Sports Fan

Judge John Hodgman rules: Can you wear your team’s gear to a game in which they are not playing?

Posted by Paul Caputo on July 17, 2013
Baseball, Fandom / 2 Comments

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Judge_John_Hodgman_logoBlogger Jeremy and I were at an impasse about whether it makes me a douche if I wear Phillies gear to a game in which the Phillies were not playing. So we took our case to a higher authority: the fake internet court of podcast justice, Judge John Hodgman. We were thankful that fake internet Judge Hodgman (known to most as the “I’m a PC” guy in the old Mac commercials) agreed to hear our case. (You can hear the whole thing here.)

We’ve had about a month to process the ruling, and there are still questions, so I thought I’d revisit it here.

The Ruling
According to Judge Hodgman’s ruling:

  • I am allowed to show my allegiance to the Phillies even when the Phillies are not playing, but only with a 1980s-style retro cap, which signifies me as a “loathsome hipster,” rather than the “ridiculous Phillies clown outfit” pictured above that I prefer to wear.
  • Notable exception: I can wear whatever I want to Coors Field because pot is legal in Colorado and people are doing all sort of crazy things.
  • Jeremy is forbidden from making the “West side” W gang sign with his hand in photos, even ironically.

Continue reading…

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I’m rooting for the Pirates in 2013, and you should, too

Posted by Paul Caputo on May 02, 2013
Baseball, Pirates / No Comments

Pirates

I want to see the Pittsburgh Pirates win 82 games this season.

This has not always been the case. When the Pirates were on their way to breaking the record for consecutive losing seasons (now at 20 and counting), I cheered every loss. This was mostly because I wanted that record to be disassociated from my team, the Phillies, who finished below .500 for 16 seasons from 1933 to 1948.

It’s likely also because of deep emotional wounds I suffered when my family lived in Pittsburgh for a few months in the late 1970s, in the midst of a years-long, intense, cross-state, NL East rivalry between the Pirates and our Phillies—one of the rare times when both Pennsylvania teams were competitive. (My brother, less than 10 years old at the time, once came home crying from a double header that the Phillies swept from the Pirates because of stuff Pirates fans said and did during the game.)

Continue reading…

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11 Rules for Filling Out Your Tournament Bracket

Posted by Bloggers To Be Named Later on March 20, 2013
Basketball / No Comments

MFF_2013_FINAL_LOGOWant to win your tournament pool? Follow these 11 rules, and we guarantee victory for you.

  1. Don’t pick your alma mater to win it all. You’re jinxing them.
  2. Don’t pick the popular upset prediction. (Bucknell!)
  3. Always pick at least one 12-seed to win in the first round.
  4. Do not pick a 12-seed to win in the second round.
  5. Don’t pick all four 1-seeds in the Final Four. It’s weak, and it won’t happen.
  6. Ferocity of mascot does not increase chance of winning.
  7. Do pick a 1- or 2-seed to win it all.
  8. Pick the team closest to Indiana. (Blogger Steve’s weird friend only.)
  9. Don’t fill out 64 brackets just so you can have every scenario covered and brag that you picked the winner with that one bracket.
  10. Don’t pick Kentucky.
  11. Scrap all of the above and ask your eight-year-old daughter, non-sports-fan spouse, or someone else who hasn’t watch one NCAA basketball game this season to fill out your bracket.

Congratulations on your impending win.

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It’s the Philly-sportsocalypse!

Posted by Paul Caputo on December 03, 2012
Philadelphia / 2 Comments

I am aware that Philadelphia sports fans are not the most beloved demographic in North America (and I have made my feelings clear that our negative reputation is utter horse crap). So I’m sure there is a certain amount of schadenfreude over the state of Philly’s sports franchises at the moment.

Philly has only had one major championship since 1983—my beloved 2008 Phillies—so it’s not like we’ve been on a wild joy ride for the last three decades, but in the last few months, things have gotten particularly bad.

At the moment, the Eagles are the poster children for this city-wide implosion. In Philly sports-fan circles (noted for their distinct odor of cheese wiz), it’s a widely repeated fact that the Phillies, whose season ended more than two months ago, have won a game more recently than the Eagles. (The Phillies beat the Nationals on October 1; the Eagles’ last win was September 30, over the Giants.) With a bunch of high-priced free agents not meshing on the field, the Eagles are basically the Mets of football, though I’m starting to think that if we got some pads on them, the Mets could win a few more football games than this Eagles team.

