Thursday, April 10, 2008

Your secret is safe with me: Benoit Benjamin

Dear Benoit Benjamin,

Several years ago, while moonlighting as a center for the Seattle Supersonics, you did an interview in which you were asked to share some of your cooking expertise with the viewing audience— specifically, how to cook shrimp.

Fortunately for me, I was watching on the television.

I ran and got a pen and paper so I could write down the steps and ingredients needed for Benoit Benjamin's Shrimp Surprise or something. But for some reason, you seemed to be caught completely off-guard by the question. You squirmed in your seat and looked uncomfortable. It was as if Tom Cruise had just asked if you ordered the Code Red. You awkwardly instructed viewers to put shrimp and butter in a pan and "fry it up".

Gee, thanks Emeril.

In the history of sports, there have probably been a few interviews that were more awkward (Jim Gray trying to interview Chad Curtis comes to mind), but not many.

Why were you so uncomfortable discussing your cooking skills?

Your secret is actually pretty simple. You were a multi-million dollar athlete. Asking you for cooking advice was like asking Naomi Campbell for anger management techniques, Keira Knightley for tips on how to get rid of that extra ten pounds or quizzing Charlie Brown about which conditioner he recommends.

You didn't do your own cooking any more than baby birds chew their own food, but your secret is safe with me.


R. LeBaron

Friday, March 28, 2008

Your secret is safe with me: Month of March

Dear Month of March,

It's your time to shine. All calendars are turned to you. You know what to do-- chin up, shoulders back and show off your 31 days.

I think you're a pretty cool month, but apparently not everyone agrees with me.

Year, after year, after year, people get very angry with you. They even have a name for it: March Madness.

I don't know what you did, but a lot of people are very upset.

You play it off pretty well, but I know that secretly it stings. There's a reason you come in like a lion and out like a lamb-- you can only take so much venom before it begins to wear you down.

None of the other months have to put up with this. Everyone remembers September as the most reviled month of their youth-- the month that summer ended and school began. Yet somehow, September gets a free pass.

March, I know you've made some mistakes, but I want you to know I'm not mad....I'm just very disappointed (and your secret is safe with me).


R. LeBaron

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Your secret is safe with me: Yao Ming

Dear Yao Ming,

Let's rewind a few weeks, shall we? The date is February 24th, the Houston Rockets have just won their 12th game in a row, you've been playing pretty well, and in general, you're feeling all tall and important.

Next thing you know you're injured— out for the season. The season! Rockets fans are devastated. You are devastated.

Fans, reporters, analysts, bloggers and probably Moochie Norris all think the Rockets are done. How can they possibly contend without their 7' 6" All Star center?

So you become the tallest and highest paid cheerleader in the history of the NBA.

You're pleased when the Rockets win their first couple of games without you. But then they win a couple more, and a couple more after that.

You start to feel a little insecure.

Fast forward to March 16th -- the Rockets have now won 22 in a row. On the outside, you're happy your team is having so much success. On the inside, you secretly wish they would lose-- just once! Is that so much to ask?

The team was supposed to be done, buried, finished without you. Yet here they are ruling like the Ming Dynasty-- except without Ming.

As you know, the Boston Celtics finally ended the Rockets winning streak. I'm sure you acted upset. You probably put your arm around Dikembe Mutombo and said something about getting them next time. He probably responded with something that sounded like English being spoken underwater.

At least you can take solace in the fact that the Rockets couldn't win 23 straight without you, and that your secret is safe with me.


R. LeBaron

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Your secret is safe with me: Shaun Alexander

Dear Shaun Alexander,

A lot of Seattle Seahawks fans think the writing is on the wall. They may be right.

First the Hawks sign TJ Duckett, then Julius Jones. Plus they already have Maurice Morris.

It's too bad; you've done a lot for the team.

However, I have an idea that will help the Seahawks, and will allow you to be a key part of their season: Use the New York Giants 2007 blueprint for Super Bowl success.

Here are three simple things you can do to help the Seahawks win a championship:

1. Make like Tiki. You sort of look like Tiki Barber, so following his path to the television studio should be easy. As a rookie NFL analyst, you will need to establish your credibility by publicly questioning the leadership of the quarterback of your former team. Tell everyone that Matt Hasselbeck is all mouse-like in the huddle. (Wearing Mickey Mouse ears while talking about this may or may not help to illustrate your point.)

2. Special effects. Convince Mike Holmgren to look freezer burned in the NFC Championship game like Tom Coughlin did against Green Bay. I just hope the game isn't played in a dome, because people will start asking questions.

3. Alexander the Great. After the Seahawks win the Super Bowl without you, you will need to continue to play the Tiki role and take credit for the team's success. Just think, all of the glory, none of the falling down before you're tackled.

This is all, of course, assuming the Seahawks release you. Maybe they won't. Maybe you'll win the rushing title this year. Maybe you’ll score 25 touchdowns. And maybe I'm a ballerina.

You’ve had a great run, Shaun. You will be missed.

