The Inaccurate Reception

By Jeffrey Carl

Bloggers To Be Named Later, September 26 2012

Bloggers To Be Named Later was Paul Caputo’s fabulous sports-blogging empire of the mid-2010s. My role in the enterprise was to promise to write humor articles and then not do that, or at least not remotely on time. Ultimately, after a flirtation with viral Internets fame, the site basically turned into an excuse for Paul to get free baseball tickets, which is actually about the only good reason to run a blog of any sort. After the BTBNL site wound down, I realized that I hadn’t kept local copies of most of the stories I had written, so I ended up scouring through The Internet Archive to find as many as I could in order to prevent a tragic loss to the world’s cultural canon of blog posts complaining about the Seattle Mariners. You’re welcome.

Unlike other sports blogs, only BTBNL has the courage to a.) take on hot topics like the controversial call that gave the Seahawks a victory over the Packers Monday night, and b.) do it after everyone else has stopped caring and moved on to other topics. That’s the kind of quality journalism that explains why we have gotten fewer hits in the site’s entire history than pictures of Pokemons drawn as sexy Anime girls or Overly Attached Girlfriend got in the last 10 minutes.

The Fail Mary
Touchdown! Or maybe not.

It’s important to send a message not to bow to peer pressure, like everyone else in the country thinking you were wrong about it being a touchdown.

BTBNL set up an exclusive live chat session to answer questions from its literally hundreds of avid readers who do not technically exist. BTBNL Grand Poobah Paul Caputo decided that the best person to give a reasoned, unbiased response to all these reader questions was the site’s lone Seattle blogger resident/sportsfan, me. Which should tell you all you need to know about Paul Caputo’s editorial judgement.

BTBNL Blogger Jeff from Seattle: Hi everyone! Looking forward to answering your questions about the exciting Seahawks win from last night. Here we go!

BTBNL Reader Neil from Chalfont, PA: What should the NFL do after such a terrible call ruined the game by giving the Seahawks an undeserved win on an purported Hail Mary touchdown from Russell Wilson to Golden Tate that was really an interception by M.D. Jennings?

Jeff: Assface says what?

Neil: What???!?

Jeff: Exactly. Next question?

After further review, the runner did not touch second base
Look, they are working as hard as they can, so BACK OFF. Okay?

BTBNL Reader Amy from Baltimore, MD: Should Golden Tate be fined for his egregious pass interference that wasn’t called on the final play of the game?

Jeff: Only if by “egregious pass interference” you mean “unbelievable awesomeness.”

Amy: No, I don’t mean that at all.

Jeff: I’m pretty sure you do. And he shouldn’t be fined for it, he should be awarded this nation’s highest honor, the Congressional Not Being Arrested For Stealing Donuts Medal. Next question?

BTBNL Reader Branden from Atlanta, GA: We all saw the replays, and the facts are very clear about what happened. Let’s be fair and put our team affiliations aside here to discuss the issue rationally like adults. Can’t we just logically agree to the obvious statement that this call was incorrect and the Seahawks didn’t really deserve to win?

Jeff: What color is the sky on your planet? Is it green? That seems lovely.

In the spirit of compromise, I will agree that you blow goats during your free time when you are not actively assisting Al-Qaeda and/or selling crystal meth at preschools.

BTBNL Reader Greer from Mobile, AL: Shouldn’t we all be boycotting NFL games with these terrible scab replacement referees?

Lingerie Football League
Do these ladies deserve the best in referees? We think they do. And we are ready to volunteer any time necessary.

Jeff: I think these replacement referees are just fine.

Greer: But it was revealed recently that some of these referees actually got fired for not being good enough for the Lingerie Football League. Not that this is any kind of linkbait to get people to read this article due to a question on the LFL.

Jeff: First, I am going to say “shame on you,” and link to the Lingerie Football League website as an apology. Second, I am not going to dignify your slurs on the Lingerie Football League. That would be almost as bad as casting aspersions on the Canadian Football League cheerleaders of the British Columbia Lions. Third, I have forgotten what the original point was.

