By In Stuff

48 Lessons From 48 Years

Here is the sum total of what I have learned in my first 48 years:

1. It’s “shovel pass” not shuffle and certainly not shuttle.

2. Abracadabra does not rhyme with “reach out and grab ya.”
(And don’t get me started on “Texas” and “Facts is.”)

3. The proper time to go for 2 is almost never.

4. The proper time to intentionally walk someone is almost never.

5. White chocolate is not chocolate.

6. You should never start a funny story by saying, “Here’s a funny story.”

7. You should never alert anyone before doing an impression.

8. And you should never repeat an impression.

9. Meryl Streep will get nominated for an Oscar if she happens to walk through your home movie by mistake.

10. First you pitch high and tight, then you go low and away.

11. You should watch “Princess Bride” every now and again.

12. “Junk of the Heart” is the happiest song ever recorded.

13. Time stops at kids’ swim meets.

14. After a certain point, the best news a doctor can give you at a physical is that things didn’t get a lot worse.

15. Football coaches are rarely idiots and even more rarely geniuses.

16. It’s not the representative’s fault your flight got canceled.

17. You don’t call a fastball a “speed-ball,” even in song lyrics.

18. Vin Scully is better at calling baseball than anyone is at doing anything.

19. The Godfather Part III never happened.

20. Those Jar Jar Binks Star Wars things never happened.

21. Game 7 of the 1997 World Series never happened.

22. You should take the slide if you ever go to the Great Wall of China.

23. “One for my Baby” is the saddest song ever recorded.

24. Sometimes, you really do have to tell your kids “because I said so.”

25. Elvin Hayes is the most underrated sports person ever.

26. Every American Chinese restaurant should have Beef Chow Fun. But they don’t.

27. George Bailey did live a wonderful life.

28. If the 16-0 Patriots could have traveled back in time, they would have beaten the 1972 Dolphins by 50.

29. Some dogs do.

30. You cannot drive more than 20 minutes while listening to any radio station without hearing a Taylor Swift song.

31. This is true even if you’re listening to a talk-radio station.

32. You should shoot 100 free throws every few months, just to get your percentage.

33. Rick and Louis hung out together for two weeks, drove each other nuts and went their separate ways.

34. An acre is 4,840 square yards.

35. Ozzy Osbourne’s real name is John, and Mick Jagger sang backup on “You’re So Vain.”

36. The best barbecue in the world is at Arthur Bryant’s, 1727 Brooklyn Ave., Kansas City, Mo.

37. Roger Maris was intentionally walked zero times the year he hit 61 home runs.

38. Barry Bonds was intentionally walked 120 times in his last MVP season.

39. Wilt Chamberlain averaged 48.5 minutes per game in the 1961-62 season though the regulation NBA game is 48 minutes.

40. If you ask people for help, they will probably help you.

41. Sometimes, you do get lucky in love.

42. You should talk to your dog every now and again, and tell him or her things you don’t tell anyone else.

43. Vitruvius didn’t get to finish what he wanted to tell Emmet … Because he died.

44. A friend offered me advice I’ve never forgotten: “Don’t get indicted.”

45. Someday a football announcer will say during a replay, “See no one was open and … oh wait, I was wrong, receivers were open all over the place.”

46. Someday I will go to the French Open.

47. Someday Cleveland will finally win.

48. When you live a lucky life, you don’t even know who to thank first. So it’s best to just thank everyone and call it a night.

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108 Responses to 48 Lessons From 48 Years

  1. MikeN says:

    Wilt’s 48.5 min per game was not a good thing. Other players knew he loved his record of never fouling out, so if he got some fouls they felt they could attack him with impunity.

    • EnzoHernandez11 says:

      Oh, come on. Maybe later in his career he tried hard to protect his never-fouled-out record. But not in 1962.

    • Wilt was The Man. Why would you not want The Man to play every minute possible. Even if he just stood by the basket it scared the other team to death. BTW: Every coach will tell key players with 4-5 fouls to not foul. You’re no good to the team on the bench.

    • invitro says:

      “Wilt’s 48.5 min per game was not a good thing.”

      I would be interested in seeing some evidence for this statement. I think it would be difficult, as Wilt was the best basketball player of all time in most games that he played in.

      • except when he played Russell and later Kareem. Both had better basketball IQ and knew that winning championships meant not playing every minute of every game and then some. I think the fact that it took Wilt 5 more years to win a championship and then another 5 after that for his second, showed that playing that many minutes was not that good of a thing for the team.

