Showing posts from July, 2008

Classic card of the week

Dante Muse

Okay, let me explain.

When I was a youngster, I subscribed to Sports Illustrated for Kids. I remember being so excited when that first issue arrived, because for whatever reason I knew Michael Jordan was going to be on the cover -- he was, holding two kids in the air with basketballs -- and I had already planned on keeping that issue forever and ever and ever until it was worth a million dollars, at which point I would symbolically pass it on to my NBA-playing son on my death bed. Well, it was raining the day that my first SI for Kids finally arrived in the mail, and our idiot mailman allowed it to get all wet. Nevertheless, I really do still have it somewhere. Also, like pretty much everything else I own, it is worth nothing.

Anyhoo, SI for Kids was full of cartoon pictures and silly anecdotes that had nothing to do with anything. It was sort of like what regular Sports Illustrated is today. (Oh, snap! No he didn’t!) Even as a child I was mildly insulted by its content. Whate…

Cardinals attempt to endure brewing quarterback blessing

Note: This column appears in the 7/31 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 8/1 issue of the Peoria Times

The Arizona Cardinals opened training camp last week in Flagstaff. On their website, Darren Urban -- the team’s excellent beat reporter -- did a piece highlighting the top 10 questions for the team going into camp. Number one? The quarterback situation, of course.

Here are the facts as they stand. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt named Matt Leinart the starter for 2008 after the 2007 season ended. Leinart responded to this leap of faith by helping a local woman drink beer in excess. In 2007, Kurt Warner -- who was already replacing Leinart in specific game situations, like when the Cardinals wanted to score -- filled in full time as the starting QB when Leinart went down with an injury, and threw for almost 3,500 yards with 27 touchdowns and led the team to an impressive 8-8 record. If you mix all these facts together, you get a potential firestorm of controversy that can only be resolved i…

Classic card of the week

Steve Sax, 1990 Upper Deck "A Collector's Choice"

It was 1989. I was flipping through my baseball card collection, seeing the same old names, same old poses, same old everything. I remember thinking to myself, “Man, you know what I could go for? An artist’s rendition of Steve Sax, montage style!" So you could imagine my surprise when Upper Deck released its “Collector’s Choice” edition in 1990. What a coincidence! I was a collector. And my obvious choice was to have an animated Steve Sax baseball card in which Steve Sax is about to run to first base, while Steve Sax looks on in quiet approval.

Now I’ve got to be honest here. I’ve never understood the vast appeal of one Stephen Louis Sax. The guy was just an okay ballplayer. Yet V. Wells -- the nationally renowned Upper Deck artist extraordinaire -- was summoned to provide a portrait of the man, in painstaking detail. (Legend has it that Wells was released from exile on the island of Guam by the King of Mozambique for…

Country’s 43rd best magazine names Peoria 55th best place to live

Note: This column appears in the 7/25 issue of the Peoria Times

If you’re like me, then you subscribe to Money magazine and you firmly believe in everything it states, especially when it comes to a subjective compilation of the best places to live.

Which is why I was so ecstatic to discover that Money magazine listed Peoria, AZ -- yeah, this one! -- as the No. 55 best place to live in the United States of America.

My first reaction to this news was this: “Wait, there are 54 places better than here? Get my real estate agent on the phone!” My second reaction was this: “How the heck did they come up with this information?”

It’s simple, really. Money magazine has a staff of approximately three million people, who were each assigned to live in various locales with populations ranging from 50,000-300,000 people, for one year. Each staff member created an Excel spreadsheet detailing all of the aspects of their respective town, including the weather, school system, proximity to a Cheesecake Facto…

Classic card of the week

Greg Cadaret, 1988 Topps

So you’re Greg Cadaret. Just last year you made the transition from Double A Huntsville, to Triple A Tacoma, to the big leagues. Your dream of becoming a major league ballplayer was finally realized. Your family had a big party and everything. There was cake. Even Aunt Sherry was there, and she didn’t even come to your own wedding.

You grew a mustache. Or, possibly, you already had one. You grew a better one. You spent some of your newfound dough on snow tires for your truck, and you bailed your friend Jimmy out of jail, who was arrested for selling malfunctioning Chia Pets to elderly women. Your hometown of Lakeview, Michigan held a parade in your honor. You wore your uniform and sat on top of a giant baseball glove-shaped float and blew bubbles. Your birthday -- February 27th -- was declared a local holiday in Lakeview, and everything in town will shut down on that day for the rest of eternity, so that the citizens will have a full 24 hours to reflect on your…

American Idol goes back to the well that is…here

Note: This column appears in the 7/17 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 7/18 issue of the Peoria Times

The American Idol auditions are coming to Glendale, and this is big news.

