landing spot. will be interesting to see how he does.
We had a survey, 3,556 people responded to it. We learned some things about them:
1. They only get to a few games
The average was two a year but the split is more like 26% go to no games, 36% get to one, and 38% get to more than one.
2. Most don't have season tickets
Four in five (79%) responders don't. Also, when these were run against the previous question season, ticket holders averaged 5.05 games a year, while non-season ticket holders went to 1.11 per year. Season ticket holders were then asked if they would have renewed if Michigan had kept Hoke. Most (68 percent) would but even 32 percent "no" is ominous:
3. There's a clear preference for ADs
On overwhelming majority (almost 90%) of respondents gave Brandon a 1 or a 2. Conversely, Hackett cleaned up; among Michigan fans just 17 people who are impossible to please out of 3400 is some kind of magic. Brian demanded I combine these in a bar graph.
Ace: "That is beautiful."
Brian: "See? Bar graphs!"
Harbaugh has some catching up to do on his boss, at a still really positive approval rating of 4.27 out of 5. Then again Hackett has already reeled in a 5-star while I guess Harbaugh has yet to do so.
5. As for his predecessor
6. They'll pay more for better opponents, but not too much.
What they have now is about what the market wants to bear.
7. What they want to wear
Either the readership didn't understand that Underground Printing is our t-shirt guys and this would essentially mean MGoBlog gets to design all the uniforms, or they understood too well. Anyway UGP barely beat Under Armour, probably because they're the only company other than Nike that spells their name right.
8. Who they'd like to play
You're going to have to click this one I think:
Notre Dame is the obvious one, and the next-most popular was Harbaugh taking a shot at his old team. Stanford makes a lot of sense in fan type, location worth visiting, old history, and a team we haven't seen much of. LSU would be great too though it probably will be less fun (and less easy) once Les and Cam are out of there. The Pac and SEC were easily the most desirable conferences. A breakdown:
|ACC (no ND)||1312|
The games already scheduled weren't included, otherwise I'm sure the interest in Texas and Oklahoma would shoot the Big XII back up to at least ACC levels, while Washington and Colorado could put the Pac 12 on equal footing with the SEC.
Hello. This is an excerpt from "ENDZONE: The Rise, Fall, And Return of Michigan Football" that John Bacon allowed us to run if I would once more refer to the book by its actual name instead of "Brandon's Lasting Lessons." I have now discharged that obligation.
We pick up the story the day after the Minnesota game. Shane Morris has been hit on the head, Devin Gardner lost his helmet and Morris re-entered, and the world waits for an explanation of what's going on…
At 11 a.m. Sunday, after every football game, the medical staff completes its routine postgame interactions with the coaching staff, including Brady Hoke, to apprise them of the status of all the players—something I’ve witnessed dozens of times. In addition, head trainer Paul Schmidt talked with Hoke once on Saturday, three times on Sunday, and once on Monday, giving him the complete information Dr. Kutcher and the staff had gathered on Shane Morris’s condition at each stage.
In short, there was no lack of communication between the medical staff and the coaching staff—nor within the medical staff itself, a group I’ve seen exhibit mutual respect, personally and professionally.
The Big Ten also called Michigan Sunday morning to let the coaching staff know the referee who had told Hoke, after Devin Gardner’s helmet had popped off, that calling a time-out would not allow him to put Gardner back on the field was, in fact, incorrect, and Hoke was right. It’s not that often the Big Ten office admits it was wrong, but they told the staff, not the media, so no one outside Schembechler Hall knew about it.
Finally sensing that a national story was rising around them, the department sent out a press release from Brady Hoke Sunday evening. It said, in part, “. . . Shane Morris was removed from yesterday’s game against Minnesota after further aggravating an injury to his leg that he sustained earlier in the contest . . . The University of Michigan has a distinguished group of Certified Athletic Trainers and team physicians who are responsible for determining whether or not a player is physically able to play. Our coaches have no influence or authority to make determinations if or when an injured player returns to competition . . .”
The release addressed some important points—that Morris had been pulled for his ankle, not the hit to his helmet, and that the coaches have no authority over the medical staff—but failed to answer the most pressing question: Did Morris have a concussion or not? If he did, why did he go back in the game?