        • This ignores the fact that while Bill Russell played with several HOFers, the best player Wilt played with (before going to the Lakers) was Hal Greer. He also played wit Al Attles, Bob Weiss, Billy Cunningham and a bunch of other guys mainly known for their coaching careers. Alex Hannum did begat quite a coaching legacy. Despite that, he did get a championship at Philly and another one with the Lakers during his third year there. The Lakers were a snakebit team that usually made it to the finals and lost. Mostly against the Celtics. A lot of Laker fans attribute winning to Elgin Baylor’s score, never pass and forget defense game leaving for team oriented Jim McMillan, who played his position and deferred to Wilt, West and Goodrich. Probably he should have won more than once with that Laker team, for sure at least once more against NY in that Willis Reed game debacle….though Wilt shared that dubious legacy with West. But that win with Philly was all Wilt. Put Russell on that team instead of Wilt, and they win maybe 45 games. Maybe not.

          • Agreed he did carry the 76ers, but by that time he had figured out that he had to sacrifice minutes and his own scoring stats and play a team game. I’m not ignoring Russell’s HoF Celtics teammates I think he was better at making the most of them. Wilt didn’t seem to have that ability as consistently as indicated by his time with HoF teammates on the Lakers.

  2. Gordon Hewetson says:

    Start my search for Beef Chow Fun (#26) tomorrow. My heartbreak World Series were 1976, 1982 and 2001.

    • mrpinkfloyd71 says:

      My heartbreak World Series is 1997 (not a Clevelander but Omar is one of my all-time favorite players) and anytime the Yankees or the Dodgers win, but mostly the Yankees.

    • Bill Caffrey says:

      Hmm…I don’t know too many people who would view a 4-game sweep as a heartbreak. Also, how do you come to have 2 Yankees losses and a Brewers loss on here?

      • hewetson says:

        Yankees favorite team but I’m also an American League fan. Too young to remember 63 and 64 World Series so 76 was my first world series.That Milwaukee team had some great players – Yount, Molitor, Oglivie, Cooper, Thomas, and two players from the incredible A’s teams of the 71, 72 and 73 – Bando and Fingers.

  3. MCD says:

    Good list, but you misspelled “crappiest” in number 12.

  4. Dr. G says:

    49. Check Joe Blogs every so often, like when your kids are in the tub and your wife is watching them. It’s a good use of those precious free moments.

  5. Matt D. says:

    I didn’t know Ozzy’s real name was John! Happy birthday, Joe.

  6. winnipegdave says:

    It is probably true that it is almost never a good time for an intentional walk: baseball version. However, it is almost always a good time for an intentional walk: real life version. Walked home today from work with a -34 degree windchill but still thoroughly enjoyed the 30 minute walk.

  7. EnzoHernandez11 says:

    “Elvin Hayes is the most underrated sports person ever”

    Seriously? More underrated than Dwight Evans? More underrated than Darrell Evans? More underrated than Vince Evans? (OK, that last one was a stretch.)

    Elvin Hayes was the first star of my favorite childhood team, the San Diego Rockets, so I watched him from the beginning. Hayes was clearly talented, but it wasn’t the sort of talent that could transform a team the way Wes Unseld did with the Bullets, or Kareem did with the Bucks. Hayes didn’t win a ring until he teamed up with Unseld, and if anyone deserves the title of most underrated sports person, Unseld is the guy.

    • NevadaMark says:

      I don’t know about Wes. I saw him and followed him in his prime and he got a lot of favorable press. The announcers, if I remember, really liked his game. He actually may have been a bit overrated.

      As for the championship, that was a bit flukey; the Trailblazers would have been heavy favorites to win it all had Walton not broken his foot late in the season.

      • invitro says:

        Unseld is not just a bit overrated; he’s one of the most overrated NBA legends.

        My pick for most underrated Hall of Famer is Phil Niekro. Most underrated NBA should-be-legend: Manu Ginobili.

        • Yeah, every coach hates a guy that gets 14 rebounds/game… especially the years it’s more like 17/game.

        • EnzoHernandez11 says:

          I guess we can agree to disagree on this one. The year Unseld joined the Bullets, they improved by 21 games, from a .439 winning percentage to .695. They remained competitive for the next decade, going to four NBA finals and winning the championship once (yes, with Walton out, but still…). Sure, he had help, Earl Monroe first and then Hayes, but only Wilt and Kareem have ever been able to carry a team all by themselves. I agree that Unseld got a lot of attention back in the day (as did Hayes!), but his name barely comes up today in discussions about the top players of the 1970s.

          Another one that just occurred to me: Nate Thurmond. He was even underrated in his own time, mainly because he had the bad timing to show up during the Golden Age of Centers.

