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Showing posts from January, 2008

Classic card of the week

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*Special Super Bowl edition!
Jim Bakken, 1976 Topps

I feel bad for the Cardinals right about now. Two of the NFL’s elite teams and franchises are descending upon their home field, about to battle it out for league supremacy, while the Cardinals’ most notable participation in Super Bowl activities involves Matt Leinart hosting 13 parties in the span of three days.

So in honor of this year’s Super Bowl host, I wanted to call to mind the days of yore, when the Cardinals were from St. Louis, and they boasted Pro-Bowl kickers who pensively waited on the sidelines contemplating their next field goal attempt, unconcerned with such matters as hair gel or the concept of fashionably late. Jim Bakken was old skool, a St. Louis native who kicked footballs for the hometown team for -- as you’ll see from the statistical data on the back of the card -- 36 years. It would be a cold day in hell before Jim Bakken allowed the Patriots and Giants to play football uncontested on his team’s home field. He wo…

Classic card of the week

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Bill Cartwright, 1992-93 Stadium Club

Every kid like myself who was totally obsessed with Michael Jordan growing up -- read: all of them -- was all too familiar with Bill Cartwright. He was a necessary evil in the world of those dominant Chicago Bulls teams -- the antithesis of Jordan and Pippen’s unmatched athleticism, yet required to guard the likes of Patrick Ewing and Bill Lambier when playoff time rolled around. Truth be told, Bill Cartwright was pretty darn good during his heyday with the Knicks of the early 80’s, but by the time this card was printed, he was spending most of days grooming his grey goatee, getting outscored by his man, and getting yelled at by Jordan. Nevertheless, Cartwright was always respected as a leader, as evidenced by his coaching tenure with the Bulls later on in his career. Obviously, he must have had a deep, enduring basketball philosophy. But what was it? Let’s go to the back of the card to find out:

His quote, “You’ve got to accept blows and you’ve got…

A ‘to-do’ list for Super Bowl weekend

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Note: This column appears in the 1/31 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 2/1 issue of the Peoria Times

As they say, sometimes the anticipation of something is actually greater than the event itself. A good example of this would be almost every Super Bowl, ever. That is an even more appropriate example considering the Super Bowl is this Sunday. So while it is yet to be determined how good the actual game will be, there are a million things going on right now in anticipation of the Big Game, and you’d be remiss, come Monday morning, if you didn’t get your lazy butt off the couch and take advantage. With that in mind, here’s a list of suggestions of things to do for the next few days. And as you’ll see, there’s something for everyone.

For example…

If you like kids, or the NFL, or possibly both, get your tickets for:

The NFL Experience at the University of Phoenix Stadium. Get some free autographs from NFL players, test out real-life football gear, or -- with its array of interactive competi…

Classic card of the week

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Neil O’Donnell, 1992 Score

In honor of the upcoming Super Bowl, I figured we’d post the card of a Super Bowl quarterback. Not a Super Bowl-winning quarterback, mind you -- my Trent Dilfer cards are locked up tight in a safe somewhere in Switzerland, obviously -- but a Super Bowl quarterback nonetheless. Yes, Neil O’Donnell was the starting quarterback during Super Bowl XXX (a.k.a. the Porn Bowl), which featured the Steelers and the Cowboys (whose own quarterback, coincidentally, had not spent the previous few days in Mexico with the singer Monica.) At the risk of spoiling the surprise, the Cowboys won. But we can’t blame O’Donnell, whose three interceptions -- two of which, if I remember correctly, he threw directly at Cowboys’ defensive back Larry Brown -- immediately led to Dallas scores. (As a result, Brown became the first person in NFL history to be named Super Bowl MVP based solely on the merits of being able to catch a football.) Okay, well…maybe we can blame O’Donnell. But I ch…

Super Bowl mailbag!

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Maybe you remember our Feedback Friday segment from just a few days ago, where a New England fan sent in a fantastic email to berate me, alternately proving the very point I was sarcastically trying to make in the original column. And maybe you were saying to yourself, “Boy, I wish Mike got more negative feedback like that!” Well, you’re in luck, because when I arrived in the office on Monday, I had two more amazing pieces of literary genius from New England fans just waiting for me to peruse.

