Friday, March 30, 2007

Classic card of the week

Joe Johnson, 1988 Topps
*Special Friday edition

Here is a picture of Joe Johnson making his famous “Who farted?” face. Johnson, not to be confused with the Atlanta Hawks’ Joe Johnson, was the first known player in Major League history to have four eyebrows – two above his eyes, and two above his mouth. Teammates affectionately called them “mouthbrows.” That, combined with no sideburns and an adequate mullet, made Joe Johnson a fashion icon regular guy in Canada. When he wasn’t openly wondering who beefed, Joe Johnson was busy beefing up himself. A legend in the weight room, Johnson could bench press 350 lbs, like, a million times. Instead of weight gloves however, Johnson wore baseball mitts on both hands whenever he lifted weights. His rationale for this was that it made a baseball in his glove feel much lighter. Joe Johnson also invented the Zubaz pants. One can only imagine the intimidating image of Johnson walking into the weight room wearing Zubaz pants, a Gotcha tank top, a Blue Jays hat, baseball gloves on both hands, and sweaty mouthbrows, ready to pump some iron. I can almost hear G N’R blasting from here. And I doubt he used a spotter. An absolute force with the Blue Jays in 1987, Johnson went 3-5 with a 5.13 ERA, which wasn’t very good, and also was not the absolute force that I had previously mentioned. That was my bad. As a matter of fact, this card was actually a bit premature, as Johnson never even pitched in the big leagues following the 1987 season, opting instead to travel the world in an attempt to locate the definitive abdominal machine. He is still looking.

Did you know?
Joe Johnson makes the same face when driving through Staten Island.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

One-on-one with “Best Commissioner Ever,” Bud Selig

The 2007 Major League Baseball season official starts this Sunday, and I’m positively giddy! Here to curtail my excitement is none other than MLB Commissioner, and former Bugle Boy Jeans model, Bud Selig. Mr. Selig has agreed to sit down with us under the conditions that a) I specify that none of the following is remotely true, and b) I do not use the words “human,” “growth,” and “hormone” consecutively. So, there. Done and done. Now let’s get on with The Show. (Get it? The Show? Whatever…)

Me: Mr. Selig, welcome!

Bud Selig: Thanks for having me.

Me: Ya’ know, Bud, I gotta tell you, you’ve always reminded me of one of the Three Stooges, except much older, and ganglier. Not the fat one, but one of the other ones. Did anyone else ever tell you that?

Selig: No, but that’s a nice way to start an interview.

Me: I think it has a lot to do with your bowl haircut. I’m just saying.

Selig: …

Me: Bud, let’s start with the bad news. During your Reign of Terror as commissioner, you oversaw the strike and subsequent cancellation of the World Series in 1994, the oddity of the 2002 All-Star Game tie - which you eventually made even worse by awarding the winner home field advantage in the World Series – the proposed contraction of both the Twins and Expos, Albert Belle, and, of course, the ongoing steroid controversy, which, at this rate, should get resolved around…never. Please explain yourself.

Selig: Well, for one thing, a lot of those issues were out of my control. For example, the work stoppage of ’94 had a lot to do with the Player’s Association refusing to come to the table to work out an agreement. And I can’t really be held responsible for Albert Belle. Plus, you’re neglecting to mention the positives of my tenure, such as the Wild Card, which has been one of the most influential implementations in baseball history.

Me: I must say, I’ve never seen anyone literally pat himself on the back during an interview. You have long arms.

Selig: I do, yes.

Me: But Bud, isn’t your Wild Card “idea” cancelled out by the fact that 240-lb, acne-bursting steroid abusers have helped their respective teams earn Wild Card berths? I call it a wash.

Selig: You’re also forgetting how my negotiating skills helped avert another work stoppage back in 2002.

Me: Listen, you don’t get bonus points for avoiding a strike. You just get negative points for allowing one to happen, which you already have, by the way. So you can’t use that on your resume. Besides, that entire season was marred by the mere possibility of another strike. I could never rest easy that summer, and I blame you.

