Father Knickerbocker Knows Best: To new seasons, twenty toasts too many!

Father Knickerbocker Knows Best: To new seasons, twenty toasts too many!

Originally in “The Old Post”, October the 10th of 1803.

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 9.18.38 AMEditor’s Note: The following transcript has been stitched together based on a stack of mostly indecipherable notes found strewn beside our humble correspondent as he lay asleep along Canal Street, hare fully swallowed and besotted by gin, the product, we suspect, of wanton excitement at the commencement of the new basket ball season. The dispatch begins in a manner cogent and coherent, but falls asunder quite apace.

To our readers, who would require an in-kind barrel to translate the good Father’s original intents, we offer our most sympathetic apologies, and assure you that he, being bed ridden but mending since, will return post haste to proper form.

To life! To joy! To that magnificent clock master cast upon the heavens, who has dispatched in three short weeks half of the Irish mongrels by way of clever cholera! We have endured yet another summer of basket ball purgatory, of the contents of chamber pots filling the streets and bequeathing their own systems of weather, of fortnightly Chinese opium shipments which turn Sundays morning into Golgotha after The Return, of endless chattering on base ball, that irretrievably boorish and boring game of tobacco indulgence, strange upper lip facial hair, and wares best reserved for winter kindling.

From the glass hewn offerings of a trusted Dutch comrade, who distills fine spirits by way of both honest yeoman’s study and spices pilfered from Haitians, a Toast! And I, in my finest roast meat clothes, do not hesitate to accept! Our first contest, with those ancient Northern rivals so unfortunately named for that degenerate tuber sucking race of penniless Papists, only on the surface appeared of little consequence, being as it was three full weeks ahead of officially sanctioned play. For enemies are enemies, be they met on the pitch, along a Cathedral’s aisle, or in an alms queue, lacking all their limbs. Mercy — pshaw! Leave it to the nuns and nannies!

Another toast! This to a contest promptly started at half past seven, with both squads joined in play of a virile variety uncommon within October’s typically amateurish offerings. Crispus De Anthony, that sturdy stalwart of the Caribbean, cut a picture of preparedness and deft devotion. A toast to that!

Emmanuel Shumpert, he of the [Pythagorean?] hair, commandeered a marksmen’s countenance, stroking his jump shots in a manner decisive and minus a young soldier’s nerves. A chip about his [shoulder?], secured by the prospects of Earl Smith prospective race for starter’s status, serves the younger well! Another toast!

Thaddeus Chandler! Lately the unflattering subject of renderings which have made him look herring gutted, his legs unsturdy [switches?]! His movements unfurl strong and true. A toast to form’s return! A toast to [INDECIPHERABLE]!

A quick letting loose of water, and this [humble?] scribe has [returned?]. But not with joy! [Bargnani?], that [INDECIPHERABLE] bag of [INDECIPHERABLE]! That oil haired Beau Nasty! How he stumbles about, a blundering bull [calf?] to slaughter! For certain [syphilis?] has afflicted his brain, the result no doubt of dalliances with Drury Lane vestals! Another swizzle of gin, this one to that oversized [Roman’s?] imminent departure aboard the first God permit out of town!

[Timothy Hardaway?]! Lo, for this supposed sage has [sinned?] in saddling the wrong horse, and decrying your selection in the [draft?] as dirty [nepotism?]! For yours is a shot staid and pure! The basket ball [equivalent?] of a harpist’s song heaven sent to Saturday drawing rooms! Yours in a spot secure, and I for one [shall?] bring my ass to anchor as penance!

To Ronald Artest, that strange [mystic?] and curious character, no longer a paper skull, a double toast! May your counsel aim as true as your [jumpshot?], which you deploy absent an actual [jump?]!

A toast to the second [half’s?] beginning! Bung our eyes let [us?]! Let us ride! Ride as if we were fetching the [midwife?]!


Having imbibed beyond my share, I have returned from casting my considerable, [junipered?] accounts upon the German [sausage?] vendor, including that poor man’s [INDECIPHERABLE] and am [embarrassed?] at my present station. To stave off two days sleep – a toast!

Do my [bespectacled?] eyes deceive me! A lead of 23 points! A toast to [INDECIPHERABLE]! Accuse me of hyperbole! These [men?] are destined for championship gold!

Curses! For I have fallen asleep in the arena [stands?], and awake [INDECIPHERABLE] to see all manner of women and children cleared a full dozen rows from my [presence?]! There is [blood?] about my cheek, and I may have [soiled?] myself! Further, I fear having reached for a Piper’s wife, and received the brunt of her bejeweled [gypsy?] fist! Worse still! Those loutish [leprechauns?], those Papist [Paddy-whacks?] have rekindled last spring’s night terrors! The lead has been [whittled?] to nine! And now five! [INDECIPHERABLE] [INDECIPHERABLE] [INDECIPHERABLE]



Thomas [Jefferson?], that infernal [agrarian?]! The whole of our [nation’s?] mint FOR NAPOLEON’S SWAMPS!


— F.N.

Jim Cavan

Beyond his KnickerBlogger roots, Jim's work has appeared at ESPN.com, Grantland, The Classical, and the New York Times. He is currently working on a biography of Robert Silverman, entitled "Clownin' and Astoundin.'" Follow him on Twitter @JPCavan.

4 thoughts to “Father Knickerbocker Knows Best: To new seasons, twenty toasts too many!”

  1. The second half of the article is probably what the transcript for my Friday evening is going to like. I’ll compare notes tomorrow morning.

  2. Enjoy, dtricky, and pity me as I plunge headlong into a Friday of merciless sobriety.

    The ancient northern rivals are really almost too degenerate at this point, aren’t they? Even Rondo’s return and fancy coaching won’t bring them back to relevance, I think. They’re just really bad. So bad that I can’t bring myself to care about the C’s now one way or the other. And they’ll probably stay that way for years – Wiggins or no. Frankly, their radical evisceration would be disconcerting if the Nyets weren’t so suitable a substitute for my displaced animus. And I suppose that in hating the Nyets I can also be contented in knowing that I’m simultaneously hating the Cs by proxy – since PP and KG are just NINOs. It’s actually a 2-for-1 deal – a more efficient form of enmity. I should be grateful. I am.

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