They Say the Neon Tights are Bright on Broadway

January 27, 2012

From a St. Louis sports perspective, few things deliver the entertainment power of a fake punch quite like pro wrestling night at the South Broadway Athletic Club in Soulard, featuring the stars of the MMWA-SICW.

And since you’re now probably wondering, the answer is “No.” Nobody knows what MMWA-SICW stands for. And whenever anyone asks, another letter is added.  So please, just let it go.

For the pro wrestling purist however, it’s a real treat. It’s like the Class A ball – or maybe more accurately the Appalachian Rookie League – of the WWE.  There’s no million-dollar egos, no backroom corruption, no steroids. On the contrary, many of the wrestlers here could stand to lift a dumbbell or two.

Instead, these guys compete for the love of the sport, or more accurately the sports-based entertainment.  There are names like Big Texan, Ace Hawkins, Johnny Courageous, the Lumberjacks (and they’re okay). These guys are all extremely affable with the fans, and it was pretty easy to get a picture taken with them.

For the most part, the crowd was what you might expect, making the upper bowl of a Blues game look like an auditorium full of PhDs attending an astrophysics lecture. Chants of “U-S-A!” broke out throughout the night several times. Chants of “Jer-ry!” did not. But it wasn’t for lack of trying.

Even still, it’s a remarkably diverse crowd: young, old, male, female. There were even a few celebrities in the house, like Terry B. Crouppen of the legal dynamic duo Brown & Crouppen – the proverbial Robin to Ron Brown’s Batman. When you think about it, where else would St. Louis’ foremost ambulance-chasing personal injury lawyer be on a Saturday night? It makes perfect sense. If someone splits a skull on the business end of a folding chair, he’s right there.

And turns out it’s a great place to host your small child’s birthday party, complete with an appropriately-themed cake.

The best part though has to be the prices, which have been rolled back to the days of Wrestling at the Chase. Beer is two dollars. For the more sophisticated palate there’s a wine list, featuring your choice of…red or white.  Actually, the house Chablis – although pronounced [sha-bliss] by the wait staff – is to die for.

And just when the night couldn’t get any more surreal, an all-too-familiar face to the loyal readers of JSF entered the squared circle:

Why, it’s none other than the 2012 Riverfront Times “Funniest Twitter Feed” winner and Joe Sports Fan’s own Matt Sebek.  At least we think it might be.  Who would have guessed that Sebek moonlighted on the weekends as a semi-pro wrestler?

Ballet dancer? Sure. Boy band member? Absolutely. But a wrestler? No way.

And despite the prosthetic body suit, which adds the illusion of nearly 100 pounds of muscle to Sebek’s frame, I have to admit the guy has some serious moves.

The hot pink tights? Just perfect. Nothing sums up “metrosexual badass” quite like they do. Also, the one pink boot is a nice touch. It’s got kind of a Michael Jackson feel to it.

Turns out, Sebek wrestles under the alias Brandon Espinosa, an homage to his Cherokee heritage.

The festivities ended with a Battle Royal, humbly submitted for your approval, where the last man left in the ring wins.

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Slaten Prejudice Unveiled with Fisher Hiring

January 20, 2012

Kevin Slaten recently exposed himself as intolerant, some might even say discriminatory, on his radio show while ruminating over the potential hiring of now St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher.

What else is new, you say? Well, this time he has betrayed his own people, namely, the mustached American.

A recent caller to his show suggested that Slaten harbors an anti-mustache bias, and that this may be clouding his judgment of Fisher, and then informed Slaten of the St. Louis-based American Mustache Institute, which fights for the rights of mustached Americans.

At first Slaten denied the existence of the AMI, and accused the caller of drinking heavily.  But after receiving a subsequent call from the AMI’s chairman and JSF’s own Dr. Aaron, Slaten backtracked and stated that what he actually said was that he did not believe discrimination against mustached citizens actually exists.

What ensued was a highly logical albeit heated debate. Here now is the audio of the entire incident, so the readers at home can judge for themselves:

Perhaps the most telling point in the exchange was when Slaten admitted to having his own mustache forcibly removed by his then employers at ESPN, thus proving that anti-mustache discrimination does exist, despite his best efforts to deny or belittle the AMI’s endeavors as “15 guys with nothing better to do than sit around and talk about mustaches.” Hardly.

Slaten also lost points for claiming that he was not “any better looking or any uglier” whether he is mustached or clean-shaven. This was in response to Dr. Aaron’s statement that the average person can expect to see a 38 percent increase in looks from a well-groomed mustache, a fact that has been scientifically proven at the AMI through years of extensive research and pillow fighting.

You tell me which picture is 38 percent better looking, or better yet, which picture is 38 percent uglier. The answer is obvious. Clearly, he is much uglier sans mustache, as much as 73 percent uglier in fact.

But I’ll tell you what is ugly – besides Slaten – and that’s the truth. Deny it all he wants: Discrimination against good, honest, hard-working mustached Americans does exist. And Kevin Slaten is living, heavily-breathing proof.

Michael Grubb is a (semi) regular contributor to Team JSF. When he’s not splicing audio to make people look bad, he can be found hanging out with Bruce Pearl. When he’s not doing that, he can be reached at:

@GrubbHub
GrubbHub.net
grubbhub@gmail.com


Top 7: Must-Have Free Autographs at the 2012 Cardinals Winter Warm Up

January 13, 2012

You booked a room at the Millennieum, packed up the family truckster, even bought a sleeve of baseballs from Walmart, and now you’re ready to head up I-64 for some sweet, sweet Cardinal autograph action at this weekend’s Winter Warm-Up.