Needless to say, instead of bringing closure to the story, this half-baked attempt would only raise more questions.
To withstand these slings and arrows, Brandon needed the Michigan family to band together like never before: the students, the alumni, the fans, faculty and lettermen, not to mention his own staff. But when he looked up, he found the family had already scattered. They had resigned, they’d been fired, they’d been angered, they’d been estranged. Some had simply become fed up with the whole thing, and walked away from something they thought they would love their whole lives.
Brandon would be on his own.
When the athletic director, his leadership team, his coaches, and the players woke up Monday morning, they found a pile of bad news on their doorstep. The football team was off to a disastrous 2–3 start. The department was still getting lambasted for the Cokes-for-tickets “retail activation,” and the stadium was showing large bands of empty seats—and that was all topped by the op-ed headline in the Michigan Daily: “Brady Hoke Must Be Fired.”
[After THE JUMP: nothing good happens in a 17 hour meeting]
Hello. I badgered John Bacon for an advance copy of his new book BRANDON'S LASTING LESSONS , and John said to me "that is not the title of the book," and I said back to him "yes it is," to which he said "no it is not," and so forth and so on.
Several hours later he agreed to provide me one if I would, just once, say that the book's title is in fact "Endzone: The Rise, Fall, and Return of Michigan Football." The previous sentence has discharged that obligation.
Anyway, I tore through BRANDON'S LASTING LESSONS in a couple days. Bacon asked me what he should cut, and I said nothing, and then he said seriously, and I told him to restore various things that had already been cut. I am extremely unhelpful.
I asked Bacon if we could run an excerpt. He said yes, but we had to wait for the people who pay money to have their window of exclusivity. I said well what else can we run, then, and we settled on a Gimmicky Top Five list of book revelations. This is that list. Bacon's got the text between the dashes.
1. Dave Brandon was highly controversial as an AD candidate.
Michigan had the luxury of choosing among three candidates who were experienced, successful Division I athletic directors with deep ties to Michigan. But President Coleman asked the committee to interview a fourth, less conventional candidate: Dave Brandon.
Because Coleman made it clear she wanted Brandon to be the next AD, one Regent asked why she didn’t just appoint him, but she insisted on having a search committee. The committee had trouble deciding who the most qualified candidate was, but not the least: Dave Brandon. More than one member of the search committee told more than one Regent that Brandon was the least impressive candidate on the list. Despite pushing back several times, the committee members finally acquiesced to Coleman’s wishes and picked Dave Brandon.
2. The 2011 pursuit of Jim Harbaugh was half-hearted at best.
Among insiders, it’s debated even now if Brandon really wanted Harbaugh to become Michigan’s next head coach in 2011. “I do believe Dave wanted Harbaugh,” one member of Brandon’s leadership team told me, “but he wanted Jim on his terms.”
Brandon waited six weeks after the Ohio State game to fire Rich Rodriguez, even though it would have benefitted almost everyone to make the decision sooner; he rarely contacted Harbaugh, and declined to visit Harbaugh in person—sending not Michigan’s highly paid search consultant Jed Hughes, either, but Hughes’s subordinate, a young man named Philip Murphy.
After Harbaugh signed with the 49ers, his friend Todd Anson asked Harbaugh if he really had been interested in the Michigan job. Harbaugh paused, then replied, “ I just wasn’t feelin’ the love.”
Hackett and others would take the opposite approach in 2014, to bring Michigan’s prodigal son home.
3. Will Hagerup and various other student athletes will vouch for Brandon forever.
Endzone starts following punter Will Hagerup from his official visit, when he decided minutes before driving back to Wisconsin to go back to Schembechler Hall and commit to Michigan. “I wanted to be there so badly, that I knew I was never going to leave.” He proved it by refusing to transfer even after three violations of the team’s drug test, which entailed working a brutal summer job in a steel mill to help pay for a semester of school himself. He straightened himself out, and persuaded Brandon to give him a fourth chance.
At the 2014 Bust, he told the audience, “I want to thank Dave Brandon, a guy who has my lifelong respect and allegiance. He stuck his neck out for me multiple times and believed in me.”
