When we last left Tiki Barber’s personal carrier pigeon, Peter King, he was going on vacation for FOUR weeks. And I was going to emphasize the disparity between King taking four weeks off and someone like Albert Breer standing outside in the middle of an East Coast Radiation Deathwave waiting for labor news, but thankfully Peter went ahead and did that in the column you’re about to endure. I missed Peter while he was gone. SORT OF. When you read through any number of egocentric Bill Simmons columns, Peter’s complete obliviousness becomes all the more endearing.
So what about this week? Did Peter have a GREAT vacation, as we all hoped he would? Oh, people. Oh, did he ever. He had a cup of coffee that you would gas a frightened Polish child to experience yourself. Dare you doubt it? READ ON…
And I thought after my annual four-week travelogue…
Lest you think Peter has made a linguistic error here by referring to his trip as a “travelogue,” which is actually the chronicling of a trip and not the trip itself, fear not. His vacation bullet points later on really DO last four weeks. I timed it.
…I could just ease back into the 15th season of Monday Morning Quarterback.
See what I mean by endearing obliviousness? And here I thought, after a FOUR-WEEK VACATION, I’d be able to still not work all that hard! O HO HO HO! But no, those slavedrivers at SI told me I had to go ahead and rank my favorite baseball stadiums RIGHT NOW this very minute! Because that’s what a football-starved country is dying for!
Nope. Gotta hit the ground running.
Sort of. Kind of. Call this column a quasihalf-marathon if you will.
My buddy Phil Parisi of the USO (we went on the USO’s Afghanistan tour in 2008) volunteered to have one of the huge USO vans used for domestic entertainment of troops and their families made available for me to take my tour of camps this year.
What? WHAT THE FUCK? I’m never donating money to the USO ever again. Why are they lending Peter King a van? Do we still not have troops abroad? Do they no longer need to be entertained by USO-backed Bette Midler/James Caan live musical revues? I AM OUTRAGED AT THIS MISAPPROPRIATION OF CHARITABLE FUNDS. THE USO CAN GO EAT A COLD, SLICED DICK.
Barring some last-minute problems (like me forgetting to buy the Pop Tarts), it looks like well be taking off this weekend (time and place to be determined)…
Wichita? MAYBE. Montclair? POSSIBLY. Dallas? TOO COLD.
…to see about 22 to 25 camps and/or teams. Sweet ride.
That you don’t deserve, you cumlapper!
It has wifi, a big-screen TV and some of the other entertainment things (game systems) that 54-year-old men have no clue about.
LOOGIT ME! I’M 54 YEARS OLD AND ALL OF THESE NICE AMENITIES ARE WASTED ON ME!
If you have paid attention to this labor strife and have the right cable package or dish…
Then you’re a sucker, because you could have been in Italy like Peter the WHOLE time! Football fans don’t care about all this labor nonsense. They want to know if Peter found any Shock Top while in Lombardy!
…you’ve gotten to know Albert Breer of NFL Network over the last few months. Perhaps better than you’d have ever liked to.
Oh, that guy who does ACTUAL reporting? Indeed, I wish I’d never heard his name. I wish I could have stayed within the cozily ignorant confines of this particular column, which shields me from terrible things like NEWS, and INFORMATION, and replaces it with a sense of wonderment at the CNN viewing habits of Tom Dimitroff.
This morning, like on 57 previous days in the past five months, Breer will take his place on a sidewalk, this time in northwest Washington — on 20th Street — and document who walks in, who walks out, and try to get a snippet of information.
Meanwhile, CHECK OUT THIS MINOR LEAGUE GAME I WENT TO! I STOLE A FOUL BALL AND ROSS TUCKER SWIPED SOME CORN ON THE COB FROM A FAT KID!
For the 58th and last day, barring a stunning downturn in the talks, Breer will stake out in front of a building for the final time in these negotiations.
