You know more than I don't know
By Bob Halloran
Special to Page 2

The last time I wrote a column about "Things I Don't Know," I received an abundance of e-mails. Some people were kind and attempted to enlighten me with answers to my questions, while others just outright hurt my feelings. If you prick me, do I not bleed? But I'm pretty thick-skinned, and I eventually stopped crying into my pillow. The ear pulse served as a soothing metronome to help me through the rough times.

Randy Johnson
If Randy Johnson wants to format his disk, will prorgrammers fix Bob Halloran's hard drive?
My second foray into "Things I Don't Know" -- or, as I like to refer to it: "More Things I Don't Know (soon to be followed by "Even More Things," and "Can You Believe There's Still More?" etc) elicited many more e-mails. But this time, everybody was very nice. Nobody called me stupid, or silly, or questioned my qualifications as a sportscaster, and nobody implored Page 2 to stop letting me write for them. I was surprised. I hungered for the vitriol. I thirsted for the verbal combat. But the only people who wrote to me wanted either to help, compliment or share with me some things that they don't know. It made me feel popular. I thought, "Yes, they get me! I've won them over. Now, they love me. They really love me!"

Of course, there's always the possibility that the Page 2 editors are filtering my mail. You see, Page 2 is my post office. All the mail goes there first, and then it's forwarded to me. I'm thinking there's at least a slight possibility that the editors forward only the mail they think will keep me out of therapy. So, if you sent me a mean, nasty e-mail, I'm sorry but I didn't get to read it. If it makes you feel any better, here's a response: Kiss off!

Now, here's what the kinder, gentler readers had to say:

Matt from Plainville, Mass.: I'm from Plainville, and what's even worse is our town used to be called Slackville. Who were the creative geniuses who came up with that?

Matt, many New England towns got their names from the first settlers in the New World. Unfortunately, many of them were from places in England like Haplesstown and We'llneveramounttoanythingshire.

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Tony from Phoenix: I read your column about things you don't know about in sports and it prompted a feisty discussion among my co-workers. Here's the hypothetical situation: Randy Johnson has pitched 8 2/3 innings of perfect baseball. The final batter pops up into foul territory. Rather than catching the ball and securing the perfect game, Erubiel Durazo muffs it. Clearly, an error is due.

On the next pitch, the batter grounds out. So the question is this, does Randy get the perfect game? Granted, there was an error, but he still retired all 27 batters in a row with none of them reaching first base. Nobody here has a clear answer. Granted, we are all computer programmers, so there is little we understand about the outside world. Please help.

No, Tony. I'm still ripped at all computer programmers from the time I put a blank floppy disc into my computer and a message came up and asked me if I wanted to "format" the disc. I'm thinking, "Sure, formatting sounds nice. Everybody needs structure. Sounds good." I click "yes," and that's when I learn that to format a disc means everything on your computer gets deleted. Everything?! Shouldn't there have been a second message that said: "Are you sure you want to do this? You're about to do something catastrophic, you idiot!" Every time I log off the Internet, I get a message that asks: "Are you sure you want to disconnect?" But for deleting everything on my computer, I get nothing! Ask a computer tech on duty about your perfect game.

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Matt from Atlanta: Baskin Robbins has 31 flavors so you can have a different flavor every day of the month.

Thanks, Matt. And by the way, a perfect game is a game of nine or more innings where no batters reach base safely. So, in the above hypothetical, Randy Johnson would get credit for a perfect game. But don't tell Tony.

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John Daly
You don't have to know a Whit to measure driving distance on the PGA Tour.
Keith from Dallas: On the PGA Tour they use two holes, not one, to judge driving distance, generally going in opposite directions to negate the effect of the wind.

I feel bad about this one, because I had mentioned that ESPN anchor Whit Watson told me that one hole per tournament was used to measure driving distance, but in truth, Whit also said: "I'll check to make sure." He didn't get back to me, and I went with his 99 percent certainty. My bad. Let that be a lesson to all you would-be journalists out there. Even when you're being a smart-ass, accuracy counts. Sorry, Whit.

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Daniel in Ringwood, N.J.: Dear Mr. Halloran, I love that I read your column on (even more!) things you don't know today, and I just want to tell you something. I am also from New Jersey, north Passaic County, and I say "tore-nement" all the time. I also get made fun of for tawking on the telephone, shopping at the mawl, and loving base-bawl. I go to college in Massachusetts, and I almost failed a chem lab because I needed cobawlt sawlt (cobalt salt) and the TA couldn't understand what I was saying. I had to write it out for him. I don't care when people make fun of me though, because I love coming from the greatest state in the union and speaking in a thick Jersey accent. Keep on saying "tore-nement," and if someone corrects you, screw 'em.

Well, Daniel, that's really going to depend on who corrects me. By the way, your TA is a pompous jerk. He's teaching in Massachusetts. You think nobody ever told him they left a beakah full of coppah, sulfah and silvah in the cah?

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Joe from Salem, Ore.: The Piece "Ignorance is bliss" by Bill Halloran was brilliant and hilarious, keep writing great pieces like that, Bill!

Thank you, Joe, but I prefer either Mr. Halloran or William.