          • True. I thought, in those days, that everyone had a great center, and certainly centers dominated. Wilt, Kareem, Thurmond, Belamy, Unseld, Walton, Lanier, Cowens, Reed. These days teams hope to have a center that can take up space with a big body, match up reasonably well defensively against the few good centers & maybe knock down a jumper now and again.

          • invitro says:

            You may need to look more closely. WAS had a 36-46 record in 1968, and a 57-25 record in 1969. Thus the 21-game improvement. But half of this is luck. The expected W-L of the 1968 team is 40-42, and of the 1969 team is 51-31. This is a “true” 11-game improvement, which matches Unseld’s 10.8 WS for 1969.

            Now if the 1969 team was lucky by 6 games, you’d expect them to decline in 1970. And that’s just what they did, going 50-32. Then they went 42-40 in 1971, 38-44 in 1972, and finally got back to 50-32 in 1973. What happened in 1973? Elvin Hayes joined the team.

            Unseld was a fine player. He ranks #103 in NBA WS/48, which seems about right to me. What doesn’t seem right is getting on the 50-year anniversary team, or winning the MVP in 1969. The ELOmeter is a joke, but he’s overrated there, too, at #83.

            Unseld is about the same player as Bill Laimbeer.

            P.S. I think several other players have carried a team all by themselves. Now, we need to define this… does it mean that the team has no other Hall of Famers? Or no other all-stars? Or no other above-average players? I think I might argue that Dwight Howard carried the 2009 Orlando Magic to the NBA finals by himself. The next two players on that team were Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu. These three got 2800 minutes, no one else got 2000 minutes. Now Rashard was an all-star twice, and pretty seriously underrated, so I don’t know if this one works. Anyway, certainly LeBron carried some of those Cavs teams by himself?

          • NevadaMark says:

            E.H., Wes was a fine player but lets face it: the guy was 6’7″ and couldn’t jump higher than me. Fantastic rebounder and very good at subtle offensive skills (setting picks and passing) but not a scorer. Tried hard on defense but wasn’t slowing the great centers down. Put it this way, would you take Wes over Kareem, Wilt, Thurmond, McAdoo, Willis Reed, or Cowens?

            Again, a fine player, but not unfairly rated. I will say this though, the guy was a Winner with a capital W, no matter how much credit you want to give to his supporting cast (his teams made the playoffs his first 11 years in the league).

          • invitro says:

            I would take Unseld over Cowens, and absolutely over Thurmond. And over Walton if I wasn’t guaranteed Bill’s 1976-78 version.

          • invitro says:

            “Another one that just occurred to me: Nate Thurmond. He was even underrated in his own time, mainly because he had the bad timing to show up during the Golden Age of Centers.”

            Thurmond appears to be one of the more vastly OVERRATED players of the NBA. Now he was way before my time, and though I’ve read a fair bit of NBA history, I’m basing this on his stats.

            Thurmond’s WS/48 is a measly .104. This is a good starter, possible occasional All-Star, and no more. This appears to be mainly due to his FG%, which was an abysmal 42.1% (compare with Willis Reed’s 47.6%), combined with taking tons of shots (he’s #73 all-time in field goals missed). He was a genius on defense (#22 all-time in DWS), but looks like he was below replacement level on offense.

            His most comparable players per bb-r are Marcus Camby, Alvan Adams, and Zyd Ilgauskas.

            I’m curious if I missed something on Thurmond. But there is solid evidence that that many missed shots will kill a team.

          • EnzoHernandez11 says:

            I’m not really sure what to make of basketball win shares. If you look at the top 100 or so based on WS/48 minutes, you get some odd results. The first problem, of course, is that win shares are tied to wins, so there can be no adjustment for era. Thus, you get far too many players in the top 100 from the “white guys who took set shots” era before Russell and Wilt came along. It doesn’t take a lot of time watching film of the 1950’s NBA to realize that it was a different, and far inferior, game. Now, I know to some extent we have to compare players to their level of competition, and that today’s mediocre NBA team might well blow the doors off the 1965 Celtics, but the pre-Russell NBA is not even recognizable as modern basketball.

            Second, I remain unconvinced that we’ve yet figured out how to assign credit for all the moving parts that go along with the sport. In some sense, baseball is obviously the easiest game to analyze because it is, in the main, a sport of individual–rather than team–accomplishment. In baseball, you can’t hurt your team by getting four hits in a game, but in basketball, you actually can hurt your team by scoring 25 points. We talk about selfish baseball players, but the harm they do is typically minimal; selfish basketball players can destroy a team single-handedly.

            And then there’s defense. How do account for intimidation, for shots not taken, for offensive schemes rendered impotent? I believe that the WS method underrates players like Unseld and Thurmond. Bill Russell only comes in at #23, and he played on big winners throughout his career. Bill Walton doesn’t even crack the top 250 (though there may be some floor on games/minutes played).

