October 25, 2006

My, What a Lovely Mallet You Have

Five random thoughts composed while wondering why we no longer pass around the conch shell to indicate whose turn it is to talk:

1) Perhaps you've heard the news by now: Sacramento Kings’ guard Mike Bibby is expected to miss the first two weeks of the regular season with a gruesome-sounding condition known as “mallet thumb.” Does anyone know what this means? Don’t know about all of you, but this inevitably makes me picture Bibby’s thumb swollen about 15 times its normal size and shaped like a giant hammer as though it were straight out of a Popeye cartoon. (Didn’t Popeye used to do stuff like that with his various limbs and appendages, or did I make that up?)

In any case, from its name alone, mallet thumb sounds like it could be quite an asset on the basketball court. You’d think one might really be able to pad his steal and block stats if wielding a sizable hammer-shaped thumb. And you could have great catch phrases for every time he swatted a ball into the stands like, “And Mallet Thumb strikes again!” or “It’s Hammer Time!” at which point M.C. Hammer would start blaring over the loudspeakers and all the fans (many of them wearing bright-colored, super baggy pants) would rise up out of their seats and do the Hammer Dance. And there would be great rejoicing.

2) A tell tale indication that this World Series truly has America riveted: Last night I returned home at about 9:45 p.m., flipped on ESPN and watched the World Series of Poker for a full 15 minutes before it somehow crossed my mind that a baseball game was on and I then (only out of some sense of obligation, mind you) switched the channel. And if I had to guess the only difference for many other people out there is that a lot of you didn’t even bother to flip to the baseball game. If you’re not a Cardinals or Tigers fan and you’re not so deeply offended by the Kenny Rogers incident so as to root against Detroit at all costs, I just don’t know how you can possibly care.

3) If there’s one thing that could make the subject of child pornography seem comical, it’s the image of Shaq taking part in a sheriff’s office raid on a suspected offender, the Big Fella strapped from head to toe in grenades, knives, kevlar and machine guns, flying through the living room window, doing a barrel roll and then popping up and yelling “FREEZE!”

And then having it be the wrong house.

(Of course we have no proof that Shaq really was wearing all that gear during the raid, but can you imagine him taking part in a raid suited up any other way? It's tough to see him half-assing it.)

4) From today’s NY Times feature on the Barber twins, Tiki and Ronde:

“The two were indistinguishable for much of their lives, and even at 31, they sometimes confuse even themselves…Even girlfriends looked to their earrings to tell them apart: a hoop for Tiki, a round stud for Ronde.”

So does this make anyone else wonder if, somewhere along the way, during a particularly mischievous time in their lives, Tiki and Ronde might have, you know…pulled the old switcheroo? Come on, admit it – it crossed your mind too.

Not so fast, though. Not only is Tiki 20 pounds heavier, but Ronde has five “mostly hidden” tattoos. So if Tiki ever had tried to pose as Ronde with his brother’s girlfriend (or vice versa), there likely would have been some problems.

And while we’re treading down this dark path, another question: What exactly is a “mostly hidden” tattoo? Is this a tattoo that is more often than not hidden when a person is clothed, such as a tat on the lower neck, shoulder blade or forearm? Or is this a tattoo that is mostly hidden all the time, even when a person is naked, such as a tattoo on the…Well, never mind. Wherever that was going, it wasn’t going to end well.

5) In the latest installment of “Comments from Coaches that Inadvertently Border on Homoerotic,” the Spurs’ Greg Popovich recently said of Tim Duncan when discussing the star big man’s off season conditioning: “His body is just beautiful.

I hate to be so immature about this (actually, no, I love it), but I just find it funny that so many coaches insist on saying things that beg to be taken out of context. To refresh your memory, in the past two months, we’ve had Joe Torre say of Angels’ infielder Howie Kendrick “He’s a very good-looking young man,” we’ve heard Rangers’ manager Buck Showalter say that outfielder Nelson Cruz has “a good face,” and we’ve had the privilege of listening to Vikings’ coach Brad Childress opine, “In a perfect world, that’s what you do; you lather a guy up.”

And I don’t doubt that Tim Duncan is in fabulous shape this year. Nor do I doubt that his body probably looks quite impressive. But nonetheless, there are very few things more comical or flabbergasting than when head coaches – often retired or sub-par athletes themselves who often deep down want more than anything to just be one of the guys – say things to the press that none of their players would ever dare say in the locker room for fear of being ostracized.

And what makes it even better is that when the coaches make these remarks, they're actually trying to pay a compliment to one of their players, but somehow they can't do it without making a remark that must make every player on the team laugh and cringe simultaneously. It's tragic, really. And now we know why Bill Shakespeare said, "Tragedy is comedy." Or whatever he said. You get the idea.


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