Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Excuses Excuses.

       So my birthday turned from a 12-hour work day to a two day extravaganza of drinking and revelry.  Plus, the long post I have been working on has taken a little longer to compose than I anticipated.  So in the meantime, just to see who is still paying attention, let's play another round of everyone's favorite game:

Who wants it?

This is a 1976 Topps Kurt Bevacqua 1975 Joe Garagiola/Bazooka Bubble Gum Blowing Champion card.  This is one of the all time great oddball cards ever included in a mainstream set.  Everyone loves this card - and these are just a few of the links.  Poor Kurt was in the majors for 15 years, and the only two things anyone will ever remember him for is Tommy Lasorda ranting like a jackass (totally totally NSFW) and this baseball card.  Come to think of it, that isn't a bad legacy at all.  Anyway, I was going through a random pile and I found this card.  I must have found it in a dime or quarter box and seriously, how could you turn down this card for a lousy 10¢ or 25¢?  Now, it is not gem mint 10; it is a little off center and the corners are dinged, but I already have one...and let's face it, awesome as it may be, I don't need two.  If you don't have one and would like it, just leave a comment and the first one who does will get it.  No muss, no fuss, no contest, no randomizer, no trivia question.  So, who wants it?

UPDATE: Setting some kind of land/speed record, Captain Canuck snagged this badboy in 12 minutes.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


       Today is my birthday.  As a grown man (37 years and counting), I eschew parties and presents as the domain of children.  The people who love me do not shower me with trinkets or cards and do not call to wish me well...they show up with a Carvel ice cream cake or a plate full of cupcakes or heck, even an Entenmann's right out of the box.  I am not picky.  Now, it is not news that as a large man who loves sweets, I will sit through an insurance seminar if there is cake involved.  But make no mistake, there is only one thing and one thing alone that matters today: cake.

       Thanks to the marvelous frivolities section of Baseball Reference, years ago I was able to pin down all of the major leaguers born on the same day I was.  Oh, I already knew a few.  I was at Shea Stadium on my 15th birthday when I learned that a rookie named Todd Hundley shared my birthday.  As a lover of all things Mets and Mets catchers especially, I became a Todd Hundley super-collector from that day forward.  I also learned that year that uber-rookie Frank Thomas and a prospect named Jeff Bagwell shared the same birthday in 1968 - May 27th.  I am not sure if it is narcissistic or pragmatic, but I also became a big fan and collectors of both those players as well.  I now collect any player that has my birthday and I have a binder that collects all my "Birthday Boys" together.  I keep a separate one for Hundley, Thomas, and Bagwell, so they are represented in these pages.
John Jaha, one of the all time best names to say aloud, was born today in 1966.  I never became a Jaha collector for some reason and these are the only six of his cards that I own.

These are some prospects that have my birthday.  Richards has made the show and shows some promise.
Brad Knox and Trey Shields, alas, never got to the Big Leagues.  But their DOB on their cards, though, got them in this book.

After the Big Three of Hundley, Thomas, and Bagwell, Mike Caruso was the next in line to break out and become a star with my birthday...
...unfortunately, he flamed out and never really amounted to much.  He was out of the majors by the time he was 25.

Jacob Brumfield sounds like a British gent.  Instead, he was a marvelously sub-par outfielder from the 90's.  He looks like a ball player, but he didn't play much like one (70 OPS+ in 1747 PA - yuck).
Also on this page is Chien Ming Chang, a Taiwanese player who has been in the WBC.  I caught that his birthday was mine on a broadcast and immediately went to eBay to pick up one of his cards.  Terry Collins, was for a while, the failed manager of the Astros and Angels.  Now his is the manager of my beloved Mets; I will have to find some more of his cards.  Those last three players are a trio of never-weres.  You will find that to be the case with a lot of these guys from here on in. 

Like these five guys (mmmm burgers).  All the very definition of commons. 
Ah, but here is a tragic story.  Gary Nolan was Mark Prior before Mark Prior.  He had an electric arm and came up to the bigs at the age of 18 throwing gas - he even finished second to Tom Seaver in rookie of the year voting in 1967.  Alas, his elbow went early and while he became a finesse pitcher for a time, he never panned out to be the world beater his first few years would have indicated he would.  People rarely use him as an example of a pitcher who blew out his arm early from overuse.  Everyone seems to think every pitcher from the 1960's was Bob Gibson and Don Sutton.