            According to WS/48, the #55 player of all time is Chet Walker. I used to love watching Chet Walker with those never-quite-good-enough Bulls teams. But there’s no way that Baltimore would have taken Walker straight up for Unseld (#103), and I very much doubt that San Francisco would have given up Thurmond to get him.

            I’m not putting Unseld or Thurmond on par with Wilt, Reed, or Russell (less sure about Cowens or McAdoo). And it’s true that Thurmond’s FG% probably did hurt the team. But as much as I hate talking about intangibles and David Eckstein-style “winners” in baseball (because our understanding of the numbers is so much better), I think it does make more sense when looking at the NBA, at least for now.

            Sorry for the long screed here. Maybe I’m just trying to rationalize what I believe to be true. But the Warriors with Thurmond (and Rick Barry) were a consistently good team, as were the Bullets with Unseld (and Hayes).

          • invitro says:

            I like your long screed!

            “I’m not really sure what to make of basketball win shares. If you look at the top 100 or so based on WS/48 minutes, you get some odd results. The first problem, of course, is that win shares are tied to wins, so there can be no adjustment for era. Thus, you get far too many players in the top 100 from the “white guys who took set shots” era before Russell and Wilt came along.”

            This is the same situation as in baseball, isn’t it? WAR is tied to wins. WAR doesn’t attempt to adjust for era, which is a good thing as the correct adjustment is (I think) not known, or debated. In any case, it’s immaterial in comparing Thurmond to Reed or Unseld or his other comtemporaries.

            (Aside: there were black players that took set shots in the few years of integrated NBA before Russell and Wilt. I don’t know if whites were even more likely to take set shots than blacks. (See: http://www.johnchristgau.com/originsofthejumpshot/originsofthejumpshot.html for a start on this research.) I think the first black players were indeed better players than the average white player of that time, but not all were. Anyway… I think your statement would be more accurate if you removed “white”.)

            “Second, I remain unconvinced that we’ve yet figured out how to assign credit for all the moving parts that go along with the sport. In some sense, baseball is obviously the easiest game to analyze because it is, in the main, a sport of individual–rather than team–accomplishment.”

            I absolutely agree with this. But my philosophy of sports stats is to not disregard a stat just because it’s imperfect, or even if it’s seriously incomplete. (Perhaps such a stat should be trusted less, though.) I think WS and WS/48 are the best single stats for NBA players available, on bb-ref anyway. (Note: some of their new ones that are based on +/- seem flawed enough to be well just flat-out broken and worthless.)

            But it’s very well-known that a low FG% combined with many shots (or just missed shots, I guess) will kill your offense. So if you object to WS, it should be enough just to point at Thurmond’s missed shots.

            “In baseball, you can’t hurt your team by getting four hits in a game, but in basketball, you actually can hurt your team by scoring 25 points. We talk about selfish baseball players, but the harm they do is typically minimal; selfish basketball players can destroy a team single-handedly.”

            Even by -averaging- 25 points. Kobe Bryant is averaging 25 this season, but has -0.3 OWS. (I don’t know what replacement level OWS/48 is, but it’s gotta be higher than zero.) Yet he’ll be a starting All-Star, and not many (?) fans will question this.

            While I’m being picky, I’ll say that “selfish” is really the wrong word. There was never a player as selfish as Michael Jordan. Being selfish is not bad if you can make your shots. Maybe “high-volume, low-percentage shooters can (and will) destroy a basketball team single-handedly.”

            “And then there’s defense. How do account for intimidation, for shots not taken, for offensive schemes rendered impotent? I believe that the WS method underrates players like Unseld and Thurmond.”

            WS is supposed to attempt to account for all of these things, by using team defensive stats as a factor. I think! Surely it is very rough in this area, though.

            “Bill Russell only comes in at #23, and he played on big winners throughout his career. Bill Walton doesn’t even crack the top 250 (though there may be some floor on games/minutes played).”

            It’s not that… Walton was a great player only from 1976-78, and a below-average starter when he was with SDC/LAC. And even his peak is probably overrated.

            I don’t know if Russell at #23 is accurate or way low. I’d like to know the details about how WS uses the Celtics’ team defense stats of those years.

            “But as much as I hate talking about intangibles and David Eckstein-style “winners” in baseball (because our understanding of the numbers is so much better), I think it does make more sense when looking at the NBA, at least for now.”

            I agree with you! There is no doubt that WS measures less important stuff in basketball than WAR measures in baseball. I think there are some pretty exciting stuff being done with the motion-capture or movement tracker database stuff or whatever it’s called.

