Thursday, June 26, 2008

Classic card of the week

Tino Martinez, 1998 Upper Deck, Retro series

This one is for the hos ladies.

Many people have argued that the “Classic card of the week” discriminates against females, because I tend to post stupid cards with snarky comments that reference “guy’s movies” like “Carlito’s Way” and “Mr. Holland's Opus.” Even the act of posting silly cards itself is discriminatory, as I have come to learn that many women did not, in fact, ask for the complete 1989 Topps set for Christmas of that year, and have yet to open it. If I am going to post sports cards – these people argue – I could at least, every now and then, post one of a brooding stud. To that I say, apparently you haven’t seen this. Nevertheless…

Here ya’ go. Tino. The Bamtino, as John Sterling has affectionately and jackassedly referred to him. Girls want to be with him. Guys want to be like him. An example of a girl that would like to be with him is my wife, which doesn’t upset me that much because I would also like to be with him. On the field. Having a catch. Talking about what we’re going to do after the game. Maybe grab a drink. Some jager bombs. We have an off day tomorrow so we should go down to AC or something. “Maybe you can leave ME some ladies this time!” I will jokingly joke with him, although I’m crying a little bit inside. He spots my wife in the stands. Winks at her. I go 0-for-4 with eight strikeouts, released the next day. During the 5th inning a puppy runs onto the field, and Tino saves it from getting stomped on by Rich Garces, and then hands it to my wife. Numbers are exchanged. Crowd applauds. Yankees win, 100-3. Tino has 12 grand slams, is immediately inducted into the Hall of Fame the next day. But he needs a date…

Wow, that got out of hand. I apologize. Another example of a girl that would like to be with Tino Martinez is my cousin Cara, who would leave her husband right now if this card magically came to life and jumped through the computer screen. Other examples of girls who will enjoy this card are the types of the girls that have ovaries.

As far as the card itself, pretty standard, though I’m not sure what’s so “Retro” about it. Quite the glamour shot, though. Kind of a slap in the face to every other ballplayer at the time trying to get a date. True story: This photo was taken by Upper Deck’s lone female photographer -- Lydia Vonhonstonken -- who literally melted to death immediately after the flash went off. No charges were filed.

Did you know?
David Cone once said that “Tino Martinez makes Derek Jeter look like Zim.”

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

City website helps us prepare for storm season

Note: This column appears in the 6/26 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 6/27 issue of the Peoria Times

Last summer was the first summer my wife and I spent in the Valley, and thus, it was also our first experience with the famed Arizona Monsoon season. I think it hailed once. And one day it flooded a little. Other than that it was hotter than all hell. We were unimpressed.

Granted, I realize just how disruptive and destructive a monsoon can be. They are serious storms -- not to be messed with. And just because last summer may have been weak in the monsoon department doesn't mean that we citizens should not be prepared for some crazy weather this summer. Luckily for us, the city of Glendale has a plan to combat monsoons: the Internet. Yes, the city has created a webpage specifically dedicated to monsoon preparedness, which is cleverly and ominously entitled “Monsoon!!!” (Exclamation points are mine.) Subtitle: “Be prepared. Be cautious. Be Glendale Monsoon Ready.” If you have little to no common sense, or if you are an expert in Tucson monsoons but don’t feel Glendale monsoon ready, then this is the website for you!

First, a background on monsoons, courtesy of the site: the word monsoon itself comes from the Arabic word “mausim,” which translates to season. Therefore, it is a must that everyone be prepared, because it is, after all, Season season. Thanks a lot ancient Arabic peoples, for making us look stupid.

But how does one know when a monsoon is coming? Will we receive a letter? No, claims the website: Keep your eye on the sky. Darkening skies, flashes of light and increasing wind are all signs of a storm on the way. If you hear thunder, it’s best to head to safe area. Good stuff. Very helpful. The website, however, does not specify an example of a “safe area,” but I am going to assume that one safe area would be in your car, for a long drive. In order to escape the monsoon.

I am wrong.

Safety officials urge people to avoid driving during monsoon storms…

But what if we have to-

…sometimes it is inevitable.

Okay, good. Then what?

If a traffic light is not working, treat the intersection as a four-way stop.

This is very important to keep in mind, mostly because it is in direct contradiction to Arizona law during non-monsoon time, which is: If a traffic light IS working, gun it.

Outta the way jerks! I have to get to my safe place!

