We're back from our vacation, and it doesn't appear as if we missed much. The Home Run Derby is still meaningless, it's still not football season, and the ongoing drama surrounding Darko and Easy Yi's future destinations remains as unresolved as ever.
So let's go back. Kyle and I had originally planned on being in Coney Island on the 4th for the Hot Dog Eating Competition. Unfortunately, the cruel mistress rain conspired to keep us from the beach, as I wasn't about to spend two hours driving, and then looking for parking, for 12 minutes in the Coney Island rain.
Which turned out to be not so bad. By all accounts, we missed a great event in person, but were able to take solace in the fact that, had we attended, we'd have missed some truly splendid moments. There was, obviously, The Reversal, and I enjoyed ESPN's tags during each competitor's introduction -- someone please tell me how I can get involved in competitive mozzarella stick eating, because I'd own that shit; thanks in advance -- but the greatest joy came from the announce crew.
I was curious, during the pre-"game," when one of the announcers proclaimed it one of the most anticipated days in American sports history. Eventually, as the hyperbole reached "The Strokes in 2001" levels, I began to hear the sound of tongues mashing against cheeks. Thankfully, no doubt, because if these guys were as devoted to this contest as they sounded, I'd call for two suicide prevention teams on the quick. No, I realized, these guys aren't nuts. It's their one time on TV, on the big network, every year, and they've got to make it count. Nothing like breaking down the "journalistic" (term used very loosely) barrier between the booth and the competition and have a little fun at an event saturated with quirk and irreverance. Right?
And then, it happened:
Let's see you dance, sucka! You got nothin' on me!
It was almost so incongruous you'd hardly notice it -- and I haven't seen anything on the blogdome pertaining this specific comment yet -- but it caught my ear. Describing the exacerbation of one of the competitors, as the contest reached full-on grueling mode, one of ESPN's announcers commented:
"Now that's pain. Like a Peyton Manning cell phone commercial."
I, admittedly, admired the hubris. Here's, no doubt, the lowest level of "athletic" analysis possible. You're on ESPN, yeah, but it's not something you should enjoy admitting, for nothing else but the fear that someone would eventually follow that knowledge up with questions, requiring you to explain that you're the hot dog announcing guy. I mean, I sort of feel bad for Joey Chestnut and Kobayashi -- let's be honest, we're all sorta laughing at them -- but at least, in the realm of competitive eating, they're the kings. These ESPN guys rank just slightly less inconsequential than the crew that has to clean Kobayashi's reversal.
But that didn't stop one of them from taking a shot at the closest thing we have to an active legend in any sport. You've gotta love the ballsiness. The best part: I bet Manning got a chuckle out of it. I'm of the belief that self-deprecating humor is almost always the funniest, and Peyton's proven he's got no problem laughing at himself.