By now, we’re all familiar with Bud Light’s Real Men of Genius ad campaign. A half-sung, half-spoken lyrical tribute to those men who shape our outlook on the sports world.
But what about those real men of genius who were overlooked, and largely forgotten about when Bud Light went to the drawing board?
Well here at Seattle Sportsnet, we’ve done our best to memorialize 11 rejects of the Real Men of Genius campaign that didn’t get their proper due the first time around. On to the list.
11. Mr. Rec League Softball Player in Baseball Pants Guy
Refusing to put your high school playing days behind you, you stubbornly wear your polyester baseball pants to every rec league softball game, Mr. Rec League Softball Player in Baseball Pants Guy.
So what if the other nine members of your team wear shorts, tank tops, and drink beer between innings? You were almost an All-League Honorable Mention selection in your glory days, and no one should forget that.
Plus, your baseball pants allow you to do things that short-wearers can only dream of. Like dive for a ground ball that’s four feet out of reach from your rapidly aging body, or slide spikes up into second base.
Yes, it’s a simple fashion statement that makes you better than anyone else that plays the game. At least that’s how you see it.
10. Mr. Egotistical Junior Varsity High School Referee
Armed with a whistle, an attitude, and the power to ruin any 15-year-old’s day, you have yourself convinced that the best job in the world is yours, Mr. Egotistical Junior Varsity High School Referee.
You’ve watched enough of the NBA to know that it’s really all about the officials. That’s why you chose this profession.
That’s also why you’ve worked your way up from Sunday church leagues, to recreational peewee leagues, to middle school select leagues, to Jewish school day leagues, and finally to junior varsity high school leagues. At this rate, you’ll be in the pros by the time you turn 85.
Not one to be discouraged, you run up and down court calling traveling, double-dribbling, and even the occasional three-second violation, all to the chagrin of the parents that sit in the stands and yell at you.
When a player asks you what a hand check is and why you just assessed him a flagrant foul for performing one, you give the little bastard a technical and eject him from the game. This is your court. Questions will not be tolerated.
Afterward, you make your way to your Datsun in the parking lot armed with a baseball bat and mace, just in case any parents confront you as they have so many times before. It’s a tough job, being a junior varsity high school referee with moxie, but you pull it off rather effectively.
9. Mr. Laminated Sign-Holding Ticket Scalper
Thanks to one sheet of paper, extra bold font, and Kinko’s, you’ve managed to create an occupation based entirely around a sign that says, “I NEED TICKETS.”
Forget the fact that you have no intention of using the tickets you “need” to attend a game, or that 90% of the people that walk past you with a look contempt already know this; you’re simply trying to make a buck or two while doing the least amount of work possible.
This is the sole reason you were terminated from your job flipping burgers at Dairy Queen, then from your next job selling fly-by-night insurance to senior citizens, and finally your most recent job as a gigolo.
These days, you’re content pawning bleacher seats off on the unsuspecting out-of-towner for a significant markup, while you try and earn enough money to pay your alimony, and buy just enough weed to help you forget about the rest of your life.
8. Mr. No T-Shirt In The Bleachers Guy
It’s 85 degrees at the ballpark, and that means one thing: time to remove as much clothing as is legally possible.
Forget “No shirt, no shoes, no service.” You’re here to party, and everyone knows the party doesn’t start until Mr. No T-Shirt In The Bleachers Guy shows up.
Unfazed by your beer belly, farmer’s tan, corn chip body odor, and unsightly amount of chest hair, you don’t hesitate to dispose of the twenty-year-old REO Speedwagon shirt you happen to be wearing as soon as the sun comes out.
Never mind that there are women and children around who may be appalled by your lack of modesty. The law says that exposed man boobies are legal, and you neither make nor enforce the rules. You simply embrace them.
7. Mr. Asian Kobe Bryant Fan
Despite the fact that you’ve never been to Los Angeles, don’t even play basketball, and aren’t really a supporter of adultery, somehow or another you’re the world’s biggest Kobe Bryant fan, and nobody (not even you) knows why.
Sporting Kobe’s jersey on all days that end in “y,” you broadcast your fanaticism loud and clear to the masses, Mr. Asian Kobe Bryant Fan.
When people ask why you aren’t a fan of Yao Ming or Sun Yue, you simply call them racist and flash a homemade gang sign that, when looked at from an angle, is the roman numeral for Kobe’s number 24.
You once got in a fight with a Shaquille O’Neal fan because he called you names, and your passion for something so trivial is only overshadowed by your desire to drive really fast in your Subaru WRX.
Yes, you may not be a basketball expert, but you do know that Kobe Bryant is the greatest human being on the planet. Too bad he can’t say the same about you.
6. Mr. Way-Too-Into-It Little League Coach
Bestowed authority over a group of nine-year-olds that hate you, you treat your responsibilities as manager of the Peewee Rangers the same way you treat your job as middle-manager of an insignificant corporation.
When a child steps out of line, you put your foot down and rip him a new asshole, giving him the same respect that you give your underlings in the career field.
When Little Billy refuses to swing at pitches in the zone, you pelt him with chin music until he learns the difference between balls and strikes.
When Hector, an ESL student from Nicaragua, runs from the batter’s box to third base by mistake, you send him on a two-mile sprint to help him think about what he’s just done.
Should parents show up to practice, you turn down their request to help out and let them know that this is your team by urinating a path around the field to mark your territory.
