Edition No. 2
February 8, 2007
Just a short note to applaud all of you for jumping right on the bandwagon and getting into the spirit of things on the league message board. Or not. Hey, whatís a guy got to do to shake things up a bit and get people talking baseball, post a rambling, 5,000-word blog? Okay, thatís next.
Even if the rest of you have had your senses dulled by this spate of lousy weather, Iím not about to let it dampen my spirits. After the Huskersí thrilling road win in Lubbock on Tuesday night, Iím convinced that we finally have an honest-to-goodness basketball coach down in Lincoln, and Iím looking forward to seeing what he can do with his own players in a year or two. Iím also looking forward to meeting up at B.T.ís house next Saturday night for our Winter Meeting, and to tipping a glass or two in honor of SloPayís 2006 Championship Season.
Speaking of tipping a glass or two, our own beloved Itchie just celebrated his 49th birthday last Saturday down in the Phoenix area with his booze-swilling buddies. Although rumor has it that Itchie couldnít break 120 on the golf course, he reportedly did not let his golf futility spoil a good opportunity to imbibe.
Now that his body is pushing 50 (with his liver approaching 70), Itchie is reportedly reevaluating his whole life, and rightfully so. According to a close family source, Big Johnny has been quite troubled lately about all that he has been reading about the ill effects of hard liquor on the body, so much so that he has decided to make a life-changing decision: Heís giving up reading.
In other league news, it is regrettably reported here that SloPay recently was cut loose due to a reduction in force at the publishing company where he has worked for the past many years, rumored to be because of slack sales in the porn industry. Despite this, FTB understands that Denny is looking at this turn of events as a golden opportunity to launch a new career for himself, and he is reportedly entertaining a host of possible new careers, including:
Lead typesetter at the Hooterville Clarion
Rush Limbaughís understudy and Boy Friday
Relationship counselor at NASA
Gambling loss control advisor to the Thielen family
Wardrobe consultant to Shamu*
Underbellyís supervisor at ArtFX
Best wishes to our good friend as he ponders his next career move.
Since I havenít really weighed in on this yearís Hall of Fame vote, allow me to do so now. Part of me is glad that Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn were the only candidates elected this year, because the last thing that I want to see is the sort of market saturation that infects the National Football League, wherein they elect a half dozen new members each year, notwithstanding the quality of the class of candidates. However, the other part of me canít understand why Goose Gossage wasnít elected this year, or Lee Smith, or even Bert Blyleven. All three of these players had long, outstanding, worthy careers, and all three should be in Cooperstown.
Jim Rice, on the other hand, again got what he deserved. Notwithstanding all of the blather and bombast from the New England elite -- who are dying to show their open-mindedness and diversity by showing their support for a Red Sock of color -- Jim Ed plainly does not have true Hall of Fame credentials. True, for a decade he was one of the top sluggers in the American League, but ten years of laudatory play do not a Hall of Famer make. Rice didnít even have 2500 hits, he didnít have 400 home runs, he didnít have 1500 RBIs, he consistently led the league in grounding into double plays, and his glove work in the field was serviceable at best. His career wasnít abruptly ended by a tragic injury, he wasnít a clubhouse Patton or a team player by any account, and his fingers are devoid of World Series rings. In fact, he was a bum in postseason, with a career .225 batting average in October. he simply was not a guy who could lift his team up on his shoulders and carry it, like Yaz. Just a solid player, better than most, but lesser than the men whose bronzed faces adorn the halls of Cooperstown.
There, that should get Possum rolling on his blog machine.
I have to confess that I am mystified by the fact that Ripkenís voting was not unanimous. How could any writer, in good conscience, not vote Cal in as a first ballot Hall of Famer. How could Ripken have achieved a lower vote percentage than Nolan Ryan, who had a career winning percentage of .526 and not a single Cy Young on his resume? Go figure. Definitely a popularity contest, at least to some extent.
Enough said for the second issue of the year. See you all in Lincoln next week.