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A Tribute To Shitty Sports Talk Radio Callers

A Tribute To Shitty Sports Talk Radio Callers
From Deadspin - November 14, 2017

Time for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Today, were talking ghosts, cutting boards, wiping kid butts, and more.

Your letters:

Jason:

Can we all finally admit that the worst aspect of sports radio are the callers? No more callers. Theres no need to take seven minutes of my day with a crackly phone connection to ask why the Steelers sucked this weekend. You want to talk about stuff on the radio... tweet or email the hosts.

Yeah but its still better than having an actual player or coach on to be interviewed. Thats death. I would much rather hear from Vinny from Syosset detailing how the Giants can turn things around by offering Eli and a third rounder for Carson Wentz. Thats the real gold. And who listens to Finebaum for Finebaum? No one. No, Im tuning into PAAAAWWWLLLLL specifically to hear Phyllis from Mulga call in and cry out that SABAN HAYS GOT TA GOOOOO-EWW because Bama only won by two touchdowns.

Theres a reason callers have been the staple of sports talk radio for decades now. Those callers are the original Twitter eggs. Theyre the perfect foil for everyone else involved in the show. The host gets to looks like a Wise Sports Knower for discrediting the callers trade idea (Bob, Bob ya nevuh gonna get LeBron to terminate his own contract and join duh Knicks thats nawt legal). The listener (me) gets to yell at the radio about what af**khead the caller is for saying Jay Gruden is a good coach because he aint afraid to ruffle players feathers. And the station gets to fill hours of airtime for free, with virtually no hassle. Its the perfect radio model. I dont wanna hear from professional athletes who have been diligently trained to say nothing of import. I want morons. Morons are realer. Theyre the grease that keeps the whole tank economy engine running.

I think Ive told story before but I used to call into radio shows back in the day. One time I called in to a show in 1997 to explain why Michigan could beat Penn State in Happy Valley when the host thought they had no chance. Michigan won that game 34-8, because I am the Wisest Sports Knower of all! Another time, I called into WFAN to complain that Yankee Stadium didnt replay pitches on a Jumbotron. The host thought I was a rube and a brat. In hindsight, I cant disagree with him.

I also used to watch Calling All Sports on CNN, when Vince Cellini would demand callers FINISH UP STRONG by giving their quickest, hottest takes at the end of the show. I loved all that. Before the internet, these were basically the only avenues for a REAL FAN like me to broadcast his or her takes to the world at large. When you actually got through to a show, the power was intoxicating, by God. Someone is finally listening! Maybe theyll be so impressed with my call that Ill get a show of my own! That kind of thrill is easy to take for granted now that were inundated with horrible DIY takes, but I still appreciate a good old fashioned call-in rant from Bernie in Rockville Centuh. At least hes passionate. Bernie calls because he cares.

We joke about bad takes here all the time but thats because, deep down, I really do love them. I dont wanna live in a world without bad takes. Theres a name for boring talk radio thats civil and polished, and it is NPR. I know weve taken it way too far now that weve installed a living bad take in the White House: a constantly bloviating fart monster who craves only to be heard. But I still love me a snifter of bad takes every now and again.


Fernando:

Can ghosts travel through time? I asked a few of my friends but their answers didnt lay the issue to rest for me.

In my highly scientific opinion, no. I know that A Christmas Carol has time-traveling ghosts, but those are special teams ghosts. Normal ghosts just hang around in the present and rattle your coat hangers and stuff. If theres a ghost in your house, its probably bored. Leave Netflix on for it when you go out for a beer.

I also object to the idea of ghosts time-traveling on narrative principles. If you are a disembodied spirit roaming the ethereal plane, you shouldnt ALSO get to time-travel. One superpower per supernatural being, please. Its like Looper when they introduced time-travel but also had to go and add a telekinesis subplot. Time travel is enough. I like mys**t streamlined.


Zane:

My girlfriend and I were skulking around a Bed Bath & Beyond this weekend when I came across this Maryland shaped cutting board. Two questions: Is this the dumbest product ever made, and are people out there using it for its intended purpose?

My guess is that its a presentation cutting board. Like, youre not gonna butcher a whole raw chicken on that thing, because that would be idiotic. Instead, you put it right on the dinner table with a wedge of (Old Bay infused?) cheese and tastefully folded slices of charcuterie. Ive been to enough overpriced Italian restaurants to know that everything tastes better when eaten off a cutting board. If I ran a steakhouse, your T-bone would come on a bigass cutting board with one of those littler reservoir pools that captures all the delicious steaky juices GODDAMN.

Anyway, for actual cutting, that thing is stupid. Its a presentation cutting board, which means you will never use it and will end up gifting it to someone you dont give a crap about. When it comes to real cutting boards, you want one thats big, preferably the literal surface area of Maryland itself. Even with big cutting boards, I end up with onion shrapnel and raw chicken bits flying off and touching the counter (GAHHHHHHHHHH). Its the worst. I need a cutting board the size of a football field.


