I ruined ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ in ’Trombone Champ,’ the best video game


As someone who buys an awful lot of video games — way more than I could ever play — it’s not often that I’m confident I’ll be getting my money’s worth after just five minutes with one. Enter Trombone Champ, the “world’s first trombone-based rhythm music game.”

Released on Sept. 15, Trombone Champ allows you to “Honk, blow, & toot your way through over 20 songs,” and boy does it deliver. I’ve only played the one song thus far, but the sheer beauty in its composition is enough to convince me that this one’s a keeper.

Seriously, just listen to my toots. I tooted the heck outta Take Me Out to the Ball Game, earning a ‘B’ rating on my first try. Try to beat it if you can, but I’m not easily out-tooted, friend.

A big thanks to the folks at PC Gamer for alerting the Internet at large to this gem of a game, as well as its potential as an obvious Game of the Year contender. The mangled (read: beautiful, dulcet) tones from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is what made this an instant buy for me and, if you’ve got $15 and a PC with which to play games on, should for you as well.

Fortunately, from a brief glance at the opening cutscene (yes, a cutscene), this game’s got more going for it than “haha funny horn go toot,” though it does, for certain, go toot. The Steam page promises collectibles and some overarching lore in which you will “uncover the mysteries of the Trombiverse.”

I can’t wait. I’ve got some more honking and tooting to do.

The Maple Leafs are sponsored by MILK. What if other teams had generic sponsors?

We need more generic sponsors?

The clammy hands of capitalism know no bounds, and we’re all getting used to a world where our favorite jerseys are sullied by brands. Some of these are really dumb, with the Harley Davidson Bucks only being beaten out by the Sacramento Kings and Blue Diamond Almonds for the worst patch in the NBA.

Now there’s a new challenger coming from the NHL, and my goodness is it special.

MILK! Not just milk, but milk written in script because this is some high-level artisanal milk, probably sourced from a moose or something. Okay, that’s a lie — this isn’t an ad for Canadian moose milk, but rather Ontario Dairy, and the patch spreads the good word that mammalian teat fluid is still the best drink in the world.

This got us all thinking: What other basic state exploits should be celebrated in jersey patch form? This is the future we all have to accept, and a basic word like MILK is still far superior to a brand with no connection to the state.

Here are our suggestions for the best evocative item for each sports teams

New York Knicks, Yankees, Mets, and the Brooklyn Nets — PIZZA

I believe in bringing all of New York City’s incredible boroughs together in celebration of not just a food, but a lifestyle. PIZZA belongs not just to one chain or joint, but everyone — and this communal celebration of saucified cheese bread typifies New York.

It’s an identifiable mark, it’s a vibe, and makes a strong statement to plant the city’s flag in the ground and say “We are PIZZA, all of us. Mess with one of us, and feel the wrath of all of us.”

Who doesn’t want to root for pizza? It’s pizza. I might not particularly like the Knicks, but dammit I like pizza — so I’ll cheer for the Knicks. At this point they need all the fans they can get.

— James Dator

Miami Dolphins, Heat, and Florida Panthers — Cocaine

According to Newsweek, this literally happened last month:

Do I really need to say more? When you think of Miami, you think of cocaine and cafecito (and honestly cocaine might be in the cafecito because that stuff is addicting). They even had the Miami Dolphins offensive line coach snorting cocaine before meetings! If that isn’t the most Miami thing ever, I’m really not sure what is.

— JP Acosta

Denver Nuggets — Weed

In 2012, Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize cannabis for recreational use. The SuperSonics left Seattle in 2008, so that makes the Nuggets a natural partner for Big Weed. Even beyond cannabis being a multi-billion dollar business in the state, we’re talking about a team that is literally called the Nuggets. This franchise has been a natural fit for stoners all along.

Have you ever seen Nikola Jokic thread ridiculous passes …. on weed? With all apologies to Denver’s current jersey sponsor, Western Union, there’s no better fit for a big nug jersey patch than with the Nuggets.

