Monday, December 29, 2008

Favricles, Prince Of Interception

As previously established by me on this site, God has nothing to do with sports. I mean, seriously, if God exists and has the ability to look the residents of New Orleans in the eyes and be like, “Sorry about that whole hurricane situation. But, whatever; I was watching baseball,” then shoot me in the face.

That said, every so often a sports storyline so epic, so Biblical, in proportions emerges that its hard to believe that it wasn’t somehow predestined by some kind of sports deity. Take for example this years battle between the Jets and the Mammals—I mean, Fish. Forget about God. This story is practically Shakespearean in nature. (Sorry, but Shakespeare did Biblical better than even the Bible.)

Let’s start with a recap.

As with any good dramatic narrative arc, we have our villain. An awesome villain. A bumbling, sociopathic, deer-hunting, self-obsessed Southerner who can’t pronounce his own last name and, from the appearance of it, either can’t read his team’s playbook or has a depth perception issue.

As with many an evil mastermind, this particular villain is deceptive. (Think Iago.) He has made a lifetime out of tricking the public into buying into the myth of his goodness. He begins by playing for one of the most beloved team in all of football—located in the most beloved region in all the country, I might add. (You know me and that Midwest.) He charms us with his buffoonery, blinds us with his scruff, never misses a game, forces us to all but overlook the sheer insanity that is the existence of his last name. And for years this went on.

But then. Of course. Starts with an R.

After several pathetic attempts to get our attention by threatening to retire, he finally actually retires. There’s a press conference where tears are cried, a ceremony scheduled to retire his jersey, a cornfield maze designed in his honor.

Oh, but wait. Suddenly after he has milked the whole retirement thing for all its worth, he realizes that retirement is kind of bullshit because you get an awesome amount of attention all in one shot and then basically no more attention ever again.

We all know how this story ends. Decision to unretire. Annoyance over the fact that the Packers refused to give him back his old spot despite the whole announcement of his retirement. Displacement of Chad Pennington. (By the way, he’s the hero of this story.) And suddenly it's like modern day Shakespeare with a Miami backdrop. Which works because it’s a comedy.

But this is just to set the stage. What makes it interesting is that as fate—or, rather the NFL—would have it, the Jets and the Fish were scheduled to meet on both the first and last days of the season. What makes it more interesting is that they went into the last game fighting for a spot in the playoffs. Unfortunately, a win by both the Pats and the Ravens made the whole thing a little less high drama than it could have been because it meant that, regardless of the outcome, the Jets were destined to sit this January out. But whatever. For the season to end as it began—Pennington v Fav-ruh. Young screwed over player with his new team battling it out against old guy who stole his spot because he’s too chicken to retire.

There can be no doubt that Pennington has hit his stride this season with Miami. No one could have really put it better than Karen Crouse, who is a recent article for the Times wrote, “There is a lightness to Chad Pennington, as if in his move to South Florida to be the Miami Dolphins’ quarterback, he shed more than a couple of layers of clothing. The smile that was tighter than his spirals toward the end of his tenure with the Jets is now a luminous half-moon.”

OK. Not true. Lots of people could have put it better than Karen Crouse. But the imagery of the half-moon smile is truly evocative.

But it’s not just about the layers of clothing or the spirals or, you know, the half moons. Injury-free for the first time in a while, Pennington is finally living up to his potential. And, moreover, he’s helping the Dolphins live up to theirs.

Fav-ruh on the other hand—well, let’s just say that the last few weeks have really made evident just how much of a benefit he’s been to the 2008 Jets. Sure, they got off to a promising start with big victories against the Pats and the Titans. Hell, the way they were going for a while it was hard to believe that they wouldn’t manage a slot in this year’s playoffs. And, no, you can’t luck your way into nine wins. But you luck your way into a few. And I would say that on more than one occasion, a victory was earned despite and not because of Fav-ruh.

Seriously. It’s almost like the guy just closes his eyes, throws and hope for the best.

But yesterday Brett really reached new heights—I almost want to say dazzling heights—in his quest to shock and awe us with his special brand of throw-and-hope football. (Because, shucks? That’s how they done do things in the South?) It wasn’t just that he threw three interceptions, though he did throw three interceptions. For me, it was really the one in the second quarter that sort of blew my mind. You know which one I mean. The one that was so mind-boggling that it was practically epic. Even I was so flummoxed by the whole thing that all I could think to do was blink a bunch of times and say, “Really? Really?”

