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Showing posts from January, 2009

Classic card of the week

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Greg Briley, 1991 Score

See? Now this is a sweet-lookin’ baseball card. Horizontal is the only means by which to capture the slugging nature of one Greg Briley. Let’s find out more:



Greg, who is barely 5-8,

If this is nitpicking, I don’t really care. 5-8? Greg, who is barely 5-8 years of age, has provided surprising pop and a flourishing mustache for the Little League Mariners of Maricopa County. Or, Greg, who is barely 5-8 hours away from being called down to the minors, likes wonton soup. Thus ends our segment: “Fun with grammatical errors.” This should read -- as it does below his picture:

Greg, who is barely 5’8”

The point of all this is that Greg Briley is small. He was the latter day, and black, David Eckstein. Latter-day Blaeckstein is what his friends referred to him by. Or, as his Wikipedia page mentions, Pee Wee. Greg Briley was a man of many nicknames. Where were we? Oh yes:

Greg, who is barely 5-8, proved that size is no deterrent in the major leagues, if you have talent and de…

Classic card of the week

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Storm Davis, 1989 Topps

The idea of a young Storm Davis growing up to be a major league pitcher seemed as unlikely as a young Donnie Baseball growing up to be a Channel 7 weatherman. Nevertheless, it happened, and the world is a better place because of it, if you don't count all the storms. But before we get into any of his career accomplishments, I would first like to set the record straight on the sibling situation of Storm Davis. Back of the card:



Storm and Astros’ Glenn Davis (no relation) played high school football and baseball for Storm’s father at University Christian HS, Jacksonville, Florida.

Okay, I’m glad that’s cleared up. Because for a second there I was thinking, “Storm Davis and Glenn Davis have the same last name, which is Davis. I sincerely wonder if they are related in some fashion.” Turns out: No, they are not. But it remains a strange coincidence that they DO share a long and storied history, both playing for Storm’s dad -– Stormy David Davis VI –- in high school…

On becoming self-aware about being self-absorbed

Note: This column appears in the 1/29 issue of The Glendale Star and the 1/30 issue of the Peoria Times

Nobody, for the most part, thinks that they’re selfish. I sure didn’t. But I always thought of selfishness in the context of material things. Like, for example, if I were eating a sandwich in the park and a homeless man came up to me and asked me for a bite, I’d be like, “Sure, dude. But you better have a knife and fork because you are not putting your mouth on this. Also, I’m a vegetarian, so I hope you like lettuce.” Then I would cut him a (small) piece of my sandwich, and proceed to mentally pat myself on the back for being so selfless. This is a hypothetical situation of course, but I am pretty sure it’s an accurate assessment of my potential character.

So, I would say, that after the age of four -- when you would rather hold your breath for 15 minutes straight than share something with even a sibling -- it becomes rather easy to be selfless when it comes to things. But what about…

Classic card of the week

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Allen Iverson, 1998 NBA Hoops

This is the third card from this series that I have posted. It also will not be the last. I’m sorry -- I can’t help myself. The write-ups on the back of these cards are simply too good to pass up, and I had an inkling that the Allen Iverson one would be gold. It did not disappoint:



What? No socks? AI, you’re “breaking ankles” with all your skating. Fifth in the league in rips and eight in points. I have a CB…we know you’ve got handle.

I am on nonsense overload right now. Let’s break this one down bit by bit:

What? No socks?

I don’t understand the question. Allen Iverson wears socks. Every basketball player wears socks. I can think of few things more disgusting than the thought of a basketball player not wearing socks. For evidence of Allen Iverson wearing socks, please reference: this card.

AI, you’re “breaking ankles” with all of your skating.

I am unsure if the socks comment is in relation to Allen Iverson’s ability to break ankles. If so, I don’t understand t…

A day of accomplishment for many in Arizona

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Note: This column appears in the 1/22 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 1/23 issue of the Peoria Times

One of the best parts about finishing a road race is getting a medal. It’s so Olympian. Here is your medal. Wear it proudly. We don’t hand these out to just anyone. Only the 30,000 or so other people who did the same exact thing you just did, many of them faster. Congratulations! Now please proceed to the bananas.

