Monday, August 28, 2006

Classic card of the week

Ed Lynch, 1987 Topps

You probably can’t tell from this picture, but Ed Lynch was ecstatic when he found out he was being traded from the New York Mets to the Chicago Cubs back in 1986. Seriously, he was thrilled. Amazingly, the Ed Lynch-less Mets went on to win the World Series, while the Cubs…didn’t. But that certainly wasn’t Ed Lynch’s fault – his sparkling 7-5 record and dazzling 3.79 ERA placed him 112th in the NL Cy Young vote that year. Not too shabby for a guy with four chins. It is stated on the back of this particular card that “Ed lists reading and sailing among his hobbies.” So, it’s fairly obvious that Ed Lynch was one wild mother – shut your mouth. Unfortunately, Lynch would later retract that statement, claiming he was misquoted. What he really liked was reading about sailing. He couldn’t actually get on a sailboat because he suffered from seasickness, asthma, and nosebleeds, plus the sun wasn’t good for his fair skin. Many in and around baseball at the time believe it was Lynch’s “party animal” nature that got him sent packing from the notoriously reserved ’86 Mets. Keith Hernandez would later elaborate: “Ed Lynch just didn’t fit into that clubhouse. Like, this one time, I was chopping up some blow on one of his stupid sailing books, and he walks in, and just starts staring at me. I mean staring, like with his face all scrunched up and stuff, chins all popping out, with a look that was like, ‘Keith, what are you doing with your life?’ And I was like, ‘You can’t judge ME, Ed Lynch! I’m Keith Hernandez!’ And then his nose started bleeding. But then so did mine, but for different reasons. It was kind of funny actually. I hated that guy.”

Did you know?
In return for Ed Lynch, the New York Mets received not having Ed Lynch on their roster anymore.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Employees must wash hands…from now on

We just got a new hand soap dispenser installed in the men’s room here at work, and this is BIG news. Maybe it is not big news to you, a person who, most likely, works in an environment with many soap dispensers, and many toilets that flush on the first try. But to us, this is historic.

Before the soap dispenser, cleaning your hands after dropping a deuce here at work was not very easy. Sure, we had a hand soap dispenser, but it was small, and portable, and was often nowhere to be found when it was time to get poop off of your hands. Maybe it fell in the garbage. Maybe it was on the back of the toilet instead of the sink. Maybe it was in the toilet. Maybe I should have located its whereabouts before I dropped my pants. Regardless, the new soap dispenser is actually affixed to the wall, so it should not fall into the toilet, unless otherwise provoked.

Another problem with the old soap dispenser (which was, let’s be honest here – a plastic tube of hand soap) was that it was often empty when it came time to draw soap from it. Here were the options if faced with such a predicament:

A) Remove the top, and fill the plastic bottle with some water. This way, the remaining soap will mix with the water and, more importantly, actually squirt out of the tube. Sure, the mixture will be a little watered down, but it is much better than not washing your hands at all.

B) Locate the master bottle of liquid hand soap. Here was the previous process we had installed for filling up the hand soap: Open the top of the little hand soap bottle, and squeeze into that the soap from a slightly larger bottle of hand soap. Now, you may be saying to yourself, “Why not just use the slightly bigger bottle as your hand soap?” Well, I’m glad you asked. Here’s why – the slightly larger bottle did not have a pump. You need a pump for the hand soap, or else you get your poopy hands all over everything. Of course, if you forgot to do this before taking a poop (as I always did), then you got your poopy hands all over everything anyway. Seriously though – I cannot tell you how many times I found myself, pants at my ankles, awkwardly pouring soap from one bottle to another, as if I were some kind of mad scientist, all the while trying not to use the main part of the hand that I just used to wipe my ass. It was usually at this point when I would say to myself, “I really need to get a new job.”

