Fan's Notes 

On Vandy, Bonilla, Rocker, and NFL criminals

On Vandy, Bonilla, Rocker, and NFL criminals

I’m all over it on Wednesday,“ announced the voice at the other end of my telephone line early Monday morning. There was no need to ask for clarification; I knew immediately what this news meant. My friend Dee had felt a sudden urge to drive up from Atlanta to call on clients in Nashville—which meant, serendipitously, that he would be available to lend his presence to the Vanderbilt-Auburn basketball game.

”Cliff Ellis is going to be very disappointed to hear that,“ I observed.

Dee, who is to Vanderbilt rivals what Chechen rebels are to Russians, was always an unwelcome sight to visiting coaches, not to mention a particularly unwelcome sound.

”Wait till the boys in Vegas find out you’re coming,“ I continued. ”I bet the line shifts three points in Vanderbilt’s favor.“

”They could use all the extra points they can get after that abomination Saturday,“ Dee groused. ”How do you get stomped by a harelip team that has only six players?“

”Maybe they were looking ahead to Auburn,“ I offered.

”They’ll really be looking forward to it now. It may be the first break they get from Stallings’ practices.“

”They really need to win at least one of these next two home games,“ I observed, alluding to Vanderbilt’s contests this week against Auburn and Tennessee.

”I know which one I’d pick,“ replied Dee, a long-standing Vol hater of such ultraorthodox passions that he’d be hard-pressed to choose which side to root for in a game between Tennessee and Iraq. ”I just wish I could be there Saturday.“

”I just hope you’ll find a way to restrain yourself on Wednesday.“

”When have you not seen me restrained?“

”Um...last time I saw you.“

”When?“ he demanded.

”Super Bowl ring a bell?“

”Oh.“

”The stuff you yelled at Georgia Frontiere when she was accepting the trophy for the Rams?“

”All I asked was how her late husband managed to drown in one foot of water so she could inherit the team.“

”The Rams fans in front of you thought your timing could have been better.“

”Hey, it was the first time I happened to see her. And I’m still waiting for my answer, by the way.“

”Well, just to be on the safe side, if you’re sitting near any Auburn fans Wednesday, don’t yell anything about their team’s graduation rate.“

”Not a problem.“

”That’s reassuring.“

”I’m not aware that they have a graduation rate.“

”Oh, Lord.“

”What’s lower: Auburn’s graduation rate, Tennessee’s graduation rate, or the mean January temperature of Minot, North Dakota?“

”Don’t tell me. Let me guess.“

”That’s another question I’m still awaiting an answer for. But if you’re worried about starting a rhubarb, I won’t bring it up.“

”Much appreciated. And, by the way, while I’m thinking about it,“ I asked, meandering the subject away from SEC basketball and Dee’s extensive enemies list, ”what a coup your Braves pulled off to get Bobby Bonilla the other day.“

”Don’t even get me started.“

”When you think about it, he may be the piece they’ve been missing. Until now, you know, they haven’t had the guy you could count on to head into the clubhouse during a big game and play cards. Maybe they’ll go for the sweep and pick up Rickey Henderson, too.“

”Bonilla can still hit.“

”Yeah, but teammates and sportswriters don’t count toward your slugging percentage.“

”If you ask me, the rules committee ought to look into that sportswriter part.“

”Instead of sewing åBonilla’ on the back of his jersey, they should just put åBobby Valentine’s Revenge.’ “

”OK, once again, I’m way ahead of you. Here’s the angle on this deal. They got Bonilla to room with Rocker.“

”That’ll make a charming couple.“

”Think about it. It fits like a Hong Kong suit. If the Braves want to show the commissioner they’re not going to let Rocker go unpunished, can you think of a better punishment than this?“

”Can’t argue with you there, Bubba Dog.“

”All right, then, here’s another reason. Rocker needs a little diversity training; Bobby Bo can say, åI got your diversity right here.’ “

”And I suppose Bobby Bo is doing this all as penance for past misdeeds.“

”No. Do I have to do all your thinking for you? After last season, Bonilla is about as employable as Kato Kaelin. Bobby needs a job. Rocker needs a new best friend—preferably one big and ornery enough to also serve as a bodyguard against his teammates.“

”Wow. I always said Mr. Spock had nothing on you.“

”Thanks. I’m liking this theory.“

”Once again, how many gunman do you put on the grassy knoll?“

”Shut up.“

”With your ability to develop theories like this, I’m surprised you haven’t been hired as part of the Ray Lewis defense team.“

”Naw, you’re dealing there with creative minds who are way out of my league.“

”Let’s see: First, it was åHe was in the limo and didn’t see any stabbing, but, oh yeah, that blood all over him? Well, actually, he was trying to be a peacemaker and break up the fight, and, uh, so what if it was his limo and he was involved in buying the knife that weekend?’ “

”Don’t forget that they tried to claim A.J. Johnson of the Dolphins was there, too—until he was told that Johnson had been in Miami the whole time, and then his lawyer said, åWell it was some guy named A.J. Ray just assumed it was A.J. Johnson.’ “

”Ray needs to hire Johnnie Cochran to come say that the blood was smeared on him by corrupt cops.“

”The guy who needs Johnnie Cochran is Jason Respert.“

”The UT recruit accused of attempted sexual battery?“

”Yeah. I can’t understand why Tennessee would even want him representing their school.“

”The character issue.“

”No! The åstupid’ issue! How is a lineman who’s dumb enough to try something like this—allegedly—ever gonna learn those complex blocking schemes?“

”Well, with a little bit of remedial work, maybe he could just go straight to the pros. He’d fit in with a bunch of the guys lately.“

”No kidding. In fact, I was thinking that maybe the Carolina Panthers ought to move their training camp to Jackson, Tennessee, since all their players seem to be going there to get arrested.“

”First Rae Carruth and now Fred Lane.“

”Although Lane at least can say he wasn’t hiding in a trunk.“

”All right. So I’ll see you at Rotier’s before the game?“

”Yep.“

”And you won’t yell at any Auburn people there either?“

”Nope. I’ve reformed.“

”You and Iron Mike Tyson.“

”Thomas broke me of the habit,“ said Dee, alluding to his five-month-old son.

”How’s that?“

”Remember when I called you during the UT-Vandy game a couple of weeks ago, and I was rocking him to sleep?“

”Uh-huh.“

”Well, when Tennessee missed the final shot, I forgot myself and yelled åYeah!’ I scared him so bad, he cried for an hour.“

”He’s not coming with you Wednesday, is he?“

”Good point. Maybe I could cut loose again just this once.“

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