Sunday, April 20, 2008

I find myself feeling very depressed at the moment. And it has remarkably little to do with the unfortunate collapse of the Texas Rangers earlier this afternoon. Rather like last season's impressive Mother's Day Miracle, this was a substantial comeback against a terrible team who probably never should have had that lead to begin with when compared with this version of the Red Sox.

This was shaping up to be a very average weekend anyway. There was good news tempered by bad news from the NFL Network. Bryant Gumbel has done the right thing and left the broadcast booth to pursue other challenges, presumably he will go on to bore and frustrate an entirely new audience in an entirely new venture. Good riddance.

Alas, that news can only be greeted with a moderate smile. In the same article, the NFL Network revealed that they are searching for a new partner to call games with Cris Collinsworth. Perhaps they can fulfill Bill Simmons' ultimate fantasy and pair Collinsworth with Gus Johnson. Not that it matters.

Unless they pair Collinsworth with a person who will backhand him whenever Collinsworth sees fit to remind us that he was probably the single most spectacular receiver of all time who never made a difference on the field and is the second biggest fraud ever to attend the University of Florida (and believe me, that is some stiff competition) behind only Steve Spurrier, this will not bode well for football fans.

Collinsworth is a terrible broadcaster and a dick. He also has a penchant for dressing as though he were the Man from U.N.C.L.E. or auditioning for the lead in a dinner theater version of the Ghost and Mrs. Muir. And sadly, he brings more to the table than any other member of the NBC NFL studio crew, which speaks volumes to the degree to which Olberman, Costas, King and Barber have elevated sucking to a form of high art. I didn't forget Bettis, but I still have a problem with bad-mouthing a man who turned in two transcendent performances in bowl games for the Fighting Irish.

That is my nightmare situation at the moment, that the NFL Network would pair Collinsworth with Tiki Barber. Perhaps two such massive egos couldn't coexist in a booth for four hours at a stretch, one can only hope. What a disaster that would be for fans. Especially since neither one of them ever brought enough to the table to justify having such prominent egos. I don't fault people for self-involvement, but those two guys' selves aren't anywhere near as impressive as they would have us believe.

In other news, two strange stories came to my attention recently. First, Dwayne Wade might be dating Star Jones. All I can say is...yikes. She, even more than Charlie Weis (who almost died in the procedure), is the poster child for what's wrong with gastric bypass surgery. She has a massive fat face on top of a grotesquely skinny body and a turkey neck. It's creepy.

But it serves D-Wade right. He became infatuated with the image the media projected on him during his first couple of wildly successful seasons, particularly the championship run of 2006. He took that "me against the world" suicide drive mentality to the extreme last season and into this year. His body is breaking down because of it. He's alienating fans because his style of play (when he plays) is no longer fun to watch and his team made the Titanic's sudden sinking seem like a relatively mild disaster. And apparently his judgement in other areas has taken a hit as well.

The other story that disturbed me was Michael Westbrook's recent revelation that the perception that he was gay damaged his NFL career. Apparently it had nothing to do with the fact that he was overpaid and underperformed. Maybe he just wasn't as good as we were led to believe, even in spite of his physical gifts. Now he's involved in mixed martial arts in Arizona. Rolling around on mats with strange men in varying stages of undress will go along way to convincing us he's straight. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

And one more completely unrelated matter... I recently found out that I am expected to fulfill every one's favorite civic duty. I have jury duty in July. And I opened the notice while I was watching Twelve Angry Men (the original version). And that coincidence is what is really depressing me at the moment.

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