When we last left angry beaver Peter King, he was telling us that his dog knows famous people. Peter also recommended a bunch of baseball books that are good despite being about things other than baseball. He also vowed to one day return to the pleasurable remoteness of Montana. Sorry, Montana.
It’s Peter’s last column before his regular month-long vacation from his usual routine of taking shorter vacations and doing nothing. Man’s gotta recharge, y’know. PK will have guest writers for the next four weeks. As usual, they’ll be far more illuminating and insightful than Peter ever is, and therefore not as fun to tear apart, so we’ll go with Klassic King Kolumns instead.
Anyway, what about this week? Are Jim McMahon’s head injuries just more misbehaving? Where does the Brian Banks story come from? Is it from space? Should we send the dumb scientists from Prometheus to investigate? READ ON.
Much news for what’s normally a sleepy Monday in June
Nothing gets you going like an energizing dose of wake-up nuggets. More potent than any energy drink. Though I assume if Thundermuscle were real, it would have a nugget flavor profile.
but let’s start the last Monday column before I take my summer break with some numbers from the amazing career of LaDainian Tomlinson, who will announce his retirement today in San Diego.
Whoa whoa whoa, we’ve diving directly into football discussion? No six-paragraph primer on the history of people taking vacations or some random sad news article PK read in the New York Times? He must need a break.
Who do we consider the best all-purpose backs of the last 30 years?
Marion Butts, of course. He led the league in purpose-ology.
Well, three players prominent in the conversation are Marcus Allen, Marshall Faulk and Tomlinson. I’ll take Tomlinson in history over Allen and argue that Tomlinson and Faulk should be 1 and 1a as the most versatile modern backs.
Shocking that Peter couldn’t commit to one player over another. I wish he was in charge of compiling the NFL’s Top 100 Players list.
“Coming in at 51b is a three-way tie between Shane Lechler, Victor Cruz and Vernon Davis. MAYBE.”
Top five versatile runners of the last 30 years? (Walter Payton not included, because seven of his 13 seasons came before 1982.)
Perfectly reasonable. That’s only about 54 percent of his career. A NON LEGITISH 54 PERCENT.
1. Faulk. Super Bowl win helps — plus the Super Bowl that New England based its entire game plan on stopping him.
2. Tomlinson. But it’s very, very close.
What happened to 1a? Who put the gun to PK’s head?
3. Thurman Thomas. His prime wasn’t quite as productive as Tomlinson’s, but great anyway.
4. Darren Sproles. State of the art today, and perfect in Saints offense.
5. Marcus Allen. Strange to put him behind Sproles, but Allen wasn’t as explosive.
If by strange you mean wrong, then yes, very strange. WEIRD, even.
I expect some angry grievers today on Park Avenue in New York.
Angry grievers? Didn’t that used to be a cartoon on Nickelodeon? I think you mean protesters. That’s a word that people use and everything.
Last week in Montana, I asked Goodell what he thinks the legacy of this bounty scandal will be. I didn’t run his answer in my column because it didn’t break new ground.
Certainly it was much more important to get Rog’s reaction to PK saying that the NFL gameday experience should be more like cricket, plus 4,000 words on shitty baseball books you should buy your dad.
But this is what he said: “I think what the bounty legacy will be is that it’s not part of football. There’s a rule that prohibits it. We obviously had a violation of it. We found it, dealt with it aggressively, and I don’t think it will happen again. I think it will help in that continuing effort to create the culture of safety that we want. I hope by the actions that have been taken here that the fact that we discovered it, and the fact that we penalized it with unprecedented discipline, and by the focus that it’s gotten, that people understand not to engage in that.”
Shorter Ginger Hammer: “We ended this thing that had been going on everywhere forever because it was gonna get us sued, so hopefully now we won’t get sued. Now dance, nugget monkey.”
