Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Whole 42 Letters: Desert Island Twitter

No time for chit-chat. If we dawdle John Axford might blow another save.


John Axford: better at pitching products than strikes.
Your questions:

If you're stuck on a desert island and can only follow five Twitter users, who are you taking? (You get wifi... don't fucking ask.)

I mean, if we're being honest, isn't the desert island which is your question's basic conceit just like a metaphor for society, man, where we're all passively consuming online and not really living life with other people? That's the fundamental irony of this era. They're called social networks and yet we're more isolated than...... (snoring) ...... Sorry, I blacked out. What was I talking about?

Just about everyone I follow is either a writer (about sports, music, or politics), a comedian, or a professional athlete, so I'd probably choose people who can help me get my fix of those topics no matter what. I'm also not going to choose news aggregators like NYTimes because I feel like that's cheating.

Drew Magary is obviously my number one must-follow because he's hilarious, profane and tweets about sports. I'd also follow Questlove for my music updates, Ta-Nehisi Coates for real talk about race and politics, Brandon McCarthy because he's hilarious and a professional ahtlete, and Brian Phillips just because I need a little absurd humor. Oh and @Whole42Minutes obviously. FOLLOW US PLEASE.

Are you scared of the bird flu?

Is that a thing these days? I guess not, but should I be?

How many NBA coaches can you name of the top of your head?

I took this Sporcle quiz and it turns out that I can name 26 of the 30 correctly. (FYI, the midseason replacements other than D'Antoni aren't updated on that list.) Unsurprisingly, the coaches I couldn't name were the young guys new to their unsuccessful teams, like Orlando and Charlotte. Also, I definitely follow baseball more closely than basketball, but there's no way I'd come up with that many managers, especially this early in the baseball season.

Wouldn't it be more beneficial for the Nets to drop to the 6 seed (play the Pacers in the 1st round and avoid the Heat) rather than getting the 4/5 seed.  With that being said, can professional sport teams do that? Lose purposely at the end of the season for more favorable playoff matchups? Just say, "oh we're gonna rest our guys for the playoffs." Thoughts?

I've thought this for weeks and would fully support a team trying to tank for the possibility of avoiding the Heat until the Conference Finals. In light of David Stern fining Popovich 250k for resting his players in a nationally-televised game, I don't think a team could brazenly bench its guys to tank - something about the integrity of the league blah blah blah - but I'm sure teams have gone into games with the mindset that they didn't really need to try that hard. Just economically it makes sense, since teams benefit greatly from added playoff games (exposure and gate receipts).

What's strange is that we basically accept this behavior from bad teams (Jermaine O'Neal goaltended away a game for the Suns, who are mysteriously resting Goran Dragic despite no real injury), but that it causes an uproar if more successful teams try it. I get that the Spurs resting their top 4 players, none of whom were injured, against the Heat basically ceded a game to the Heat, but it also made the most sense to do that. The Spurs needed to get their guys rest because they were playing 4 games in 5 nights, and rather than rest one or two guys per game, essentially lowering their odds of winning in multiple games, they gave up the game they had the least chance of winning AND STILL ALMOST WON. Fuck David Stern is what I'm saying and I hope Deron Williams mysteriously needs a week of rest.

Who's the hottest celebrity you think you'd have a chance with?

Is Fran Drescher still a celebrity? No, it's Katie Holmes. She's obviously got a thing for ridiculously handsome short guys and I have the benefit of not being super crazy.

Who's your favorite Jonas Brother?

Justin Bieber.

We all know Quidditch is a fatally flawed sport because of the importance of the Snitch. What are some rule changes that you would implement to make it better?

First off, I eliminate fouls. Two of the seven players' entire job description is to hit what is basically a bowling ball with homing capabilities at the other team, and yet you can get a foul called for elbowing someone? BACK IN THE DAYS WHEN QUIDDITCH WAS QUIDDITCH WE WOULDN'T STAND FOR THAT. WHY WE HAD TO FLY IN THE SNOW AND THERE WEREN'T THESE NAMBY PAMBY SPELLS TO MEND BROKEN BONES EITHER.

I would also change the snitch value to 50 points and give teams the option of either ending the game at a caught snitch, but not gaining any points, or gaining 50 points and not ending the game. I know that according to legend some games lasted weeks because no one could catch the snitch, but I'm willing to accept this.

Which would be better: LeBron James at baseball or Mike Trout at basketball? Like if they played right meow, not if they had chosen those paths to begin with.

No question in my mind LeBron is better at baseball than Trout at basketball. Dude might have the best closing speed in the NBA, and I gotta think he'd be like Bo Jackson playing center field. Mike Trout's a great athlete for baseball, but that's just it. He's a great athlete for baseball. I know MJ couldn't hit a curveball and maybe LeBron wouldn't be able to either, but just on pure athletic potential alone I'm going LeBron.

Which would be more surprising: Florida Gulf Coast making the Sweet 16, or the Nets winning the Eastern Conference?

This actually probably works out to about the same odds against each (since historically a 15-seed has only beaten a 2-seed like 7 times), but I'd be much more surprised if the Nets won the East than about FGCU's run. FGCU had to only win 2 games, and because they beat the 2-seed first, they had a much easier second game. The Nets would have to win 3 series, most likely two of which they'd be the underdogs in.


Who's the best architect?


God. 

I'm so deep, guys. No but seriously, it's Art Vandelay.


How are your New Year's resolutions coming along?

I don't really do New Year's resolutions, so I guess you could say they're coming along great. I do want someone to pay me to write something this year, and that hasn't happened yet, but otherwise I'm plugging along.

The NCAA men's hoops tourney has seen a lot of low-scoring games featuring, of course, ridiculously bad shooting. Why? Great defenses or young shooters who succumb to the pressure of tournament games? Or maybe it's some other brilliant explanation for which your blog is becoming famous.

Thanks for the kind words reader who may or may not be related to me. Pressure may be a factor, but I think there two greater issues are in play: there's less talent (especially this year because so many underclassmen declared for the draft in 2012) and the specific style of defense teams run. 

The lack of talent is pretty glaring as Marquette and UW-Madison, the two teams I root for and both top-15 teams at different points this season, each lost games in which they missed about 20 wide open 3s, but the reason they had those 3s was teams in college play weakside help or zone defenses designed to give up those looks. College defenses basically gamble that college players can't make shots, and it works. That's what made the NCAA Championship game so great; it was the first game in the tournament that I watched where both teams could make shots.

Do those hit TV shows that you youngsters watch ever include sports references? For example, is Don Draper a Mickey Mantle fan? Are the girls on "Girls" interested in the X-Games?

I can't speak for Girls (who can?), but one of Mad Men's great episodes, "The Suitcase," uses the Ali-Liston fight as historical context. Parks and Rec is also run by a huge sports fan (Ken Tremendous/Michael Schur of Fire Joe Morgam fame) and so has plenty of sports references and Detlef Schrempf cameos, one of the many reasons I love it.


Sunday is a big TV night. Mad Men and Chopped All Stars both premiere.  Which one do you watch live, and which one goes to DVR?


I was actually crazy tired and DVR'ed both, but normally I'd watch Mad Men and catch up on Chopped later. Mad Men got that Twitter FOMO.

Peeps... Yay or nay?



Nay. I may have written about this before in a mailbag, but I don't really like sweets, and especially sweets that don't have flavor beyond sugar.

I've noticed that your blog mates talk a lot about your height -- they seem to think you're short. Don't they realize that you're one of the tallest people in our family?

/thinks whether that's true
/realizes it is
/simultaneously fist pumps and hangs head in shame

Send questions to Steve next week.

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