All That and a Bag of Mail: Manziel's Epic First Pitch

Published on: May 17, 2013 | Written by: Clay Travis

It's no secret that Johnny Manziel is Outkick the Coverage's favorite SEC football player of all time. 

But even we continue to be amazed by his feats of athletic excellence.

Last night he homered during San Diego Padres batting practice while wearing jeans and boat shoes. Then he executed one of the most amazing first pitches in history.

How so?

He reenacted his fumbled touchdown pass against Alabama.

Really, he did.

Watch.  

 

 

Just so awesome.

Can you imagine the ratings that a Johnny Manziel reality show would get on the SEC Network?

Our beaver pelt traders of the week are pink dress, white dress, and black dress since their catfight entertained hundreds of thousands of OKTC readers over the course of the week.

On to the mailbag.  

Kevin M. writes:

"Hi Clay,
As a new father (my daughter was born 27 hours ago) how would you rank the following moments in the joy to pain ratio (for a father): labor, first month, months 1-12, months 13-24? Or am I missing any big time periods that need special mention? I kind of want to know what to expect." 

First, congrats. You're at a peak now in the joy ratio and probably will stay there for the next several days, but then your descent into baby sleep hell will commence soon. 

The first three or four months or so of any baby are pretty much hell.

And before I continue, let me ask this question -- why are newborn babies so much work from an evolutionary perspective? Doesn't it seem counterintuitive that a newborn would almost kill its parents in the first few months? Don't you think it was tougher for a dad back in the day to kill a wildebeest when he'd been kept awake all night in Africa with a screaming baby? What about a native american chasing a buffalo after three hours of sleep? Clearly much less efficient, right?

Purely from an evolutionary perspective, shouldn't human babies be really easy to take care of? Basically, why have we evolved such that we have the most demanding baby offspring on the planet?

Now, let me jump ahead, once your baby is sleeping through the night, it gets remarkably easy in months 4-10 or so. The joy is high here because the baby can't go anywhere, sleeps a ton, and is generally pretty happy, always smiling and cooing at you. After month ten you get into the walking and/or crawling fast because the baby doesn't have much interest in walking phase, which is pretty awesome. Really, everything is amazing the first time you see it. The first time the baby stands up, the first time the baby climbs on something, the first time the baby pees in your face while you're changing a diaper. 

All awesome.  

My boys are 5 and 2.5 right now and I would be very happy to hit pause on our lives and stay here a while. They're both fun, you can have conversations with them that are pretty entertaining, and they're ecstatic to see you every day when you get home from work. My five year old likes Swamp People and playing Angry Birds on the iPad. My 2.5 year old wants to play baseball, football, soccer or wrestle.

My five year old occasionally makes a pee pee joke. 

So we have pretty much the same interests in life already.  

But that's all in your future. 

Right now the quest to get your baby to sleep through an entire night will turn into one of the greatest battles of your life. You'll obsess over every extra minute of consistent sleep -- you'll find yourself staring down at a tiny screaming infant thinking, "I would pay you $1,000 right now in cash, just for you to go to sleep," -- you will turn into the Einstein of baby sleep, hashing out all sorts of harebrained and sleep-deprived hypotheses that will get your baby to sleep just a few minutes more.

Every kid is different. My oldest was a nightmare even with help from my parents and my wife carrying most of the responsibility.

Eventually, with no hope of ever sleeping again, we brought in his car seat from outside and he slept in there for six hours one night.

On the floor by his crib.

Six straight hours!

We did this for a few weeks, but weren't getting much more than five or six hours in a row out of him. Then we moved him to his jungle swing, which we'd let run all night long. That's where he slept the first entire night, in a jungle swing. He was in there for like a month, we had to change the batteries all the time. (And by "we" I mean my wife, because it was impossible to get the damn battery cover off the jungle swing.)

Anyway, him sleeping through the first night by himself was the parental equivalent of winning the Super Bowl.

I'd put it right up there with graduating from college in terms of the joy it will give you.  

But all of this will pale to the terror that comes from raising a teenage daughter in a social media era.

Good luck.

Luke writes:

"As I was watching the Steeplechase catfight, all I could think was, "Keri Russell would totally destroy both of these girls. Definitely at the same time. Which got me wondering even more, how many regular sorority girls would it take to beat up Keri Russell's character on, "The Americans?"

This is a spectacular question.

