I don't know about you, but my biggest takeaway from Bill Simmons' interview with Barack Obama was the throwaway mention of Omar as the #1 seed for a hypothetical tournament of Wire characters. What an idea! After about 10 minutes of thinking and minor research (i.e. finding characters' last names), here's what I've come up with.
Streets Bracket 1. Omar 2. Bubbles 3. Michael 4. Dukie 5. Randy 6. Butchie 7. Cutty 8. Namond 9. Kimmy 10. The Deacon 11. Sherrod 12. Brother Mouzone 13. Walon 14. Dante 15. Johnny 16. Kenard
Crime Bracket 1. Stringer Bell 2. Marlo Stanfield 3. Avon Barksdale 4. Prop Joe 5. D'Angelo Barksdale 6. Bodie 7. Wee Bey 8. Snoop 9. Chris Partlow 10. Slim Charles 11. The Greek 12. Vondas 13. Poot 14. Maury Levy 15. Wallace 16. Cheese
Institutions Bracket 1. Tommy Carcetti 2. Frank Sobotka 3. Gus Haynes 4. Clay Davis 5. Ronnie Pearlman 6. Scott Templeton 7. Ziggy 8. Norman Wilson 9. Clarence Royce 10. Nick Sobotka 11. Nerese Campbell 12. Odell Watkins 13. Marla Daniels 14. Theresa D'Agostino 15. Judge Phelan 16. Alma Gutierrez
* There is some obvious crossover between categories, but given how half the people on this show could fit into a 'crime' bracket, I wanted to keep things somewhat separated. 'Crime' is really essentially just the Barksdale and Stanfield crime families, plus a few major wild cards.
* To that end, Kenard (though a trainee-entry dealer) goes into the 'streets' bracket. Yes, this may have been in part because I intentionally wanted an Omar vs. Kenard matchup of irony in the first round.
* You could have a good argument about who was the biggest character not included in the tournament. Maybe one of the minor cops, like Holley or Norris? Principal Donnelly? One of the straw man editors at the Baltimore Sun? Brianna Barksdale? Sergei, the Greek's goon? Horseface Pakusa just because his name is Horseface Pakusa? Maybe I should've included play-in games for the #16 seeds.
* The odds that I'm an idiot and have forgotten someone REALLY obvious are 5-1. For instance, in my first draft, I somehow forgot Snoop, Chris AND D'Angelo Barksdale.
* Odds that Obama reads this: 34-1. Odds that Obama comments on it: 1500-1. Odds that Obama comments on it under the pseudonym of BullsFan43: 60-1.
* The crime bracket is absurdly strong.
* The only obvious call is Omar coming out of the Streets bracket just because he's Omar and is the favourite to win the whole thing. Besides that, however, you can make arguments for at least 4-5 different characters out of every other bracket, which is a testament to The Wire's depth.
* For the real March Madness, "You come at the king, you best not miss" should be the theme of every #1 vs. #16 game, with that scene shown going into and coming out of every commercial break. Once I'm president of CBS, this will be my first order of business.