Three blogging concepts (Sports, Drinking, & Elitism)
Two Footie Stories
And a Doofus on a Pony
Remember the first week of December a year ago? Whew. It was enough to wear some folks out. What a week + Tribe playoffs.
I come to praise Jerry’s Wheelhouse, not to bury them.
The blogging that men do lives after them;
The snarky snideness is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Geoff and Jerry.
Let it be taken as a compliment that, for as many epithets as G:TBers hurled at the Wheelhouse through the years, the majority of the staff continues to inquire about the extended absence / early retirement of our counter-blog. The latter half of last year saw the tandem blogcycle featuring Geoff and Jerry begin to slow, but their December 4, 2010 random-post-as-epilogue stunned the local ‘sphere. Where as Rob and I shuttered Misery Loves Company in 2009 with an end-of-the-baseball-season adieu we hoped would bookend our seven years of chronicling, you don’t often hear farewell speeches that close with:
“We might also see some wildcat with QB/WR DJ Mangas behind center.”
It certainly left some questions unanswered. While other FOG:TB blogs like What Mark Is Doing, Drunk and Stupid, Dave’s Quote of the Day, and that fortnight of vitriol Hot Action ran their course and faded out appropriately, the Wheelhouse went out on their own terms, or at least their own wives’/TV addictions’ terms. While it wasn’t exactly like the cancellation of “Arrested Development” or “Family Guy,” I’d say it was at least like “Sports Night” or “My So-Called Life.” Or “Post.” A little premature.
And so we look back and salute our blogrades. Hip, hip, hoogay. (That was from Mark.)
Jerry’s Wheelhouse began as inconspicuously as Jerry himself, conceived on a hot, drunken Saturday night in August in a sweaty, suburban apartment. In one concise, inaugural post, however, he managed to (a) reverse the Curse of the Bambino and (b) set the stage for what the next six years of Wheelhouse posts would bring: pissed off people writing about watching sporting events on television and drinking, mostly making fun of everyone involved. And being thoroughly contrarian. The formula was set, and it worked.
There were digressions from this established mean, of course. Political ramblings. Hookup stories (usually someone else’s). Pictures of hot chicks. Pictures of Wheelhousers in mustaches riding motorbikes in Greece with other guys. Attempts to start new blogs and petitions to do even more. (Aborted attempts.) There was even an attempt to form a Justice League America superblog that would team several Gheorghers (like Superman, Batman, and the Atom) with the Wheelhouse duo (Robin and Black Lightning). It was to be called DNP: Coach’s Decision, and there was even a rough cut of the new website. Like many of our endeavors, it was a dodo, flightless and doomed to extinction.
In the end, these heat of the moment side projects were nothing more than Asia compared to the regular, roundabout output of Yes that the good people of Jerry’s Wheelhouse brought us. Who can forget these classics?
- Jerry explains European soccer. In plain English.
- Geoff made the Skins fans among us laugh and wince with the Top 100 Embarrassments of Daniel Snyder. (Somewhat aped by the CityPaper years later.)
- Geoff recounts mayhugh’s wing-eating extravaganza.
- Jerry displays football genius in articulating what no football commentator pointed out.
- Then Jerry isn’t so prescient. (But he wasn’t terribly wrong in the specifics.)
- And finally, Geoff’s masterstroke, his What’s Now post.
Though we tend to rag the Wheelhouse (aka “The Birdcage”) like fraternity brothers do, that the G:TB staff compiled those selections from memory speaks to the regard in which we hold these dudes and their entertaining works. (That we went to extraordinary lengths to rattle the ‘cage, even creating a fake blog and bloggers to take them down a few pegs . . . well that says something, too, I guess.)
There were the recurring segments – the Ryder Cup previews, the counterpoints on the Mets, the anti-homerism on the Redskins, and the football picks, which we looked forward to each week. Always worth a few chuckles. And then we at Gheorghe challenged Geoff and Jerry to a picks contest, on which we had no business winning.
The comments kept us involved, sometimes too much so. In some cases, the comments were fodder for more creativity than the original post.
In the end, it was a place where relatively like-minded people kept us entertained. For me, a guy who doesn't visit that many commentary websites or listen to "talk radio," it was one of a few places where I get insight, laughter, and statistics. And fashion tips. (Brown shoes with blue suit?) Losing it was like losing CBS back in the days of the three networks, two independents, and 95 channels of static. Not good.
When pressed for quotes on our missing chums over at the Wheelhouse, Team G:TB had this to say in tribute:
"The Wheelhouse . . . canned beer taste in the bottle world of blogging. Delicious."Some special words. Here's to six years of friends writing stuff about stuff.
"I'll never have an issue with a man who personally knew Big John Studd."
"The Wheelhouse is gone??"
"One man writes on a couch, in a Giants starter jacket with Haddaway blaring in the background. And with it, the Wheelhouse begins. In comes Geoff, the Brooks Brothers-clad Felix Unger to Jerry's Oscar Madison. Magic was made, words with written (in some order). Since 2004, they have been the Ace and Gary of our blogging universe. Good bye Wheelhome, you are missed. All you did was weaken a country today, Jerry and Geoff. (well, you did this a year ago, so actually, thanks a lot for all the shit this nation has gone through in the past 12 months)"
"They're in a better place now. Buried at Arlington."
"Beneath that veneer of subtle contempt, often-brilliant analysis, and contrarian worldview, I always thought the Wheelhouse was a cry for help. I hope those guys found what they were looking for."
"As for me, you may ask how I will remember them, what I thought of them. Unfortunately there I run out of words. Perhaps you will forgive me if I turn to the words of another splendid bugger who reminds me of them in his buggery: W.H. Auden. This is actually what I want to say: 'Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone. The stars are not wanted now; put out every one, Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun, Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood; For nothing now can ever come to any good.'"
"Jumped the shark in '07, really. But oh, yes, when the writing was in their . . . uh . . . really good place for excelling at it . . ."
"Two great tastes that go great together."
"We are gathered here today to pay final respects to our honored dead. And yet it should be noted, in the midst of our sorrow, this death takes place in the shadow of new life, the sunrise of a new world; a world that our beloved comrades gave their life to protect and nourish. They did not feel this sacrifice a vain or empty one, and we will not debate their profound wisdom at these proceedings. Of our friends, I can only say this: of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, theirs were the most... human."
"Sports, Drinking, & Elitism . . . yep."