|11:32 Post Meridian, April 23, 2007
What I heard this afternoon has the potential to blow all of your minds. After Mark Martin threatened similar cranial trauma a year ago and his announcement turned out to be that he was driving in the fucking Craftsman Truck Series, I'm sure you're prepared to be underwhelmed. But seriously, this is worth reading about.
Let's back up a lot of steps, though. It's Super Bowl Week and the buzz around "It's Tecmo Season" is getting pretty palpable. Media from Bangkok and other far less awesomely named places are descending on Philadelphia to cover what promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime event. They're claiming it's going to be annual, but I'm calling bullshit on that right now because this thing was supposed to be over in the spring of 2005 and here we are two popes later and this season still isn't finished.
Anyway, I was in the offices of Leonardite.com last week and we had an administrative meeting on who should go and cover the thing. Obviously this was necessary since the website had the "It's Tecmo Season" media rights and equally obviously it was me that was chosen since I was the only one present at headquarters, which also houses my clothes, textbooks, and bed. Before I knew it, I was heading to the city of Brotherly Love.
In the meantime, I checked into my hotel and with the Philadelphia weather being beautiful at this time of year, I couldn't wait to take a dip in the pool. As the attached picture of my temporary residence shows, I was treated to the nicest swimming area in Philadelphia. While the tetanus in the deep end was a bit troubling at first, I learned to appreciate the softness of the mattresses in the shallow end very quickly.
While I was practicing my breaststroke on top of an old armoire, I bumped into another gentleman by accident. Before long, we were on top of the Sealys in the three-feet discussing the "It's Tecmo Season" campaign. Turns out he was in from Santa Fe to cover the event for a local newspaper there. We talked about the Scott Mitchell AFC Championship phenomenon at length, before he dropped this bomb on me.
"So can you believe they're playing this son-of-a-bitch at the Vet?"
Like all of you reading this, I instantly said, "That's impossible. Veterans Stadium was imploded a few years ago." Well, it turns out that the imploded Veterans Stadium was the nicest venue that the league could afford. On the plus side it is still nicer than the Meadowlands, but I was a bit disturbed that an imploded colosseum was the swankiest place to hold such a big event. Turns out they're rebuilding it for a week and then blowing that shithole up again. I don't know how this works, but I've been told that the stars of the Red Green Show and a cement mixer full of incredible are involved. The stadium goes up tomorrow at noon. I'll be covering it fully and will report back on here as soon as I can. Until then, this is the Leonardite out and over.
12:17 Post Meridian, April 24, 2007
Location: Veterans Stadium(!)
I’m sitting here in a maelstrom of asbestos and awe as I just saw what was probably the craziest thing that’s ever been done before. I don’t pretend to be an architect any more than I pretend to be a real journalist covering a fictional computer football game, but what the city of Philadelphia organized was something beyond belief.
I left my luxurious lodge via a taximeter cab at around 10:30 (ET) to head towards the pile of Veterans Stadium rubble that was to be reassembled at noon. I was having a really hard time trying to reconcile this all in my head since I’ve been to that site before and not only did I not see rubble, but I saw two big-ass stadiums sitting where there presumably had been a Veterans Stadium. As I was vocalizing these protestations, the cabbie nonchalantly muttered “What’s even more amazing than that is that they gave a blind man a taxi license” which really helped to explain why we had spent the last ten minutes driving inside of a YMCA.
Realizing that neither the cab nor the stationary bikes that it had mangled were going to get me to the Vet, I scrambled for the nearest city bus. While we had to make the routine stops to drop off the elderly at the pharmacy and deliver the loads of marijuana that keep the horrifically unprofitable mass transit system in the United States afloat, I was able to get to the de-implosion site at 11:45.
By this time quite a crowd had gathered at the designated viewing perches that were a safe distance from a magic show that would make David Copperfield jealous. I sat through the last few speakers of the rededication ceremony and while I thought the mayor’s declaration that this was to be “like the throbbing manhood of Philadelphia erecting back to prominence” was a little inappropriate, I was more focused on the fact that all of those screaming people back at the “Y” probably were ailing less from tendinitis than I had previously thought, and it was probably that their pain stemmed more from the fact that they had been run over by a car.
But just as my remorse was getting the best of me, I began to hear a countdown. I quickly clicked my digital camera to “video” mode and captured this:
That was fifteen minutes ago. I’m still at a loss for words. I’ll hopefully have more later tonight.