On Friday, I spent an hour on the phone with Brian Banks, who, as one of the best high school football prospects in the country in 2002, at age 16, was convicted of raping a girl in a stairwell at their high school in Long Beach, Calif. Though there was never any physical DNA evidence connecting Banks to the crime, his attorney convinced him he could go to jail for decades, not years, if he pleaded not guilty and went to trial. Banks took a plea deal and went to prison for five years and two months, then served almost five more years under a form of near-house arrest before the girl recanted her story. On May 24, a judge set Banks free.
Today, Banks is in Santa Clara, Calif., trying out for the San Francisco 49ers in a three-day rookie minicamp as an inside linebacker and special teams player. This comes on the heels of tryouts with the Chiefs and Chargers, and a two-day minicamp trial with the Seahawks last week. It’s truly an amazing story, and will be even more amazing if one of the teams offers him an invitation to training camp as a member of the 90-man roster. Making a team, or even a practice squad? Hollywood stuff. Beyond Hollywood.
Like, Bollywood? I would like to see what they could do with a football movie. Actually, I wouldn’t. But it’s fun to imagine an overwrought song about a false rape claim for five seconds.
What impressed me so much about Banks is how bright and engaging he is
Is he, dare I say, precocious?
despite spending 10 formative years of his life away from formal education, and how he’s not bitter.
Just think how jaundiced Peter would be if he experienced any actual hardship in his life. “SEATTLE SHOULD DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS GODDAMN PRISON COFFEE! IT’S WORSE THAN THE RAPE!”
I asked Banks: “Isn’t prison tough on sex offenders? How’d you survive?”
“I am a very honest person,” he said. “Ask those who know me. But I lied about why I was in there. That’s the way I survived. Three things that there’s zero tolerance for in prison — child molesters, rapists, thieves. So I just told everybody I was in prison for a home invasion. I took the rap for a guy because I wouldn’t snitch on him, and through the grace of God, I never got found out.”
NFL scout: PLAYER IS OPENLY DISHONEST. RED FLAG. DO NOT SIGN.
And then, three days after he was declared innocent in May, his cell phone rang. The phone had been ringing steadily, and Banks didn’t answer. A minute later, the same 213 area code number came up on his caller ID. Banks answered it.
“I’m looking for a linebacker,” said a voice he didn’t recognize. “Know where I can find one?”
“Who is this?” Banks said.
“Coach Carroll,” Pete Carroll, who’d once recruited Banks to go to USC, said.
Just like in one of those Beyond Hollywood movies!
Jim McMahon’s a burr in the NFL’s saddle again.
I’m actually surprised that the NFL doesn’t sell officially licensed saddles. Give it time…
During practices leading up to Super Bowl XX in New Orleans 26 years ago, Jim McMahon once mooned a news helicopter. Once angry with commissioner Pete Rozelle for fining him $5,000 for wearing a headband with the “adidas” logo on it, McMahon got a plain white headband, wrote “ROZELLE” in block letters, and wore it in a game. Now he’s one of the estimated 2,500 former players or spouses of late former players suing the league for not doing enough to protect players from head trauma and concussions.
Ooh, that silly prankster Jim McMahon is back to his ol’ miscreant monkeyshines again. Look at him, getting debilitating conditions as a result of multiple head injuries. JUST TO GET A RISE OUT OF “THE MAN”, I BET!
Quote of the Week I
“There are a lot of role models. There just aren’t a lot of good ones.”
— Tim Tebow, speaking to a Father’s Day crowd at Qualcomm Stadium Sunday, according to U-T San Diego, on the state of sporting role models today.
There are a lot of people who exploit their faith for fame and personal gain. There just aren’t any that I’m allowed to shoot.
Quote of the Week II
“I think Sean [Payton] would be very, very proud with this coaching staff. I think Sean would be very, very proud of the job the support staff has done, from the trainers to equipment men to the cinematographers. When Sean left here there was one mandate: Do your job.”
— Saints interim coach Joe Vitt, as New Orleans’ OTA period ended last week.
Detailed instructions, Sean Payton gives them.