BC Lions cheerleaders
The CFL British Columbia Felions being cheerful. And you know what? There’s nothing wrong with that.

Also, we have a picture of the CFL British Columbia Lions “BC Felions” here, which is somehow related to something in this post about the Seahawks/Packers game. It has nothing to do with driving hits and trying to make this website profitable. Just saying.

That’s all the time we have for tonight – join us again next week when we answer nobody’s actual questions about the Philadelphia Phillies or the Washington Nationals!

The Magic of Redonkulin

By Jeffrey Carl

Bloggers To Be Named Later, June 12 2012

Bloggers To Be Named Later was Paul Caputo’s fabulous sports-blogging empire of the mid-2010s. My role in the enterprise was to promise to write humor articles and then not do that, or at least not remotely on time. Ultimately, after a flirtation with viral Internets fame, the site basically turned into an excuse for Paul to get free baseball tickets, which is actually about the only good reason to run a blog of any sort. After the BTBNL site wound down, I realized that I hadn’t kept local copies of most of the stories I had written, so I ended up scouring through The Internet Archive to find as many as I could in order to prevent a tragic loss to the world’s cultural canon of blog posts complaining about the Seattle Mariners. You’re welcome.

Most athletes are actually pretty smart people, despite the fact that many of them had college majors in non-subjects like “sports medicine” or “communications.” But there are a few tell-tale signs that your favorite athlete may not be a brain surgeon in their spare time:

  • They went to school at a fake-sounding diploma mill like “Mount Saint Ringo College,” “East North Chattahoochee Tech,” or “Miami University.”
  • They take retirement investment advice from Warren Sapp or handgun safety courses from Plaxico Burress
  • They are named Manny Ramirez
  • …or they wear Phiten necklaces.
The Phiten (necklace) Texas Rangers

Phiten, for those unfamiliar, is a line of necklaces and sports garments which were briefly a huge fad among Major League Baseball players and to this day are still worn by many sports stars. The company claims – I am not making this up – that they have a unique process to create a metal called “Aqua-Titanium,” a “hydro-collodial metal” which produces “Micro-Titanium Spheres.” The company said – or at least it did until they lost an $11M FTC lawsuit about their “scientific” claims – that fatigue in the body is caused by an “imbalance of ions.” A Phiten Aqua Metal “interferes [with] the bio-currents of the body and realigns them … This provides a sense of rejuvenation and calmness in the wearer.

But lest you doubt its effectiveness, they have Actual Science backing up their claims, published by the independent “Society for Aqua-Metal Research.” All this can be yours for prices ranging from about $40 for a basic necklace to $230 for a pure titanium bracelet. (If you want a quick picture of what the profit margin on this is like, you can buy a non-Phiten titanium bracelet here for $35.) They also make – I am still not making this up – a line of lotions and hair care which feature “Aqua-Gold.” Because your hair needs gold … that removes ions … or something.

So what do we have here? The intersection of athletes with lots of money and not a lot of critical thinking skills. My friends, this sounds to me like what one of my business school professors called “an opportunity to make a f–k ton of money.” And frankly, it’s about time someone here at BTBNL figured out how we were going to get rich off this. I still think Paul Caputo’s business model for this site was that eventually Ryan Howard would adopt him and make him his heir.

That’s why today I am announcing availability of new sports-enhancing miracle trinkets made of a wonder metal: Redonkulin.

Redonkulin bracelets cause friendship!

These may – to the untrained eye – look like cheap German-branded “My Little Pony Friendship Bracelets.” But no – they are made of 13% pure Redonkulin – a rare pseudo-metallic compound forged in the depths of Mount Doom that provide greater energy, faster reflexes and Minty Fresh Breath. I will now take some made-up questions from the audience:

Q: Redonkulin sounds awesome! But how does it work?

A: It’s a well known True Fact that all body problems are caused by excess neutrons. Neutrons are invisible particles that hate America and are responsible for things like nuclear fission and poor SAT scores. But Redonkulin creates a bio-electric necker cube of anti-neutron repagination that literally beats up neutrons and takes their lunch money. In addition, it repels dangerous chemicals like dihydrogen monoxide, shields the wearer from most asteroids, and is washable on permanent press. Best of all, it works immediately through the power of the scientifically proven and impressive-sounding placebo effect.*

Q: Those frigging neutrons! I hate them!