C) If both the hand soap bottle and master hand soap bottle were completely empty, the last resort – and I mean last resort – was to utilize the bar of soap sitting on the sink. Let’s just say, if you worked at this office, you would not be willing to share any kind of sanitary-related devices with anyone, much less a sketchy white bar of soap with mysterious hairs embedded into it. I avoided that thing like the plague, which is probably because it had plague all over it. In fact, that bar of soap hasn’t changed in size for the past three years, because everyone is too scared to use it. I don’t even know why it’s still there.

D) Somebody (me) had to inform the front desk that more hand soap was required in the men’s room. For some strange reason, the woman who works at the front desk here is in charge of the hand soap. She bills our advertisers, does payroll, and disperses hand soap as deemed necessary. That is her resume. The whole process makes as much sense as me being in charge of Tampax for the women’s room. “What? But I gave you some last month!” You basically have to get her approval to wash your hands. Every single time I have approached her with the request of additional hand soap, she is aghast that we have run out of the hand soap she gave me seven months ago. We are pooping too much, she says. She does not say that. But still.

So, it’s fairly obvious how excited we were to see the new hand soap dispenser in the bathroom last week. It was a huge surprise – there was no talk whatsoever about such an occurrence. It is now a pleasure-filled, stress-free experience to go to the bathroom here at work. Of course, the new dispenser has not had to be refilled since its installation, and the inevitably of that situation is beginning to cause me much heartache. I imagine that the process for refilling this soap dispenser is more complicated than pouring soap into it from a bigger soap dispenser. It may even require a screwdriver. I hope nobody threw out the old soap dispenser.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Classic card of the week

Steve Buechele, 1989 Donruss

Steve Buechele had to wear a hat at all times, or else a strong gust of wind would actually blow the hair off of his head and into the stands, and he would have to wait four months for it to grow back again, unless a fan was kind enough to return it. Amazingly, Buechele was not even, technically, a major league baseball player. In 1985, the substitute math teacher from Arlington, Texas won a free trip to the Texas Rangers’ Fantasy Camp as a result of placing second in the “Annual Arlington Adult Diorama Contest.” (First prize was a gift certificate to Denny’s.) Upon arrival to the camp, Buechele was extremely disappointed, and called his mom from a payphone to inform her that his “fantasy” was NOT to spend a week with “17 jackasses dressed in tight pants who probably don’t even know their multiplication tables.” Buechele, whose brother-in-law was a lawyer, actually went on to sue the Texas Rangers over the concept of “fantasy camp,” and was eventually awarded, by the courts, the position of third base with the Texas Rangers for the years 1985 through 1989. Other aspects of Buechele’s real life fantasy tenure with the Rangers involved “Dungeons & Dragons” tournaments on road trips, having manager Bobby Valentine dress like Darth Vader during batting practice, and unlimited Fun Dip in the clubhouse. Steve Buechele hit 18 home runs in 1986, a league record for players who live with their mother.

Did you know?
Steve Buechele thinks fantasy football is too dangerous.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Classic card of the week

*Special Friday edition
Brooks Kieschnick, 1994 Pinnacle

Brooks Kieschnick is not an actor. Brooks Kieschnick is a fantastic baseball player who just happens to make fabulous catches when baseball card companies are there to take his picture. The story goes like this. Kieschnick was a rookie with the Cubs, and was participating in spring workouts in 1994 when the Pinnacle baseball card company arrived to take some rookie pictures for their upcoming “Draft Pick” set. The original plan for Kieschnick was a posed shot in which he was happily juggling four baseballs at the same time. With no shirt on. Upon hearing about the plan, Kieschnick told a friend, “That is gay. I’m not doing that. That is so gay.” Brooks Kieschnick did not believe in posed photographs. (Even his wedding pictures had a journalistic flair.) So, when Pinnacle arrived, Brooks Kieschnick would not stop shagging flies in the outfield. He was shagging flies like Willie Mays. One Pinnacle executive screamed to Kieschnick from the dugout, “Hey Brooks! Get in here real quick! We gotta do your juggling spread!” Then, Kieschnick screamed back, “I’ll be right in! Just let me rob one last home run!” Already impressed with his outfield performance, the exec turned to one of his cameramen and said, “Fred, get the hell out there. I got a feeling about this kid.” Fred rushed to the centerfield bleachers, and immediately zoomed in on the warning track, just in time to take the shot that would eventually become the “most amazing baseball card ever,” as it was later dubbed by President Bill Clinton. And, in the irony of all ironies, this Pinnacle baseball card was the pinnacle of Brooks Kieschnick’s career. So, good thing he was wearing a shirt.

