Saturday, April 27, 2013

Beer and football IV — the draft

The beer: Battle Road 1775 Tavern Ale
The commentary: Michelle, who early on seemed overly confident for no good reason (certainly not from a talent perspective) only to turn things around when it counted, won season XI of Project Runway. She deserved it, I suppose, after Stanley went all "What do you mean it's tomorrow? Tomorrow??" on us and Patricia euthanized Nina's parents.

What does all this have to do with football? Or fucking beer? Well, goddammit, we had a "town hall" meeting at the office last night which included a race-to-the-bottom-of-as-many-(three)-free-Sam-Adamses-as-possible cocktail hour capped off by two more at the Littlest Bar, which in its current state (still Massachusetts, har! har!) (actually it's a commonwealth, har?) is no longer the littlest bar. And then I had to go to Salem to get my hair cut, after which we were finally able to start watching Project Runway while the DVR plugged away at preserving round one of the NFL draft. Surely, while drinking the Tavern Ale (fitting, I thought, given the events of Patriot's Day the week before), I would remain conscious and coherent enough to chronicle three hours of television. I was going to quasi-live blog that bastard, as I hope to do with The Ten Commandments someday. Oh, Moses!

Realism comes and goes, and I did not remain awake. Instead I dreamed that the Patriots traded up to the third spot to draft a gentleman by the name of Cam Four out of Auburn. Position? Right wing. During this "ceremony," which took place outside Boston's South Station, all of the athletes were playing pick-up games around Dewey Square, and when a guy was drafted he would jog off to a round of applause from the remaining players. It was really something else. The actual event could not possibly have been as interesting, unless Brady was traded for twenty years of Bears first-rounders… but I wouldn't know because I managed to make it through today without hearing any results. So what? So let's dance!

8:00
It's ESPN again. The world's smallest violin… I decided against recording any pre-draft nonsense. Steve Burton's crazy eyes—no doubt inflated to Looney Tunes-size by the very idea that someone would pay to eat dinner at a place called the CBS Scene—during the weekend's draft-centric episode of Patriots All Access was plenty.

8:00
Fitty? Fast-forward.

8:03
Van Hagar's "Right Now" is playing at Radio City Music Hall. Won't you gentlemen have a Pepsi?

8:04
This is the one day of the year I love Jets fans.

8:05
I still have problems with "USA! USA!" Particularly when pasty Chiefs fans realize they're on camera during the Boston Marathon tribute and scramble to the first three letters that come to mind.

8:06
Joe Namath: the cure for the common live televised event. I love Phil Simms's "Is that it?" No wonder he can't keep up with game action. At least give me a "Christ, Rog, what did you expect?" Stop ruining my Sundays, Phil.

8:07
Berman: "It's Broadway Joe, right here on Broadway!!1!1"

8:08
Gruden just admitted "I don't know." Perfect synopsis of three months of national draft speculation.

8:12
How have the Chefs not made their pick yet? Let's go, losers.

8:14
Mortensen is talking about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Already?

8:16
I love how they're continuously running the scroll of teams across the bottom of the screen even though none of them have picked yet. Yup, thirty-two football teams. Count 'em!

8:17
"What??" Stone Cold is back! I love this crowd. I might shut down after the Jets' turn.

8:18
Kiper: "OK, not great." That's what you're looking for with the first pick.

8:27
The Raiders are on the clock. Berman to Gruden: "You remember them, don't you?" This guy! Gruden's reaction will top that of any player tonight. Amazing television.

8:35
The dolphin in Miami's new logo isn't wearing a helmet. Fuck player safety! Anyway, they've traded up to grab an athletic edge rusher who looks sharp in a bow tie. Hey, the goal's gotta be to get after Brady, right? Hard to dislike the pick if this guy can play.

8:46
Oh good, Berman is making Lego metaphors.

8:50
There's no way in hell Ezekiel Ansah went to BYU. Those glasses? Utah? I'm calling bullshit.

8:55
Fans shaking their heads in disgust after their team makes a pick… I love television as a medium. USA! USA!

8:58
I guess I should talk about the hometown team. Usually, trading down and making "value picks" drives me a little crazy. This year, though, even as I admit to knowing nothing about college football, it seems the draft class is light on elite talent but deep overall. The local consensus is that a there's no way the Pats pick at twenty-nine and will either load up on mid-rounders or take on an extra first next year. Whatever happens, here's a non-specific wish list for the weekend: cornerback, wide receiver, defensive end, defensive tackle, inside/middle linebacker. Top it off with some O-line depth and I'm all set.