7:38 Post Meridian, April 24, 2007
I’m going to avoid football talk for one more post. Tomorrow is “It’s Tecmo Season” Super Bowl Media Day, so that should blow the can of worms wide open on jock strap-related scuttlebutt. The media circus is expected to be so intense that I guess Scott Mitchell has hired a team of security guards headed up by that guy who played Mr. Larson (the nail guy) in Happy Gilmore, so at least there will be one star at Mitchell’s table. That’s a joke, Dolphins fans, quit hyperventilating. Two months ago you all were ridiculing him and now he’s your savior. But fret not, because the Scott Mitchell praise caravan is about to go off pretty hard here in the next few days, so you’ll get your Mitchell fill I’m sure.
In the meantime, I’m sitting down to enjoy my first cheesesteak of the week. I’ve got a quart jug of Yuengling beer by my side as well, so if I puke on my laptop you’ll know why the blog mysteriously stops getting updated and why I was found crumpled up in a heap after being tossed out of Bruno’s. Anyway, there’s been surprisingly little television coverage of the Veterans Stadium miracle this afternoon, the sight of which I still haven’t fully been able to digest. (Along with this bread. Geez, you might have considered baking something in the last three weeks knowing that throngs of visitors would be descending on the city.)
The best report I could find of the de-implosion came from a small online journal by a writer that’s in from Moose Jaw covering the game. I doubt Moose Jaw cares much about anything but hockey and being not American at this time of year, but I still thought that his experience at the Veterans Stadium site today really mirrored mine, minus the maple leafy nonsense:
“I can humbly say that I’ve seen a lot of things in my life. I watched the Berlin Wall come down, I covered the Mandela election, and I remember vividly when my Dad reeled in a five foot muskie after swilling a (metric) gallon of Molson Dry. But today I saw a city rebuild a stadium from a pile of rubble for a video game football contest that may or may not be able to be played outside of an 8-bit box of Japanese slavery. Inexplicable….. Go Senators!”
Tomorrow we talk football.
11:01 Post Meridian, April 25, 2007
I use the same description for Super Bowl Media Days as I do for a group of lions eating a downed antelope: “A day-after-Thanksgiving Wal-Mart." If you have caught even a glimpse of “real Super Bowl” week coverage, then you have an idea of what Media Day is. Essentially, it’s a concocted episode of Who’s Line is it Anyway? where athletes trot out like some sort of amusement park curiosity and have to react to suggestions from the audience, which in this care are uniformed as reporters’ questions. Some reporters there are completely ludicrous and they know it (asking Sammie Smith if he will join a multi-national ban on wedgies,) whereas another group of reporters are completely ludicrous but don’t know it (asking Barry Helton how much his strength training played a role in the Niners’ run to the Super Bowl.) And then there are the rest; legitimate reporters attempting to ask legitimate questions. But even they can’t be taken seriously because these same 350-pound zeppelins that ask questions about athletic training are salivating over the two lukewarm Oscar Meyer wieners they’ll get at the complimentary lunch.
Somewhere in the middle of it was me. I had no intention on asking any questions and I had no intention of eating some hot dogs that had a 27% chance of edibility. Instead, I wanted to hang back and watch the festivities. With my pen in hand, I tried to scribble as much as I could at the various tables of different players. And for the first hour, those players played for the Miami Dolphins.
Question: Mr. Offerdahl, tell us a little bit about how you approach a game.
Offerdahl: When I was in Pop Warner, my coach told us to play defense with the mentality that you had to assume that your teammates wouldn’t help you and that you needed to give your very best to make every play. This obviously has come in quite helpful in my professional career as none of my teammates on the defensive side of the ball have anything that you would mistake for “talent.”
Question: Yeah, about that John. How do your teammates handle being such poor football players?
Offerdahl: Well, it would be a little easier to take if they were actually into the game, but some of the kindergarten stuff gets pretty old, pretty fast. David Griggs forgets to come out onto the field until third down usually, Jarvis Williams most of the time isn’t wearing a helmet, and what used to bother me the most about Karl Wilson, his crayon drawings on his helmet, doesn’t really anymore since he is now obsessed with eating his Crayolas before he can doodle.
Question: Yeah, Mark, congratulations on the Super Bowl. Tell me a little bit about the amazing winning streak you guys are on.
Clayton: First of all, that’s not a question. But really, it’s been rather amazing. For a team that has absolutely no defense outside of John Offerdahl when he gives a shit, it’s been wild what we’ve accomplished. I doubt we could do it again.