Did you know?
The legend of Brooks Kieschnick was greatly damaged when it was later discovered that the ball in question had actually bounced first. He was only robbing a ground rule double. Also, he did steroids. (Did you think he could jump that high on his own? C’mon. Don’t be an idiot.)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Classic card of the week

John Smiley, 1988 Topps

Try as he may, John Smiley could not escape his lovable name. It was especially difficult for John Smiley to adjust to his namesake considering that he was a pitcher, a position that required an intimidating presence. Opposing hitters were often heard saying in the dugout, “Who’s pitching today? Oh, Smiley? For real? Well, he ain’t going to be smilin’ when I hit four home runs off his happy ass.” This put Smiley at a distinct disadvantage. He often tried to compensate for this lack of respect by making a mean face – like the one you see in this picture – but the end result was a look that screamed, “But MOM! I don’t like mashed potatoes!” One time, after a bad loss to the Atlanta Braves in which he gave up seven earned runs in three innings, Smiley was seen hanging his head in the dugout, noticeably upset. It was at this point when teammate Barry Bonds approached him and screamed, “Hey, why are YOU so smiley? We lost, idiot!” Then, Bonds and Bobby Bonilla started cracking up, and manager Jim Leyland had to call a “players only” meeting to inform the club to stop making fun of the sensitive pitcher. John Smiley would have the last laugh though, when he “accidentally” dropped Barry Bonds’ toothbrush in the clubhouse urinal. Legend has it, Smiley’s intent was to make Bonds’ smile “less smiley.” And it must have worked, because nobody has heard from Barry Bonds since.

Did you know?
John Smiley is not allowed to have his ice cream until he finishes those mashed potatoes!

Friday, August 11, 2006

A portrait of the writer as a bad golfer

Last Sunday I returned from a week-long golf vacation in which I shanked shots and tore up chunks of grass for 10 hours a day in what local meteorologists described as the “heat wave that is literally 5-degrees warmer than hell.” And believe it or not, I had a blast.

Every year, my father-in-law and three brothers-in-law travel to some faraway land to play golf for a week. Now, when I say “play golf” I don’t mean that they play like, a round a day or something. That would be, for them, the equivalent of going to a fancy restaurant and ordering a cracker. One round of golf is not nearly enough golf. The purpose of their golf excursions is to cram as much golf as possible into each and every day. Sleeping and eating are only necessary evils that are required to prepare for more golf. So yeah, we played two rounds a day for six straight days, and that’s not counting last Sunday, when we only played one round because we arrived in Williamsburg, Virginia earlier than expected and, well, decided that the best way to prepare for a golf vacation was to golf.

Now, those of you who know me may be saying to yourself, “Wow, that seems like a lot of golf. Especially for someone like you, who sucks at golf.” Well then, you’re an asshole. But yeah, it’s true. And you may also be saying to yourself, “How the hell did you end up going on this trip anyway?” That is an excellent question, asshole. My brother-in-law Matt could not make it this year because he just started a new job in North Carolina, so I got the call from the bullpen. Unfortunately for them, I am more Armando Benitez than Mariano Rivera.