I’ve never heard of the so-called “unwritten rule” that claims if you’re trying to sneak an injured player through waivers that the other 31 teams should leave him alone. All’s fair in love and waivers.
Bald, paunchy middle management type: “GET YER HANDS OF HER! I WAS AHEAD OF YOU IN THE WAIVER CLAIM ORDER!”
Rakishly handsome playboy: “Pfft. All’s fair in love and waivers.”
3. A few of you have asked why the Patriots would even want Ballard, seeing that they already have two excellent tight ends in Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Well, the Patriots play two tight ends on nearly every offensive snap; last year, Gronkowski and Hernandez each played more than 1,000 offensive plays. You can’t count on them to stay healthy
So let’s get this other injured guy.
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me I
So I waited for Banks to call Friday. He was supposed to call early in the afternoon, but he didn’t, and I wondered if he’d forgotten. Finally, at 6:40 p.m. Eastern time, 3:40 in southern California, where he lives, Banks rang from his car. He sounded a little out of breath.
Turns out he’d been working out with Jay Glazer, the FOX analyst and mixed martial arts trainer, trying to make up for lost time in strength, speed and conditioning work.
“Bro, bro. Sucks that chick said you raped her when you didn’t. Blower, bro. But you still nailed her, right? Right? YYYEAAAHHHHH YOU DID! YOU GOT IT IN! Put ‘er up!
You know what you need to get right? MMA training, bro. Matt Leinart swears by it. And look at him. Okay, we’re gonna start with the rear naked choke. That sounds like a rape, dudn’t it? HAHAHAHA. But, no, seriously, it’s not rape. I don’t rape, bro.”
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me II
Did you hear the one about the man in South Dakota who murdered a high-school classmate 55 years after the classmate pulled a jockstrap over his head as a practical joke?
This sounds like a set-up to a joke. PK going dark.
Carl Ericsson, of Watertown, S.D., walked to the front door of the ex-classmate, Norman Johnson, and shot him twice. According to the Associated Press, Ericsson told the judge in the case in May that he guesses he shot him “because of something that happened over 50 years ago. It was apparently in my subconscious.”
That’s pretty much what PK would sound like if he murdered someone. “Something emotional. That’s what I went through. Must have been buried deep in my subconscious, I think. KIND OF. Crazyville.”
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
It’s hard to fathom, unless you’re there, the level of enmity the fine people of Seattle have for the departed Sonics-turned-Thunder. Walking around the city last Monday and Tuesday, I saw maybe a dozen people wearing T-shirts with the old Sonics logo — the skyline of Seattle, with the Space Needle — in green and gold Sonics colors, with the word “Robbed” underneath the logo. Seattle, in fact, might be rooting harder in this series for the Heat than the denizens of Miami. Amazing to hear the anger the city still feels over losing the basketball team to Oklahoma City.
PK says Seattle must quit stewing over the loss of its basketball team when there are hundreds of Starbucks baristas around the country who need correcting.
Tweet of the Week I
“Ever sit through a bad movie or read 200 pages of complete garbage & feel like you’ve just wasted a few hours of your life?”
— @scottfujita99, the former Saints and current Browns linebacker, apparently not impressed with the level of evidence in the 200 pages of documentation the NFL shared with the players who are appealing their bounty-related suspensions with commissioner Roger Goodell today.
Every Monday, Scott. Every Monday.
Tweet of the Week II
“Why baseball doesn’t have instant replay for plays at the plate is beyond me. It’s a scoring play. It takes two minutes. Just use it.”
— @richeisen, the NFL Network host, presumably after watching a bad call at home late in the 3-3 Yankees-Nationals game Saturday, extending the game from what should have been a nine-inning game to what became a 14-inning game. Say it, Rich.
Because baseball is a retarded sport beholden to hidebound traditions and it should probably just kill itself.
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think the football event of the weekend had to be the one organized by Champion Charities, founded by former Niners Harris Barton and Ronnie Lott, to raise money for brain tumor research and the First Tee Program of Northern California.
Wow, the football event of the jam-packed June 16-17 weekend. Lofty praise, that.
