Recruiting and draft experts: Is there a more hopeless class of geeks? The world is going to hell and they're obsessed with whether the 300-pounder with the Grade A bull-rush will end up at Nebraska or Kansas. The former believe they are performing a significant public duty when in fact they're merely fixating on the meaningless whims of teenage boys. The latter, meanwhile, offer the kind of can't-do-without analysis I received from this breathless draft tweeter: "Impressed with #Texas OC David Snow, solid laterally, can bend and heavier hands than I thought."
Photographers: Why? You've got to get to most events earlier than anyone else to stake out the best vantage points. You've got to lug tons of cumbersome equipment. You've got to constantly shoulder aside colleagues and competitors. And you've got to shoot hundreds of photos, often in the cold and rain, even though you know your editor is likely to choose your least favorite and run it on Page 6 with the wrong credit line.
Cheerleaders: OK, they're out front for everyone to see, but let's face it, they've become as unpleasant a sports anachronism as Chris Berman. I was at a girls' high school game the other night and the home team had 40 (that's right, 4-0) cheerleaders. Even though they outnumbered us, no one in the stands picked up on their vainly shouted cheers. And no one but their parents watched their routines.
Boxing corner men: Unless you've always wanted to work near a bucket of spit, there's little appeal to this job. At the end of each night, you're probably covered with a disgusting film of blood, sweat, and saliva. (Wasn't that the title of Charles Barkley's autobiography?) And even though there are states where it'll get you arrested, you'll undoubtedly be called upon to stick things up your fighter's nose, or into the deep, bloody gash above his eye, or down his trunks.
Football spotters: They do all the work and the bozos they share the TV booths with earn all the dough. Spotters spend entire games furiously scribbling notes to play-by-play and color men, answering questions like: Who made the tackle? Who just set a club record? Whose girlfriend is waiting at Gate D with a diaper-service bill and a subpoena? Then the analyst uses their info and we all think, "Man, that guy deserves an Emmy."
Postgame cleanup crew: After the crowds have departed Citizens Bank Park or Lincoln Financial Field, these guys show up with their leaf blowers, their Hefty bags, and their crushed ambitions. Imagine the delight of cleaning up after an Eagles crowd: vomit, congealed beer and soft drinks, half-eaten hot dogs, discarded rosary beads. Long after fans are home and in bed, these poor devils are still scraping cotton candy off seat bottoms.
Kansas City Royals ticket salesmen: There ought to be a sign over Kauffman Stadium's employee entrance that reads, "Abandon hope, all ye who enter here." Imagine trying to con people into believing there's a reason to watch this perennially pointless team. "Hey, we've got some great young talent [which we'll promptly sell, trade, or lose to free agency at the earliest opportunity]." Or, "Come grow [bored and frustrated] with us!"
Radio reporters: The poor saps. They sit through entire games with little to do but graze in the press dining room. Then they have to fight the postgame clubhouse crush, stick microphones into players' faces, pose such trenchant nonquestions as, "Talk about how this team doesn't know the meaning of the word quit," then schlepp their way back upstairs to the press box, where their sole mission seems to be annoying deadline-driven sportswriters by constantly screaming "3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . THE PHILLIES SNAPPED A 3-GAME SKID . . .." All that effort for a 15-second report that begins with a hackneyed pun, "CHARLIE MANUEL'S HOPING FOR COLE IN HIS CHRISTMAS STOCKING . . ." and concludes with, "LIVE FROM CITIZENS BANK PARK THIS IS . . ." and ends with a single innocuous quote.
Headline writers: They write, "Giants' Tom Coughlin One Step Away From A Second Super Bowl." And they'd like to add, "Not To Mention A Third Nervous Breakdown."
"Cardinals Honored In White House Ceremony" . . . "Tony La Russa's first visit since he invented tripartite form of government."
"Romo Paired With Wood For Pebble Beach Tourney" . . . "Guaranteeing Their First-Round Elimination."
"Australian Open Ball Girl Removes Insect From Court" . . . "Scott Boras Insists He Had Right To Be There."
I'm Just Sayin'
Driver Trevor Bayne's book, Driven by Faith, is one of the best-sellers among NASCAR fans. He wrote it for 9- to 12-year-olds.
One is enough, thanks
Ripley's Entertainment Inc. this week revealed its wax figure of boxer Bernard Hopkins. Hoping to continue the theme of Philadelphia sports figures, the company had planned to make one of Andy Reid before deciding that would be redundant.
Contact staff writer Frank Fitzpatrick at 215-854-5068, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @philafitz on Twitter. Read his blog, "Giving 'Em Fitz," at www.philly.com/fitz