Clayton: Yes. The surgical reattachment of my head was just completed last week. Of course not you dumb son-of-a-bitch, like that’s even possible!
Reporter: You do realize that we just watched a dead stadium go through some really lame make-believe process called “de-implosion” right?
Clayton: That’s a good fucking point right there, man.
Question: Are you happy that unlike in the real NFL, “It’s Tecmo Season” Media Day is uncensored?
Clayton: Hmm….no comment.
Question: Pete, Mark Clear here, Boston Herald. As a former athlete, I understand the pressure of being a professional athlete. How do you deal with that?
Stoyanovich: Athlete? Athlete? Please rephrase the question.
Clear: Alright, how do you handle the pressure of kicking in the big-game personally as a diminutive nancyboy who looks more suited to busing tables at Ruby Tuesday than knowing how to operate a chin strap?
Stoyanovich: Well, like all little guys, I like to wear big pants to feel bigger. While nerds gracefully do this by cuffing their corduroys repeatedly, it’s harder to in the elastic butt-huggers that we have to wear........ Where was I?
Reporter: Something about “butt-huggers.”
Stoyanovich: Oh, right. Mike Cofer is a child molester.
Edmunds: Mitch fired that ball up in an awkward spot, but luckily he has the best tight in the league since a three-point stanced Apostle Peter to haul in his passes. And then the incredible dive for the touchdown and it was all gravy man.
Reporter: So it’s safe to assume that you’re pretty proud of that score?
Edmunds: Proud? Shee-it. It’s what I do, score touchdowns. That’s all I do.
Reporter: But how do explain the fact that not one person here polled – and this list includes Dan Marino, Don Shula, and your mom – could remember you ever scoring a touchdown before?
Edmunds: A Jim Jensen-led propaganda campaign?
Question: Jim, is it true that you led a massive propaganda campaign to scuttle the career of Ferrell Edmunds?
Jensen: I’m not smart enough to stop cutting holes in my fridge to see if the light shuts off when the door is closed, much less organize a smear campaign. And if I was, I’d probably pick someone with talent rather than pour a hundred hours and thirteen refrigerators into my “Put Ferrell on the Bench” crusade.
Big Red: I have fond memories of your daughter gyrating like a tramp on my inviting crotch.
McKyer: (Pencil broke, sorry I didn’t catch the exact words. I did hear a lot of angry swearing followed by a question about the Krieg play, though. – Leonardite)
Marino: Any guy nicknamed Nutsack has to be tough - please write that as t-u-f-f those of you taking notes - but the legend I’ve heard is that Laufenberg was named after his mother’s appearance. That doesn’t sound that menacing until your realize the guy was birthed by an Alaskan caribou. Does that answer your question?
Question: Harry, I read on the internet that you may be leaving a future collegiate coaching job for a tastier offer from Wendy’s?
Galbreath: I can neither confirm nor deny that you are a juicy Western Bacon Cheesburger.
Question: What was your reaction to getting selected as having the coolest nickname by Leonardite.com?
Galbreath: I was sincerely Biggie Fries’d by the honor. It was a momentous achievement in my dollar value menu.
Reporter: Comment on your ten play domination of Ray Agnew as documented online.
Galbreath: First of all, I owned Ray Agnew like a badass Galbreath. Secondly, Tim Goad is a little bitch that is too afraid to take me on man-to-man. Third, Marino threw a pass that skimmed my helmet and the atmospheric piercing immediately caused it to burst into flames.
Reporter: Scott, I speak for America when I ask this question: What in the world happened to you in the AFC Championship game?
Mitchell: It was just a nice effort. I came prepared to play, hoping Dan wouldn’t go down, but being ready if he did.
Different Reporter: Really, what happened to you?
Mitchell: I came with my game face on.
Reporter #3: I mean, where did this good play come from?
Mitchell: I SAID I WAS WELL PREPARED!!!
Reporter #4: Seriously, what the hell?
Mitchell: (Deep breath taken) I paid the Bills thousands of dollars in currency and lottery tickets.
Reporter: Is there any chance you won’t stab someday during the Super Bowl?
Roby: (Ten seconds of thoughtful pondering by Roby) No.
Back tomorrow with the 49ers’ camera time.
8:34 Ante Meridian, April 26, 2007
Sensory overload has certainly been the mantra here at Super Bowl week. I’ve seen a stadium rise up from the dirt, the Dolphins drop more superlatives than a wrestling announcer in a hyperbole competition, and a line to get Scott Mitchell’s autograph for fuck’s sake. I thought it would probably be best for all of us if I avoided giving you the highlights of the 49ers’ hour with the media until this morning because I thought it would be too much for you to handle it all in one day. And because I was plowed.