Continue reading…

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Six Podcasts Interesting People Should Listen To

Posted by Paul Caputo on November 20, 2012
Fandom / 4 Comments

Do people yawn a lot when you talk to them? This is because you are a boring person and people are tired of hearing about your stupid sports blog. Here’s what we suggest: Subscribe to the six podcasts listed below and you will be an interesting, well-rounded person who will not make people stab themselves in the neck with a fork just to avoid having to talk to you.

The Bugle
I listen to podcasts while I bike to and from work, and this is the one most likely to make people think I’m a crazy person because I’m laughing out loud as I pass them. The Bugle (“Audio Newspaper for a Visual World”) features political satire and mildly off-color language in British accents from John Oliver (of The Daily Show fame) and comedian/cricket aficionado Andy Saltzman. Regular segments include “Fuckeulogies” (tributes to deceased dictators or other bad guys), minutes-long pun runs from Andy, and “Straight in the Bin” (the part of the newspaper you normally throw away).

The Dan Patrick Show
I was surprised when I realized that only one sports-specific podcast made this list. The sports radio market is more saturated than Tony Siragusa’s undershirt at a September football game in Miami (note to self: work on metaphors), but for the the general-interest sports fan, Dan Patrick and his misfit sidekicks, the Danettes, stand out. As a podcast of his entire daily show, The Dan Patrick Show beats out other sports podcasts that are excerpts that often leave out the best parts of the live show (Mike and Mike, Colin Cowherd), or that are too specific to one city (Bill Simmons), or that are posted a full 24 hours after airing (Tony Kornheiser). The running subtext of Dan Patrick’s disdain for his former employer, ESPN, makes it all the more entertaining.

RadioLab
Until recently, this spot on the list would have belonged to This American Life (which I still listen to). RadioLab has a similar approach, addressing a theme or topic on a weekly show, but it does so with a unique, mesmerizing production style. Every time I introduce a friend to RadioLab, the response is similar: “Holy crap, how did I not already know about this?” One of the first RadioLab shows I listened to was called “Patient Zero,” and featured stories about where AIDS came from (and how we might prevent similar diseases in the future) and the origin of the high five. Another show used a full chorus of singers to illustrate how the mantis shrimp perceives color. Seriously, if you don’t already, go subscribe to this podcast.

Judge John Hodgman
This podcast makes the list on its own merits, but it doesn’t hurt that John Hodgman once wrote about our world-famous helmet sundae collection on the pages of The New York Times Magazine. Comedian, author, and actor John Hodgman rules on disputes submitted to him by listeners. The format is really just a vehicle for John Hodgman, who is smart and funny and has a mustache, to interact with knuckleheads over trivial subjects like how (or whether) two brothers should handle a bat infestation in their rundown house or how a husband should sort his roller derby wife’s laundry.

Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me
On the face of it, the idea of a weekly news quiz on NPR does not exactly sound like it’s going to be a laugh-a-minute romp. But with a rotating slate of celebrity contestants like comedians Mo Rocca and Paula Poundstone, former Colbert Report writer Peter Grosz, and author PJ O’Rourke, it’s one of my favorite ways to keep up with current events and odd tidbits pulled from the back pages of the tabloids. Host Peter Sagal is clearly knowledgeable about sports, and is a self-identified Red Sox fan, which makes it all the funnier when his sports-related jokes land with a thud on live audiences made up of NPR listeners. Sports fans will also enjoy the competition aspect of the show, where points are awarded seemingly at random throughout the show, and a winner is announced at the end.

WTF with Marc Maron
The format here is simple: Comedian Marc Maron interviews other comedians in his garage. It sounds low-rent, until you see the list of guests he has featured in the past, from Chris Rock and Conan O’Brien to Louis CK and Sarah Silverman. Even when you are not familiar with the guest, the conversation is almost always interesting enough to keep you engaged for the full hour (and change). Occasionally, the show slips into insider jargon (“You knew Jim at the Comedy Club in Chicago? Yeah, he sure was fat. How about Teddy? Oh, yeah, who could forget Teddy?” etc.), but interviews can delve into religion, family trauma, and deeply personal issues. (Comedian Todd Glass came out of the closet on the show in January.)

Well, there you go. Now you’ll have something to talk about besides asking people to go like your stupid blog’s stupid Facebook page.

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