9:09
It's funny, I could stick a pin within 100 miles of St. Louis on a US map. But for some reason, whenever I think of the Rams, I put "St. Louis" a lot farther west and a little to the south. And Cleveland? I've been there! But mentally I always put the Browns in a "Cleveland" closer to Des Moines. Is this a known condition? Am I drinking too much boxed wine?

9:13
Jets coming up. Kiper calls them "a glorified expansion team." I still can't believe they traded Revis. It seems to me like there was a rumor—a genuine, media-created rumor—immediately after the Super Bowl that Revis was on the trade block. I think the owner, out of understandable (though self-inflicted) frustration, said something harmless along the lines of "My teams sucks and no one is irreplaceable." Some hack ran with it, translated "Revis is replaceable!" and it was all over. Many people wonder why Belichick, Kraft, Brady and everyone else around here are so tight-lipped, but I don't.

9:19
Suzy Kolber just wrapped up an orange-faced interview with new Jet Dee Milliner about six seconds before the ESPN crew was ready to cut over to Mortensen. I'd like to see more of Milliner's bewildered expression over the coarse of several division games in the next few years, at least until the Jets go 4–12 and Milliner irreplaces himself out of town.

9:24
Berman has a couple dozen sheets of colored paper just strewn about the desk in front of him. I might not have noticed, except that every time the producer is clearly shouting into his ear "You're the host, for crying out loud, pretend you know something about football!" he's looking this way and that, trying to find the one bullet point that will make viewers believe in him. It's a mystery why my roommates and I so enjoyed watching him and Tom "They Hate Their Coach" Jackson in college while experimenting with mushrooms, pink lemonade and Just One of the Guys.

9:25
When Gruden gets going he takes on the look of a madman who farts in elevators. Loudly.

9:31
Berman, on Philip Rivers: "He needs blocking! [Looks at sheet of paper.] He needs… help!!1 [Silence.] [Gibberish.] What do you think? He needs help."

9:32
Kiper, whom I've grown to like, just called new Charger D.J. Fluker "a strong kid, functionally." Unlike all those strong people who waste their abilities wrestling trees and pummeling oceans.

9:38
The Raiders just drafted a guy who suffered an injury that Kolber, looking about fifteen years older than she did during last year's draft, described as "a severed vein to the back of his heart." Seriously though, does Kolber have the HIV or something?

9:44
I'm seeing Mudhoney in two weeks. Here's a little sampler with the Jets on the clock again. Whammy!

1. Good Enough
2. 1995
3. Sweet Young Thing Ain't Sweet No More
4. Dead Love
5. Baby, Can You Dig the Light
6. The Open Mind
7. No End in Sight
8. Beneath the Valley of the Underdog
9. Hard-on for War
10. Mudride


Track eleven, coming soon to a three-hour playlist near you!

9:47
The Jets just drafted a defensive tackle I've never heard of and the camera cut to some ten-year-old kid who shrugged his shoulders and said "Who?" Money well spent, weekend dad.

10:04
"With the sixteenth pick in the 2013 draft, the Buffalo Bills select… fourth place! Behind even the Jets somehow!" Rex Ryan is pissed and probably throws in the towel after losing his only superstar. Meanwhile, we're barely halfway through this thing?

10:13
The Steelers just drafted a guy with some kind of stenosis. I had pyloric stenosis when I was a few weeks old and couldn't keep anything down. Before the surgery, someone advised my parents to have me baptized in case… you know… so I wouldn't go into limbo. Limbo! Anyway, the scar on my stomach has grown along with me and is now three inches long. Imagine if football players were only three inches long? Not so tough now!

10:26
Look again at Anne Baxter as Nefretiri. Stunning. I hope I actually follow through and live-blog that movie someday. "A golden calf!" Not before Beefheart, though. Annual playlist is in the works, then I've got nothing but Beefheart on the brain until beer and football starts up again (possibly with an early training camp installment this season, if G. is willing to accompany me—I got her a cute Patriots jumper that I'm super-excited about so I guess it won't really be up to her) but Beefheart is the Summer project, the what-did-you-do-during-hobo-chang-ba essay.

10:32
You know your name is Geno Smith when ESPN is showing clips of Aaron Rodgers and Brady Quinn not getting drafted. Christ, remind me not to attend this thing when I'm eligible.