A: I know, right?

Q: The neutron menace must be stopped, I can feel them getting all over me right now and causing fatigue, muscle cramps and itty bitty thigh pimples. How can I buy it?

The Amazing Twist-A-Thing! It is endless and just blew your mind.

A: Cool your jets, I’m not done. Best of all, if you act RIGHT NOW we will send you a free special gift:

The amazing Twist-A-Thing bracelet! Made from a secret compound of unobtanium, the animal they made the Ribwich out of, and petrochemical by-products, it contains highly scientific unstable molecules which sound like a real thing! Bend it in any shape – and it will snap right back to its original form. Put it around your wrist – WHO KNOWS WHAT CAN HAPPEN? Maybe something good for you or something.


A: Exactly. I think we can safely say with absolutely no exaggeration that this is the most awesomest thing ever in the history of anything that has ever been awesome.

Q: I must have it now. How oh how can I purchase this marvel of “science?”

A: You can buy it TODAY through this very website! Your very own sporty Redonkulin pony-friendship-themed necklace is available for only $174.99, or purchasable in three easy installments of $129.99 each. We will include FREE SHIPPING if you just mail us your credit card, and you will get it back eventually!

So don’t delay! Emulate your favorite naive or unscrupulous celebrity athlete endorser and buy your Redonkulin bracelet and amazing Twist-A-Thing today. All our products are scientifically proven to exist by research from the independent “Redonkulin Research Council**,” and we absolutely guarantee our products to not be radioactive as far as you know.

* May cause allergies in people sensitive to ponies or love. Do not use Redonkulin if you are currently taking Benzobrist.

** This institute is my dogs Spencer and Holly wearing adorable white lab coats. I asked them if Redonkulin is awesome while waving some Bacon Bits up and down and they nodded.

The Belichick Inverse Likability Theorem, Part 2

By Jeffrey Carl

Bloggers To Be Named Later, January 27 2012

Bloggers To Be Named Later was Paul Caputo’s fabulous sports-blogging empire of the mid-2010s. My role in the enterprise was to promise to write humor articles and then not do that, or at least not remotely on time. Ultimately, after a flirtation with viral Internets fame, the site basically turned into an excuse for Paul to get free baseball tickets, which is actually about the only good reason to run a blog of any sort. After the BTBNL site wound down, I realized that I hadn’t kept local copies of most of the stories I had written, so I ended up scouring through The Internet Archive to find as many as I could in order to prevent a tragic loss to the world’s cultural canon of blog posts complaining about the Seattle Mariners. You’re welcome.

Last week, we introduced the first truly solid, mathematically proven theory that finally takes the guesswork out of determining a NFL team’s success. The Belichick Inverse Likability Theorem simply states:

Inverse Likability Theorem

In Part 1 of this series, the theory’s startling accuracy was demonstrated using the records of NFL coaches in 2011. “But how does it hold up over time?” you ask.

To prove just how deeply I deserve a NFL Nerdy Math Thing award, I will inconvenience myself to show you that the “BILT” shows itself true throughout NFL history as well. Let’s start with some of the all-time NFL standout coaches for one reason or another:

  • Vince Lombardi (.739 career winning percentage, 7 NFL championships): Packers Guard Jerry Kramer once joked, “Lombardi treated us all the same, like dogs.” That seemed funny until after a bad game in 1966 he outright sold RB Paul Hornung to a shady Korean restaurant.
  • Tom Landry (.602 career winning percentage, 2 NFL championships): Stabbed “Dandy” Don Meredith in the kidney for touching his fedora, ending Meredith’s career. Set NFL record for consecutive games never showing human emotions, which stood until Belichick beat it in 2010.
  • Marty Schottenheimer (.595 career winning percentage, 0 NFL championships): Best known for his infuriatingly conservative (“one yard and a cloud of dust”) playcalling style, his shockingly blatant nepotism, and his occasional attempts to hire ninja assassins to kill John Elway in revenge for repeated playoff losses. Earns back a few likability points for coaching the UFL Virginia Destroyers to a championship – unlike the Browns, Chiefs or Redskins.
  • Buddy Ryan (.500 career winning percentage, 0 championships): May or may not have put bounties on opposing players and/or punched assistant coaches on the sideline. Nonetheless gets likability points for being pure bats**t crazy enough to enjoy watching (see also Ryan, Rex).
Steve Spurrier
Coaching them up, Riverdance style!

