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Got Mail?

Since it has been nothing but baseball here at Not in HD headquarters for the entire month of May, it is high time that I do a little spring cleaning of my inbox, fulfilling my Got Mail? duties by answering your questions about sports not confined to a bat, ball and four bases.

(Also, we have another huge baseball feature coming next week, so I thought it would be nice to give you something non-baseball related first. Without revealing too much, but rather just enough to whet your appetite; our readers deemed The History of Sports Fantasy Draft a fantastical experience and demanded another. So we created a spin-off idea, with the theme being baseball. You have been forewarned.)

As always, if you would like to crack the next mailbag, send questions, comments or insults here. The more junk you stuff my inbox with, the greater the likelihood that I get off my rump (see: writing new editions of the Mariners Corner blog, stop) and answer your questions.

We have a lot to get to. Let’s begin…

Britton Dennis, NotinHd.com

I am going to get so sick of hearing about LeBron this summer.

Ben: I decided to cheat and lead off the column with a comment Britton shot my way about a week ago. And it is a completely accurate and understandable view for a vast majority of basketball fans. Especially fans of good teams (like Britton’s Lakers).

The will-he-stay-or-go LeBron saga is going to be like that “Summer of George” Seinfeld episode, where Costanza keeps telling everyone how awesome his summer is going to be, only he ends up slipping on an invitation, falling down a flight of stairs – breaking fifty bones in his body in the process – and finding himself laid up in a hospital all summer… only times about a hundred, for fans of any team without the cap space to sign LeBron, Wade or any other marquee free agent.

I’m not saying fans of teams not named Cavs/Clippers/Bulls/Knicks/Nets/Heat won’t be interested in the potential destinations of the league’s free agent stars, but it pretty much ends there. Wake them up when it’s all over.

The ESPN Bottom Line ticker, which jumps from topic to topic, typically, is going to be permanently stuck on ‘LeBron‘ prompting thousands of flat-screens to end up with that sticky residue left by tape, from people trying to banish the ticker from their screen’s existence. If you plan on being one of these fans, I highly recommend being nice to your TV and going with blue tape. It doesn’t leave as much of that cruddy stick afterward.


Is there any stink worse than that which the Magic left on their home floor after Games 1 and 2 in the Conference Finals?

Ben: You mean other than the stink Cleveland left for their own fans?

(I still can’t believe fans booed them after Game 5, with LeBron’s future hanging in doubt, much like the final loose button-thread hanging on for dear life, stubbornly maintaining the strength to hold your pants up, but BARELY. One false move and you have a potential catastrophe.)

Actually, yes. I do know of a stink worse than both of those. It is the one emitting from the guy who just took a seat next to me on the second floor of the Borders I am currently at. It is really bad. It is hold-your-breath bad. It is homeless guy who hasn’t bathed in a month, walking past you on a breezy day bad. This shameless sucker looks like a normal dude too. He is wearing Asics sneakers (which appear to be new), jean shorts and a regular pullover sweatshirt. Maybe he is homeless, maybe he isn’t. But he is REALLY REALLY smelly. Totally ruining my good vibes.

Which begs the question: Am I allowed to just get up and move in a situation like this? Or do I have to push through the pain, suffering through it?

There is an open seat roughly five feet to my left, directly under an air vent pointed away from smelly man. Would it be socially acceptable for me to treat him like he just passed gas, glance his way, scrunch my face into a disapproving sneer and walk over to the other seat? Or would I have to pick up my stuff, take a few spins around the store, pretending to browse interesting potential reads before becoming “disinterested” in my “quest” randomly taking the first seat – definitely far away from this guy – I find? Or do I just pick an opportune moment when he is looking the other way and try to discreetly slide into the other chair, hoping he doesn’t notice that I am now twice as far away from him?

It’s a pickle for sure.

My gut tells me everyone around, including the guy soaked with stench, would see through my shenanigans and be offended by all of those scenarios. Which means I have to sit here and man-up. This sucks. I swear I can actually see the B.O. rising from his clothes in vapor form, like Pigpen from Charlie Brown.

Adrian Gonzalez, SD

I read your Twenty Truths column you know. You owe my team a heart-felt apology. You said we wouldn’t win more than 65-70 games. Well, through only 40, my Pads have already won 24. We are going to destroy your erroneous prediction.

Ben: I admit things don’t look to good for that truth. San Diego in first almost makes me want to chew on the smelly Borders guy’s sweaty pullover. ALMOST.

But there’s still time! And besides, that is only one of twenty preseason predictions, several of which look great thus far: Kershaw’s win total, a former star caught using PEDs (Edison Volquez), Lackey stinking (ERA nearly at 5.oo), Power Wheels running like mad, Halladay winning the Cy, the Red Sox missing the playoffs, the Cubbies having problems and many others.

