BRONX, NY – I think it was author William Faulkner who first coined the phrase, “Kill your darlings,” as a piece of advice to writers and other creative types, that you sometimes need to rid yourselves of those things you love (turns of phrase, quirky characters, funny scenes, etc.) in order to advance your story. Not only is “Kill your darlings” a totally cool word-string, as it was intended, but it also applies to sports. You recall former New York Mets fan-favorite “Super” Joe McEwing? He stuck around in Flushing 5 full seasons as nothing more than a conversation piece, like some funky piece of furniture in your grandmother’s musty attic. The Mets took way too long to kill this particular darling. Here are some others to consider offing.
Big Game Gadget Plays. Remember when Sean Payton shocked the Colts by pulling an onside kick to start the second half of their Super Bowl tilt? How about “The Philly Special” called by Doug Pederson that helped the Eagles vanquish the Patriots? Of course you do. But most coaches should forget about these grab-bagging shenanigans. I’m talking to you Andy Reid! I’m sure you have some delightful little bits of trickery in your back pocket that you’ve been saving for a “special occasion.” Take some advice and keep them there. If you’re gonna beat the Niners, do it with Mahomes, a guy who is built for this stage. He doesn’t need gadgets because he’s the Swiss Army Knife of quarterbacks. Just let him do his thing.
Everything James Dolan Loves. If ever anyone needed to pull a George Costanza and start doing the opposite of every inclination he has, it’s Chief Knickwit, James Dolan. From his love affair with Isiah Thomas to his feud with Charles Oakley to his inability to just stay the f**k out of the way, Dolan needs to murder every single last one of his impulses en masse. Then, and only then, can the New York Knick pull themselves out of the primordial ooze and finally evolve.
Cheating. As we’ve discussed here recently, cheating in sports, and just about anything, has been going on since the beginning of time. I’m sure there was some primitive dude somewhere who got the upper hand on a fellow knuckle-dragger by stealing an extra piece of antelope marrow via some sneaky means. But cheating in sports, which was once an almost romantic notion, has long since jumped the shark. Belichick took the quaint idea of “sign stealing” and made it a mafia-like enterprise. Any time, any way, by any means necessary. Now, in this age of ever-evolving technology, cheating isn’t advancing the narrative, it’s killing it. Anyone can bug an opposing clubhouse or hack into an opponent’s database of plays and signals, but this isn’t spitballs and stickum. It’s lazy, and it’s f**ked. Winning legit is the new cool. More people should try it.
I could go on about the Yankees grounds crew, myriad moronic Mets practices, and horse racing continuing to kill its Darlings, but it’s all been covered before. Oh, and Barstool Sports is getting bought for a reported $450 million… and those guys are way bigger a-holes than anyone here. So maybe it’s time to euthanize MTM and rebrand. Just a thought.
Come back tomorrow and kill a few minutes with Buddy Diaz, whose one true darling is Carmelo Anthony.