  • Steve Spurrier (.375 career winning percentage, 0 championships): Okay, so maybe putting all your chips on Danny Wuerffel as your quarterback and resigning your coaching job from the 8thhole of a golf course aren’t Hall of Fame qualifiers. But the Old Ball Coach (“OBC”) never failed to amuse fans or reporters at his comically inept press conferences, and his bold, fashion-forward sense for womens’ golf visors made him a standout in likability. 
  • Joe Bugel (.300 career winning percentage, 0 championships): Absolutely everybody loved “Buges,” a players’ coach and two-time Super Bowl winning assistant with the Redskins who proceeded to win approximately negative 1 zillion games as the head coach of the Cardinals and Raiders.
Madden NFL 13 Quarterback Vision Cone
Seriously, to put this in they removed Madden Cards? Or Madden Challenge points? Or mini-camps that added to player stats? WHHYYYYYYYYY

John Madden (.759 career winning percentage, 1 championship): John Madden was a great coach and better commentator, but he gets +.500 unlikability points for willingly putting his name on the last several “Madden NFL” video games. Anyone who accepts money in return for using their name to pimp this chronically over-rated annual series of $60 roster updates has basically abdicated their rights to enter the Kingdom of Heaven when they die. 

So let’s see where that all nets out:

NFL Coaches
The Belichick Inverse Likability Theorem is scarily accurate.

“Okay,” you may be saying, “but what about the nice guys who were big winners?” Technically, it is true that several seemingly likable people were coaches with Hall of Fame winning percentages. But when you look at them closer, you will find the IBT holds true:

Viet Cong
Joe Gibbs sits next to Jane Fonda, 3rd from left

  • Joe Gibbs: Joe Gibbs is widely viewed as the archetypal “nice guy” coach and all-around decent human being. But he had two distinct phases of his coaching career:
  • Joe Gibbs Part II (.468 career winning percentage, 0 championships): During the kind grandfatherly years of his second turn with the Redskins, Gibbs had the highest-paid coaching staff in football and managed only a 30-34 record with a single playoff win. Note that as with John Madden above, coaching for a d-bag owner does not improve a coach’s winning percentage under the Belichick Inverse Likability Theorem.
  • Joe Gibbs Part I (.648 career winning percentage, 3 championships): During his first tenure as Redskins coach, Gibbs was the dominant coach of his era but was secretly a rabid sympathizer of the Viet Cong, despite the fact that the war had been over for many years.
Dick Vermeil gets choked up watching “Finding Nemo”
  • Dick Vermeil: Vermeil is famous for having changed his style from angry and heartless during his days in Philadelphia to warm, emotional and sentimental during his return to coaching in St. Louis when he won a Super Bowl. But Vermeil also had distinct phases to his hallowed coaching career:
    • Dick Vermeil Part I (.641, 0 champships): During his ultra-Type A years in Philadelphia, Vermeil went to the playoffs four out of six years. He was known for his players hating his guts, and setting the Eagles’ all-time coaching high blood pressure record which was later broken by Andy Reid only with the help of more than 35,000 McNuggets.
    • Dick Vermeil Part II “Electric Boogaloo” (.49, 1 championship): Despite Vermeil’s heartwarming yet off-putting crying jag during the Super Bowl, his winning percentage during his tenure in St. Louis was only .458 in the regular season and he racked up 10+ losses two out of three seasons with the Rams. He would have gotten fired if Kurt Warner hadn’t paid Tonya Harding with a ton of crystal meth to dress up as Houston Texans tackle Travis Johnson and cripple Trent Green. 
"You Can Do It" by Tony Dungy
Of course you can do it if you jump on the other player’s back and drag them down.

