Tag Archives: saints

2010 NFC South Preview, by Bobby Cox

With the NFL season about to kickoff, Scratchbomb has asked a few luminaries to give us their takes on the upcoming football season. Next up, soon-to-be-retired Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox.

bobbycox.jpgOh, Jesus H. Fuck, ump! You gotta be shitting me! That was a god damn strike! Get the dicks out of your eyes!

/mumbles incoherently for ten minutes

They’re fuckin us big time today, Leo. They are fucking us like cheap whores, and they don’t even have the common god damn courtesy to pay for it.

Who does Valentine have warming up in the bullpen? Cook? Mahomes? I’m gonna send up Howard Battle, so he’ll burn Cook, then swap him out for Ryan Klesko. That son of a bitch won’t know what hit him.

Unless he brings in Wendell. Fuck almighty, hadn’t thought of that.

Hey Leo, get Avery up in the bullpen. I don’t care if his god damn arm is on fire! Get him warmed up, for fuck’s sake!

Whaddya mean Avery’s retired?! Fine, get up Russ Springer, Terry Mulholland, Mark Wohlers, and some other guy warmed up then.

Roger, who’s Roger? You? Since when are you named Roger, Leo?

The NFC South? Shitballs, I dunno. The Saints won last year, didn’t they? Put some money on the Saints then. I like that Reggie Bush feller. And Archie Manning, he’s a good’un.

Christ on a washline, ump! That was a strike! I mean a ball, it was a ball, for fuck-on-fire’s sake!

/umpire ejects him

Jesus, these umps got rabbit ears these days. Can’t hardly question their sexuality without getting rung up. If anyone needs me, I’ll be in my office, watchin my stories.

Up the Middle with Skitch Hanson: Saints and Sinners (But Mostly Saints)

We welcome back Skitch Hanson to the Scratchbomb pages. You may know him from his nationally syndicated sports column, “Up the Middle”. You may have also seen him on the ESPN roundtable discussion show, Mouth-Talkers! Or you may have read one of his 79 books, such as The Greatest Game You Never Saw and Possibly Didn’t Happen at All. Without further ado, here’s Skitch to talk about The Big Game.

Are there any more exciting words in the Sports Universe than “Super Bowl”? Not to this reporter! Except maybe “free buffet” or “case dismissed”. There is no word too big to describe this event. Any newspaper man worth his salt, regardless of beat, must be there to take in the whole spectacle.

Sadly, my editor does not agree with that point of view. He thought my talents were better served trying to write a Super Bowl-related human interest story. “The farther away from Miami, the better,” he said. I guess he’s still peeved at me for what I did the last time I was in Miami for The Big Game.

As you may recall, that was a historic game that pitted two African-American coaches against one another for the first time in Super Bowl history. During the first Media Day press conference, I asked Lovie Smith if he beat Tony Dungy and the Colts, would that be considered Black-on-Black Crime? Some people took offense, but I think Lovie thought it was great. He even ran after me with his arms extended, his fingers grasping toward my throat, as if trying to give me a hug!

I protested my editor’s decision, but there was no budging him. Sometimes, talking to him is like trying to get a word edgewise with my wife! Except my editor doesn’t chuck whiskey bottles at me!

aints.jpgSo I thought to myself, who would make a good human interest story for this Super Bowl? I can’t go to Miami, so that eliminates any of the players actually participating in it. So how about players from the past? And who better to interview than ex-Saints players? Men who had to endure The Aints Years, decades of futility and embarrassment and golden tights.

Unfortunately, other folks had beaten me to the punch. I know it’s hard to believe such an ingenious idea had already been taken by several dozen reporters, but it’s true! By the time I started my research, nearly every person who’d ever put on a New Orleans uniform had already been profiled in one paper or another.

The more obvious targets were not an option anyway. Archie Manning won’t speak to me after that time I accidentally shocked him with a pocket tape recorder and burned off all his hair (look, it grew back, didn’t it, Archie?). And that kicker with the club foot refused to speak to me because I couldn’t remember his name. But even the most obscure former Saints had already been taken by other writers.

The whole process was slow going, because I still do my research the old fashioned way: with a whole lot of elbow grease and shoe leather! And asking the secretary at the office where I can find some out-of-town phone books. The internet may be faster, but it can’t make up for a determined, old school reporter. Plus, the last time I tried to look up something on the internet, I destroyed my computer. If a hard drive can break so easily, it doesn’t sound so “hard” to me! Unless you’re talking about the price to fix it, because that was definitely hard on my wallet, since the newspaper deducted the cost from my paycheck.

Finally, I found a forgotten tight end named Tommy Smith. He was drafted in the third round by New Orleans back in 1987, but never played a single down in the NFL, and retired from the league a few years later.