You’ll rarely hear me say this, but yesterday’s game did not constitute a team failure for the Jets. That’s what you call a one-man disaster.

Pennington, of course, went 22-for-30 for 200 yards and two touchdowns. I’m spacing on the number of interceptions. Oh, that’s right. CUZ HE DIDN’T HAVE ANY. And he’s obviously been the ultimate in graciousness about the whole thing. As always. I’ll tell you what. I think I have a crush.

And all's well that ends well. For almost everybody, anyway.

Mangini. We all knew it was coming. This one was always a win-or-get-packing game for Eric. I think it’s pretty safe to say that Mangini will have nightmares about Leon Washington from now until the end of time and that somewhere in the Mangini home there’s a voodoo doll with Fav-ruh’s name written all over it.

Fortunately for Brett, there's a good chance that Mangini will get the spelling wrong.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Putting The Puts Into Putz

Given my interest in names and New York sports, when J.J. Putz was traded to the Mets, everyone just assumed I would pounce on it. And, yet, somehow, I was never really interested. It was almost too easy. It doesn’t require a whole lot of wit or cleverness to poke fun at a name like Putz. A name that, in and of itself, is the insult. It doesn’t require any imagination, any sophistication, to be like, “Putz is a putz.” (You know, the way it requires imagination and sophistication to make fun of people with names that sounds vaguely like poop or a cereal.)

Maybe, if the name was not actually putz but sort of like putz, I’d feel differently. However, as it stands, J.J.’s name simply didn’t seem challenging enough to be worth my while.

That is, until I found out how he pronounced it.


As in, it puts the lotion in the basket. Or, it puts me in a better position to make fun of you when you pronounce the name Putz like puts.

According to Putz, he doesn’t opt to mispronounce his name because he thinks it will deter people from making a joke out of it. (And good thing because it wouldn’t.) He mispronounces his name because that’s the way they pronounce it in Hungary. Supposedly.

Well, there are definitely people in Hungary who have the name Putz—I discovered this through the use of facebook, a reference tool second only to Urban Dictionary in credibility. However, when I really went to test the mettle of his assertion with the assistance of a website called, my search yielded somewhat different results.

According to this site, the name Putz has its roots in Austria and Germany. Its meanings are sundry and perplexing. Putz is, for starters, the “topographic name for someone who lived by a well.” A little confusing because, back then—whenever then was—didn’t everyone live by a well? Like, as a matter of survival?

In addition to being a “topographic” name, Putz is apparently also a “habitational name for a place so named in Luxembourg.” Presumably a place in Luxembourg where they speak German rather than French or Luxembourgish. No, really. Luxembourgish is a language.

But wait. There’s more. Putz is also “from a pet form of the personal name Burghard.” Which makes sense because if you take Bur off of the beginning, replace the “g” with a “p” and the “hard” with “utz,” it’s basically the same word. Oh, and in case you were curious, Burghard means strong as a castle. But you knew that.

Last, but definitely not least, Putz is apparently a “nickname from a byname for the devil.” At this point we’re supposed to “see also Butz.”

While this is all fascinating, I’m sure you’re all asking yourselves the same question: What’s Hungary got to do with it? The best that I could come up with was that the name must have originated in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. (I mean, I think it’s safe to say that anyone who was living in the Austro-Hungarian Empire who wasn’t a Habsburg was probably a putz.) And then when things got all broken up into different smaller countries, who could keep track? History and geography can be confusing. That’s why I just refer to all Asian countries as the Orient. The war in Iraq? I like to call that “Operation Babylonian Freedom.”

Still, I wasn’t totally satisfied with this line of reasoning, so I went to the multilingual dictionary to find a more tangible link between Hungary and the surname Putz. I discovered that if you translate the German word putz into Hungarian, it is apparently díszes kellékek. So, actually, if Putz wants to say his name the Hungarian way, he should simply refer to himself as J.J. Diszes Kellékek.

(For the record, according to this same dictionary, the English for putz is "trappings." As in, “anyone who pronounces a German name the Hungarian way has all the trapping of a putz.” And by the way, I can now refer to him as a putz and consider myself to be clever because the pronunciation is puts—like putz but not quite. See how that works? By putting the puts into Putz, you inadvertently put the putz into Putz.)