So, since the Super Bowl will renew the oft-ignored rivalry between New York and New England, I figured why not get things underway with a mailbag featuring Boston fans who hate me?! So without further ado…

Mike Kenny is a lousy, NY biased writer who should go back to Jersey…

A solid start. Though I’m intrigued to see where this one goes.

His stereotype-filled article about the upcoming Super Bowl in Glendale was pretty weak and very very negative…

The column, if you’ll remember, actually acknowledg…

Wolf and I

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On the scale of great days in the history of my lifetime, today ranks somewhere in between the Yankees winning it all in '96, and my wedding day.

For today I met an American Gladiator. Not just an American Gladiator...THE American Gladiator:

Wolf.





Yes, Wolf (real name Don Yates) came into our office for an interview. Turns out, he's from Peoria -- I live in Peoria! We're practically the same person! -- and my coworker Chelsea is currently grilling him in the conference room, which is a good thing, because if I were conducting the interview, it would sound like this: It says here you howl because you're a Wolf...Is that accurate? He was actually supposed to come in last week, at which point I immediately called my wife (she loves Wolf so much that I should actually be a little concerned), and she told me to make sure I told him that she thinks he is "the most bad-ass of all the Gladiators." She also told me to try and have Wolf call my brother-in-law, sign a few …

Feedback Friday!

Because I now reside in another state, far, far, away, people from back home often ask me how I'm doing with the writing. "What's it like writing for a weekly in Arizona?" and "Have you gotten any feedback yet?" Well, luckily, yes -- I AM getting some feedback! In fact, just today I received this little nugget of goodness in my inbox:

Sent: Thursday, January 17, 2008 11:45 AM
To: Mike Kenny
Subject: Hey Mike Kenny



Just read your vomit about New England sports fans and I had to take a moment to tell you what an outstanding job you've done of showing your ignorance. But then, what more could anyone expect from a piece of New York shit like you?

With utmost sincerity,
Dave Pete

So there you have it! Amazingly, making fun of New England sports fans from Arizona isn't much different than making fun of New England sports fans from New Jersey, in that no matter where you make fun of them from, they just...don't...get it. And on that note, this piece of New…

Classic card of the week

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Carl Pickens, 1992 AW Sports

Few players loved America as much as Carl Pickens, who refused to be a part of this Carl Pickens card unless America was adequately acknowledged. And while it may be difficult to notice unless you look closely at this card, the American flag is, in fact, waving above Carl Pickens’ head. It is widely assumed that, going through Carl Pickens’ mind at this very moment as he waits to field a punt, are the emotional words of the National Anthem, which go, “And I’m proud to be an Americaaaan, where at least I know I’m freeeee…” That, I’m being told, is actually not the National Anthem. But it should be.

Besides loving America, Carl Pickens also played for the Cincinnati Bengals in the early 90’s, who were quarterbacked by Boomer Esiason, who also loved America, but not nearly as much as Carl Pickens, as evidenced by his mostly flagless cards. (Said Pickens, “You look great, Boomer, don’t get me wrong. But I can’t tell what country you’re playing in.”) Taking thei…

Classic card of the week

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Shaquille O’Neal, 1995 Upper Deck

Please do not disturb Shaquille O’Neal when he is stylin’ and profilin’, especially by doing something stupid like trying to reach him on his modestly sized car phone. For crying out loud, if Shaquille O’Neal wants to style and profile with the assistance of a car phone, he will simply pick it up and perpetrate like he is talking -- he doesn’t need you calling him up asking him questions! Shaquille O’Neal has the good sense to end this conversation by launching his car phone onto the Orlando highway, which is exactly what he would do if there weren’t a 20-foot cord attached. Today is Shaquille O’Neal’s only day off this week, and all he wants to do is throw on as many colors as possible, hop into his drop-top Benz -- which he will allow his friend to drive today, because you can’t be drivin,’ stylin,’ and profilin’ all at the same time…that is too much! -- bump some Fu-schnikens out the speakers, and cruise down the boulevard. Is that too much to ask?