Selig: Okay, okay. What about Interleague play?

Me: Never heard of it.

Selig: It’s when American League teams play National League teams for a few weeks during the course of the season. Crazy, right? Well, it’s been a huge success!

Me: Oh yeeeaaaaahhhh. I was wondering how the Royals and Pirates turned into such a heated rivalry.

Selig: And what about the World Baseball Classic?

Me: Hmmm, I think you’re using the word “classic” a little loosely there. But I’ll give you that one. Rebuttal: Steroids.

Selig: No comment.

Me: Bud, let’s turn this conversation towards more recent events in which you’ve massively screwed up. You’re in the process of giving DirecTV exclusive rights to MLB games, which means that local cable providers will no longer be able to offer the MLB package to its customers. So now, if you’re a fan of say, the Dodgers, and you did something stupid like move to New York because of something equally stupid – like a job or something – you can’t watch your favorite team unless you install a DirecTV dish in your place of residence, if that is, your place of residence allows such a thing. Or, OR, let’s say you’re one of the rare baseball fans who plays fantasy baseball, and you want to watch some of your guys play on occasion. Well, you can’t do that now either without DirecTV. My brother-in-law has DirecTV, by the way, and the feed goes out when a leaf falls on the dish outside, which is awesome. Who gave you this idea? Satan?

Selig: This idea came to me in a dream, and when I met with DirecTV executives on the matter, they thought it was fabulous!

Me: Did you consult anyone else on the dream, like for example, one of the eight zillion baseball fans on planet earth?

Selig: I didn’t really think their input was necessary.

Me: Of course not. Bud, if all goes well – and by well I mean “horribly wrong” – Barry Bonds will eclipse Hank Aaron’s all time home run record this season. A lot of people – and by a lot of people I mean “no one” – are wondering if you’ll be in attendance for this grand affair. So, will you?

Selig: I’m not sure yet. It depends. I might have to do something that day, depending on what day it is. It’s hard to say. I do a lot of stuff.

Me: Eloquently spoken. But Bud, don’t you think your absence for this inevitable event could be construed as you refusing to acknowledge the culture of steroid-induced records that you yourself created with your blatant indifference?

Selig: What? I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening.

Me: Whatever. Besides Bonds, this upcoming season should witness some other milestones as well. Alex Rodriguez should hit his 500th home run, unless he does something completely out-of-character like clamp up, and Ken Griffey Jr. may hit his 600th home run, unless he does something completely out-of-character like get injured. Manny Ramirez should hit his 500th as well, which may be news to him, and Tom Glavine and Randy Johnson each have a shot to win their 300th game, which is just about the most exciting thing I could ever imagine. Will you be in attendance for any of these events, since the possibility of steroids appears to be a non-issue?

Selig: I will attend all of these events. Unless two of them happen on the same day, because I take a six hour nap daily. That is how I get my ideas, because the best dreams come when you are napping.

Me: Totally. Bud, your Wikipedia page mentions that you used to own several used car dealerships, making your transition to Commissioner of Major League Baseball obvious, if not inevitable. If Sammy Sosa were a used car – and he is – how would you sell him to me? Ya’ know, if I were an idiot?

Selig: Well, I’d probably be like, “And right here we have the Sammy Sosa, one of the most famous and well known cars around. He’s got a lot of miles on him, but he’s still one of the best cars out there. Plus, he’s gone down considerably in price, so it’s a great deal if you’re in no rush to get where you’re going!”

Me: That’s pretty good. But what if I asked you where I’m supposed to get the illegal fuel it takes to operate this Sammy Sosa? Can I get it on online, like Gary Matthews, Jr.?

Selig: I’m not sure what you’re talking about.

Me: I’m not surprised.

Selig: By the way, I was under the impression that there was going to be some “good news” on the horizon. We’ve gone over the bad news already, so now maybe we could talk more about the positive attributes of my tenure as commissioner?