10:45
I just fast-forwarded through the military appreciation stuff. I'm sure many soldiers and marines are good people but come on, they volunteered for this. What they're doing and what they represent might be great, I don't know, but I question the motivations of joining the military and what it does to extend the life of an out-of-control war machine. Don't get me started on cops.

10:51
The Colts just drafted Jann Wenner. He hasn't been relevant since giving Cream a complex back in '68, the motherfucker! Explosive off the edge though.

11:02
Poor bastard Datone Jones has already earned an eye-rolling Berman nickname: "Dial-Tone Jones." Somewhere, Tom Jackson is having a good laugh. Somewhere, Tom Jackson's wife is having an extra-marital affair.

11:04
The Buffalo Wild Wings at the Liberty Tree Mall looks intriguing. Lots of TVs, funky atmosphere, etc. But that last fucking commercial ensures I will never, ever step inside the place.

11:09
Oh yeah, the Patriots are picking! The whole reason I'm watching! You get so desensitized with your team among the final batch every year, it's almost an afterthought. Even though I presented a positional wish list a couple of hours ago I don't know enough about any particular players. I just never had the time to skim the local informed (as in Mike Reiss and Patriots Football Weekly) prospect talk and I'm way behind on PFW in Progress podcasts. Totally in the dark here and probably won't have an up or down reaction no matter who they take.

11:10
Hold the phone! Schefter just said something about the Vikings wanting to trade up, possibly with the Pats. Rarely wrong…

11:12
Enough with the Fitty.

11:17
Good guys on the clock!

11:18
They're still running the alert banner during commercials and, even skipping through, I can't help but notice "PATRIOTS trade pick to VIKINGS" in giant text. GIANT TEXT. I hope they got more than the Subway Low-Fat Smokehouse BBQ Chicken sub that's currently occupying the remaining two-thirds of my television screen. That shit looks nasty.

11:19
"You're in the market for a new set of tires but not sure where to go. Do what most people do: grow giant breasts, wear a tight white shirt and go to Town Fair Tire. You'll get the best price on the largest selection of tires in New England. Boing!"

11:20
Yup, the deal's done. It was inevitable. We got their second-, third-, fourth- and seventh-round picks. I've recently come to the conclusion that anything after the third round is basically worthless. No more dreaming of some diamond in the rough or flipping out over trading up (within the fifth round) for a special teams ace. I like the two and the three, but since we probably won't get lucky twice (after Brady) the others are merely camp bodies.

11:23
Berman just expressed some heartfelt thanks to all the first responders and law enforcement during last week's bombings. So heartfelt, in fact, he didn't even have to dig for the sheet of paper to read from. It was right there on top.

11:24
A montage of American flags is capped off by a photo of former Patriot Joe Andruzzi carrying an injured woman to the medical tent, which fades back to live television in time for someone, sounding a lot like Jon Gruden, to mutter "I don't know that woman." And here's Joe on stage now. Maybe it was his voice? "That woman." Weird, right?

11:25
Nice words from Joe. Generic but well spoken. He should have said "You can fuck with us all you want but we're still going to watch the NFL Draft every year, we're still going to go to work, drink too much from time to time, buy our daughters balloons just because. We'll continue to go out of our way to avoid service fees for concert tickets and we'll keep complaining about the battery life on our expensive, disposable phones. We'll lose our shit when Blue Cheer gets played on Sirius, drink beer that commemorates the opening battle of the American Revolution and turn the heat up from the couch. We're going to let our wives sleep with their heads on our shoulders while we ogle Anne Baxter. Again. You will never win."

11:36
Geno Smith just left in a huff. Three teams left to pick: St. Louis, Dallas and Baltimore. One of those teams is not in desperate need for a quarterback (Baltimore), another seems to be alright in that department but is still lousy (St. Louis) and another absolutely, positively will have no success with superfraud Tony Romo in the driver's seat. I don't know, Geno, maybe stick around a few minutes.

11:38
This must be new Ram Alec Ogletree's living room. I'm guessing the lone white guy is his agent. "Where'd you get this jacket??"

11:42
Think the Cowboys and Niners would have traded picks twenty years ago? Oh wait.

11:44
Goodell didn't announce the Ravens as "the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens." What's that about? No one seems to care, there are like a dozen seat-fillers left.

11:46
Berman is hawking a copy of Mel Kiper's 2013 Draft Report. With a two-color cover it has to be good! Trey Wingo is next, and that's my cue to ex—

11:47
Wingo just kicked it straight back to Berman, who bellowed "No! We just did it!" and then made a "Hotel California" joke. That, friends, is my cue to exit. Goodnight.