Baseball picksMarch 21, 2008

One day, one sport and one ugly fish

We are only a couple of weeks into the MLB spring-training season and there have already been a couple of headlining stories concerning the Evil Empire – yes the New York Yankees. Normally, I wouldn’t consider anything that happens during spring training news, but ok, this story really got me thinking. Sorry to disappoint, but it wasn’t the brawl that got my noodle cranking.

No, it was the Yankees new addition that grabbed my attention when they signed tenured rookie (and by tenured I mean old) Billy Crystal to a one-game contract my ears perked right up.

DISCLAIMER: I am not going to get into the slippery slope of why I think it is bad to sign celebrities to play professional sports. (See also: Garth Brooks’ San Diego Padres career or Master P’s run at the NBA). But in the spirit of summer daydreaming I began to drift away thinking about what pro sport I would like to participate in for one day if given the opportunity. 


Right away I ruled out playing basketball on any higher a level than pee-wee. From what I understand, the NBA picks you and not t’other way ‘round, so at 5’9” with a body type closer to Danny DeVito than to Danny Ainge, I know David Stern wouldn’t be knocking down my door to sign my credit-card hops.

Then I thought about taking a few snaps from center on a NFL roster. Then I quickly remembered how NFL players treat each other in so called “exhibition games,” and realized that I enjoyed all of my limbs in present working order, so I can rule out my years handling NFL expert picks landing me a gig as the Saints starting QB – if even for a day.

Unlike Billy, I would not pick playing in MLB, nor would the MLB pick me, as it would be embarrassing for the league to sign a player that was afraid of the ball.

Nope, not tennis either. Too much side-to-side running. Soccer? No way, just too much damn running. I guess while I am at it I can rule out the other country-club sports like golf – hay fever – and as tempting as it would be to make horse racing picks from the back of “War Pass” flying down the backstretch, I am afraid my allergies to the equine, hay and alfalfa would keep me at the OTB, unless horses run on Astroturf and wear bio-hazard suits.

Putting my irrational ichthyophobia (Google it) aside, the sport that I would want to participate in for just one day is the classic struggle between man and fish, that’s right – I would be a Bass Master! But not your typical camouflage wearing, hip-wader sporting top angler. No, my appearance on the money-for-fish circuit would be epic.

I would be the Dennis Rodman of bass fishing. First of all I would spend the day on the lake in a custom, hot pink bass boat with a kick-ass sound system and the Pussycat Dolls hired on as my deckhands (do the masters of bass even get deckhands?). I would make my sponsors Crown Royal and Red stripe and Power Bait because as we all know, you can’t spend a day on the lake without copious amounts of booze and salmon eggs.

The spectacle I would make of myself would be enough to send shockwaves through the rest of the sporting world about what could go wrong when they start making exemptions and hiring civilians to compete at the highest level their sport has to offer.

My domination of the sport of bass angling as a complete novice (I mean, how hard can it be to out smart a freakin’ fish?) would make any commissioner cringe at the thought of subjecting the sanctity of their sport by throwing an unqualified jerk in the mix without the discipline, talent and tenacity to get there on their own.

Even if I didn’t win, the commissioner of bass fishing doesn’t want headlines about a drunken amateur falling into the lake with a moistened Pussycat to ruin the morning session. And if I did win, no one really wants to see the headline: “J. Mesa – expert fisherman, master baiter.”

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