Anyone who has read anything I have had to say about Brett Fav-ruh (or Jhonny Peralta for that matter) knows how crazy it makes me when the spelling and pronunciation of a name are mismatched. In Putz’s case, however, I am especially affronted because I feel like the mispronunciation is a deliberate attempt to try to trick us into not realizing that his name is putz. The irony is that, in so doing, he draws more attention to his name than he would if he just let us say it like its spelled. It’s true that some infantile people out there might focus on his name as an opportunity for an insult. However, for the most part, Mets fans are so grateful to have a decent setup man that, assuming Putz doesn’t blow it, no one would dream of insulting him. In fact, I think that if he stops pronouncing his name the wrong way, eventually, no one will give it a second thought.

The way that I no longer think about toilets when someone says “Flushing.”

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

Another day, another long-term, big-money pitching contract. First Sabathia, now the perpetually-injured Burnett. And, in order to help us understand the significance of last week’s acquisitions, Hank Steinbrenner commented, "A rising tide lifts all boats.”

Gotta love a good idiom.

Unfortunately, however, I don’t think that Steinbrenner went with the right one. When the phrase was originally coined by JFK, it was a reference to the economy. I can't imagine Steinbrenner is trying to imply that anyone other than C.C. and A.J. are going to benefit financially from this most recent insane expenditure of obscene amounts of money. Maybe what he meant to say was that the early bird catches the worm. (Of course, by early, I mean rich, and by worm I mean sought-after pitcher.) Or, more likely, it may just be a local usage of this particular idiom that’s commonplace amongst the people who come from Steinbrenner’s original hometown—the seventh circle of hell.

While I'm no, uh, idiom analyzer, if I had to guess, I would say that Steinbrenner is probably suggesting that, like a tide helps a boat, signing awesome players helps a ball club. Well, Hankus, that’s duly noted, but let me answer your idiom with another idiom: Slow and steady wins the race.

The veracity of my idiom probably depends on how you define “the race.” If “the race” is a 2009 World Series ring, then slow and steady may not be the solution. It may be more about the rising tides and the boats. However, if “the race” can be defined as the effort to build a solid, energetic cohesive ball club with potential for long-term growth, then slow and steady might actually be the way to go. Remember, the Yankees of the late nineties? That team was slow and steady. And it was also the last team of Yankees that actually played like a team.

Last year Cash decided against signing Santana and opted, instead, to hold onto Hughes, Kennedy, and Melky. After a combined no-win record for the two young pitchers and an abysmal season for Melky, that experiment has been deemed a failure. You know which other experiment was initially deemed a failure by the Steinbrenner formerly known as El Jefe? The Bernie Williams experiment. Had it not been for the intervention of Buck Showalter, Bernie would have been 86’d in ‘95. Fortunately, however, someone had the good sense to let him develop.

Melky is set to be sent to Milwaukee in a trade for Mike Cameron. (Though, as the days wear on, the agreement appears to be on the verge of collapse.) Cameron is a solid center fielder and was also thought to be potentially instrumental in luring C.C. our way. (In case the extra $20 million didn’t do the trick.) I like Cameron and don’t have strong objections to the trade on his account, but I just can’t help but feel as though we haven’t quite given Melky his fair shake. That he has the potential to develop into a player worth holding onto. And one, I might add, who’s significantly younger than Cameron.

As for Hughes and Kennedy, as it stands, they aren’t going anywhere, but having just paid such enormous sums for both Burnett and C.C., it’s hard to imagine that we’ll hold onto both. And for what? So that we could lock ourselves into two huge money multi-year contracts after having just been released from the bondage of one that has been for several seasons the bane of our collective existence?

You know what I say to all this? I say stop. No Pettitte, no Lowe, no Sheets. With a solid four-man starting rotation of Sabathia, Burnett, Wang and Joba, we ought to allow Hughes a shot in the number 5 slot and keep Aceves and Kennedy around on the back burner in case he flounders. Or for when Burnett inevitably ends up on the DL. Reports from Arizona and Puerto Rico suggest that neither Hughes nor Kennedy are worth writing off just yet. And let’s not forget that these are young guys—22 and 23 respectively. The idea that a young player is only allowed a season or two to prove his worth is borderline preposterous. Not everyone is Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera. Some players need time to settle in, hone their skills, adjust to the pressure. And what better way to take some of last year’s pressure off these guys then to allow them to alternately fill the number 5 slot in such a stellar rotation?

