Your humble and sometimes humbled columnist has never claimed to have all the answers to all the vexing problems of sports. But my agent, I.M. Slick, has never shied away from an opinion on anything. When he caught up with me the other day, he tried to push some buttons, aka story ideas.
Slick: So when are you going to write about the government’s popular and controversial “cash for clunkers” program?
Joe: What do the Kansas City Royals have to do with it?
Slick: “No, silly. I’m talking about the program that allows up to $4,500 for people to trade in old gas guzzlers for newer, more efficient models.
Joe: OK, I’ll call your bluff. How does that relate to my sports column?
Slick: You need to broaden your horizons, my boy. If the government can give cash for clunkers, why not cash for old tennis shoes, tennis rackets, basketballs, footballs, baseball cards, bobbleheads or whatever?
Joe: Hmm. You may be on to something there.
Slick: And while we’re on the subject, when are you going to write about the highest paid and most overpaid coaches in college football? They’re not necessarily one and the same.
Joe: That’s kind of an old and tired subject, isn’t it?
Slick: But it’s still interesting. People get fed up hearing that coaches earn millions of dollars annually while the average Joe, no offense, struggles to make a decent living.
Joe: OK. So what’s the angle?
Slick: Well, far be it for me to tell you what to write, but I would point out that it’s understandable that Pete Carroll from USC is the top-paid coach at $4.4 million a year, and that Urban Meyer of Florida is the third highest on the list, earning $4 million a year. But why is Charlie Weis of Notre Dame the second-highest coach on the list at $4.2 million per year?
Joe: So, essentially, you want me to bash Charlie Weis because of his limited success at Notre Dame?
Slick: Exactly. Maybe you’re smarter than I thought.
Joe: That wasn’t much of a compliment, really.
Slick: Hey, in your case, it’s the best I can do. Keep in mind that going into the fall 2009 season, Weis had an overall record of 29-21 at Notre Dame, which probably doesn’t satisfy the Fighting Irish faithful.
Meanwhile, poor Bob Stoops of Oklahoma has to make do with $3.8 million a year, Mark Mangino of KU scrapes by on $2.3 million a year and Bill Snyder came out of retirement for a mere $1.1 million, a real steal by today’s standards.
Joe: I take it that none of the KCAC football coaches showed up on the list of highest-paid coaches.
Slick: Aha! So you do have a sense of humor!
Joe: Is there anything else?
Slick: Just one thing. Hav you ordered your Kansas City Royals playoff tickets yet?
Joe: You’re such a comedian.
Slick: Did you hear that Michael Jackson died earlier this year?
Joe: Of course.
Slick: Well, if you’re so smart, do you know what the Royals had in common with Michael Jackson?
Joe: I’m afraid to ask.
Slick: Like Jackson, they wear a glove on one hand for no apparent reason!
Joe: Stop it.
Slick: Here’s another one courtesy of Steve Hofstetter—a new study has found that the Kansas City Royals are the least-popular team in baseball. It’s the first thing they’ve won in years.
Joe: Enough already.
Slick: Hofstetter also said there are rumors that Barry Bonds could bat DH in Kansas City. The D in DH apparently stands for “Desperate.”
Joe: Are you done yet?
Slick: Almost. Hofstetter also said Royals outfielder Jose Guillen had to be restrained after a fan heckled him earlier this year. Guillen said the man called him something awful, like a “Kansas City Royal.”
Joe: You can leave now.
Slick: Would you lighten up? I thought you had a sense of humor.
Joe: Yeah. It’s just that sometimes the truth hurts.