This is all well and good, but there is still nothing in here about stopping a monsoon. This, I would assume, means that a monsoon is bound to hit. And when one does, the power might go out. What to do?!

Keep your freezer and refrigerator doors closed. This will maintain the cold air already built up inside and help protect your food.

This is another helpful piece of advice that is not only relevant during a power outage cause by a monsoon, but also during any occasion whatsoever in which you are not physically reaching into your refrigerator or freezer to take something out.


Switching off high-usage items like computers will help prevent overloading your system.

In other words, during a power outage caused by a monsoon, the last thing you should do is access the webpage about what to do during a power outage caused by a monsoon. It is better that you print these pages out beforehand and store them in the same safe place you will retreat to should you hear thunder.

Also, maybe you Glendale citizens can share your monsoon information with us folk from Peoria. We would also like to be Glendale Monsoon ready, in case we’re there, or something.

I know this seems like a lot to remember, but safety has to be a priority during extreme weather patterns. Besides, Monsoon season only lasts until September 15th, at which point we can all go back into our refrigerators.

But tonight is poker night! I think I can drive through that...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Classic card of the week

Henry Cotto, 1990 Topps

Coming up through the Seattle Mariners’ farm system in the early 90’s, a young Alex Rodriguez could not shake the comparisons to Henry Cotto. Both were over six feet tall. But it didn’t end there.

Both were born in New York but were Puerto Rican in heritage, or something close to that. (Like, not Asian.) Both men were not designated hitters, which is to say that both of them played the field, on the diamond and with the ladies. Each would play for both the Yankees and Mariners, and one year with the Cubs, which hasn’t happened yet for Rodriguez, but trust me. Both men, except for Cotto, would sign groundbreaking multi-million dollar contracts that would follow them throughout their careers. Both men happily caressed their baseball bats in front of thousands of adoring fans. Both men occasionally drank cranberry juice. Each had a famous, easier-to-say-than-their-actual-name nickname: A-Rod, Hen-Cot, respectively. “A rod of hen cot.” That is how scouts cleverly described Rodriguez’s similarities to Cotto.

At first burdened by these unrealistic expectations (i.e.: Cotto's legendary three doubles in 1986), A-Rod would learn to thrive under them. Currently, his 532 career home runs as compared to Cotto’s 44 has created a little space between the two. But the comparisons haven’t quieted down, mostly because Henry Cotto was something that Alex Rodriguez has never been: clutch. Don’t believe me? Check out the back of the card:

Henry batted 1.000 (1-for-1) for Cubs in 1984 NLCS.

Bam. 'Nuff said. Many people think that “batting a thousand” is a cliché, like if someone were to say, “Hey, I gave it 110% out there today,” or, "This thing that I am eating tastes like chicken." But Henry Cotto literally batted 1.000 in the 1984 NLCS, which is just about as clutch as you can get. In fact, scientisticians have proven that, during that series, he also gave it 103%. And yes, that is a record.

Some argue that this is a somewhat small sample size. But those people seem to forget that during Alex Rodriguez’s only postseason at-bat, he struck out with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth during Game Seven of the World Series, and his bat flew into the stands and knocked an elderly woman unconscious and he also fell down and sort of pooped his pants a little bit while the opposing team -- the 1994 MTV Rock n' Jock All-Stars -- trampled over him in celebration. Meanwhile, Cotto’s clutch hit was crucial in allowing the Cubs to not make it to the 1984 World Series.

Henry Cotto still scoffs at the comparisons. “Call me when he bats 1.000 during his postseason career,” he is prone to saying, while angrily sipping cranberry juice. But that is impossible, due to the aforementioned A-Rod at-bat in which he pooped himself. Nevertheless, if Alex Rodriguez could, like Hen-Cot, bat 1.000 during just one postseason series, he could finally return to his homeland of not Asia with his head held high.

Did you know?
According to his Wikipedia page, Henry Cotto currently manages the Everett AquaSox, which is a Carl Everett-owned independent outfit that plays underwater, and doesn't believe in dinosaurs.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Coyotes in the red, but fans shouldn’t be feeling blue

Note: This column appears in the 6/19 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 6/20 issue of the Peoria Times

Note Part II: The title of this post is purposely awful

Many of my loyal readers -- cough*MomandDad*cough -- may recall that I, rather officially, declared myself a Phoenix Coyotes fan about a week before the end of their season this past April. This appears to be excellent timing on my part, with the news last week that the Coyotes as a franchise lost $30 million during the 2006-07 season, and remain dead last in the NHL in ticket sales.

