Thursday, September 15, 2005

Being Ben Roethlisberger

This story in yesterday's New York Times takes another chance to make fun of Brian Jackson, the dummy from Pittsburgh who tried to pass himself off as Ben Roethlisberger and former third string QB, Brian St. Pierre. The Times story also talks about how another Pittsburgh native, Curtis Martin, has had trouble with people -- in his case, acquaintances -- using his name to try and dupe women into sleeping with them. And just to prove that this isn't a coincidence, Ty Law, also from western PA, was taken for $20,000 when some dude made several withdrawals at local banks posing as the Jets cornerback. I found this part particularly funny:
"He didn't look anything like me," Law said. Law described [the perpetrator], when he was caught on the surveillance cameras, as wearing a thick gold chain that hung almost to his navel. "That's not even my style, you know what I mean?"
Yep, I know exactly what you mean. I think. So the lesson is don't be a professional athlete if you grew up in western PA -- you will inevitably have your identity stolen. But if Law doesn't really traipse around in Run DMC-style jewelry circa 1983, what does Roethlisberger think about that fat guy, Brian Jackson, all decked out in Big & Tall J.Crew gear passing himself off as the Steelers starting QB? Or that this dude was able to not only convince women that he was Big Ben, but also Brian St. Pierre -- which probably made Roethlisberger feel even worse? For an utterly hilarious retelling of this debacle, read this Post-Gazette story from July. Here are some of the funnier things Jackson thought to do while "in character":
Valo (one of the victims) told investigators that the ersatz quarterback would sign footballs for neighborhood kids and autographs for anyone who asked. The ruse was so deep that Jackson would discuss his "teammates," talk about Steelers information and tell Valo when he was going out of town, the affidavit said.

He even told her to watch a game. That was Jackson's undoing.

Valo turned on the Steelers one day and saw Brian St. Pierre on screen. Despite sharing a first name, Brian Jackson was no Brian St. Pierre.

After the game, the affidavit said, Jackson called Valo and she confronted him. He told her she was "crazy," according to the affidavit, and said he looks different on TV.


In June, authorities said, Jackson adopted Roethlisberger's identity. He approached Groft (another victim) in a pizza shop on Brookline Boulevard wearing sunglasses and a baseball cap, according to investigators.

Jackson showed up at Groft's house July 6, when he presented her with an autographed football, posed with neighbor Larry West for a picture, and then signed West's football jersey, the affidavit said.
OK, just so we're on the same page here, this brainiac not only told women that he played for the Steelers, but he then encouraged one of them to actually watch the game? Brilliant. Of course, telling somebody you're Brian St. Pierre is almost as good as being anonymous since he was about as likely to get his mug on the television as he was to actually take a live snap . Thankfully, God doesn't like Brian Jackson and he got busted.

To prove that he's actually a bigger idiot than anyone could've imagined, Jackson then goes to people's houses, takes a couple of photos and signs a jersey. Here's the thing: when a fat fraud signs a $100 Roethlisberger jersey it's worth bupkus. Nada. Zilch. Zero. (OK, you get it.) For that reason alone Jackson should be locked up for a couple of years and be forced to wear that jersey while incarcerated.

Last night around 8:15 I was thinking what I might write about today. Nothing immediately popped into my head, but then I glanced up at the Red Sox game and saw this: Tie game, top of the fifth, two outs. Gabe Kapler on first and Tony Graffanino at the plate. Graffanino proceeds to park a pitch over the left field wall for a 5-3 lead except that, from the looks of it, Kapler decided to take a nap between second and third base right in the middle of the game.

I think I've made my views pretty clear about how much the Sox struggle against the Blue Jays. But now Kapler's in on it too? He's a mole? Not exactly. Apparently, he tore his achilles tendon (or at least that's what they want us to believe), and he had the misfortune of doing it while running the bases. At the time no one knew quite what happened to Kapler, but my first thought was, "Hmmm. I bet the rule book has some dopey clause that if you can't run the bases without assistance, even if one of your legs comes unattached, and it's no fault of your own, you are ruled out. Knowing that, Kapler should probably get a head start on dragging himself around the bases -- even if it takes 20 minutes."

Luckily, I don't know what the hell I'm talking about because just like injured basketball players can have someone else shoot their free throws, guys who just heard their achilles tendon snap can also have someone replace them to finish their jog around the bases. That's the good news. The bad news is that the Red Sox will be without Kapler for probably the rest of the season. Which can only mean more Millar. And to be honest, I was actually surprised Francona didn't put Millar in centerfield as Kapler's replacement. With a couple of more weeks left in the season, there's still time.

The Sox did win two of three from the Blue Jays, but in the one game they lost -- one in which Foulke didn't do so well -- I found this quote particularly amusing (To set it up, Foulke hit Eric Hinske with one of his patented 83 mph fastballs.):
The source of Hinske's dissatisfaction? Was there a history between the two? "No," Hinske said. "I got hit right in the nipple. Not fun. He said on the mound he didn't mean to hit me. He just pulled a four-seam fastball. He said, 'My bad.' He said he was sorry."
Any time you can slip "right nipple" into a post-game baseball interview, I guess you have to. The only question I have is when Foulke said, "he didn't mean to hit him," did he mean in the right nipple, or at all? Just asking.