Again, I point out to you that Peter King, who makes an ungodly sum of money to cover the NFL, was on vacation for a MONTH while Breer did this.
“In Washington, for the court-ordered mediation, Roger Goodell was Houdini,” Breer said after 1 this morning. “We’d always see him walking in, and for days and days, we’d never see him leave. He’d just vanish.”
My God, he’s like some sort of SUPERGINGER. He does 1,000 no-handed pushups a day! Blacks and whites hug each other any time he walks into a sketchy urban area! HE’S THE COMMISSIONER OF THE HEAVENS.
I’ve seen maybe half of Breer’s reports over the past five months…
So Peter went on vacation for a MONTH, and then digested only half of the actual NFL information disseminated by someone who actually did work. MAYBE half. POSSIBLY 40%. Though NOT a legit 40%. Call it 5:2 odds that it was half.
…and I think he’s managed to play it down the middle very well, despite the fact Roger Goodell’s signing his paycheck. That’s as impressive as standing/sitting/freezing/sweating on the sidewalks of America for the equivalent of a month of 24-hour days.
Total stakeout days: 58. Avg. hours per day (Breer estimate): 12.5. Total days: 30 days, four hours. Total hours: 725.
“Oh my God,” he said. “That’s depressing.”
No it’s not. It’s career-building.
Indeed. You’re paying your dues now, Albert Breer. But keep at it and soon you’ll be just like Peter! You’ll be filthy rich and you’ll NEVER have to work! And you can prattle on about how your penis doctor knows the Canucks’ goalie and Dick Ebersol will pat you on the back for it! THIS IS HOW THE WORLD WORKS BECAUSE THE WORLD IS HORRIBLE.
One of the great things about vacation is it lets you catch up with reading.
You know who also caught up on reading? Albert Breer, who had to bring 6 books with him a day as he waited for HOURS outside six different hotels. But no, by all means, go on about how much you enjoyed reading “Unbroken.”
This gem came from Andrew Goldman’s interview with Judge Judy in the June 26 New York Times Sunday magazine…
You know, one of the great things about being an NFL reporter and not covering the NFL is that it gives me time to read up on important matters, LIKE HOW JUDGE FUCKING JUDY IS DOING.
Judge Judy works five days per month … and makes $45 million a year.
Oh, so you and she have a lot in common. Except for her far more rigorous work schedule.
Judge Judy Factoid II:
WHAT THE FUCK? Why are there two Judge Judy factoids in here? The NFL is about to start again. Free agency is set to take place DURING training camp. The NFL world is about to shift in ways so unpredictable that no one can really say what’s going to happen. It’s perhaps the most exciting time ever to be a football fan, and this is after one of the worst times to be a football fan. Hey, you know what we should be talking about? JUDGE FUCKING JUDY. Perfect. Beautiful. Just the kind of hard-hitting factoid I come to this column for. FUCK.
Incredible Joe Posnanski/Yogi Berra Factoid of the Week
HOLY FUCK ARE YOU SHITTING ME?! We go from Judge Judy to Yogi Berra? Is there some third geriatric asshole we haven’t touched on yet? What about Martha Raye? Any Martha Raye factoids in your back pocket, Peter? I MUST KNOW.
In the top-notch Berra where-are-they-now story by Posnanski in our July 4 issue…
“Hey everyone, look at all the cool shit other people write that I don’t!”
…I was amazed to read this: From 1950 to ’56, Berra caught both ends of a doubleheader 117 times … and seven times he caught both ends of a doubleheader on back-to-back days.
NO ONE CARES. I DON’T CARE IF YOGI BERRA PERSONALLY NAILED JESUS TO THE CROSS AND THEN JERKED OFF IN HIS EYE. NOT RELEVANT TO FOOTBALL.
My friend Jack Bowers from Montclair gave me another Yogi nugget that I found amazing…
That’s the perfect Peter King sentence. It’s like a microcosm of his entire useless world distilled down to fifteen words. It has random friends, baseball, NUGGETS. It’s like the Mona Lisa, if the Mona Lisa were painted with feces.
