posted: Mar. 7, 2006  |  Feedback

Here's my Kirby Puckett story: He nearly signed with the Red Sox during the winter of 1991 or 1992, and the only thing I remember about this was spending a solid week thinking, "Holy crap, if we get Kirby Puckett, we're going to win the World Series" before he ended up re-signing with the Twins. That's how good the guy was. More importantly, there aren't many players who come along and make you think, "Even though he's not on my team, I still like the guy and wish that more players were like him" … but he was one of them. I can't even imagine how everyone in Minnesota feels today. What a sad week.


I was EXTREMELY sick last weekend: Sinus infection, high fever, you name it. And granted, these things will happen under the "When you have a kid less than one year old, you have to get sick three times every winter" corollary. But this was horrible. Things were so bad on Friday, I couldn't get out of bed. I'm not kidding. I couldn't move.

Here was the low point: I fell asleep late-morning while watching TV, then woke up around noon because "Becker" came on. When "Becker" comes on, no matter how sick you are, I think your body automatically rallies to get away from it. They should use Becker re-runs to lure people out of comas. Unfortunately, I was so weak that I couldn't find the remote, so I was stuck there enduring "Becker" … and it turned out to be an episode in which the Sklar Brothers play twins who are dating someone in Becker's office. Now I'm in the third circle of hell. So I just started screaming like a nursing home patient until my wife came in to save the day. See, there ARE valid reasons to get married.

Anyway, I have four recommendations from my extended lying-in-bed-with-a-fever TV stint:

1. For any wrestling fans out there, you have to rent a DVD called "The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior." It's a 95-minute history of the Ultimate Warrior's rise and fall that doubles as a complete (and deserved) character assassination, because everyone hated the guy behind the scenes and couldn't wait to rip him on one of these shows. Plus, there's footage of his old interviews, which have aged like a fine wine -- even back then, they ranked consistently in the mid-90s on the Unintentional Comedy Scale, and now they're a solid 100 (with the Hogan/airplane monologue before WrestleMania VI ranking as a 115 out of 100). This DVD was almost as funny as "Grizzly Man."

2. Remember that movie with Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet called "A Lot Like Love"? Before you mock me, just know that there was nothing else on, I had a 103-degree fever, it starts out with a mile-high club scene, there was a chance Peet was getting naked … I mean, you can't kill me for digging into this one on a Saturday afternoon when I'm hawking up phlegm. So I started watching it. And granted, I was half-asleep the entire time. But it's probably the first watchable chick flick I've seen since … well, I can't even remember. Was this mostly (if not all) attributable to the fact that Amanda Peet is maybe the ultimate Attainable Hot Chick in Hollywood right now -- so whenever you watch one of her movies, it feels like you could have dated her in another lifetime if everything broke right and you ended up driving her home from a party one night because she was bombed? Absolutely.

Still, it's a well-done movie for what it was. In fact, I asked my friend Josh about it afterward because he's a Hollywood guy, and Josh immediately said, "Good movie, totally underrated," so I didn't feel so bad. Josh also pointed out that, had they pretended this was a Cameron Crowe movie, not only would it have made three times as much money, but everyone would have believed that it was a Cameron Crowe movie.

Again, it's a chick flick, so be warned. But if you're looking for a "Take One For The Team" movie as a tradeoff to rent the Ultimate Warrior DVD and "Saw 2" (which wasn't bad), this one works.

(One drawback: As it turned out, it's a PG-13 movie and Peet never gets naked. Although there is a naked butt scene. I feel like you need to know these things.)

3. If you missed the UNC-Duke game, not only is UNC for real, but Tyler Hansbrough is the first 2005-06 college player who makes me feel, "All right, there's a guy who's a mortal lock to be an excellent pro." I know he's not coming out this summer … but it needs to be said. The guy never stops hustling. He can create his shot going left and going right. He already has a post-up move. He can use his body in traffic. He has 3-point range. He even seems to play bigger in big games. I love this kid. Twenty more players like him, LaMarcus Aldridge and Adam Morrison and I'd really be excited about the upcoming NCAA Tournament. Anyway, when you're filling out your bracket next week, watch out for the Tar Heels -- maybe they're a little young, but they keep getting better and better, they're athletic as hell, they have a very good coach, they're road-tested, and they have a franchise guy.

4. If you haven't seen "Hard to Kill" with Steven Seagal in a few years, definitely make some time for this one. (Note: I'd like to thank the Action Movie Channel for running this on Saturday morning, immediately followed by "Slap Shot." Well done.) Seagal plays a cop named Mason Storm -- under the old action movie corollary that you should have a name that can easily be reversed -- who goes into a coma for seven years after his family was murdered because he nearly blew open some payout conspiracy involving cops and a future senator. So he comes out of the coma (without help from a "Becker" re-run), much to the delight of nurse Kelly LeBrock, and he has hair extensions and a fantastic Confucius beard that should have been its own Halloween mask. When the bad guys find out he's alive, they send a hitman to the hospital who wipes everyone out because of the little-known '80s action movie rule that no hospital staff could be bigger than 4-5 people. Somehow a weakened Seagal eludes the guy while on a stretcher by using a broom to push himself around, then miraculously finds Kelly LeBrock, who hustles them into a car and tells him, "Come with me, I'm house-sitting in Ojai."

So Seagal gets to live in this mansion in Ojai, which has all the necessary things for him to rehabilitate: A gorgeous weight room; an Asian-themed room for him to perform self-acupuncture; hills in the backyard that he can climb; wooden boards for him to punch; and a hot nurse who's doting on him at all times and doesn't care that she lost her job because they're in hiding. Plus, he miraculously kept all his muscle tone during the seven-year coma. So he rehabs, gets back in shape, has the classic "I'll take you to the bank, Senator Trent … the blood bank" epiphany, then declares war on the bad guys -- eventually killing 30-40 bad guys in the last 30 minutes of the movie, highlighted by a fantastic running sequence in which he looks like an old woman trying to get to her car in the pouring rain. I'm telling you, the Seagal Experience was tremendous 15 years ago, and it's infinitely better now. Nobody had the same combination of bad acting, bad hair, bad running and surprisingly good karate skills. Just a once-in-a-lifetime performer.

Anyway, the "Ridiculous Action Movie" discussion always starts with "Road House" and "Cobra," and rightfully so. But "Hard To Kill" gets lost in the shuffle for some reason. It's too bad.

More tomorrow.

March 2006