’ve lost 3 while typing this.—Dan Gray

First of all, I just don’t like your spelling and grammar. I do the “RIP” thing when someone I respect—even from a distance—passes away. Never should the death of someone you did not personally know change your day—keep you from going to work, lose sleep, etc. That I completely agree with. But being bummed is fine. Seau’s death was a bit gut-wrenching when I first heard of it because someone turning to suicide (allegedly) as a solution to problems just seems so unnecessary and wrong, particularly when that leaves children without their father such as the Seau family now faces.

One of social media’s main functions is catharsis. For us who use it, most are compelled to express emotion through it if for nothing more than to self-medicate and release it. Humans need to express what’s going on inside them—basically it’s one of our bodies’ ways of getting “poison” out when it comes to the negative. When we’re sad or frustrated or livid, squeezing a stress ball, driving around the block a few times, exercising, writing awful poetry, or just typing something 140 characters or less can be therapeutic, e.g. @#$%ing Carlos @#$%ing Marmol!!! I tweeted Thursday morning that my car was dead. Did the Twitterverse need to know that? Hell no. But something almost beyond my control made me type it while I cursed aloud.

The odd thing is our tendency to hate when others do it. I don’t want to know when you’re sick or your significant other is a cheater or see the 4,529th picture of your child (personally my biggest social media pet peeve—hey, you created the 108,000,000,000th life in history and haven’t yet killed it and it really isn’t any cuter than most of its peers and maybe even much less so. You should seek faint praise from others for that!) But people do it. Over and over. I know I make annoying and mundane posts in spite of my best efforts to be strictly entertaining and/or informative only.

With celebrities like Seau dying, while most of us didn’t know them, we feel a connection to them because of the entertainment they brought us, and when the person dies, consciously or subconsciously we feel a piece of our past dies or at least a door is permanently shut. It also causes us to recognize our own mortality, and all the philosophical, emotional, and psychological stew a death like that cooks up instantaneously has to be poured out. So it’s not like your Facebook friend is equating Seau’s death with that of a relative or even suggesting it will make his dinner taste any less good. He just needs to express the Walt Whitman theory that we are all somehow connected. Then he will be the 17th person on your timeline to post the sort-of-funny-but-not-really joke of the day (that I probably posted first and got no credit for) and all will again be right with the world.

Any tips for those considering a trip to the Kentucky Derby? #TFMMB—@David_Spellman

As far as the horses, not one. I have done zero research on the race this year and don’t plan on making a bet.

I have attended three Derbies and had an absolute blast all three times. But the aftereffects became a bit too much to handle, so last year I chose to stay home… and of course the horse owned by my ex-uncle wins the damn race. But 30 is a much different age than 26, and forty-eight hours of debauchery with little to no sleep and then riding home in an RV became something none too appetizing anymore.

The Derby is the biggest party I’ve ever been to. And it is just that—one big citywide party. There is booze everywhere, entertainment everywhere, friendly people everywhere, avoidable people everywhere, and by the time Sunday rolls around, you’re sick and don’t quite know what exactly happened. And maybe you won a few bucks but probably not (or you spent it).

I advise plenty of sunscreen and aspirin. Also, bring a rainproof outfit because it always rains one day between Friday and Sunday—and you need to show up on Friday afternoon to experience Louisville’s Fourth St. on Friday evening. If you haven’t left by the time you’re reading this, you’re late. Trying to use actual taxis is very difficult that weekend, but several locals turn their cars into public transport for relatively cheap fares, so try to get familiar with them.

The Infield at Churchill Downs is deceptively gigantic, so be prepared to walk a lot (and throughout Louisville as well because it’s usually quicker and easier that trying to get a ride.) Be sure you know exactly the walking routes you’re taking, though. Louisville has some very sketchy areas close to the racetrack that you probably don’t want to accidentally wander into (even if my guy, Cliff, makes a helluva pork chop in his backyard and was kind enough to let me use his bathroom.) Try to stick to downtown if you’re not at the track or wherever you’re lodging.

And mint juleps are kind of awful.

Are you happy the Bears are more gingery after the draft? #TFMB—@JunderscoreCo

Overall, no. Part of me swells with pride whenever I see a Ginger athlete “make it.” My people have long struggled through the persecution of the less melanin-challenged, and when one of us succeeds in the entertainment industry or somehow gets a successful tan, it’s always a proud moment.

That said, we’re usually underachievers athletically. Think of Ginger Hall of Famers. I’ll give you a minute.

Bill Walton? Boris Becker? Red Grange? Malcolm X?

Airplane! should have also had a leaflet on “Famous Red-Headed Sports Legends.”

We had Mark McGwire as our champion for a while, but I kicked him out of The Ginger Revolution a while ago. Blake Griffin is sort of carrying the torch (on his dome) as of now. Andy Dalton is nice, I guess. Brian Scalabrine is a punchline. The Sedin twins are creepy even without their hair. Shaun White is not an athlete, no matter how much ESPN wants you to think The X Games is sports. (or that a spelling bee is) He’s a performance artist, as are all those who compete in something determined by judges and without a predominantly objective scoring system. That’s another rant for another time, though.

We get a random offensive lineman or kicker or two good months out of Matt Murton here and there and a bunch of rugby, soccer, and cricket players across the pond (cue Bruce Weber), but overall the Ginger was made for more expressive and passionate endeavors like blogging, seduction, and mastering the art the sunglassed quip.


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.

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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, 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.

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