Tony Dungy (.651, 1 championship): Dungy is widely known for his avuncular TV style, strong religious faith and commitment to charities promoting involved and caring fathership. But I’m just adding +.600 unlikability to Dungy for “having a weird-shaped head” so that it fits my theory.

Author’s math-y science words note: Many people who are not expert science-y people like me are unaware that a large portion of science is specifically related to assessing the shape of people’s heads and modifying mathematical formulas based on this information. You are now a more educated person. You’re welcome.

So with this additional historical data, how does the Belichick Inverse Likability Theorem hold up?

NFL Coaches
Note the incredible accuracy, like Nostradamus or Tim Tebow.

As the chart above shows, “pretty darn well.”

In the next part of the series, we will apply the Belichick Inverse Likability Theorem to college football and literallyblow your mind. No, really, I mean “literally.” As in if you read it, you will die. If that doesn’t encourage future readership of this blog, I’m really not sure what does.

The Belichick Inverse Likability Theorem, Part 1

By Jeffrey Carl

Bloggers To Be Named Later, January 20 2012

Bloggers To Be Named Later was Paul Caputo’s fabulous sports-blogging empire of the mid-2010s. My role in the enterprise was to promise to write humor articles and then not do that, or at least not remotely on time. Ultimately, after a flirtation with viral Internets fame, the site basically turned into an excuse for Paul to get free baseball tickets, which is actually about the only good reason to run a blog of any sort. After the BTBNL site wound down, I realized that I hadn’t kept local copies of most of the stories I had written, so I ended up scouring through The Internet Archive to find as many as I could in order to prevent a tragic loss to the world’s cultural canon of blog posts complaining about the Seattle Mariners. You’re welcome.

Bill Belichick
Pretending to make human smile DOES NOT COMPUTE

Statistics are essential to modern sports. Football coaches have situational analysis tables to help them justify “punt it on 4th and inches” calls more frequently.

Baseball has “sabermetrics,” which is an intricate mathematical system for determining results that is calculated by nerdy people who don’t have a big enough group of friends to play “Dungeons & Dragons” with.

Worldwide, soccer has all sorts of crazy crap that they do in metric units like “KiloBeckhams” or “Injury Time per Hectare.”

David Beckham
1 GigaBeckham (938 Imperial MegaBeckhams)

Yet the NFL has always lacked a true benchmark statistic (like WAR in baseball or Remaining Teeth divided by Penalty Minutes in hockey) that can accurately predict a team’s future success.

That is why we are proud to introduce a solid, mathematically proven theory that finally takes the guesswork out of NFL success. The Belichick Inverse Likability Theorem simply states:

Not convinced? We’ll prove this theorem by examining prominent NFL coaches and their unlikability. Let’s start by looking at the 2011 NFL postseason conference championship coaches:

  • Tom Coughlin, New York Giants: Famous for doing things like fining players for not being five minutes early to meetings; losing the confidence of his locker room; and looking like The Simpsons’ Mr. Burns except less healthy.
  • Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco 49ers: Got into a fight with Pete Carroll onfield when he was with Stanford. Got into a fight with Lions coach Jim Schwartz onfield when he was with the Niners. Got into a fight with a crippled nun onfield when she asked for his autograph.
  • Bill Belichick, New England Patriots: Each year, sends Christmas cards to every single reporter covering the NFL that just say “F**k You.” Writes bad checks for Girl Scout Cookies and then poops on the Girl Scouts’ lawns when asked to return them. Once shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.
  • John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens: He actually seems like a pretty decent guy, but he gets a gratuitous +.100 unlikability added for coaching in Baltimore, and +.200 for being Jim Harbaugh’s brother.

