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Purple haze all in my brain

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Swing by The Cooler, lads, and get your Dixie Cup full of vitriol.

Bank One Ballpark
"Take me out to the ... swimming pool!!!" You've got to be kidding.
And don't wear no purple, either.

The Series is on my mind, after watching a weekend from the BOB. And when I say "Series," I mean series -- 'cause Ally McBeal starts tonight! And The Tick is coming soon! And Kiefer Sutherland's agent apparently received his first phone call since "Flatliners," 'cause Limp Bizkit is singing about his new series, "24"!

(Does "24" represent the number of days Kiefer has worked since '91? What a shame, too, coming from that lineage. Caught his old man's classic turn as the Faber College English professor on one of my movie channels Saturday night. Beyond brilliant. Always remember: Inside your fingernail could be ... one ... tiny ... universe.)

Anyway, it was all enough to give a man a headache worthy of four Advil and a bottle of Jack Daniel's.

That's the prescription I'm taking for the notion that the damn Arizona Diamondbacks are two wins from owning the most important trophy in the U.S. sports landscape.

What, you want Snake Mania from The Cooler? Sorry, chief. Head to your local Circle K in the desert for any Diamondback worship. And while you're there, ask the clerk how much time he did and the nature of his felony, too.

Important Note: My beef is not with those who wear the purple. The players? Solid as they come. Curt Schilling, setting aside his absurd rips of Barry Bonds, seems impossible not to root for. Luis Gonzalez might be the coolest cat in the bigs. And don't even bring up Bob Brenly and Matty Williams. Those guys aren't D-Backs. I go Old School '80s with these guys, back before Matty went Uncle Fester on us, back in the black-and-orange on lousy nights at Candlestick when 9,000 of us rooted on the lads amid clouds of marijuana smoke in the bleachers -- or was that fog?

Randy Johnson? I can't hate that guy. I can, however, note that he is not a particularly handsome man, and I can also note that his eighth-inning showdown with Luis Sojo -- which I believe is Venezuelan for "looks like Ernie Borgnine, only worse" -- might have been the most visually unappealing pitcher-hitter matchup in Series history.

No, Cooler drinkers, my beef is with the very concept of the D-Backs.

Randy Johnson
Here's a special Circle K salute to Game 2 winner Randy Johnson.
My beef is with the "fans" who now cheer lustily for their heroes in downtown Phoenix, those last two words taking the concept of "oxymoron" to new heights.

My beef is with that ballpark, which is so far from a ballpark, it's like calling a Circle K hot dog a beef product.

These are my beefs: The D-Backs could not sell out any NLDS or NLCS games. The fans who did attend booed Matty Williams. The park in which they booed him is a freaking mall.

So forgive me if I didn't get all teary-eyed when Matty went deep off Andy Pettitte, and they gave the veteran third baseman a curtain call. I can't get the idea out of my head that this classiest of ballplayers endured the boos of people who wonder, in between innings, "Will I ever get out to the pool in right field one day, and if so, can I cannonball?"

Forgive me if I didn't leap for joy when the Unit went complete game and allowed those poseurs in the crowd to act like they care about ball, when all they've done is spend the past few summers wondering when the Cubs game was coming on WGN.

Bitter? Damn straight. The World Series trophy is two games away from resting in a ballpark that might as well feature a Cinnabon, a Sunglass Hut and a kiosk pedaling "Hello, Kitty" cell phone covers.

God, do I need some Sinatra. Cue him up in the Bronx, and fast.

With that out of my system, let's serenely proceed to the Weekend List of Five:

1. Oh! One last thing about the Series ...
Matt Williams
A World Series homer, a curtain call at the BOB ... and he's married to the actress from "Blame It On Rio."
So, Matty Williams goes deep and it's a big moment for him and for Bob Brenly and for the National League, and who does Fox go to in the stands? Who else? Michelle Williams -- nee Johnson -- and all I can think is: Holy mother of God, that's right! He married the "Blame It on Rio" chick!