Ahhh, back to the scrubs...
Terry Moore and Pinky Higgins had decent big league careers, but if it weren't for that one day in 1968, May 27th wouldn't have much to show for it in the major league annals.

Not being content to stay with just baseball, I checked for the basketball birthday boys as well.  I did pick up cards of the players I could find.  These eight players are about as underwhelming as you would possibly imagine.
I read somewhere once that Sam Snead had my birthday, so I picked up one of his cards and his being here with these awful basketball players makes him the best athlete on this page by far. 

About a million people will celebrate birthdays with me today, so obviously, there are some football players too.
Antonio Freeman somehow got a whole page worth of cards in the binder.  Most of these are shiny...I imagine that is why.

Danny Weurffel played for the Saints, so he's got that going for him. 
I haven't checked the football site in a while, Nick Barnett was the last player with my birthday I consciously remember playing in the NFL.  With over 1500 players in the league, I am sure there are more.

Jackie Slater is by far the best NFL player with my birthday, he made Canton a few years ago.
The NHL is represented here with a few players, but once again, I have not checked that list in a long time.  I am sure there are more than four players.  Jeremy Mayfield is a Nascar driver (strike one) who is a crack head (strike two) who also is a big jerk about it (strike three).  Yet my completist nature won't let me not include him.  Paul Gascoigne is a really good soccer player.  Good for him.

Lance Schulters was a pretty mediocre to pretty terrible defensive back.  He was also born the exact same day as I was.  So was Andre Savage.  So was Jamie Oliver and Andre 3000 (not shown). Happy 37th boys!
There are a couple of WWE folks with my birthday.  That's kind of sports related, right?  Just to be well rounded, I have a boxer and a Tennis player as well.  Lee Meriwether is a former Miss America and I found that she has my birthday as well.  Or well, that I have hers.

OK, this is just straight vanity, but if your card also mentions May 27th, I include it in the book.  That ever so popular Yankee Stadium Legacy set is here, as are some major league debuts and some Joe DiMaggio streak cards. 
I will include the backs of these, as I did double up some that just had information on the back.
The Carlos Pena and Curt Schilling cards just mention feats done on May 27th and Jim Clancy's kid shares my birthday.  Finding those was pure serendipity and shows that I spend far far too much time reading the backs of baseball cards. 

While there is the immortal Lance Schulters in football and the incomparable Andre Savage in hockey, there has never been (and very likely never will be) a Major League baseball player born on May 27, 1975.  The closest I came was Travis Lee.
His mother was far too anxious to get him out of her and thus he was born on May 26, 1975.  He never quite panned out, given all his prospect hype, but still had quite a decent career.  I have about 6 pages worth of his cards, but I think one is enough here.

Two days off the pace is Randall Simon, born 5/25/75.  His claim to fame is hitting one of the sausage mascots in Milwaukee with a bat during their little race.  Quite the legacy.
Also two days off the pace was Sean Spencer, but in the other direction.  I am a whole two days older than Sean.  I have an Auto and a refractor of old Sean.  Obviously it is quality over quantity in my Sean Spencer collection.  Last but not least is Christian Parker.  Well, maybe least in term of career as he pitched a whole three innings in the majors and was once suspended for steroid use.  Plus, he was born July 3, 1975, so what the heck is he doing here?  Well, he was born in Albuquerque, NM as was I.  He is the closest in terms of age to someone from my birthplace to make the majors. Obscure?  Well, if you have read this far, you can tell I have an odd attention to detail when it comes to these kinds of things regarding my birthday.  I didn't grow up in Albuquerque, but if I had, I may have played with a major leaguer, all be it one with a 21.00 ERA, but hey, he made the majors didn't he?  I never came close.  (Oh, and now that you are armed with my birthday and place of birth, you can try to steal my identity.  Believe me, when you see my credit score, you'll wish you hadn't.) 

So, now that you know it is my birthday, I will be expecting cake (kidding).  But actually, this post sets up tomorrow's, where I show the oddest and most obsessive part of my collection.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.


Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.


So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you're older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.


Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over,
Thought I'd something more to say.

- Pink Floyd from Dark Side of the Moon.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Mets did what?