Me: Well, to be honest, I searched everywhere, and I couldn’t find any. I even Googled “Bud + Selig + good + news,” and my computer monitor started smoking. Not sure what that means. But, I guess, if we had to talk about some good news, I’d probably just mention how lucky you are to be commissioner of the one sport that, no matter what happens, we’ll always come back for more. Like, no matter how bad you screw up, and take advantage of our unconditional love for baseball, we’ll always be there, because that’s just who we are. So, you’ve got that going for you, which is nice.

Selig: I’ll take it!

Me: Yeah. Congratulations. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get home in time to watch all the games that aren’t available on my cable package. Awesome.

Did he say "Hemroids?" Makes sense...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Classic card of the week

Prospects, 1999 Topps

Hey, look up in the sky! Is it me, or are three baseball prospects shining down from the heavens, exposing their vast potential for all to see? It’s me, isn’t it? What? It’s not?! Awesome! But we should probably watch out, ‘cause those diamonds are pretty sharp, and I don’t trust their flight pattern! A true master in the art of foreshadowing, Topps knew all too well that by the year 2007, Micah Bowie, Phil Norton, and Randy Wolf would all be well on their way to the Hall of Fame, riding seamlessly through the clouded skies on top of 3-D diamonds, only coming down to earth every fifth day to toss eight shutout innings. Of course, Topps hedged their bets by labeling these three only as “prospects” and not “future stars,” although their god-like aura would seem to imply that greatness was on the horizon. (Even God had to toil down in Single A for a few months, am I right?) Astonishingly, only Randy Wolf would sniff the intoxicating scent of mild success, as his career culminated with a group wittily called “the Wolf pack” cheering him on in the upper deck of Veteran’s Stadium. Unfortunately, Veteran’s Stadium was unceremoniously destroyed, killing at least three members of the Wolf pack, and injuring Wolf himself, forcing him to miss more than half of the following two seasons. He would eventually pack his bags, hop on his diamond, and ride the sky to Los Angeles, where he will now rest on the DL for the Dodgers. On the other hand, Phil Norton’s only claim to fame was that he kind of, sort of looked like Kerry Wood, and he pretty much pitched as often as Kerry Wood also, which was never. This lack of being good forced the Cubs to ship Norton off to Cincinnati, where he dazzled in 2004 as the Reds’ something or other, going 2-5, with a 5.07 ERA. And after Micah Bowie posed for this picture – which, oddly enough, makes him look like he played for the 1923 Alabama Barnhoppers rather than the 1999 Braves – the ground fell out from underneath him (shoddy clubhouse). He hung on to the “r” in “Prospects” for as long as he could, until he fell into a black abyss, never to be heard from again. Legend has it however, that on an overcast day in Wichita, Kansas, you can look up into the sky and get a fleeting glimpse of three ballplayers who were once destined for greatness. But then you go should inside, because those diamonds are sharp.

Did you know?
Micah, Norton, and Wolf finally all met each other in 2003, at an encore showing of “The Vagina Monologues.”

