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Showing posts from July, 2010

Classic card of the week

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Don Robinson, 1987 Donruss

Don Robinson looks like a happy guy. He engineers the “P” train, and also plays for the Pirates. He probably has many career highlights to be proud of. Let us discover them.

Also, let us remember that a highlight is, ideally, and by definition, something that is good.



CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

Sidelined by a knee injury part of last year,

First highlight: bum knee. I would find it immensely enjoyable to watch a highlight reel of baseball players with bum knees, just sort of sitting around and doing nothing. Because their knees hurt. This, for me, would = highlight.

but wound up 1st on Pirates in saves

That is sort of highlighty. Considering that Robinson led the Pirates in saves in 1986 with 14, which is -- and I realize saves are stupid -- what Mariano Rivera -- and I realize he is the extreme -- notches in a month and a half, I think the implication here is, had Don Robinson not boasted a faulty knee, just imagine what he could have accomplished. (I am imagining along t…

Everything and the kitchen sink

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Note: This column appears in the 7/29 issue of The Glendale Star and the 7/30 issue of the Peoria Times



Our kitchen faucet has been leaking for three months. We keep a plastic container that used to hold oatmeal raisin cookies from Trader Joe’s underneath it to capture all the water, and then everyday I will take that container outside and use it to water the plants that aren’t attached to our drip system. All of these plants however, died when we traveled back east for a week and a half. So now my favorite thing to do after work is take the water from our leaky faucet and use it to water dead plants. This is what my life has come to.

A better man would have fixed this faucet a long time ago. That is why I have employed better men –- namely my dad, father-in-law, and buddy Pete –- to check it out. I wanted them to fix it, and not to tell me how to fix it, and so in my mind they have all failed.

I am not, as it has been well documented, Mr. Fix-It. I am open about this. I even have severa…

Classic card of the week

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Chuck Crim, 1991 Fleer

Crim. Chuck Crim. Tough? Yes. Hat? Yes. Throw? Word. Good? Ehh. Effective? Too many syllables, but let’s find out anyway:



Effective reliever for Brewers,

Effective. Is there a higher compliment? No. Chuck Crim: You effect things. Mostly, my heart.

who quietly established himself as the workhorse of the staff…

Robin Yount: Hey, have you guys noticed that Chuck Crim is the workhorse of our pitching staff?

Chris Bosio: Yeah, I just noticed that! I always knew he was effective, but this is crazy! Is it because I'm kinda fat? When did this happen though? Because I didn’t hear anything…

Paul Molitor: Me neither. But what does is it even sound like when someone is becoming the workhorse of your pitching staff?

Robin Yount: Some people say that it sounds like a horse. Other guys say you’ll hear a lot of grunting. But like, horse grunting. Whatever the case, Chuck Crim is one quiet-ass workhorse.

Now, I bet you’re saying to yourself: All this stuff about Chuck Crim is great,…

The plight of the flight

Note: An edited version of this column appears in the 7/22 issue of The Glendale Star and the 7/23 issue of the Peoria Times

There are few things that make my wife and I more uncomfortable than being the center of negative attention. I think it’s one thing that separates us from the east coast stereotype, where people take pride in not caring what anybody else thinks and act accordingly. This is one of the reasons that both us never talk on our cell phones around others, lest we become “obnoxious cell phone talker person.” (In the instance that we’re talking to each other and we’re forced to talk around others, it inevitably results in both of us whispering to the point that our voices are inaudible, and we end up getting mad at each other because we can’t hear and so we raise our voices to a loud whisper and then angrily hang up.) So, if I had to imagine our most nightmarish scenario, it would probably involve being the parents of a crying child on a five-hour plane ride.

Foreshadowing…

Classic card of the week

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Dan Boone, 1991 Score

Here is hot rookie prospect Dan Boone! Check out that energetic youth! Let’s find out more!



The most heartwarming story of ’90 might just be the return to baseball of Dan, the seventh generation nephew of the famous frontiersman.

Gather ‘round young ones. It’s almost bedtime, but before you all doze off to sleep, I want to tell you arguably the most heartwarming tale of the year 1990…

Once upon a time there lived a man named Daniel Boone. He was a great hunter who killed many furry animals. Also he killed a bunch of Native Americans. He founded the great state of Kentucky. Remember kids, when we drove through Kentucky last year on our way to Florida? I told you not to get out of the car at that gas station? Well, that was Daniel Boone’s state! Anyway, a bunch of years later it turns out he’s got a nephew or something, who’s a knuckleballer for the San Diego Padres. His name is Dan Boone, and he’s not really that good, but he’s got a mustache. So he retires from baseb…

Classic card of the week

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John Wetteland, 1996 Topps

John Wetteland. Go:



A classically trained saxophonist

Sax-a-ma-phoooone. Sax-a-ma-phoooone.

and clarinetist,

Hold up. I get the saxophone. White guys who think they have soul can always grab a saxophone. But are you trying to tell me, card, that John Wetteland played the freakin’ clarinet? This thing? My sister played the clarinet in our school band in grammar school, and she practiced it throughout the house all day long –- I distinctly recall hearing “Mary Had a Little Lamb” blaring from her upstairs bedroom while I was trying to watch “Woody Woodpecker”…argh! -- and we were forced to go to many recitals and watch her play the clarinet, and she kept it in a case, and she needed like, reeds for it or something, and became indignant when it was mistaken for “a recorder,” and even she, my sister, is at least slightly embarrassed by all of this today. To find out that John Wetteland is quite open with regards to his clarinetistness is quite dumbfounding. I am dumb…

Aging at the speed of life

Note: This column appears in the 7/8 issue of The Glendale Star and the 7/9 issue of the Peoria Times

So the other day, for about three minutes, I literally could not remember how old I was. Am I 31 or 32? Granted, the fact that I honestly could not recall my age meant that my guess should have defaulted to the higher number. And sure enough, after actually having to subtract 1978 from 2010, it turns out that, yeah –- I’m 32. Hooray.

It’s been two months since I, apparently, turned 32. Now, I understand that’s not exactly old. One of you may be reading this and saying, “Thirty-two? Pfft. Try being 98, jackass.” And to you, sir or madam, I say: Wow. You are old. I can't believe you are reading a blog. But while 32 may not seem old to some people, for me it’s like: thirty-two! It pretty much just dawned on me, mostly because my life for the past few years has been a whirlwind, and partly because I try not to think about getting older.

I have also found that I no longer use the baromete…

Classic card of the week

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Lonnie Smith, 1990 Score

One of the great poets of our time, LL Cool J, used to say: Back seat of my jeep, let’s swing a episode. Now, I don’t know what the hell that means, but that song is nasty! But another thing that LL Cool J used to say, which is more relevant to the point I am trying to make here is: Don’t call it a comeback!

It doesn’t look like it here, with Lonnie Smith flailing away at an off-speed pitch as the crowd looks on in abject horror and amazement, but Lonnie Smith was in the midst of something great:



Lonnie was a cinch choice as NL Comeback Player of the Year in ’89.

Well, they called it a comeback. Sorry, LL & Lonnie! I’m just the messenger. But what, pray tell, was Lonnie Smith coming back from?

Considered washed up a year earlier,

Oh. He was just coming back from not being good at baseball anymore? Good for him! How did he do it?

he rebounded with elan and ranked high in most offensive categories all season long.

elan \['E]`lan"\, n. Ardor inspired by pa…