Look, I appreciate the tides and the boats and everything. And far be it for me to, well, look a gift horse in the mouth. I get that we have just signed two of the most coveted starting pitchers in the game. And I know that when trying to build the most solid team you can, all you really have to go on is your prospects' numbers. However, at the risk of sounding like Buzz Bissinger, I can’t help but think that there is an unquantifiable benefit to a player whose entire experience of the game is predicated on his relationship with his team. While players are always invested in doing their best, in winning the shiny stuff, I have to believe that there is an added significance for those players who have been brought up by their ball clubs.

Take Yogi Berra. He wasn’t merely a great catcher or a great player; he was a great Yankee. I think that the inevitable consequence of his tie to the Bombers was that, in a way, his pride in his team transcended his desire for personal success. A great team is more than simply the sum of its parts. It requires nine players on the field, not only striving for individual greatness, but with the ability to work well together.

Think that’s a sappy, sentimental, unrealistic load of hooey? Just sign Manny if you want to prove me right. A great player, if ever there was one, but I give him until the All-Star break before he has created a completely toxic and disruptive atmosphere in our clubhouse.

A rising tide may lift all boats, but one bad apple also spoils the bunch.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

That's Your Opinon

I have much to say about some of the recent offseason action. You’ll be hearing from me about that before the day is through. However, someone recently brought something amazing to my attention, so I felt I should bring it to yours.

From the site “Overheard in New York”:

Yankee fan, seeing girl in Red Sox hat: Booo! Boooo!
Red Sox girl's friend: Leave her alone! She's hot! Leave her alone!
Yankee fan: Booo! Red Sox suck!
Red Sox girl's friend: She's got big boobs, leave her alone!
Yankee fan: I've seen boobs before! Booo!
Yankee fan: Red Sox suck! Booo!
Red Sox girl's friend: Leave her alone, she's hot!
Yankee fan: That's your opinion! Booo!

Wow. Where to begin?

For the moment, let’s assume that the Chowda Head in question is actually as hot as her friend insists she is. That her boobs are truly impressively big. In what universe is that supposed to be an adequate defense for anything—let alone a decision to cheer for the Chowdas? Are her boobs so big that they have somehow stopped the flow of oxygen to her brain and rendered her incapable of exercising good judgment? You see, this is logic that only a Chowda Head would ever think to employ.

And, yet, there’s something almost genius about this line of reasoning. The idea that one can just draw on the strength of any particular attribute in order to serve as an adequate defense against any insult. I mean, there I was back in the days when Amber used to harass me trying to confront the actual substance of her criticism when all I needed to do was tell her to leave me alone. Because I’m hot. Or good at karaoke. Or freakishly exceptional at ping pong. Or whatever.

In a way, while seemingly unsound, this logic is not dissimilar from a proposal I made in one of my earliest entries—that no matter the occasion it’s always appropriate to say that someone’s got hands like tits. Maybe, similarly, “She’s hot and has big boobs” is just a go-to for this guy. An arbitrary response he has created in order to be droll regardless of the context.

But then, this is a Chowda Head we’re talking about, so it’s likely that I’m giving him too much credit. Moreover even if “big boobs” was meant to be a display of his wit and brilliance, it’s not without a fundamental flaw. It’s a comment that exposes itself to responses like, “I’ve seen boobs before” and “That’s your opinion.” Irrefutable comebacks.

But hands like tits? No one will ever tell you they’ve seen those before. I guarantee it.

At least, that’s my opinion.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

CC Sabathia: Not A Business Decision

Well, without further ado, Sabathia has finally deigned to accept our humble offer and become a Yankee.





Oh, I’m sorry. I guess I’m supposed to be doing back flips. I just didn’t want to overwhelm him with my enthusiasm. The way he didn’t want to overwhelm us with his.

It’s been about a month since Cashman made his initial offer to Sabathia. Sick of waiting, Cash finally decided to take the bull by the horns and went west to give good old CC a talking to. Cash had said a couple weeks back that his offer to Sabathia wouldn’t be on the table forever. Apparently, what he meant by that was that it would only be on the table until he made a bigger one. That’s right; on his recent trip he offered CC both another year and an additional $20 million.

