'One Man's Trash': A brilliant bit of television

March 7, 2021


Upon recommendation of Film Crit Hulk, I recently watched the episode of The Chris Gethard Show titled “One Man’s Trash”, available in its entirety on YouTube. You don’t need to know anything about Gethard or the show, which, despite airing in the mid 2010s, is a very 90s-MTV-ish zany comedic variety/talk show (I was aware of him, but hadn’t seen much of his material before). You don’t need to know anything about the guests, Paul Scheer and Jason Mantzoukas, though you may recognize them from their extensive bodies of work.

Hulk’s post suggests the episode is a classic because of the sheer energy Gethard, Scheer, Mantzoukas, and other participants bring to the proceedings, which garners big laughs. And it’s true those guys overflow with jokes upon jokes. But I think the genius of the episode is that, confined to a single room, with a live audience and a bunch of callers, it’s a master class in improvisational comedy blended with a dramatic arc.

The state of preparing to compete has no predefined end point

February 25, 2021


Many people have written thoughtfully and righteously about Kevin Mather, the now-former President and CEO of the Seattle Mariners, publicly denigrating players in the organization and openly admitting to service time manipulation. In some respects, it’s amazing he said such racist crap on video, and yet those of us who have paid even scant attention to the business side of Major League Baseball over the past decade shouldn’t have been surprised that someone would slip up and admit the obvious, that these days winning baseball games is still part of MLB teams’ purpose, but it’s nowhere near as important to their existence as it used to be.

There's nothing to understand about MLB's minor league power grab

February 17, 2021


On February 12, Major League Baseball announced its final minor league realignment plans, tweeting out a news release and chart showing the new arrangements of Low-A, High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A clubs in newly-formed minor leagues with generic names (i.e.: available for naming sponsorships). It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the stated logic for the realignment doesn’t make much sense, even when taken on its own terms.

‘Wishful thinking. Most people will never learn the game of basketball…’

February 8, 2021

A brief note before we get to the main topic… I’m launching a new project next week, writing about a fictional NBA expansion team called the Pittsburgh Pierogies. You may have come across something similar before, but I’m planning to take it somewhere very different. Read the introduction, and be sure to subscribe to the mailing list so you don’t miss any entries — it’ll be published exclusively via email.


In 2014, Ken Arneson, a baseball blogger I’ve followed for more than a decade and a half, wrote a piece I’ve pondered ever since. Titled “10 Things I Believe About Baseball Without Evidence”, after I read it, I had a distinct feeling that it expressed thoughts I already had but couldn’t articulate, even to myself.

What the Super Bowl means

January 31, 2021


My earliest Super Bowl memory — one I’m not even sure actually happened — is of going to a party at a family friend’s house in January 1990, for the 49ers-Broncos game. I didn’t care a whit about the game, or the commercials, and I don’t think there were any other kids there other than my toddler brother, so my main memory is of the adults’ mirth growing in proportion to the 49ers’ lead, and that there was a lot of beer.

Protecting my child from my Internet Brain Rot

January 24, 2021


If you have a kindergartener in your home as I do, you’re likely aware of the Ryan’s World YouTube channel. Perhaps you’re also aware of J-House, Tic Tac Toy, or any number of other channels in which a well-groomed, outgoing, loud family with young children films themselves doing “challenges” or opening toys or playing in the backyard of their four-bedroom house or going on vacation, and presents the videos as aspirational lifestyle infotainment for children.

There’s always been garbage on television, and garbage books, and garbage music, all with garbage messages for children, so I’m not about to suggest this stuff is particularly harmful, even if I wish YouTube would do more to promote accountability for stuff people post as children’s entertainment. But the thing I keep thinking whenever I see these parents pointing the camera at their children and prodding them to perform is, “Thank God I was a kid before my parents could be tempted to do that.”

A thought on the future of U.S. national team fandom

January 17, 2021


There’s a video from 2010 I think about a lot that shows a variety of Americans’ reactions to Landon Donovan scoring his last-second goal against Algeria in that year’s World Cup.

I was in an office in Charlotte, North Carolina, where I worked for a sports media company. Perhaps my memory is fogged by time and what I wish it to be, but I remember a bunch of us were gathered around a television, watching the end of the game.