The organization got five Super Bowl MVP quarterbacks with Bay Area connections (Joe Montana, Tom Brady, Steve Young, Aaron Rodgers, Jim Plunkett) to meet for breakfast and tell stories, moderated by Bob Costas.
Oh fuck. Who invited Costas? He probably asked them all what they thought of Bob Gibson and how much they hate end zone dances. Fuck Bob Costas in the face.
Young revealed his offensive coordinator with the 49ers, Mike Shanahan, wanted him to throw for more touchdowns when he already had six against San Diego in that high-flying Super Bowl 17 years ago. Sounds like it was a great morning.
It’s funny because the Redskins scored like six touchdowns all last season.
3. I think these one-day contracts to retire as a member of some organization — as Tomlinson is doing today in San Diego — are just silly. Who cares where you retire? Now Chris Chambers wants to retire as a Dolphin. Why? Who cares?
That’s surprising. No one’s a sucker for empty gestures like Petey. “Kudos to you, Twitter, for doing a real time recap of the Titanic sinking. Touching. Beyond Hallmark.”
5. I think if your fantasy draft is tomorrow, you’d be smart to pick Isaac Redman ahead of Rashard Mendenhall, who is not ready to play football because of offseason knee surgery and should miss at least the first six games of the season.
Lofty advice. While you’re at it, don’t draft anyone on the PUP list. Don’t be deceived by the cutesy sounding acronym. PUP LIST BAD.
7. I think if I’m Andy Reid or Mike McCarthy, I’m calling Cleveland GM Tom Heckert and sending a 2013 sixth-rounder to Cleveland for McCoy.
GUUUUUUUHHHHH! That’s the worst hacky sportswriter sentence structure and you always see it. I think if I’m Peter King, I hate myself and am dead inside.
Perfect backup quarterback who, in time, might be good enough to start for your team for multiple seasons. Take out the tape of his game at Pittsburgh last season, before he got blasted by James Harrison, and tell me he doesn’t have the poise, decision-making and presence to have a chance to be a good player.
Sure, before Colt got laid out by Harrison his stat line was an underwhelming 13 of 23 for 172 yards and an interception, leading the Browns to all of three points in three quarters. BUT DID YOU SEE THE POISE!? By god, it was quasi-Nacho-esque poise in the face of sucking.
8. I think the good news from this offseason is that the momentum for the 18-game schedule has slowed to a crawl. In fact, I haven’t heard a word about it all offseason, and I think one of the only real proponents to play 18 is Roger Goodell. But if it surfaces again, the only way I’d back down from my anti-18 stance is if a rule were passed that the rosters would expand and the maximum games any player could play in a regular season would be 16.
That’s the worst idea ever.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. That’s one of the cutest things I’ve seen all year — Eli Manning, with daughter Ava in his left arm, throwing out the first pitch to David Wright at the Mets-Reds game Sunday. Manning, in a Mets No. 10 jersey … Ava in a lovely white dress. Now that’s a golden Father’s Day moment.
ZOMG SO KEWT HERE’S HOWIE ROSE WRITING 1,200 WORDS ABOUT IT METS METS METS MEET THE METS
b. If you hung with Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals until the end, and followed the postgame to NBC Sports Network, you saw a fairly poignant scene — Al Michaels in the stands at the Staples Center hugging and kissing his family after the Kings won the Cup. Now that’s not something you see very often: veteran play-by-play guy getting all mushy when his team in another sport wins. Cool sight.
Michaels followed it with a tender evening at the Four Seasons, which is where one simply must stay when one’s favorite team wins a championship. Even if the team does it in their home arena. Especially if they do. It is simply how things are done in proper society.
c. Well-deserved, Kings … 16 wins, 4 losses as the eighth seed, with one road loss in four playoff series. A fantastic job by the team that’s always been an afterthought in L.A.
