Retouching J-Lo and Junior
I'm floored. I'm devastated. I'm positively shocked and appalled.
What... don't tell me you haven't heard about it yet? Omigod!
It's scandalous and treacherous, underhanded and revoltingly dishonest. It'll force you to reconsider your own morals and values, to reexamine the unyielding lines you had confidently drawn between right and wrong so long ago. It'll leave you doubting that there's anybody left in this cold, conniving world that still merits your unquestioning trust.
Some people wonder where all our heroes have gone, but after learning this disgraceful bit of news, you'll likely question if we ever had any true heroes to begin with.
Are you sitting down? Okay, good. Now, take a deep breath... .
Jennifer Lopez had her appearance altered on the movie posters for her new romantic comedy, "Gigli."
Okay, so maybe that's not exactly earth-shattering news -- hell, it probably doesn't even qualify as earth-cracking news. Still, it's interesting nonetheless and, as you'll find out in a few minutes, it's also, in an ass-backwards kind of way, relevant to the sports world.
Now, we all know J-Lo has a rather prominent derrière. She doesn't just have, as they say, a little "junk in the trunk" -- girlfriend's got a whole damn junkyard back there. Well, reportedly Lopez wasn't happy with the way her infamous booty looked on the "Gigli" posters, so she asked that it be "downsized" a bit. But that's not all. Apparently J-Lo wasn't too thrilled with the portrayal of one of her other body parts, having her chest enlarged on the movie posters as well.
Not since the rumors of Julia Roberts having another woman's legs superimposed onto the "Pretty Woman" movie posters have I heard of such villainy.
According to the article I stumbled across in MSN's entertainment section the other day, one source said, "Columbia's marketing division airbrushed [Lopez's] butt to make it smaller and pumped up her chest," while another claimed, "Jennifer was unhappy with the photo and asked for it to be retouched."
Man, what if life were that easy? What if we could "retouch" the things we were unhappy with, minimizing our excesses and maximizing our inadequacies -- a couple minutes with the airbrush for the beer belly, a little touch-up to the old paycheck. Forget exercise and hard work -- we've got art!
Of course, professional athletes also have aspects of their lives they'd love to pump up or simply wipe away.
And no, I'm not just talking about Kobe Bryant.
Jim Kelly could touch-up his abysmal Super Bowl record. Jose Lima could make that 7-16 campaign in 2000 vanish. Charles Barkley could paint a championship ring onto one of his chubby fingers. The Red Sox could wipe the 1920 trade of a certain portly left-handed pitcher to the Yankees off the history books.
Kelly, Lima, Barkley and the Sox aren't alone -- there are hundreds of sports figures and teams that would jump at the opportunity to alter some stat, some performance or some moment in time, polish it up or scrub it completely from our memories.
Take, for instance, Cincinnati Reds outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. Yep, he's hurt...again. Ironically, just days before Junior lost the rest of this season with a ruptured tendon in his foot, I was golfing with some friends in the 'Nati and one of my buddies, a die-hard Reds fan, said that, despite Griff's recent surge (five homers in five games), he still thought the one-time hometown hero's days on the DL by season's end would outnumber his home run total. I told him he was crazy, that Junior finally looked healthy and ready to regain that smooth 40-homer stroke that made him a superstar in Seattle. Later that week following the announcement of the injury, I got an e-mail from my buddy with a subject line that read simply, "f*ck griffey" and a message, in all caps, conveying his... um... feelings toward the oft-injured slugger. But if Junior could airbrush over the devastating injuries that have bombarded him since his Cincinnati homecoming -- or, better yet, if he could paint over his decision to leave Seattle completely -- he'd likely still be well on his way to Hank Aaron's record and a first-ballot invite to Cooperstown.
Speaking of Reds outfielders, Adam Dunn would kill to have someone at Columbia's marketing division pump up his pathetic average a bit. Dude, it's July 25 and you're still hitting .204. Yeah, the 25 homers are great, but .204?
Of course, Philadelphia outfielder Pat Burrell apparently needs a chaperone to step over the.200 threshold. After hitting .282 with 37 homers and 116 RBI last season, the 26-year-old Burrell is hitting .198 with 13 homers, 38 RBI and a .307 slugging percentage. Did I mention that it's July 25? If Burrell got a hit in each of his next 30 at-bats, he'd still be sitting at .260. Forget Columbia's marketing division -- Picasso couldn't even make those numbers look respectable.
