Ediion No. 22
June 29, 2010
The standings are as follows:
With the unveiled intent of putting a jinx on Ted, I say that the Wahoos are running away with the 2010 HSL title. No offense, Chuck, but the Chiefs are the only team with a chance to catch the ’Hoos if some type of injury misfortune were to befall Possum’s tribe.
The Cubs will fade a little and the Monarchs will grow stronger. The race for third will be between these two. The edge goes to Screech in both hitting and pitching in my book. However, intensity factor goes heavily (pun intended) in Chuck’s favor.
How can Mouse be ahead of Itchie? Maybe because Mouse had nine more wins, but seventeen fewer quality starts. in other words, it is temporary. The poor Redbirds continue to endure the biggest sophomore jinx in history. Gordon Beckham was a seventh round pick and has less than 120 points at almost the half-way point. With Ubaldo’s arm beginning to wear down, it appears that any one of the teams below (including the Senators) could overtake poor Jim.
If Posey, Bumgarner and Hellickson catch fire in the second half, the Tribe may give the Jax a run for fifth or even fourth place. With Heyward on the DL and the Strasburg hype beginning to fade (along with the injuries to Tulo, Sizemore and Morales), it will be an absolute miracle if the Bears finish anywhere north of the cellar. This may have been the worst luck of any team in any year, ever.
Big Guy has Helton, Matsui, Victor Martinez, Ramon Hernandez, Tejada, Manny, Bautista, Bobby Crosby and Ichiro. I like my cheese and wine to be aged, but not my ballplayers. Rick, are you waiting for the real life version of “Cocoon III—The Baseball Players”? Blongo, the injury to Pedroia may be the death blow to your dreams of an Upper Division finish. You may have peaked already. David, you are dead ass last in runs scored, but you have more RBIs than Screech, more doubles than Possum, more at-bats than Mouse, more stolen bases than Itchie, and seven more triples than Scott. All I am saying is—things don’t add up. The Senators will rise in the second half; I just don’t know how far.
It seems to be argued that football is more popular than baseball, so it is “better.” The Hy-Vee sells more hamburger than filet mignon, too. Baseball has a context, a history, a complexity, an essence that football does not have and never will. It can’t really be explained. Thankfully, it can be experienced.
The recent Message Board posts between Shamu and Possum about their respective experiences with low team batting averages reminded me just how deeply baseball and its history are linked to numbers, and records, and everything else that gives life to over 100 years of the sport. This “feeling” is captured in an experience of Steve Hirdt, executive vice president of Elias Sports Bureau. In a story that ran in a December 2009 Wall Street Journal, the writer related the following story:
So there Mr. Hirdt was this past April 13, just an appreciative fan on the scene for the Mets' opening-day game against the San Diego Padres at their brand-new stadium, Citi Field. First up was Padres outfielder Jody Gerut, who promptly slammed a home run. "Immediately the question was 'has there ever been a new stadium where the very first hit is a home run?'" recalled Mr. Hirdt.
"It was a lot of work, because when you have 'ever' in a question about baseball it means going back to 1876, which is when Major League Baseball began. It was the year of Custer's last stand," he added, always eager to provide context. "And record keeping then was not as pristine as it is today. I'm on my cellphone talking to different people on their computer and we start the research. By about the third inning I knew things were rolling and we'd get the answer in an hour or so." (For the record, Mr. Gerut was indeed the first.)
Business done, Mr. Hirdt wanted to see something of the new park. He began walking and immediately ran into MLB commissioner Bud Selig and MLB chief executive Robert DuPuy.
"And," recalled Mr. Hirdt, "the very first thing Bob DuPuy said to me was: 'Hey, that guy hit a home run his first at-bat in a new stadium. Has that ever happened before?'
"Even when you try to get away from it," he said with a sigh, "you can't get away."
This story reminds me of every HSL trip that I have attended. We always have some discussion about a baseball record or historical fact or player statistics. Although I am not well versed enough to participate very much (and thankfully not foolish enough to challenge Big Guy’s memory), these discussions are quintessentially baseball and I hope we never, ever stop having them.
When the Draft was over and I was looking at my team, I felt good. now, at the half-way point of the season almost, I look at the Draft and I say, “What was you thinkin’?”
In the key rounds (rounds 6-10), I blew it! I coulda had class. I coulda been somebody. I coulda had Romero, Pelfry, Weaver, Glaus, K-Rod, etc., but nooooo, I took Lackey and Vazquez in rounds 6 and 7, respectively. Great judge of talent, huh? And I felt good about it!