I dreamed it all up, but it's your secret, and it's safe with me.


R. LeBaron

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Your secret is safe with me: Brett Favre

Dear Brett Favre,

Well, I guess it's official, you've retired from the NFL. It's been a great run-- maybe the best any quarterback has ever had.

It's too bad you couldn't go out on your own terms. I'm sure it's not a coincidence that the Green Bay Packers website "accidentally" announced your retirement with a mysterious post that was only online for a few minutes, and then a few days later, you actually retired.

You probably wanted to play one more year. Unfortunately, you have to do what the internet says. It's really too bad.

One time the internet told me if I didn't forward this one e-mail to ten of my friends, I would have bad luck. Sure enough, six months later I got a flat tire. It took a while, but in the end, the internet was right.

You're probably upset that the internet is bossing you around. I don't like it when inanimate things tell me what to do either. Kind of like when the microwave tells me I have to take the spoon out of my bowl of oatmeal before I heat it up. Well, It doesn't really say it as much as it displays it with the sparks and everything.

Anyway, back to your problem about the internet forcing you into retirement. Why don't you try to sneak back into the league as a different player? You could be Frett Bavre, the undrafted rookie out of the University of Phoenix.You could act all rookie-like by making ill advised throws, doing crazy shovel passes and carrying around wide receivers on your shoulders after.....nevermind.

Good luck sneaking back into the league, Brett. And don't worry about your rookie secret, because it's safe with me.


R. LeBaron

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Your secret is safe with me: Ichiro

Dear Ichiro,

Few people are cool enough to be known by only one name. You make it look easy.

You even have your first name on the back of your Seattle Mariners jersey. No one else would dare try a move like that.

You are powerful. I believe you invented Sudoku.

You are probably secretly worried you will turn out like Fabio or Yani or Alf. But you will not become one of those flash-in-the-pan-one-name-only-people. I believe you will be the next Cher...or Batman!

Until then, your secret is safe with me.


R. LeBaron

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Your secret is safe with me: Emmitt Smith

Dear Emmitt Smith,

Congratulations on completing your first season as an NFL commentator for ESPN. A lot of people have been poking fun at your command of the English language. It certainly didn’t help that Jimmy Kimmel aired this highlight video on his show.

I admire your restraint. You could have lashed out against your critics in a double negative laced tirade, but you have taken the high road.

I happen to know that secretly, you are teaching us proper English by first showing us all of the ways not to say something. It's a long, painstaking and thankless mission.

Sometimes you even slip up and start to say something that's grammatically correct, but then you catch yourself and intentionally mess it up. Thank you.

You are like a modern day Mr. Miyagi. Just like Daniel-san didn't understand how waxing cars would improve his karate, people don't realize that your (intentionally) bad grammar is subliminally improving our English skills.

Just like "paint-a-fence" and "sand-a-floor" somehow turned into serious karate moves at just the right time, I think one day you'll say, "Show me blowed out", and we'll suddenly realize we know how to speak proper English.

You are wise beyond your beard Emmitt, and your secret is safe with me.


R. LeBaron

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Your secret is safe with me: Shaquille O'Neal

Dear Shaquille O’Neal,

Congratulations on being traded to the Phoenix Suns. You could very well be on your way to another championship. The only problem is the Suns think they’re getting a dominate post player, and you seem to be experiencing an identity crisis. You don’t believe me? Let me remind you of this quote:

“…when I am done playing, I plan on going undercover and then being the sheriff or chief of police somewhere…”

You said that. But how would you go under cover? You seem to think that your size is a secret, but you’re 7’ 1” and weigh about 540 lbs (give or take a couple hundred pounds). Undercover work probably isn’t going to happen. Maybe cloud cover could cover you, but not much else.

So, before you embarrass yourself and ask Steve Nash if you can try on his shoes, remember this…you’re huge! You’re not an undercover agent anymore than you’re a point guard. In fact, you could probably floss with a point guard.

You should have some fun with your size. Maybe you can have your entourage set up toy buildings, or even an entire city. You can pretend you’re Godzilla and wave your arms around in circles and roar!

Anyway, good luck with the Suns and good luck with the undercover work, Sneaky. I’m not sure that your secret is really a secret, but it’s still safe with me.


R. LeBaron

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Your secret is safe with me: David Stern

Dear David Stern,

I heard the news that the best and brightest from the NBA Development League are going to have a H-O-R-S-E competition during the NBA All-Star Weekend later this month. Good move. Nothing says “edge of your seat excitement” like a bunch of guys who couldn’t make it in the NBA, calling bank shots and giggling as they yell “Prove it!”

What the average basketball fan might not know is that your little game of horse is being protested by the WNBA. I don’t blame them-- you’re threatening their livelihood.

When I think of a basketball game featuring an overabundance of three-pointers, lay-ins and giggling, I think of the WNBA. They’ve been very successful at turning what is basically a high-paced game of horse, into a sporting event that literally tens if not hundreds of people pay good money to watch.