What a story! Can you imagine the frustration of not being to able to play for one of football’s worst teams? What torture must this man have endured? How did it feel to get so close to his dream and yet still be so far away? Did he lay awake at night thinking of what might have been? And also, how is the postgame spread at The Superdome? Because I’ve heard mixed things.

So I visited Tommy Smith at his home in Abilene, Texas, a ramshackle little cottage on the edge of town. He had an old Chevy up on blocks, and a few sickly dogs running around his weed-filled backyard. It was certainly a hardscrabble existence for Mr. Tommy Smith since leaving the glory of the NFL, if this was his home.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t his home. Turns out it was the home of a Tommy Smith, but not the Tommy Smith I was looking for. In retrospect, I had little evidence I was visiting the right address, or even the right town. But to be fair, I had no evidence that I wasn’t.

The Tommy Smith I found was a shirtless, bearded man who told me to go away because he was too busy “tweakin'”, then used a few words that I can’t reprint in a family newspaper. I asked him who he was rooting for in the Super Bowl, and I think he said “Colts”, but it might have been a burp. Then he slammed his screen door on my fingers and threatened to grab his shotugun.

Still, I think there’s a valuable lesson in here for all of us. My journey to Abilene was a lot like the journey the Saints took to get to the Super Bowl. Years of missteps and blunders and testing the patience of their fans, who wondered if they’d ever pull themselves together. But lo and behold, the Saints have made it to the Super Bowl, and are one big step away from Valhalla.

I did not exactly succeed in my quest to find Tommy Smith, but I did succeed in not getting shot by a meth-crazed indigent. And in a way, I’ve made it to my own Valhalla. A small town named Valhalla, Texas, that is, and its Fresh-Aire Motel on beautiful route 27. They have wi-fi at only $17 a night, and an Applebee’s right across the street. Jackpot!

If there’s another lesson here from the story of me and Saints, it’s this: don’t be too hasty. Stay slow and steady, and success will come. You don’t have to go chasing after the first name that resembles that of the man you’re looking for, especially if that first name is found in a police report.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I hear a Super Bowl calling me–a super bowl of Russian dressing to accompany my bloomin’ onion, that is!

Joe and Troy Tell it Like it Is

buck2.jpgWe’re into the waning seconds of regulation in the NFC championship game, all tied at 28, the Vikings have the ball, and they are on the precipice of field goal range. Now…wait a second, Minnesota just received a penalty for 12 men in the huddle. That will cost them five yards of precious field position.
aikman.jpgJoe, that’s because Brett Favre is so focused on the game. A lesser quarterback might have noticed there were too many players on the field, but Brett has a one track mind, which is what you really need in a winning quarterback.
buck2.jpgI agree, Troy. Now the Vikings will try to get back into field range. Favre drops back, he’s got some room to scramble, but he decides to throw for some reason, and the pass is picked off by Tracy Porter. Do you think that was a good decision, Troy?
aikman.jpgAbsolutely, Joe. What you saw there was Brett Favre trying to make the big play. He thought he could bounce a pass right off of Porter’s helmet and into Bernard Berrian’s arms. That kind of circus catch would have taken the wind right out of the Saints’ sails. It didn’t work out, but you can not blame Brett for trying. You simply CAN NOT.
buck2.jpgIndeed, Troy. Brett Favre is not to blame here. Not for anything, ever. But that pick means we go into overtime. New Orleans wins the coin toss, so they will receive and try to drive down the field for the winning score.
aikman.jpgWatch Brett Favre watching the game on the sideline. That is the way a true champion sits and watches. Head up, looking at the action. Not to the side, or above or below, but at the action.
buck2.jpgYou wanna talk about a champion watcher, Brett Favre is every bit of that. Oh, and Garrett Hartley nails a 40-yard field goal to win the game for the Saints. Now, Brett Favre will rise from the bench and head down the tunnel into the locker room.
aikman.jpgThis is a player who KNOWS how to walk into a locker room. One foot in front of the other. We are watching a professional.
buck2.jpgIt is just a joy to watch him walk. He walks like a little kid out there! And now he’s in the locker room, and he’s taking his socks off. And he’s placed one of his socks on his right hand, and he’s talking to it. And now the sock is “talking” back to him, like a puppet.
aikman.jpgAgain, this shows leadership. I don’t know any other QB in the NFL who can talk to his socks like that. He is truly greater than Jesus.
buck2.jpgNow he’s popped the top off of a AA battery with his brute strength, and he’s pouring the battery acid down his throat. Do you think that was a good decision, Troy?
aikman.jpgI do, Joe. Most coaches in this league will tell you they don’t want their QBs ingesting caustic chemicals, as would most doctors and rational human beings. But Brett Favre didn’t get this far by listening to the so-called experts.
buck2.jpgWe’ll take a break. When we come back, live coverage of Brett Favre lying on the floor, convulsing and foaming at the mouth. And if we have time, a few shots of the team that is technically going to the Super Bowl.