Frantz: New ‘Odd Couple’ would be a hit

Ready to remake a classic? After all, re-creating time-tested movies with modern-day stars and 21st-century technology seems to be all the rage, with virtually zero imagination coming from Hollywood these days, so why can’t we play, too? Here’s what you do: First, take a look at the following opening voiceover, used on television’s “The Odd Couple” in the 1970s:

“On Nov. 13 Felix Unger was asked to remove himself from his place of residence. That request came from his wife. Deep down he knew she was right. But he also knew that someday he would return to her. With nowhere else to go, he appeared at the home of hischildhood friend, Oscar Madison. Sometime earlier, Madison’s wife had thrown him out, requesting that he never return. Can two divorced men share an apartment without driving each other crazy?”

Now, make just a few subtle changes, and tell me if we don’t have ourselves a 2008 hit:

To begin, the month will be changed from November to February. Then we’ll replace “Felix Unger” with “Roger Clemens,” and we’ll change “place of residence” to “sport.” Next, change “wife” to “fans,” “she was” to “they were,” and drop the phrase “to her,” “Childhood friend” is dropped in favor of “longtime acquaintance,” and “Oscar Madison” becomes “Barry Bonds.” “Madison’s wife” becomes “the Giants,” and “divorced” is converted to “disgraced.” Finally, change the word “apartment” into “federal prison cell” … then go back to re-read our work.

It’s a smash hit, I tell you! A ratings bonanza! I mean, who wouldn’t be glued to their sofa as Roidger and Barroid rage at one another over the cleanliness of the top bunk, or whose turn it was to scrub out the bucket, er, toilet?

I’m seeing Jim Belushi cast as the increasingly portly Clemens, with Steve Harris (best known as Eugene Young on ABC’s “The Practice”) bringing Bonds to the plasma screen. Harris, when sneering, is almost a dead ringer for Bonds, and if Belushi got a crew cut … hey, he’d at least be as believable as Clemens was before Congress.

You know, if you squeeze your eyes shut real tight, you might even be able to see that first episode — when Barry attempts to claim three of the cell’s four corners as his own private domain — and when Clemens fires a bar of soap at him in retaliation, before claiming he thought it was a hand towel.

The scenes at the chow hall would be hysterical, like the time Bonds’ head explodes when Clemens pilfers half the beans from his dish, shouting, “I told you! I own the inside part of the plate!”

Together, the two roomies will have accounted for 762 tainted home runs, 354 questionable victories, 2,008 (counting Clemens’ 12) soiled RBIs, 4,672 dirty strikeouts and 2,966 (Clemens had 31) sullied hits, which would lead to some hellacious showdowns in the battle for King of the Yard at rec time.

“Hey Barry! How many rings you got?”

“Man, I don’t need no rings, I got seven MVP’s!”

“Shoot, I’ve got seven Cy Youngs AND an MVP! And two rings on top of that!”

“Hell, at least I passed Aaron! You got all them strikeouts, but you ain’t never passed Nolan Ryan!”

“Yeah, but I didn’t start cyclin’ as early as you did! If I woulda started stackin’ back then — boy, hoo-doggy!”

“You kiddin’ me? You couldn’t even keep your trainer in line! My boy Greg went to the hole to save me! But Mac rolled right over on your ass!”

“Man, I woulda beat that rap if that punk kid hadn’t taken that picture at Jose’s!”

“Woulda, coulda, shoulda, didn’t! Now get out my face!”

Yep … it’d be a helluva show. The two most iconic figures in modern baseball history, sure-fire Hall of Famers, sentenced to living with one another’s egos in a federal pen. We’re talking Emmys here.

Anybody know a good agent?

Sports personality Bob Frantz is a regular contributor to The Examiner. E-mail him at bfrantz@examiner.com.

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