Is it just me, or is Cash not the guy you want doing your negotiating at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul for you?

It’s been so long since all this CC talk began that I had basically written him off as a viable option. The word on the street was that he wanted to stay west, wanted what was best for his family, was of the rare breed that couldn’t be bought. Earlier this week, a close friend of CC’s commented, "He's one guy, I'm absolutely convinced, whose decision will not be about getting the last dollar. That's not the way he thinks. This isn't a business decision for him. This is a life decision. So if he chooses New York, it will be because he wants to be there, not because they were the team that offered the most money."

Isn’t it just the greatest when the best life decisions also end up being the decisions that earn you $160 million? Sometimes, everything just comes together.

Ah, to have been a fly on the wall during that conversation with Cashman and Sabathia. To have listened in as Cash expounded on the benefits of big city living, sold Sabathia on the virtues of a private school system that allows famous people to bypass the normal hoops and nail biting that the regular rich people have to endure in order to ensure a quality education for their offspring. He must have told him about the camaraderie in the Yankee clubhouse, how the Bombers were essentially like a family where the allowances are enormous and the berating happens in public. I mean, given what we know about CC, we have to assume that he was ultimately won over by a quality of life argument rather than the offer of more money and another year, right?

And, yet, one can’t help but suspect that the mind-blowingly disgusting size of the offer—slightly insulting, perhaps to some of those hundreds of thousands of Americans who have recently lost a job with a normal salary—had something to do with it.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge CC his right to go where the money is best. I mean, it doesn’t make him a bad person. It just makes him a not exceptionally good person. That’s not what I take issue with. What irks me is his refusal to admit that it’s about the money. To shove down out throats the idea that he’s above all that. But the bottom line is that, in a perfect world, I don’t think New York and the Bombers were what CC had in mind. It seems to me that he had a price that made the sacrifice of the quality of life factor seem worth it to him. When the Yanks named that price, he agreed to the deal. And, sure, I know it’s insane to turn down tens of millions of dollars. But I also feel like, in a way, when you’re Sabathia, there’s no real reason not to make these decisions based exclusively on quality of life factors. Ultimately, any of the teams that were courting CC would have been prepared to give him more than any one person should ever have or would need in a lifetime unless he was going to buy a rocket or an island nation or something.

Hopefully, Sabathia will find a way to redeem himself. I mean, Lord knows the guy’s got skills, and, from the moment go, I wanted him in pinstripes. It would just be nice to feel like he was, like, at least a little bit more excited to be coming to play for the team where players become legends.

But whatever. Ever onward. Time to go chase another overpriced, injury prone former pitcher for the Marlins. We like to keep one around for good luck.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

TARP-i Field

I know what’s on your mind.

Given the recent announcement of the staggering number of jobs lost in the month of November, the near collapse of the auto industry, the fact that you probably can’t afford to buy anyone a Hanukkah present, I bet you’ve all been sitting around feeling scandalized and depressed about the Citi Field naming agreement.

For those of you too ignorant to be scandalized and depressed, let me explain why you should be.

Recently, as we all know, the government (in other words, we, the taxpayers) bailed Citibank out of a jam to the tune of $300 billion. And rather than spend all that money on exclusively bank-y stuff, they decided to go ahead and use $20 million a year of tax money to honor a previously established deal with the Mets for the naming rights to their new stadium in Flushing. So, basically, these schmucks are using OUR hard earned tax dollars—7/100 of one percent per year of it—as part of a marketing campaign in a sports venue. Now, that’s chutzpah. Right?

Or is it?

Call me crazy, but isn’t marketing a must for all companies and not just a luxury for the already successful ones? If not, try explaining the Procede hair advertisements to me or the Brett Fav-ruh campaign for that battery brand no one’s ever heard of. Unfortunately, advertising works. It must, or we wouldn’t be forced to endure so much of it every time we tried to watch TV, read a newspaper or even leave our houses. Sure, I don’t get how it works because I’m too smart to be so easily manipulated. (Though, while I’m not totally sure what Chantix is, I do feel strangely compelled to take some every time I’m walking through a meadow.) But advertising makes the world go round. It makes a company thrive. Why else would they continue to invest so much money into crazy expensive, though seemingly too stupid-to-be-convincing ad campaigns? Because, somehow, in some magical way that I might better understand if I had paid closer attention in my Intro to Psych class, it works.