A majority of the football players and other student athletes supported Brandon, too, right to the end, not to mention top coaches like Red Berenson, Carol Hutchins and Bev Plocki.
4. The student government leadership drove circles around Hunter Lochmann.
One day after they won the election in 2013, student government leaders Michael Proppe and Bobby Dishell started taking on the department’s General Admission seating policy for students. They put their education in statistics and public policy to good use, while pulling endless all-nighters, to prove empirically that General Admission was not only deeply unpopular, it didn’t achieve Brandon’s stated goals of getting students to the games, and on time. In fact, their surveys and analysis were more thorough and incisive than anyone else’s – including the department’s – and they handled themselves with more professional aplomb than most of the department officials in this story.
“Look, I don’t know how to say this without sounding like a jerk,” Proppe told me, “but Hunter [Lochmann] and his group were not as sophisticated as we were about analyzing data. When I looked at this data for ten minutes on an Excel spreadsheet, I could figure out what the data really meant.”
During two dramatic public meetings, the idealistic duo convinced the faculty and Regents their conclusions had far more merit than the department’s, which cost Brandon crucial support.
5. Brandon sowed the seeds of his own destruction from day one.
Over his four-year tenure, Brandon removed the safeguards protecting Michigan from a public relations disaster, one by one—usually by letting experience staffers go, from equipment managers to sports information directors—until Michigan was finally exposed during the 2014 Minnesota game. ENDZONE explains what really happened before, during and after the hit on Shane Morris – including a marathon meeting that stretched from 8 a.m. Monday to 1 a.m. Tuesday. The outcome created a national embarrassment – one that was far more a PR problem than a medical one.
About twelve hours into the meeting, they called in former sports information director Dave Ablauf to the room. “I will not forget his answer,” one person in the meeting told me. “ ‘At this point, it doesn’t matter. You guys put a coach out there at noon, and you told him to keep telling them you were going to have a statement from Michigan officials as soon as he was done. That was seven hours ago.
“’We’re going to get roasted on this. But given all that, you might as well tell the truth. Not that it will help much.’”
Bacon says that "[BRANDON'S LASTING LESSONS] tells the story of how the University of Michigan’s fundamental values were tested during the Brandon Era, and how the students, lettermen, alumni and campus leaders started a grass-roots effort to restore them – and succeeded, against long odds." That's true. After 300 pages of facepalm the last bits of the book are actually quite inspiring, as the Michigan community comes together and vows not to screw it up this time.
BONUS: Bacon has events coming up:
August 29th, Chicago, 12 PM: Bacon talks Endzone and takes questions at the Diag Bar & Grill.
Following Bacon's appearance a panel of lettermen will do a Q&A.
September 1st, Ann Arbor, 7 PM: Bacon has as presentation and Q&A at Rackham auditorium on Michigan's campus.
He's also got a half-dozen dates set up through the fall around the midwest. Someone's let him into a cathedral for one of them.
I'll be at the Rackham one as a spectator. Say hi.
[EDIT: The lettermen panel is taking place on August 27th at Rockit Bar in Chicago. The book event at the Diag Bar & Grill is set for August 29th.]
HTTV on Kindle! We have a Kindle edition of the book. We had to drop a lot of the pictures and formatting because of Kindle restrictions and we don't have to print it, so it's a bit cheaper than the book itself at $9.
If you are a Kickstarter backer who would like the Kindle version in addition to the DRM-free digital copy provided to all backers, please give us a little time to figure out how to give it to you. We'll send out an update when we've figured it out.
Books themselves are being lovingly folded right now and should start shipping soon. Because of the way this works there will be a sizeable spread in delivery times (they get mailed out in batches as they're finished), but we are going to hit our mid-July goal.
More Battle. Apparently this is serious:
Would be more surprised if Tyus Battle doesn't commit to Syracuse by weekend's end than if he does commit.
— Jerry Meyer (@jerrymeyer247) June 19, 2015
It is difficult to imagine that Syracuse is suddenly the choice since they have a coach who's already announced he's retiring and are stung by NCAA sanctions, but that's basketball recruiting for you. If Battle does indeed defect and this head-fake costs Michigan Josh Langford I'm going to be pretty pretty annoyed.
Sounds like work. Kirk Ferentz is the first—only?—Big Ten coach to come out against satellite camps.
