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Wednesday July 26, 2006 6:45 am

A Hack Job: The “Big Things” in Sports

Ryan Howard has some big nostrilsAs sports fans, we love and want to witness feats of athletic, methodical, and powerful achievement.  The grace of Barry Sanders stopping on a dime, running back five yards, then going forward 80 yards while evading all 11 defensive players for a score was soemthing you felt lucky to see, mouth agape, drool making a half necklace around your neck.  The devastating display of homerun power in 1998 as Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa chase of Roger Maris and his single season home run record and the way they chased each other had even your grandmother paying attention to the home run race.  And, how about Tiger Wood’s assassin-like taking of the PGA at the turn of the century, and most recently this past weekend at the British Open.

Face it, folks, we want to know and be blessed with witnessing, to steal from LeBron James and Nike, the “big things” in sports.  And, I’m here to help you all figure out what those things are.

Biggest Nostrils: Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies first baseman
I have seen Ryan Howard play, but purely from the centerfield view of him hitting.  I but glimpsed the nostril enormity during those times, but when I saw him interviewed during the Home Run Derby at this season’s All-Star Game festivities, I was simply floored and felt compelled to back up from my television to allow room for Howard’s flaring nostrils to inhale an imaginary and intangible oxygen on the other side of the screen.  Wow.  Simply, wow.  And in my awestruck state, all I could think about was how Howard had to be every coke dealer’s dream.

Biggest Rack(et): Serena Williams, WTA professional
I’ve never seen Serena Williams play because I’m not really into women’s tennis, although I dig the Maria Sharapova camera commericals.  I can’t even think of the name of the company she’s hawking, that’s how much I dig the commericals, if you know what I mean.  In any case, my friend assures me that watching Serena Williams play is a thing of busty, but I’m sure he meant beauty.  It’s wierd though because my friend records her matches and never wants to watch it in front of us, saying he likes to be alone when he does.  I guess he’s just a really big fan.  In any case, I called him late one night to ask if he saw the Conan O’Brien monologue and got a quick response saying that he was watching Serena and her excellent rack play and quickly hung up.  I assumed he meant excellent rackET play or maybe I just heard wrong because the call was quick… very anti-climatic call.  For me, anyway.

Biggest Sports Myth: Steroids help batters hit the long ball
All I can say is that steroids alone will not make a player all of a sudden hit tons of balls out of the yard. A player needs to have at least some talent and good hand-to-eye coordination in order to be a slugging machine.  Seriously, Alex Sanchez anyone?  And, c’mon, lay off of the alleged steroid using poster boy, Barry Bonds… he just works out a lot.  Okay?  And, by the way, there is no truth to the rumors that Bonds will be the new spokesperson for Proactiv Solution.  Or Viagra.  Or the new model for Victoria Secret’s Wonder Bra for that matter.

Biggest Butt Award (AKA The Barkley): Charles Barkley, TNT NBA Studio bloviator
The award is named after him afterall.  And besides, think about it - you’re probably at work sitting down reading this…  remember what is was like before your desk job career?  You were fit, active, possessing rock hard abs that women wanted to do their laundry on (oh wait, was I the only one), but now that you sit on your butt all day, you’ve gotten paunchier, more lackadaisical, and your “cheeks” are getting wider than a second trimester pregnant woman’s hips.  Well, consider Barkley who was the paragon of possessing a huge derriere when he played (how else do you explain a 6’5” guy getting all those boards the way he did), now Barkley is basically sitting all night during work, so c’mon, his butt MUST be even bigger now!  And that’s scary because proportionate to a normal human’s butt size, Barkley’s must be big enough that he can reach over his shoulder to take out his wallet from his backpocket.

Biggest Misnomer For a Sports Term: The Home Run
KA-POW!  BAM!  BIFF!  And whatever other Adam West Batman sound effect you can think of.  Okay, so who doesn’t like watching a high flying homer sailing over the fence?  We all do, don’t we?  But, guess what, so do the guys that hit them.  Home run?  Who’s running besides those pencil-thin hitters that actually speed through the bases because of a mixture of one-quarter adrenaline and three-quarters genuine surprise?  Manny is a voyeur.  Pujols loves himself and really, why shouldn’t he?  Bonds takes it slow, but that might be bacause of his creaky knees.  In any case, no one that hits a homer actually runs.  Of course, the same can be said about pop-flys and grounders, but that’s something else.  So, who’s with me to change the category to Home Pimp Walk because that’s what it really is.  If this happens, Antonio Fargas will need to go into the Hall of Fame.  I’m just saying.

Biggest Potential For A Michael Douglas Falling Down Moment: New York Mets
Those pesky Atlanta Braves just don’t want to concede anything, do they?  Sure they’re still 11.5 games out at this point, but they were left for dead like the mullet haircut just a month ago or so.  But, just like mullets in parts of Seaside, New Jersey, the Braves are still alive and kicking as they’ve made a surge of late.  And while the N.L. Wild Card is an attainable goal, it’s not out of the question that they catch the Mets by season’s end.  If that happens, please, please, PLEASE be aware of who the Mets fans are at your workplace and the general vicinity of where you live.  And if you know anyone named William Foster, just run.  Trust me.