So, maybe her acting career didn't take off after the '84 Michael Caine vehicle the way she wanted. But here are Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, dropping "Blame It on Rio" references. while Matty's barely past third base! Clearly, the Fox broadcasters have seen that film. Oh, yeah. If you've seen it, you remember Michelle Johnson, too. I went to the trouble of looking her up on allmovie.com, and got the following lead sentence in her bio: "Cast as Michael Caine's topless amour in 1984's 'Blame It on Rio' " ... and I thought: Perfect. Fox captured that important 30-39 male demographic they're going for.

You know what? We should all marry topless amours in movies about Brazil at one point in our lives, should we not?

Way to go, Matty.

2. One word: Flutiemania
I had to apply a cold compress to my forehead after the doings down at Jack Murphy. (Any stadium originally nicknamed The Murph will never be referenced by a corporate word including the suffix "com.")

Doug Flutie
When Doug Flutie hit paydirt to beat the Bills, The Murph was in need of a sedative.
There was my guy, Doug Flutie, single-handedly pushing back the hands of time, mullet flying out of his helmet, dashing the dreams of the Buffalo franchise, and bringing glory to his cause one last time.

God, I love that guy. I've gone on this riff before, how I love D. Flutie, because every time he gets under center, it's 1984 all over again and Van Halen's "Jump" is No. 1 on the charts, and Molly Ringwald actually still looks cute, and Judd Nelson's agent thinks he has the makings of a great career on his hands.

That's what Flutie does for me. Now it's 2001 and he's ... still doing it! He has so much game, he could have one-upped Matty Williams and married the true queen of early '80s screen work -- Phoebe Cates. And he could have done it right after the pool scene in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." That's how much game Doug Flutie had ... and still has, baby.

3. The surfer-stoner guy was right ... unfortunately
Devoted readers of The Cooler (thanks Mom, thanks Dad) will remember the homage paid to the surfer-stoner dude from the '89 UCLA-Michigan game who informed me and my boy T.S. that, indeed, "We Play Some Ball on the West Coast!"

After spending Saturday in Palo Alto under slate-gray skies that seemed a meteorological foreshadowing of my alma mater's fate, I can sadly report that the surfer-stoner guy was right: We Can, Indeed, Play Some Ball on the West Coast.

Sadly, that ball is being played at Stanford.

Damn, those eggheads are good! Trust me, U.S. college football fans: You want no part of the Stanford Cardinal on an autumn Saturday.

My hangover stands testament to that immutable truth.

4. Nebraska gets kinky!
Eric Crouch
Eric Crouch and Nebraska used a little sleight of hand to beat Oklahoma.
So, the Cornhuskers beat Oklahoma, and do it with a flea-flicker that winds up a 60-yard touchdown to the quarterback. This is so parallel-universe, I don't know what to do with myself. Didn't Tom Osborne consider flea-flickers to be, technically, pornography?

It's a brave new world. Nebraska running flea-flickers! What's next, I find out that Lawrence Phillips isn't leading a happy, productive life in the NFL? Oh, sorry, 'Huskers fans, for that reminder of The Juice of Lincoln.

5. Rams-Saints: Sweet!
You know what I loved about that game in St. Louis? Third quarter, Saints making a phenomenal comeback, and defensive end Darren Howard picks off a screen pass with a chance to go all the way. The only thing in his way: Kurt Warner.

So, given the chance to juke Warner and head for paydirt, Howard goes brain stem and does the opposite: He tucks the ball in and delivers a savage blow to Warner! This is insanely hilarious caveman behavior. The guy has a chance to score in the TWA Dome, and instead he opts to lower his head and drill the QB attempting to tackle him!

This is why the Saints won. Because they're animals, man! Base, despicable, loathsome behavior on a football field.

Don't you love it?

Brian Murphy of the San Francisco Chronicle writes the "Weekend Water Cooler" every week for Page 2.



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