Friday, March 23, 2007

Classic card of the Week

Stojko Vrankovic, 1999 Upper Deck

One of my favorite things about this card is not the ballet-like athleticism of a Croatian guy named “Stojko” jamming it home with, pretty much, one foot on the ground. No, my favorite part of this card is its nod to “The Natural,” as you may notice an out-of-focus fat man in white standing up in the background, a la Glen Close in one of the more famous scenes from the Robert Redford-flick. Of course, contrary to what the rest of the Clippers’ home crowd may be indicating, it’s extremely difficult to sit down when Stojko Vrankovic is on the floor, as evidenced by the fact that, even the other players on the court seem content to stand and watch Stojko thrown down yet another emphatic dunk. But the fat man in white is on to something, for he knows Stojko all too well. Not from a romantic standpoint, we would hope, but from a basketball standpoint. You see, the fat man in white is Hedjuec Steponapolis, Stojko’s Croatian AAU coach since the youngster was just four months old (and 5’11”). Hedjuec taught Stojko everything he knew about the sport of basketball, including the box-and-one, and why the Reebok “Pumps” were a total sham. When Stojko decided that he was going to leave his native Croatia to star for the American basketball powerhouse Los Angeles Clippers, Hedjuec had no real choice but to accompany him, if, for no other reason, to show him where he could get decent asparagus. But, amazingly, Stojko initially struggled in the NBA, finding himself at a distinct disadvantage despite his arm hair and 13.8 40-yard dash speed. During the third quarter of another miserable performance, in which he was 1-for-19 from the floor and just got dunked on by Dwayne Schintzius, Stojko was jogging back down the floor when a figure in white stood up in the stands. It was Hedjuec Steponapolis, showing support for his protégé. Hedjuec started a chant: “Stojko, Stojko, STOJKO!” The other fans, recognizing this as sarcasm, joined in immediately, at which point Stojko had flashbacks of his greatness in Croatia, and began dominating the game with an array of awkward sky-hooks and one-handed slams, one which culminated with a slow-motion, backboard-breaking jam that sent chards of glass flying everywhere while he rounded the bases stood there like an idiot. From that point forward, Hedjuec always wore white and stood for the entirety of Clippers games, which motivated Stojko Vrankovic to be the dominant force you see here. Then, one day, Stojko Vrankovic blew out both knees waiting for the bus.

Did you know?
Stojko Vrankovic could change a light bulb with his chin.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Classic card of the week

Barry Bonds, 1993 Upper Deck

Always ahead of his time, Barry Bonds starred in his very own Charles Schwab commercial waaaaaaay back in 1993. The ad was very similar to one that you may see today, although back in the early 90’s, the concept of life-like animation – where the fine line between Tom & Jerry and Law & Order is straddled like a trapeze artist – was unfamiliar, and thus ill received. The original commercial takes place in Bonds’ backyard, where he is casually cooking up some turkey burgers, fully decked out in his Giants uniform. Says Barry, “Ya’ know, in the position that I’m in, I have the opportunity to talk to a lot of investors. I can talk for days about mutual funds, annuities, human growth hor-…funds, and all types of ill funds. But one thing I’ve noticed over the years is that, too many investors are in it for one thing – your money. (BEEP) that. So someone told me to talk to Chuck. I was like, ‘Who the hell is Chuck? Does he have the goods? Cause I’m like, 12 pounds of muscle short of hittin’ 50 this year.’ Then dude was like, ‘Nah, man – I’m talkin’ about Charles Schwab, that investment type cat.’ Well, it didn’t take me long to realize that when you talk to Charles Schwab, they have your best interests at heart. They got me puttin’ my money all over the place, trying to build interest and what not. I’m down with interest.” Camera pans down to the grill, where Bonds uses a syringe to inject barbeque sauce into his turkey burgers. Back up to Barry: “I knew I came to the right place when Chuck was like, ‘A lot of people like to invest their money in stocks, but you seem more like a bonds person to me.’ Heh. Bonds person. Ain’t that some sh-“ The end. The commercial was slated to air during an episode of Cheers, but a trial run in front of a selected audience proved to be devastating for the investment firm’s marketing campaign. People openly wondered whether they were watching a cartoon or real life, and questioned why Bonds was barbequing with his uniform on, without even an apron to protect him from splashing sauce. One anonymous audience member yelled, “I don’t need to be coerced into investment strategies by some millionaire, jackass athlete!” Another audience member called the ad “unrealistic,” and proceeded to fill out the “Extremely Dissatisfied” box of every aspect of the subsequent survey. The session ended in disaster, with people throwing tomatoes at the screen, and vowing never to talk to Chuck again. All that could be salvaged from the ill-fated ad was this head shot of Bonds in front of the blue screen, acquired by the Upper Deck Co. later that year, which could only waste the image on a pointless checklist card. The smile you see on Bonds’ face was a result of a blooper-type outtake, which occurred when one of the producers played a joke on Bonds by drawing genetalia on one of the cue cards.

Barry Bonds fun facts!