Haha. What a shithead dig at the team that beat your guys. “Enjoy the title, even though you all don’t really care about the Kings.”
e. Hope you don’t go, Zach Parise; I really hope you stay a Devil in New Jersey. But if you leave in free agency, thanks for so many great nights of all-out hockey. You’re a winner.
Winning at losing, Zach Parise does.
j. If you want to see my star turn on the USA Network’s “Necessary Roughness” show (Wednesday, 10-11 p.m.), don’t blink. I’ll be on as a know-it-all TV football analyst — wow, life imitates art — and then again later in the season. I expect skyrocketing ratings Wednesday, readers.
ME! I’M ON TV! IN REAL AND FAKE LIFE. DOUBLE THREAT! SOON, IT WILL BE THE DUNGE WHO BRAGS TO PEOPLE THAT HE KNOWS MEEEEEE!
k. Someone hire exiled San Diego columnist Tim Sullivan, please. You’ll be ecstatic you did.
I hear there’s an opening in the field of “please someone edit this piece of shit MMQB column”.
l. I’m a fan of fellow Ohio U. Bobcat Thom Brennaman, and I have great fondness for his dad, Marty, one of the best baseball play-by-play men on the radio ever. (I listened to Marty for five years while living in Cincinnati, and he’s one of the great ones — most of you just don’t know him.)
I was watching the Mets and Reds Saturday night when Thom uttered these words about red-hot Joey Votto: “Over the last month, he has been virtually impossible to get out.”
Very hard, maybe.
But virtually impossible? In the previous month, between May 15 and June 15, Votto reached base 62 times. He made 60 outs. That’s scorching hot for a baseball player. But he was retired half the time, and reached base half the time. Virtually impossible to retire Votto would have meant reaching base, say, 110 times and making 12 outs. That’s never going to happen, obviously. I just felt Thom could have chosen his words better.
Way to truth squad some standard broadcaster hyperbole, asshole. We’ll be sure to remember that next time you mention that Peyton Manning leads the league in thoughts.
m. As I should on many occasions. I am Mr. Exaggerated Metaphor more often than not.
o. Bizarre Stat of the Baseball Season:
Nope. Don’t give a shit.
q. Is it just me, or was this U.S. Open all about players who missed shots and not about players who made them?
“Why is the news so negative? I saw this kid help an old lady cross the street. Why isn’t that on the front page? Probably because there is no front page because journalism is dying. WHY IS NO ONE TALKING ABOUT THE TIMES-PICAYUNE!? In closing: golf is fun, you really must get some PR exec to give you free tickets to The Masters.”
r. A shame I didn’t read Calico Joe by John Grisham before I did my Father’s Day book list last week. I read Grisham’s absolutely terrific baseball novel Friday night (in two and a half hours — it’s a breeze), and it was a home run.
THOM BRENNAMAN SAYS A HOME RUN IS ACHIEVED WHEN A BATTER HITS A BASEBALL OVER THE FENCE IN THE FIELD OF PLAY. A HOME RUN CANNOT BE ACCOMPLISHED THROUGH BOOK WRITING. BE MORE PRECISE WITH YOUR WORDS, FUCKSTICK
Also, yeah, your Father’s Day book list totally needed more fucking baseball drivel.
t. Coffeenerdness: Come to New York, Peet’s. Come on. You know you’ll kick tail here.
YOU CAN BUY IT IN THE GROCERY STORE, YOU FAT USELESS FUCK! IF THAT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH, MOVE TO THE FUCKING WEST COAST OR SHUT THE FUCK UP! PEET’S IS NOT BI-COASTAL LIKE TOM BRADY AND NEVER WILL BE! YOU MUST ACCEPT THE ONE TINY THING THAT DOESN’T GO YOUR WAY IN YOUR ABSURDLY CUSHY LIFE!
u. Beernerdness: In my short time in Seattle last week, I really was quite smitten with Georgetown Brewing Company products. I know everyone loves Manny’s Pale Ale, and it is well worth loving, but the Lucille India Pale Ale is the best thing they have on tap.
Glad to hear it. Now drink until you don’t wake up.