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Infinite Bonilla Mode

3:27 PM EST on December 14, 2023

Shohei Ohtani smiling in the dugout during an Angels game on September 17 of 2023.
John McCoy/Getty Images

Drew and I often refer to the episodes that we do together as mess-around episodes, which is not quite correct for at least two reasons. One is that even the episodes in which we are ostensibly keeping things together and being "normal" so as not to scandalize a guest have a decent to frankly indecent amount of messing around in them. The other is that, when the news cycle demands it, our mess-around episodes can actually be pretty substantive. It's just that there are only two people having those decently substantive chats, and that both of them are pretty unserious people. Also there is still, just on the merits, quite a bit of messing around happening. This week's episode is one of those.

The arrival of Shohei Ohtani's mind-breaking, technicality-leveraging, record-setting contract sort of forced our hand on that front. While Drew and I disagreed on whether or not we'd be willing to defer $68 million per season—the big fella wants his money now—we were both in sufficient awe at the contract that Ohtani got and the things he did to get it that the conversation went pretty smoothly. This is the fun of talking or writing about Ohtani, from my experience. You kind of get to hang out in the part of your brain that makes little kids get all excited when they see a piece of big construction equipment being used. I did a little bit of ranting and a slightly smaller amount of raving about the cheesy underhandedness of baseball economics and the broader accursedness of the Angels, and Drew did some, too. But everyone is still processing this, to some extent, and I think that comes through somewhat.

That is less true about the portion of the episode we devoted to Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott, and to Tyler Dunne's blockbuster report about what a damn weirdo he is. We've had more time to digest this, and think about it, and DM each other choice little bits of psychopathy from it, and while we are in agreement here, too—it absolutely rules; McDermott's case of Football Brain should be studied in a laboratory setting—we both enjoy parsing the fine points of Football Coach Mentality enough that things went in a few surprising directions. We talked about the tactical and strategic uses of taking responsibility as a coach, the degrees and strains of inauthenticity in the coaching profession, the old janky NFL and the rowdy louts that used to coach in it, and the things that a head coach absolutely cannot do. This segment honestly probably could've been an hour; Drew thinks a lot about coaches, and I think a lot about a specific type of maniacally self-obsessed American male weirdness, and that particular Venn diagram is one single circle in this instance.

But while an hour spent trying to figure out what I meant by "Steve Mariucci Mindset" might have been an hour well-spent, there were other obligations. We talked about Tommy DeVito breathing some life into the habitually stodgy Giants, and also about the avant-garde sartorial stylings of DeVito's iconic agent; it would have been rude not to. And we delved into the Funbag, because that is what we do.

There we found questions about business communications issued in Comic Sans, which led to a consideration of Dan Gilbert's prose stylings, font preferences, and general vibe. We talked about Drew's Zoom blooper when pitching his novel Point B as a television show, and the hazards of choosing social media handles without thinking about what it might be like to have to use it for the rest of your life. Another question opened the damn Lament Configuration and introduced not just the concept of a hard-left SEC college football coach but specifically the punishing conceptual challenge of Woke Jimbo Fisher. The episode didn't quite end with us doing dueling imitations of irate Paul Finebaum callers, but it might as well have. It was always going to wind up being a mess-around episode; the question was when we finally got there.

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