Question: Brent, there’s an inordinate amount of talented white men on this team. You, Rathman, Romanowski, Montana, I mean, I understand this is fake internet football and all, but when did it become Revenge of the Nerds?
Question: Ronnie, one of the more famous tales of your dedication to the game is you having a finger amputated to play in a playoff game. Did you sacrifice any limbs for this one by chance?
Lott: I can’t say that I did, basically because I didn’t need to. I bit Bavaro in the lovehandle at the bottom of a pileup in the NFC championship if that counts.
Reporter: I don’t think it does.
Lott: But I think I had a piece of kidney stuck in my teeth.
Lott: No, shit, never mind. It wasn’t kidney, it was Dave Meggett.
Question: Bubba, it’s apparent that you’re a complete fatass. Do you ever feel guilty that this is probably the only sport where a man of your morbidly disgusting stature could excel?
Paris: No, definitely not. Look at y’all. The only reason you’re here talking to me is that you need to fill time before they give you your free hotdog and then you run back to the hotel to drink that twelve pack of Red Dog you snuck into your room. At least when I drink my Red Dog it’s in the locker room and occasionally during the kickoff when the coaches aren't looking.
Question: Steve, with all the pressures of Super Bowl week permeating the team, I’m wondering what temptation you’re most worried about? Is it that you might go out and blow your meal allowance on one night of drinking in downtown Philadelphia? That you might meet some floozy at a bar and accidentally end up with your sixth wife? Throw us a bone here.
Young: First of all, I’m Mormon, so we don’t really do the whole “loaded at the bar thing”…
Young: No! Mormonism renounced polygamy a long time ago. I don’t think you realize how modern and progressive the LDS church is.
Reporter: So your deeply held doctrine that Joseph Smith floated into being on the back of a unicorn with the help of a jive-talking harem of lepers with the specific purpose of communicating God’s vision to build a bobsled run and an arena for Michelle Kwan in Utah has also been revised?
Young: Oh no, come on now, we might have reformed but we’re not heathens here.
Question: Carmen, let’s cut to the juicy red meat of the thigh bone of your existence. What the hell kind of name is Carmen?
Policy: Well….uh……it’s a resounding moniker trumpeting dominance and…
Policy: A woman’s name. Clearly a woman’s name.
Reporter: Roger, what’s your take on global warming.
Craig: I’m all for it.
Reporter: All for it? What do you mean you’re all for it?
Craig: Exactly what I said. Look brotha, there are days in San Francisco where it gets down to nearly sixty degrees. I mean, what the shit!? Sixty degrees? Nah, fuck that. So what if a few penguins float away and Canada becomes the newest ocean, I ain’t buying a parka that’s for damn sure.
Reporter: Jerry, tell me about your most impossible catch.
Rice: Well, if you had asked me that question last week, I would’ve had to tell you about that time when we were playing the Chargers and Montana was hurt. Steve rolled out to his right and lobbed one up in coverage to me in the end zone, which certainly isn’t out of the ordinary. I guess he forgot, though, that it was “Let Everyone on the Field Day” so I was hopping around construction workers and city councilman to make what was one of my favorite catches of all time. After the last Head Start students were tallied, they figured out that the coverage within the three foot radius of my person was 2,452. Obviously this is much lower than some of the grabs I had during some college and high school games, but this is a higher level of competition.
Reporter: Well you said that you had a more difficult catch this week. What in the world would that be?
Rice: Scott Mitchell threw me a pass in a commercial we filmed two days ago. Oh shit man…
Question: What’s more surprising to you, Tom: Vegas tabbing your team as a three touchdown favorite in this game or Scott Mitchell leading the Dolphins to the Super Bowl?
Rathman: I’m going to have to insert a write-in vote here and say Brent Jones labeling me as “talented” in his Q&A session takes the cake for me.
Reporter: Joe, how worried are you about this game?
Montana: Well, obviously nerves play a part of the equation here. It is the Super Bowl and all and we have a legacy to uphold as the premier Tecmo football team in the world. That’s not a small burden to bear.
Reporter: What fraction of the equation do nerves play in your preparation for the game this week?
Montana: Oh wow, I’d say probably a healthy 25%.
Reporter: Mmm hmm, and how about if Marino doesn’t play?
