After my debut column a few weeks back, I was absolutely inundated with emails from readers. It was so flattering, it went straight to my head, and I wanna say first off, thanks so much. Rather than make the effort to write a coherent essay, I figured screw it, I’ll just respond to my faithful pen pals.
If you want in on the action, Dear Reader, drop a line to bigron [at] theweeklings [dot] com.
Election Day’s coming up, Big Ron. Who ya got?
—Martin Sweedish, Esopus, N.Y.
I’m taking the Jets and the points.
But in all seriousness…it’s a little-known fact that sports and politics are directly correlated. Rumor has it that if the Washington Redskins win the Sunday before Election Day, the incumbent always wins the election. RGIII and company didn’t get it done against the lowly Panthers, which some might think is a bad sign for the Big O.
The problem with that mumbo-jumbo is that it doesn’t take into account Big Ron Dantomine’s Rule of Sports #48a, which is this: in presidential elections, the bigger sports fan always wins. Take a look:
2000: George W. Bush owned the Texas Rangers; Al Gore’s from Tennessee, but he thinks the Volunteers are people who work for free to save the environment.
2004: Bush also threw that bad-ass first pitch after 9/11. Straight gas, right down the middle, while wearing a frickin’ bullet-proof vest. Wrap Justin Verlander in Kevlar and see if he can do that. John Kerry, meanwhile, is a windsurfing enthusiast.
2008: Obama balls with Chris Paul and Derrick Rose; he’s got a sweet lefty shooting stroke; he knows more about hoop than most sportswriters. I vaguely recall John McCain wearing a Diamondbacks hat when they beat the Yankees in the Series.
2012: Obama and his high-percentage 3 vs. IOC/dressage/guy who calls it “sport.” I’d say his re-election is a slam-dunk.
Are the Patriots done?
—O’Bannon, Peabody, Mass.
I know better than to count out Bill Belichick, because his deal with the devil seems to be for a very long term. But Tom Brady looks like he’s lost a step. The guy is one of the best QBs to ever tap a center’s ass—not what anyone expected when he came out of Michigan—but he’s crapped the bed in one too many big games for my liking. Seriously, the Super Bowl last year? I’m not convinced Gisele didn’t suit up for him.
That said, the NFL is wide open this year. The Giants, Niners, Bears, Falcons, and Texans are all beatable. Could the Patriots put it together for a deep playoff run? Why the heck not.
Hey Mr. Dantomine,
Who is the best pitcher of all time?
—Julio Julio, San Pedro de Macoris, D.R.
Julio, my man! Great to see I have readers in other countries.
The temptation here is to go with a starter, a guy who eats innings. Walter Johnson, maybe. Bob Feller, Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax, the young Dwight Gooden. You could make a case for Greg Maddux, although he was a mediocre big-game pitcher. But the answer is Mariano Rivera, and it ain’t even close.
Mo shortened every game the Yankees played for, what, a decade and a half. Early in his career, he was a set-up guy for Wetteland, remember, and he’d throw the seventh and eighth innings, so John could pitch an easy ninth and get the “save.” Once the playoffs rolled around, Joe Torre wouldn’t hesitate to have Mo pitch more than one inning. None of this “I only pitch in the ninth, with a lead, and no one on base” pansy-ass bullshit. Who does that anymore? And he didn’t feel the need to call attention to himself. Didn’t pound his chest or war-cry or carry on, like so many relievers, that asshole on the Tigers being the most recent example. Also, he pitched out of a wind-up. I loved that about him.
Take any player away from those great Yankee teams—even Jeter—and they probably still win a Series or three. But without Rivera, they don’t even make the post-season. He is the one truly indispensable player on one of the great dynasties in the history of the sport. If Mariano Rivera isn’t a unanimous first-ballot unanimous Hall of Famer, they should burn the building to the ground.
Hey there, Big Ron. Huge fans of yours. Just curious—if you could sleep with any female athlete, who would it be and why? My wife thinks it’s Danica Patrick, but I’m guessing you’d prefer “endless love” with Anna Kournikova.
Your biggest fan,
Thousand Oaks, Ca.
Thanks, Kenny, for the kind words. It’s nice to know my work here is appreciated.
And what a question! Big Ron spent a lot more time giving this serious consideration than The Missus was comfortable with. So many fine-looking lady athletes, it’s hard to decide. Here’s what I came up with:
First of all, no way Danica Patrick wins that race. The dirty little secret is, Danica Patrick isn’t pretty; Danica Patrick is pretty for a NASCAR driver. As they say in Spain, vive la difference. Have you seen those guys? My great aunt Millie would look good standing next to Dick Trickle and Richard Petty, and she’s a hundred and two. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed woman is a supermodel, you feel me?
As for Kournikova, she hit her stride years ago. She’s in her thirties now, and she’ll lose her looks quicker than she lost her backhand. If I could have a time machine and shag Anna Kournikova Y2K, that’s another story, but if I could have a time machine, I’m going with Katarina Witt back when there was still an East Germany.
Nah, if I’m picking a tennis player, it’s that new Russian girl, Maria Sharapova. I’d share more than a pova with her! But I don’t like tennis, is the problem. The whole white skirt, squeaky-clean deal, it’s kind of dull. I feel the same way about pro golfers and pro skiiers (sorry, Jen Kabat!).
Soccer players are more my style—grittier, more willing to mix it up. Mia Hamm, of course, and the babe who took her shirt off at the Olympics, and maybe Hope Solo. There are some gorgeous basketball players, too. Sue Bird, Lisa Leslie, Brittany Jackson…and Swin Cash is straight money. Those ladies know how to bang! And if I could take the entire Olympic gold-medal women’s 400-meter relay team, I’d be tempted to go that direction, because Sonya Richards-Ross is a goddess of earth. I’d also give strong consideration to Leila Ali.
But the winner clearly has to be an Olympic gymnast. The ways those gals can bend and flex! When we’re talking about the horizontal bop, flexibility is so much more important than being able to hit a green ball over a net, you know? As much as I admire the trunk on Aly Raisman—what she gonna do with all that junk!—I have to switch allegiances here and go with Aliya Mustafina. Drop-dead gorgeous, something of a diva, trots out these borderline tawdry outfits…and she has a freakin’ dismount named after her. For reals, she does! The Mustafina. Can you do the Mustafina? I’d sure like to try! And hey, she just turned 18, so although my lustful thoughts during the Games would have gotten me in hot water with the authorities, she’s now legal! About the only drawback to Aliya is that her old man was on the Russian Greco-Roman wrestling team, and could probably kick my ass from here to Vladivostok. But it’d be worth it.
Hey Big Ron…what about if you had to do it with a male athlete?
Thousand Oaks, Ca.
I don’t play on that team, Liz. Heck, I don’t even know the rules to the sport! But if anyone could convince me to play tight end, it’s Tim Tebow.