Since I’m a no-good, unimaginative hack, I am going to take the same questions Serpico answered, and answer them myself. This isn’t the first time I’ve done something like this. But before I get into the letters, I have to get something off of my chest.
The New York Football Giants are a terrible football team. Ever since Serpico was a wee lad, the giants have been terrible. Remember in 1995 when the Patriots were terrible. They were a 6-10 team, but the Giants were worse — 5-11. Or how about 1997 when both the Patriots and the Giants won their respective divisions. The Giants were worse due to losing in the wild card round.
All I’m saying is that Serpico doesn’t like terrible teams — He actually stopped caring about baseball when the Yankees didn’t have the best record in baseball this year. How can I prove it? He had to email me on the deadline to fix his fantasy baseball lineup for a playoffs week. So I have an answer for Serpico: Follow the Patriots. You are a fair weather fan and we all know it. Just find the biggest band wagon, grab your instrument, and hop on.
Now for the actual questions.
Dan (Somerville, MA) – Why can you never get decent beer at any professional sports arena?
One reason, like Serpico said, is cost. But I think a huge part of it is beer popularity. Ask any bartender what the most common pours are and they will tell you Bud Light and Bud. So if you want a good beer, you have to go to a beer bar or a beer event (Like this one!).
Dave L (Somerville, MA) – The head office for major league lacrosse are on the same floor as my office. Should I break into them, force a hostile takeover, and declare myself commissioner?
NO! Don’t listen to Serpico, he is wrong (per usual). They probably want you to do that. They probably don’t even lock the doors. Actually you might find a lacrosse coach/player sleeping in there. Also, I don’t know what you do now, but you should probably look for a job at a different location. I think the finances are so bad in the MLL that you probably make less money where you are because of your proximity to them. Look at the conditions for this player, and tell me you want to be in charge of that.
Mark (Cambridge, MA) – Why can’t I get into watching sports regularly? I do enjoy watching football, but I find myself unable to really enjoy the sport when watching alone. Recommend a 5-step plan for my be-footballification.
This is going to be tough, seeing as the football season is over. But I think I can give you an outline of what to do next season and it will be a 5-step plan that isn’t Serpico’s 1-go to a party, 2-research, 3-go to a party, 4-research, 5-give up.
Step 1 – The research step. Choose a team to follow. It doesn’t matter how you choose, but find a reason. Like a particular color, person, person of color, team name or city, then pick that team. Just don’t pick the Giants. They’re not worth it. Then learn a little more about the current team — Who’s in charge, the big name players and other basics.
Step 2 – Join a fantasy league. The competition helps you learn more about the entire spor in general and also gets you interested in how individual players perform in games.
Step 3 – Watch the games with a few other folks. But mix it up, sometimes watch with people who know a lot about football, other times watch it with people who will ask you about the game
Step 4 – Start predicting what offensive calls will be made. NFL.com has this as an actual game if you want some way of tracking your progress. This will help you learn the strategies of the game.
Step 5 – Full immersion. Watch the games yourself, write for a sports blog, be the commissioner of a fantasy league, and teach others how to get addicted to sports. Step 5 may not be for everyone.
Marty (Jersey City, New Jersey) – Congressional hearings about sports, is this appropriate?
Serpico was right about this one.
Christine (Cambridge, MA) – I’d like to know more of the, “things you didn’t know you didn’t know.” Like this summer, when I found out that fouling on an attempted bunt on the third strike counts as an out. Who the hell knew that? Professional players never try it, because it’s too dangerous. So my question is, what other weird rules are there like that in major sports?
There are rules for almost every situation in sports, but lots of these situations don’t happen all the time. Baseball is filled with rules for situations that you either don’t notice happening or don’t happen often. The baseball “dropped third strike” rule is one of the overlooked rules. It is accounted for almost everyday in baseball, but the runner usually never makes it anywhere. The rule is if the catcher drops/doesn’t catch the third strike and first base is open then the batter is not out until tagged or forced out at first. Most of the time, the catcher just picks up the ball and tags the runner before then realize the ball was dropped. Every once in a while, the ball is thrown to first. And very rarely you have a 4 strikeout inning. Also, in baseball, there is such a thing as a catcher’s balk.
But this is football season, so I’ll give you a something you probably won’t see during the Super Bowl — Illegal Touching and Fair Catch Free Kick.
Whitaker (Cambridge, MA) – How do people from NY/NJ form baseball, football and hockey allegiances?
The bandwagon jumping braggarts follow the Yankees and Giants as exampled by Serpico. The people who enjoy pain like a goth girl who cuts herself follow the Mets and Jets.
For reals tho, it’s the same as everywhere else. You cheer for the same team as the people who got you into watching the sport — Usually your parents. Or you cheer for the team that is the easiest to watch on TV or go to the game.
Lynn W (Boston, MA) – What do you consider to be the greatest sports invention? Instant replay? Night lighting? The computer-generated first down line? Spandex cheerleading uniforms? Or something else entirely?
Sports blogs… Truthfully, I would have to say internet fantasy sports. Fantasy sports have gone from something a few nerds do in the basement, to something that everyone does at work. From that, people have a reason to watch Sportscenter for something other than the random catch phrases and web gems.