Friday, January 23, 2015

Mr. Cub.

Ernie Banks.

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January 31, 1931 - January 23, 2015

Let's Play Two. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Four For The Hall.

       Last year the baseball writers saw fit to elect three very worthy men to the Hall of Fame. This year, in an almost unfathomable gesture of generosity, they elected four very worthy men, the first time they have elected four players in 60 years.  Bravo, BBWAA, bra-fucking-vo.

Randy Johnson.
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The Big Unit got 97.3% of the vote - more than Maddux!
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Johnson is, was, and always will be a freak of nature, equal parts Steve Carlton, Nolan Ryan, Wilt Chamberlain, and spider monkey.  I think John Kruk said it all without saying a thing about what it was like to hit against him.

Pedro Martinez.
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Petey got 91.1% of the vote.  I know there are always dumbasses who don't vote for first year players, which is why someone like Randy Johnson "only" gets 97.3% of the vote, but that nonsense is to be expected.  I know it is picking nits to a pathetic degree, but I find the percentage Pedro got to be more insulting.  I would like to interview the 49 men who thought he wasn't all Hall of Famer with these numbers during the steroid era.  I could and will argue that Pedro's 1999-2000 are the two best back-to-back pitching seasons ever.  Bar none.
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Martinez is the polar opposite of Randy Johnson in terms of personality and body type but I find it very satisfying that they are going into the Hall together. No two pitchers laughed in the face of the cartoon inflated offensive statistics of the 90s and aughts with more aplomb than Pedro and Randy. 

Craig Biggio.
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Craig Biggio (finally!) got in with 82.7% of the vote.  I guess he had a really good year last year which propelled him over the top, right?  That's how it works?  Hello?  Is this thing on?
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I wrote very long and passionately about Biggio last year when he missed being elected by two freaking votes.  I suggest going back to read that post if you haven't already because it is one of the finest things I have ever written on this blog.

John Smoltz. 
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Smoltz got in with 82.9% of the vote.  I broke from numerical protocol in listing the four new members and went with, what is in my eyes, overall worthiness.  John Smoltz was, I'll admit even as a Mets fan, a great pitcher for a long time.  His career is sort of a photo negative of Dennis Eckersley's and Eck went in on the first ballot too.  But I pause when Smoltz gets in on the first ballot when Mike Mussina and Curt Schilling, two pitchers who are both contemporaries and statistically superior, are on the outside looking in.  This is sort of where the writers lost their way in this vote. 

     Oh, you might ask, where else did they go awry?  Well, there is one glaring omission once again this year - and for the third year in a row.  I ranted about Biggio (amongst other things) last year, but was so mad about the Mike Piazza thing that I couldn't bring myself to actually condense into words their failings at not electing him.  And yes, I am aware that it is almost impossible that he won't get in next year.  But believe me my friends, my thoughts about Mike Piazza are going to come fast and furious and soon.  I know I haven't posted much in the last couple months (for a variety of reasons), but leave it to the baseball writers to wake the sleeping bear. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Mail Call: COMC Cyber Monday.

       I trust all of you enjoyed your Christmas.  I trust Santa Claus brought you everything your heart desired.  Me? I got a nice big lump of coal, but hey, free coal!  Anyway, as a certified (if not quite bonafide) "grown up" I really don't exchange presents much anymore.  Oh, I will bring something if I go to a party, and of course the kids in my life got something, but my attitude towards the whole gift-giving component of the holidays can be summed up in this little exchange between my sister and I the other day at lunch:

Sis: Oh, by the way, I didn't get you anything for Christmas.

Me: Don't worry, I didn't get you anything, either.

Sis: Well, you did just buy me lunch at McDonalds...

Me: Woohoo! Big Macs for Christmas!

All this does not mean I do not take advantage of the retail Armageddon that takes place every year around this time.  One of my favorite sites, COMC.com, always has a big Black Friday sale and then a Cyber Monday shipping special.  I used the latter to get a bunch of cards I had accumulated over the last many months to my house for free.  Freedom!  Let's take a look at what the gods of commerce have wrought:
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 Those Iooss' make for one hell of a nice page.  The Jimmy Deans?  Well, they look okay, too. These cards finished off two half pages I started at a show over the summer.  It's nice to see the seasons come together so well.  That last vertical Met also finishes a page started at that same show, alas, it did not get a scanning opportunity.