Montana: Oh, definitely 0%. I’d use negative numbers but coach won’t let us mention integers anymore because “Integer” was the name of some brand of horse semen that Romanowski was injecting last season to maximize the force of his eyelids when they blinked to burn calories.
Reporter: Kev, we’re almost out of time here. Any last words from the 49er camp or from you personally as we head towards the game?
Fagan: I live in San Francisco and my last name is “Fagan.” My uncle joined the Navy and when he was promoted to "Rear Admiral" he wore a clown suit and pretended his name was Charles Milkthermometer for two weeks. I'm not too worried about the Dolphins, let's put it that way. I am worried about accidentally joining the Navy, though.
4:44 Post Meridian, April 26, 2007
Location: Veterans Stadium Press Box
You can about imagine what the accommodations are like in the was-just-rubble-a-few-days-ago-Veterans-Stadium: Way better than those in the original Vet. I wasn’t a member of the press corps at that time, but if the promotional brochures from 1993 are accurate, I’m glad that I have my spot at this table in the fifth row of the press box instead of inside the referee’s bathroom where the old press room was. It’s kind of a slow afternoon right now in Philadelphia. The field crew is busy painting the yard lines onto the concrete for the game on Sunday and the library steps are littered with boxers and drunk Dolphins fans, so I decided I would write a little bit here today.
Obviously the big talk all week has been about about Scott Mitchell and rightfully so. You should see the throng of people surrounding Mitchell in this city. It doesn’t matter if he’s giving a press conference or buying a Yoo-Hoo, people are all over the poor guy. At least he’s handling it with all the smoothness of a freshman at the prom, so while he might be awkward in company, it is still pretty funny every time one of his zits has an untimely explosion on a hot chick.
I just don’t see good things coming from Mitchell if he does play. Most people I polled this week either couldn't recall seeing Scott Mitchell complete a pass before or thought I was a member of the census bureau and were trying to introduce me to their “dependent” grandparents and Studebakers. Regardless, yeah, the whole blind squirrel finding a nut analogy is probably apt here. If Mitchell finds two nuts in a row, you can kick me in mine, because things like that just don’t happen in Tecmo, kids.
7:45 Post Meridian, April 27, 2007
Location: Media Presser
Hey all, I'm sitting at a table of "honor" at the media presser right now. I learned this week that people in the know call press conferences "pressers" so in addition to wearing Crocs and becoming a fantasy football player, I'm trying to dive into the sportswriter nerdiness as much as I can. The important thing tonight is that they're announcing who's going to be with me in the TV booth on Sunday night. It's going to be interesting.
You're supposed to watch this on Televisor Mundial, the official broadcast network of the "It's Tecmo Season" media announcement and the 9th Annual Central American Druglord Three-Legged Race, but I'll spill the beans if you don't want to sift through "estoys" and "mananas." The first news is that Pat Beach and Joe Theisman are going to be the sideline reporters, which I can only infer means we're going to see a shitload of references to their playing days and also to deep sea diving expeditions. I'll let you guess which non-blocking, terrible tight end reporter will be making those.
...that Mike Tyson is going to be my co-color commentator. Apparently this is some sort of cross promotion with the WVBA, but if Doc Louis is that fucking desperate for camera time, he should either put himself in the booth or streak across midfield in the middle of the second quarter with the company letters emblazoned on his....on second thought, let's stick with Tyson.
If you're watching on Mundial right now, which undoubtedly you aren't unless you're a confused soccer fan wondering what happened to the originally scheduled coverage of the Bogota Sixth Grade Recess match, you can tell that I'm not paying attention to this at all. Tyson just pointed at me and everyone laughed, which might mean he made sport of me, but more likely is just further testament to this country's stellar track record of laughing at the mentally handicapped. I'm taking tomorrow off. See you Sunday.
"I still remember our first fight. Now I am gonna make you pay back banzai!!"
ABOUT: The Leonardite is on location in Philadelphia for the next week covering "It's Tecmo Season" Super Bowl One. Bitches. (ITSSBI.B.) Reporting for Leonardite.com, he intends to continue smiling gayly and drink more face-sized beers while caressing his blog through the screen.
4/24 (12:17 PM): Veterans Stadium(!)
4/24 (7:38 PM): Bruno's
4/25 (11:01 PM): Hotel
4/26 (8:34 AM): Hotel
4/26 (4:44 PM): Veterans Stadium Press Box
4/27 (7:45 PM): Media Presser