It would seem that this perfect combination of ice hockey and the desert is now threatened. I mean, $30 million is a lot of money. You could fill up your car for almost an entire year with that kind of cash flow. (Notice how I interspersed a topical and relevant cultural fuel crisis into a column about hockey…hope you’re taking notes, kids!)) And being last in ticket sales within a league that has -- maybe up until this past season -- managed to slip out of the national consciousness is also not good news.

So the Coyotes are dead. Stick a fork in ‘em. Tear down the arena. Let’s start over. What’s cool these days? Mixed Martial Arts? Let’s do that instead. Roller derby? Whatever. Let’s just do it already.

But hold on, me! Are the Coyotes really finished as a franchise in Glendale? Let’s look into this a little bit further.

For starters, okay, the Coyotes lost $30 million. In 2006-07. Hey, thanks for the breaking news. But, ummm, is this really relevant right now? To quote the movie “Friday” (also topical and relevant, released in 1995), “Why you bringin’ up old [stuff]?” Seriously. Did you know that the New York Yankees lost $4 million in 1984? (I made that up, but still…could be true.) It ruined them as a franchise. Also, it’s 2008. If you look past the news that the Coyotes lost some money two years ago, you would see that they witnessed a 20 percent increase in finances this past season. And I actually did look that up, and it is true.

You got to be a stupid franchise to get fired in the offseason

Besides, contrary to what I had stated earlier, $30 million isn’t a lot of money. Maybe for you and me, it is. But not in sports. Shaquille O’Neal made $30 million, like, yesterday.

Oh, but the Coyotes are last in the NHL in ticket sales…so what? Who cares about tickets? That’s merely one aspect of a franchise’s financial stability, and the Coyotes saw increases in advertising and corporate revenue this past season, and I’m sure they saw it at the concession stands, too. Look, I’m going to be very honest with you right now -- the last Coyotes game I went to, I did not buy tickets for. I can’t say why, because it’s incriminating. Still though, I bought 17 beers while I was there. And a taco. And a shirt with a Coyote on it that I spilled taco sauce on. And my wife didn’t talk to me for a week afterwards. You don’t see those kinds of things in stupid “financial reports.”

Finally, the Phoenix Coyotes aren’t going anywhere because they’re only five years into the 30-year lease they signed at Arena, and the penalties for breaking the lease vastly outweigh what the franchise is actually worth. So, if nothing else, we’ll have professional hockey for the near future because the city is holding the Coyotes hostage. Hooray!

Of course, it would help matters if the Coyotes started winning, and if the franchise didn’t respond to this most recent news by increasing season ticket prices by 50%. (You should have done the opposite, idiots.) Nevertheless, count me among the many who can’t wait to go to a ‘Yotes game during the 2008-09 season, which starts, I think, in a matter of hours.

I may even buy a ticket. If I can afford it. Stupid gas prices. (See how I brought it back around? Aaaaaand we’re done.)

...but were third in cup-holder sales

Friday, June 13, 2008

Reader feedback Friday!

Received this note while I was going through renewals and what not this afternoon at work. The first part is praise for some of my coworkers, which you can read on their blogs, if such a thing exists. The final paragraph pertains to my columns for the paper:

Also, I enjoy the prose and puns in Mike Kinney's [sic] commentary. His perspective as a newcomer to the neighborhood is very amusing. LOL! That said -- I wish he wouldn't go for a laugh by alluding to violent actions. The path to a better world is by thinking, talking, teaching and making peace...always.

And there you go. I'm not sure if I should be happy, or confused, or so angry that I could rip someone's testicles off with a meat hook. I honestly don't know of a time when I alluded to violent actions for a laugh, with the possible exception of that previous sentence. Nevertheless, I have never seem an LOL! IN CAPS immediately followed by criticism of how that LOL! was attained; a criticism that seems, at least to me, largely unwarranted. But hey, it looks like somebody might like me! Kind of.

Anyhoo, have a great weekend everyone! Don't forget to punch a random stranger.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Classic card of the week

Dwight Gooden, 1987 Drake’s

Here is another installment in our “Cards that came with food” series. In this case, we are provided this awesome Dwight Gooden card courtesy of Drake’s. There is no doubt in my mind that the box this card was cut out of was a box of Drake’s coffee cakes, because they were like my favorite things ever as a kid…and right now, and forever. That two-pack of soft, delicious coffee cakes, with the crumbles -- I call them crumbles -- on the top, which had a tendency to fall off after a hearty bite, but it wouldn’t matter, because even if one of those crumbles fell into a pile of hot poop, I would have scooped it out and ate it anyway, because those crumbles were so precious. I love coffee cakes.