The second batch here is not quite as cut and dry as it is all over the place.  You have a rookie cup addition and some wonderful Mars Attacks inserts to complete a page.  Then it gets even more obscure with a Chico Resch box bottom card that I accidentally discovered while doing the COMC challenge and immediately gobbled up. There is also an obligatory Gary Carter and a Pinnacle Trophy Collection card to fix a page that I had somehow screwed up while building (it happens). Then on the bottom row there is a NASCAR(?) driver and a 1964 Donruss Addams Family card, a must for any non-sports collection. 
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But wait, what is that last card?  What's that name?

Buzz Nutter!
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BUZZ NUTTER!!!
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BUZZ fucking NUTTER!!!!!!!
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Look at that, it's glorious.  I might never recover knowing there was once a professional football player, hell, that there was once a human being that went by the name Buzz Nutter.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Here Comes Santa Claus.

here comes Santa Claus,
Right down Santa Claus lane
Vixen and Blitzen and all his reindeer
Pullin' on the reins
Bells are ringin', children singin'
All is merry and bright
Hang your stockings and say your prayers
'cause Santa Claus comes tonight!

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Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus,
Right down Santa Claus lane
He's got a bag that's filled with toys
For boys and girls again
Hear those sleigh bells jingle jangle,
Oh what a beautiful sight
So jump in bed and cover your head
'cause Santa Claus comes tonight!

Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus,
Right down Santa Claus lane
He doesn't care if you're rich or poor
He loves you just the same
Santa Claus knows we're all Gods children
That makes everything right
So fill your hearts with Christmas cheer
'cause Santa Claus comes tonight!

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Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus,
Right down Santa Claus lane
He'll come around when the chimes ring out
That it's Christmas morn again
Peace on earth will come to all
If we just follow the light
So lets give thanks to the lord above
That Santa Claus comes tonight!

- Gene Autry & Oakley Haldeman 1947

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Football '14 Week 16: Playoffs?

       The playoffs for this team started last week and they took advantage of a Bears team that looked much more interested in tee times and travel plans than actually playing football.  This week is the game.  The one that will decide if this is a good team that has had a terrible streak of luck or if this is a bad team that deserves its fate if they lose.  There are few words I could add to measure the magnitude of win and your in.  That is the joy of the playoffs, if you win out, no one cares if you are 13-3 or 8-8.  I am going to turn the mike over to Uncle Al for a few extra inspirational words:

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I don't know what to say really.
Three minutes
to the biggest battle of our professional lives
all comes down to today.
Either
we heal
as a team
or we are going to crumble.
Inch by inch
play by play
till we're finished.
We are in hell right now, gentlemen
believe me
and
we can stay here
and get the shit kicked out of us
or
we can fight our way
back into the light.
We can climb out of hell.
One inch, at a time.

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Now I can't do it for you.
I'm too old.
I look around and I see these young faces
and I think
I mean
I made every wrong choice a middle age man could make.
I uh....
I pissed away all my money
believe it or not.
I chased off
anyone who has ever loved me.
And lately,
I can't even stand the face I see in the mirror.

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You know when you get old in life
things get taken from you.
That's, that's part of life.
But, you only learn that when you start losing stuff.
You find out that life is just a game of inches.
So is football.
Because in either game
life or football
the margin for error is so small.
I mean
one half step too late or to early
you don't quite make it.
One half second too slow or too fast
and you don't quite catch it.
The inches we need are everywhere around us.
They are in ever break of the game
every minute, every second.

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On this team, we fight for that inch
On this team, we tear ourselves, and everyone around us
to pieces for that inch.
We CLAW with our finger nails for that inch.
Cause we know
when we add up all those inches
that's going to make the fucking difference
between WINNING and LOSING
between LIVING and DYING.

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I'll tell you this
in any fight
it is the guy who is willing to die
who is going to win that inch.
And I know
if I am going to have any life anymore
it is because, I am still willing to fight, and die for that inch
because that is what LIVING is.
The six inches in front of your face.

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Now I can't make you do it.
You gotta look at the guy next to you.
Look into his eyes.
Now I think you are going to see a guy who will go that inch with you.
You are going to see a guy
who will sacrifice himself for this team
because he knows when it comes down to it,
you are gonna do the same thing for him.

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That's a team, gentlemen
and either we heal now, as a team,
or we will die as individuals.
That's football guys.
That's all it is.
Now, whattaya gonna do?