Showing posts from May, 2009

Classic card of the week

Drew Hall, 1988 Topps

Question: what is better than a Drew Hall baseball card?

Allow me to interrupt as you furiously search your brain-bank for an answer to that question. Because the answer is: a ridiculously blurry Drew Hall baseball card!

This is the type of card that almost –- almost –- forced you to give up collecting baseball cards altogether. Everybody involved in making and manufacturing this card had given up on life, and the beneficiary of that indifference was you –- or, in this case, me –- a 10-year-old boy who excitedly spent all of his lawn-mowing money on a pack of baseball cards, hoping to God to get a Don Mattingly, and ending up with an out-of-focus picture of a Cubs’ middle reliever.

But enough excitement. Let’s discover more excitement:

Drew’s coach at Morehead (Ky.) State University was former major league southpaw Steve Hamilton.

So what you’re saying is, the guy on the front of this card who I did not know before and who I still do not know thanks to his mostly blurr…

West Valley gaining an undeserved reputation

Note: This column appears in the 5/28 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 5/29 issue of the Peoria Times

The West Valley is like that new kid in high school who is trying to keep up with all the rich kids. So they go to the store and put a whole bunch of spiffy new clothes on layaway, and then go home only to find out that mom and dad both lost their jobs.

Nobody can really pay for the clothes, but darn it –- that kid is going to look good for a few weeks. They’ll worry about the rest later.

For the West Valley, later is now. We’ve got a whole bunch of new stuff -– with the tags still on it –- that we can’t afford. And we can’t return it, because the store is no longer there.

I hope you enjoyed that exhausted metaphor. Less metaphorically speaking, Glendale was given two professional sports franchises, and is on the brink of losing one of them. Thank God the Cardinals made it to the Super Bowl and exist within the cash cow that is the NFL. The courts and whatever billionaires are still le…

Classic card of the week

Juan Gonzalez, 1994 Topps

Here is Juan Gonzalez angrily blasting what is assumed to be a mammoth home run, a feat accomplished by using the Samson-esque power of a flowing mullety mane. And possibly steroids.

But enough about steroids already! Sheesh. What I really want to know is: what are Juan Gonzalez’s philosophical thoughts on the game of baseball?

“Baseball is a game of suffering,” says Juan, “but baseball is beautiful.”

And they say athletes don’t have feelings. This was, coincidentally, my senior high school yearbook quote. Except I replaced “baseball” with “chicks.” So it read:

Chicks are a game of suffering, but chicks are beautiful.
- Juan Gonzalez, as told by Mike Kenny

Other quotes attributed to Juan Gonzalez are as follows:

Some things are good, but some things are bad, ya’ know?

I like ice cream. Sometimes.


Who let the dogs out? I am angry, but also forgiving.

According to Wikipedia, Juan Gonzalez has been married four times. As everybody is well aware, the first marriage fizz…

Hope you enjoyed your health – love, parenting

Note: This column appears in the 5/21 issue of The Glendale Star and the 5/22 issue of the Peoria Times

Life as a foster parent –- and, as I imagine, as a biological parent –- involves many unforeseen circumstances. One of the circumstances of being a foster parent that I could not foresee, and that no one decided to inform me about, was: indefinite sickness.

I’ll be honest here. I had always viewed people who were constantly sick with a roll of the eyes, not considering whether or not they were parents to germ-ridden children. I assumed they weren’t taking care of themselves, or that they were milking it, or that they just didn’t want to hang out with me anymore because I wasn’t a parent and we had nothing in common. But now I understand.

We’re about a month and a half into our current foster placement, and every second that the premises are clear of some various disease or ailment is like winning the lottery of health. Also, I have been keeping count, and so far we are up to: 17 second…

David Cone

On the YES pregame show today, describing how important the positive reaction was from A-Rod's teammates after his walkoff home run yesterday:

And A.J. Burnett, with a pie in the face after the game, really helped too, I thought.

Me too, David. Me too.

Classic card of the week

Ramon Martinez, 1991 Fleer Ultra Team of 1991

This card features one member of the Fleer Ultra Team of 1991, a squad of players that requires no introduction, as evidenced by their respective ultraness. Anchoring the staff of the Fleer Ultra Team of 1991 is Ramon Martinez, who is highlighted here doing three of the things he is best known for: 1) pitching violently, 2) hitting awkwardly / maybe bunting from one knee, and 3) showing off his ‘fro-hawk-mullet inside of an imaginary home plate. This was the desired trinity of baseball skills circa 1991, and was required for membership on the Fleer Ultra Team of 1991. Ramon Martinez was, however, considered a five-tool player because the ‘fro-hawk-mullet counted as two tools. Another one of his tools was carpentry.

Now, you are probably asking yourself: Did Ramon Martinez, a baseball pitcher, have trouble adjusting to Dodger Stadium, a baseball stadium? Excellent inquiry. Let’s turn this card over and find out:

Martinez has no trouble adjusti…

Nothing but questions remain in wake of Coyotes’ fiasco

Note: This column appears in the 5/14 issue of The Glendale Star and the 5/15 issue of the Peoria Times

I have been trying to figure out this whole Coyotes mess for the past week or so. And, at the risk of disappointing you, the loyal reader…I have not figured it out.

This is probably because I have always had difficulty comprehending bankruptcy. For the first twenty years of my life, my only familiarity with bankruptcy came from Wheel of Fortune, so I imagined that, in real life, when someone went bankrupt, it was followed by an unfortunate trumpet noise –- wa, wa, waaaaooonnnk –- and that person lost everything and started over.

So to discover that the owner of the Phoenix Coyotes, Jerry Moyes, had filed for bankruptcy, yet was attempting to sell the franchise so that he could walk away virtually unscathed, I was confused.

The red tape involved is too much for me, especially considering the NHL was one of Moyes’ creditors, and it is in the league’s best interest to keep the team here i…

Classic card of the week

Phil Nevin, 1999 Stadium Club

This is, to my knowledge, the only card I own that features such unmitigated, untamed, and unrelenting action. How does this play end? You’re simply going to have to rent the movie. That is all I can tell you. The movie is called: “I Should Have Stayed At Third: How the ’98 Baltimore Orioles Defied Convention and Captured the Hearts of No One in Particular.”

Also worth mentioning here is that Stadium Club is pretty freakin’ awesome. Sure, this particular card is sort of weird in that it highlights a random play more than the player –- it would take the uninformed viewer some time to determine which player was Phil Nevin –- but still. Compare this card to this, and you see that Stadium Club was the HD of tiny pieces of cardboard.

More stuff of note: I think we are all familiar with the perception that fans of baseball often care more about baseball than actual baseball players. If you subscribe to this theory then I present to you: Exhibit A. Check out that …

As debt increases, getting out of it becomes easier

Note: This column appears in the 5/7 issue of The Glendale Star and the 5/8 issue of the Peoria Times

Judging by the number and frequency of radio, television, newspaper, and Internet ads, there are ample opportunities to get out of debt.

This is not only fantastic, but timely as well, considering that many people -– especially here in Arizona –- are indeed in debt, due to a number of factors including a mortgage crisis, unemployment, the inability to comprehend how to operate a credit card, and a generally awful economy. It’s a darn good thing that there are so many wonderful people around to help others get out of debt.

And that is how the process works. Get in debt. Then get out of debt. It’s so simple it’s a wonder more people don’t purposely take on debt just to experience the sheer fun and excitement of getting out of it.

Now, you may be asking yourself: how does this process work? Interesting question, albeit prodding. First, call the number you heard on the radio that was repeated…