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So how did your fantasy weekend go last week? Was it everything you dreamed it would be?
I know mine was.
I sat at home and watched Spider-Man 2 for the umpteenth time and dozed off, fantasizing that I was actually Peter Parker saving New York City from Doctor Octopus and making out with Kirsten Dunst along the way; forgetting for a moment that I never had the courage to ask her out while we were in grade school and high school together back in California.
Pathetic? You bet. But worse than fantasy sports players? Hardly.
You see, I never lose in my fantasy. Whether it's my wild escapades with Kirsten (and we've had our share) to my mad freestyle skills on stage with Eminem and D-12, I always end up just like Mikey in Swingers, "the big winner."
But fantasy sports players? They lose all the time. I know because I get calls constantly from friends who think I care about their fantasy league results. My response to them is always the same: How do you lose in a fantasy? Worse yet, how do you pay to lose in a fantasy? That's almost as pathetic as getting turned down by a stripper at a gentleman's club.
That's why I never got into the whole fantasy sports craze. Even the name itself turned me off. Fantasy sports? Why not just sign me up for the Dungeons and Dragons League while you're at it.
What's so fantastic about being forced to watch meaningless players in meaningless games, where the outcomes are even meaningless to the fantasy players themselves. Watching the San Francisco 49ers-Arizona Cardinals game this weekend just because you want to see how Anquan Boldin does is almost as mindless as ordering a Diet Coke to go with your chili cheeseburger and fries. Not only are you playing fantasy sports, but you're also on a fantasy diet. You might as well buy a one-way ticket to Fantasy Island to spot "da planes" alongside Tatoo.
Every time I watch a boring football game with one of my fantasy league-playing buddies, I feel like I'm sitting next to a player's father. No matter how badly the St. Louis Rams are getting beat, my friend will cheer for every one of Torry Holt's catches like he's Holts' proud papa, keeping track of his statistics as if he's going to paste them right next to Holt's baby pictures.
This isn't a fantasy; it's more like a nightmarish reality that has taken over my television, computer and radio. Everywhere I turn, there's some fantasy geek telling me which player I should trade, cut, or sit this weekend. I'm guessing that most of these fantasy "gurus," much like many of my friends, are middle-aged men trying to relive their youth through these leagues when they're not coaching the intricacies of the triangle offense to their son's peewee league basketball team. These aren't exactly the kind of people I want giving me advice on how to manage a sports team, let alone my fantasy. I understand there are different strokes for different folks, but fantasy sports fall right under S&M and Star Trek in the department of simple pleasures I just don't get.
Submit a comment or question for Arash.
Whatever happened to just cheering for a real team to win? Whatever happened to just watching a game for the results and not the number of receptions a receiver has? Whatever happened to just watching sports for the sheer reality that makes it so great and not the fantasy of some make-believe team you created over a six-pack of High Life on a Friday night? The only time the word "fantasy" and "sports" should be in the same sentence is when Chicago Cubs fans start talking about winning the World Series.
Maybe one day I'll understand the joy of fantasizing about sports stats and losing sleep over a team that doesn't exist, in the meantime though, Kirsten and I have some catching up to do.
Let's open up the bottle and pour out the week that was.
FRIDAY -- Indians pitcher Kyle Denney says that wearing go-go boots while dressing up as a USC Song Girl prevented him from a serious injury. The rookie was hit in the right calf by a shot that came through the side of the Indians' bus in Kansas City, but the bullet caused only a flesh wound because of the knee-high boots Denney wore as part of his rookie hazing. How long before we get PSA ads with Rupaul preaching, "You could learn a lot from a drag queen"?
SUNDAY -- Texans quarterback David Carr says he will finally get a haircut after Houston defeated the Oakland Raiders 30-17. Carr said last season that he wouldn't cut his hair until the team won two games in a row. It's good to see that expectations are running a mile high in H-town. And speaking of mile high, and I think I just was, it's now easier tojoin the club.
MONDAY -- SI columnist Rick Reilly is removed from a list of prominent University of Colorado graduates in the football team's media guide after criticizing the school for its recruiting scandals and the allegations of rape and sexual harassment levied against CU. "He went over the line," says sports information director David Platti. Apparently Reilly is the only Buffalo who went over the line as no one at CU lost his or her job, or a spot in the media guide, after the scandals.
TUESDAY -- While speaking to journalism students at Northwestern, Washington Post columnist Michael Wilbon commented about covering the Olympics in Athens. "I went to the beach volleyball courts as much to look at the scantily clad athletes as to see the results of the game," Wilbon says. "If looking at cute girls is a crime, then lock me up." I guess that explains why Wilbon goes to all those Washington Mystics games.
WEDNESDAY -- Major League Baseball issues playoff credentials to Japanese media members with the word "JAP" written after their names. After many Japanese journalists complained, MLB's new director of media relations John Rocker was forced to apologize.
This week's encounter between athlete and celebrity gives us an epic battle for marital bragging rights as Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren do battle against Billy Joel and Katie Lee to see who had the better wedding day.