This is was the AP headline for the game recap of the Mets v. Pirates game this evening:

Not some snarky bro-based lunkhead sports website, but the AP.  Yeah.  I know.  Hey, at least the Mets won.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


       I live in New Jersey - land of 1000 diners.  They should put that on the license plate, rather than the very misleading 'Garden State' that it currently says there.  My judgement of a place to live is not based on land values or public transportation or anything as bourgeois as that.  First and foremost, there had better be a local diner near by and they better serve a damn fine breakfast.  My local diner is a joint that is called Tiffany Diner (it changed its name last year, but trust me, everyone still calls it Tiffany).  When I lived in Somerville, MA the joint was Kelly's Diner; when I lived in Queens, I was torn by my love of Tasty's Diner and the Neptune.  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it should always be served in a greasy spoon by a waitress named Flo.

       Like bagels and pizza, I weep for anyone not from around here who does not know the joy of a local diner.  I have been to areas where the only places around are Perkins or Waffle House or Denny's.  Now, I have only eaten at a Perkins' once (I was on the road at 3am in Minnesota and coffee was a moral imperative) and I have never, even in all my travels in the South, eaten at a Waffle House.  But then there is Denny's...ahhh Denny's.  Denny's fancies itself as "America's Diner" which is fine, I suppose.  Too bad it is IHOP without the street cred, but I have come here to praise Denny's, not to bury them.  For a few glorious years in the early to mid 90's, Denny's did something wonderful, that only a national chain could do: they gave out baseball cards with breakfast, thus combining two of my top five things of all time (I will let you speculate as to the other three).  And not just any baseball cards, either...
...but holographic baseball cards!  Made by Upper Deck!  ...and Pinnacle!
That first page is from 1995 and the second from 1996.  Alas, I did not acquire these eating plate after plate of Grand Slam platters, I got them from a dime box in a recent show.  The scans don't do them justice, either, as they are shiny and glorious.  I have looked online and all of their cards were either magic-motion (Sportflix style) or holograms.  I would have considered going to Denny's a lot more back then had I known the cards they were giving out were so damn cool.

Now if you excuse me, I am going to grab breakfast at the erstwhile Tiffany Diner...
That's right, Holly Golightly, I'm having Breakfast at Tiffany's.     

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Late > Never.

       Upper Deck was once the crème de la crème of card companies.  Their customer service and order fulfillment were second to none.  Topps has always been hit or miss, Fleer went out of business because it couldn't keep its promises, but Upper Deck was always the best.  I should emphasize was.  I am not sure if we are looking at a chicken or egg situation here - I am not certain if their customer service went to hell because they lost their baseball license, or if one of the main reasons they lost their baseball license was because their customer service had deteriorated so demonstratively.  It all makes me dizzy to think about it.  We have all had nightmares in getting redemption cards fulfilled and I will try to keep this particular story brief.  Really, I never had much of an issue at all with Upper Deck until a few years ago.  They shipped on time, kept their promises, delivered great cards, and were even pretty nice about it.  Then, about three years ago, it all just fell off the cliff...redemptions not filled, incorrect cards delivered, open cases mysteriously closed with no resolution, rude people on the phone (if you could get them on the phone at all).  It was like dealing with Topps on a Monday morning with no coffee all the time.  It all started with a 2007 Sweet Spot Torii Hunter fancy silver low numbered autographed thing.  I entered the redemption number online and it came up as invalid.  I spoke to someone about it and followed his instructions on how to send it in.  I mailed the redemption in and never heard from them again.  OK, not a huge loss, but I do like Torii Hunter and I did spend money on their product which promised me an autographed card that I never received.  After making a few phone calls and sending a few emails, I gave up the ghost (or Hunter as the case may be).  I was annoyed, but there was little I could do about it.  Then, last April, I had a similar issue with a basketball redemption card.  Now, basketball is not my favorite sport, but I had bought a grab bag of packs (I am a sucker for grab bags) and the one high end pack in there was a UD basketball 2008-09 NBA UD Radiance pack and in that pack was a redemption for a Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett dual autograph.  I entered the redemption number, and again, it came up invalid.  So again, I called and opened a case.  Again, I mailed it in.  Again, I heard absolutely nothing back.  I emailed a couple of times, the last one in November, but got no satisfaction whatsoever.  Upper Deck was officially on my shit list. 