Favorite TV Show: American Idol

Favorite Grammar Bee: Spelling

Favorite Investment Firm: TD Ameritrade

Three people, past or present, you’d like to have dinner with
: Me, myself, and I

Did you know?
Bonds’ Charles Schwab commercial was No. 108 on E!’s “101 Biggest Celebrities ‘Ooops!’”

Friday, March 16, 2007

Classic card of the week

Paul Householder, 1986 Topps
*Special Friday edition

Paul Householder was the perfect fusion of robotic charm and stoic manliness, mixed with a dash of Old Spice, just for good measure. You could cut glass on Paul Householder’s jutting chin structure. His bulging calves forced 13 women in the Milwaukee area to pass out on non-related occasions during the 1985 season. His flowing locks were the stuff of legend. In fact, MLB forbade Paul Householder from wearing a helmet before the 1986 season, so as not to deprive fans of what they really came to see. (And, as it turned out, what fans really came to see was Paul Householder sitting on the bench, although, thankfully, none his 78 total at-bats ended in serious head trauma.) And maybe more manly than any other attribute of Paul Householder was the fact that he was a ballplayer. Albeit, not a very good one. Paul’s best statistical season arrived in 1983, when his six home runs and stellar .255 batting average helped the Cincinnati Reds finish in last place. The back of this card elaborates: The first player in Brewers history to deliver two pinch home runs in one year was Max Alvis during the 1970 campaign. So, yeah. You know you suck when the “Talkin’ Baseball” tidbit on the back of your own card has absolutely nothing to do with you. But Paul Householder was more than talkin’ baseball. He was a renaissance man. In fact, he not only invented the satin jacket, but he was the first known position player to wear the satin jacket while on the bases. In this very picture Paul Householder is standing on third base – mid game – sans a helmet, and with his hands in his pockets, just chillin’, waiting for someone to drive him in. One thing that may not be evident from this card however, is the fact that Paul Householder was born without a sense of humor. He took every statement literally, and could not differentiate sarcasm from true feelings. This deficiency ironically gave Paul Householder a false sense of self-worth, as teammates were constantly congratulating him on another “great game” after games in which Householder either went 0-for-4, or simply didn’t play at all. Born Paul Frazzleberries in 1958, he legally changed his last name to Householder as a birthday present to his mother, whom he overheard during a phone conversation wishing that her son would one day become a household name.

Did you know?
“Paul Householder” translated in German means “David Hasselhoff.”

Monday, March 12, 2007

Classic card of the week

Mike Gallego, 1988 Topps

This card always amazed me, because you can absolutely, positively tell how short Mike Gallego is, yet there is no supporting perceptive evidence to draw such a conclusion. There are no other players pictured in this card that would alternately expose Gallego’s lack of height, even though you can bet your ass that the catcher behind him is a good three feet taller than Gallego…from his knees. In other Gallego cards, where he is pictured from a defensive position, you can tell how diminutive he is because his glove takes up half of his torso, and the bouncing baseball coming his way looks like a white beach ball with seams about to roll over him on its way to the outfield. And in cards where he is running the bases, his height is revealed when you realize that those tall columns he is running through are the legs of the opposition. But in this particular card, there is nothing to give him away, yet it remains obvious how short he really is. It’s truly one of the great mysteries of the universe, when you really think about it. The only possible explanation that I can come up with involves my own familiarity with this set of cards, which is the 1988 Topps set. Because I know there is no other player that Topps could get a fully erect (pardon my French) body shot of, with their head only grazing the team name above them. This is information that I probably acquired subconsciously, by flipping endlessly through cards of this very set. For example, if Topps tried to get a similar shot of a ballplayer of average height – say, Willie McGee – the top of the card would reveal that McGee played for the “C A R (Willie McGee’s head) L S.” And if they tried that with, say, Dave Winfield, it would be obvious that Winfield was a member of the “Y (Dave Winfield’s shoulders) S.” Even Gallego’s feeble attempts to use his bat to block his team’s identity don’t work, as it almost flows seamlessly into the “T.” Whatever. History will remember Mike Gallego as the David Eckstein of his day. Except history will be wrong, because Gallego was not as good. (And not nearly as scrappy. Or huggable.) Listed at 5’8”, but more realistically not even close, Gallego was never as good of a hitter as he was a walker. In his best statistical season, 1992, there was almost a 100-point differential between Gallego’s batting average (.247) and on-base percentage (.343), thanks in large part to the fact that his strike zone was only three centimeters wide. Control-freak David Wells once mused that “Trying to get strike-one on Gallego is like trying to park your Winnebago when you’re sh*t-faced.”