            “But the Warriors with Thurmond (and Rick Barry) were a consistently good team,”

            True. They were much better with Barry or Wilt. The seasons without either and with Thurmond were:

            1964-65 (half the season): 6-30 without Wilt (11-33 with him)
            1967-68: 43-39, lost West finals; Thurmond out 1/3 of the season; highest WS/48 = Rudy LaRusso
            1968-69: 41-41, lost West semis; highest WS/48 = Jeff Mullins
            1969-70: 30-52, no playoffs; Thurmond out half the season
            1970-71: 41-41, lost West semis; highest WS/48 = Jerry Lucas (Jeff Mullins 2nd)
            1971-72: 51-31, lost West semis; highest WS/48 = Jeff Mullins

            So even in these seasons, Mullins was about equal to, or a little better than, Thurmond. (It looks like Mullins declined more in the playoffs than Thurmond.) Anyway, this looks like an average team.

            “as were the Bullets with Unseld (and Hayes).”

            Good on average, but not consistent… the Bullets were 57-25, 50-32, 42-40, and 38-44 in Unseld’s first four years, before Hayes arrived.

          • EnzoHernandez11 says:

            Invitro, enjoying the conversation (NevadaMark, too). A few quick responses:

            1. “This is the same situation as in baseball, isn’t it? WAR is tied to wins. WAR doesn’t attempt to adjust for era, which is a good thing…”

            You’re right, it is the same old thing. And I guess I’m falling victim to the “baseball is timeless” fallacy, but I look at film from, say, the ’62-’65 Dodgers and I think, “Yeah, Koufax, Drysdale, Willie and Tommy Davis, Roseboro…these guys would be competitive today.” Then I look at the early 60s Celtics and think, “Man, this team is…slow. Today’s Suns would blow them off the court.” Could it be that the arc of history bends more sharply for some sports than others? I don’t know.

            2. Also correct: 1950s NBA included quite a few fine black players. FWIW, the first five names “cluttering” up the leader board for WS/48 are Johnston, Macauley, Schayes, Petit, and Arizin. (Mikan’s career must have been too short, because his WS/48 would put him at #3 all time, despite an abysmal FG%.).

            3. You’re right about FG% in general. And 42% for a center of that—or any other—era is not good at all. My estimation of Thurmond has been diminished (sorry, Nate). On the other hand, Unseld is over 50%, so I’m still on Team Wes.

            4. Right about MJ and selfishness. If you’re Michael Jordan, you are free to be selfish. Kobe and World B. Free are better examples of the damage that selfishness, or whatever we wish to call it, can do to a team. It’s funny, because I always felt like the Erving-Dawkins-Free-McGinnis 76ers, translated to baseball, where they all had to wait their turn to bat, would have been the Big Red Machine. Of course, if we translated their defense to baseball, we’re probably looking at a 5.50 ERA and an .850 fielding percentage.

            5. As for basketball WAR, and maybe it’s just selection bias on my part (well, of course it is, but maybe there’s some validity anyhow), but it does seem like centers with reputations for defensive prowess and intimidating styles, especially from the era when that was the gold standard, do poorly. It could be that we overrated them; or it could be that WAR has some sort of systematic bias built in. And it’s still hard for me to swallow the idea that—without adjusting for era—there were 22 bigger “winners” than Russell. (And I’m comfortable with Wilt being ranked above him. Give Wilt Red Auerbach and the 1960s wing of the Basketball Hall of Fame, and he would have spent retirement bragging about all his rings, rather than all his conquests.)

            6. I’ve already conceded to a large degree on Thurmond, and obviously, Barry and Wilt were better (not so sure about Mullins). But I will stick to my guns that Wes>>Elvin. And that’s without even exploring Hayes’s reputation as a locker room cancer and a choke artist.

        • invitro says:

          And I suppose it goes without saying, but the most overrated NBA legend is Kobe Bryant.

          • The most overrated NBA legend is Wilt. Bryant still got 5 titles and 2 Finals MVPs carrying back to back Laker teams. Wilt, only 2 and a liability in crunch time due to both his later fear of fouling out and horrendous free throw shooting.

          • gogiggs says:

            The most overrated NBA legend is Michael Jordan and it’s not particularly close.
            It’s not hard to excel when you’re allowed to push off and travel and you go to the line any time someone looks at you funny.

          • mrpinkfloyd71 says:

            Jordan overrated? That’s rich

  8. NevadaMark says:

    According to Wilt himself, he played in every minute of the 1962 season except for a few minutes in a game he was ejected from for fighting.

    Elvin Hayes? I haven’t seen his name in 20 years. He’s not underrated; he’s not rated at all.