Be careful with this one, Mr. Stern. It could be a public relations disaster if word gets out that you are disrespecting your sister league. Lucky for you, your S-E-C-R-E-T is safe with me.


R. LeBaron

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Your secret is safe with me: Chuck Knoblauch

Dear Chuck Knoblauch,

I’m glad to hear that you’re back. Maybe you didn’t know, but people were looking for you. The House Oversight Committee tried calling you a few times.

I don’t blame you for not answering your phone. I bet your caller ID said “House Oversight”. You probably thought there was a problem with your house. Maybe the man would say “There’s been an oversight. You don’t really have a house.” I wouldn’t answer either.

As much sense as that makes, I don’t think it’s the real reason you didn’t answer your phone. I think you didn’t answer because you weren’t home. I think you were away undergoing a medical procedure. Having a third ear removed perhaps?

Thanks to the interview your former New York Yankees teammate, Roger Clemens M.D., gave on 60 Minutes, everyone knows that steroid use causes you to grow a third ear. It’s science.

No wonder you had to disappear to have that taken care of. Everyone would have known for sure that you used steroids. By the way, if you’re thinking about earning some extra cash by pulling tractors with your teeth, that’s out too.

Anyway Chuck, glad to have you back. Try to relax. Maybe kick-back and take some time to peruse the Mitchell Report. And don’t worry about your secret, because it’s safe with me.


R. LeBaron

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Your secret is safe with me: Eli Manning

Dear Eli Manning,

The first time I saw your Eli Manning is unstoppable commercial, I thought it was a skit for Saturday Night Live. I never knew you were so funny. I mean, it was a joke, right?

Don't take this the wrong way, but you doing a commercial that basically says "Eli Manning is unstoppable" is like a commercial that says "Peyton Manning is unmarketable", "The Cinncinatti Bengals are unarrestable" or "Glass Joe is unhittable". In other words, it's funny stuff.

The great thing for you and the Giants is, apparently, the Green Bay Packers (not to mention the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys) took the ad seriously.

Some people take a long time to get jokes. I bet it's hitting them now. They got knocked out of the playoffs-- no chance at the Super Bowl. Their season is over, and it's all a big joke. I bet they're giggling like crazy.

Anyway, as long as no one lets the New England Patriots in on the joke before the Super Bowl— the Giants will be champs!

Lucky for you I'm "unstoppable" at keeping secrets, and yours is safe with me.


R. LeBaron

Monday, January 14, 2008

Your secret is safe with me: Tiger Woods

Dear Tiger Woods,

You are the greatest golfer ever. Some people say you are one of kind, that’s there’s no one else like you, that they broke the mold when they made you. But we both know that’s not true.

Take away your fame, the endorsement deals, thirteen majors, and kajillions of dollars, and we’re basically the same person.

Sure you hit laser straight drives and I have a world-class slice that inexplicably turns into a world-class hook at a moment's notice. You’re also known for your steely nerves on the putting green, and I have more yips than a dog pound. But I’m pretty impressive in my own right.

Check out these accomplishments:

• I was able to do my own laundry by age 27.
• I can find Waldo almost every time.
• I have successfully overcome a potentially devastating addiction (gummy bear vitamins).
• I know how to count backwards from ten all the way to BLAST OFF!

So yes, Tiger, you are a great golfer, but let’s face the facts— when it comes to being successful at life, you have met your match (but your secret is safe with me).


R. LeBaron

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Your secret is safe with me: Kobe Bryant

Dear Kobe Bryant,

When you give interviews, you sound like a strange combination of Michael Jordan and Alex Rodriguez. The way you say the word "basketball" makes me grimace.

Why do you always say you love "the game of basketball"? Why are you so specific? Are you afraid that if you say, "I love basketball", that an actual basketball will think that you love it? Are you afraid that it won't love you back?

I love ice cream, but I would never go around saying, "I love the food of ice cream". I just say, "I love ice cream". If a certain ice cream thinks I'm in love with it, it would just have to have its feelings melted. (Sorry ice cream, that's just how I feel about it.)

Good luck working through your basketball love dilemma. In the meantime, your secret is safe with me.


R. LeBaron

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Your secret is safe with me: Peyton Manning

Dear Peyton Manning,

Can you be in any more commercials? It's as if my television threw up and all that was in its stomach was you and Reggie Bush.

While some claim you would tattoo the MasterCard logo on your forehead if the price was right, I think you are actually using these commercials to subliminally teach us valuable life lessons.

Here are some of the things I have learned from you:

*When a giant cloud of hot steam scalds your face, simply rub some dirt on it to alleviate the pain.

*When in a battle with a rival, fill their bath tub with chili.

*If you don't have rock hard abs by age 23, it's probably not going to happen. (This one stings a little.)

*Your brother, Eli, is the whiner of the family (not actually ever stated, I'm just assuming).

Anyway Peyton, it's obvious you don't do these commercials for the money-- you do it because you are a teacher. You're like a Gandhi in shoulder pads, and your (subliminal) secret is safe with me.


R. LeBaron