I would like to apologize.

I would like to apologize to everyone out there: the readers, the athletes, the fans. I think that we all owe you an apology.

And who are we? Well, “we” are the sports writers of America. “We” are the guys who get front-row seats to all of the games, free drinks at all of the games, and then get to chill on the team jet as they hop from L.A. to Oak-Town. “We” are the phat, (sorry, I mean fat) balding men who get to do what every man in this country without forty-inch hops or a rocket arm dreams about – make a living off of sports.

So just why are “we” apologizing? Why do “we” feel as if you have been wronged? I guess it really comes down to two reasons. One, your job sucks more than ours. And two, you will never ever ever ever get to see Shaquille O’Neal in the locker room in all of his Shaqness; that is something that everyone should get to see at least once.

But let’s just get one thing straight before I continue: Life ain’t exactly roses around here either. Sure we get to rub elbows with everyone from Pete Rose to Michael Jordan. Sure we get to try and beat John Kruk every year at Cooperstown in the Unofficial Baseball Buffet Eat-Off, but we sure don’t have it all.

For instance, when was the last time any sports writer had even a mildly attractive girlfriend? Never. And just look at Bob Costas. The guy knows nothing about sports, but apparently the networks think that he sounds rosier than O’Donnell, so they keep giving him tons of air time. And what does air time lead to? That’s right. A posse. And what does a posse lead to? Yup, tons of hot chicks wanting to find out just what your microphone really looks like.

And then there is the whole issue behind having to remain neutral at the games. I have feelings, I have emotions, but yet I have to keep my big mouth shut when it comes to game time. Sure I want to drink beer, (actually I get to do that) and scream and yell at the players when they are sucking, (actually I do that too) but I have to remain unbiased.

And it doesn’t stop there. Do you have any idea what it is like to have a professional athlete and his

posse hounding you because you wrote he had a sub-par game when he went 3-for-17 from the field?

No, you don’t. But I do.

How about the time when I started to get on Shaq’s ass a little bit because he hadn’t raised his free-throw percentage since, oh, I don’t know, when he was in diapers. Anyway, he sends some of the boys in his posse after me and they corner me in a bar. So one of them says, I think his name was Big Money from Shaq’s Bank Account Doggy Dog, “Hey, why you got’s to be ridin’ Shaq ’bout his free-throws and shizzie man?”

Needless to say, I had absolutely no idea what just came out of his mouth, but judging from the number of gold teeth up in his “grill,” I knew it wasn’t a good scene. I had no idea how I was going to reason with this man. I tried to repeat something I had seen in one of the movies the team always watches on long flights from city to city, and it came out like this: “Homie, you must be frontin’ on the wrong brother, ‘cuz we way straight.”

He must have liked what I said, because he flashed me some more of those bling-blingin’ teeth and “Audi 5000-ed” with Tyrone Doggy Dog and Jerome Freshy Fresh.

That was the long version of the story, but I guess in a roundabout way, I am saying that “we” are sorry, because no matter how much you want our jobs, you can’t have them, dogg.

Keith Busam is not a real sports writer, nor does he claim to be one, so he apologizes to anyone that he may have accidentally offended in his column.