Then in the mail yesterday, this arrived:

I really shouldn't complain, and I did promise to keep my bitching to a minimum when I started this blog, but I should take issue with a couple of things here: 1) First sentence uses the word "recent" - this request was made over a year ago. They use the word "recently" later on as well, as though they are trying to convince me that this was a recent request.  I suppose in the grand scheme of things, a year could be "recent" but when it comes to fixing a problem, no...no it isn't.  2) They call it a replacement request when this was a redemption fulfillment.  Could this be the reason that it took a year for me to receive this card?  Because the wrong damn department was trying to do it?  OK, I could go on, but that is enough of that.  In the end, it is a pretty sweet card, which I will be listing on eBay this weekend (unless some reader really really wants it, in which case, email me and make me a trade offer).  Upper Deck used to have a slogan along the lines of "Getting you closer to the game" I guess now it is "Better late than never."

Friday, May 18, 2012


      I am not a big fan of the Gypsy Queen set.  My biggest gripe is that it is redundant.  Topps already made a perfect faux-vintage tobacco set in Allen and Ginter, why do another?  Topps often falls into the "more is more" trap and this one has it by the short hairs...just another Topps example of going to the well way too many times.  My other issue is the one most other people have with it, that the base design is just way too busy, and frankly, down right ugly.  Gypsy Queen looks like a set that stoned Upper Deck executives would have rejected and the computer generated old-timey look just doesn't work.  I am proud that I have bought exactly zero packs of this product.  That said, I have seen many write ups on the Gypsy Queen and I did find a couple of insert sets that I did like.  Thanks to eBay, I didn't have to slog through pack after pack to get the cards I wanted, I just found a lot of the cards I liked and skipped the ugly base card middle man.

This year features a subset called Moonshots:
I like the term Moonshot.  I like the song "We Didn't Start the Fire" which features the term.  I like Wally Moon, who is the impetus of the term.  I like the Apollo space program.  I like the color purple (I am indifferent to the film, though).  So, even if I am not big on Gypsy Queen, I like this particular insert set fine.

Last year's set had a few cool inserts, but the one I adore most by far is the Wall Climbers:
Look at that, outfielders making catches at the wall, which is one of my favorite photos for a baseball card.  There are 10 total in this set, so I broke down and bought the whole thing on eBay.  Poor Rajai Davis lost out on this 9-card page, his green on green picture just didn't do it for me.  But in the end, this page is ten kinds of awesome and this insert set might be one of my favorites of all time.  So what is the moral of this story?  Even if you hate a particular release, there might be something redeeming about it hiding in the inserts.


Post script.  One other thing the mention of this set does is get this song stuck in my head, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the last thing I need is more going on in my subconscious.  Plus, if you know the movie, then you have Tina Turner dancing about going on as well.  My head is a strange place.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


       It's been raining the last couple of days.  While I am not exactly Rain Man when it comes to the rain, I tend to mope around the house hoping my sinuses will stop throbbing when the spring showers come.  The rain plus insomnia led me to do a little spring cleaning.  I tackled some of the boxes I have previously shown awful pictures of; I delved specifically into some of the oddball memorabilia boxes, the stuff that is not strictly baseball cards, but more baseball card related. I will just randomly grab a few things and write about them, since I am sick of trying to figure out why I bought most of them in the first place or what the hell I am going to do with them.

OOOOoooo.... off to a good start, a couple of old school Mets pictures.  These are photographs, not cards or post cards.  I have no earthly clue where or when I got them.
The names of the players are written on the back (Al Jackson and Wayne Garrett) in different inks and handwriting.  I recognized the players, I do not recognize the handwriting (it is not mine, anyway).  These are still kind of neat and I will find a spot for them in my Mets books.  I need to catalog my stuff better, I'd like to know where these came from.

These are pretty cool too.  Some of you may have seen these before - they are from the late 70's - they are patches that are 2½" x 3½", so they are baseball card size. 
I do actually know where I got these from...a local card shop had about 1000 of each of these in a box in the back, so I bought a couple of them a while ago.  I am puzzled as to what to do with them and this is obviously not the first time I have been puzzed by them since they ended up in one of these boxes.  Should I put them in top loaders and treat them like cards, or should I find a garment and treat them like textiles?  I guess this conundrum is why there haven't been more issues like these.

