Showing posts from August, 2009

Classic card of the week

Tim Salmon, 1996 Topps Profiles by Kirby Puckett series

Some of you may recall that glorious time when Barry Larkin selected a handful of lucky players that he referred to as “Little Dawgs” because he did not know their actual names and who, as a result of being deemed Little Dawgs by shortstop Barry Larkin, became part of the unpopular Little Dawgs series of baseball cards. Those were great times, am I right? Of course I’m right.

In that vein, today I present to you a card from the “Profiles by Kirby Puckett” series. Personally, I find these cards to be even more enjoyable if you say, “Profiles by Kirby Puckett” in the same “Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy” voice used on SNL. But that’s just me.

Before we continue, I’d like to say rest in peace to the late Kirby Puckett, who was a great player and one of the brightest stars from my heyday of baseball card collecting.

The subject here is Tim Salmon. Let’s begin in the only way we know how: with “Kirby Puckett Insights:”

I like Salmon as a play…

Good morning Arizona

Note: This column appears in the 8/27 issue of The Glendale Star and the 8/28 issue of the Peoria Times

I had an interesting morning a couple of weeks ago. Would you like to hear about it? No? Well too bad.

It was Wednesday morning and I was up at my usual time of whenever our seven-month old foster son decides to get up. So who knows…4:30am? I have not woken up with the sun in five months, so all I know is that it was dark.

I embarked on my daily morning routine of bringing our foster son downstairs with our dog Mac happily following in my footsteps. I put the little guy down on the carpet so I could feed the dog. Then I let Mac outside so he could do his thing. As I approached our foster son and got ready to pick him up, what did I see resting on the nearby tile floor trying not to be noticed? Yes. A scorpion.

So that was cool. A scorpion. In our house. Just feet away from a toddler. I celebrated this early morning surprise by smashing the scorpion to bits with my sandal. I smashed it …

Classic card of the week

Heathcliff Slocumb, 1996 Topps Star Power series

If you know anything about star power -– and I think that you do -– then you know that not only did Heathcliff Slocumb have it, but he also encompassed the ideals of star power better than any other baseball player in the history of the game. I mean, hey -– just look at all those stars!

If you were a fan of the Philadelphia Phillies in the mid-90’s, then you went to the ballpark to see Heathcliff Slocumb, plain and simple. Sorry rest of the 1995 Phillies! Basically, you threw on your Heathcliff Slocumb jersey and went to the park hoping that he would be granted the opportunity to come out of the bullpen and save the game, so that you may bear witness to his star power and also his 1.51 WHIP. What’s that you say? For nostalgia’s sake you’d like to see a monthly breakdown of Heathcliff Slocumb’s 1995 season? Why sure:

Interesting that they included “October” in that breakdown, and doubly interesting that Heathcliff Slocumb’s star power did …

Professor graybeard, old age on line one

Note: This column appears in the 8/20 issue of The Glendale Star and the 8/21 issue of the Peoria Times

Ever since I could grow it, I have had facial hair. In one form or another.

As a young teenager it was the wispy mustache and patchy beard. Later on it was the goatee. In college I rocked the thin-beard plus goatee combination, which I only now realize made me look like a rejected member of the Backstreet Boys. Besides appearing dangerously older to members of the opposite sex, another important attribute of this early facial hair was my increased ability to buy beer.

To this day I sport the facial hair. Currently I am enjoying the beard that is not fully a beard, but more like a “third day on ‘Survivor’” beard. This look was popularized by Don Johnson and Bruce Willis in the 80s, so obviously I am up to date fashion-wise. The irony of it all is that this look is supposed to say, “Hey, I don’t care…shave, don’t shave, whatever, man,” but I actually have to trim it to keep it that way w…

Classic card of the week

Scott Fletcher, 1987 Donruss Diamond Kings

Scott Fletcher, what happened to your face? It looks like an old catcher’s mitt…

When he wasn’t being recreated as a 60-year old man in watercolor form, Scott Fletcher was busy playing baseball in a mediocre fashion. Back of the card, elaborate:

Scott Fletcher has developed into one of the steadiest

I hate to jump all over this thing right out of the gate. Really, I do. But: “steadiest” = meaningless.

and most productive shortstops in the AL.