There is no possible way I could write a cohesive column about this trip. Too much stuff happened, and the whole thing is a blur that I couldn’t put into chronological order if I tried. Instead, I’m just going to cover some of the highlights. Just keep something in mind as you read. My in-laws are really good golfers. My father-in-law is about a 14-handicap. My brother-in-law Joe shot a 77 a week before we left. My brother-in-law Anthony is actually in school to become a head pro. And then there was me. This trip was easily going to surpass the total amount of rounds of golf I have ever played in my entire life. I’m just saying. The best way I can describe my abilities is to say that every stroke I eliminate from the course maximum (usually 144) is a positive. So, you can imagine the comedy that ensued from this contrast in styles. Unless you were me, who found things slightly less humorous at times. Anyway…

- There is no way I can describe how freakin’ hot it was out there from Sunday through Friday. I mean, I know everyone knows how hot it was, but you don’t really have any idea, if that makes sense. On days like that, I start sweating when I look out the window, so you can imagine what we looked like (and smelled like) at the end of two rounds of golf. And no, we did not change clothes in between rounds, because the only thing that would have accomplished was to ruin two outfits instead of one. And I definitely won the “sweatiest guy” award of the trip (trophy forthcoming), although my brother-in-law Joe came in a close second, with his display of uncanny back sweat. The back of his shirt would be covered in sweat, except for small, sporadic blotches of dryness, which made the back of his shirt look like a map of the Caribbean Islands.

- Did I mention how hot it was? When you are away for a week doing nothing but golfing, it becomes difficult to stay in touch with what is going on in the world, but from what we gathered, the story of the day, every day, was how hot it was. (And also, something happened to Castro. We think. Heat stroke, possibly?) The top news clip of the day was always “stay inside,” which we heard every morning on our way to play golf outside for 10 hours. Among the four of us, we lost a combined 100 pounds. We could have opened up a salt factory with what was coming out of our pores. In fact, one day – I think it was Wednesday – we thought that we should call the local news to inform them as to what we were doing, because maybe that would be a good story. But we never called, because it was too hot.

- I never really use a driver off of the tee because I cannot control that thing. So, I usually use a 5-wood and play catch-up for the entire hole. Whatever. Anyway, on the second full day of the trip, during our morning round, I hit a ball off the tee and my five-wood exploded. The club head came off on impact and traveled almost as far as the ball (not very far.) I cannot begin to express how funny this was, and how well it seemed to sum up my trip. Check out this follow through. Where is the rest of the club? It’s somewhere in Virginia.

- And on that note, when we came to the bag drop after that day of golf, the guys who were taking our bags and cleaning our clubs were complementing us, saying that we looked like good golfers, and that they could tell that we were by our clubs (I used Joe’s old ones) and the places we’ve golfed (the tags and towels on the bags were from Pinehurst, Scottsdale, and all the other places they’ve been.) Then, one of the guys picked up the broken shaft of my 5-wood and said, “So…what do you want me to do with this?” There went my cover. The black sheep was exposed.

- My father-in-law had the worst putt of all time. Seriously, it was that bad. It was like he saw a 90-degree break in the green, except there was no break at all. It was so bad, that the ball hit his towel, which he purposely placed well out of the way of the line of his putt. It was so bad, he needed a mulligan. On a putt. And then, he did the same exact thing again. The four of us were convulsing in laughter on the green. I know it’s one of those things that you had to be there to appreciate, but just picture someone that you know, really trying to make a putt, and then putting it as far from the hole as possible. And then doing it again. You’ll laugh. Trust me. Every time I think about that putt, I start laughing.

- On the ride home, Anthony had to pee so bad, that he could barely even hold it in anymore. But we were stuck in traffic, with the rest stop still five miles away. He was really struggling, so much so that we were not allowed to make him laugh or anything. Then he said, “Just don’t say anything about peeing, or do anything to remind me how bad I have to pee.” And right as he said that, a van pulled in front of us with the license plate “PPPPPP.” I am NOT exaggerating. Not one iota. I mean, I didn’t even know you could have a license plate like that. Just weird. And this shot below may serve to explain why Anthony had to pee so badly in the first place:

(that was vodka!)