“What it really gets down to is just how you want to use your time. Me personally, I’m hopeful — and the NCAA will probably react — my personal preference is I’d like to see camps probably be limited to campus. On top of that, I would support not allowing any outsiders coming to work your camp.”
Iowa has actually done two or three of them already, but…
"We did three this year, and I don’t think we made the news for any of them. We don’t really broadcast it."
The noise you are hearing is an Iowa fan snapping a pencil with his mind.
Cost of attendance calculations. The NCAA's "Power 5" conferences adopted legislation to extend scholarship benefits to cover the full cost of attendance. What does that mean? There is a number that schools maintain called "cost of attendance" that has nothing to do with sports. It's for calculating financial aid, that sort of thing. Now that it's been dragged into a realm it doesn't really belong, people are noticing that the numbers vary a lot—and not very sensibly. Massive rent areas like Palo Alto or Ann Arbor often have nearby universities with low COA numbers; meanwhile Auburn has one of the highest numbers in the country.
How did they come to that conclusion? A lengthy Montgomery Advertiser article explains why. It has essentially been indexed to inflation from a large number determined a long time ago:
Reynolds, who has worked for Auburn for 16 years, said he inherited a cost of attendance figure when he began working for the university and has routinely increased the tuition, board, and personal figures in accordance with the Consumer Price Index, as calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with transportation being increased in accordance with the CPI inflation rate, and room being the average cost of all available on-campus housing, currently 4,539 beds.
"This is a financial aid budget," he said. "This isn't an athletic scholarship budget."
The $5,586 in Auburn's cost of attendance is divided into $2,728 for personal expenses and $2,858 for transportation, according to the budget Reynolds provided to theAdvertiser, and remains unchanged from a year ago.
At some point the Power 5 is going to have to come together and figure this out, because there's no way they're going to let a four-year gap of up to ten thousand dollars stand.
A nation of Joe Tillers. Back in the day, (probably) Joe Tiller used to bomb his colleagues behind their backs in entertainingly catty anonymous Athlon articles. It hasn't been the same since he retired to wherever walruses fade away, but the re-emergence of Jim Harbaugh in college has revitalized the genre. ESPN's Travis Haney interviewed a dozen or so coaches, offering anonymity in exchange for salt($). He got some. Bret Bielema asked to be identified and said Harbaugh was rad:
“I have had great respect for Coach Harbaugh for what he built at Stanford and as a man who isn’t afraid to speak his mind,” said Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, who specifically asked to be identified on the record. “Too many people in today’s world love to voice opinions and beliefs when convenient. Few represent who they are and what they believe daily.”
And… I developed respect for Bret Bielema? Odd day.
Others did not think Harbaugh was rad:
“I think he’s nuts. He loves to stir the pot. He’ll have a very short shelf life – but he’s a very good football guy. I will be interested to see how he does there,” a Pac-12 coach said. “[Former 49ers and current Bills offensive coordinator] Greg Roman has always been the brains behind the operation. [Harbaugh] has been at private schools before so I’m interested to see how he does at a public school. There’s a huge difference in how things are handled.”
Greg Roman, Brains Behind The Operation. No offense to Greg Roman but all you have to do to dispel that is look at Harbaugh's coaching tree, which is already more impressive than most.
Others refer to Harbaugh as "Rain Man-ish," which… okay, accurate. Whole thing is insider but worth it.
Speaking of Rain Man-ish. Former 49ers tight end Delanie Walker:
"He dressed up in full gear and practiced the whole practice – pads, helmets, everything on. He had the whole uniform on,'' Walker said of Harbaugh. "We came out and said, "Who is that dude out there? And it was Jim Harbaugh. He had some old high top cleats on.
"He did pretty good. He just couldn't throw the deep, deep pass."
Walker thinks Greg Roman is not the brains behind the operation:
"I think he is going to be great (at Michigan),'' Walker said. "People buy into his philosophy. Every team he has ever been on has been good, right? So you tell me what he is going to do. Young kids love to have a coach who is crazy."