Well, okay, I guess. Considering that other shortstops in the American League in 1987 included this guy, and also this guy, then…yeah, whatever. But a “Diamond King?” Listen –- you can’t just name anyone a Diamond King. Not when, along with the prestige of the title of Diamond King comes the accompanying thrill of being the subject of such an artistic rendering, with a mini-you playing defense and all types of cool lines and graphics and stuff. This is serious. And no offense to Scott Fletcher –- well, okay…so…

‘How Does It Feel?’ Dylan & Co. respond: ‘Too hot’

Note: This column appears in the 8/13 issue of The Glendale Star and the 8/14 issue of the Peoria Times

Let’s say, hypothetically, that you are Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and the artist formerly known as John Cougar Mellencamp. You are a combined 712 years old, but you are still jamming.

You want to bring your brand of folksy-country-Americana music to the Valley, but you are not sure when, or where. So you consult your concert promoter, Jam Productions, who are, coincidentally, the same promotions company aligned with the Chicago White Sox. In turn, you agree to be the first musical act at Camelback Ranch, an outdoor venue and the spring training home of the White Sox and Dodgers.

The date you choose is August 11th. At 5:30 pm. What could go wrong?

If you are indeed, and not hypothetically, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and John Mellencamp, or one of the thousands of fans who bought tickets to see the show, what went wrong was that the show was canceled. Due to the heat.

Considering that wor…

On obnoxiously large desserts

While in San Francisco last week, my wife and I, after dinner, decided to go somewhere for dessert and coffee.

For whatever reason, on this particular night, I was very much in the mood for dessert. I wanted one of those brownies with nuts and ice cream and caramel dripping from it. It’s called different things in different places, but I refer to it as a “brownie blast” because it is, and usually results in, a brownie blast. Luckily I found it on the menu of the place that we went to, which was just a diner. My wife was content ordering some kind of coconut cake thingee.

So a few minutes later our desserts come out and they are just completely ridiculous. The ice cream on my brownie –- and by brownie I mean twelve brownies -– is stacked so high that I can no longer see my wife across the table. Her slice of coconut cake was not a slice, but a complete cake, one that a person might purchase at a bakery if he or she was going to a wedding and the bride had called beforehand and was like, …

Classic card of the week

Pascual Perez, 1989 Donruss

Ahhh, the 80's. Where a guy like Pascual Perez could utilize his “Here Is What I’m Throwing –- Betcha Can’t Hit It” pitch, accompanied by a comical sneer, and still maintain a job in Major League Baseball. Nothing against the great singles hitters of 1989, but I am presently enjoying myself by imagining the result of this particular pitch meeting Albert Pujol’s bat.

That was fun. Anyhoo, let’s find out more about Pascual Perez, shall we? I am going to pick a year off the top of my head and we will examine the statistics of Pascual Perez and then compare them to the rest of Major League Baseball during that year. Ya’ know, for fun! The year that I randomly selected is 1986:


Bad choice on my part. Wikipedia, thoughts?

Released by the Braves on April 1, 1986, he missed the entire 1986 season.

So, he just…missed it? No injury? No minor leagues? No nothing?

Bob: So, Pascual. Looks like you’ve been…

One doctor’s specialty: indifference

Note: This column appears in the 8/6 issue of The Glendale Star and the 8/7 issue of the Peoria Times

Two weeks ago our foster daughter woke up crying in the middle of the night yelling “I sick!” We took her temperature and it read 103.5.

It wasn’t that surprising to us, as she had felt a little warm when we put her to bed that evening. Also, things had been progressing too healthily over the past few days for something like this not to happen. My wife and I compromised: she would stay home with her that day, but I was going to take her to the pediatrician’s office before work. This was obviously going to be a fantastic day.

Because of the circumstances we could not go to our regular pediatrician, but we had been to this office before when our foster daughter had pink eye. I remember because it was like “Children of the Corn” in the waiting room, with kids walking around like zombies. Some were crying and others sat silent with breathing masks on. My only retreat from the horror was wip…

Bon Jovi: "I'll Be There For You," explained

Today we continue our randomly strung-together series breaking down "classic" songs that I am reminded of when I hear them somewhere and suddenly come to the realization that, "Wow, that song is stupid." Featured here is Bon Jovi's "I'll Be There For You." I left out a few lines and the mercilessly repeated chorus. Please enjoy.

You say this time you’re really leaving
I heard your suitcase say goodbye

Your suitcase did not like, literally, say goodbye. That would be crazy. I heard that freakin’ thing rolling all over my new Brazilian hardwood floors, and I was like, “Well, guess the bitch is leaving…again.”

Well as my broken heart lies bleeding
You say true love, it’s suicide

True love is like suicide because after you’ve been a total jerk to someone that you apparently love for like, many years or something, inevitably your heart will fall out of your body as that person finally and justifiably decides to lea…

Classic card thought of the day

Okay. So his nickname was "Rich." Got it.