Ediion No. 14
June 19, 2015
It is a privilege to be invited to write a guest edition of “From the Bullpen.” Many thanks to my assistant, Donna, and our beloved Linda for helping me put together this edition of “Cubside Chronicles.” Hope you enjoy it.
Not really sure what the exact standings will be when Linda publishes this newsletter, but it is probably safe to assume Possum and Scott will be leading the pack. A group consisting of the Bombers, Bums, Cubs and Skipjacks will be next in line. Thereafter, it is the lower division which rarely gets any ink.
My pre-season prediction was the Chiefs to win it all. Of course, my prediction was met with scoffs and harrumphs from Possum. Between them, two very different styles, but with the same very high level of intensity. I still like Scott of Scottsdale over the Sun Valley Possum in the end.
Third place is truly a toss-up. However, things could change if Mouse goes on his annual one- month vacation to Amsterdam and does not assign someone to manage his team. Maybe Mouse will let Wells run his team during his absence.
We already know that Chuck and Jan operate as a team to manage the Cubs. We also know that Itchie consults regularly with Jagdeep at the Mini-Mart. Scott has a warehouse full of consultants on the payroll, and Edison has hacked into Bill James’ computer.
Given all that, the Bums don’t stand a chance to finish in the money.
Bad Night. Itchie said that writing a guest FTB was bad luck. JT said his team dropped 5 spots after he wrote the “Jiggernaut.” Gotta say, he seems to be right. The Bums have had a “bad night” since I started writing this edition of the Chronicles.
As I started writing the Chronicles on Sunday evening, June 14, the Bums were in third place, but scored 22.30 points (18.30 hitting and 4 pitching) that night. Leaving 32 hitting points in the minors. Monday night was even worse with 11.50 points (6.50 hitting and 5 pitching points). Bad Nights.
Forty years ago, Curby had a really bad night. Got in a car wreck and went to the hospital.
Thursday, July 17, 1975 started out as a good night. Kinda like when the East Coast and Midwest baseball results are coming in and your team is looking good, so you go to bed and wake up to find a couple of pitchers on the West Coast went 20 points negative so your good night goes in the toilet.
Me and some buddies got some beer and started to party while driving around Grand Island, NE. There was one particular police offer with whom I had developed a less than friendly relationship during my teenage years… Officer Velasquez. He always intruded on my fun, almost like he was following me. Sure enough, he pulled over my friend’s car to chat with me and try to find my beer. But, no luck that night; we had cleverly hidden the beer to escape detection by a flashlight shined through the window of the car. The traffic stop ended with a lecture about staying out of trouble.
Free again, we made our way to a house party. After a few hours, the party began to wind down. A little before midnight, my friend, Rex, and I hatched a plan to take our girlfriends to the hunting/fishing cabin “down by the river.”
The girls did not know the way and the general consensus was that neither I nor my girlfriend, Renee, were in the best shape to drive. To navigate, I went with Renee and Rex’s girlfriend, Carol, in Renee’s Dad’s 1971 Buick convertible. Rex drove his car.
Carol drove the car, and Renee sat up front because she was very nervous about Carol driving her Dad’s car (with good reason, it turns out). I rode/slept in the back seat.
At approximately 12:30 A.M. on Friday, July 18th, Carol ran the stop sign at Blaine Street and Stolley Park Road. An upper classman at Grand Island Senior High, Mark Dawson, driving a pick-up, hit the Buick directly where my head (in blissful slumber) was laying against the window behind the passenger side door.
I awoke to the sound of the “jaws of life” trying to free my leg from the wreck. I pulled my leg out and the firemen pulled me out of the car. They gave me a towel to put on my face. I could feel my eyeball as I pressed the towel onto my face. The whole right side of my face felt like a sponge… no bone structure.
Of course, Officer Velasquez was at the accident. I vaguely remember him talking to me about how he told me to stay out of trouble earlier. Thereafter, I distinctly remember that my drama teacher, Mrs. Stalker, and her husband (in their pajamas and bath robes) came up to me. The wreck occurred right next to their house.
Mrs. Stalker asked me if I was okay. I was in shock and pulled the towel away from my face and asked her how bad was I hurt.
I have never seen someone faint that quickly. She went down like a dropped sack of potatoes. I immediately put the towel against my face again (again pushing my eyeball back into my head).
Next thing I remember, we were off to the hospital where I met my doctor, Dr. Gene Van Wie, who was soon joined by my father. Doctor Van Wie sat on my chest, held my head between his knees, and told a nurse to hold my arm and told my dad to hold my other arm. He began to stitch up multiple cuts in my face.
