Sports Guy

Don't Suck; Quaff

The Yankees are coming, the Yankees are coming, and it's sure to be d骠 vu all over again. I can see the scene unfolding already: the same lackluster hitting from Boonie and the O, the same terrible pitching from the Rhodesie and the hometown pen. The Mariners will be lucky to walk away with one out of three, and with a similarly pathetic and passive showing from somnolent Seattle fans, even that might be a stretch. I also can foresee the scene outside the park: Though the team hasn't issued an official policy on "suck" T-shirts, I'm sure the censors are ready to work their magic and that nobody—I mean nobody—will get in wearing such crude things this time around.

I know, I know—unless you're Martha Stewart or you grew up in a Protestant prison, "suck" isn't exactly crude. Webster's defines it as the act of "drawing into the mouth by the action of the lips and tongue; drawing or imbibing by suction," and it certainly wasn't one of the words in the Federal Communications Commission's famous Seven Dirty Words case against comedian George Carlin. What's more, as all you grammarians pointed out last time, the word isn't even used correctly on those stupid "Yankees Suck" T-shirts—the verb "to suck" is transitive, which means you can't just "suck," but that you have to suck something, such as crab legs, cheese cubes, or Slurpees.

A rule, however, is a rule. Since few of you in this town have enough balls to challenge this fascist doctrine head-on, in order to watch the M's get their butts whupped this weekend, you'll either have to take off the $10 tee or improvise. According to Roget's Thesaurus, there is a bevy of G-rated synonyms for "suck," from the unimaginative "inhale" to the more colorful "quaff," which means, "to drink a liquid heartily." A Seattle police officer who nearly threw me out of the Sunday game in April told me other acceptable alternatives include "stinks," "blows," and "naughty." You could try "suck" in Spanish, in which the verb is chapuzar. Then, of course, there are the offerings in Wicked Words: A Treasury of Curses, Insults, Put-Downs, and Other Formerly Unprintable Terms from Anglo-Saxon Times to the Present (Crown Publishers, 1989), which include my personal favorites—to fellate, to cunnilingue, or "to practice a certain form of sexual irregularity."

So get creative, Seattle. I can see it now—outfield fences plastered with signs that read: "Giambi Quaffs!" and "Clemens Cunnilingues!" Technically, so long as they don't contain the word "suck," these sentiments are just as acceptable as "Two Out? So What!" and "SoDo Mojo." Even a banner that says "El Duque Chapuza!" might get past security. And as my friend on the SPD made clear, you're always safe with the standard, "Bernie Blows."

I, for one, will be testing the policy in the center field bleachers with my infamous "Mariners Management Sucks" T-shirt, under which I'll be wearing my "Bin Laden Sucks" tee. I'm expecting someone to confiscate the first one, but if Howard Lincoln and his goons have a problem with the shirt underneath, they need to have their heads examined. Considering these are the same guys who have failed to land an impact player at the trading deadline for three consecutive years, perhaps I should prepare for the worst. I've already ordered my "Bin Laden Fellates" shirt . . . size extra large.

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