Mike Gallego fun facts!

Favorite TV Show: Ghost Whisperer

Four favorite hardware stores (in no particular order): Ace, Home Depot, Sears, and Lowe’s

Favorite Marathon: The New York one

Favorite Bible version: King James

Three people, past or present, you’d like to have dinner with: Napoleon, Zeus, and Bill Cosby

Did you know?
Mike Gallego was denied the lead role of Fox’s hit show “24” because he was too tall.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Classic card of the week

Tim Fortugno, 1995 Fleer
*Special Friday edition

Hey, what was it again that you wanted to know about Tim Fortugno? Was it his height? Weight? Did you want to know what town he was born in? Did you want to know from what side of the plate this American League pitcher takes his hacks? Actually, maybe I got ahead of myself there – did you need to know what team Tim Fortugno plays for, what position he plays, and with which hand he throws the ball? Maybe the picture wasn’t clear enough? Speaking of the picture, did you want to know what Tim Fortugno looks like outlined in yellow? Did you always wonder what the name “Fortugno” would look like slightly cut-off, but in big, block letters? Because if you wanted to know the answers to any, or possibly ALL of these questions, have I got the card for you! It’s a Tim Fortugno card (dummy!), and you don’t even have to turn it over. Because all of the vital statistics that you need to know about Tim Fortugno are right there – on the front! – and they’re sporadically placed throughout the card, amidst a sea of watercolors that are obviously very pleasing to the eye (if you don’t have eyes). And not only does this card scream Tim Fortugno literally, it also screams his name figuratively, because Tim Fortugno was that kind of guy. Fortugno hated the fact that most baseball cards put personal information on the back of the card. He felt it insinuated that he was trying to hide something, which he wasn’t (unless you counted his foot fetish, but “Let’s not go there,” said Fortugno). As a matter of fact, when Tim Fortugno introduced himself to everyday people, like garbage men, he would say, “Hello there! I’m Tim Fortugno. I am a left-handed pitcher for the Chicago White Sox, and on the occasion that I am asked to bat, I swing left-handed in that fashion as well. I am six feet tall and 195 pounds, although that could change after lunch – I get taller after turkey. Ha, ha! Just kidding. Anyway, I was born in Clinton, Massachusetts on April 11, 1962. I wear No. 51. Here is my trash.” As an added bonus, you can still turn the card over for some awesome stats, although, I’m not exactly sure whose stats they are. It doesn’t say.

Did you know?
The concept for this card originated with a Fleer executive staring at a pile of barf.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Classic card of the week

