On Duane Kuiper, Mean Joe Greene and The Power Of Heroes
I'm a big fan of Joe Posnanski (even if I find it hard to remember how to spell his name). His blog is updated regularly, a hard feat when you acknowledge he's not only a columnist for Sports Illustrated but has a book out (The Machine, available at Alibris!)
Today's article is about the Mean Joe Greene commercial, why it was successful, and it ends with a really nice suprise that reminds you that there are truly good guys in sport and why it's still fun to be a fan even after you "grow up."
And that’s why the Mean Joe Greene commercial — with all its obvious flaws — captures. You can sense (perhaps not through the performance but you can still sense) that this kid idolizes Mean Joe. And Mean Joe — heck, he was called MEAN JOE — doesn’t have any time for the kid. Mean Joe is in pain, and he’s feeling sorry for himself, and he really needs to get back to the locker room to get X-rays (and why are there no trainers around him anyway?). The kid gives him a Coca Cola, and suddenly it hits Mean Joe (through the power of carbonation) that this kid REALLY likes him, this kid looks up to him, this kid has his poster on the bedroom wall and pretends to be Joe Greene on the school playground and is willing to trade 20 Roger Staubach football cards to get one Mean Joe Greene.
And he tosses the jersey across the tunnel. Here you go, kid. This will mean as much to you as it does to me.
What does all this have to do with the greatest thing ever? Well, you knew I would make you work to get here. If you’ve read this site much you know who my all-time hero is — bigger even than Ozzie Newsome. When I was a kid, I only wanted to be like Duane Kuiper. I was a second baseman, like Duane Kuiper. I would dive for ground balls because Duane Kuiper did.
Oh, I'm not going to reveal the whole thing here, fool. Go read it yourself. And, way to go, Duane.