bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Someone pays $3000 for a signed urinal

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As a sports fan, I understand the idolatry that goes on with professional athletes. The few occasions I had to meet or even just be near one of these guys was very exciting for me as a kid. I remember standing down by the field with a pen and paper waiting for my favorite Phillies to come by and scribble their names. My baseball glove has Jim Eisenreich’s autograph on it to this day. I have to say, though, that the culture around collecting and selling autographs is a very odd one to me. This week, a man sold a urinal signed by Barry Sanders on eBay for $3000. Yes, you read that correctly.

Like many things in life, the value of something is assigned simply by what someone is willing to pay for it. Seriously, though, why on earth would anyone pay three grand for a signed toilet? The potty in question was originally from the Pontiac Silverdome, the stadium in which the Detroit Lions played for many years before moving to Ford Field in 2002. Mike Kozan bought it when the team was selling off various items from the doomed stadium before its demolition. He paid $23 for the right to take the nasty thing home as a memento. Last year, Lions Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders, of whom Kozan had been a huge fan, was scheduled to sign autographs at a nearby mall. As some kind of joke with his girlfriend, he took the urinal with him to the signing and asked Sanders to do the honors. After initially saying no, the former player changed his mind and obliged.

A year later, Kozan decided to sell his prize to recoup some money he lost on the sale of a camper. He was quite surprised at the large amount that it got to before the auction ended. He has said he plans to donate a bit of the money to charity. That’s nice. My issue is not with Kozan, but with the auction bidders. Why the heck would someone pay $3000 for this thing? In exactly what way will this enhance someone’s life? I wouldn’t want it for free, let alone for several thousand dollars. As someone who has collected various things over the years (I’m not quite a hoarder, but my wife will tell you I am not good at throwing things away), I understand the desire to get and keep things of sentimental value. Paying all that money for someone’s name (on anything) is baffling. For a piece of porcelain that was used the way a Pontiac SIlverdome urinal was used to garner a large sum of money for someone is just bizarre and pretty gross.

There are many ways in which humans surprise and disappoint me. This has always been the case and always will be. My ability to be amazed by people should be diminishing as I get older, but I somehow seem to go in the opposite direction on that. Mystery bidder, enjoy your signed toilet. I don’t want to know what you do with it.

Bad sports, continued:

2) The University of Tennessee is either very unlucky or very irresponsible in its choices of head basketball coaches. Back in April, they fired Donnie Tyndall due to an investigation into things he and his program did wrong at Southern Miss before he came to UT. The Vols then hired Rick Barnes, the former coach at the University of Texas. Well, Barnes and the Texas program are now under the microscope, as they have been accused of academic impropriety.

3) Tennessee’s problems appear to go beyond basketball. Jauan Jennings, a freshman quarterback who enrolled early in January, may be charged with a number of crimes related to an assault and theft that allegedly happened at a recent graduation party.

4) Here’s a fun one. Minnesota Twins outfielder Torii Hunter lost his mind after he looked at a called third strike during a game against the Kansas City Royals last Wednesday. The tantrum include him ripping off his jersey and throwing it, which is always a nice touch.

5) Michael Sam, who had been signed by the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL a few weeks ago, abruptly left the team on Friday with no explanation. He was then placed on the suspended list by the team.

6) Something very ugly appears to be going on in St. Louis. The Cardinals, often considered one of baseball’s best organizations, are under investigation for allegedly hacking into systems belonging to the Houston Astros. The FBI and the Justice Department are involved in the inquiry.

7) The NBA Finals were pretty great, but someone needs to explain the selection of Andre Iguodala as the series MVP. I get if people were hesitant to give it to LeBron James, who, despite being the most dominant (and most valuable) player in the series, did play on the losing team, but it is hard to explain the choice of Iguodala. Steph Curry would have made a lot more sense to me.

Good sports:

1) The San Francisco Giants keep coming up with promising pitchers. Chris Heston, a rookie with the team, threw a no-hitter against the New York Mets last Tuesday. A rookie pitcher had not accomplished that in eight years.

2) Watch this amazing free kick for a goal by Norway’s Maren Mjelde against Germany on Thursday. Perfect placement.

3) Max Scherzer was pretty impressive against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday. All the Washington Nationals pitcher did was allow only one hit over nine innings while striking out an astounding 16 hitters.

4) Billy Burns, a rookie outfielder for the Oakland A’s, made two incredible catches against the Texas Rangers on Sunday. Check out the video.

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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