Keri Russell's Elizabeth Jennings character is clearly not going to end up grabbing some girl's hair, that's for sure. Not unless it's to drag them by after she knocks them out with one punch. 

Let's start with a baseline assumption -- your average sorority girl has never actually thrown a punch. (For right now we're leaving out girls like Nick Saban's daughter because she's in the top 5% of sorority girls.) Correctly throwing a punch has to be taught. So does dodging one. Lots of men have no clue how to fight either, which is why so many male fights quickly descend into grappling on the ground. But men can sometimes hurt each other because of sheer weight and size. Your average sorority girl in the South weighs what -- 120 pounds?

So let's say the average sorority girl has never thrown a punch and weighs 120 pounds. Also, you have to assume that they haven't been trained in group fighting. I.e., they're not going to simultaneously attack from different angles in sort of Pickett's charge of sorority girls that would potentially overwhelm Elizabeth Jennings based on sheer numbers. You have to further assume that one significant blow and they're not getting back up. These aren't ninja assassins, they're sorority girls. If you make one of their noses bleed, that fight is completely over for them. So it's not like you have to keep fighting the same girls over and over again. They'd get disabled in a hurry and be out for the duration.   

So how many sorority girls would it take to subdue Keri Russell's highly trained KGB character?

I think 25 or more. 

And if "The Americans" producers are reading this, how bad ass of a season two promo would it be if Keri Russell stormed the Kappa Kappa Gamma house at Ole Miss to look for a KGB source in hiding and just beat all those girls asses one by one as she worked her way through the house?

Who wouldn't love this?

Charlie R. writes:

"I can't get over this whole steeplechase catfight.  It was phenomenal how quickly information flowed to you after simply tweeting about it and putting it on your website. This clearly demonstrated the power of social media in the right hands. How can you use this to lure advertisement and sponsorships to your brand?  It has to be pretty powerful if a company's target market is 20 to 40 year olds in the southeast. Also, if given the right video footage or information, do you think you could use the same methods to investigate a crime?  What type of investigations would this be limited to (it clearly works for a public brawl)?  I think you could spin that into a whole new radio show or website."

Well, you guys are a tremendous part of Outkick's success. You share our content, you talk about it, you tell your friends to check out what we write.  

We've almost reached the point at Outkick where our audience is big enough that we don't even need any "major" site to take note of what we do to make our stories pop. We're pretty major standing alone now. Again, that's a credit to you guys. We're like a small revolutionary army.  

The catfight coverage went viral almost exclusively through you guys. It's not like the ESPN ticker is showing the catfight news. And it's not the first time we've had a story everywhere. This is happening now with increasing regularity. Outkick stories have gone viral because of you guys, not because some other site has linked us and driven traffic or attention to it. Honestly, I watch the site traffic numbers pretty closely and our traffic is almost all rolling in from Twitter and Facebook now.

That's ground up as opposed to top down attention. 

At this point we have around 100,000 of you guys and gals on Twitter and Facebook now who get access to all our content immediately. But the multiplier effect happens in a hurry. You guys share it with your friends and their friends are exposed to it and this goes on an on. It's like Faulkner's pebble metaphor in Absalom, Absalom,

"Maybe nothing ever happens once and is finished. Maybe happen is never once but like ripples. Maybe on water after the pebble sinks, the ripples moving on, spreading, the pool attached by a narrow umbilical water-cord to the next pool which the first pool feeds, has fed, did feed, let this second pool contain a different temperature of water, a different molecularity of having seen, felt, remembered, reflect in a different tone the infinite unchanging sky, it doesn’t matter: that pebble’s watery echo whose fall it did not even see moves across its surface too at the original ripple-space, to the old ineradicable rhythm…"

So, to answer your question, yeah, I think we can pretty much find anyone. Certainly if you're college-educated, under the age of 40, and from the South, there's a 100% chance that there's no more than one degree that separates you from an Outkick reader.

Again, that's all because of you guys.

On my end, that means I have to be careful with that reach. For instance, a few had an issue with posting the catfight video. (As a general rule for Outkick, if you do it in public, it's fair game). Some didn't understand why I didn't post the names and backgrounds of everyone in the catfight video. I chose not to do that because the names won't ever disappear on the Internet if Outkick publishes them. Within two hours of posting the video I knew everything about pink dress, white dress, and black dress. Their names, their educational levels, past jobs, past boyfriends, past husbands.

Everything.

But I don't need to share all of that. 

Next time there's a major crime in the South, I bet we can solve it.

