Here's a letter I got recently from ESPN: The Magazine (click on the graphic if you can't read it above). The envelope it arrived in was marked "Collections Department". That immediately got my attention (as I'm guessing was its intent), and upon reading the letter it was clear to me that I owed ESPN some money for their magazine even though I currently don't get their magazine (and haven't in about a year). And that's the thing. I don't owe ESPN a dime. They just like to send out these letters to people who once subscribed as a "marketing tool." At least that's how it was described to me by the perky customer service gal who answered the phone. Actually, she wasn't that perky ... in fact she sounded like this was the 400th call she'd had that night on why ESPN is trying to rip off unsuspecting former magazine subscribers. Am I the only one who finds this ridiculously insane? Partly because I'm pretty sure it skirts all things remotely ethical, and partly because I spent the better part of an hour worrying that, even though I don't subscribe to ESPN, maybe I do owe them money (or simply put, I'm an idiot).
Honestly, I wonder how many suckers actually mail in their payment because they think they're actually delinquent on an account that they never opened (If my wife didn't take 15 seconds to explain to me that this was a hoax, I'd now be saying something like: hi, I'm exhibit A).
On second thought, this isn't ridiculously insane, it's reprehensible. Even from a network that brings us Skip Bayless, Stuart Scott and Stephen A. Smith. This is the kind of stuff you expect from the guy from Nigeria who asks you via email to send him some money so he can wire you the hundreds of millions of dollars he's trying to sneak out of the country (Ed: This is also a hoax! It took me three emails to figure this out, but apparently this guy's not going to wire me anything; well, other than a thank-you note). In case you were looking for one more reason to shake your head at what's become of ESPN, here you go.
I came across this not-so-believable-until-you-find-out-who-it-is nugget in yesterday's Boston Herald:
...Kevin Millar tried to remain sharp by reporting early yesterday for voluntary batting practice.If this isn't justification for making Millar the team mascot I don't know what is. The funniest part of this whole episode were the comments from Francona. I'm guessing the site of Millar in spandex was more disturbing than humorous, so I'm pretty sure the women's group went straight from the tour to the a therapy session on how to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder.
His decision to do so in what amounted to his underwear, however, left him more red-faced than red hot.
With temperatures in the mid-90s and humidity at stifling levels, several Sox players took BP bare-chested, but Millar took it a step further by stripping down to his lycra compression shorts. He didn't realize that he was putting on a peep show for a local women's group.
"As soon as I went out there, there was a tour group right behind me of about 20-25 women,'' Millar said. "They won't forget that tour."
Manager Terry Francona joked that the women were treated to an impromptu episode of "Queer Eye for the Fat Guy."
"I think I saw a few ladies on the tour throwing up," he quipped. "Nobody should have to endure that ... but I think there are about five coaches who feel a lot better about themselves now."
... Speaking of Queer Eye, I got around to watching Tuesday's episode on Wednesday thanks to TiVo. I didn't have quite the distaste for it as King Kaufman (or maybe indifference is a better word), but parts of the show were obviously forced since it's kind of hard to do the whole makeover thing when your straight guys are five millionaires who already have their work clothes picked out for them, work primarily outdoors, and all while trying to squeeze in the segments about rebuilding a little league field devastated after last fall's hurricanes.
Anyway, it was still a good way to kill an hour. The quote of the show came from Johnny Damon; when meeting one of the Fab 5 he made the following observation:
"Yeah, I've been looking for a partner to spot me when I do my naked pull-ups."I'm not sure if he was kidding. I say that because while Varitek, Millar, Mirabelli and Wakefield were getting their wigs collectively trimmed from some local salon-types shipped in for the show, Damon actually flew in his stylist to fix up his highlights. Nice.
Finally, this seems fitting given the date. Enjoy (thanks to CL for the pointer).