- Everybody hit “the wall” at one point during the trip. Mine was Tuesday afternoon, when I was playing like absolute ass, and was so tired and hot that I couldn’t even think anymore. At that point, if a helicopter had passed by, and was heading towards New Jersey, I would have gotten on in 2.4 seconds, even if I had to hang from the bottom of it, a la Jaime Lee Curtis in “True Lies.” I could barely swing a club, and when I did, I managed to leave it on the course, which is what happened to my (Joe’s) pitching wedge. Luckily, someone found it. And even luckily-er, that feeling of utter exhaustion passed, and I was ready to suck at golf again the next day.

- I blew my load, so to speak, on the first full day, posting my best round that afternoon (a 102…don’t laugh) at the Kings Mill River course. All this really accomplished was to make me think I was better than I actually was, and caused me that much more frustration the next few days, as I suffered through my normal 116s and 119s. So that was my first lesson on how much golf blows.

- Anthony won the birdie race with 18. Joe had 10, and my father-in-law had two. I was a distant fourth with one, which is exactly one more than I had planned on contributing.

- Most of the courses we played were very difficult, as if my general state of suckiness wasn’t enough cause for frustration. Hey, throw in some more blind tee shots, bunkers, and sloping greens! Yeah! What was that – a par 5? Give me a 10! Awesome. For me, playing these courses was like being a bad singer, and having my first public performance be at the Apollo. Ya’ know, if I were African American or something.

- It was so hot that many of the greens had huge fans to dry out the moisture of the relentless humidity. It was near one of these fans that we ran into this fellow, an obvious stray from one of Colonial Williamsburg’s many Civil War reenactments. He was nice though – he actually paid for our trip.

(By the way, I can't thank him enough for the experience.)

- At dinner one night, we all decided that golf is only good in retrospect. When you’re on the course, you’re constantly having the worst time of your life because everything you do well is expected, and everything you don’t do well only pisses you off to no end. And then afterwards, you’re like, “Hey – that was fun! Can’t wait to do that again tomorrow!” And you’re actually serious. Yeah, so that’s golf.

- It was so hot that Joe’s shirt melted onto his shorts. Seriously, his sweat caused his khaki shorts to become red.

It was so hot that my father-in-law would not let me bring my dirty socks back into the room. I had to leave them in my golf bag. It was so hot that a hot fart felt like a cool draft. It was so hot that, on one of my shots, I chunked it so bad that I reached the core of the earth, and let me tell you – it was cool by comparison. Don't believe me?

- Through it all, I actually did manage to have the best shot of the trip. On the 17th hole of Tuesday morning, I holed out from about 130 yards. “Holed out” is golf terminology for “getting the ball in the hole,” because you can’t say things like “I got the ball in the hole from really far away,” unless you want to sound like a complete idiot. Anyhoo, most golfers who hole out from 130 yards on a par-4 call it an “eagle.” Mine was called a “par.” But hey, whatever. It went in the hole. From really far away. So there.

- Here is my final, and lasting thought of the trip. If there was ever a debate as to whether or not golf is a “real” sport, or whether or not the pressure of golf is as great as the pressure of other sports, or whether or not the act of walking through a beautiful landscape is a test of endurance, this trip officially ended that discussion. This weeklong affair was an assault on my temperament, my athletic ego, my endurance, and my will to live. There were times when I was so angry that I didn’t know what to do with myself, so frustrated that I just wanted to hide, so nervous that I felt like I was back in high school again, so hot that I thought I was going to melt, so tired that I would have slept on the fairway, and so happy that I knew it was all worth it. It’s pretty strange to describe a golf vacation as an accomplishment, but that’s what it was. For me, it was like climbing a mountain, except every 10 yards someone reminds that you suck at climbing mountains. Yet somehow, you still make it to the top (four hundred and thirteen shots later than everyone else, but you still make it). Honestly, I don’t know too many people who could have done what we did, and I’m kind of proud of that.

And when I recover from this trip in 2008, I might even get back out there again. That is, if I can manage to tape my 5-wood together.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Sports Superfriends…Unite!