Even though I was supposedly in shock, it hurt like hell! I began to holler and my dad asked Doctor Van Wie if he was going to give me something. The Doc stopped sewing and looked at my father with a very, very pissed off expression. He said, “Jim, he’s so drunk he can’t even feel this.”
In response, I said repeatedly, “Yes, I do; yes, I do; yes, I do.” Without further ado, the good doctor finished his work and I was off to morphine land.
After about 10 days in the hospital and a couple of surgeries, I returned home. The day after I got home, a sleazy insurance adjuster (no offense Chuck) came to our house to interview me. I was home alone and he told me that I had to talk with him so the police could complete their report about the accident.
I am not proud of what I said to the adjuster, but the mention of police and his very, very pushy, authoritative style scared me. Inasmuch as you know the real story now, I think you will be entertained by the statement I gave the insurance adjuster, below:
Some of the facts don’t match up, but only Renee and Carol knew otherwise, and I was quite sure they were singing from the same hymnal.
Just as I survived a bad night forty years ago, the Bums will survive the recent bad nights this week. In fact, just like forty years ago, the Bums had a little surgery recently. Joey Gallo was removed and Alfredo Simon was implanted into the roster. Dr. Smoove (a/k/a/ Itchie, JT, Bender, Foster, Big Johnny) was the surgeon.
3) Mr. Wilson
Speaking of Itchie, now that the five-time champion is retired, he has started up an 11:00 A.M. Tuesday golf league with a few of the geriatric members of the golf club.
JT has honed his golf game to precision and “managed” his handicap (15) to equal or exceed the remaining life expectancy of most of his Tuesday opponents. I know from whence I speak because each weekend, I tithe to the church of Mr. Wilson, giving him $15.00 every time.
As proof of Johnny’s golfing prowess, look at these awards from last year.
Please note that Bender got a plaque for each award. Just this past weekend, Big Johnny admitted that he was having trouble finding wall space for all his plaques, awards, ribbons, stuffed pheasants, and pictures of himself.
4) What Happened to Screech?
You can ask this question in two contexts… (1) What happened to the actor, Dustin Diamond, who played the character “Screech” on “Saved by the Bell”? or (2) What happened to last year’s HSL champion and #1 draft pick holder this season?
In response to the first question about Dustin Diamond, a Google search quickly identified this article:
The second question relates to the Monarchs’ current 12th place position. I know a little bit about tumbles (i.e. the Santa Monica Stumble), and Screech’s tumble from first to almost last in such a very short period of time is reminiscent of what would of happened had Blongo jumped off the bridge – SPLAT! Upon examination of the Monarchs’ roster, it is clear that injuries have played a role in the fall of the Screech empire. Pence, Morse, Travis, Fister and Strasburg are on the DL and Arcia in “Not Active.” Screech will likely cross over to the dark side and join Possum’s crusade for a HSL “Disabled List” option on Yahoo.
My advice to Screech is the same as Screech’s own advice. Jeff, you are in a wrestling match and the injuries/bad luck have you pinned down. You are wiggling and flailing. Just mount it, Jeff! Mount it!
This advice sounds vaguely familiar to some anonymous advice being whispered in Cleveland a few years back.
5) Find Waldo, Pirnie, Drews, Bridges, Ernst and Sinclair
6) Chuck’s New Store
7) From the Desk of David Ernst – Editor
Found in Skipper’s trash can: “The most recent persiflage offered by one with the sobriquet ‘Itchie’ was definitely not sesquipedalian; however, it did deliver a few sockdolagers. Bravo, Itchie. Bravo!”
8) Just Us Kids
According to the Wall Street Journal, kids’ participation in baseball has declined 41% from 2002 to 2013, dropping from 9 million in 2002 to 5.3 million in 2013. That is depressing! Like most social behavior, there are surely a number of reasons/causes for the decline. More sports and early sport specialization, as well as video games and other electronic entertainment are the most often-cited reasons for a decline. Others speak heresy of baseball being too slow, too boring and too mired in the past.
Personally, I think there may be some truth in all those purported reasons/causes of decline in baseball participation.
Whatever the reasons, I think baseball has irrevocably entered a new age…and not for the better. Long gone are the days of a vacant lot, handed-down old baseball gloves, a couple of beat-up balls and bats, and a group of kids without an adult around to tell them what, how, when and where to do everything. When left to themselves, kids emulated players, played the “game” they saw and knew, organized themselves, resolved disputes and grew to love the game for reasons beyond the physical play. The game represented comradery, fair play, trust, and respect. Yeah, “Sandlot” is what I am talking about. Love the movie and loved playing baseball when it was “just us kids.”
That’s all I got for this edition of Curbside Chronicles…cartoons to follow.