Packers (+3) over BILLS
Only because I'm excited for the whole "the Packers are 4-4, Favre is back" scenario that I spelled out last week.
Hey, speaking of aging icons who need to hang it up, how 'bout Bob Barker announcing his retirement this week?!?!?!?!? We lose Red Auerbach, Mr. Eko and Bob Barker in the same week? I can't wait for the week to be over. Anyway, I have three thoughts on this one ...
1. Replacing Bob Barker is going to be like replacing Dean Smith or Vince Lombardi ... why even try? They could replace him with Jerry Seinfeld and people wouldn't be happy. It's a disaster in the making. Just cancel the show. It's the only way.
2. Two years ago, my parents were visiting and we had dinner at a restaurant in Santa Monica ... and wouldn't you know it? Bob was eating about three tables away with three other people who looked to be a combined 350 years old. So when the check came, Bob handled the check, only he noticed something that seemed off, so he called the waiter over and the two of them spent about 30 seconds going over something in the bill. And the whole time, my family was restraining me from screaming stuff like, "Lower! Lower!" and "I'm telling you, the price is NOT right!" And you wonder why I still live in California.
3. My buddy Gus and I have had a running joke since forever -- any time someone dies, retires or gets traded who meant something to the other guy, we'll either call or e-mail just to ask, "How was the So-and-So Era for you?" And usually, that's followed by a response like, "It was great -- thoroughly enjoyed it" or "A little disappointing, I really thought he would be an All-Star." So here was Gus' response to my "How was the Bob Barker Era for you?" e-mail last week, which somehow summed everything up:
"It's in my top five all-time eras. I mean who gave me more enjoyment than that guy? I scheduled college classes around being able to watch the show. He could make the putt every time. He had the beauties and he showed men everywhere that going gray was not a big deal. He and Gene Rayburn made the long mic fashionable well after most hosts gave it up. He was funny and charming. Quite an era, indeed."
(Of course, I would have added, "And he even banged a couple of the Showcase models in his '70s!" ... but Gus is much classier than me.)
Yeah, I know I keep talking about Bill Simmons but I think a lot of people just tune out sports writing and treat it as a sub genre. He overdoes the same tropes occasionally but is still a solid and funny writer/analyst from a fan's perspective and he roots for Red Sox and Patriots. If he was a Yankee fan nobody would read him. Yankee fans have no sense of humor. The rest of his weekly NFL picks column including why he hates the Colts and the commercially ubiquitous Peyton Manning is here. This year he has a running competition with his wife (Sport's Gal) picking teams with the spread and she is currently in the lead. She also gets space to for a weekly rant/rave. Good stuff. Red Sox fans need to buy or at least read his book, Now I Can Die in Peace: How ESPN's Sports Guy Found Salvation, with a Little Help from Nomar, Pedro, Shawshank, and the 2004 Red Sox .
I am heading to Phoenix to visit some friends and to get the hell out of this hotel for a day or so.