Every time you turn around, there are new rules being put into place in major sports. Sometimes it’s out of concern for players’ safety. Often, it’s intended to make a sport more exciting. Now that baseball has returned, let’s hope our national penchant for rules doesn’t overly alter our national pastime. It could get ugly.
INFIELD TWEET RULE: YOU LOSE A BASE RUNNER EVERY TIME A PLAYER MAKES AN OFFENSIVE COMMENT ON TWITTER
VENDORS FORCED TO SELL KALE CHIPS INSTEAD OF PEANUTS
NATE SILVER CALLS ALL BALLS AND STRIKES
BATTING TITLE WINNERS MUST APPEAR ON “DANCING WITH THE STARS”
FANS GET TO MAKE ONE PITCHING CHANGE PER GAME USING A SPECIAL SMARTPHONE APP, “PITCHIFY”
SEVENTH INNING ZUMBA
ON-DECK CIRCLE NOW A TRIANGLE
BASE STEALERS HAVE TO ACTUALLY CARRY THOSE BASES AROUND THE INFIELD
FIRST PLAYER TO COMMIT AN ERROR HAS TO WEAR A “CAT IN THE HAT” HAT FOR THE REST OF THE GAME
FANS MUST WEAR PERIOD CLOTHING TO GAMES INVOLVING THROWBACK UNIFORMS
Oh, March Madness, how I have missed you. The buzzer beaters, the crazy coaches, the incomprehensible bracketology! It’s all glorious, including the dizzying array of dorky team names. But it could be dorkier still, as you will see. Here are some woeful team names you won’t have to memorize as the NCAA basketball tournament gets under way.
THE FIGHTING AMISH
THE DIFFIDENT HOUSE CATS
THE RUNNIN’ NECK SORES
THE IRRITATING RINGTONES
THE ANGRY OLIVES
THE SLEEPLESS KNIGHTS
THE RED HERRINGS
THE HUSTLING DUSTBUNNIES
THE GLARING OMISSIONS
THE MIGHTY GAZETTEERS
THE DASHING DIMWITS
THE FEISTY I.T. GUYS
THE PURPLE PUSHOVERS
THE FECKLESS HECKLERS
THE NERVOUS NELLIES
Here’s hoping your favorite team cuts down the net.
I’m hearing some great things about the special effects tiger in the film version of “Life of Pi.” This has me intrigued. Tigers just may be the most beautiful creatures on the planet, and if this pixelated critter is as wondrous as advertised, he’ll join an illustrious roster of pop culture tigers.
I’m going with my favorite tiger first. Yes, he’s the villain from “Jungle Book,” but he’s undeniably great. He’s droll, he’s cunning, he’s merciless. He also has the voice, heavy-lidded eyes and lantern jaw of the urbane British actor, George Sanders.
TONY THE TIGER
On the other end of the spectrum, you have Frosted Flakes icon Tony the Tiger. He’s no villain – he’s more like that gregarious uncle who let you stay up past your bedtime and showed you wrestling moves like the Backbreaker and the Spinning Toe Hold. He’s not PC, but he’s ggggrrreat!
Can’t say this is one of my favorite teams, since I’m a National League guy. But still, props to a Major League franchise that’s been around since 1894, boasts four World Series titles and has had players such as Ty Cobb, Hank Greenberg and Al Kaline in the lineup. Best of all, the Tigers stayed in one city all these years.
Dear lord, what a great creation Tigger is! Anyone with little kids (or grandkids) knows that Tigger is a welcome infusion of energy, action and humor in all situations. He’s dangerous and tame, simultaneously. Thank you, A.A. Milne and Paul Winchell.
CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON
Ang Lee’s 2000 film classic is the cinematic equivalent to a tiger: it’s powerful, graceful, violent and visually arresting. You want tragic heroes and villains? You want epic history and scope? You want some kick-ass swordplay and wire walking? Your search is over. Also, it’s only fitting to include Mr. Lee in a List inspired by “Life of Pi.”
Dennis Leary is the voice of Diego the prehistoric tiger in the “Ice Age” movies. Although he curbs his normally robust language as Diego, Leary does a nice job of lending a soulful quality to the proceedings.
DANIEL STRIPED TIGER
Of course, there is no pop culture tiger with more soul than Daniel Striped Tiger from “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” This little gent had the voice of Fred Rogers, which explained why he was so darned nice. Another thing in his favor? Sporty wristwatch.
No, he is not a model citizen. He’s a tremendous golfer, though. For years, he absolutely commanded the attention of his competitors and sports fans in general. Very tiger-like.
This guy – how could you not like him? Half of cartoonist Bill Watterson’s brilliant comic strip, “Calvin and Hobbes,” tiger Hobbes is the savagely sophisticated counterpoint to incorrigible little boy Calvin. Young Calvin believes Hobbes is an actual tiger and not a stuffed animal. I’m inclined to agree.
EYE OF THE TIGER
There are several tiger songs I could have chosen, such as “Hold That Tiger” and “I’ve Got a Tiger By the Tail,” but instead I have selected Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” from 1982. Why? Because it’s in “Rocky III,” fool.
You might find this hard to believe, but there are some sporting events that are too crazy even for the Olympics. So while you’re wading through countless hours of halfpipe this and bantam weight that, just be thankful you’re not watching THESE events:
As we head into another edition of the Summer Olympics, here’s a List of Olympics-related film dramas and comedies to get us in the mood. No documentaries, though – the Games will provide all the reality we need for the next two weeks.