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated event. Even in my youth, I failed to recognize true talent. In 1976, Grand Island, Nebraska, was hosting the Cerebral Palsy Telethon. It was held at Grand Island Senior High.
This was my senior year and among my many involvements (Mensa Society, Origami Club, Frisbee Golf Team, etc.), I was active in school theatre. The drama teacher was Mrs. Stalker. She asked several students, including yours truly, to assist with the telethon.
It was a big deal because there were going to be several “stars” at the telethon. In fact, my principle assignment was to keep company with none other than the “Virginian,” James Drury. I didn’t really understand what Mrs. Stalker meant, but she told me to stay around him and talk to him.
I didn’t watch the “Virginian” and was not particularly thrilled to be assigned to hang out with an old man. But, he was a TV star and they didn’t come to GI very often, so it was cool. James did not talk very much. I don’t think he was real keen on having me around him. We sat in a classroom converted into a dressing room. It was awkward and very boring.
We both made up excuses to leave the room. He would go out for a smoke. I would tell him that I had to go check on things. It was a lame excuse, but not only did I want to get away from James, I wanted to see the real star of the telethon, Misty Rowe.
Misty was a petite, buxom blonde star of the TV show “Hee Haw.” I did not really watch that show either, but the publicity photos of her were eye catching—if you know what I mean.
Finally, on one of my excused absences from James, I found Misty. They were
. . . er, I mean . . . she was nice! We talked and I even had my picture taken with her.
Right after the picture was taken, a man came up to me and asked me why I wasn’t with James Drury in the dressing room. I did not know who the guy was, but he acted like he was in charge of the show. I told him that I had left to use the bathroom.
The man in charge told me that James had a propensity to imbibe a little bit of whiskey before he went on stage and it was my job to keep that from happening.
This news did not raise any alarm in me whatsoever. Number one, who cared if James Drury had a couple of nips. Number two, . . . no, wait, this is number one . . . this guy was queering my action with Misty. The guy told me to get back to the dressing room. Bastard, he was trying to get rid of me, so he could bust a move on Misty.
As I was making my way slowly back to the dressing room and dumb, old James Drury, a lesser star stopped me and asked if I would take him to a store so he could buy a pair of blue jeans. He said that he wanted to wear jeans on the telethon, but he forgot to bring any with him. I didn’t want to leave. Misty was in the house! I knew that she liked me. We had a connection when we were talking. But my only choice at that moment was to go sit with stupid, old James Drury or go buy blue jeans with the B-lister.
I said yes to the no-name star and we jumped into my bright yellow 1974 Nova . . . a sweet ride without air conditioning, sans carpet, but it had an eight track with four speakers. We drove to the store, bought the blue jeans, and drove back to school. It was a short trip, but I just knew that Misty was probably missing me and looking for me.
The no-name star was very polite and friendly. Honestly, I don’t remember anything we talked about during the ride. I just remember that he thanked me for helping him.
Back at school, I went looking for Misty. Screw James Drury and the guy in charge of the show. As I was walking backstage, Mrs. Stalker found me and asked me where I had been. I told her the story about the blue jean, B-lister guy. She told me to get back to the dressing room with James Drury . . . stupid, old, dumb, boring, smoker, James Drury.
Totally pissed off, I began to scuffle my way to the dressing room. I was fearful that Misty may be thinking that I was ignoring her.
When I got to the dressing room and went inside, the guy in charge of the show was there with James Drury. They both looked at me. The guy in charge of the show was red faced, boiling hot mad at me. My friend, James Drury, was smiling at me. He was not mad at me, he was happy, he was drunk. Not drunk, drunk (like I may have appeared in St. Louis). James was more like happy, happy.
The guy in charge of the show told me to get out because I had already screwed everything up!
Fine by me. Misty, here I come. I made a beeline back to where I last saw Misty. She wasn’t there, she wasn’t anywhere I searched. She was in the girls dressing room. I never got to talk to her again.
Oh, yeah, the no-name B lister, lesser star, blue jean guy that I totally ignored was John Travolta. Never talked to him again either.
Yep, in the talent judging department, I was sharp as a marble, just a little bit bigger . . . that was me back in 1976 and that was me in rounds 6 and 7 in this year’s Draft.
Ted’s New Team Logo
Chuck’s Team Batting Average
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Got to get back to my corner. See you all in Minnesota.