Big Lead Sports Bar


"My Big Mouth"

Full Disclosure: I really intended this first column of "My Big Mouth" to be about why the Penguins organization needs to look at the Tampa Bay Lightning and hold them up as a "terrible warning" and not a "good example" of how to retain its superstars. Right after that sentence, I would use a throw-away joke about my parents' marriage also being a "terrible warning" and not a "good example" of selecting a mate. Please keep the knee-slapping to a minimum. Right here, in this paragraph, I would explain how the bloated contracts tendered to Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, and Brad Richards will keep the Lightning from ever winning a Stanley Cup. It would be filled with statistical BS and show, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that those players cannot be traded under the current salary-cap system, and that will keep the Lightning from acquiring the complementary talent needed to be a Stanley Cup contender. It made perfect sense. The timing seemed right with Friday's game against the Bolts. But then I thought again: hasn't that subject been broached before? What the hell's so original about that idea? If this is my first column out-of-the-gate for Mondesi's House, why would I want to attach my name to such a tired and overdone subject? Don't the esteemed readers of Mondesi's House deserve better? Of course, you deserve better. Silly reader. It also helped that the Penguins not only dropped the contest to Tampa Bay but also lost Sidney Crosby for four weeks with a high-ankle sprain. Like the Coyote, I was back to the drawing board, and at 10:11pm, I knew the ACME store had closed.

As I recapped the events of the night in my head, I tried a quick brainstorming session to see what I could come up with for an alternate topic. Would it be The End of Conklin's Run, and how similar it was to the movie Logan's Run? Maybe there was something about Brooks Orpik's terrible showing in his own end, and we can somehow blame this on Ed Olczyk? But, the only thing that kept coming up was disappointment and boobs.

An easy cure for Boobs-on-the-Brain would be a quick bit of surfing the net, and fifteen seconds later, my, my brain... would be clear to find a suitable topic for the column. But that wasn't in the cards for me, especially with my wife watching 20/20 just 10 feet away.

So, tonight, I chose to curtail my urges and use this primal instinct as an energy that could be channeled like Ebby Calvin LaLoosh from Bull Durham... (my apologies for the photo...)

Where the hell was I going with this? Oh yeah, boobs. More specifically, Erin Andrews' boobs.
(I refuse to shrink this photo...and please use Pantene Pro-V...Erin does!)

One of the cooler things that the NHL Center Ice package started doing recently is occasionally providing you the choice of watching either the home's or visitor's telecasts of the game. Normally, I'll watch the FSN Pittsburgh feed, but tonight, there was no FSN because the game was being telecast on the NHL Network for those of us who have DirecTV. Instead, I got the Tampa Bay Lightning's telecast, which was brought to you by the wrinkly old asses of Sun Sports.
It was here I had an epiphany: Sun Sports used to be called The Sunshine Network not too long ago. (Due to one too many Yards of Beer at Mario's on the South Side, I've lost the ability to quantify time accurately. So, not too long ago, could be 10 minutes to 10 years. After some quick research, I determined they were The Sunshine Network as recently as 2001. How do I know this? Keep reading .)
A great excitement washed over me when I saw we were getting the Sun Sports feed because this was the network that first brought Erin Andrews to our attention. For those of you who don't know, Andrews used to be the sideline reporter for the Tampa Bay Lightning before she joined ESPN. Believe me, I know about this quite well.
Back in 2001, the Sunshine Network -- see, I told you there would be a payoff if you kept reading -- posted a job opening for a sideline reporter who would cover the Lightning's games and the weekly wrap-up show. At the time, I was still a young, print reporter who had some experience doing local television news. I applied for this job, and I inexplicably became one of the five finalists for the position. As you probably guessed, I lost out to Ms. Andrews and her girl bags. Losing this job changed my career direction permanently, and I gave up any aspirations of being on television and decided that I should stick to the print media.

(Gratuitous Erin Andrews shot because it's been a few paragraphs since you've seen one.)
Eagerly, I wanted to see who was in the on-deck circle of fame? Who would be the next Erin Andrews? Was she some hot little Tampa-area honey who doubles as a closet-puckbunny? Maybe she was from the Miami area and a Latina hottie who had a huge yearning for rugged hockey players? Maybe - OH DEAR GOD PLEASE MAKE THIS HAPPEN - Erin had a younger, almost-identical-looking sister who was equally as hot and an absolute slut? What I got was disappointing.
That five-word sentence doesn't even convey the actual empty, hollow feeling I now owned, like someone stuffed a Shop-Vac hose down your throat to pump your stomach because you didn't want your Mom to know that you, not the dog, actually ate all that Play-Doh.
Paul Kennedy popped on my screen as the sideline reporter.

(Images may appear younger than they really are.)

He was a nice, generic white guy. Pleasant voice. Seemed like someone's uncle who enjoyed wearing Cardigan sweaters with the suede elbow patches. No Tampa-honeys. No former coked-out cheerleaders or anorexic/bulimic former beauty queens looking hot. It was just a dude. Then, I got on the Internet and found out that he's was the one who replaced Andrews when she left for ESPN.

Anger swelled inside of me. It began to bubble to the surface, and I tried to yell at Mr. Kennedy, as a way to vent my frustration, my anger, and defiantly tell the people at Sun Sports that THIS MAN WILL NOT DO!!!
All I could muster was a fart, a high-pitched one at that.
My wife looked at me with disgust because this capped a night that filled with two dozen chicken wings and a row of Double-Stuf Oreos for dinner. That health-conscious feast slowly put me in a happy quasi-coma from both the high fat content of the wings and the insulin burst from all the sugar in the Oreos. Like a dog, my wife patted me on the head, and I could feel myself drifting off for a 5-minute, pre-game nap.
As my eyes got heavy and the telecast went to commercial, my thoughts turned to Andrews, her righteous sweater-friends, and how my life could have been different if I had gotten that job instead of her. Maybe I'd be the heartthrob that brought women viewers to ESPN. Maybe I'd be the person who they'd be blogging about and holding me up as an icon for my quick wit, professional delivery, like able nature, and penchant for fashion. Instead, I'm a guy with a beer gut, sitting on a couch, and fighting off chicken-wing-and-Oreo coma. I never had a chance.


BlackAndGold said...

Great post, I am looking forward to more material from Mr. Jason Devander!

johnny said...

Nice post. A lady friend of mine was in Ms. Andrews' sorority at UF. They are all obscenely hot.

As a Pittsburgh transplant now living in Tallahassee, I was also fortunate enough to watch the game on the Sun Sports Network or whatever they call it. The announcers referred to Colby Armstrong as "Christensen" for almost the entire first period, even though they had already established Christensen was a scratch.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

As someone who lives in Tampa, and is familiar with the "Sunshine Network" (and don't feel bad, I didn't realize that they changed the name to "Sun Sports" until I read this column), the Lightning, and Ms. Andrews pre-ESPN quasi-fame in Florida, I appreciated this column a lot more than some of our other readers.