Our collective power is staggering, but with the power of Outkick I'm starting to feel like the uncle in Spiderman.

Yep, we're all Spiderman now.   

Greg H. writes:

"I wanted to get your opinion on how I should support my two favorite SEC teams.

I live in Houston, Texas and while it wasn't always SEC country, I've always been an SEC fan. My mom and dad both went to LSU and my dad raised me to be an LSU fan. I've been watching the Tigers since I can remember.

Right now, I'm a senior in High School and I've recently decided to attend Texas A&M next year. Both my sisters went there and were pretty big parts in convincing me to go to A&M.

I need you to answer a few questions for me.

First, does this make me a traitor to LSU? Fellow LSU fans keep telling me this.

Secondly, when A&M plays LSU how should I handle this? I've never dreamed of rooting against the Mad Hatter but I don't want to be ridiculed by my new Aggie classmates. Should I just rock some LSU boxers underneath my maroon garb? I don't know how I'll handle this.

Lastly, does it make me a traitor to A&M if I'm not mad that LSU wins?

Please help me solve this dilemma."

This is a really tough question. 

Because your teams play every year in the same division and it's likely that over the course of your life most of these games will matter a great deal in the eventual success of either team.

Pre-expansion you wouldn't have really had any issue to deal with here, you could have gone to A&M -- the in-state school that your family attends -- while still rooting for LSU and A&M at the same time. How often would they actually play? Sure, it might happen at some point, but a game here or there -- provided it wasn't a national title game -- wouldn't be a big deal.

Expansion really rocked your fan world.  

So here's my fan ruling:

1. You have to stick with LSU

This is somewhat controversial, but in the SEC fandom precedes your college or grad school choice. For instance, I grew up a Tennessee fan, but I ended up going to Vanderbilt law school. Prior to going to Vandy Law I hated Vandy sports teams, now I really like them too. 

But I still root for UT over Vandy when they play head-to-head. 

In every other game I root for Vandy.

The same thing would have happened if I'd gone to Vandy for undergrad.

You can't just toss aside your formative years as an LSU fan. 

2. Your LSU fan friends can't criticize you. 

You're going to a superior academic institution and it costs you much less money as an in-state student. 

Are you supposed to pay more money to go to an inferior school?

That's stupid. 

You should aspire to go to the best college you can get into and/or afford to attend. The same should be true for your kids. But that doesn't mean you have to change which team you root for. 

3. As for the games themselves, you have four tough weekends. (Potentially five if you party too much). 

But two of those games are on the road.

Luckily for you your freshman year game is on the road. You don't want to be the weird freshman LSU fan in the student section. 

So those don't really count. You can watch those on your own somewhere so you don't piss off  your A&M classmates.

But what do you do when the game is in College Station and you're in the A&M student section?

You can't go in visible LSU gear and you can't be the tool who roots against his own school in the student section.

So I think you have three options:

a. sit in the student section, but don't cheer, attempt to watch as a neutral fan

b. don't go to the game at all and go elsewhere that weekend to watch it on TV

Although this would probably suck because football weekends are awesome.

c. sit in the LSU cheering section

I'd probably pick option a.

4. Root hard for A&M in all other games. 

Good luck, I don't think you can switch now. 

Greg A. writes:

If you're calling for five more neutral field games in the SEC, why not a traveling game?  New York, Chicago, Hawaii, Vegas, Los Angeles, etc.
 
I have a strong preference for the Big Ten - I live in Chicago.  But I still think the SEC product is big enough to draw crowds on the road in large metropolitan areas.  
 
So if you're launching the SEC Network and hoping for a nationwide television presence, it makes sense to start playing outside the Southeast.  The SEC fans travel well, there are northern fans that can't always get to games down South, and the players probably wouldn't mind a three day weekend in Chicago or Hawaii or Vegas, etc. (for instance).  It would be a like a bowl game in the mid-season. Plus, a lot of northern cities don't get bowl games because of the cold weather. Maybe they'd be interested in Georgia-A&M or LSU-Mississippi. So why not?"

This is a great idea in theory.

For those who haven't been paying attention, I've been kicking around the idea of how the ninth game should be played in the SEC. My idea was to add five neutral site games a year so everyone had a balanced 4-4-1 schedule in the league. 

Since the SEC already plays neutral-site games in Jacksonville and Dallas, I tossed out the idea of games in Nashville, Charlotte, Atlanta, New Orleans, and Kansas City/St. Louis. 