Woods finally tied the knot on Tuesday with the Swedish nanny-turned-model he met three years ago while she was taking care of Jesper Parnevik's children. (On a side note, Parnevik easily wins the often-debated "Best Dad In The World" award for hiring a model as his nanny.) The wedding was a cross between the ESPYs and Baywatch, as celebrities such Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and Oprah Winfrey converged on Sandy Lane Beach in Barbados for the big day. Unfortunately since Woods was forced to book every room at the Sandy Lane luxury golf and spa resort, he only had $65 left for the live entertainment, which was just about enough to book Hootie and the Blowfish, whose calendar was surprisingly flexible.
Meanwhile in Long Island, 55-year-old Billy Joel walked down the isle with Katie Lee, who recently graduated from Ohio's Miami University and is four years older than Joel's 18-year-old daughter Alexa Ray. The two wed at Joel's estate near the shores of Oyster Bay Harbor as his ex-wife Christie Brinkley looked on. While I have to give a Stuart Scott, "Big ups dog," to Joel for marrying a woman 32 years younger than him, any wedding that has Hootie in the Blowfish as it's live entertainment easily takes the wedding cake.
In honor of CBS' new television series Clubhouse, a show about a batboy growing up in the wholesome environs of a baseball clubhouse, our weekly six-pack, brought to you this week by Boddingtons (Manchester, England), gives us The Top 6 Worst Sports TV Shows.
6.Shop at Home -- Anyone who watched mullet-haired Don West hawk everything from Mark McGwire rookie cards to Michael Jordan jockstraps back in the day couldn't take their eyes off him. Maybe it was the fact he would yell, "This is the best deal ever," in his Southern drawl before turning around the next second and saying, "Forget what I just said, this is easily the greatest deal of all time..." Or maybe it was the fact he would open up packs of cards and scream over callers and guests on the show in the wee hours of the morning. Whatever the reason, West was a human train wreck that mesmerized you at the same time he disgusted you. But despite the fact that the program looked like it was produced by a public access cable channel and West swindled thousands of people into buying useless memorabilia, he's developed an almost cult like following since the show went off the air. Go figure.
5. XFL -- This was easily one of the worst ideas in the history of all bad ideas, ranking right up there with George Lucas' Howard the Duck and the McDonald'sMcDLT. The XFL was advertised as football the way the fans want it. When did football fans agree that watching guys who couldn't cut it in the NFL, the CFL or the World League was what we wanted. From the mediocre action on the field to strippers... er cheerleaders in the hot tub to the staged locker room drama at halftime, the XFL was a mess right from the get-go.
4.ProStars -- I would have loved to be sitting in on this pitch meeting. O.K., so we're going to make a Saturday morning cartoon with Wayne Gretzky, Bo Jackson and Michael Jordan as a super-hero crime fighting team that also hangs out together, because their season schedules apparently never conflict. The trio answer to some Charlie's Angels-like grandmother figure, known only as "Mama" and always seem to be rescuing a wannabe ProStar, named Denise, from the clutches of evil-doers. Not sold yet? Well, maybe this will do the trick: none of the athletes actually did their own voices.
3.Hang Time -- This show was about the wild and wacky exploits of the Deering High School basketball team. It struggled from the show's tip-off, but secured a spot on this list when former NBA player Reggie Theus left after the second season and was replaced by Dick Butkus. Yes, Dick Butkus the football player. He was almost as bad on the show as Bob Golic was as the R.A. on Saved By The Bell The College Years, but I digress. The Deering High basketball team seemed to play year-round, every game came down to a last-second shot and their best player was a girl named Julie who looked 25 and played the star player on the show for six years, which has to be a violation of some kind of high school athletics rule.
2.Celebrity Boxing -- A topless Refrigerator Perry? Disturbing. A topless Manute Bol? Unsettling. A topless Fridge getting clocked by a topless Manute? Now you're talking. Watching this show was like listening to Right Said Fred's I'm Too Sexy. You knew it was wrong, but it felt oh-so-right. Anytime you have a show featuring Tonya Harding duking it out with Paula Jones and Joey Buttafuoco knocking out a women's wrestler named Chyna, you know you're watching television at its lowest level.
1.The Magic Hour -- Magic Johnson's opening monologue is still the stuff of comedic legend for all the wrong reasons. I'm still not sure exactly how this show ever made it on air. The lone highlight came at the very end when Magic was so desperate for ratings that he brought in Howard Stern as a guest and had Stern do a musical farting number.
I've Got Mail
Time to open up the old mailbag and check in with a Hot Reader.
Is that gel in your hair? Looks weird.
-- Darrell Portis, Sacramento
I think it's more than just the gel in the hair that makes me look weird, but if you must know Darrell, I put a handful of pliable molding creme in my hair before my picture was taken (not a good idea) and I'm still trying to get it out, which is scary since that picture was taken over a month ago. While I figure that out, check out one of the best product descriptions in Ebay's history.
Whatever Happened To...
...Kenny Gant? You know, "The Shark" who was the catalyst of those great Dallas Cowboys special team units in the 1990s? Gant was last seen making four special teams tackles for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1997.
(Cue the late, great voice of Unsolved Mysteries'Robert Stack) If you have any information that could lead to the discovery of Kenny Gant, please contact The Hot Read.