CHARIOTS OF FIRE (1981)
Let’s start with the gold medalist. While it’s debatable whether “Chariots of Fire” deserved its Oscar for Best Picture, the fact that it is a classic character study told with grace and dignity is undeniable. The film presents running in the 1924 Olympics as a matter of religious faith, personal struggle, patriotic duty and elite frolic, depending on the individual.
JIM THORPE — ALL-AMERICAN (1951)
This one is more of a tragedy. Burt Lancaster plays the great Jim Thorpe, who won gold medals in the pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Olympics, only to have the medals taken away because he’d been paid once to play summer baseball. In the 1980s, after his death, Thorpe’s medals were reinstated. This movie, in some of the action scenes, used actual footage of Thorpe.
DOWNHILL RACER (1969)
Now for a little Winter Olympics action, with plenty of star power. Robert Redford is excellent as an aloof, driven Olympic skier. What I like so much about “Downhill Racer” is the way it showcases the rivalries, politics and competitiveness among athletes and even coaches on the same team.
PERSONAL BEST (1982)
Mariel Hemingway stars in this drama set around the 1980 Olympic games. The story works on two fronts. First you have the various personal relationships involving women’s track and field athletes. Then you have the emotional aftermath of President Carter’s decision to boycott the 1980 games.
COOL RUNNINGS (1993)
Highly enjoyable, Disney version of the Jamaican bobsled team that took the Olympics – and the world – by storm in 1988. Far from being a documentary, it stars John Candy, Doug E. Doug and the always-charismatic Leon Robinson.
WALK DON’T RUN (1966)
The 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo is the backdrop for this old-fashioned romantic comedy. Cary Grant, in his final film role, plays matchmaker to speed walker Jim Hutton and Samantha Eggar. It’s very sweet.
WITHOUT LIMITS (1998)
“Without Limits” was one of two films in the 1990s to profile Olympic runner Steve Prefontaine, who ran in the 1972 Munich games. I prefer this one, which stars the fine actor Billy Crudup as Prefontaine and Donald Sutherland as his coach. As a side note, “Without Limits” also features the legendary runner Frank Shorter – although he doesn’t play himself (Jeremy Sisto plays Shorter).
I think this is one of Steven Spielberg’s great films. It starts with an extended recounting of the brutal terrorist attack at the 1972 Munich games and continues forward with a story of Israeli agents responding to the attack in the years that followed. Eric Bana and Daniel Craig star. The movie ends with a visual that some might find cliched, but I found to be among the most haunting I’ve ever seen.
We finish on an inspirational note. “Miracle” gives us one of the truly joyous moments (for Americans) in sports, with the U.S. hockey team’s incredible run at the 1980 Winter Olympics. Kurt Russell is perfect as coach Herb Brooks.
Did I leave any good ones out? Add them to The List!
So many stadiums, so little time. With baseball, basketball and hockey ongoing – and football never far from a fan’s thoughts – the staff here at The Jimbo List would like to ponder a few arena names that (hopefully) will never happen.
MILLER GENUINE DRAFT DODGERS STADIUM
SAN FRANCISCO SHAKE SHACK
CHICAGO BUILD-A-BEARS FIELD
GOOGLE CHROME DOME
STARBUCKS COFFEE GROUNDS
COLISEUM FOR DUMMIES
ENERGY DRINK RINK
STAY PUFT STADIUM
WRIGLEY PIGGLY WIGGLY FIELD
You’ll notice I steered clear of Enron Field. Add to The List!
With the baseball season officially starting this week (the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics in Japan), now is an excellent opportunity to envision a more digitally-enhanced version of the American pastime:
Baseball’s Fall Classic is upon us, which means we have to savor each clutch hit, double play and close call at the plate that remains in the season. While we’re at it, let’s also be happy that none of our favorite players is saddled with one of these nicknames:
It’s got to be a little maddening, being the odd man out. You know, the person hanging around in the background who seems slightly out of place? Sure, we’ve all felt that way at times ourselves. But some guys take it to an entirely different level. Here’s my Mount Rushmore of Odd Men Out.
You mean to tell me they couldn’t toss this guy ONE decent gimmick? Harpo gets the blonde curly wig and doesn’t talk, Chico has the thick accent, Groucho’s working the glasses and greasepaint mustache, and Zeppo gets zippo? He should have at least asked for an eye patch.
It’s not his fault that he’ll forever be compared with Curly, the greatest of the Three Stooges – but it is his fate. He’s essentially a bulkier, less angry version of Moe, and who wants that? Rule of thumb when buying a “best of” Stooges DVD: always check for Shemps.
STAR TREK REDSHIRTS
Classic, classic odd men out. Any redshirt beaming down to a planet with Kirk and Spock was asking for a phaser to the thorax before the first commercial. Don’t phase me, bro!
By all accounts, a decent, gracious, inspiring human being, the older brother of Peyton and Eli Manning and son of Archie Manning also is an odd man out. He’s the only guy in his family who’s never been a starting quarterback in the NFL. What he HAS done is overcome a spinal problem that ended his football career in college.
You WANT to like it. You really WANT to. But do you? Come back to us, Don Corleone.
You’ve heard of Tinker to Evers to Chance, the legendary Chicago Cubs double-play combination from the early 1900s? Well, Harry Steinfeldt was the Cubs infielder who wasn’t Tinker, Evers or Chance. He played third base.
Here’s our newest member. He’s the dude standing in the background of this photo who went AWOL during the first “Hangover” movie. Do they bring him back for the sequel? Yes. Do they let him join in all the raunchy mayhem? I think you know the answer.