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by mg at 09:11 AM on July 14, 2004

Even though “This time it counts,” the All-Star Game is tough to care about. And if it is tough for me to care about, it is damn impossible to get the wife to care enough, or believe I care enough, to let me watch it. In the short time we’ve been married, though, I have already discovered the trick to getting her to let me watch sports. And I didn’t even have to reinvent the wheel.

All I have to do is impart on her the kind of behind the scenes stories that sports journalists use to keep people who don’t care about sports interested enough to not flip the channel to see if they are doing weather yet on the other local news broadcast. Things like telling her that Brett Favre’s dad just died so if the Packers make it to the Super Bowl that must surely be a sign of an afterlife, and that Favre Sr. is using his afterlife to help his son cheat at football.

Or that Lance Armstrong only has one nut. You know, stuff like that.

The Olympics is the king of this move. Who among us can claim to actually care, or even know one single thing about shot putting? But do a fluff piece about America’s best hope for gold in the sport and his tough life as a coal miner’s daughter in Ohio, where there aren’t any natural shots to put so he had to drive seventy hours a day (each way) to train in California, while also going to school, working for Proctor and Gamble (who, by the way, paid for his trip to Athens *plug* *plug*), and taking care of his three young siblings. If you use a bunch of slow-mo shots, and have Bob Costas narrate, people will actually tune in and root, despite not even knowing the difference between a good shot put and a shit shot put.

That last couple sentences were as unwieldy as, I imagine, an actual shot put, but you get the point, which is that I get to watch sports if I constantly feed her little tidbits of back-story about the players or situation. That or convince her she thinks one of the players is cute.

One of the big stories for last night’s All-Star game was the battery of Roger Clemens and Mike Piazza. In 2000 Clemens plunked Piazza in the noggin with a fastball, giving him a concussion, and forcing him to miss that year’s All-Star Game. When they met again in the 2000 World Series, Clemens threw the head of a broken bat at Piazza, and the benches cleared. So, for Clemens and Piazza to be forced to work together during this year’s All-Star Game is just the kind of story I could use to momentarily distract the wife into forgetting she is watching a sports program.

And it worked, that little story momentarily distracted her from the fact she was watching sports. That, and that she likes baseball player’s butts. With the animosity between Clemens and Piazza, there could be an explosion any moment. Except, of course, that nothing would explode. The most that happened were several long pauses between pitches and Clemens shaking off a number of Piazza’s calls all helped add to the intensity of the moment.

But, conspiracy nut I can sometimes be, I started thinking about four runs into Clemens’ six run first inning, especially considering how hard he was getting hit, that Piazza was giving the AL batters the pitchers. What better revenge could Piazza take against Clemens, a competitor so fierce he could only stay retired for 78 days, then to ensure he’d get rocked? I tried to explain this to the wife, but by this time her interest had waned, I’d run out of anything even remotely interesting to say about the All-Star Game, and she was encouraging me to flip over and check out what was going on over on The Gilmore Girls. Apparently Rory struck out Hank Blalock in the eighth.

comments (6)

Yeah, I know this really isn't a baseball crowd, but *crickets*? This isn't really about baseball you know.

by mg at July 14, 2004 1:14 PM

I watched the All Star game last night and I thought it was pretty good. They pounded the crap out of Clemens, which I didn't expect. At least they finished the game this time.

Luckily Amy likes sports too. We watch the NFL, college football and college basketball together. I think that's pretty much rocks the school.

by Ezy at July 14, 2004 2:08 PM

I watched most of the game (drifted away around the 7th). It might have been better if it wasn't the Yankees vs. the National League, but it was okay.

mg, did you tell the wife about Jason Giambi's adventures with his intestinal parasite, and how somehow Kevin Brown got it too? All sort of hypotheticals can be built out of that one. Might have gotten another inning out of it.

by Adam L. at July 14, 2004 2:29 PM

Or that Clemens was the one who started and perpetrated those gay rumors about Piazza? Did they ever get that straight? I mean, is he a gay or not. Elton John... is a gay.

by anna at July 14, 2004 6:42 PM

Piazza is definitely gay. He said so in a Details magazine interview. For some reason, the interview didn't get as much play as I thought it would. Probably because everyone was so unsure and most people thought he was gay to begin with. Who knows.

On a somewhat related note...

I once told a girl the story of Dave Dravecky, the former pitcher. The girl was feeling down and feeling like there was so much she couldn't overcome. So there I was, being a good friend and telling the story of Dave Dravecky. Poor guy... he was a fairly good pitcher for the SF Giants. Not the star of the team, but a serviceable pitcher and a guy playing a game for a living. Doing what he always dreamed of as a kid.

Then one day Dave Dravecky is diagnosed with bone cancer in his pitching arm! How sad. He had to leave the game to fight for his life. Pitching again was really secondary.

So anyway, he's away for a couple of years but the whole time he is working his way back. One day, I saw in the news that Dave Dravecky is coming back! He made it back! Cancer in remission. Rehabs starts in the minor leagues. Giants need pitching help so they are ready to call him up.

"So what happened in the end?", this girl asks.

Well, right in the middle of a pitch, there is a loud bang, almost like a gunshot. That's according to Dave Dravecky. His arm had literally snapped in half during a pitch. They ended up amputating and that was the end of that.

by Eviltom at July 14, 2004 7:49 PM

That's about as uplifting as the client of mind who lost 3 fingers in a bizarre garbage disposal incident. Docs convinced him to let them lop off his toes, including the all-important Great Toe, and put them on his mangled hand. But it didn't take. Now he can barely walk without a cane.

by anna at July 15, 2004 7:33 AM

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