And want to know when it works the best? During sporting events. How do we know this? Because major sporting events constitute some of the most expensive advertising slots in existence. Probably, in part, because so many people watch sports. Probably also because they think those of who do are feeble-minded idiots. (Thanks, face painters, for enforcing the bad rap.)

The point is, if we are going to look at these bailouts as an investment, shouldn’t we be encouraging the companies that we are bailing out to do whatever they have to in order to succeed? Citi spent approximately $2.9 billion in advertising last year. It will cost them about one percent of that per year to honor their deal with the Mets. Even if they halved their advertising budget—which they wouldn’t—that’s two percent. $20 million less per year for them to spend on creepy and annoying rotoscoped commercials that actually serve as a deterrent. (Yeah, I’m talking to you Schwaab.)

Don’t get me wrong, here. I’m no great bank apologist. I just think that of all the things we have to be annoyed at Citigroup about, we’re focusing on the wrong grievances. And, jeez, give the poor Mets a break. They finally have a closer that inspires confidence instead of heart palpitations. (With all due respect, of course, to Billy Wagner, who I respect almost as much as Tim McCarver.) Let’s lay off and let them celebrate.

By the way, when I was making my list, I didn’t mention personal safety as something that you were thinking about because I am assuming that you heard the news. Apparently, the NYPD has sent investigators to Mumbai for a briefing on how to handle potential terror attacks this holiday season. Good thinking, fellas. You know what else you should do? Send someone to Liberia to ask them how to tackle our unemployment problem.

How about this: If we want to decrease the terror threat during future holiday seasons, my proposal would be that we make the holiday season a couple months shorter. Seriously, has Christmas really not happened yet? It’s getting to the point where I just want to say, you suck, “Jingle Bell Rock.”

Oh, and p.s., you suck Coco Crisp. (Seemed like a good segue.)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Trapped In The Latin Quarter Club

I was recently perusing one of my favorite websites——a site exclusively dedicated to the discussion of baby names. During the course of my browsing, I happened to stumble upon the name Plaxico. Such a coincidence. Given, you know, whatever. Anyway, the name is apparently of African origins. As for it’s meaning: peaceful.

I know. You can’t make this stuff up, right?

And, well, that’s not the only thing about all this madness that you couldn’t make up. The cover-ups, the secret transportation of guns from clubs to Escalades to somewhere in New Jersey, the false accusations, the denials without an alibis, the mysterious emergence of Tiki Barber as hero to the wrongly accused. It’s like, well, it’s like it could be the newest installment of “Trapped in the Closet.”

Because, see, if there is anyone alive who actually could make this stuff up, it’s R. Kelly. And if you’re anything like me, then you are obsessed with Kelly’s Magnum opus to the point where the discovery of it almost tore your life apart. When it was initially released you found it hard to think or talk about anything else. You found yourself watching it again and again, addicted almost, to the insanity. Wanting desperately to wrap your brain around how something could be so simultaneously hilarious, outrageous, and strangely full of depth. You got in fights with friends who claimed that it was stupid, secretly judged them for being too dim-witted to understand its genius. You felt ashamed because you wanted the charges against Kelly to be dropped because, from jail, how could he provide us with more? For those of you who have not had the good fortune to watch this crazy display of epic brilliance, stop reading, click on this link immediately, and behold the magic. Then watch it again, with commentary. Three of the best hours you’ll ever spend.

To me, one of the most appealing aspects of “Trapped in the Closet” is how ridiculously implausible it all is. How little it bears resemblance to anything like life as we know it. And then Burress happened. For those of you who are familiar with the TITC, let me talk you through the events of last Friday night, and you tell me if it doesn’t seem like a reality that only a visionary like Kelly could have concocted.

Burress sets off a metal detector at a club called Latin Quarter, is pulled aside, searched and then ultimately allowed into the club with his gun on account of his famousness. Later in the evening, this same gun goes off in his pants and shoots him in the leg. He remains at the club for an hour and a half while figuring out what hospital will treat him on the sly. His friend and teammate Antonio Pierce sneaks the gun to the Burress family home in New Jersey. (Via the glove compartment of the Burress family Escalade.) Burress arrives at the hospital, says his name is Harris Smith, and purports to have been shot at Applebee’s. That’s right, he said Applebee’s. The hospital staff recognizes him but agrees to keep his secret.