Now let’s see where the four remaining playoff coaches stand according to the theorem:

NFL Coaches
Actual math involved
Math is hard
Math is hard, and also hard to draw

The theorem is derived from the inverse of a well-known sports mathematical axiom, Sir Leo Durocher’s proof that “nice guys finish last.” It’s that simple – the bigger an obvious d-bag your team’s coach is, the better their record will be within a certain margin of error.

This is actual math, people! I can say this with absolute certainty since nobody’s going to bother with checking my calculations because math is boring.

But you may be saying, “but how does this theorem hold true for coaches outside the final four NFL playoff teams?” Okay, let’s flesh this out with some other carefully chosen examples based on the coach’s general likability as a person:

NFL Coaches
Spookily accurate once you insert modifiers to fit the theory

At this point, some of you may be saying, “why do Steve Spagnuolo and Tony Sparano get such high ratings for being likable?” Well, “Tony Sparano” sounds a lot like “Tony Soprano,” and saying bad things about him always seemed to get people killed. And the Rams performed so poorly in 2011 largely because Steve Spagnuolo was always being called away for missions as part of the SEAL Team Six that killed Osama bin Laden. But he couldn’t tell anyone about it or he would have had to kill them. True fact.

Navy SEALs
Spagnuolo is 3rd from left, next to Chuck Norris

In summary, the Belichick Inverse Likability Theorem provides us with the definitive mathematical formula for determining NFL team success or failure, replacing such irrational and illogical methods as astrology, or listening to Trent Dilfer. Next week we will apply the theorem to historical coaches to demonstrate further just how right I am.

I am not sure whether the NFL is technically qualified to just hand out Nobel Prizes for Awesome Math-Based Stuff, but I’m pretty sure they are, and if so I expect one.

Sports Preview-ish “Thingy”

By Paul Caputo and Jeffrey Carl

The Richmond State, or at least the closest I could find to it
The Richmond State, April 4 1996

The Richmond State was a plucky upstart alternative newspaper (not that kind of “alternative”) that challenged the editorial might of the stodgy Richmond Times-Dispatch beginning in 1994. It folded in 1997 and left so little of a legacy that there is a grand total of one search result for it in all of the Googles, which is a link to the Library of Congress where you can find which libraries have copies on microfiche. At the time, Paul Caputo and I thought this was our ticket to comedy stardom. We were exceptionally stupid.

Hi. We are Jeff and Paul. We’re throwing out our balls on opening day! Umm … that didn’t sound too good.

If someone asked you about the biggest problems facing the City of Richmond (motto: “No Parking!”), you, being sensible, would say “Men who drink Zima” (motto: “It Zucks!”). But that’s not what we are here to talk about; indeed, you psychos, we’re not “there,” and neither of us is talking.

What we are writing about is the lack of quality sports in this Godforsaken town. The Richmond sports situation is worse than radio station 104.7 “The BUZZ” (motto: “Like Chewing Razors, But You Listen to It”). Why are there no die-hard legions of courageous, yet somehow mentally deficient Richmond fans lining up for tickets in the snow? Most other cities have them. Why aren’t the names of Richmond’s sports teams, whatever they are, a topic of regular discussion among the local hoi-polloi (that’s you)? Sports teams are worshipped in other cities (“Visit the Temple of the Toronto Raptors!”). And it’s no use blaming it all on the fact that recent statistics show that everyone in Richmond has been murdered three times. There’s something wrong here. And it’s all for one simple reason.

What is that reason? 

We have NO damn idea.

We decided to investigate or something. The result: more than 75% of Richmond professional players, coaches and managers we interviewed believed that The Richmond State was either “just west of North Carolina” or “a kind of fish.” 

For those of you who are exceptionally stupid or work for TV news or both, Richmond has no major-league professional sports team. What we do have, idiots, are minor-league teams, which, if you have been to an actual city, you know is like being 39 cents shy of the proverbial Value Meal, if you know what we mean. If you do know what we mean, please write to us and explain it, c/o this newspaper.

To this end, we, Jeff and Paul (motto: “Not Funny!”), recently attended the Richmond Braves’ “Media” Day. (They make us put “media” in quotes because Channel 8 has passes, too.) We then left after we realized that there was no free food.