But the idea of two SEC teams playing outside the region is pretty spectacular too. 

For instance, can you imagine if two SEC teams played at Wrigley Field in a special Chicago October gameday? How awesome would that be?

What about an October Rose Bowl for all the SEC fans in LA? Or a Halloween game in New York City? How about a trip to Las Vegas to watch some SEC football?

I know by the Outkick the Coverage traffic that there are tons of SEC fans in all these markets. Plus, it actually makes pretty good sense from an SEC Network perspective to try and introduce other parts of the nation to SEC football.  

At least one game a year in a city outside the South is a great idea, I think. 

David B. writes: 

"Is there anything more irritating than seeing an unprepared worthless ball boy at a basketball game?
 
I would have given anything as a kid to sit underneath the goal at an NBA or college basketball game for the opportunity to wipe up the ball sweat of my childhood idols.
 
The combination of seeing a pre-teen fumble around with complex objects like towels and mops while displaying a  complete lack of awareness of when they should jump into action sends me over the edge everytime. My anger is only escalated when the little shit gets a round of applause or chorus of chuckles from the crowd after a referee or player does their job for them.
 
In order to eliminate this madness, I propose two simple qualification factors:
 
1. The kid should have underarm hair.
 
2. The kid should be able to touch the net.
 
This would eliminate in my estimation 99.9% of incompetent ballboys.
 
Fair rule? Thoughts?"
 
I've wondered about this myself, but primarily because wiping up sweat on the court is actually a pretty important job.
 
Let's use the NBA for an example, you have hundreds of millions of dollars in guaranteed money on the court. At any moment these players could all suffer a crushing injury. How do these injuries most commonly happen on a basketball court?
 
Somewhere around 99% of them occur in the leg area, due to instability or an improper takeoff or landing.   
 
How often do some of these falls occur because of sweat on the court?
 
Often, right?
 
Yet we've deputized kids for the job of making sure multi-millionaires don't slip on sweat? Can you imagine if LeBron James tore his ACL because as he prepared to jump for a dunk he slipped on a wet spot that hadn't been properly cleaned by a ten year old ball boy?
 
Hell, sometimes these are like five year olds underneath the basket.  
 
I'm with you on this, completely fair rule.  

Andy writes:

"My buddies and I have a long-going argument on when is it the right time to swallow your pride and turn on the air conditioning. Is it when the house reaches 75? 80? 85? I am on the extreme end of this and say it is ok after consecutive days of 85 degrees inside the home, or when my wife forces me to. I also dont like spending money on A/C that can be used for more important things, like beer or ribeyes. Thoughts?"

85 degrees inside the home!

Are you a mad man?

Why does your pride involve being hot inside your own home? And what kind of air conditioning system do you and your friends have? For instance, back in college the dorms couldn't simultaneously have both heat and air on. (This seems like an awful design). So it was a huge deal when they made the decision to replace the cooling and heating options. Everyone would be freezing or burning up when the weather was unusually hot or cold in Washington, D.C. Which happened all the time.

But that was an ancient system.

I'd understand if you had to make a call like that, but who still has to make that decision other than people in charge of turn of the century dorms? 

Plus, how much does air conditioning cost a day? How much are you actually saving in exchange for sweltering? My wife would murder me in my sleep if I insisted that our home had to be 80 degrees so I could save $4.50.

We're so spoiled by how cheap this stuff is. My water bill is like $30 a month. Think about all the effort it used to take to get water. I pay $1 a day now. Air conditioning is like $3 a day. In what better way are you spending money than this? 

Imagine back in the days when it was sweltering hot in the South and our parents were trying to sleep. What if you'd told them that for 25 cents -- inflation adjusted -- they could pick the temperature in their house. They would have been ecstatic, right?

I try to think about these things when I get upset about any modern inconvenience. 

Hell, I lived in the Caribbean in a house without air conditioning for six months. It was hell trying to sleep at night in the summers.  

So my house is always between 67 and 73 degrees.

Either side too much and I adjust accordingly.

I do know that some people resist using the heat or air, but I don't understand why. For instance, it was always like 80 degrees in my parent's house back in the summers. My dad guarded the thermostat like he was a prison guard at Andersonville. You'd go back there and turn the air on and he'd come out and say, "Is the air on in here?" He'd walk back to the thermostat and adjust it back up.  

My friends would come over to play Tecmo Super Bowl and we'd be dripping sweat just playing video games.

Turn the air on.