- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
"How do you know that, man?" someone says.
"No basketball courts," he says.
The Bakers have a new baby, Brittani, their first child. "Sabrina says she has two babies," Bubba says. "One newborn and one who is 28. I wonder about my wife, how she can put up with me. My last couple of years in Detroit I was miserable. I was worried about dying of old age at 30. I gained 66 pounds in seven weeks so I could get traded. But you learn, you learn from cartoons, like The Road Runner. Fall off a cliff, and the stone falls on top of you and you still get another chance.
"I'm an avid reader, a trash reader actually. I've got a 12-year supply of National Enquirers. I can remember some of the stories:
"A little girl named Nellie, born with a rabbit's face, eyes on the side. They showed her picture. She needed an operation. I sent a dollar when I was a kid.
"How's this one? Witness claims Texas ghost warns firefighters. When there's going to be a big blaze the alarm goes out and the firemen are warned by ex-captain Woodard Bloxom, who died in the line of duty.
"Or this? A water baby at age three: swims one mile nonstop. Her name was Helen Kurz. Three feet, six inches tall. She swam 32 laps in a neighborhood endurance contest in Fort Lauderdale.
"I met only one guy who was a greater authority on the National Enquirer than me, a guy named Steve in Hawaii, when I was there for the Pro Bowl. We sat in the Atlantis Disco for five hours, trading National Enquirer stories and shots of Wild Turkey."
Not everyone in the NFL takes to Bubba. Too much gab, not enough growl, they say.
"I'm not a growler and never was," he says. "I'm afraid that if I ever came up to the line growling, the guy opposite me would break up laughing."