As you can see, this particular series was the “7th Annual Collector’s Edition,” so by this point in time, the Drake’s series of cards held a lot prestige within the industry. You could bring one of these puppies to a baseball card show and try to trade it to one of the shiesty dealers, and you wouldn’t even have to be embarrassed. Except you would be embarrassed anyway, because those dealers were always trying to rip you off and make you feel stupid, and cards that come with desert and that you had to personally cut out of a cardboard box don’t typically inspire the awe of say, a Mickey Mantle rookie card. Whatever. Jerks.

Anyhoo, I have to admit, at that point in time -- I was nine years old when I cut this card out -- I honestly believed that by this time in my life, it would be worth at least a gajillion dollars. (“This card is so rare! And Gooden will be the best pitcher ever by then!”) I would retire at 32, walk into a bank, hand my Drake’s coffee cake Dwight Gooden card to the bank manager, and then fly immediately to Turks & Caicos (I had exquisite tastes as nine-year old, as you could already tell by my desert preferences) where I would spend the rest of my days sitting on the beach sipping Shirley Temples. Also, Winnie from “The Wonder Years” would be there.

Amazingly, things did not work out that way. To my credit, I did manage to hold onto this card for all these years…so there’s that. But instead of cashing it in I have instead posted it on a blog that nobody reads. And you can’t put a price on that.

Oh, wait -- yes you can. The price is zero dollars. I also must mention that the back of this card is brought to you by Ring Ding, Jr., Sunny Doodles, and Yodels. I have never heard of Sunny Doodles before, but they sound awesome. I wonder if they have crumbles…

Did you know?
Dwight Gooden was, thankfully, never addicted to sugar.


Courtesy of loyal reader and pop culture aficionado Lisa:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sign-holders reduce fear of finding something by accident

Note: This column appears in the 6/12 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 6/13 issue of the Peoria Times

There is a phenomenon sweeping this part of the country. I am not sure how long it’s been here, but I am certain that I noticed it the second I moved to Arizona. It is a revolutionary tactic in advertising, and it combines a lack of technology, minimum wage, and an utter disregard for human life and dignity. What is this phenomenon, you ask, as if you don’t already know?

People standing outside holding signs.

Seriously. Local businesses are paying people to stand a few feet away from oncoming traffic and hold up a sign advertising a store inside of a strip mall nearby. The reason for this, of course, is that every business -- as mandated by Arizona law -- must be contained within a strip mall, so that the only way you can find that business is to randomly drive into strip malls and look at all the stores without running over anyone in the parking lot. Or, in this case, you can be cordially invited to shop at a local establishment by someone standing outside in the 115-degree heat who looks like they have lost the will to live.

I had noticed this trend dating back to last summer, but it seems like I’m seeing it more and more as local businesses struggle in the current economic climate. Last week I was driving on Lake Pleasant Parkway in Peoria, and I stopped at the light next to the new Wal-Mart store. Keep in my mind that this Wal-Mart is the only store within a 10-million square mile radius of that area. Also keep in mind that this is Wal-Mart -- not a local bagel shop -- and you would have to be a blind person to miss it. Nevertheless, there was a woman on the corner of the road holding a “Wal-Mart” sign with an arrow directing traffic into the parking lot. Except that it was five o’clock in the afternoon, and it was approximately 8,000 degrees outside, and the woman was using the sign to shade herself from the blaring sun, so the sign was actually directing people to drive to the Wal-Mart in the sky.

A few weeks before that, I was getting onto the 101 on Union Hills Dr in Glendale on my way to work. And what did I see on the side of the road at 7:00 in the morning? A girl dressed like Wendy -- yes, of Wendy’s fame -- holding a sign while sporting a half-smile that screamed, “Help me!” This was pretty embarrassing for everyone involved. I felt so bad for her that I almost went to Wendy’s. But I didn’t.

From an advertising standpoint, this is really thinking outside the proverbial box, isn’t it? If business is struggling, pay someone to stand outside and hold a sign, and wait for the money to start rolling in. (That’s how Microsoft was created, true story.) Thing is, seeing a person on the corner holding a sign does grab my attention…but in a very negative way. Instead of saying, “Oh, that’s where ‘Barry’s Bait & Tackle Supply’ is! I think I shall go in and purchase something,” I say, “Poor dude. Look at what they’ve done to him. I will never shop at ‘Barry’s Bait & Tackle Supply again!”

