NEW YORK, NY - JULY 08: General manager Brian Cashman of the New York Yankees speaks to the media after the game against the Tampa Bay Rays was postponed due to rain on July 8, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
We have no idea what television programs general managers enjoy watching. But that won't stop us from making some educated guesses!
A few weeks back, Billy King, the general manager of the soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets copped to being a big fan of The Young and the Restless in an interview with the New York Times. King demonstrated in the interview that he is clearly up-to-date with the latest happenings of the long-running soap opera. Perhaps this is a nice complement to his position in charge of a team that will have no shortage of drama during its transition to the Big Apple. His team is owned by a Russian billionaire and Jay-Z; even leaving out Deron Williams and the rest of the roster, that squad is already a soap opera.
It set us to thinking: what other television shows do sports GMs watch compulsively? What follows is purely the result of our best guesses and assumptions, but we're still pretty sure we're right.
Dayton Moore, Kansas City Royals
There is a show on Discovery Channel called Final Offer. This show involves a seller bringing a valuable item to four dealers, who all might be (and usually are) interested in buying this item for resale in their own store or pawn shop or black market or whatever the hell. These four dealers -- whose names are (drawing from memory) Denim Shirt, Cokey McSnort, Tubby and Unfortunate White-Guy Afro -- all have a private gap session with the seller and make a (you guessed it) final offer.
Dayton Moore loves this show, but he's pretty bad at it. Whenever he first sees the item -- no matter what it is -- he stands up and yells, "FIVE DOLLARS! JEFF FRANCOEUR!" Then, whenever any buyer makes their offer -- any offer, any price -- Moore sits back and folds his arms, shaking his head in disgust. "Too high," he grumbles. "Not worth it."
Then he just lets anyone pick up his players off of waivers.
Brian Cashman, New York Yankees
Cashman likes to watch Top Gear reruns on BBC America and buys all of the cars featured in each episode. Well, all the ones that cost over $50,000, anyway. Those other cars are for -- shudder -- poor people. He's closing in on the complete set!
A few times a year, Cashman writes in to Top Gear requesting they "PLAY A BASEBALL GAME USING ALL CARS," but to date his letters have not received a response.
Theo Epstein, Chicago Cubs
The great and powerful Theo Epstein pretty much defies explanation, as does his favorite program, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! In fact, this is pretty much exactly what Theo's office looks like. Every morning, he fires up his voice-activated computer and runs Celery Man. Then Celery Man tells him which OBP-hungry players he should gobble up.
Much like Tim and Eric (and the above paragraph), Epstein makes almost no sense to other GMs. Also much like Tim & Eric, the joke wears thin pretty quickly and just becomes a parody of itself. By the middle of next season, Cubs fans are likely going to be watching meaningless games and just saying, "Come on, come on ... Just jump out and yell 'SPAGETT!' or send Steve Brule out there or something."
Brian Sabean, San Francisco Giants
Sabean's DVR is jammed full of reruns of Golden Girls, Matlock and pretty much anything they show on the Hallmark Channel. Keeps making offhand comments in the clubhouse about how "it's a shame about that fox Rue McClanahan."
David Kahn, Minnesota Timberwolves
Not many people know about a show called The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, but it's one of the most uncomfortable-to-watch shows that has ever been on television. It pretty much lives up to its title in every way you can imagine.
David Kahn doesn't find it uncomfortable to watch, however. He just laughs his dang butt off and shakes his head knowingly, saying, "We've all been there, buddy." Of course, I guess anyone who says really stupid things while sitting next to Chris Webber probably doesn't have anything approaching a normal human's level of humiliation.
Bill Belichick, New England Patriots
(He's pretty much the Pats GM; work with us here.)
Belichick enjoys watching Cops, which features what he considers "the only appropriate level of sweatpants-wearing on television," but he wouldn't consider it to be his favorite show. He prefers to hack into his neighbors' DVR boxes and figure out what they're all watching. Then he studies up on those shows. And waits.
What Belichick doesn't know is that everyone else in his neighborhood is stealing his cable.
Scott Pioli, Kansas City Chiefs
Pioli is a diehard fan of The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice. Many former employees note that Pioli does a "spot-on" impression of "The Donald."
"Yeah, not the voice so much, but uh ... the other thing," commented one recently-dismissed employee leaving the Chiefs headquarters. He was one of a long line of people heading for the door while carrying packing boxes full of items from their previous offices. He declined to give his name.
Pioli briefly attempted to get into The Wire, but complained that there "weren't enough explosions and [stuff]."
Mike Tannenbaum, New York Jets
Even before Whitney debuted, anyone who saw a single TV spot for it instantly said, "Well, this is certainly one of the worst shows that's ever been made." The early reviews were scathing and the focus groups reportedly abhorred the show.
Tannenbaum, though? Tannenbaum was like, "Hey now, let's give this baby a chance!" He then promptly set up a series recording for the show on his DVR. Watches it every week and laughs his ass off. People passing by his office can often hear a loud, forced burst of laugh track, followed by Tannenbaum's throaty chuckle and a wistful, "Oh, Whitney."
Rumor has it that Tannenbaum absolutely cannot wait for the premiere of Next Caller.
AJ Smith, San Diego Chargers
Smith doesn't actually watch any television shows for himself. He prefers to butt into conversations about really popular or acclaimed shows and just badmouth them, talking about how they're "overrated" and rolling his eyes a bunch.
A sample AJ Smith conversation:
Oh, Breaking Bad, huh? You like that piece of crap? (makes dismissive "wanking" motion) Yeah I liked that pile of crap for about four seconds before I figured the whole thing out. Pfft. Yeah. So dumb. Oh, and Mad Men? Don't even get me started on that pretentious crap. I don't even own a TV.
Steve Tambellini, Edmonton Oilers
When Steve Tambellini moved into his current house, he hooked up his television and turned it on. The TV set defaulted to Channel 2, which was mostly just broadcast "snow" but occasionally receives a grainy, buzzy version of the local Edmonton CBS syndicate. "This'll do," said Tambellini. He left the television on Channel 2 in perpetuity, dedicated to "staying the course."
In the afternoons, Tambellini can make out most of the picture during reruns of Mr. Belvedere and Three's Company, but the audio is obscured by hissing static. He still laughs were he thinks the jokes might be, or when there are John Ritter pratfalls. He doesn't entertain much.
Isiah Thomas, former GM of the New York Knicks
Just whatever's on Cinemax.