This one’s a real yabba-dabba doozy

Reprinted from
Jan. 31, 2013

At this time of year, most sports sections are rife with Super Bowl-related stories, but how many variations on the Harbaugh-versus-Harbaugh theme can we reasonably be expected to absorb prior to game day?
  Luckily for readers of this paper, I have absolutely no access to either coach, nor a paid-for plane ticket to New Orleans. Thus, what you read here will have no connection to the Super Bowl — well, most of it anyway.
  Before discussing any football, there are a couple of other items that need to be addressed.
  • Wrong said Fred: Featuring athletes on the front of cereal boxes is nothing new. General Mills’ Wheaties brand built its reputation on being the “breakfast of champions,” although some of today’s champions have chosen less-legal means by which to elevate their performances. Right, Lance?
  The list of athletes shown on Wheaties boxes through the years is lengthy, seeing as how they began appearing in 1934. But until recently, the cereal was something of a monopoly in that regard.
  Not anymore. Now, much to my surprise, Fruity Pebbles has joined its ranks.

 After four decades, Fruity Pebbles has deposed the legendary Fred Flintstone and replaced him with professional wrestler John Cena. Granted, Cena is depicted in cartoon form, but that’s still quite the slap in the face to Fred, whose superstar reputation was built at the tip of an animator’s pencil.
  How can an icon like Fred have been replaced by this John-Come-Lately? In a story that appeared on the Cartoon Brew website, a marketing representative for Post, the company that distributes Fruity Pebbles, offered the following comment:
  “We’ve just been talking with kids. They wanted more variety. Fred isn’t necessarily the ... coolest or [most] relevant guy for kids who we are going after.”
  Why because he’s a bit on the portly side and his face constantly features five-o’clock shadow? Come on, Fred’s more of a real man than the real man is
  Don’t believe me? OK, tell me when was the last time Mr. Cena brought his own automobile to a halt by scraping his bare feet across the ground? Or had the nerve to roam around public attired in nothing but a loincloth? Or dined primarily on brontosaurus burgers?
  No, Fred, certainly doesn’t deserve this shabby treatment from a bunch of know-nothing kids, who’ll undoubtedly abandon Cena, too, at the first sign of something else more “relevant.” I envision some Autotune-enhanced singer heading to the front of the Fruity Pebbles box someday soon.
  By the way, how come Bam-Bam is appearing on the current box with Cena? Did anyone bother to get the Rubbles’ permission to use him as a spokeskid, especially since Uncle Fred is no longer around to protect Bam-Bam’s interests?
  And what was the specific purpose behind the idea? Is Post going to promote them as a new tag team, or did Bam-Bam simply muscle his way into the picture by threatening to toss Cena around a little bit?
  ’Tis a sad day indeed in Bedrock.
  Meanwhile, somebody had better keep an eye on Fred and make sure the Flintstone vitamins stay beyond his reach. We don’t want another Elvis on our hands.
  By the way, they are still called “Flintstone vitamins,” right?
  • Going off-track: While hockey was away, some fans missed the pugilistic aspects of the sport. Those folks should have been spectators at the Hispanic Games in New York City.
  Designed as a track-and-field event, the meet unexpectedly included some boxing and wrestling as well. Hand-to-hand combat replaced the feet-to-feet kind when a few competitors decided to mix it up following a collision during one of the races.
  Instead of retaining their composure at the first incident of bumping and attempting to return as quickly as possible to the track, the involved parties threw punches and knocked each other to the ground. It was the sort of environment in which John Cena and Bam-Bam probably would have felt right at home.
  Hopefully, this kind of behavior will not become contagious, or else the sport will have to be renamed “Track & Fisticuffs.” Overshadowing a throwing of the shot will be the throwing of a fit, a pole-ax will replace the pole vault and the low hurdles will make way for low blows.
  I suspect Jim Thorpe and Jesse Owens wouldn’t approve of the makeover.
  • Sock(s) it to him: Neatness counts in the NFL — a little bit too much so, if you ask me.
  Running back Frank Gore played a key role for the San Francisco 49ers in their NFC Championship Game win over Atlanta, but while doing so, he failed to notice that his socks had slipped dangerously low on his legs. There was no threat of harm to anyone, of course, except that now Gore’s wallet has been injured.
  In the fashion-conscious NFL, Gore’s droopy socks rated as a major no-no and the league decided to fine him more than $10,000 for his transgression. Remember, folks, these were socks that rode low, not pants, but apparently the potential exposure of a calf muscle is considered X-rated in some circles.
  By the reaction this received from the NFL, you’d have thought Gore had filled one of those socks with loose change and swung it wildly over his head as a means by which to scare off Falcons defenders. Maybe he should have because he probably wouldn’t have gotten penalized any worse.
  From now on, Frank, forget about the end zone. You need to pay attention to what’s really important.
  • Food for thought: If Colin Kaepernick wanted to get on the good side of reporters, he couldn’t have chosen a better method.
  A 49ers beat writer recently wrote that Kaepernick had treated a number of writers to free pizzas, a stunning show of decency by a professional athlete, especially one who hasn’t needed to suck up to scribes in order to earn favorable press. Is he really that nice of a guy or is Kaepernick merely hedging his bets in case he flames out in the Super Bowl and sets himself up for goat horns
  By feeding the rumpled media masses, Kaepernick is certainly ingratiating himself to them. Food is most sports reporters’ favorite four-letter word, challenged only by free. Put them together and you’ve got an unbeatable combination.
  And as a result, seldom is written a discouraging word.