Sure, recent technology has proven there are signs that hold themselves. But you just never know what to expect when you remove the human element. (Except, of course, one less person on staff, a decreased chance of someone dying in the heat, and, considering the alternative would be more creative means of advertising, more business.)

Luckily, it seems that these human sign-holders may be gaining more and more rights within the sign-holding industry. In fact, two days ago I was waiting at a red light and I noticed a high school-aged kid sitting in a lounge chair on the corner. He was under an umbrella and was wearing sunglasses. I couldn’t see what his sign was for, as the prop he was using to hold it up had fallen over, and thus, so had the sign itself. Also, he may have been sleeping.

And that, my friends, is what we call advertising.


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Classic card of the week

Greg Harris, 1987 Sportsflics

I have good news and bad news. The good news? I found another hologram card. The bad news? There is no bad news.

Before video -- which was invented in 1996, I think -- pitchers could only look at their hologram baseball cards to notice flaws in their delivery. They would sit in the clubhouse with their pitching coach and turn the card every which way and make furious notes about any mechanical flaws. Unfortunately, they would then have to wait until next season’s batch of Sportsflics cards were released to see if they had made any improvements. Even more unfortunately, they would have to wait forever because Sportsflics cards were never released again after 1987 because they were deemed the worst and ugliest and most pointless cards ever produced ever in the history of anything in the world ever.

Luckily for Greg Harris, Sportsflics just confirmed what he already knew -- that Greg Harris was awesome. Perfect form, pitching in front of a packed house for the Texas Rangers, nice follow-through, and ready to field a ground ball back to the pitcher should the batter miraculously make contact. Life doesn’t get any better than what is portrayed in the above hologram. But Sportsflics didn’t just pride itself on mass-producing globs of unintelligible images -- they also provided some player background on the back. Let’s see what they have to say about Greg Harris:

Greg, who is ambidextrous and would love to pitch both ways in a game…

Wait. Hold up. Did I read that correctly? Can’t be. Gotta do more research. Only one person to ask about this -- Mr. Wikipedia. Yep, Greg Harris went pitched both ways.

I’m sorry, but did Sportsflics miss the boat here, or what? It seems to me that the only viable reason to even have a hologram baseball card would be to capture -- if the opportunity were to ever present itself -- a player pitching both right and left-handed. Mortimer Hologram created the hologram for this very reason. Instead, we are left with three images of Greg Harris -- an ambidextrous pitcher -- pitching right-handed.* I can only hope that someone was fired as a result of this.

I mean, do you have any IDEA how badass that is?! According to his Wiki page, Harris eventually did get the chance to pitch both ways in a game, and was successful in doing so. (I need to know if somebody had to run out from the dugout to hand him a different glove.) You should see what I look like when I try to throw a ball left-handed. It’s like I’ve just arrived on earth for the very first time, and somebody handed me a ball and told me to throw it. There is no smoothness of motion whatsoever. One time during a wiffle game a few years ago, I tried to throw a pitch left-handed and the next day I had to have eight Tommy John surgeries. I look like what Johnny Damon looks like when he throws left-handed. Anyhoo, Greg Harris is the best. The end.

Did you know?
Greg Harris was a stunt-double during the sword-fighting scenes of "The Princess Bride."

*You are going to have to take my word for it that this card features three images of a Greg Harris pitch delivery. Amazingly, this stupid card did not scan as well as I had hoped. Also, it is 13 inches thick and destroyed my scanner.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Complaints flooding in, ironically causing more weeds

Note: This column appears in the 6/5 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 6/6 issue of the Peoria Times


Many neighbors are lazy idiots. This is a fact of life. You pay a lot of money for your home, and then you look across the street only to see that a plastic swimming pool with cartoon mermaids on it is growing out of the weeds on your neighbor’s front yard. Then you complain to your wife that “we paid a lot of money for this house and now it’s going to crap because our neighbors are lazy idiots!” This is a hypothetical situation, of course.

The other worst kind of neighbor is the neighbor that is no longer your neighbor because he or she has been kicked out of their house and now the house is in foreclosure. This is actually an ongoing problem now in Glendale and Peoria. (And everywhere, for that matter.) In fact, the Glendale Code Compliance Department -- sounds fun! -- has been flooded with complaints about the weeds growing in the yards of foreclosed homes.