— Ricky O’Donnell

Baltimore Ravens and Orioles — Crab

Crabcakes and football. That’s what Maryland does.

It is more than a line from a movie, it is a way of life.

Head to an Orioles game at Camden Yards, and you can find no shortage of offerings featuring the Maryland staple. You can stop at Jimmy’s Seafood and sample their Crab Cake Egg Rolls, which feature “the restaurant’s iconic crab cakes in egg roll form with a cream cheese blend, mango ponzu, and spicy mayo.” You can try the Crab Dip Pretzel, which is a soft-baked pretzel with crab dip, Monterey Jack cheese and of course, Old Bay seasoning. Stuggy’s offers their Crab Mac N Cheese Dog, and if you’re looking for something different, you can find an Old Bay-infused sausage topped with crab meat at the Wild Pitch Sausage location, near Section 45.

It does seem like this one is a bit of a layup.

— Mark Schofield

Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Rays — Piracy

There’s really nothing super special about Tampa, but they got a lot of boats. Makes sense because there literally right next to the Gulf of Mexico, making them one of the boating capitals of the US. You can go fishing, you can have Super Bowl celebrations on the river like the Buccaneers did, or, in true pirate fashion, steal a million dollar yacht and abruptly leave it after ramming into some pilings.

I mean the entire city is pirate themed. The Buccaneers play in Raymond James stadium, which has a big ass pirate ship that shoots cannons after every touchdown, the city used to be home to the Gasparilla Bowl, which is also the name of the pirate festival that’s held in Tampa. Gasparilla is a mythical Spanish pirate who terrorized people in the Gulf of Mexico. Sounds like the Buccaneers defense to me.

— JP Acosta

Nebraska Cornhuskers – Corn

I mean it is right there in the name. This seems like an easy fit. Although did you know that Nebraska, known as the Cornhusker State, is not the largest producer of corn in the United States? In fact that title belongs to Iowa, followed by Illinois. Nebraska actually ranks third.

Hopefully that little fact comes in handy at your next trivia night.

Now if we can just do something about Lil’ Red.

NCAA Basketball: Idaho State at Nebraska
Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

— Mark Schofield

North Carolina — House Divided License Plates

I had a lot of ways I wanted to go with this one: Pulled pork, pimento cheese, tobacco — but in the end I had to do with what really defines this state in 2022. Those “House Divided” license plates are EVERYWHERE. Go to the Outer Banks and and count the number of people with UNC-Duke and UNC-NC State vanity plates and you’ll have enough to fill a parking lot.

The basic idea, as far as I can tell, is some weird flex like “our relationship is stronger than which sports team we like,” which is super odd. Of course, the HOUSE DIVIDED plate is almost always accompanied by the stick figure family on the rear window, and perhaps even the white oval “OBX” sticker that tells everyone where you vacation.

— James Dator

Dallas Cowboys, Mavericks, Texas Rangers, Stars, Wings — Cowboy

Kind of a layup here. Texas is the cowboy capital of the world, and the Professional Bull Riding championships are located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. When we think of Cowboys, we immediately think Texas, Dallas specifically. Now if only I could ride bulls through the city—that would be true cowboy behavior.

— JP Acosta

Atlanta Dream, Hawks, Falcons, Braves — Peaches

Could’ve gone a lot of different ways here, but I decided to play it safe and go with the peach. It’s Georgia’s state fruit, and it makes for some awesome desserts (shoutout to my grandma’s peach cobbler). It also made for the Hawks’ Peachtree jerseys, which go absolutely hard.

— JP Acosta

Seattle Storm, Mariners, Seahawks — Coffee

I went with coffee here instead of fish for a few reasons. They’re known as the coffee capital of the US and Starbucks is based in Seattle. However, the main reason I went with Coffee here is because too much of it gives you an insane rush where you act crazy and all Seattle sports are clinically insane and never normal. They always play like they’ve had way too much coffee and crash right at the end. So coffee works here far too well.

— JP Acosta