Seriously? This all happened? In real life?

Meanwhile, in another part of town (R. Kelly loves a meanwhile), Derrick Ward is off somewhere having drinks. So he claims. He won’t actually reveal to us his exact location. I am sure in Kelly’s world, Ward would probably be off shtooping someone else’s wife. All he knows is that he insists he wasn’t at the scene of the crime, which is where he is supposed to have been according to a number of sources. And people don’t just claim to have seen him at the club—one witness goes so far as to say that he saw someone approach Ward to inform him that his boy had been shot. Ward, undisturbed, was alleged to have remained on his cell phone.

Then, for our grand finale, we have Tiki Barber swooping onto the scene to reveal the true identity of the third player at the club that night—Ahmad Bradshaw. And Ward is absolved.

To quote R. Kelly, “Who the hell is Roxanne?”

If there’s anyone who can appreciate the outrageously absurd nature of this tale, it’s me. Yet, still, I take issue with all the media coverage. I get that it’s been a slow time for news agencies--given how well everything is going in the world, given how two nuclear neighbors are not potentially on the verge of a standoff, given the stability of the economy, given that no one has made any announcements of import lately. But seriously. This story made the cover of the Times yesterday. From the Post, I expect this kind of inability to discern between real news and celebrity gossip. But et tu, paper of record?

And Bloomberg? I mean, I got nothing but love for his greenification of the city, but his approach to the administration of justice in this particular instance? Meh. Not so much.

Did Burress eff up? Yeah. A lot? Yeah. Do I think the Giants, who have reason to be annoyed with him anyway, would be acting reasonably if they penalize him in whatever manner they see fit? Yeah. Do I think the people of the State of New York need to demand that he get prosecuted “to the fullest extent of the law”—fifteen years in this case?

No. Not really.

When Plax first purchased his gun in Florida, he registered it and got a permit—indicative of the fact that it was not his intention to subvert the law. He was stupid enough to let the permit expire, stupid enough to bring it out of state, stupid enough to bring it to the club with him. But this isn’t exactly the second coming of OJ. This is just an idiot who decided like an idiot that he ought to serve as his own security detail. And guess what? He got shot. I would rather repeat junior high than suffer through a day of the kind of this kind of public scrutiny and humiliation. Not to mention the physical pain. If all of this doesn’t teach him his lesson about trying to provide himself with his own security, I don’t know what will.

Bloomberg’s biggest concern here is that Plaxico be made an example of because he’s a public figure. Here's the problem with that. All men are supposedly equal in the eyes of justice, which means that to come down harder on a celebrity in order to teach society a lesson is basically a perversion of justice. Nothing against Bloomberg, who I’ve always liked, but stop perving out on justice.

Plaxico Burress has a kid at home who's a year and a half old. Call me crazy, but I don’t see how it could possibly be better for society to deprive that kid of a father for fifteen years so that we can use our city’s resources in order to punish someone for criminal idiocy.

Yeah,that’s what society needs—more kids with dads in jail.

Want to know what I consider to be the more troublesome issues here? For starters, what in tarnation were the people at Latin Quarter thinking by allowing him into the club with a gun in the first place? I get that certain courtesies are extended to famous people on account of their famousness—free drinks, VIP seating. But illegal concealed weapon privileges? And what of the people at the hospital—an actual hospital with doctors and codes of ethics—to contribute to this insanity with a willingness to cover it up? Here’s the thing; maybe if we all stopped treating celebrities like the rules don’t apply to them, they’d stop acting like it. No, I’m not saying that personal accountability shouldn’t exist for these guys—that they aren’t ultimately responsible for their own actions. But the bottom line is that this is a societal illness. We make spoiled, entitled monsters out of our professional athletes by indulging their every whim and treating them like gods, and then we act surprised and vilify them when they act like, well, spoiled, entitled monsters.

Does part of my plea for Plax have to do with the fact that I am a softy for him ever since I saw that NFL special about how much he loves his momma? Probably. At least a little. But that doesn’t change the fact that the right thing to do is to treat Burress like any other idiot who brought a gun into a club for his own protection and then accidentally shot himself. Because if he was any other idiot, I don’t see him rotting in jail over this for the next fifteen years.

Well, R. Kelly said it first, and he said it best: "This is some deep shit."