Biggest Problem With Putting a Hat Or Helmet On: Terrell Owens, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver
I’m not sure how such an egotistical player can play in a team sport.  Owens is more selfish than a two-year old who doesn’t want to share his toys and acts like his mere presence is enuogh to inspire awe and chants of “We’re not worthy… we’re not worthy.”  What kills me is that there are people willing to do a Wayne and Garth impersonation for this dude.  Remember Owens doing sit-ups while giving an interview to the media during his holdout before last season?  That’s just pure ego right there.  I would never wish ill to anyone, but if there’s any player I hope to see fail this coming NFL season, it’s Owens.  So, naturally, I am not taking him in any of my fantasy drafts.  And, I’m not saying this because I’m player-hating on Owens or because I can’t even do one sit-up in private by myself.  I’m saying this because Owens is what’s bad about sports, team sports anyway - he thinks he’s the team and when things go well, it’s all about him.  But when things go bad, it’s because of a teammate.  I’m hoping the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Cowboys in the NFC Championship with Donovan McNabb doing sit-ups in the endzone as he puts the Eagles up for good with a rushing touchdown with a second left in the game.  T.O… F.U.

Biggest Cover-Up in Sports: Hulk Hogan and his Hulkamaniac bandana
Mr. Hogan, you aren’t fooling anyone.  We all know what’s under the Hulkamaniac bandanas you seem to have an endless supply of.  Or do you wash the same one all the time?  Either way, you’re going to be a 53 year old man soon, Terry.  It’s okay - losing your hair on top is a natural thing.  However, growing the rest of your hair long is not because essentially you’re growing really long sideburns at this point, my friend.  If you don’t want to embrace the inevitable, then bust the Sy Sperling move and join the Hair Club For Men… although, you have to know that you can’t be president.  Not only is Sperling the president, but a client too.  Oh, just shoot me now!

Biggest Ears Award: Boris Diaw, Phoenix Suns’ jack-of-all-trades/Popeye Jones, former NBA player
I swear Boris Diaw and Popeye Jones are the same person… sort of like Janet Jackson and Michael Jackson are.  Seriously, you never see either pair together at the same time.  Janet is back in the news showing off her transformed body and where’s Michael I ask.  See?  Boris is starring for the Phoenix Suns while Popeye is nowhere to be seen.  See?  What further proof do you need?  I think we should all form a search party to find Micheal and Popeye to debunk the theories, but I would bet that we would come up with nothing just like The O.J.‘s search party.  However, should we luck out to potentially find both Diaw and Jones together, be sure to blow your dog whistle as that will stop them both dead in their tracks and we’ll be able to verify the account.  However, finding Janet and Michael will be more difficult due to their affinity for melting plastic.

Biggest Possibility of Being Another Colonel Frank Fitts: Ozzie Guillen, Chicago White Sox manager
For those of you not familiar with Frank Fitts, he’s a Marines lifer that’s all about being a “man,” a strict disciplinarian, and someone that is just constantly on you to bring the best out of you.  Sounds like Ozzie Guillen doesn’t it?  Remember when he was yelling at Sean Tracey for not hitting Hank Blalock in retaliation for A.J. Pierzynski getting plunked?  Well, he went all Naomi Campbell throwing a diva-fit again recently on Jon Garland who just went 8.1 innings without giving up a run.  Are you kidding?  How about Ozzie calling sportswriter Jay Mariotti a derogatory term for a homosexual and excusing it by saying that that was the way he grew up.  To me the man sounds like he’s trying to put up a front, much like Frank Fitts who outed himself (don’t ask, don’t tell) at the end of American Beauty by kissing the character played by Kevin Spacey.  Methinks the coach doth protest too much.

Biggest WTF? I Ever Thought or Actually Said When Seeing a Sporting Event - Game or Commercial: ESPN presenting the World Series of Darts commercial
WHAT THE FRAG?!?!?!  Darts?  Okay, the World Series of Poker was cool, largely because of the Rounders cult following and the fact that you actually have to be cool-headed and methodical in taking your opponents’ money, but darts?  It’s a game you play at a bar… what’s next, the World Series of Beer Pong?!?!?  And how do you make darts interesting?  Do the dart throwers fist-pump like the Professional Bowlers Association’s Pete Weber when hitting a bullseye?  I think I’d throw up a little in my mouth from laughing way too hard if I ever saw that.

Then again, I haven’t laughed like that since watching Isiah Thomas’ solemn and quiet demeanor at a press conference with James Dolan telling the media that Thomas had one season to turn the Knicks around or be fired.  See you later, Zeke.  And bring it on ESPN!

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