(Please don’t mention my Mariners or Strasburg predictions. I will have to play darts with your face using icicles as my flying objects of choice, should you ignore my plea.)

Floyd Landis,

I’d like to apologize for using PEDs to make me good at a sport everyone stopped caring about once Lance Armstrong retired. Oh and by the way, Lance used too.

Your thoughts?

Ben: I honestly forgot you were alive. Sorry Floyd.

Jason, Newark

We will forever remember Tuesday, May 18, 2010 as the day the Nets lost out on not just John Wall and Evan Turner, but LeBron James as well.

Sad day.

Ben: I actually said the same thing as soon as I saw the lottery results. Think about it. LeBron COULD have had Wall, Devin Harris (or whoever he would be traded for), Brook Lopez’s toy collection and potentially another big free agent, to help lure him in. But without Wall, there’s no chance. He meant that much to the equation.

Random LeBron tangent: In preparation for the NBA lottery on Tuesday, I was wasting time pretending the Clippers had a shot at the No. 1 or 2 pick, by playing ESPN’s NBA Draft Lottery Machine, when I realized something: ESPN should create a LeBron Lottery Machine. We can even give teams odds: Chicago and Cleveland would get the best odds at 25% and 23%, New York, Los Angeles and Miami coming in next at reasonable odds, 17%, 13% and 12% respectively, the Nets following at 7%, with the lottery rounded out by a few of long-shots at 1% apiece – Phoenix, Dallas and Toronto.

(Can you imagine Toronto fans obsessively refreshing the page every 20 seconds, for hours on end psychotically hoping for an insanely lucky result, faces looking crazier and more determined than Jack Nicholson in the, “Here’s Johnny!” scene from The Shining? Classic I tell you. That thought amuses me immensely.)

Don’t tell me you wouldn’t waste at least an hour or so playing the LeBron Lottery Machine. Well, if you are a fan of one of those teams anyway. If not, seeing it might make you pee on your computer out of rage.


I just took an upper-decker in the guest bathroom… You should come check it out.

Ben: Don’t worry MacGruber, I will. Next week, you and me buddy.

By the by, if this movie had been around when I was 17 or so, I almost definitely would have been influenced into the sheer joy of trying out the upper-decker move at someone’s party. You know, if I had gone to parties. More than likely I would have done it at a friend’s house, gotten caught by his parents, who would have told mine, causing me to be grounded for a year. LAME.

But it’s a great thought anyway.

One does wonder about the actual logistics though. Assuming you are a minimum of 160 pounds (and possibly a lot more), standing on the bowl’s closed lid, to hover over the top compartment – in which business is about to be done – would cause a great deal of stress on the lid, likely causing it to either break or worse, slide to one side sending you flying off the pot in the process. You would have to have a really high quality porcelain lid, not some cheap plastic one like most toilets come equipped with. PLUS unless you are some ridiculous gymnast, you would need a conveniently hung towel rack to hold onto for balance sake. And it would have to be bolted TIGHT, lest the whole losing your balance and crashing down into your tub thing.

I just spent WAY too much time thinking that through.

Totally worth it though.

(*UPDATED: After publishing this column, Britton and I saw MacGruber on opening night. We nearly walked out halfway through. It was a sad effort by Will Forte and everyone else involved in the production of this film. Spare yourself the agony of watching it, because once you do, there’s no going back. Instead, just close your eyes and imagine your own MacGruber scenes. I do not doubt you’ll enjoy that experience significantly more. That is all.)

Brian, Los Angeles

I’m sure you’ve heard of Bill Simmons’ Celtics chants Twitter feed. Brilliant idea or incredibly lame?

Ben: It’s probably both. This was bound to happen sooner or later, Simmons just happened to get out in front of it by using his mega-high profile to kick-start the idea.

His idea shows what is both great and terrible about Twitter. It can be used to immediately unify people, but not always in good ways. Really, how is tweeting crowd chants any different from using a jumbo-tron for tedious MAKE-SOME-NOISE! instructions? The funny part about Simmons being involved, is that he has always been adamant about how certain crowds (*COUGH – BOSTON CROWDS – COUGH*) are better and more intelligent than others, not needing video screens giving them prompts, to impact a game.

Simmons is just feeding the American beast, making us look dumber than ever.

I’m not saying it isn’t an effective tool, just that it makes him and the people participating look like incompetent lemmings, incapable of thinking up their own taunts.

Thanks for the great questions folks. Keep them coming. I’ll do another Got Mail? real soon.

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