  9. winnipegdave says:

    Happiest song for me is either Come Fly With Me or Shall We Dance.
    Saddest song is Blame It On My Youth.

    • Johnny B says:

      Saddest song is “Death Letter” by Son House:

      ~I packed up my suitcase and I took off down the road
      When I got there she was layin’ on the cooling board
      It looked like ten thousand people standing around the burial ground
      I didn’t know I loved her till they began to let her down~

      Happiest? Maybe “The Rain the Park & other things” by the Cowsills.

  10. casper says:

    Happiest song: ‘Happy Talk’: Rodgers & Hammerstein, South Pacific
    Saddest song: ‘This Nearly Was Mine’, same.

  11. Tim says:

    49. Where’s the big hall of fame post? 🙁

  12. KHAZAD says:

    #45 will never happen

  13. Venu says:

    Happy birthday Joe

  14. Glory days is a great song. But you’re right, Joe, Springsteen really hit a clinker when he used the word “speedball.” Why not just “He could throw that fastball by you…” ? Maybe Bruce meant something else.

  15. Marc Schneider says:

    Totally agree with 17 and 33. “Speedball?” It wasn’t even necessary for a rhyme. Rick and Louis would probably fall for the same woman, fight over her, and end their friendship. (Something else I always wondered about the movie-why would a grown become indifferent to whether the Nazis take over the world simply because a woman dumped him?)

    • Chris H says:

      “Speedball” isn’t necessary for a rhyme, but in its (Bruce’s) defense, it was necessary for the sound of the word. At least, better for the sound of the word than “fastball” would have been. There’s a combination of vowel sounds in that line that’s almost like prelingual grunting. “ohh-ahhh-eeeh-aaah-iiihya” (sorry for my poor transliteration). It clangs off the ear of any baseball fan, but it’s good rock and roll, and it captures the essence of men driven by primordial urges. If that’s not reading too much into it.

  16. yazmon says:

    Joe, I’ve no bones to pick on any of these items but one and that one is just a personal like. When I was 12, I devoured all the Hardy Boys books I could find in the school library. There I found the old Mel Martin series baseball stories and other baseball and other sports stories written for boys my age. This was in the early sixties and many of these books were written long before I was born. One of the things I loved about these books was what I considered to be the old time language they used. The Hardy Boys that were written about in the twenties rode motorbikes, motorboats and motorcars. The bad guys were crooks and thugs and the boy, sleuths. In the early baseball books a fastball was a speedball. When Springsteen wrote that particular lyric I just assumed he had read the old books too or came from a neighborhood that continued the old phrases.

  17. mrpinkfloyd71 says:

    I thought that you being a big “The Office” fan on #44 you would’ve quoted Dwight retelling Michael Scott’s biggest advice to him: “Don’t be an idiot”

  18. invitro says:

    Happiest song: “More than a Feeling” by Boston.
    Saddest song: “Heroin” by the Velvet Underground.

  19. thoughtsandsox says:

    Joe – I agree with almost everything you write but on this one thing you are not even close.

    23. “One for my Baby” is NOT the saddest song ever recorded.

    The saddest song ever is Tears in Heaven – Eric Clapton

  20. Josh says:

    Joe, call Bob Ryan if you really think Elvin Hayes is underrated. I think he would have a different report for you, and Bob has forgotten more about basketball than either of us has learned.

  21. Andy says:

    THESE: #21 and #47.
    It was nice for Leyland to get a ring though.

  22. Peter says:

    Number 18.

  23. Great rules. Comments, which I put here although nobody cares what I think, nor should they:

    9. Streep would deserve the nomination.

    18. Vin is probably better at doing the play-by-play of dinner than anybody else is at anything else.

    30. Thank God for NPR.

  24. Worn Silver says:

    I think any serious observer agrees with you, Peter and everyone–#18 is spot on. “Alone Again (Naturally),” Gilbert O’Sullivan gets my vote. Bouncy tune, horrific message, juxtaposed.

  25. John Leavy says:

    Dear Joe:

    If you’re going to tee off on Steve Miller for lines that don’t really rhyme, it would behoove you to admit that:

    1. “At my high school” doesn’t rhyme with “there was nothing you could do.”
    2. “Dog that’s been beat too much” doesn’t rhyme with “covering up.”
    3. “Mary’s dress waves” doesn’t rhyme with “the radio plays.”
    4. “Dreams and visions” doesn’t rhyme with “Strap your hands cross my engines.”

    Just saying.

  26. John Leavy says:

    One last thing: the saddest song ever written or recorded is “And the Band Played Waltzing Mathilda.” It was written by Eric Bogle, but my favorite version was by Ronnie Drew of the Dubliners.

