This column started as an item for “Vac’s Whacks,” but fittingly I knew there was more to say than I could contain a hundred words propaganda. By itself (and yes, I totally get it, in a completely different way), it was kind of like how Peter Jackson felt when he watched 60 hours of footage of The Beatles’ Return and wondered how someone thought it might be included in “Let It Be” Its duration is 90 minutes in 1970.
And so here we are.
(Promise me: This column is not eight hours.)
And now the question you’re definitely asking now: “How in the world would the Beatles’ column in the sports department be justified?”
Well, while watching every second of Jackson’s masterpiece this week on Disney Plus, it struck me that the feelings I have for the Beatles are, in many ways, the same unspoken connections and unseen tension that draw us to the sport. Fandom is a fan, after all, a “fan,” regardless of genre, being short for “fanatic.”
And yes, there are other similarities. I’ve had dozens – perhaps hundreds – of discussions with friends over the years that go like this: The Beatles or the Stones? The Beatles or Clash? The Beatles or U2? The Beatles or Springsteen? And a lot of other discussions with fellow Beatles that go along with these lines: Lennon or McCartney? “Pistol” or “Deer Road”? “Hey Jude” or “A Day in the Life”? Mop The Beatles Or The Hippie Beatles?
And you better believe that these rivalries are delivered with the same intensity as Yankees vs. Red Sox, as Trout vs. Bates, as Belichick vs. Brady, as Ali vs. Joe Louis.
For one thing, there are no winners in such discussions. If you believe what you believe in, you are right. interval. Again, there is very little rhyme or reason to be a fan. There are no laws, no rules, no guidelines. You believe what you believe in. You feel what you feel. You know what you know.
And you care.
Hey man. Do you ever care.
I don’t think for a moment that “Get Back” is for everyone, in the same way, baseball is not everyone’s cup of tea. I could go on about her brilliance, but that brilliance speaks to me because, one day, my trumpet-playing dad—whose preference has almost always been jazz or big bands—said to me, “You know, the Beatles are cool, you gotta listen to them.” . And I did. And I went.
And it was the same impact and influence as my first baseball game, frankly, something my dad introduced me to as well. Something instant. Personal thing. Baseball guys just grew up playing a game, and the music business is just grown men singing songs. To attribute to them something greater. to become personal. Until it becomes part of your identity, part of your DNA. Friends know me, mostly for four things:
Unemployment clerk. Unemployment Sports Nut. Live and Die Fack with Saint Bonaventure Basketball. Unemployment obsessed with the Beatles.
And that, by and large, is me. And so, yeah, in the same way that I can discuss chapter and verse about baseball trivia and write down the fine print and whether 1970’s Bonnie would beat UCSD if Bob Lanier hadn’t blown his knee, I could spend hours detailing why people thought Paul had died in 1969 I can monkey every one of these songs in “Hey Jude,” I probably know all the lyrics, if you can call them lyrics, in “Revolution 9.”
And so it is as if “The Return” was an early Christmas present sent to me, and to those like me. You can be a regular Beatles fan, just as you can be a regular baseball fan, so this won’t charm you, just like WAR and OPS+ don’t attract regular baseball fans. My wife really loves the Beatles. At some point last week, she had to ask:
“Do they really have to play ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ 30 different times? I get it. They practice a lot.”
A long time ago, I learned that explaining this aviation law genius to her was hopeless. I’m not going to explain why there are three guitar solos and three different versions of “Let It Be” and they’re all great. It’s okay not to care too much.
But it’s also a good idea to take a lot of care, if you want to. Fortunately, many sports fans care a lot. This allows me to do the job, and allows me to subscribe to Disney Plus, for one thing.
Let me put it this way: If you ask my future father-in-law for his daughter’s hand (the ’92 LSU class) using the same ridiculously pseudo-Cajun language that Brian Kelly (born in Everett, Massachusetts) used last night at that basketball game In Baton Rouge, the great Bruce Horsey had his eyes fixed on me and said, “No, son, you can’t.”
We can curl ourselves up in the pastries to see which ways the Giants can stay in the NFC match picture, or we can go the other way and announce that if the Giants are still really on the fringes of the NFC profile, there are also officially several playoff teams.
You know who’s been great on this season of Curb Your Enthusiasm? Mr. Vince Vaughn.
Johnnies will be picking up things soon, right?
Whack Back In Vac
John Lovesolo: Beautiful vision of Nick Annis Kanter, a former freedom fighter, becoming an American citizen. His happiness, pride, and willingness to speak out against real oppression is a stark reminder of the lottery we won when we were born in the United States.
unemployment: My grandmother, who was on the boat from County Clare, also used to say at least once a year, “I was lucky to have been born twice. Once as a human being. Once as an American.”
Howie seal: In an effort to lower Julius Randle’s turnover, perhaps he can borrow some of that sticky stuff from Gerrit Cole. It is no longer useful.
unemployment: This is the kind of helpful advice you’ve never heard from coach Norman Dale.
Joe_Bourgeois: Yes, the Mets need more discipline and focus in their club. But you can’t go straight from Sheriff Andy Griffith to Judge Dredd.
@MikeVacc: I guess that would have made Barney Five out of Dave Gauss Luis Rojas, right?
Steve Gegrich: One of those Knicks teams of all time was Bernard King (#7 on the Knicks’ list of the 1980s), as was Don Mattingly for the Yankees of the same era.
unemployment: I can still hear the roars in my ears from Bernard’s 1984 qualifying round, and I think (I hope so!) I always will.