Just like Domino's clap clap clapclapclap. The Michigan athletic department's annual budget shows a shortfall for the first time since Tom Goss was athletic director:
Michigan's athletic department had a deficit of nearly $8 million this year, marking the first time in about a decade it operated with a loss, according to interim athletic director Jim Hackett, but he assured the budget for 2016 will be balanced.
Since Goss was working without PSLs or the Big Ten Network, that is truly impressive. Hackett explained why there was such a big shortfall:
"The result of football ticket sales being down (and) added compensation for settlements this past year caused us to have a deficit of about $7.9 million. We covered that with operating reserves, but we've got a balanced budget proposed for next year."
Michigan had to give away almost 20,000 tickets for the Maryland game, then pay Brady Hoke after they fired him, then continue paying Brandon his 100% guaranteed contract, then gather up every nickel in a five-state radius to present to Jim Harbaugh. The first three are Dave Brandon's fault. The last is a pretty good idea:
"We can tell you today, season ticket sales, which are just a portion of the stadium, will probably hit an eight-year high. We just started selling our packets, with combined games (Wednesday) online, (and) we've had almost 18,000 tickets that were sold for some of the single games. We're very optimistic about our fall and what promises there."
Michigan should get out of paying much or all of what it owed Brandon, as well. That dude somehow scoring a CEO job that should pay him more than he was getting as AD means that Michigan won't have to compensate him unless he gets fired from that gig too.
He's worse! /checks coaching hires… He's not good! Chip Brown lays the wood to Texas athletic director Steve Patterson in a 5,000 word piece with startling revelations like:
Steve Hank, chief revenue officer of Texas athletics, told HornsDigest.com the 6 percent average increase (actually 5.7 percent, he said, but it was rounded up) was based on a formula that involved the value of each seat “spread across” the entire, 100,119-seat capacity of Royal-Memorial Stadium.
But when comparing exactly what football season ticket holders paid in 2014, including their contribution to the Longhorn Foundation to retain those tickets, to what they are paying in 2015, season tickets were increased an average of 21.5 percent.
Sources said football coach Charlie Strong, who saw his and his coaching staff’s personal ticket allotment cut from eight to four last year, fought to increase the salaries of his eight quality control coaches from $24,000 to $50,000 after last season.
Texas has the lowest salaries in the Big 12 for its quality control coaches – even behind last-place football finisher Kansas ($45,000).
Strong’s request was denied by Patterson, and six of Texas’ eight quality control coaches who had built relationships with the rest of the staff, left to find better paying jobs, the sources said.
But he did hire Charlie Strong and Shaka Smart. Despite being quite evidently an idiot. People in charge of things are just in charge of them.
Decent turnout in Indy [Mike Spath]
All the Harbaugh. We haven't had any, you know, games yet but so far the Harbaugh era has absolutely lived up to its promise.
CFB Twitter's hottest weekend topics: Fri.: Harbaugh shirtless Sat.: Harbaugh recruiting material Sun.: Harbaugh camp helps charity
— Jerry Hinnen (@JerryHinnen) June 8, 2015
As Ace has documented in cripplingly long recruiting roundups, the Summer Swarm tour is piquing the interest of dozens of high level recruits in this class and the next three. Michigan's nailed down a number of commitments already; there's a wave of guys naming Michigan their leader and/or plugged in gents making Crystal Ball predictions for Michigan.
While it's been a lot of under the radar types to date, 1) Harbaugh's first two recruiting classes at Stanford were generic three stars and Andrew Luck and 2) the wave of guys Michigan is thought to lead for has a lot of big timers in it.
Doesn't that mean… yes, it does. Michigan currently has 14 or 15 spots in its recruiting class. There are a few guys who will have fifth year options but don't project to be contributors; that still leaves Michigan at around 18 spots for a class that it feels like will hit 25. There is going to be some attrition before February.
If a couple of these medical hardships that are poorly kept secrets finally get announced in the near future that number looks pretty reasonable; I don't think we're ever going to see the near zero attrition Michigan had under Brady Hoke. Harbaugh drives people too hard for that.
Headlines. The Montgomery Advertiser:
That's today, three days after Michigan's Alabama stop. The last time I took a screenshot of a media organization days after something happened it was Sports Illustrated bombing Michigan dang near a week after the Shane Morris incident. Harbaugh has changed the script a little bit here.
