RIP Tony Soprano

James Gandolfini, the actor who portrayed mob boss Tony Soprano, died last week in Italy from a heart attack. The news to me, strangely, was terribly sad. I have certainly never had a reaction like that to someone I have never known or met dying. I have thought about it quite a bit trying to pin point the reason.

While thinking about it, I started re-watching The Sopranos, a show that honestly changed my life. Without out that show, I probably would not be where I am today…literally. During college, I had a lot of doubts about what I wanted to do and if the world of Television was a world I felt like joining and competing in. But when I saw the Sopranos (which wrapped up it’s last season while I was still in college) I knew that this was, indeed, what I wanted to do.

While rewatching the show for probably the 5th time in my life, I quickly discovered a key reason why I was so sad at James Gandolfini’s passing. There is a scene in the first episode where Big Pussy Bonpensiero explains to Christopher, after Christopher whacks a Polish guy named Emil, why the mob kills people and hides the body…it intimidates people without them actually knowing anything. Christopher asks Pussy what to do…and then check out this transcript:

Big Pussy: He disappears. He never comes home. They know, but they don’t know. They hope maybe he will turn up…if…

I think this whole scene all of a sudden creates a whole different meaning to the ending of the show. Remember, the show had a pretty controversial and surprising ending. It just sorta, well, ends. Cut to black. Keep the line that Pussy says in mind when you watch this clip, the last one of the Sopranos:

I always had hoped maybe they could bring this show back in movie form or something. That last episode, telling us not to stop believing over and over while sending us mixed signals. Is Tony dead? Did he die? Were the cameras just turned off and that was the last we got to see into his life?? What happened?!

The show left us in such a weird spot. We, like the people waiting for Emil to come home, know, but we don’t know. We think maybe he will turn up, if…And as long as James Gandolfini was alive, there were always rumors and possibilities. However, now that he is confirmed dead, so is the character of Tony Soprano. And that, is why I am so saddened.

So, rest in peace big guy…enjoy all the gabagool you can up there in the Bing.


In Honor of James Gandolfini: The Toughest Guys In Sports

by Tommy Gimler of The Daily Upper Decker

I’m not Italian, I’m not in the mob, and I’m not a hard ass. But when James Gandolfini died from an apparent heart attack in Italy on Wednesday, I feel like a part of me died as well.

For six seasons Gandolfini played Tony Soprano, perhaps the toughest guy to ever grace the small screen. Yet what made him just as memorable was how he had to deal with problems outside of the family business that most of us can relate to. You know, like an uncle with dementia, fantasies about your therapist, and a wife who won’t let you bet on the fucking Jets.

So, to honor Gandolfini, The DUD has come up with this short list of the closest things the sports world has to Tony Soprano:

James Harrison – LB, Cincinnati Bengals

How tough is James Harrison? After Roger Goodell fined him over $200,000 in 2010 and 2011 for numerous vicious hits that knocked out a few receivers and quarterbacks, he informed the entire league that he was going to be tackling low from there on out. But even that couldn’t keep him from injuring opposing players, as the destroyed Eric Decker’s knee in a playoff loss to Jesus Christ and the Denver Broncos…

Dustin Pedroia – 2B, Boston Red Sox

After breaking his foot in 2010, Dustin Pedroia refused to just sit and let it heal. According to his Wikipedia page, he was so concerned about his fielding skills diminishing, that he would practice taking ground balls from his knees. Last year, he told turd manager Bobby Valentine through the media to go fuck himself. This season, Pedroia completely tore his UCL ligament in his thumb on Opening Day, yet he has played in every game except one. Even with the injury, Pedroia is hitting .312 with an OPB of .396, 4 home runs, 40 RBI, 46 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases…

Kobe Bryant – SG, Los Angeles Lakers

According to a 2011-12 survey of NBA general managers, just over 32% of them said the toughest player in the NBA was Kobe Bryant. We wouldn’t know because we don’t watch fixed sports. But when the next highest player on the list was Rajon Rondo at just 10.7%, we’ll take their word for it. All we know is that it sure as shit isn’t Andrew Bogut…

Zdeno Chara – D, Boston Bruins

Look at the size of this fucking guy. The Hockey News and Yahoo! Sports named Zdeno Chara the toughest player in the NHL last month even though at that time he had only been in 54 fights in 1,055 career games, including one in which he broke an opposing player’s jaw. But when you’re 6-foot-9 and 255 pounds, you don’t have to fight to get you’re point across. Especially when every player in the league has seen video of you do this:

RIP, James…


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