ESPN’s powers of synergy know no bounds. And that means we get Lil Wayne for today’s episode of Around the Horn.
Watch (some of) it, before Disney cracks down on the YouTubery:
(Props to Nah Right for posting the video.)
Dwayne Carter has only slightly fewer tattoos than Woody Paige, who gets docked points for referencing Weezy’s “Prom Queen” in his intro. We begin with Alex Rodriguez, and a question about the unanswered questions.
Jay Mariotti beseeches A-Rod to open up: “He only gave us a shred of the truth.”
Michael Smith questions the shortstop’s integrity; he ends up with 12 points.
Wayne’s turn: “My question would be, ‘How do you see your career now?'” That’s a good question, and then he segues to “the kids.” He only gets four points, but Paige gets three for ripping Wayne’s vagueness, then blathers on about the period of time and and the timeframe of using.
Mariotti chips in: “He’s the most controversial figure in American sports.” This is debatable, but, hey, it’s Mariotti.
At the end of the round, Wayne trails with four points, behind Mariotti’s eight, Paige’s nine, and Smith’s 12.
The next topic: the question pitched to Obama about A-Rod last night; Obama used the word “tarnish,” and this leads Woody Paige to call for Congressional hearings, then temper that by mentioning the high school kids who need to avoid steroids and performance-enhancers. Mariotti then rips Obama, saying “If he wants to be ‘the sports President,’ he needs to step up on steroids.”
Voice of reason Michael Smith correctly asserts that it would indeed be stupid to distract Congress from the economy for the purpose of steroid oversight. (He’s got 23 points. That’s a lot.)
Wayne concurs with the no-hearings idea, and points out the idea of, go figure, Bud Selig and baseball policing themselves. Michael Smith continues making good points.
End of the round: Wayne’s got eight points, and is clearly not long for the show, but his restrained croak is much more pleasing than the braying of the other three. I’d watch him again.
Tony Reali makes a “Weezy vs. Geezy” joke, using Paige as “Geezy.” Ha.
Wayne says that the Steelers “pushed (Ben Roethlisberger’s injuries) under the rug” so the Cardinals wouldn’t know about an injured QB; Paige concurs, then devolves into geriatric whining; Mariotti references the late Static Major, which is, uh, stupid; and Smith continues winning.
Up next: Lane Kiffin. Paige calls him “immature,” Mariotti says he needs a rulebook, Smith “buys” his enthusiasm; Wayne compares the situation to Shaq’s Kobe rap, then calls for Kiffin’s firing. So he can do the hyperbole thing beyond calling himself the “Best Rapper Alive.”
He’s slid ahead of Mariotti, too, 15-14.
Next topic is Amare Stoudemire, and likely destinations: Mariotti says Miami, Smith cites Detroit, Weezy says Miami, gets called on the “homer pick” by Reali and conveniently loses a point. He’s behind Mariotti to end the round, but Reali docks the loudmouth points because Wayne’s the star here. He’ll go into the third round in third place.
Again: Weezy’s acquitting himself nicely. He’s a lot less boisterous than his competitors, and doesn’t interject, which doesn’t help his cause on a show about shouting, but he’s pleasant enough to listen to and does indeed know his stuff.
It’s time for Out of Bounds, which is on the NHL and fighting. The question: should hockey eliminate fighting?
Paige says no: “Let’s be honest: you can’t totally ban it. When they do fight, you suspend them, you fine them heavily.” He also points to Olympic and playoff hockey as the best (and the least fight-friendly) hockey.
Wayne mentions keeping a helmet on, then uses the word “ejaction.” This is not a word.
Hey, Wayne’s losing again! Hey, Reali’s saving him again! Hey, Woody Paige is “rapping!” (Please, God, do not allow that to happen again. Ever.) It’s Carter vs. Smith in the Showdown.
If ESPN’s trying to bolster ATH with this episode, they won’t; Wayne’s contrast with the yelling makes the yelling even more intolerable. But if ESPN’s trying to build some sort of audience for a Weezy-on-sports show, that makes some sense. He’d be great.
Here we go in the finals: Wayne says Mizzou storming the court over Kansas is fine, Smith agrees, and Reali admits: “Michael, you’ve got no chance in this showdown.” At least we know.
Smith says something about “length” in talking about Kevin Durant, and gets muted; Wayne refers to Joe Johnson as “Joe,” and wins. Didn’t see that one coming.
Wayne wins and gets his face time to say he’s not afraid of Lawrence Taylor now that he’s going to be on Dancing With the Stars. He also gives LT the sobriquet “Little Twinkletoes.” Okay, that’s funny.
So ESPN’s experiment ends, with Wayne totally unsuited to the fast-paced, high-volume antics of ATH but perfectly suited to sane discussion of sports on TV. I’m not watching ATH again if possible, but I’ll flip on Weezy on ESPN for the first and every episode of whatever show he’s on. He’s got a quiet charisma, and that’s refreshing in the vicinity of the ear-splitting talent ESPN usually beams into living rooms.
Weezy F gets a B for today, but there’s plenty of room for growth.