Now, while baseball is the greatest facet of American culture this side of “V: The Final Battle” or reruns of “Schoolhouse Rock” and, in Richmond, it is the closest thing we have to major league sports (The Renegades don’t count because they play hockey.) (C’mon. Hockey?), our first real exposure to the world of sports in Richmond revealed a disturbing fact: That “Ukrops” spelled backwards is the satanic riddle “Spork! U?” 

No! That’s not it. What we discovered was this: We still haven’t seen those free baseball caps NewsChannel 6 said they were mailing us. No! Dammit! That’s not it either. What we actually discovered was this: that all our minor-league teams are actually kinda pretty good. To wit:

The Richmond Braves: Go R-Braves! Woooo Hoo! The “R-Braves,” as they are called,(to distinguish them from the “Their-Braves,”) are Richmond’s number one sports team, since they are first alphabetically. The Braves are also our favorite Richmond sports team and not just because we have season press passes. No way. It’s because we have season press passes and free parking passes. This, in our opinions, makes the R-Braves the GREATEST THING EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE.

The Braves have won every single game they have ever played over the course of their 30-year history, with the unfortunate exception of several hundred games that they lost because the umpires were Nun-abusing Homosexual Communists and almost certainly had serious personal hygiene problems.

While we were at the Braves’ media day last week, we interviewed cumulatively almost one person each, who filled us in on some important information we will need to cover the Braves this year:

PAUL: So, um, do you guys like baseball? You know?

TALL GUY WITH A NUMBER ON HIS SHIRT: Hey! You write for The Richmond State? Is Pongo Twistleton here?

Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice:

JEFF: I thought there was going to be free food here.


Coincidentally, you can find weekly coverage of the Braves (True Fact!) every Thursday this summer right here in the State.

Richmond Kickers: Okay. These are grown men playing soccer. Frankly, it looks ridiculous. 

The Kickers, whose name derives from the latin, kickvs, meaning “guys who can run a lot” and er, meaning “but can’t catch worth a dead rat’s ass,” are one of Richmond’s most successful teams, in that they have won a lot of championships. Of course, in whatever the Hell league it is they play in, every time you win a game, you apparently win a championship. Last year the Kickers won their league championship, the Professional League Championship, the Tournament of Champions Championship and “Final Jeopardy,” all in one game. By the end of the season, they had won the Virginia Cup, the Newberry and Caldecott Awards, the Nobel Prize, and two of them were named “Miss America.” 

We look forward this season to the Kickers to win six Pulitzers, an Academy Award for “Best Foreign Documentary,” and the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes.

Richmond Renegades: Those of you who follow our column on a regular basis should remember this number: 1-900-GET-HELP. Also, you should remember the column we wrote about our visit to “The Freezer” several weeks ago for a Renegades game. Incidentally, we take this opportunity to point out that the wounds are healing nicely, and 

Paul is getting used to not having a nose anymore. We would like to ask that whichever exuberant fan ate Jeff’s car’s bumper to please return it.

If you missed our Renegades column, you can find back issues of the State in your local Christian Science Reading Room, or gutter.

Virginia Commonwealth University: The VCU “Rams” (motto: “Our athletes aren’t nearly as freakish as the rest of our students!”) fielded an excellent basketball team this year. Which was a shame because you don’t play basketball on a field.

VUU/VSU: Both of these schools actually exist, we’re told. At any rate, their sports teams can’t be nearly as bad as the University of Richmond’s.

University of Richmond: U of R’s big sports teams, contrary to popular belief, aren’t half bad this year. 

They’re ALL bad. The UR basketball team (motto: “We may lose badly, but we have a beautiful 300-acre wooded campus with a scenic lake and tranquil atmosphere!”) finished its 1995-96 season with a record of 3-271, placing it last in the CAA, and two rankings below the Goochland Girls Scouts.

U of R proudly boasts several talented athletes, all of whom transferred just last week, leaving the school with only (True Fact!) a nationally ranked Synchronized Swimming Team, a gaggle of male cheerleaders (“The Spiderettes”) and a very masculine campus newspaper intramural “Hardyball” team.