Somebody should also tell Shawn Green and Paul Konerko that it's nearly August. Combined, Green and Konerko hit .294 with 69 homers and 218 RBI last year. This season, how's .241 with 18 homers and 78 RBI sound? For a guy who hit four homers in one game and 12 in the month of June alone last year, Green's stat line of .264/11/50 is pitiful; Konerko, meanwhile, had 20 homers and 70 RBI at the break last season, but at least his 2003 line of .210/7/28 puts Dunn's and Burrell's production to shame.
How much would Rangers owner Tom Hicks pay those Columbia marketing geniuses to make the no-trade clause he gave to outfielder Juan Gonzalez simply disappear? Hicks would've had a couple more prospects in the minors and, more importantly, Juan Gone's mammoth salary off the books, but instead he's got a gimpy, grumpy, $13 million outfielder sitting on the DL yet again with a calf injury.
But if we're going to talk about gimps, we can't neglect former Texans offensive lineman Tony Boselli. Clearly, I'm using the term "former" very loosely since Boselli, Houston's first pick in the expansion draft last year, never protected franchise quarterback David Carr from a bee sting, much less a pass rush. Two bum shoulders prevented the 322-pound tackle from ever suiting up for the Texans, who selected Boselli from the Jaguars in 2002 despite the fact that he'd missed most of the 2001 campaign with the same shoulder problem that forced the eight-year veteran to retire. Forget the airbrush -- Houston management would love to smear a couple of coats of black paint over this mistake.
The Colts would be interested in borrowing that black paint when the Texans are done with it because they've got a humiliating playoff loss to the Jets that needs a little "alteration." Last year, in New York, January 4, Wild Card game, Jets/Colts. Final score: 41-0. Yikes.
In Atlanta, the Falcons are hoping to paint a little chemistry between quarterback Mike Vick and newcomer receiver Peerless Price. The Falcons made the playoffs last season with Vick leading the way, throwing for 2,936 yards and 16 touchdowns despite not having a single receiver register more than 56 receptions. In Price, who caught 94 passes for 1,252 yards and nine touchdowns with Buffalo last year, Vick now has a legitimate vertical threat and the Falcons, assuming their QB/WR tandem clicks, have legitimate Super Bowl aspirations.
Head coach Mike Martz, meanwhile, realizes his Rams won't see the Super Bowl again if Marshall Faulk isn't healthy. After playing just 14 games each of the past three seasons, the Rams would love to touch-up Faulk's health a bit in hopes of getting a full 16 games from him in 2003.
The Lakers are hoping to get a full 82 games out of Kobe Bryant next year. After signing Gary Payton and Karl Malone for relative pennies, the last thing the Lakers wanted to deal with was a sexual assault charge swirling around their brightest star. Marketing gurus can airbrush this one all they want -- and, believe me, the Lakers will have plenty of people slapping fresh coats of paint over this story on a daily basis -- but it ain't going away anytime soon.
Meanwhile, Kevin Garnett hopes his Timberwolves won't be going away from the playoffs with another first-round loss next season. After trading for, in separate deals, Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell and then signing free agent center Michael Olowokandi, the Wolves hope this new-look roster can end the franchise's abysmal seven-year run of first-round postseason losses.
There are so many more sports stories that could benefit from a little airbrush maintenance courtesy of Columbia's marketing division -- Phil Mickelson would give his sand wedge to anybody who could retouch his 0-45 Majors record, and would somebody please paint over all those horrendous XFL memories already -- but my space is limited.
Regrettably, history cannot be altered with the swoop of an airbrush. Broncos fans will never forget the name Brian Griese, as hard as they may try. The Trailblazers will never be able to cover up the fact that they selected Sam Bowie ahead of Michael Jordan in the 1984 draft. And Boston fans will forever remember Babe Ruth's name, even if the impossible happens and his curse on their franchise is finally lifted one day.
Then again, I suppose if those marketing guys with Columbia can make Jennifer Lopez's ass look small, anything's possible.
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