Eliminating satellite camps? That makes a recruit's life harder. It would make a kid like Jovan Swann, a big-time defensive tackle recruit from Center Grove High, drive almost 300 miles to attend the Michigan football camp in Ann Arbor. Swann, whose brother Mario is a defensive back at Indiana, is interested in the Wolverines. He has a scholarship offer from Michigan State (and Indiana and Iowa and more), but not from Michigan.
"As a parent, I decided I'm going to take (Jovan) to any school that he has an interest in," said his father, Mario Swann Sr. "I would have taken him to Michigan this summer, but now I don't have to."
And this is wrong? This is not wrong.
The spectacle of millionaires complaining about their vacation days is not winning over hearts and minds here. Harbaugh, shirtless, weird Jim Harbaugh, is.
That charity camp BTW. Details:
Harbaugh said he found somebody to follow on Sunday.
"I got a new one. I got Lauren Loose now. I'm going to follow her," Harbaugh said. "I'm going to follow her example. Fighter, courageous, happy, spiritual. She's got what I'm looking for. I'm going to follow her. Find somebody. Find somebody every day. You know who's doing right. Go be a good follower. Learn how to do that."
Loose is the daughter of former Lafayette defensive coordinator and current Army defensive coach John Loose. She is a pediatric brain tumor survivor and the one who the football camp is named for. The event raises funds for brain tumor research and cancer services through the Lauren's First and Goal Foundation.
Sunday's event raised $101,800 and the total for the year is $132,787.
Michigan is keeping this on the up-and-up—they're travelling with a compliance person to make sure they don't rack up minor violations—and they're doing a lot of good for the kids who come out, the causes they're helping out, and themselves. You'd have to be a sociopath to be against such a thing, but we are talking about football coaches.
Also. Detroit will get an extended version of the satellite camps:
Harbaugh, his Michigan coaching staff and the team's sophomore football players will work with the United States Marine Corps to "teach life skills, football, language arts and STEM-based curriculum" to 100 Detroit-area boys from grades 6-8 from July 6-18.
Former NFL player Riki Ellison founded the program nine years ago, and runs similar efforts at Stanford, Northwestern and West Point. He'll assist Michigan with its own version of the program.
People were concerned when Michigan canceled its fantasy camps. They've more than made up for that karmic loss.
There will be no apology. You know me: I approve of anything short of a stabbing that makes a college football game spicier. Harbaugh is amping up damn near everybody, whether it's Saban in Alabama or a bit closer to home:
OSU's WR coach took this about as well as perpetually aggrieved DJ Byrnes takes a harmless tweet from a teenager, throwing a twitter shit fit that has since been deleted. Michigan has not scheduled a contrite press conference in the aftermath. Hail Hackett.
Speaking of the man. Random old This Is Sportscenter commercial featuring Harbs:
"This Is Sportscenter" has been around forever.
Just a rando with a story. Take it with a grain of salt:
Source: midway thru 2014, York walked into meeting Harbaugh was holding w/ players, & Harbaugh told Jed that the meeting was for "men only"
— Kyle McLorg (@Kyle_McLorgBASG) June 8, 2015
This is probably not a good move if you would like to continue your employment no matter how accurate it may be. Again, just some rando with SOURCES on twitter.
UNC details. Local paper with some excerpts from internal UNC emails:
“Occasionally when we have a number of people with special issues we can put them together in a special section but we never ever put an athlete into a special section alone – just too many red flags and we have a little bit of academic credibility to try to uphold,” Crowder wrote back. “All of that being said, talk to me and we’ll see if there are any creative options.”
There are hundreds of these emails, many of them heavily redacted. It's clear that the athletic department specialized in keeping kids eligible with non-classes. If anything will rouse the sleeping bear that is NCAA enforcement, this is it.
I suppose. A dozen people sent this to me and more yelled at me on twitter about it, so yes there was an embarrassing fluff piece on Dave Brandon in the Detroit News. It reads more like a People profile of Eva Longoria—"the couple intends to experience daily life in the Big Apple", etc—than something written by a person with self-respect. It thus says everything you need to know about its author, Daniel Howes, without me chipping in.
