Friday, April 24, 2015

Ranking the rants

The NFL has released its 2015 schedule, which means there'll be a lot of excited yammer today about OH MY GOD THE PACKERS ARE PLAYING THE BEARS and HEY LOOK THE SEAHAWKS ARE PLAYING THE 49ERS.

In other words: Today is the day the NFL proves yet again that it not only moves the needle, it is the needle. Where else in Sports Land could it be major news that the same teams that were in the league last year are going to play each other again this year?

Thanks, but the Blob will pass. We'd much rather talk about Cincinnati Reds' manager Bryan Price's epic rant the other day, which is still raining random f-bomb fallout on large parts of Montana and the Dakotas.

Oh, look. Another one just fell right the eff on an effing cow.

You don't hear a guy go on for five minutes and drop 77 f-bombs every day, and so the natural instinct now is to determine where Price's tantrum fits in a historical context. Using a completely random and startlingly unscientific method (i.e., the It's This Way 'Cause I Say So Method), here is how the Blob fits Price into the all-time list:

1. Lee Elia, Cubs

Still the reigning champeen. Its neatly lyric cadence ("my effin' ass") and obvious fury is enhanced by the fact that Elia so enthusiastically touched the third rail of sports, i.e., the fans. It's one thing to go after the media/your players/the game officials. It's another to go after Joe Blow skipping work to sit  in left field with an Old Style in his fist and hopelessly unrequited love in his heart.

Big brass ones there, Mr. Elia.

2.   Hal McRae, Royals

Not so much a rant as a tantrum, this one narrowly beats out Price for two reasons: 1) Its complete and unapologetic 3-year-old-in-a-sandbox ambience, and 2) the fact that physical damage was involved.

Dropping f-bombs is one thing. But when you can't truthfully say No Phones Were Harmed In The Making Of This Rant ... that's gold, Jerry. Gold!

3. Bryan Price, Reds

It wasn't just the f-bombs, lightly garnished at first and then applied with a slowly building and ultimately  zany heavy hand. It was what Price was ranting about -- which was, in essence, a reporter simply doing his job.

Every ink-stained wretch who's ever covered a team takes it on faith that the team he covers believes he's there to wave pompons and wear a cheerleader skirt. This is compounded, in this day of corporate pseudo-journalism, by the fact that some "reporters" readily accept the fanboy role because their bosses believe it's good for business. Numerous embarrassing examples exist.

So perhaps Price could be forgiven for not getting that the people who cover the team aren't there to serve the team.  They're there to break news. But Price takes that cluelessness to a whole new level. Well done.

4. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State.

Again, it's not the just the rant that sets this one apart. It's the fact that what set it off was a relatively innocuous column about one of Gundy's quarterbacks. The amount of overreaction is always the measure of any meltdown, and Gundy is right up there in that category.

And then there's the sheer timelessness of it. If you Google "I'm a man, I'm 40," Gundy's name and a video of his rant will pop up. It's his signature line now, just like "Four score and seven years ago" is Abraham Lincoln's.

Well, OK. So not just like.

5. Jim Mora, Colts.

Speaking of timelessness ... is there any single line from an NFL postgame that has the enduring shelf life of "Playoffs? Playoffs?!"

Quick story: Some years back, when he was covering the Colts, one of my colleagues, Justin Cohn, downloaded "Playoffs? Playoffs?!"  into his phone as a ringtone. One day, standing on the sidelines during training camp, his phone went off. Several heads immediately snapped around.

"Is that Jim Mora?" someone asked.

Now that's immortality.

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