Over the years, we’ve had so much fun making fun of Yogisms that we forget what a truly dominant player he was.
It’s just like Yogi said, “Sometimes we forget to remember things we forget because we forgot them and DURRR I SHIT MY PANTS BECAUSE I HAVE NO BRAIN STEM DURRRRRRRRRR…”
We should appreciate Berra the player more
Fuck Yogi Berra. Yogi Berra is the afterbirth of America.
— and I have to be sure to stop by the newly renovated Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center in my old Jersey neighborhood to do just that.
It’s the Texas Book Depository of withered and retarded old baseball players!
You see, people. This is what makes Peter’s column so special, and why I missed it so. Because he uses a football column to talk about how little he knows about baseball players. What do I know about Yogi Berra? TELL YOU IN A FEW WEEKS, JON.
Good job by Posnanski to delve into Berra the great player.
Meanwhile, let me bitch about Europeans!
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
Well, I have many. But one of the things traveling abroad teaches you is the lack of respect for lines and personal space in much of Europe (everywhere that I’ve traveled there, honestly)…
Other people may be afraid to say it, but Peter isn’t: Europeans are shitty.
The personal space thing is just weird. In Venice, we stood in line for a water ferry to take us from the train station to San Marco Square.
Meanwhile, Albert Breer was dying of heatstroke outside the Marriott Marquis.
The line moved slowly, and the 30ish woman behind me kept leaning on me, as if it would make the line go faster… This kind of mild pushing and line-cutting happened every day, somewhere, in Italy and Austria.
Well that’s just ridiculous. You know what we should do? PUT THEM IN RAIL CARS AND SHIP THEM OFF TO DEATH CAMPS. GOOD DEATH CAMPS. LOFTY ONES.
It’s every man, woman and idiot for him/herself. In line at a Trieste bank to change some dollars into euros, I noticed a teller signaling he was ready to take me. An older lady came from the back of the line, saying something that sounded like “Scoozy, scoozy,” and cut in front of me, and the teller took her.
How fucking rude is that?
/steals foul ball from child
Italy’s such a terrific place, with great people. Austria is an orderly country, from what I can tell, and everyone there was good to us. Why the terminal rudeness while co-waiting? I’d love to hear some plausible explanation from some of you who have lived, or who live, in Europe.
AND WHY NO KIT KATS? Defend yourselves, Europe!
Ten Things I Liked About My Vacation
1. Saw Steve Schirripa in Naples! Good guy!
2. Touring the Stieg Larsson house, which was actually just a random house in Sweden we broke into.
3. No small African country refs to be seen for miles!
4. Trains. So abundant in Europe. We could learn a lesson from their trainmania!
5. Touring French video stores with Dick Ebersol
6. Staring out the window in Barcelona and listening to “Elevation” by U2. What a song. What a moment.
7. Thinking of that French guy who wrote me to express his dismay that the NFL was a for-profit enterprise. Lotta good nuggets in that email
8. THE PERONI.
9. All the Americans around in Sox hats. Gotta love the spread of the Sox gospel!
I swear to fucking God “Ten Things I Liked About My Vacation” is an item in the column. Every year Peter goes on vacation for eight months and every year he comes back with a verbal slideshow that’s downright Patty-and-Selmaesque. Okay, Peter. Tell me what was great about your vacation.
1. That I wasn’t Albert Breer.
HOLY SHIT THAT’S FUCKED UP.
Oh I understand. You just used your column to rub your doodoo in a good man’s face! LET ME JUST BRAG FOR A SECOND ABOUT HOW LITTLE WORK I DO. I’M SURE EVERYONE WILL BE ON BOARD WITH IT. You repulse me, Peter. Europe has changed you, AND NOT FOR THE BETTER.
