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Urkel, Ms. Torre and Johnny Football

Welcome to Hero, Nero, Zero, where we champion the triumphs, insanity and ineptitude of the sports world. Got a candidate for one of our life-altering labels? Email me at cdavidmartin@yahoo.com. This feature appears Mondays and Fridays.

HERO: Cristina Torre

Like you, I’ve spent decades of my life daydreaming about being a hero. If the occasion ever arises (arise, already!), I’ll be the quick-thinking hero who will use his thumb to plug the neck wound of a machete juggler. Or I’ll punch out Ben Affleck, take his job as the man who’ll save the world, and then tell Affleck to go back to Earth and sleep with my daughter. Or I’ll be walking in New York City, see a baby hanging from a fire escape, and catch it when it falls. That last scenario is what happened to Joe Torre’s daughter, Cristina.

Torre, 44, was reportedly having coffee at a shop when she and others noticed that a one-year-old baby had made its way onto a fire escape and was now dangling from the second floor. Had the kid stepped outside for a butt? Apparently not. 

The boy crawled through the window of a second-story apartment after pushing aside a piece of cardboard that blocked an opening beside the apartment's air conditioning unit.

The boy's parents were charged with child endangerment, and three other kids, aged 2, 3 and 5, were handed over to Child Protective Services.

Joe Torre released a statement that said, "I am very proud of my daughter Cristina's actions today during an incident in Brooklyn involving a small child. Fortunately for that child she was in the right place at the right time to lend a hand."

Unreal. She now has that memory to summon whenever it’s overcast. Lucky bugger. 

NERO: Urkel

Last season the Patriots had an excess of riches at the tight end position, with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez challenging defenses with their versatility. But Gronkowski has fulfilled some people’s pre-draft expectations and become a moron injury prone, while Hernandez is being sued for shooting a guy in the face and is also being questioned in a murder investigation. If you were down on the idea of taking a Patriots tight end in your upcoming fantasy draft, no one would blame you. Well, no one except actor Jaleel White, aka Urkel, who saw the recent developments with Gronkowski and Hernandez as a golden opportunity for the next tight end on the Patriots’ depth chart, Jake Ballard. 

Ballard, who spent last season on injured reserve with the Patriots, played for the Giants in 2011, amassing 603 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns on 38 receptions – good for 17th best among fantasy tight ends. Apparently he was a great bye-week pickup for Jaleel White, who tweeted at Ballard on Monday:

 

Ballard took kindly to the compliment and retweeted White’s message. Mike Garafolo, who covers the NFL for USA Today, was not going to stand idly by, and tweeted

 

As Garafolo soon learned, you don’t dismiss the fantasy musings of Jaleel White, who lashed back,

 

And just when we begged of Urkel, “No, please, not the top rope!” he went for the top rope and dropped an atomic elbow on Garafalo, tweeting

 

It’s a good bet that Mike Garafolo didn’t wake up that morning and consider the possibility that Steve Urkel would drop the cray cray on him on Twitter. Ahh, life and all its unexpected twists. Speaking of which, why’s no one tweeting at Tim Tebow about his newfound opportunity to be the Patriots’ starting tight end?

ZERO: Johnny Manziel

Can we talk for a minute about all the stupid, regrettable things that I did when I was in college? No, we can’t, because it’d take a helluva lot longer than a minute. Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, strung together an impressive string of stupid last weekend. First he went on Twitter and complained in code, writing that he couldn’t wait to get out of College Station and that people should walk a mile in his shoes to understand the kind of daily drama he encounters. To the legions of people who wait with baited breath to hear what a 20-year-old has to say on social media, such coyness was totally unacceptable. 

Luckily the truth has come out and we now know the reason Manziel was pissed: Not only was he ticketed for parking his car in the wrong direction, but he was cited for having windows that were too tinted. Sigh. There’s an old saying, Johnny Football: “Only commit one crime at a time,” e.g., don’t speed if the trunk of your car is full of cocaine.

Manziel will learn from this, have faith. 

Now, do we understand why Manziel has tinted windows? Yes, we do. He’s the most famous person in College Station and is probably tired of people staring at him everywhere he goes. But if you don’t want to draw attention to yourself, you probably shouldn’t walk down the street backwards, which is basically what Manziel did – albeit in a car that was parked. Whatever, he’s 20 and he’s probably more than a little spoiled by his success. Complaining about parking tickets doesn’t change my opinion of him at all. 

Cameron Martin has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, ESPN.com, Yahoo! Sports, and CBS Sports. Send your ideas to cdavidmartin@yahoo.com.

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