Professional athletes are just like you and I, except for their extreme athleticism, lifestyle, ridiculously inflated bank accounts, bodies, and overall perception of life itself. But except for that, they’re pretty much just like us. So, like us, athletes need companionship, and not just from groupies. Athletes need companionship from other athletes. Not in a “Nomar Garciaparra and Mia Hamm kind of way” - although that’s cool too, sort of – but in a “Hey, would you like to grab a beer and a burger and talk about the coach behind his back?” kind of way.

It’s hard to believe sometimes, but athletes are often friends with each other. Except for Barry Bonds, who never really had many friends, except for the close group of “yes-men” who are currently selling him out to avoid jail time. Not good times for him. But in general, athletes are buddies. In that respect, let’s take a closer look at the bestest friends in all of sports. Because that’s what we like to do here on this blog – bring people together. Or, more accurately, discuss in detail people who have already been brought together by forces outside of our control. Whatever.

No. 5: Melky Cabrera & Robinson Cano. By far, the most talented “Melky and Robinson” connection going in sports today. Maybe ever, unless you count Cliff Robinson’s reported affection for a stripper named “Melky Smooth” back in the early 90’s. (Of course, I’m kidding. Cliff Robinson and a stripper? C’mon…) These two were brought together by the fact that they were the only two guys in the Yankee farm system not traded over the past three years for crappier, more expensive players. They are always sitting in the dugout together, and laughing it up, most likely in Spanish, causing Chein-Ming Wang to wonder if they are making fun of him. And if that’s not enough, every Yankee announcer (all 23 of them) consistently beats us over the head with stories of what great friends they are. My favorite: after a game in which he hit a grand slam, Melky was seen laying on a couch in the clubhouse talking on his cell phone to Cano, who was in Tampa Bay at the time rehabbing an injury. That’s the same exact manner in which I used to have conversations with girls when I was in sixth grade, except the phone had a curly cord attached to it. Said Robinson, “Grand slam, huh? Cool. But do you LIKE her, like her?”

No. 4. Shaquille O’Neal & Dwyane Wade. You would think that a pair of guys who just collaborated to win the NBA title would be higher on this list, but I’m still not completely sold on them being soul mates. Shaq has too much of a history of becoming disenchanted with his talented guard-like teammates. Nevertheless, if we’re basing this friendship on their mutual (media-fueled) admiration for each other, then this is the best sports friendship of all time.

Wade: Shaq is simply the best player in the NBA. I’m just happy to be his teammate.
Shaq: I told him, I said, “D-Wade – you’re the best player in the league. I’m just here to ride your coattails.”
Wade: No way, Shaq – you’re the best player in the league.
Shaq: No, you are!
Wade: No, YOU are!
Shaq: No way, D-Wade. You’re Batman, and I’m Robin.
Wade: No, YOU’RE Batman!
Shaq: Come here, gimme a hug little guy.

No. 3: Derek Jeter & Jorge Posada. This friendship manages to fly slightly under the radar in the realm of sports friendships, but it’s a solid one. Like Melky and Robinson, Jeter and Posada are always next to each other in the Yankee dugout, whether it be on the bench, leaning against the railing, or at the water cooler. (One time in 1999, Jeff Nelson tried to weasel his way in between them on the bench, with horrific results. He was never the same after that. Also, I made that up. I mean, Nelson really hasn’t been the same pitcher since 1999, but I don’t think it’s because of that. I think it’s karma for his flat-top/mustache combination.) During all the Yankee batting practices I’ve seen over the past decade, Jeter and Posada are always the ones playing long toss, warming each other up. Always. But unlike Melky and Robinson, their friendship is a more mature one, not based on giggles and horsing around. It’s more of an unspoken bond. A simple head nod will do, as if to say, “I got you, dog.” Honestly, this friendship always fascinated me, because catchers tend to be close to the pitchers, not the middle infielders. Plus, Posada is a family man, and Jeter is a notorious man about town who has yet to settle down. I wonder if Jeter has ever had to crash on Jorge’s couch after one too many Long Island Iced Teas. He would probably wake up all wrapped in a nice blanket, with a bucket next to him, just in case. I got you, dog.

