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Showing posts from April, 2009

Classic card of the week

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Pat Perry, 1991 Score

Oftentimes the backs of baseball cards tend to glorify their subject, regardless of that subject’s talents. This technique is reminiscent of those NFL Films pieces that aim to put a positive spin on an 8-8 Cincinnati Bengals season in which half of the roster went to jail by highlighting that one quarter of decent play that will signify next season’s turnaround. In fact, it’s typically these arbitrary stats for mediocre players that I tend to highlight and make light of on this here blog. Because I am a jerkface with nothing better to do. Anyhoo…

Enter: Pat Perry.

Nobody here has ever heard of Pat Perry, correct? Correct. So he’s probably not great. But still a major leaguer. His baseball card should highlight his positive attributes. Let us begin:



Pat, a soft-throwing southpaw middle reliever,

So far? Not impressed.

has suffered a lot of baseball rejection in his 13-year professional career.

This is not a good start. However, I look forward to hearing about how Pat has…

Kids & church: A match made in…somewhere

Note: This column appears in the 4/30 issue of The Glendale Star and the 5/1 issue of the Peoria Times

I’d like to take this time to extend my deepest apologies for every eye roll tossed in the direction of any parent whose kids were not behaving quite perfectly in church.

Now, granted, many of these eye rolls were completely and totally justified. I mean, hey -– at what point are you going to remove your crying child from the premises? After the homily is over? Before the next Mass begins? And your other kid has been staring at me for the past twenty minutes. I am out of funny faces and this entire situation has become awkward. Also, Poly-O string cheese in church? Really? Is that necessary?

What I am apologizing for is any annoyance I may have felt for any child not sitting completely still, with his or her hands held together in prayer, pensively contemplating the true meaning behind the Sacraments. I say this because –- I think you can see where this is going –- I am now on the other…

Classic card of the week

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Fred McGriff, 1990 SI for Kids

Hello everyone. I present to you another installment in our Cards From Sports Illustrated For Kids series. Featured today is Toronto Blue Jays’ first baseman Fred McGriff, seen here holding not one, not two, but three baseball bats. He can barely get his hands around all those bats! The crowd in the background stands in delight and amazement at how many bats Fred McGriff can hold at one time. I wonder if there are enough bats for the other members of the Toronto Blue Jays. Ha, ha. Lol. Omg. I would like to see Fred McGriff swing all three bats at once and hit a beach ball into outer space! What?

Let us discover additional information:



In 1981, major league baseball teams drafted 232 players ahead of Fred.

Frowny face: :(

In 1989, he led the American league in home runs, with 36!

Somehow I knew that this long and drawn-out story would have a happy ending! Exclamation points all around! More!!! 36! Pizza party!

Equally important to all of the enjoyment we are ha…

Look here: Billboards to give city boost, street cred

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Note: This column appears in the 4/23 issue of The Glendale Star and the 4/24 issue of the Peoria Times

The city of Glendale is -- like many other cities in the Valley and in the country for that matter -- working to resolve a budget crisis. Thankfully, help is on the way. In the form of two giant digital billboards.

The city has agreed to construct two billboards along the Loop 101 with the hopes of using the advertising profits to help offset the current budget deficit. The first billboard will read, in giant letters: What deficit? The second billboard will read: Buy stuff now. Experts predict that, as a result, Glendale will have a surplus of three million dollars by August, which will be used to purchase a third billboard. And so on and so forth.

Of course, these are jokes to lighten the overall mood here, which is grim. But not anymore. Because the truth is that the city stands to make a very decent amount of money from these giant thingies. In fact, apparently Glendale will make $5…

Classic card of the week

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Tony Gwynn, 1989 K-Mart / Topps Dream Team

If I had to make a list of baseball cards that I am most proud to own, this one would not be on the list. It looks like it came with two scoops of ice cream and a balloon.

And let me tell you something else about this card that probably does not transfer well over this here Internet. It is glossy. And I mean glossy. There is like, two inches of gloss on this card. It repels all other forms of matter, which immediately slide off of its surface. If this card were carelessly left on a suburban street, and someone rode their bike over it, that person would incur serious bodily injury as a result. Because of the gloss.

