Showing posts from May, 2008

Classic card of the week

Orioles Leaders, 1986 Topps

When I go to sleep at night, I dream of Orioles’ leaders. This is strange, considering I’m a Yankees fan. Nevertheless, back in 1986, I was having a rather pleasant dream about the leaders of the Orioles, and the manner in which they lead, and their leaderiffic tendencies. When I awoke, this very card was under my pillow -- obviously left by the Baseball Card Fairy -- and it depicted the very dream I was just enjoying. It was the fourth best day of my life!

But which Orioles’ leader was I dreaming of? The Caucasian mustachioed fellow popping out to shallow right on the front of this card did not look familiar to me. So, I immediately checked the back of the card so that I could match this fine gentleman with the specific statistical categories that he so boldly led the Orioles in:

Well, I was pretty sure this man was not Cal Ripken, who led the O’s in hits, runs, and triples the previous season. I was a little more certain this man was not Eddie Murray. And I …

T-Mobile bridges gap between technology, oxygen

Note: This column appears in the 5/29 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 5/30 issue of the Peoria Times

Everyday more and more people are moving here, which is good, but also pretty annoying. I can say that because I’ve been here a year now. I have tenure. Developments and strip malls are going up in the blink of an eye, especially in northern Glendale and Peoria, which has more room to build on. The reasons people want to live in this area in the first place -- its openness and serenity and the opportunity it presents to encounter a wild animal that could kill you in like, two seconds -- are being destroyed everyday.

And people are getting upset.

Residents of Vistancia in northwest Peoria are concerned about the APS initiative to place a series of power lines along the northern edge of the development instead of on the originally proposed Route 74. If you’ve never seen a series of power lines before -- and I don’t know why you wouldn’t have -- it’s pretty much like looking at the back …

Classic card of the week

Doug Jennings, 1988 Fleer

Here’s a trivia question: Name one of “Baseball’s Best” players in 1988. I’ll give you a hint -- the answer is not Doug Jennings.

Give up? The answer is Doug Jennings. (There are no other acceptable answers. Sorry!) That hint that I provided, admittedly, may have been a bit confusing, as Mr. Jennings was not, literally, one of baseball’s best players in 1988. However, he WAS one of “Baseball’s Best” players in 1988. So how did Fleer and their atrociously colorful series of cards come to this conclusion? Well, Doug Jennings had accumulated a four-year batting average of .303 in the minor leagues. ‘Nuff said. Move over Mike Greenwell and Orel Hershiser, with all of your major league “experience” and impressive “stats” -- Doug Jennings and his .303 minor league average are here. To use a phrase that was popular in 1988, “You betta ask somebody!”

Wait -- was that 1988 or like, 1994 when that phrase was popular? I forget. Nevertheless, I just did axe ask somebody, an…

City making good on promise to solve cart epidemic

This column appears in the 5/22 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 5/23 issue of the Peoria Times...and, yet again, has nothing to do with sports

Peoria is great, for the most part. There are quiet, friendly neighborhoods, lots of fun stuff to do, and even an IHOP, which is great, because I love that strawberry syrup that they have there. But something has been plaguing the city for years now, and it’s pretty much the only thing holding Peoria back from becoming a respected part of the state.

Shopping carts.


I remember it was around a year ago when my wife and I traveled to Peoria to start looking for houses. The city was beautiful, of course, and we knew it was where we wanted to start the next chapter of our lives. But still -- everywhere we looked we saw shopping carts. Taking up parking spaces at the local grocery store. Hanging out on the corner smoking cigarettes. Sometimes we’d be driving and a shopping cart would pass us on the road, that one faulty wheel threatening to s…

This is probably going to get me in trouble, but bring on whoever!

I know this is a little late, but I just couldn't let this one go...

So I'm watching Game Seven of the Cavs-Celtics series on Sunday afternoon, and it's halftime, which means it's time for ESPN's halftime studio show, which is always a whole lot of nothing. Anyway, heading into a commercial, Stuart Scott announces that when they return, they'll be interviewing Chauncey Billups -- whose Pistons had already made it to the Eastern Conference Finals. Said Scott -- and this is not verbatim, but pretty darn close -- You're NOT going to want to miss what Chauncey Billups has to say about who he wants to face in the next round!

Aaaaaand we're back. After a few awkward minutes of Stuart Scott kissing Chauncey Billups' ass, the question is posed. Cavs or Celtics? This, mind you, is what I did NOT want to miss. Says Chauncey Billups:

Honestly? It doesn't matter either way.


Classic card of the week

Melido Perez, 1989 Score

Melido Perez did not invent the jheri curl -- Jheri Redding did, and yes, I Googled “jheri curl” to find that out -- but he did perfect it.