During games, you ride the 16-year-old volunteer umpire like Seabiscuit, and challenge him to eject you by threatening to meet him in the parking lot after the game.
You may not have a firm grasp on sanity, Mr. Way-Too-Into-It Little League Coach, but at the very least you can feel good about the community service hours you’re performing, and that’s all that really matters.
5. Mr. Over-Deliberate Golfer
With the calculated precision of the world’s greatest neurosurgeon, you approach your tee shot on the first hole the same way a bomb squad approaches an abandoned Dora the Explorer backpack.
You go through six or seven practice swings, before another three or four half swings, just to get the feel right. You line up your shot, pause, rethink, reline, then pause again.
You glance at the fairway, glance at the hole, glance at the tee, then demand silence when the foursome waiting to tee off behind you tells you to hurry the eff up.
Thanks to their sheer ignorance, you’re forced to go through the entire motion of your routine a second time, like Nomar Garciaparra on crack in the batter’s box.
Blessed with surprisingly thick skin, you ignore the insults and catcalls and comments about your mother across all 18 holes, as you successfully manage to cut the course’s revenues in half for the day by creating such a huge backup on the links.
You may not be Tiger Woods, or even Phil Mickelson, but when you golf, the world needs to know that it’s all about you, Mr. Over-Deliberate Golfer.
4. Mr. Bobblehead Giveaway Camper Outer
Like a drug dealer with a van full of pot, you’re only at this ballgame with the intent to sell, Mr. Bobblehead Giveaway Camper Outer. Which is why you’ve been sleeping in a tent for three days just to get your hands on the free bobblehead doll that’s being given away at the gate.
Who cares if these things were designed with kids in mind? Ebay says you can earn at least $5o for your troubles by auctioning off the wooden replica of your favorite hometown player, and you intend to take full advantage of the free money.
Sure, you paid $20 for a ticket to the game, then gave up another $40 for your meals over the past half-week. But in due time you’ll recoup all or most of your investment, so long as there’s still a market for Brandon Morrow bobbleheads by the time you get home.
It may only be a twelve-inch figurine, but to you it is the lifeblood of sports, and that’s why we salute you, Mr. Bobblehead Giveaway Camper Outer.
3. Mr. Video Board Operator
Given the keys to the most powerful vehicle in the stadium, you are the master puppeteer behind tens of thousands of puppets in attendance, Mr. Video Board Operator.
Like a crazed genius, you push all the right buttons to get the fans doing exactly as you desire.
You want louder? Simply press a button, and “LOUDER!” displays on your screen.
You want applause? A different button displays a pair of cartoonish hands clapping rhythmically, to which the minions follow along in unison.
If you don’t like a certain ruling by the ref, you simply show a replay and help breathe life into the boos that rain down upon the playing surface.
During timeouts, you scour the crowd for babes and stick the kiss cam on them…all while they’re sitting next to their equally hot female friend.
When you need comic relief, you search for a fat kid dancing to Macho Man, and for a few seconds you make him a superstar on the JumboTron.
Yes, you may not be a CEO, or even have what many would consider a very glamorous job. But in the context of a sporting event, you might very well be the most powerful man in the world, Mr. Video Board Operator, and that’s why we love you.
2. Mr. Sponsor First Pitch Thrower Outer
Not to be confused with Mr. Ceremonial First Pitch Throw Outer, Mr. Sponsor First Pitch Thrower Outer is the less-heralded representative of corporate America that allows one lucky company to say to the world, “Look how much money we spent on our suite!”
With a noodle for an arm, and having failed to make the cut even in Little League, Mr. Sponsor First Pitch Thrower Outer strolls out to the mound amidst lightly scattered boos, loud drunken questions about his sexuality, and the occasional pity clap from a bored onlooker.
Wearing a company logo polo shirt, pleated khakis, and brown loafers, Mr. Sponsor First Pitch Thrower Outer displays no affiliation with the home team and little concern for fashion at all.
Upon reaching the rubber, Mr. Sponsor First Pitch Thrower Outer takes a look at home plate, reevaluates the situation, then takes six steps forward before finding a distance suitable for his throwing abilities.
Relegated to pitching a baseball to either the team mascot or the most recent Triple-A callup, Mr. Sponsor First Pitch Thrower Outer goes into a full Bob Feller windup and hurls a wicked three-bouncer to home plate.
Shrugging his shoulders with a sheepish grin on his face, Mr. Sponsor First Pitch Thrower Outer poses for a snapshot with the mascot/Triple-A callup, then departs down the wrong tunnel to the same fanfare that greeted him on the way out.
1. Mr. Canadian National Anthem Singer In American Ballparks
As perhaps the most unheralded performer in the world, you are required to do your job in front of thousands of people who largely do not care, Mr. Canadian National Anthem Singer In American Ballparks.
Amidst a half-standing, disrespectful crowd of hat-wearing bastards that think you suck, you precede the American national anthem by belting out “O, Canada” better than it’s ever been belted out before. Too bad nobody is paying attention.
Never mind that you’ve won thousands upon thousands of international singing awards, or that you’re the most famous person in all of Toronto, or that Justin Timberlake and Miley Cyrus both want to collaborate with you, fact is you’re singing the one song that Americans hate more than the Macarena, and while you’re doing it, you’re effectively holding up the start of a sporting event, as well.
It’s not fair, being so recognizingly unrecognizable, but it’s life, and you just happen to be living it Mr. Canadian National Anthem Singer In American Ballparks.