Move over War in Iraq -- we have other problems now. There are too many weeds. The issue is that nobody claims responsibility for maintaining the yards of foreclosed homes. Amazingly, those who have been forced to evacuate their homes are neglecting to come back and perform gardening duties. The banks that now technically own these homes do not have hands. And the city has a limited budget to remedy the problem. In Peoria’s case, for example, the budget is zero.

It’s a simple formula: Bad real estate market + photosynthesis = complaints to the Code Compliance department. Many local Glendale and Peoria residents are simply fed up with the eyesores that are foreclosed yards and the city’s inability to help, and have taken it upon themselves to band together as neighbors and pull weeds that are not their own. I, personally, have not partaken in this endeavor, as I have a hard enough time pulling my own weeds. You see, my front and back yards consist of mostly rocks, and it is very difficult for me to finagle my hands in between the rocks and pull the weeds by the roots. As a result, it takes me an entire weekend to pull the weeds in just my front yard, and all of the rocks end up in the street, and the next day all the weeds are back, and I want to kill somebody.

Son of a...

But the larger question here is: What does the Code Compliance Department have to say about this? I logged onto the Glendale city website to find out. Here is what it said:

At this time of year, you should remember that keeping your block and neighborhood clean can go a long way in keeping your neighborhood safe and blight-free.

Not a very subtle suggestion that we are each responsible for maintaining our entire neighborhood. Thanks for nothing, Code Compliance Department! And I don’t know about your neighborhood, but mine is full of blight! There’s more:

Spring cleaning inside your home can lead to problems outside. Boxes and other materials can be invitations for arson.

This has nothing to do with weeds. But it does present yet another issue: the irresistible to urge to set fire to random boxes you spot in your neighbors yard.

So, with regards to the ongoing weed problem, the Glendale Code Compliance Department has recommended that we: a) take care of it ourselves, and b) bring boxes inside lest they be set on fire.

It obviously remains unclear how this pressing issue will be resolved. A good start, however, would be for people who still live in their homes to pull their own weeds. I mean, there’s enough blight as it is. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a compliant to file.

I nominate Brad to pull the weeds

Classic card of the week

Don Slaught, 1989 Score

Don Slaught. Slaughty. Slaughterer of baseballs. Slaughty McSlaughterson. Don Juan DeSlaughty. Slaughtmeister. Damn, son -- you should have known Don Slaught was playing catcher today, cause you just got slaught stealing! Professor Slaught. The Slaught heard ‘round the world. I slaught I told you that we won’t stop. Yankees Slaughterhouse, population: 1. His name? Don Slaught. Erhouse. Slaught, Don. Don Slaught.

Don Slaught was dubbed, by me, at this very moment in time, as “Mr. April through Early May,” for his inability to make it to Memorial Day in one piece. Back of the card, take over:

Don was second in the A.L. with a .378 BA in mid-May and had 26 RBIs in 28 games when he went on the DL with a pulled groin muscle.

Groin slaught. The worst kind.

Don’s cheekbone and nose were shattered by a pitch in a mid-May of ’86. He was batting .293 at the time and, after seven weeks on the DL, struggled to regain his batting eye.

Well, no kidding he had difficulty regaining his batting eye -- it was hanging by a thread off of his fractured face. Don Slaught lost both of his legs in a skiing accident. After that, he struggled to regain his skiing form. (Side note: If I ever got hit in the face -- or in the arm, or on the back, or on the fabric of my uniform -- with a professionally pitched baseball, I would never step back into the batter’s box ever again. Fyi.) If the baseball season only lasted five weeks instead of six months (or, if he was nicer to Woody Paige), Don Slaught would be in the Hall of Fame. But in way, he kind of is. In what way, I cannot say. I just feel like he’s in Hall of Fame, and that’s good enough for me.

Also -- and I’m not ashamed to say this -- if you take away the mustache, the unibrow, the fractured face and pulled groin muscle, Don Slaught is a handsome man. He’s the kind of guy you could take home to Mom and say, “Mom, this is Don Slaught, and I am going to marry him. I am going to be Mrs. Barb Slaught, and there’s nothing you can do about it so BACK OFF! Stop trying to run my life!”

Did you know?
Don Slaught was unable to walk with his high school graduating class after he ruptured his spleen playing badminton in gym sometime around mid-May.