OK, crazy food issue time.  It is a promo sheet of Ritz Cracker Don Mattingly cards from 1989...
...in fact, there are two of them...
...and I would be lying if I told you I didn't just look these up on ebay to find out what the hell they are.  My love of wacky food issues would usually be trumped by the subject being a Yankee, but since these aren't licensed, perhaps I made an exception seeing as the interlocked NY is nowhere to be seen.  I also found this in an envelope with these:
A Don Mattingly autograph from a 3x5 signature book.  It is not an index card but a page from one of those little scrapbooks (how odd is it to have this of a living recent ballplayer?).  Somehow, I imagine I was going to combine this bizarre cut signature with the Ritz Cracker sheet to make some kind of framed Mattingly collectable .  Or something like that.  Maybe, I dunno.  I really have no idea where I got either of these things.  Maybe I will now shift gears and make my own Donnie Baseball custom card with the cut signature, perhaps when a streak of arts and craftiness strikes me.  Sounds like a fun project to me.

Oh boy!  A box...a flat box with no identifying marks whatsoever...

It's a collector's plate.  Um, OK.  It 's all gold a shiny, even through the wrapping.  Let's see who it is...
Why, it's Nolan Ryan.  This is from Topps and it is from 1993.  I recognized the photo of Ryan from that card, but...
...the back of the plate clinched that notion as that is the back of his 1993 Topps card.  This thing fit perfectly on my scanner, which should give you some idea of the size.  I would love to eat my breakfast, lunch, and dinner off the all time strikeout king's face everyday from now until the end of time, but alas, that little blurb there on the bottom of the back says that this is a display piece and not suitable for food use.  Sad.  Yet it also says to hand wash the plate, so in a way, maybe they are daring me to eat off of it.  I just hope I didn't actually spend real money on this thing.

Let's go out on a better note than that.  I found these oddball oversized cards:
Well, I don't think they are cards, per se, it says on the front that they are pictures.  I don't remember these at all much less where I procured them.  I only have three of the packs and it says there are five.  I can't see if there is anything on the back of them.  Since they are career leaders, I assume there are some all-time greats inside.  Listings on eBay show that they are from 1983 and that they actually fold out, accordion style, just like on the front icon.  How freaking weird are these things?  I am torn, do I open them?  Tear them apart?  Sell them on eBay?  Does anybody really really want these things and has something to trade me for them?  I might keep the pitching leaders, though, no matter what, seeing as there is no doubt a Tom Seaver in there.  I just wish I could remember where I got them from.  See what happens when you don't organize and write things down?  Maybe I'll just throw all this stuff back in the box and wonder about them all over again 5-6 years from now.  Sigh.

Monday, May 14, 2012

One Week.

       Rest assured, this post is not about an awful, overplayed Barenaked Ladies song.  This post asks a simple question: what did we just witness? Last week, Josh Hamilton just went off.  Here are his stats in handy chart form:


    10      9    18   

.467   1.962    

Zoinks!  That is a pretty good month he just had in six days.  Four of those homers came in one game, only the 16th time that has ever happened in MLB history.
I am not ashamed to admit I root for Josh Hamilton.  As someone who has had an issue or two with illicit substances, I know how much strength and effort it can take to lead an ordinary life, much less excel in a professional athletic endeavor.  While I never gave my life over to god (I am a devout atheist), I do not begrudge anyone who has.  I know how hard it is to live one day at a time.  Josh finds comfort and power in the lord, so, more power to him.  Of course, after hitting nine homers in one week, I don't know how much more power he needs.  And that Roy Hobbs card on the page?  That is no accident.  I have heard the comparisons in a few places and I am apt to agree.  Josh Hamilton could have been one of the all-time greats.  Then again, Josh Hamilton could have been one of the all time cautionary tales.  In a way, he is both.  We will never get to see what he could have done with a full career, but we are getting the pleasure of seeing what he can do now.