– I have great admiration for the dogged reporting of the NFL Network’s Breer, who emerged as the biggest media star of the lockout by staking out every exhausting session of the players and owners and their attorneys, many of those stakeouts on 96-degree days in Manhattan. I’m just glad it was him and not me spending day after day covering angst.
/breaks everything in the house
Oh, to be young and unattached and have the drive of Pete Rose.
OH BULLSHIT. Spare poor Albert your pedantic compliments. Oh, to be young and underpaid and to not have attachments like a four-week booking in Europe! YOU DICK.
2. Driving through parts of Europe. My wife and I drove a six-speed VW Passat 800 miles in Austria, Slovenia and Italy, and what a pleasure it was. Zero potholes. Very little traffic on the main thoroughfares.
EUROPEAN COP: Sir, you’re driving on the sidewalk.
PETER: Isn’t that how you people do things?
3. Vienna. So many parks, so little time. Parks and beer. That is one underrated city.
As a city to have fun in, we underrate Vienna.
Weird Mozart fact:
He lived to be 35 (only!) and never lived longer than two-and-a-half years at any address.
TRY REPORTING SOMETHING LIKE THAT, AL BREER!
Weird Austria fact: Adolf Hitler was born there.
Never knew that.
That’s because you spend all your time reading about fucking Judge Judy.
4. Bicycling through Chicago… Rode around the stadium, saw the Goose Island Pub, locked the bike, and sat out on the patio for a noontime Wrigleyville White, with a lemon. Magnificent. Got back on the bike. Rode back. I doubt I had two better hours on the entire vacation.
Aren’t you happy for me?! I got to relax and drink pussy beers during the day! TELL ME YOU AREN’T LIVING VICARIOUSLY THROUGH MY VARIOUS LEISURELY EXPLOITS.
5. Experiencing Target Field… Had walleye on a stick. That’s a white fish, for those of you scoring at home.
Weird walleye fact: Hitler’s favorite fish. Never knew that.
Tasty, flaky, fresh.
EASY BREEZY BEAUTIFUL COVER GIRL
6.And the best meal of a vacation…
…that took us to Trieste, Vienna, New York, Chicago and Minneapolis came in … Montclair, N.J.
Get ready for it.
I’ve blown smoke at Osteria Giotto on Midland Avenue in Montclair a few times…
We’re almost at the nutmeg nugget. Just a bit of starfucking before we get there…
…like the time I took Brandon Jacobs of the Giants there two nights before the Giants and Pack played in the NFC Championship Game
So close, I can almost taste the nutmegginess.
It was great to see old friends and to have my annual piece of said lasagna (it’s perfect — not overwhelmingly heavy, but with some different spices, like nutmeg)
7 . Drinking Peroni at an outdoor café on the city square of Trieste, on two very hot afternoons. All I can say about that is I am a lucky man.
/hears Albert Breer’s head explode
8. Reading. Got the ESPN book read.
Kinda sad Judge Judy wasn’t featured in it anywhere.
Lots of knowledge in the book, but I can’t help but think some of the real cornerstone players who’ve been there for the last two decades or so — Chris Mortensen, Sal Paolantonio — really got short-shrifted in the story of why ESPN has become so omnipresent. It’s guys like Mort who made ESPN appointment television for people who love sports and need the knowledge.
So true. I’ll never forget the day Mort told me that Red McCombs was going to fire Dennis Green unless he doesn’t. It was that kind of halfassed reporting and regurgitating of other people’s reports that has made ESPN what it is today.
10. Watching Casablanca. And a whole lot of other junk that had nothing to do with football.
SO GLAD YOU DID NOTHING, PETER. And now you can finally get back to football!
I tweeted my ranking of the ballparks last week…
Or not. Do you even know what football is at this point?
1. Fenway Park (Red Sox) — Too cramped, but it’s my ballpark-away-from-home.
OW-AH STADIUM MAY BE A PIECE OF SHIT BUT IT IS OW-AH PIECE OF SHIT AND ONLY WE CAN UNDAHSTAND THAT!
