|Page 2's Whiner Hall of Fame|
By Brian Murphy
Special to Page 2
Once upon a time, in a sleepy upstate New York village, five men stood as all-time greats.
Then, in 1936, it was Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson and Honus Wagner -- the Baseball Hall of Fame's inaugural class.
See, Vijay Singh last week got the Page 2 minds to thinking. The thought: Holy mother of Scott Hoch, does this guy sound like a whiner!
It got us wondering: Through the pantheon of our sports fan lives, who were the masters of their craft? Who were the men who achieved heights all to their own? Who were the true immortals?
Yes, that's right: Who would be our inaugural class in the Page 2 Whiners Hall of Fame?
Forthwith, how we might imagine that Inauguration Day and Ceremony for our initial class of 10 of Sports' Greatest Whiners:
1. John McEnroe
Presenter: Bjorn Borg.
Excerpts from Presenter's Speech: "John, it is with great experience and knowledge that I present you into this Whiner Hall of Fame. Even in a sport earmarked by individual petulance, you cut your own figure. As a stoic Swede who never understood your baby-faced cries, I often watched across the net with wonder: Why and how can a man act in such a manner? John, on this proud day, I see you gain the fruits of your labor."
Excerpts from McEnroe's Acceptance Speech: "Whiner? What? Ninety percent of those line calls were absolutely wrong, and the other 10 percent were so borderline the line judge deserved to be ripped! In conclusion, I can only say: '"You cannot be serious!''
Career Achievements: Wore out hundreds of caps in sideline tantrums ... consistently poor-mouthed own team's chances to point of comedy and, eventually, nausea ... even at nationally-revered Notre Dame, felt "The Man" was always against him ... tone of voice was particularly irksome, something close to a crying child.
Presenter: Gerry Faust.
Excerpts From Presenter's Speech: "Lou, as a man who flailed and failed at Notre Dame, I can truly say I never understood your incessant crying and moaning. You had it so good, and always had it so good. Also, Lou, how you tried to annually build Navy into the second coming of Bud Wilkinson's Oklahoma teams truly made me sick. It is with great honor that I present you with this bronze bust, Lou."
Excerpts from Holtz's Acceptance Speech: "How you guys chose me for this I'll never know. I don't deserve to be with here with all these greats. I mean, for Chrissakes, McEnroe? That guy's a champion! I don't belong with him. I don't belong anywhere near him, or to be mentioned in the same breath as him ..."
3. Jerry Rice
Presenter: John Taylor, Rice's longtime receiving partner and a man who did not talk to the media for years.
Excerpts from Presenter's Speech: Stone silence.
Excerpts from Rice's Acceptance Speech: "You know me, guys. I've always been overlooked, and I continue to be overlooked. I thought I should have been ahead of John McEnroe, but apparently the powers that be felt otherwise. I'm just glad Deion didn't make it here. I'm surprised you guys didn't choose Deion, since you always liked him better. Or, at least, he made more money and ..."
4. George Steinbrenner
Excerpts From Presenter's Speech: "Boss, congratulations on this fine honor. Should we meet at the China Club, say, around 3 a.m. for some partying?"
Excerpts from Steinbrenner's Acceptance Speech: "Who gave me this award? Who thinks I'm a whiner? I bet it's that Billy Martin who arranged this. He's fired! Fired, I say!"
Career Achievements: Dubious distinction of sporting Bad NBA Look: big, awkward, doughy white guy ... look not helped by consistent facial expression of shock and bewilderment that a foul could be called on him ... look and facial expression further not helped by fact that he often had just leaned an elbow into a screen to knock down a player, engendering rage among opposing fans.
Presenter: The late Celtics play-by-play man Johnny Most.
Excerpts from Presenter's Speech: "Bill Laimbeer was a sewer rat. A sewer rat. Wait: I said Kurt Rambis was a sewer rat? Well, hell -- Laimbeer's a sewer rat, too."
Excerpts from Laimbeer's Acceptance Speech: "Foul? There was no foul on that screen! Blood? I don't care. Wipe up the stinking blood! There's still no foul on that play!"
6. Al Davis
Presenter: Jon Gruden.
Excerpts From Presenter's Speech: (With Hand Over Face) ""Face, dude. Face."
Excerpts From Davis' Lawyer's Speech: "Please grab a subpoena on the way out the door. It will save us postage costs and time. Thank you."
7. Scott Hoch
Presenter: A guy named Angus, a Scottish caddie.
Excerpts From Presenter's Speech: "Aah cannae buleev this Scott 'Och! 'E's got me kilt in a twist, laddie! I'd love to shove a' bagful o' haggis douwn 'is golf trrrrousers!"
Excerpts From Hoch's Acceptance Speech: "See? I couldn't understand a word he said. Why can't he speak English, like the rest of us? That's why I don't like the British Open. I don't know if the caddie said a 5-iron or a 6-iron, because he's speaking some sort of foreign language. Plus, he's wearing a skirt. Who does he think he is, Annika Sorenstam?"
8. Italian and Brazilian National Soccer Teams
Presenter: A FIFA official.
Excerpts From Presenter's Speech: "No, no, no! No, no! No foul! No foul!"
Excerpts From Brazilian and Italian National Soccer Team's Acceptance Speech: No speech made. Each player, on way to podium, tripped over an imaginary boot and writhed for the remainder of the ceremony.
9. Pete Rose
Presenter: "Lucky,: a New York bookie who is wearing wraparound shades and a dark hat.
Excerpts from Presenter's Speech: "Yo, Pedro! Remember those days when I'd take your call from Riverfront about an hour before the game, and you'd tell me that Tom Browning had the extra hop in the fastball that night? Man, those were the ..." (Rose wrestles the microphone from Lucky).
Excerpts from Rose's Acceptance Speech: "Hey, that Lucky. Funny guy. I'd like to thank him for being here, and to thank everyone who ever believed in me. See? I made it to a Hall of Fame!"
Brian Murphy of the San Francisco Chronicle writes the "Weekend Water Cooler" every Monday for Page 2.