N…

Classic card of the week

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*Special “Let’s Make Fun of the Cowboys and Hope That the Giants Have a Chance This Weekend!” edition
Michael Irvin, 1991 Pro Line, Portraits Series

When Michael Irvin would leave his not-at-all-gaudy mansion for practice, he would often stop on his all-white spiral staircase, stare into one of his walls made entirely of mirrors, and run through his personal checklist:

Spandex capris?
Check.
Over-sized wrist-sweat prevention devices?
Check.
Money on the nightstand?
Check.
Football?
Check.
Ya’ know what? On second thought, I’m gonna leave the football here. This is MY football and they probably have footballs at practice that I can use. Yeah, I’m gonna leave it here.
Fresh racing stripes on the side of my head?
Check.
General feeling of unchallenged superiority, fueled by years at “the ‘U,’” the accuracy of Troy Aikman, and the unwillingness of my peers to gloat after every single play they make?
Double-check. I’m out!

Of course, we kid with Michael Irvin. The truth of the matter is that, when it came…

Classic card of the week

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Tom Chambers, 1991-92 NBA Hoops

Does life get much better than being Tom Chambers? You’re playing basketball for a living, you’re one of the more respected white dudes in the league, you live in sunny Arizona, you wear purple, the Knicks are your bitch, and you have -- unarguably -- the best hair in NBA history. Oh, and to top it all off, you’re middle name is Doane. I mean, where do I sign?

After games in which he would score 20 points or more (all of them), Tom Chambers would retire to his quarters, where he would be fed fat-free grapes by a cavalcade of modestly attired women (he was from Utah). If it was a Saturday night, he may even top it off with a glass of sparkling water. When Tom Chambers had sufficiently conquered Phoenix, he made the next logical step: he moved to Israel to play for the Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team. Obviously. Chambers’ style of high-flying, killer-crossover-themed basketball was the equivalent of streetball in Israel, and on one occasion in 1995, he sp…

Road to the Super Bowl: Calm before the storm

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Note: This column appears in the 1/10 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 1/11 issue of the Peoria Times


Super Bowl XLII: Now with 100% less Rex Grossman!

Maybe you have heard, but in a mere few weeks, the Super Bowl is coming to Glendale! Yeah, I know, seriously! This is very exciting for me personally, as I have never been in the general location of where a Super Bowl was being hosted. It has always been a dream of mine to watch the game on TV, and say, “Hey, this game isn’t very far from where I am right now!” And it looks like this dream may be fulfilled, as the higher ups at the University of Phoenix Stadium don’t seem to think that two-bit “columnists” who write for the local weekly are worthy of a ticket. Nevertheless, it will be nice to see rabid football fans like Clay Aiken and Amarosa from “The Apprentice” in attendance, while someone who actually writes about the local NFL team sits on his couch. Really, I’m not bitter!

Anyhoo, over the next few weeks, I’m going to try and ke…

Classic card of the week

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Tony Bennett, 1992-93 Fleer

Tony Bennett did not receive as much flak for his name as one might think, as approximately 96% of the NBA at the time had no idea who Tony Bennett the singer actually was. (A modern day scenario would involve a rookie small forward named Michael Buble.) In fact, midway through his first season in Charlotte, teammate Kenny Gattison, upon discovering Bennett’s name, began making fun of him, singing mock lounge songs in the locker room. Larry Johnson, now distracted from his customary routine of pre-game cross-dressing, demanded to know what was going on. When Gattison informed Johnson that Tony Bennett was a famous “crooner,” Johnson began busting on Gattison -- calling him “Carlton” and mocking his use of the word “crooner” -- for even knowing who Tony Bennett was. Kenny Gattison eventually lost the respect of all of his teammates (ironically, including Tony Bennett) and was traded to Utah the following week.

But what about Tony Bennett the baller? Let’s find…