No. 2: Roger Clemens & Andy Pettitte. Let me first acknowledge that six out of our 10 total friends became close within the Yankee organization. I don’t know if that means that the Yankee clubhouse tends to be clique-ish, or if Joe Torre has enacted the “buddy system” as a means of players getting to know one another during spring training. Either way, it’s kind of weird. And it doesn’t get much weirder than Pettitte and Clemens, probably the most public, yet one-sided friendship on the list. I think it all started with a simple question: “Wanna work out?” From there, fate took over. Apparently, Pettitte became an active part of Clemens’ “legendary” offseason workout regimen, which included weights, running up stadium bleachers, resistance training, and definitely not steroids. From there, the two became bestest friends. After all, they had more in common than just a love for the medicine ball. Both were from Texas, and both were pitchers, and both only shaved twice a week. When Clemens came out of retirement the first time, he went to the Astros not only because Houston was close to home, but because his good buddy Pettitte was there. And also for the millions and millions of dollars. Of course, Pettitte sort of plays the little brother role in this relationship. After a very poor first half of ’06, many expected Pettitte to start pitching better when Clemens came out of retirement (again) to rejoin Houston, which kind of doesn’t make any sense. If Andy Pettitte cannot focus without Roger Clemens around, then I say this friendship has gone too far. Nevertheless, at least Clemens will always have a friend, because he doesn’t have too many fans.

No. 1: Steve Francis & Cuttino Mobley. By leaps and bounds, the best sports friendship going. And by “best” I’m definitely not referring to talent. It just means that these two really, really, really like each other. The two guards originally hit it off as members of the Houston Rockets. They would bond through a mutual hatred of Jeff Van Gundy, who seemed to despise their game plan of throwing ally-oops to each other for 48 minutes, especially when there was a 9-foot tall Chinese guy in the middle of the paint, waiting to touch the ball. But although these two remain bestest friends, this story is bittersweet, as the two men are the only members of our list who are no longer teammates. Francis was traded to Orlando, eventually leading to this famous quote from “Stevie Franchise” in an ESPN feature on their friendship:

“I can’t put it into words,” he said. “Playing with a guy, living with a guy, just knowing that every day when I wake up that’s something I can count on, that I’m going to be in practice or in a game with Cuttino.
“Him not being here is going to be tough for me. I don’t know what I’m going to wake up for.”

Let the record show that I did not make that quote up. Seriously. These guys are just that bestest of friends. By the way, I could probably think of a few things off the top of my head that would force me to get out of bed in the morning if I had the good fortune of an NBA salary. For starters, a silk bathrobe. I always wanted one of those. But that’s just me. Besides, this friendship has the potential of having a happy ending. Maybe the Knicks will sign Cuttino Mobley. After all, they do need another guard.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Classic card of the week

George Wright, 1986 Topps

George Wright is very suspicious of your actions. What kind of crap are you trying to pull on George Wright anyway? Do you think he doesn’t see you? Look at you over there, happily conversing with members of the other team. Don’t you know that they’re the enemy! George Wright would never do something like that, which is why he is very wary of you. George Wright is poised to take pre-game batting practice. It is almost his turn. What are you doing? Fooling around? If your actions do not cease, George Wright has the good sense to go and tell the manager. Besides, George Wright is sick of platooning in the outfield, and any chance he has to get your lazy ass on the bench, he will grab with the same gusto in which he takes batting practice. That is mucho gusto. Really though, did you think you were beyond the vision of George Wright? Did you not know that his peripheral is 20/20? You’re his teammate – you should know stuff like that. Wait – George Wright has become tired of your shenanigans. He has spotted a fine female in the second row down the left field line. George Wright is pretty sure that he’s going to sex her up later. “You can go ahead of me,” says George Wright. “I’ll take BP tomorrow.” George Wright thinks some Colt 45 may do the trick. That stuff goes down extra smooth.

Did you know?
Yeah, George Wright pretty much sexed her up.