For those of us who make our livings with words, the emergence (and now proliferation) of emojis used to be a welcome respite from walls of cold type. Emojis are fun. Emojis don’t need to be spell-checked.
Emojis are as simple and direct a form of communication as there is. But the more you think about it, emojis can be the enemy, too. Because the ones that have become most popular tend to summarize things with more adroitness and more adeptness than a battalion of sportswriters can. And so in some ways I look at them warily now, the way horse-and-buggy operators surely viewed the first Model T, the way great ship companies probably looked at the first airplanes.
Is that the future?
For all the fancy writin’ I can muster, there is an emoji available that says it all in one keyboard stroke that takes even writers blessed with brevity (of which I’ve rarely been accused) a couple of dozen.
Me: Mickey Callaway has said some interesting things this year during press conferences. Once he said of his imploding bullpen: “Other than the seven home runs, we did OK.” Another time, after his most important player, Yoenis Cespedes, informed reporters the night before that he might need double-heel surgery that will sideline him 8-10 months, he said, “I didn’t get to read any of the stuff [Cespedes] said or hear it so I am not quite exactly sure what he said.” Oh, and of course there was: “Maybe if [Mets players] were in Cleveland or somewhere else, maybe they wouldn’t feel that pressure. But you are playing in New York.”
Emoji Me: ?♂️
(See what I mean? That’s a 109-word savings. This could be bad …)
Me: Todd Bowles insisted that things will be different, that these aren’t the Same Old Jets, the same way Rex Ryan once promised the Same Old Jets were gone, the way Eric Mangini once declared the Same Old Jets dead and buried.
Emoji Me: ?
(And they even come appropriately color-coded. This is trouble.)
Me: When you read this email that James Dolan sent a fan, you really aren’t sure how to respond. With fury — for the misplaced venom, and the misanthropic tone? With resignation — did you expect any less?
With pity — for this one fan surely represents thousands, soured by 15 years of mostly lousy product, and yet so many still come back, hat (and credit card) in hand, for more? What kind of businessman conducts business this way?
Emoji Me: ?
(And if you want to get REALLY wordy you can add: ?.)
Me: Make no mistake, the Wilpons have engenderd an enormous amount of bad will, thanks to many things: their prominent role as both beneficiary and victim of Bernard Madoff ‘s Ponzi scheme; as big-market owners who have never fully embraced big-market economics in a sport lacking a salary cap; as serial meddlers (especially Jeff Wilpon); and as chief architects of a franchise hurtling toward a 13th losing season in those 18 years of the Wilpon Era.
Emoji Me: ?
(And look, to prove that the emojis aren’t merely included to describe the ? that litters most of our sporting days and nights these days, let’s see if we can’t team up for a few sentences ….)
Us: Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham Jr. and Eli Manning in the same huddle can make a Giants fan feel sort of …?
Us: If the Yankees can just find enough pitching, we might well be staring at a fine October … ?
Us: Maybe Sam Darnold really can make Jets fans believe they’ve found a successor for Broadway Joe?.
My work here? Done. Time to crack open a ? or two.
Don’t you dare ever stay away this long again, Saul Goodman/Jimmy McGill/Mike Ehrmantraut/Gus Fring. Welcome back to my tube.
If you are a pro athlete who has tweeted something stupid in your past, and you haven’t yet gone through the small hassle of scrubbing those tweets off your feed in the almost three weeks since the Josh Hader incident, then you’re even dumber now than you were then, and I have no sympathy for you getting caught.
I love how all football coaches — Urban Meyer being the latest example — brag about having full control over every aspect of their operation until something bad happens. Then they’re the most hands-off bosses ever born. Funny how that works.
Fenway Park is still a pretty damn fun place to watch a baseball game. (And, no, that wasn’t stolen from a Jimmy Cannon column in 1952, but it could’ve been.)
Whack Back at Vac
Bruce Welsch: So Jose Bautista is back in the lineup the very next day after not running to first as strike three goes to the backstop. Is that Mickey Callaway’s reward for “playing the game the right way?”
Vac: That handbook would be some must-read.
John Buonagura: The Yankees have a good young team but to see them lose a couple of games due to a lack not knowing fundamental baseball is not acceptable.
Vac: Been a tough week to be a New York skipper.
@AfyAnthony: The only thing Jets fans care about is Darnold playing well. Everything else means nothing.
@MikeVacc: It does simplify things.
George Tietjan: It is midway through the second inning Tuesday night and the Nats just went up 10-0. Terry Collins must be praising the Lord for being pushed aside.
Vac: I suspect he feels like the guy who overslept and wound up watching the Titanic pull away from the dock at Southampton.
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