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Dave from Myrtle Beach, S.C.: In his Aug. 16, 2002 article, Bob Halloran states, "... I don't know if there's anything funnier than the thought of a stressed-out mouse with zits." That is pretty funny. However, in the past week, there was a news story: "Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School in Chester County transplanted pieces of the testicles of pigs, goats, horses and sheep into mice. The pieces, attached to the backs of the mice, eventually matured and produced the sperm of the donor animal."

They had to use special hairless mice. Now a hairless mouse with horse balls growing out of it's back. That's funny. Who's approving funding for these things? I didn't really know there was a shortage of horse, pig, goat and sheep balls in the world.

Unfortunately, Dave, there is. And only you can help. Call 1-800-PIG-BALL and give till it hurts. Great story. I was immediately struck by an image of a mouse on a stud farm running up from behind some little filly and disappearing from view.

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Kevin from Indianapolis thinks he has the answer to why the Sonoma 350 only had 112 laps on a 2-mile track for a total of 224 miles. He writes: 224 is 360 kilometers, so I would guess the track must be slightly less than 2 miles.

And, yes, stress does cause acne from first-hand experience ...

So, I'm supposed to believe that in order to avoid calling it the Sonoma 224, they went metric on me! Were they also selling liters of beer, Kevin? How many hectares is a 2-mile track?

Really, I don't even doubt your explanation, but this isn't the first time I've caught NASCAR in a white lie. They're definitely hung up on round figures -- 250, 350, 400, 500. Here's a suggestion. If they're going to call it the Sonoma 350, why not go 350 miles? Get out the calculator and divide by two. That would be 175 laps. P.S. Stop worrying, use a quality facial mask, and thank God you don't share some other problem with mice (see above).

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Chris from Old Bridge, N.J.: As an amateur umpire, I learned that we were supposed to put the "balls" count in our left hand and the "strike" count in our right hand. I don't believe it says anything about it in the rulebook, but the way they told us to remember was the fact that balls had an L in it (for left) and strikes had an R in it (for right).

So, Chris, I was right. Umpires are no rocket scientists, but they're close.

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Mo Vaughn
Mo Vaughn hopes for the return of the rare left-handed catcher.
Brad from Missouri: In your recent column, My ignorance is bliss again, you say you don't know why catchers can't be left-handed. I don't mean to be rude, but are you retarded?! How in the world is a left-handed catcher going to throw out anybody stealing third? A left-handed catcher would have to catch the ball, turn his whole body, and then throw to third. That at least takes a half second, which is a lot of time. Mo Vaughn could steal third standing up on a left-handed catcher.

You make a nice point, Brad ... and then you ruin it with hyperbole. Mo Vaughn couldn't steal third on defensive indifference.

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Chris from Campbell, Calif.: You're right, most catchers' throws are to second base. Unfortunately for left-handed catchers, most batters are right-handed. So most of the time a left-handed catcher throws to second, there is a right-handed batter in his way standing in the batter's box. I believe that's why there are few left-handed catchers.

Chris, I don't know how to break this to you, but Brad from Missouri thinks you're retarded!

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Tim in Houma, La.: The one question that you asked that is really bugging me is the one about the balk. If anyone happens to give an answer, please pass it on.

Chris in the ESPN research department tells me: If no runner is on base and the pitcher drops the ball on his delivery, it is a no pitch if it does not cross either foul line. If it does cross a foul line, the pitch is a ball. If there's a runner on base and the ball doesn't cross a foul line, it is a balk. If it crosses the foul line, then it's still a ball.

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Nicholas from Rochester, N.Y.: In the words of the immortal Bob Halloran: (I love that even more than Mr.) "If humans have biceps, triceps and quadriceps, how come we don't have a unicep?" FYI, "cep" means head. Nearly every muscle in the body is a unicep muscle, which is why no one uses that term.

Karl Malone
Karl Malone flexes his biceps brachii, proving that at least these two heads are better than his one.
The triceps muscle has three heads. The muscle in your arm is actually named the biceps brachii because there's a biceps femorus in your leg. Both of those muscles have two heads. What I don't know is whether a regular single-headed muscle would be called a unicep muscle or a uniceps muscle. Loved the column, by the way.

That's some good info, Nicholas. I'm assuming there aren't any five-headed muscles, otherwise I would have heard of a "quinticeps" muscle. In answer to your question about unicep or uniceps, all I can tell you is that it's RBI, not RBIs. Although, I disagree with that. If one run batted in is an RBI, then the "R" must stand for a singular run. It does not stand for "runs," because you can't have one runs batted in. So, if the "R" is run, more than one run would be RsBI, or you can make the entire acronym a singular term and properly pluralize it as RBIs. I believe strongly that I'm right about this, but the world has moved ahead without me. It makes me sad. Being immortal, however, makes me happy.

Bob Halloran is an anchorman for ESPNEWS.



Bob Halloran Archive

Halloran: Booyah! TV announcers crank out obscurity

Halloran: No Bull: 'Durham' simply stinks

Halloran: In bliss and loving every minute of it

Halloran: (Way) out of curiosity

Halloran: Sweet sound of radio fading out

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