And it is with that in mind that I am proud to say that I completed the PF Changs Rock N’ Roll Arizona ½ Marathon this Sunday. And I have a medal to prove it, which I donned immediately after the race while double-fisting my free Michelob Ultras, just like a true Olympian would.

Someone who deserved a medal much more than me –- besides, you know, all of the full marathoners, but whatever -- was my mom, who flew here from New Jersey to fulfill a personal goal of fast-walking 13.1 miles, which she did in excellent time. Unfortunately, she now associates Arizona with extreme pa…

Classic card of the week

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Vlade Divac & James Worthy, 1993 Upper Deck "Final Preparations"

After staring at this card for 24 hours straight, I have several questions:

a) Is that really the training room of the Los Angeles Lakers, arguably the proudest and most affluent franchise in professional basketball? It looks like the athletic director’s office at Lakeside Technical High School.

b) Why is James Worthy, and not, say, the trainer for the Los Angeles Lakers, taping up the ankles of Vlade Divac?

c) What is James Worthy wearing? Are those gold khakis? It looks like he’s been at his 9-5 job all day at Orange County Communications, walked into the locker room around 6:15, took off his shirt and tie which revealed a Lakers jersey he recently purchased at Champs Sports, and mysteriously began taping the ankles of his Serbian teammate.

d) Why is Vlade Divac smiling like that? What is he up to? I just don't trust that guy.

e) What would somebody have to pay me to touch the feet of Vlade Divac without…

Getting ready to rock the ½ marathon, or something

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Note: This column appears in the 1/15 issue of The Glendale Star and the 1/16 issue of the Peoria Times

The PF Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon & ½ Marathon is this Sunday. The question posed on the front of the packet I received in the mail one month ago reads: Are you ready to rock Arizona? Well, I don’t know. I’m not even certain if I will last 13 miles, and if I do, I am unsure whether that feat in and of itself will sufficiently rock the state of Arizona. We’ll just have to wait and see.

As of right now, I have one more training run left before race day. In physically preparing myself to run a ½ marathon, I am left with one serious question: How does a person run a marathon? Honestly. I just don’t understand. I have been training to run, literally, half the distance of a full marathon, and by the seventh mile, I can no longer feel my legs, and I am left running on a cloud of self-admonition and artificial adrenaline pumping into my ears from my iPod. If someone were to sa…

Classic card of the week

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Michael Smith, 1996 Skybox

When a flying comet that is actually a basketball comes mysteriously swooping through an indoor arena, you’d better hope that Michael Smith is around, because he will stop the comet-basketball’s violent course of action by catching it, holding onto it tightly until the comet tail disintegrates, and then he will eventually raise the basketball as one of his own children. At that point it will be safe to resume activity. If that activity is, ironically, playing basketball, you should not use the basketball that used to be a comet, because it will still be very hot.

Let’s discover more about Michael Smith’s professional basketball career:



A big fan of the big screen, Michael and teammate Brian Grant were featured as motion picture critics during a Kings promotion for the 1994-95 season.

I am uncertain what the title of this marketing campaign was, but I imagine that it was something along the lines of: Why watch the Kings play when you could go see a movie? Both S…

After the fall: Preparing for a ½ marathon

Note: This column appears in the 1/8 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 1/9 issue of the Peoria Times

One month before we moved to Arizona, I ran in a popular five-mile road race in New Jersey. To make a very long story very short, I did not finish. Because I collapsed. I wish I were joking.

About four months ago I received a phone call from my mom, who excitedly informed me that she had signed up to join Team in Training and was coming out to Arizona to participate in the PF Chang’s ½ Marathon. Because I had not run a race since my brilliant showing in NJ, I figured this was my opportunity to get back on the ol’ saddle. The way I figured it: There’s only one thing to do when you collapse after running 4.8 miles, and that’s to sign up to run 13.1 miles.

Well, race day is fast approaching -- it’s on Sunday, January 18th -- and I am feeling a mixture of nervousness, excitement, nausea, and hatred for PF Chang himself. My mom has been part of a team-oriented training regiment since she si…