Angry Ward Wednesday: Big Little d’Arnaud, Cleveland Orange is the New Black, and Other Stranger Things in Sports

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BRONX, NY – When it comes to “date nights” my wife and I (predictably) have different ideas of what would make for a great night out. She skews towards theater and movies (often ‘The Muted Heart” variety that George Costanza’s fiancée Susan favored) while my idea of a good time involves a great meal and drinks aplenty. Like anyone else, it takes a little work to find common ground. The most recent idea she’s been pushing has been us finding a TV show to watch together. She’s not to keen on watching the Mets, and I can’t say that I blame her. So, she’s been pitching potential shows. Because of streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, as well as the HBOs of the world, the landscape is littered with way too many options. As the names get trotted out, my mind still can’t help but drift back to sports. Here’s what I mean.

Thank you, Jesus, for getting me out of Flushing.

Big Little Lies. Former Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud is a little guy who lies big about his height. He’s officially listed as 6′ 2″ on all of his MLB statistical info, which seems generous by more than a few inches. Let’s just say that he’s closer to Altuve then he is to Judge. Anyway, after doing very LITTLE for the Mets, he’s now coming up BIG for the Tampa Bay Rays. He hit three home runs in a single game Monday night against the Yankees. He’s clearly one of those players who thrives in obscurity. Some guys are meant for Broadway, while others are meant for Community Theater.

The Handmaid’s Tale. A bleak dystopia where power-hungry men treat women like garbage? Why would I need to watch this show, when we’re pretty much living it? That aside, sports have had plenty of hands that have made for great tales. Football alone has Dwight Clark’s “The Catch,” David Tyree’s “Helmet Catch,” and the Tom Brady “Tuck Rule.” Basketball and hockey have no “hand checking” and no “hand passes,” respectively. While hand use in soccer is completely verboten unless you’re in goal or Diego Maradona.

Ozark. Danny Ozark was the manager of some great Philadelphia Phillies teams in the 1970s. He was born in Buffalo so, predictably, his teams never made it past the NLCS. The only other Ozark reference I can think of is The Ozark Mountain Daredevils who sang the classic, “Jackie Blue.”

Orange is the New Black. I’ve never watched this show, but one of its stars’ kids was in my daughter’s class last year and, let me tell you, that Mom was a real diva. Anyway, lots of NFL pundits and Vegas casinos are predicting the Orange-helmeted Cleveland Browns to be in the black for the first time in forever and win their division this year. I think you might want to pump the breaks a bit on that idea. In this case, a little healthy skepticism about a team with a rich history of losing taking on a volatile star like OBJ and being coached by a guy named Freddie Kitchens seems OK.

Stranger Things 3. Three of the stranger things I’ve ever seen in sports are 1) Former Detroit Tigers pitcher Mark Fidrych, 2) [tie] Buster Douglas knock out Mike Tyson and Mike Tyson chew Evander Holyfield’s ear off, and 3) Carl Lewis attempting anything but running really fast.

I could ramble on longer with a bit on 13 Reasons Why I hate the Yankees, but that kinda stuff has been done to death. Come back tomorrow for The Unbreakable Buddy Diaz.

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Wednesday: Angry Ward, who has admirers at the NY Times, is the quintessential angry sports fan but one exception... he's flat-out funny. And the angrier he gets, the more amusing his work becomes. Psychiatrists say, "Angry Ward's 'anger' is a direct result of "Bronx/Mets syndrome: growing up in the Bronx as a Mets fan." As if that weren't enough, his Minnesota North Stars abandoned him for Dallas, forcing him to embrace The Wild the way conservatives embrace Mitt Romney. While the Vikings tease him incessantly with flirtations of success, the Golden State Warriors, "Don't have a enough short, white angry guys but I don't dislike them... that much." A-Dubya is MTM's longest-tenured indentured servant, its Larry David and quite simply, The Franchise.

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