Just one thing:
Brandon sounds like a man pleased to be back on the familiar ground of corporate America. There he'll be tackling marketing and operational challenges, building (or repairing) a brand buffeted by changing technology and changing consumer tastes. (All of which, by the way, applied at Michigan, as much as the die-hards refuse to acknowledge it.)
Brandon's most important single act as athletic director was hiring Brady Hoke, a man whose main qualification was having been an assistant at Michigan during the 90s. Hoke was dead set against the changing technology of college football; his hire was anything but "innovating the space." All other gestures towards modernity are frippery around a fusty core.
Anyone who still believes Brandon is some sort of visionary after years of ham-handed missteps followed by lies probably contributed to the $607 United Passions brought in at the box office this weekend. But someone's got to believe the Emperor's new clothes are amazing.
Etc.: Michigan MLB draft primer from user Raoul. Summer Swarm tweet recap. Northwestern's "#funbad" game of the year is so obvious you don't need to click through. "#funbad" is such a Northwestern concept, and I mean that affectionately.
Can you describe the incident from your point of view?
I was aware I was not aware of a situation that may or may not have developed near the Legos.
There was a small child in the aisle who was playing with a sample set of your newest product.
FunShards. Could you describe FunShards?
It's a agglomerated unit of lego fragments or "Fraggers™" deployed for maximum funization. Our current retail activation is just $19.99 for a FunPile™!
It sounds like this is just a pile of sharp plastic fragments.
Parents have always had to worry about whether their child will break their toys moments after they open them. Not at Toys R Us, where our motto is "we break the unbroken."
Does it bother you that that kind of motto is something that the Nazis definitely would have used if they had any MBAs?
Great question, Drew. Great question.
If we can get back to the incident. The child was in the aisle, playing with a sample of your jagged shards of plastic…
"Jaggies™" were given an award by the Underwriters Laboratory.
I thought they were Fraggers?
Oh no, Fraggers are totally different. Fraggers are agglomerated units of lego fragments.
What was this award for?
It was in fact for "Least Good Idea Ever."
That doesn't seem to be a question.
The child was in the aisle, playing with some Jaggies, when your new mascot appeared and… let me just get the police report out… "unrolled his three-foot-long, pestilential tongue while its pus-filled eyes popped out of its sockets."
ScareBear™ is a revolutionary innovation in the mascot field.
The child naturally bolted, except he was standing on bits of broken lego. He fell to the ground. When he got back up he was… "bleeding profusely and covered in plastic shrapnel," says this uncommonly evocative police report. What was your reaction to this sight?
He seemed fine.
He passed out in a pile of plastic and his own vomit.
I guess we'll get the backup kid out here.
This police report says you told them the kid was completely uninjured and totally fine.
In my experience over the last four years, most children are covered in shards of lego, bleeding, and unconscious.
Do you remember anything before the last four years?
Please… please kill me.
It's all in the statement.
You seemed to have a moment of lucidity in which you asked us to murder you.
It's all in the statement.
We haven't received a statement.
Just use the one from the last time this happened.
We haven't received that one either.
JUST USE ANY OF THEM FROM ANY OF THE INCIDENTS THAT HAVE HAPPENED IN THE PAST
IS THIS HELL WHAT DID I DO I JUST SIGNED UP FOR A CRAPPY MINIMUM WAGE JOB AND NOW EVERY DAY IS BLEEDING VOMIT CHILD FOLLOWED BY BLEEDING VOMIT CHILD PRESS CONFERENCE
I MUST BE IN HELL THIS IS WHY I CAN'T DIE NO MATTER HOW HARD I TRY
On the bright side, at least you've been immortalized in Toys R Us's latest product?
Drew. Drew, come here. Drew, you've called me a Nazi at a bleeding vomit child press conference every day for the last four years. Drew, I am a Nazi. I do not have any arms or opposable hooves or anything with which I can self-harm. Drew, I need you to strangle me to death. We've been through so much together.
Don't tell him. Drew, don't tell him.
Don't tell me what?
Geoffery, I strangled you to death yesterday. And the day before. And the day before that.
So this is hell.
This is hell.
I discover this every day.
You discover this every day.
Who could have devised such a diabolical punishment for a simple giraffe who only wanted to eat acacia trees?
He goes by many names.