With apologies to Ken Griffey, Jr., Don Mattingly, Dale Long, Adam Dunn, and Frank Howard et al, I think we just witnessed the most amazing week of hitting in baseball history.  I have never seen someone so locked in and so relaxed about the whole thing.  I hope in a couple weeks I can write another post about the most incredible month of hitting we have ever seen, but for now, lets just go with what we have.  There really is only one person who can trump Mr. Hamilton's having the best week in baseball ever:
Ah yes, the immortal Johnny Vander Meer.  For all intents and purposes, an average major league pitcher (at best), yet for one crazy week, he was untouchable.  On June 11, 1938, he no-hit the Boston Bees at Crosley Field. Then four nights later, in the first night game ever played at Ebbets Field, he no-hit the Brooklyn Dodgers.  This is the only instance of back-to-back no hitters in major league history.  That is a pretty darn good week, if you ask me.  So tell me, what do you think is the best week anyone ever had in big league history?

Sunday, May 13, 2012


        My mother has always been a bit of a pack rat.  I pause to use the word "hoarder" because of that TV show, but she has been known to have trouble throwing things away from time to time.  She passed this particular habit on to her children, specifically, her middle child.  As I have hammered home over and over again in this blog, I have issues with completing things, both good and bad.  My baseball card collection is a bit of an obsession and I am working hard to keep it all manageable.  My mother has always been a little terrified of my collection.  I think partly because of how much time and space it has taken over the years and partly because she is certain that is mostly her fault.  When I was a kid, she was very supportive of my card collecting.  She would take me to shows and card shops and wait patiently for me because I never wanted to leave.  She would even buy me cards for birthdays and Christmas, usually the wrong ones, but it was the thought that counts.  As an adult, I don't quite think she understand me and my hobby anymore.  As with most parents, she has a hard time seeing me as a grown up, so I think she still sees me as a 10-year old when I talk about my baseball cards.  I suppose she has a small point about that.  My card collection now is a therapeutic pastime.  I think she still sees me as fooling around with them, even though at one time, I made my living buying and selling these things.  As always, she tries to remain supportive, after all, she is my mother and that's what mothers do.

A few weeks ago, I was talking with my mother over lunch and she says "Oh! I have something for you!" and she reaches into her purse.  She pulls out three little stacks of baseball cards, all held together with giant paper clips.  "The kids at the autistic school were having a sale (my 8-year old cousin is autistic - They have these sales to try and teach these kids how money works, which can be an issue with autistic kids) and one of the kids was selling his baseball cards, so I got some for you..."  I saw these old, mangled, junk wax cards held together by a paper clip and had to bite my tongue...
...after all, it is the thought that counts.  My mother was doing a good thing for these kids, and by extension, a good thing for me.  Let's completely disregard that these are exactly the kinds of cards that I am trying to eliminate from my own personal collection and that they have no actual monetary value.  Let's dive in and look at some highlights of what mom got for me...
Kirby!  A hall of famer.  And Mark Grace, a rookie all star.  Nice cards both.  I believe at one time, I had 20 of each of those cards.  I was shocked to see a 1981 Topps card in there, as that is older than any of those kids and most of their teachers.  As you can see by the cards, they have been played with, as junk wax owned by children should be.  That Jose Silva Victory card already had roller marks on it out of the pack, the kid just added some more love to it. 

There were some 1986 Topps Traded cards in here too:
...that 1987 Mickey Hatcher was also an Update set card.  I wonder where this kid got them?  Were they his dad's?  Those 2009 UD First Edition cards on the bottom were very very well loved.  I imagine one of these kids opened the packs themselves and played with the cards, had them in their pocket, etc.  How else to explain all the rounded corners and creases?  This is what kids should do with baseball cards.  I think I am gonna keep those three, they have definite personality.  Thanks Mom!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Sweet Smell of...Something.

