Showing posts from August, 2008

Classic card of the week

Greg Harris, 1987 Topps

There is nary a thing I enjoy more than a “looking off into the distance” shot. And not just in baseball cards either. I particularly appreciate this journalistic style when it comes to a family portrait session at the local Sears. Or a sixth-grade glamour shot. Or even a classy watercolor portrait of Napoleon. Look at me, looking off into the distance, contemplating your demise! Do not bother me with your devices…but make sure you get my good side.

The hopes and dreams of one Greg Harris could not have been captured more adequately. What he is thinking about, we may never know. We can only speculate. It could be that he is already auditioning for the role of Uncle Rico: How much you wanna bet I can throw this baseball over them mountains? Or maybe he is thinking about which arm he would prefer to throw with during the upcoming season. He could be wondering what it feels like to have a fully-grown mustache. (Greg Harris made Dave Wannstedt look like Rollie Finger…

Preseason game decides one thing, at least

Note: This column appears in the 8/28 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 8/29 issue of the Peoria Times

The Cardinals faced the Raiders in Oakland this past Saturday evening. I figured that not only would this game help the Cardinals work out the kinks, but it could help me try and get into form as well. After all, I have a full season of groundbreaking columns to write. With that in mind, I decided to do a running log of Saturday’s game. Here is what followed:

6:00: Our announcers for this evening are the preseason team of Mike Goldberg and Bill Lewis. They are a bit rusty.

1sr qtr: Matt Leinart is equally rusty. His first pass is intercepted. Actually, let’s hope that’s rust, and not Matt Leinartness.

1st qtr: So far -- and this game is about five minutes old now -- Goldberg has referred to Raiders’ quarterback JaMarcus Russell as: ChaMarcus Russell, Marcus Russell, Darren McFadden, and, occasionally, JaMarcus Russell.

1st qtr: There has been a penalty flag on every other play.

2nd qtr: …

Classic card of the week

Harry Hamilton, 1989 NFL Pro Set

In honor of it being almost the start of the NFL season, we present to you yet another installment from Bill’s collection. Today we celebrate, amongst other things, how not to tackle an opposing football player.

Quick true story: In my first ever Pop Warner football game, on the very first play, I got the wind knocked out of me. The trainer was on the field and everything. My dad was so proud. For a few seconds I thought I was dead. I see Blue, he looks…glorious! If you’re wondering how this happened, and, even better, if you would enjoy a dramatic still-photo reenactment in which I am played by a 6-foot tall African American man, please feel free to reference the above-featured card.

It is uncertain how this particular play ended, although I am going to assume that it ended with Harry Hamilton firmly entrenched in the turf, unable to breathe, with two parallel tire tracks spanning the length of his body. Of course, you can’t always make tackles by the b…

Penalties serve as an indictment of Whisenhunt

Note: This column appears in the 8/21 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 8/22 issue of the Peoria Times

I think Ken Whisnhunt is a good head football coach. Why? I am not really sure. That is what I like to call my “thesis.” Please read on.

Whisenhunt has forgotten more football than I will ever know, so I am not really one to say anything about the technical aspect of his job. (On the other hand, he probably couldn’t write a weekly, quasi-humorous, sometimes-sports-related column for a community newspaper. -Awkward pause- Okay, he probably could do that, actually.) But I am a football fan, and it is my right to stand firm on the foundation of baseless opinions. With that mind, I still must have reasons for believing he is a good coach, as arbitrary and juvenile as those reasons may seem.

For example…

I think Ken Whisenhunt looks the part. He’s young and in shape, which shows me that he’s a) not old, and b) physically capable of kicking some tail if necessary. He, at least sometimes, has…

Classic card of the week

Geno Petralli, 1991 Donruss

Geno Petralli, how is it that you are not Rafael Palmiero? I do not understand. In my mind, I am imagining that the Texas Rangers lineups of the 1990s featured only mustachioed left-handed hitters whose names stereotypically gave away their ethnicity. Players that included Deion Freeman, Ming Sing Chu, and Patrick O’Flaherty.

But what were Geno Petralli’s career highlights? Horrible question. But I will answer it anyway. Back of the card, do your thing:

Ranked 4th on Rangers in batting in ‘89

That highlight is lukewarm, at best. That is such a random and arbitrary statistic. Did you know that my Uncle Tom ranked sixth in two-out walks for the San Diego Padres in 1977? That is not true, but if it were, would you care? Exactly. Also, Geno Petralli’s fourth-best-on-team (FBOT) .304 batting average in 1989 was a result of a scant 184 at bats, which, at the time, did not even make him eligible for speech therapy, much less the team batting title.

I need other caree…

Cardinals campaign for our attention, and it works

Note: This column appears in the 8/14 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 8/15 issue of the Peoria Times

Few things in life excite me like a good television commercial. I will buy whatever you are selling if you can produce a commercial cool enough for my exquisite tastes. I mean, I may not buy it literally, but still.

When it comes to football season, I am bursting at the seams as it is, so when I see a commercial promoting the upcoming NFL season -- and I judge said commercial to be particularly awesome -- my heart skips a beat and I can’t sit still for the next several hours, or days, depending on my mood. In that respect, there are two commercials out now that I think should win Oscars. Or Peabodys. Or whatever it is that commercials win.

First, there is the Reebok “Migration” commercial, which features an eerie and amazing song (which I immediately downloaded) and players “migrating” to their home stadiums in a V formation. For example, Eli Manning and the Giants are on the Brooklyn…

Classic card of the week

Bob Kipper, 1987 Topps

Yes, it is true that the Pittsburgh Pirates hats of the mid-80’s were the single biggest offense against baseball and society ever recorded in the history of the universe. That said, never has the hat in question looked as unbelievably ridiculous as it does right here. Congratulations, Bob Kipper. You look like a fool.

Let’s get know Mr. Kipper a little bit:

Bob won 8 letters in baseball, basketball and football at Aurora (Ill.) Central Catholic High School where he fanned 20 batters in one game.

Awesome. Good stuff there. Bob Kipper was probably a popular guy in high school. A hard worker, dedicated to excelling in athletics and maybe in the classroom, too. He attended a Catholic school, so Bob Kipper was most likely a God-fearing man as well. Good parents. These are a lot of assumptions, but I’m going to run with it here. Bob Kipper was a good, humble, well-meaning guy, just trying to make a living on the baseball field so he could provide for his family of a wife…

Classic card of the week

Reggie McElroy, 1989 NFL Pro Set

I have no column this week because I was on vacation last week and that’s just how I roll. (Feel free to voice your frustrations in the comments, if you can find room amidst all the other comments.) As usual when I don’t have a column, I will now write about Reggie McElroy.

I should first mention that this card comes courtesy of the always-reliable Bill, a Jets fan himself who credits most of his personal successes to Reggie McElroy for reasons that cannot be explained. Anyhoo, I urge you now to travel back in time, to 1988, to an era when a 6’6” 290 lb picture of raw athleticism is playing tackle for the New York Jets instead of tight end. That’s Reaganomics for ya’!*

The back of the card -- as back of the cards tend to do -- lists McElroy’s career accomplishments. To waste time and space, I will reprint them now:

One of only two players to start all 16 games on Jets’ injury riddled offensive line in 1988…Recovered fully from reconstructive knee surgery t…