(Side bar: I was going to say that Melido Perez “redefined” the jheri curl, until I realized how much I hate that word. Redefined. What a stupid, stupid word. And you hear it all the time, especially in sports. “Cal Ripken redefined the shortstop position.” Why, because he was tall? That’s how he redefined it? If Cal Ripken started playing shortstop on the warning track, then he would have redefined the position. My mission in life is to redefine the word redefine so that the new definition of redefine is a frowny face :(

I'm going to close the parenthesis now because it's hard to do so after a frowny face. Aaaaaaand close.)

Anyhoo, now that THAT’S over, back to the jheri curl. Melido Perez, as previously mentioned, and as you can see from the above card, had one. Isn’t that funny? His brother Pascual had one too! Ha, …

A couple of out-of-towners take in Arizona

Note: This column appears in the 5/15 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 5/16 issue of the Peoria Times...and has nothing to do with sports

My parents came to visit my wife and I last week from New Jersey. They were here for about nine days, and in that time, they managed to experience more of Arizona than we have in a year.

Much of Arizona they discovered while searching for the 10 East from the airport in their rental car. When I called my mom to find out where they were -- roughly three hours after they landed -- she said they had finally found the 10E, and were going straight to the nearest divorce court. Then they’d get something to eat.

Once everyone was settled in, it was time to experience the desert. After a weekend that included a D-Backs game, several stints at our development pool, and a few tastes of fine, local cuisine (the Peoria “Chili’s”) my parents were on their own once the workweek started. Luckily for them -- because our section of Arizona is largely bereft of stree…

Classic card of the week

Kevin McReynolds, 1989 Baseball Cards magazine

Here is yet another example of my extraordinary scissor skills. Once again, you would think that if I took the time to cut this Kevin McReynolds card out of whatever cereal box it was featured on, I would have at least taken my time. Apparently, my excitement at the thought of adding an exclusive Kevin McReynolds card to my collection was too much for me to handle, and it’s a miracle that my unsteady and impatient hand did not cut off any of the McFro.

To the back of the card!

McReynolds, a power-hitting outfielder with a right arm that commands respect, had an MVP-caliber year in 1988, and looks for more and better in 1989.

Pure poetry. At the time, many players were looking for more, but not necessarily better, but McReynolds was searching for both. He was looking for more and better stuff, more of the stuff he could be better at, while also becoming better at the stuff he liked to do more of, but in a better kind of way. But with more. And…

Classic card of the week

Pedro Martinez, 1998 Fleer Ultra

Pregame stretches served as a time of contemplation for Pedro Martinez. During this particular instance, Martinez is undoubtedly thinking back to the days when he would sit under a mango tree without 50 cents for the bus. But now look at me, stretching for the Boston Red Sox. With my own purple stretch-a-ma-thingie! Ya’ know what? I’m gonna find myself a little person to hang around with. That’s the logical next step. And why the hell is Zimmer looking at me like that? What’s his problem?

Of course, I kid with Pedro Martinez because I hate him. Not as a person, but as an athlete. But also as a person. That was a joke. Sort of. But by hate I mean “respectfully loathe,” which is something he should be proud of, if he gave a flying Zimmer what a random Yankee fan blogger thought about him. Please though, take a look at Pedro Martinez. What we’re witnessing here is the smug confidence of a man who -- regardless of whether or not he adequately stretches befor…

New license plates help save earth, increase vanity options

Note: This column appears in the 5/9 issue of the Peoria Times...and has nothing to do with sports

My wife purchased a new car a few weeks ago. A few days ago she received her Arizona license plate.

Let me first say that this is quite a big deal for someone relatively new to the area. In fact, my wife was rolling around with New Jersey plates (she had her car shipped) since we moved here. For us, much more so than our house or our jobs or our willingness to exist in 125-degree heat, an AZ license plate signified our commitment to living here. It said to the world, “For all you know, I am actually from Arizona. So BACK OFF!” Or something like that. This would officially make my wife a local. A townie, if you will. An Arizonan. A woman. You get the idea.

She opened the big envelope while we did drumrolls in our heads. And there it was.

“What the heck is this?” she asked.

It appeared as if someone had mistakenly sent my wife one of those fake license plates that you would find in a tourist…

Classic card of the week

Kevin Garnett, 1998 Skybox

Okay, now that we’re familiar with this series of cards, let’s skip the b.s. and head straight to the back of the card, which, coincidentally, contains a lot of b.s.:

Uh, we’ve got a mismatch here. Bringing serious thunder with speed and agility. Excuse me Mr. High School Player of the Year, got some shades? 45 double-doubles. Tastefully done. No fun police needed here.

I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoy the random assortment of fragmented statements. Lesser cards would write something predictable, like: Bringing serious thunder with speed and agility, Garnett has already proven to be one of the most versatile players in the NBA. But this card will simply leave it at Bringing serious thunder with speed and agility, thus allowing the reader to use his or her imagination to infer what the rest of this statement would read, if it were, ya’ know, an actual sentence. In fact, most of these tidbits require a fair amount of imagination on the reader’s part. To wi…