Anyway, in 1989, Kmart -- famed orchestrator of the 1992 U.S. Olympic basketball team –- organized a predecessor to that dominating Dream Team. This particular Dream Team included Tony Gwynn, seen here about to demonstrate his dreaminess by batting one handed. The other members of this Dream Team and their schedule of games and the res…

Getting a second chance to make a difference

Note: This column appears in the 4/16 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 4/17 issue of the Peoria Times

It was a Friday morning not too long ago and my wife and I were looking forward to celebrating our five-year anniversary. We were going to a restaurant called True Food in the Biltmore section of Phoenix that evening, and we were going to have a romantic dinner.

A few hours into the day, I received a phone call from our agency. They had a foster placement for us. Now, we had said “yes” to several foster placements since our first and only one back in January, but had never received follow-up from the state, and they have the last say on which family will get which placement. That, combined with the slowing stream of foster kids in general thanks to statewide budget cuts had us wondering if we’d ever get a second chance to be foster parents.

So we said “yes,” and then went about our day, not expecting to hear anything else.

This time however, the state called. They wanted to confirm we…

Classic card of the week

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Joe Carter, 1992 Score

Textbook weight shift.

When Joe Carter wasn’t breaking both kneecaps by being awkwardly out in front of a changeup, he could often be found at the ballpark, NOT being a World Series hero, or just generally whacking some balls around:



Joe returned to the American League in ’91 and whacked the ball around as if he had never been away.

Joe Carter: whackerer of American League balls. Nothing wrong with that. I also enjoy the “as if he had never been away” statement, as if Joe Carter had interrupted his major league career by spending several summers interning at a law firm, thus forcing many to believe he had lost his innate ability to whack around some balls. He was in San Diego! He whacked 24 dingers!

But when we speak of Joe Carter, let us never forget to ultimately judge him by how his teammates felt about him. Because that is what’s important here. Not what I think about him. Or what you think about him. (Unless you were his teammate, in which case, email me.) No. W…

A homeowner confronts ‘the association’

Note: This column appears in the 4/9 issue of The Glendale Star and the 4/10 issue of the Peoria Times

Forgive me as I’ve had bad experiences with Home Owner’s Associations in the past.

Back east we lived in a development where our HOA fees were well over $230…a month. For this we got a) three tennis courts, including one without a net, b) an asphalt basketball court with potholes and c) a pool with questionable water quality which was supervised by a revolving door of aloof teenagers that I wouldn’t trust with my towel, much less my life. When the HOA attempted to raise our fees to over $300 monthly, a near riot ensued at the quarterly meeting, which ultimately resulted in the ousting of the entire board and the uncovering of suspect spending practices. (Side note: those in attendance eagerly nominated my father-in-law -– who didn’t even live in the development and only came on our behalf, but who gave an impromptu Mussolini-type decree to the board while angrily waving a piece of pape…

Classic card of the week

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Randy Kutcher, 1991 Score

Without further ado:



Randy was a handy guy for the Red Sox to have around in ’90.

Blane Lowenbrau, senior writer: Boss, check it out –- got a great lede for the back of the Randy Kutcher card.

Fritz Maxwell, managing editor, Score: Lay it on me broskie.

Blane: Ahem…”Randy was a handy guy for the Red Sox to have around in ’90.”

Fritz: ...

Blane: ...

Fritz: ...

Blane: ...

Fritz: I'm sorry Blane. Can you repeat that? I wasn't paying attention.

Blane: "Randy was a handy guy for the Red Sox to have around in '90."

Fritz:...

Blane:...

Fritz:...

Blane:...

Fritz:...

Blane:...

Fritz: Remember earlier today, when I said I wasn't paying attention? Well, newsflash dude -- I was paying attention. Just couldn't believe what I was hearing. Love it. But hey, listen, you got the ol' wheels turning, and I want to slide on my creative boots. Try this one on for size: “Randy was a dandy guy for the Red Sox to have around in ’90.”

Blane: I tried dandy, boss. Wasn’t…