  27. Tom says:

    How about scariest movie for a father with daughter’s. “Taken” The premise of that movie gives me nightmares….

    • It plays on the emotions. But really? Kidnapping an American girl tourist into white slavery in Europe? When has that happened? Human traffickers prey on women runaways and those that won’t have anyone really looking for them. Kidnapping someone who will be looked for aggressively is bad for business. And Europe is not some lawless backwater. Set that movie in Uganda, and maybe it’s plausible. Enjoyed the movie, but it’s Hollywood. Not a likely scenario. Skip the nightmares.

      • NevadaMark says:

        To say nothing of the fact that Liam Neeson killed about 50 people without so much as an inquiry.

      • Marc Schneider says:

        It’s a silly plot but, let’s be honest, there’s more here than just an action movie. The idea of a pretty white girl being kidnapped for sexual slavery is obviously intended for some sexual titillation. I think it’s a bit naïve to not think that’s part of the equation. It’s just another way of using sex, even obliquely, to market movies.

  28. Hardy says:

    Jon Miller doing his impression of Vin Scully calling baseball is as good as Vin Scully calling baseball.

  29. Greg Tamblyn says:

    Bryants is not only the best, it’s the best DEAL.

    Thanks, and did you know birthdays are good for you?

    The more you have, the longer you live.

    Have a lot more, Joe.

  30. Harvey Hecht says:

    Got to agree Gilbert O’Sullivan’s “Alone Again (Naturally)” is the saddest song. A huge Jack Buck fan–many great calls,–my favorite “Go Crazy Folks.” Used to think “I don’t believe what I just saw” was one of the greats until I heard Scully’s version. Even better.
    If you’ve never heard Buck and Shannon on the first at bat of Peter LaCock, I hope you can find it somewhere.

  31. Dave says:

    Big thumbs up on 22 and (especially) 28. Well done.

  32. Harvey Hecht says:

    And yes for for Arthur Bryant’s (even a mural of Buck O’Neill, a bust of Charlie Parker, and a lamp post of “12th St and Vine” (“Going to Kansas City”–the actual intersection doesn’t exist.

  33. NevadaMark says:

    Saddest song: “Honey” by Bobby Goldsboro.

  34. I agree with most. Can’t believe you left off a Skyline Chili reference, and Mike Emrick is better at his job than Vin is at his.

  35. Richard says:

    A sad song: “There Were Roses”

    • John Leavy says:

      Oh God, that’s a great choice- a heartbreaking true story from “the Troubles” in Northern Ireland. .. There are a lot of great versions, but I like Kathy Mattea’s.

  36. AM. says:

    Joe, truly you have a dizzying intellect.

    Happy birthday.

  37. AndyL says:

    Happiest songs for me:

    Walking on Sunshine (Katrina & the Waves
    Sugar, Sugar (The Archies)
    I’m a Believer (The Monkees)

    • My happiest
      Beatles – good day sunshine or here comes the sun
      Stevie Ray vaughan – pride and joy
      Norman greenbaum – spirit in the sky
      Rolling Stones – let’s spend the night together
      Dwight yoakam – this time

    • Herb Smith says:

      AndyL, you beat me on the Katrina & the Waves call. And those other two radiate pure joy, also. From that same era, Happy Together ain’t exactly a weeper either.

      From my rough and rowdy days, What I Like About You was peppy, rockin’, and even featured a blaring harmonica solo; but the real reason I associate it with fun is because it was the most played song at parties and clubs in the ’80’s. And even the shy girls would get up to dance.

  38. Luis says:

    I can live with “More than a feeling” as the happiest song, but my nominee would be Pink Floyd’s Learning To Fly.

    Saddest song? REM’s Evebody Hurts. Love this song.

  39. Tim says:

    Happiest song is “what I got” by sublime and saddest is “wake up” by mad season (maybe staley on vocals)

  40. EnzoHernandez11 says:

    Happiest song (going obscure here): Beautiful Sunday by Daniel Boone from the early 70s. Less obscure, I would echo the folks who chose Here Comes the Sun.

    Saddest song has to be country. I’ll go with He Stopped Loving Her Today (George Jones) or Yesterday When I Was Young (Roy Clark). Someone mentioned Alone Again Naturally, and I thought about that one, too, but I think that the bouncy arrangement totally undermines the lyrics.

    • Gordon hewetson says:

      Sad country songs
      Linda Rondstadt-I never will marry
      Emmylou Harris – calling my children home
      Dwight Yoakam – lonesome roads
      Johnny cash – drive on
      Merle haggard-today I started loving you again

      • EnzoHernandez11 says:

        Yes, Merle! He deserves his own wing in the Sad Songs Hall of Fame. Your selection is a fine one, and I would add, “If We Make it Through December”.