Off you go...

The city of Glendale has long been recognized for its firm opposition to reality show tryouts, as outlined by the founding fathers. So not only does this event symbolize the progression of a city, but it will also provide a rare opportunity for the FOX Network to callously exploit many of this area’s great young citizens for their inability to sing and/or possess any kind of self-awareness.

Let’s face it -- while this is being billed as simply a “tryout,” anyone who watches American Idol is quite aware that each season peaks in its first few episodes, during auditions. Take the show’s website, for example, which states: Once again, auditioners will have an extraordinary opportunity to perform before millions of TV viewers and become household names, with one winning the coveted American Idol title…

Classic card of the week

Robby Thompson, 1989 Score

Robby Thompson. Baseball card. Whatever. I’m bored. Let’s turn it around:

First of all, it looks like somebody photo shopped that eye black onto his face. But that could be because I’ve been staring at that picture for the past twenty minutes for some reason. Robby Thompson has put a trance on me! With his guy-next-door charm. Let’s find out more:

Robby, a fine contact hitter who is an adroit bunter…

Robby Thompson: Adroit bunter. That is what his tombstone will read. When he dies in 2065 from adroitness of the leg muscles. Also, adroit? Really? Looks like somebody was using the thesaurus when they put this little tidbit together.

(Side note: sometimes when I read these things, certain baseball terms that have been used since the Mesozoic Era magically come to light in their stupidity. In this case: contact hitter. As we all know, contact hitter = zero power. I doubt that Robby Thompson was better at making contact when he hit the ball than other players.)

But be…

Don’t look now, but Cardinals’ season on the horizon

Note: This column appears in the 7/10 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 7/11 issue of the Peoria Times

This summer is flying by so fast. It seems like just yesterday it was 100-degrees and sunny, and now every day it is 113-degrees and sunny. Where have you gone Old Man Winter? We hardly knew ye’…

Anyhoo, now that we’re already nearing mid-July, we can start turning our attention towards football season. (And I can take a break from writing columns about library drive-thru windows and local cell phone towers.) So what is up with the Arizona Cardinals anyway? We haven’t heard from them in a while. Many people would argue that we haven’t heard from them in over twenty years, but that is mean, and those people are jerks, and I will not justify those sentiments in this column.

Much has been happening with the Cardinals since we last saw them putting the finishing touches on their first .500 season in almost a decade. There is some good news surrounding the team, as well as some not-so-goo…

Classic card of the week

Claudell Washington, 1989 Score

Claudell Washington -- seen here playing cricket -- is still waiting for his Yankeeography. One would imagine (myself being that one) that production is already under way, and that John Sterling is wearing an ascot and berating an intern for spelling Claudell with only one “L” on the cue cards. Besides, although he was only a Yankee for three of his 37 career seasons, he made quite an impact:

Claudell, who can win games with his bat, glove and fleet feet…

Over 90% of the Yankees’ 89 total victories during the 1987 season can be attributed directly to one of the three outstanding facets of Claudell Washington’s baseball prowess. For example, his 10 fleet-footed stolen bases that season were all steals of home in the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs, which coined the term “walk off steal” that has become so popular today. So that’s 10 wins right there. He also used his glove on occasion. We’ll give him 30 wins for that. And I think it’s fairly obviou…

Local library adds convenience to the menu

Note: This column appears in the 7/3 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 7/4 issue of the Peoria Times

Have you ever wanted to go to the library, but didn’t want to actually get out of your car?

I know. Me neither. However, this is an issue facing thousands of potential local library goers throughout the area, and it is one that has prevented -- by my own non-research -- millions of books from being checked out. No, billions. What is a person who is lazy but who also likes to occasionally read supposed to do?

Foothills Library, on the northern edge of Glendale near Peoria on 57th Ave, has an answer. A drive-up window. Also, I am not kidding.

I am not exactly sure how this drive-up window works -- I imagine I could have done more research for this column, but I am, apparently, lazier than a person who will not walk into the library. Besides, it is more fun for me to make up what I think this drive-up window is like.

First, you make the decision that you are not getting out of your car. This…