The U of R football team has a long, fine tradition of running up the middle and getting sacked for six-yard losses. That’s it.

U of R, it turns out, is actually the only purveyor of sports in the city that does suck.

Perhaps that’s what is missing. Part of the reason, say, Chicago’s sports fans are so dedicated is the knowledge that they can share the Cubs getting pummeled by visiting Jehovah’s Witnesses softball teams with their children, and their grandchildren. So we need teams that suck …. etc.

The Richmond Valued Customers (NFL): Owned by Ukrop’s, (motto: “Jesus Wants You to Buy This Cole Slaw”) the RVCs would have attractive green uniforms, refuse to play games on Sunday afternoons because they should all be at their “house of worship,” and try to get other teams to move out of cities where Howard Stern is broadcast. Their secret weapon would be to scatter delicious Ukrop’s Potato Wedges™ all over the field as decoys.

Golfing In Westmoreland County

By Jeffrey Carl

The Westmoreland News, June 29 1994

Working at the Westmoreland News in 1994 was the best summer job I ever had. I worked for peanuts and had a two hour drive each way from Richmond, but I got to do it all at a small county newspaper where I was a reporter, feature writer, copy editor, layout editor and photographer (because there was nobody else to do those things). Best of all the paper’s editor, Lynn Norris, gave me the freedom to write whatever I wanted – way more journalistic and comedic freedom than anyone should rightly give a know-it-all 21-year-old writing for a weekly in the deeply rural Northern Neck of Virginia.

Katie Massa Plays Golf, 1994
Katie Massa takes a swing at golf

They say that you never learn to curse until you learn to drive.  For those under the minimum 16-year age, I recommend golf.

Golf is a sport for lazy people and a passion for dedicated people and a nuisance for uncoordinated people and a test of creative cussing for most of us and it’s actually really a lot of fun if you don’t mind how badly you’re doing at it.  At least it is at Cameron Hills Golf Links, in King George.

My friend Katie is a wonderful person – sterling character, nice legs and so forth – but she’s a horrible golf partner.  For one thing – and I’m not making this up – she almost killed us in a golf cart.

Jeffrey Carl Plays Golf, 1994
Jeff lines up for an approach shot

The green of the 18th hole is down beyond an relatively enormous steep hill, and as we wearily rode towards it, our old pal “gravity” started displaying its warped sense of humor, and we began to pick up speed.  

Katie, who was behind the wheel, seemed rather puzzled at how to remedy this, as the only pedal she had used on the cart thus far was the gas.  I thought it over and suggested one contingency politely by screaming “BRAKE!  BRAKE! BRAKE!” at the top of my lungs.  

By this time we were picking up speed and hurling towards our deaths – and believe-you-me, no matter who you are, if you die in a golf cart accident they send you straight to Hell just for being stupid.  Katie slammed on the parking brake, and let me just tell you that if you’ve never laid rubber in a souped-up golf cart, man oh man are you missing something.

Katie Massa Drives the Golf Cart, 1994
Katie Massa Lays On the Horn

But I digress.  The problem with Katie’s golf game was that she was actually attempting to dig for buried treasure or oil or truffles – the theory being, I suppose that if you make enough divots you’re bound to find something.

However, it would be unfair for me to posit myself as having played an entirely superior game of golf that afternoon either. 

Through a mistake at the clubhouse, however, I was given small dimpled wood-seeking missiles.  I suppose that it was the military’s day to test new secret weapons at the  course because some of them were also the rumored F-124 Stealth Golf Balls, which disappear from all known methods of detection as soon as you hit them.  

These charmingly innocuous-looking little demonic terrors managed to veer off into the woods or a stream – and certainly not because I hit them there, thank you very much – and hide themselves in whatever seemed handy.  

I would occasionally wander into the woods looking for a ball and discover some long-extinct species of killer mosquito with a handicap much lower than mine or, if I ventured deep enough into the woods, be asked by a polite dinosaur or lost company from the 13th Massachussets Zouaves if I knew the way back to the fairway.