Desi Relaford, 1998 Fleer/Skybox

There seems to be a blatant contradiction here. Desi Relaford is rocking the Phillies uni, but he plays for the Little Dawgs? I don’t understand. And more importantly, what are the Little Dawgs? A minor league affiliate? An expansion team? A giant typo? Let’s turn the card over and find out: What is a “LITTLE DAWG?” Major league teams invite as many as 70 players to Spring Training each year. With so many players, it’s sometimes difficult to learn everybody’s name, so Barry Larkin simply refers to the players he doesn’t recognize as “Little Dawgs.” Well, I mean…obviously. I should have known that Barry Larkin was somehow involved in all of this! As a matter of fact, the open dialogue among Skybox executives prior to the release of this set went as follows:
Executive No. 1: Alright, we’ve got this set of cards coming out, featuring a bunch of young guys on the cusp of greatness. What should we call it?
Executive No. 2: Maybe we could call it, “Future stars?”
Executive No. 1: Oh, that’s reeeeaaal original, Executive No. 2. You’re fired. Pack up your shit.
Executive No. 3: I have an idea! Why don’t we call up Cincinnati Reds’ veteran shortstop Barry Larkin and find out what he would do in this situation!
Executive No. 1: Now that’s some thinking outside the box!
Though this explanation seems obvious and self-explanatory, it still leaves us with some burning questions, namely, “Why Barry Larkin?” And also, “What is Barry Larkin doing at Phillies’ camp?” And don’t forget about, “Why Barry Larkin?” But I’m nitpicking here, of course. The main thing to remember is, if Barry Larkin doesn’t recognize you, he will call you, “Little Dawg,” but you must respond to him by calling him “Barry Larkin,” “Mr. Larkin” if you’re nasty. In the end, I suppose that being referred to as “Little Dawg” is better than “Chief,” “Boss,” or “Bro.” Seriously – I hate it when someone calls me bro. If Barry Larkin called me “bro,” I would totally kick his ass smile politely and ask him for an autograph. But let us not forget about the Little Dawg himself, Desi Relaford. What does the future hold for him? He should be the anchor of the Philadelphia infield for years to come. SPOILER ALERT! He’s not. Unless by “anchor of” they meant “worst player on,” and by “Philadelphia infield,” they meant “Long Island Little Dawgs.”

Desi Relaford fun facts!

Favorite Broadway production: Tony & Tina’s Wedding

Favorite animal: Puppies

Favorite weatherman: Sam Champion

Three people, past present or future, you’d like to have dinner with: Lil' Bow-Wow, Barry Larkin, and Rasputin

Did you know?
Executive No. 2 was later rehired after he came up with this idea.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Classic card of the week

*Special Friday edition
Chuck Knoblauch, 1999 Upper Deck

Here is a fun game to play that involves a Chuck Knoblauch baseball card, as you sit at work on a rainy Friday morning: “Where the hell did this ball end up going?” I have some suggestions…

- It went into the dugout on the fly, narrowly missing Don Zimmer, who was thankfully wearing his army helmet

- It landed on the head of Keith Olberman’s father

- The ball never left Knoblauch’s hand, because he forgot where he was for a split second, so he tucked the ball into his chest and eventually ended up on the field in the fetal position doing 360s in the dirt

- He immediately threw the ball up in the air to himself, as an attempt to fool the umpire into thinking that it was a pop fly, but in trying to do that, he accidentally threw the ball to first base, recording the out anyway

- He threw the ball over the outfield fence, recording the first assisted home run in Spring Training history

- He farted and dropped it

- He threw the ball into the opposing team’s on-deck circle, where an alert Fred McGriff was waiting, who proceeded to hit a two-run triple

- In order to avoid actually making the throw, Knoblauch let it fall to the ground and roll around, and then made a whiny gesture in the direction of the home plate umpire, making light of his gaffe during the previous season’s ALCS. The crowd booed

- He successfully threw it to first base. The play was at third

- He casually tossed it underhanded back to the pitcher and yelled, “Do over! I wasn’t ready…”

- He threw it into left field, turned to Joe Torre in the dugout and yelled, “That’s where you want me to play from now on, right? Just making sure…”

And we could go on for hours, which I suggest you do on this lazy Friday. Of course, we kid Chuck Knoblauch because we love him. He always handled his criticism gracefully, and chose to ignore morons such as myself, who couldn’t begin to imagine the psychological torture of not being able to make the simplest throw in baseball. If it makes you feel any better Chuck, during our annual family softball game two years ago, I made an errant throw to first base, and the ball narrowly missed hitting my one-year old Godson in the head. That would have really sucked. Call me!

Did you know?
Chuck Knoblauch could not throw the ball to first base and he almost single-handedly cost the Yankees the 1998 ALCS, yet he was infinitely more clutch than A-Rod.