Evan:

I am 28 years old, live in New York, and a fan of the Mets and Jets. Will I ever see a championship in my lifetime? My fiancee keeps saying that if for some crazy reason I had a head injury and lost my memory, she would tell me everything the way it was, except she will make me a Yankees fan. Am I doomed forever?

Not necessarily. Both the Mets and Jets won titles before you were born, which makes them more accomplished than a number of other pro sports franchises. I know the Mets are essentially a Ponzi Scheme settlement and that the Jets are run by a Tommy Boy 3 direct-to-video spinoff. But youre only 28. Thats still a LOT of time for either team to get its act together. Youve already witnessed any number of other supposedly incompetent (Patriots) or snakebitten (Cubs) teams pull off the previously unthinkable.

Theres no reason the Mets and/or Jets cant stumble their way into a similar turnaround. You dont even need a good owner (see: Cavs). All you need is to get it going is a shrewd GM, or a gifted head coach, or a special player. Also, those are New York teams. They have built-in advantages in terms of both money and location. Leagues may jack themselves off to parity, but deep down they WANT those big market teams to do well because thats what gets off TV execs and butthole pundits who love talking about market sizes. This is why Im subjected to grainy footage of Joe Namath on every Jets telecast even though that happened 50 billion years ago.

This is why you stay a fan. Chances are, your team isnt gonna win jacks**t any given year. But there are still smaller thrills to be had, and theres the tangible possibility that holys**t, theyve finally figured it out this year. Look at how destitute the Rams were a year ago.Now they look like af**king juggernaut. It can happen quickly, and with barely any warning. Thats how BIG SPORTS keeps you hooked. Theres always a chance for you, and the chance is real. Just not this year because those teams suck.


Connor:

So baseball has the ceremonial first pitch, could/would that be adapted to other sports? Will we ever see a ceremonial first free throw at an NBA game?

Well, football has the coin toss to cover all that. For the coin toss, its like thef**king Twelve Days Of Football. You get 12 team captains, 11 troops, 10 olde-time players, nine State farm reps, eight friends of the owner, seven retired politicians, six Punt, Pass, and Kick winners, five random dicks, four lobbyists, three escorts, two family members, and Jerry Jones leering at everyone with his big fake teeth. Its a big production. You got the anthem, the coin toss, and the weekly moment of silence for whatever mass shooting just happened. I think Ive reached my limit on pregame pageantry. I just want thef**king game to start on time.

The truth is that no one really cares about the first pitch other than the person throwing the ball, and its only memorable when they do as**t job. Ergo, rather than add yet another layer of celebrity knob-slobbing to the affair, I suggest we ritualistically shame and embarrass a famous person before a game instead. Have LeBron dunk onf**king James Toback and then kick him in the balls. Now THAT is added value.


Aaron:

Cheese Balls > Crunchy Cheetos > Puffy Cheetos. EXPLAIN THIS.

Oof, I dunno man. I have a soft spot in my heart for ALL cheesy poofs. Youre asking me to rank my children here. I think the original Cheetos go in the top slot, followed by the balls, and then the poofs. Although I sure love those giant-size tubs of Utz Cheez Balls. I like to eat those until Im sick. I see no issues with that.

All those processed orange snacks are a delight but lemme tell you about one you missed: HONEY CHEEZE CURLS. Yes, these exist. I was at a pool earlier this summer and the snack bar only had these cheese curls. And I so really hard up for artificial cheese that I bought them and ate the whole bag. They still disturb me. Why would anyone want af**king honey-flavored cheese curl? Im gonna eat a dozen more bags and get to the bottom of this phenomenon. Why not sell chocolate-covered onions while youre at it?


Jason:

What do you consider to be the lifespan for the average pair of socks? I find myself throwing out socks with holes in them constantly and buying new packs of socks every 2-3 months. Is that too frequent? Am I beingf**ked over by Big Sock?

Its possible you are buying low quality socks, like I do when I grab a three-pack of discount Wigwams at the local TJ Maxx. I love New Sock Day and luxuriating in the fresh, clean whiteness. But three weeks later, those same socks looked like they were fished out of the bottom of af**king river. Do I throw those socks away? I do not. No, I keep them in the rotation and the laundry hamper looks like a literal MAD magazine gag about 50 Shades of Grey. I should probably look into better quality socks, and so should you. And then we can both blanche at the price tag and walk away.

For real though, socks are important. Not only do they keep your piggies toasty and fresh, but they absorb a LOT of punishment from your feet. Mens feet are gnarled, disgusting things. A pair of cheapass Puma socks stands no chance against them. I would pay good money ($3) to have a college-style equipment manager for GROWN MEN, where you pay a fee (again, $3) leave a bag of dirty socks on your doorstep and get a replacement bag of freshies. I would also make banter with the e-quipment manager and give him a cool equipment manager name, like Ol Gordo, or Cheap Willy, or Bongo Jim. WHO SAYS NO?!

HALFTIME!


Nick:

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