4. (tie) Target Field (Twins) — What views. What food. Try the Veggie Kabob.
8. Dodger Stadium (Dodgers) — Park’s fine. Feel of a Perry Mason episode. Real L.A.
I’ll never forget all those Perry Mason episodes that took place at Dodger Stadium.
29. Dolphins Stadium (Marlins) — If I could put it 32nd, I would. Depressing place.
And why such shitty coffee, Harvey Greene?!
3. I think I doubt Brett Favre would come back to play another year of football, though if he’s going to back up anyone anywhere, it would be Mike Vick in Philadelphia…I believe it will not happen. But we shall see.
Will he come back? I say no. But there are some circumstances where I could say yes. SORT OF. Will it happen? I DON’T KNOW. Will Brett Favre become a glowing vampire that rips us all from crotch to chin and eats us all? POSSIBLY. I DON’T KNOW BECAUSE I’M WATCHING JUDGE JUDY RIGHT NOW.
I’m not a TV programmer, but a note to NFLNet: Fans hate Brett Favre right now.
I can’t believe it. Actual clarity. Like an Alzheimer’s patient snapping out of it for just a second before the brainclouds come rolling back in.
Sometimes I honestly think TV does more damage to Favre than Favre does to Favre.
See what I mean? We’re back in the fog again. For real, TV people. STOP HURTING BRETT FAVRE, WHO CLEARLY DOESN’T TRY AND INFLUENCE MASS COVERAGE OF HIS DAILY AFFAIRS.
I’d be surprised if Seattle antes up two years for Hasselbeck. I think they’ll go with someone else, someone young and able to develop, like former Viking Tavaris Jackson.
/gives Ufford a long hug
In what will certainly make Sirius XM NFL Radio boss Steve Cohen deliriously happy, a man approached me while in line for the breakfast buffet one morning at our hotel in Vienna. “I guess this means you won’t be on Sirius this morning,” he said.
And that’s a shame, because I count on you being on Sirius to deliver me all the very best imaginary NFL information.
Another fellow came up to me in Venice and said how much he liked that I took the Acela up and down the East Coast. “So do I,” I said.
Awesome story. NEEDS MORE YOGI.
Thanks to my four pinch-hitters for this column while I was gone… Al Michaels summed up the importance of football to us — and had the best travel notes in the recent history of this column.
And really, isn’t that what you come to this column for? No one travelogues like Al Michaels. If there’s one person you want telling the world he won’t accept anything less than a Four Seasons on his expensed trips, it’s Al Michaels.
f. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to take it when Curb Your Enthusiasm ends after a 10-episode season. Only. The more Funkhauser the better. And if you’re like me, you can’t wait to see Bill Buckner late in the season.
Only thing that would make the show perfect? You guessed it: NARD DOG CAMEO.
h. Read the other day it’s been over 100 degrees in Wichita Falls, Texas, for 31 straight days.
i. But it’s a dry heat.
j. And there is your weekly
X. bullet point disaster.
I love the way they make and serve coffee in Vienna. We tried Café Sperl (I heard it was Adolf Hitler’s preferred place at one point of his life)…
Gotta love that Hitler coffee! Much better than that shit coffee they made at the Anne Frank house. Maybe if you people hadn’t spent so much time in the attic, you would have learned to froth milk properly.
and ordered Melange — essentially a latte, with frothed milk in a small cup — with no sugar or flavoring.
Weird Hitler fact: He didn’t like his coffee with strawberry syrup, the way I do! WEIRD.
It came served with a roll and a glass of water. Everywhere in Vienna water is served with coffee; never asked why, but the dehydrating elements of espresso make it a smart idea.
“Hi, I’m Peter King and I lack the ability to recognize that I just answered my own question.”
It was so good I had to have a second.
You might say it was Hitlerriffic.
And a third. We buzzed around the city for a very long walk after that.
Because nothing brightens your day like a good fresh cup of Hitler.