Only one problem, you forgot to go to the Cardinals web site and sign up for an autograph session with your favorite Cardinals players (for a specific additional donation of course). Great. Now you can forget about that Lou Brock autograph you always wanted ($75). Lance Berkman too ($100). World Series MVP David Freese ($75)? Forget about it. Hell, you can’t even get J. C. Romero ($5).

But don’t worry, because there are plenty of free autographs to be had. And the best part is we’ve done all the leg work for you, sifting through the list of unremarkables to comprise another Joe Sports Fan Top 7: Must-Have Free Autographs at the 2012 Cardinals Winter Warm Up.

7. T. J. Matthews

In a way, this whole Mark McGwire fiasco was his fault. Yeah! And while you’ll never be able to get Mark McGwire’s autograph for free (unless you’re a Baseball Hall of Fame voter), you can get the guy McGwire was traded to the Oakland A’s for, and unlike a McGwire autograph, it won’t even cost you your integrity.

6. Curt Ford

No, not Curt Flood. Curt Ford. The former sacrificed his life and livelihood so that today’s players could think that God wants them to go to Los Angeles for $240 million instead of stay in St. Louis for $220 million. The latter’s two-run single broke a scoreless tie and propelled the Cardinals to a 4-2 victory in Game 5 of the 1987 World Series, during which Ford hit a healthy .318. The Cardinals wouldn’t win another World Series game for 19 years, and Curt Ford’s career would end abruptly and sadly – just like Curt Flood.

5. Andy and Alan Benes

Together, the brothers Benes combined for 79 wins and 23 arm surgeries while wearing the birds on the bat. In fact, the only thing more stitched than the baseball you’ll give them is the arm they’ll use to sign it. But the duo helped boost the Cardinals to a memorable 1996 playoff run, and that’s got to be worth more than nothing, doesn’t it? The answer here is clearly maybe.

4. Glenn Brummer

A little-known third string catcher steals home during the magical championship season of 1982, and one of the greatest moments in Cardinal lore is born. So let me see if I get this straight…the Cardinals have no problem selling “souvenir” toilets to their fans, but they can’t even charge $5 for a Glenn Brummer autograph? You’ve got to be kidding me. That’s worth at least two used toilets, maybe three.

3. Mike Tyson

Just so you can do the joke, “Hey, I got Mike Tyson’s autograph! Mike Tyson the guy that played second base for the Cardinals from 1972-1979, not Mike Tyson the boxer!” to all your friends until one of them punches your face in, a la Mike Tyson. And it will serve you right, you dumb son of a bitch.

2. Tom Lawless

To get the full Tom Lawless free autograph experience, you’re going to need a bat for him to sign. Then, you ask him to stare straight ahead and flip it behind him, without a care for what (or who) is back there, just like he did when he homered in Game 4 of the 1987 World Series. Yep, this is quite possibly the best idea I’ve ever had.

1. Rex Hudler

It’s likely that more than a few witnesses to the debacle that was the 1990 St. Louis Cardinals would say that team wasn’t very much fun to watch. But those people obviously missed the 89 games in which Rex “The Wonder Dog” Hudler played or appeared in. Hudler’s speed, power, and fiery red hair proved an explosive combination, as he finished third on the team with 7 home runs and chipped in 18 steals in limited action. But Hudler’s statistics paled in comparison to the unwavering heart and hustle he displayed every time he stepped on the field.

Why, if diving head-first into third base was worth 5 runs, that 1990 team would have finished 18 games out of first place instead of 25. Hudler is now an award-winning broadcaster and, not surprisingly, a motivational speaker.  He resides in California with his wife and four children, sadly, according to the above photo, none of whom are ginger.

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Michael Grubb is a (semi) regular contributor to Team JSF. When he’s not ranking things that don’t matter, he can be reached at:

@GrubbHub
GrubbHub.net
grubbhub@gmail.com


Mike Ditka: King of the Gridiron…and Comedy

January 6, 2012

Unless you woke up early New Year’s Day morning with such a bad headache and cotton mouth that you couldn’t even go back to sleep (of course I’m speaking hypothetically here, in no way do I know what that’s like), you probably missed Mike Ditka’s interesting analysis of the Indianapolis Colts’ decision of whether or not to take Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the first pick in April’s NFL draft.

Ditka argued that the Colts shouldn’t take Luck, in part because of the positive attributes of backup Dan Orlovsky, which included being “a good Polack.”

Now, before everyone starts running out to boycott products, it should be noted that Ditka is one of three children from a Ukrainian family. In fact, Ditka’s family changed its name from “Dyczko” because it was too hard to pronounce in his hometown in Western Pennsylvania.

Changed his name? What is he, an entertainer? Maybe that’s it, maybe Ditka fashions himself as a stand-up comedian instead of an analyst.

The way I see it, Ditka is just following the longstanding stand-up comedy tradition of “I Am One So I Can Make Fun of Them.” It is this unwritten but well-understood societal rule that has blessed us with the careers of many of today’s popular comedians, including Margaret Cho, George Lopez, and D.L. Hugley.

Hmm…maybe it’s time we re-thought this rule.

In any event, there really isn’t any sort of advantage to being Polish in the game of football, unless you count fans being able to make out your name on the back of your jersey more easily from the cheap seats.

If given the chance to take Luck, it’s not like the St. Louis Rams should get rid of Sam Bradford because he’s too much of a stuffy, uptight WASP (See, now I’m taking advantage of the rule, to similarly hilarious results).

But the whole ordeal does remind me of the old SNL Superfans skit, specifically the question of how many Ditkas does it take to beat the New York Giants?

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Michael Grubb is a (semi) regular contributor to Team JSF. When he’s not watching “An Evening With Margaret Cho” on DVD, he can be reached at:

@GrubbHub
GrubbHub.net
grubbhub@gmail.com