  41. Chris McClinch says:

    If you’re going to throw country songs out there, how about Kiss an Angel Good Morning by Charlie Pride for happiest song?

  42. Kathy says:

    Snuggies are the best As Seen on TV product ever.

  43. Unvenfurth says:

    I’m partial to Walking on Sunshine and Ernie Harwell

  44. Eric C says:

    Happy Birthday! May you have 48 more

  45. james says:

    Happy Song

    Happy Hour by the Housemartins

  46. Pete Ridges says:

    Happy Song

    Well, there’s always “Happy Song” by Delirious, especially the live version. It does what it says on the tin.

  47. Matt says:

    There are so many upbeat and wonderful songs that it’s hard to choose. But for me there will never be a more mournful dirge than the haunting sound of a lone bugle playing Taps.

  48. Herb Smith says:

    AndyL, you beat me on the Katrina & the Waves call. And those other two radiate pure joy, also. From that same era, Happy Together ain’t exactly a weeper either.

    From my rough and rowdy days, What I Like About You was peppy, rockin’, and even featured a blaring harmonica solo; but the real reason I associate it with fun is because it was the most played song at parties and clubs in the ’80′s. And even the shy girls would get up to dance.

  49. Brad says:

    Arthur Bryant’s is a fine institution, but give me BBQ from Guy and Mae’s Tavern in Williamsburg, KS any day. LC’s in Blue Springs is pretty decent also.

  50. Herb Smith says:

    I have to assume that Joe is referring to Elvin Hayes’s off-court accomplishments, whatever they may be. If anything, he was over-rated as a hoop star (well, at least in college). Great player, though.

    Yeah, Niekro is underrated, but such is the life of a knuckler. In fact, he probably considers himself a very lucky guy; because of a weird little trick-pitch, he got to live the life of a major-league star for well over two decades. He didn’t even have to deal with pain/agony and constant injuries that 99% of all pitchers deal with. (btw, I hope I worded that properly; please don’t think I’m ragging on the Neek, who’s one of my all-time favorite ballplayers.)

    Whitaker is certainly in the underrated HOF. Here’s one that is not usually discussed: most underrated stone-cold superstar/inner-circle HOFer. Sixth on the all-time list in WAR (and still in the Top Ten even if you include pitchers, ie Cy Young, the Big Train, and Clemens). Managed a long-suffering franchise to their first World Series victory, and after 114 years, there has only been one other. 3,000 hits? Shoot, yeah, by a mile. .300/.400/.500 for a 22-year career? Heck, those numbers are practically an insult. The all-time leader in one of the game’s most basic categories.

    Yet he’s practically a nonentity in any baseball discussion of the greats.

    • Dave says:

      Herb, I cannot for the life of me figure out who you’re talking about. Who is this?

    • AJ Taylor says:

      Tris Speaker. As a Red Sox fan I deeply lament their trading him away in his prime over a lousy salary dispute.

      His problem as far as not appearing as an all-time great is pretty clear: being an exact contemporary of Ty Cobb and clearly not being quite as great as the Georgia Peach (although Speaker has his advantages, such as defense and not being quite as much of a pain in the butt). Thus, even those he’s probably the #4 CF and one of the top 10-15 players of all time, he’s just written out in any discussion of the all-time greats.

  51. Brian says:

    How about rhyming “I said, “Do you speak-a my language?” /He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich? Sandwich and Language, really?

  52. BDC says:

    You’re not like dying or something are ya?

  53. John Leavy says:

    The worst rhyme of all time came from Ricki Lee Jones, in the song “Danny’s All-Star Joint,” in which she wrote (I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP!):

    Downstairs at Danny’s all-star joint
    They got a juke box that goes ‘doyt, doyt.’

    I mean… what the heck is THAT??? She couldn’t come up with a word that rhymed with “joint,” so she made up an onomatopoeic word (“doyt doyt”?????) that STILL doesn’t rhyme!!!!

  54. Tampa Mike says:

    “Never get involved in a land war in Asia” – but only slightly less well-known is this: “Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line”!!!!!

  55. whatacrocker says:

    Not a single lesson about how to help rehabilitate a pedophile-enabler? Or does that get its own 48-item list?

  56. Andy says:

    Is there going to be any Hall of Fame articles? Does anyone know if they were published somewhere else?

  57. Steve Adey says:

    49 Late is better than never and I will not waste any more time writing about any sport other than baseball.

  58. ssiknaf says:

    obviously listening to the wrong radio stations. Never heard one of Swift’s garbagefests…

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