       Around 10-11 years ago, during a moment of great weakness, I ordered some magazines from a kid selling them door to door.  Maybe his sales pitch was too ingenious, maybe his sob story cracked my black heart, or maybe I was just sick of reading Reader's Digest and Sport Illustrated on the can (in my world, magazines are only read in two places - a doctor's office waiting room or the bathroom...) but I broke down and bought three subscriptions for his charity or whatever for like $20.  Now, funny thing about magazine subscriptions is, once they have you, they want to keep you.  For those of you who have never worked in publishing, ad sales are determined by readership and while it is hard to gauge newsstand sales, what with returns etc., subscriptions are a sold pair of eyes.  Magazines like subscriptions, that is why those obnoxious little cards offer you $75 worth of magazines for $9.99 - they make money from advertising, not subscription sales.  I am rambling here...back to 11 years ago or whatever, I bought three one year subscriptions to Rolling Stone, Maxim, and The Week (which was brand new at the time, I think they might have given that one to me).  Anyway, one odd thing they will do in magazine circulation is they warn you over and over that this is the last issue you will receive and implore you to renew.  Then, if you do nothing, they will turn around and renew your subscription anyway.  Is it any wonder that magazines are dying?  The Week stopped coming after one year; it was a good quick toilet read.  Rolling Stone only stopped coming this past December after they renewed my subscription over and over again and I kinda miss it.  Maxim, on the other hand...
Maxim just keeps on coming, year after year.  I felt kind of foolish getting this magazine when I was 25 - so imagine my shame at (nearly) 37.  I mean, it is half-way decent crapper reading material, but the articles aren't good enough to be called literary and the smut is not dirty enough to be called porn.  These kinds of "Lad" magazines are pretty much trash.  And, so you don't have to tilt your head, you can see that I will be getting this magazine until July 2017.
Twenty.  Seventeen.

What are the odds this periodical will still be around in five and a half years?  Hell, what are the odds I will still be around in 2017?!?!

Is there a point to all this?  Well, when I am trapped with my thoughts reading Maxim, I expect saucy little pictures like this...
with the obligatory vapid interview with whatever ingenue they have slapped on the cover this month.  My ex used to mock Maxim as the ultimate sign of a whipped boyfriend, as he is not allowed to have porn in the house anymore.  This is the same gal who questioned my sexuality for collecting pictures of men.  She was quite the charmer sometimes.

One of the more obnoxious things they put in this kind of magazine are the cologne ads.  They usually end up just smelling like a mixture of glue and hand soap.  But this month, I was taken aback.  I got this ad in my Maxim magazine:
Oh. Dear. Lord.
That's right, there is a NY Yankees cologne.  Your dreams of smelling like Yogi Berra can now come true at the perfume counter in Macy's.  I am puzzled, amused, bemused, and down right horrified that this exists.  I imagine thousands of boyfriends and fathers receiving this in the coming months for various anniversaries and greeting-card holidays and thousands of little blue bottles forgotten and neglected in medicine cabinets all over the tri-state area.  I know sports teams exist to make money, but have the Yankees no shame whatsoever? I am still shaking my head right now at the very notion of this and I have had days to try and let it sink in.  I would call and cancel my subscription to Maxim, but I am pretty sure that is quite impossible.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Say Hey.

       Not to get all Hackenbush on you, but I am gonna do a birthday post, because Willie Mays turns 81 today.   The Say Hey Kid is into his eighties.  Wow.  Willie Mays is one of those players I am just a little to young to have seen and therefore, have no proper perspective for him.  He is only described in hushed tones and with grand praise and from everything I have gathered, deservedly so.  The numbers alone speak for themselves.  He is always measured as one of the five best players of all time and it is pretty hard to build a case against that.  The images of him are immense and heroic.  Willie Mays will always be a myth to me, a larger than life figure.  Forever catching the ball over his shoulder; forever hitting the ball into the San Francisco night.
Because all I have to remember Willie Mays, the baseball player, is a list of numbers and a bunch of picture cards, he is forever young.  My opinion of him was forged through folklore and stories. I really love Willie Mays the baseball player.  However...
...I also once met Willie Mays, the retired autograph seller.  Now, I cannot imagine having a line of people I have never met all line up to get my signature on a photograph or a baseball.  I also cannot imagine the stresses, the boredom, or even the burden of that.  I have met a lot of sports stars this way and most of them have been friendly or at least cordial about the whole thing.  Alas, like a lot of people I have spoken to, my experience with Willie Mays was not a good one.  He did not look up.  He would not shake my hand.  He barely acknowledged my existence.
I have also seen Willie Mays interviewed and he loves to talk about baseball.  He seems like an intelligent and friendly man.  If he hates doing memorabilia shows so much, I think he could find a better way to spend his time, plus, no doubt a man of his fame could find other ways to make money.  Much like most people would rather remember Willie Mays young and running first to third, losing his hat in a blur rather than the broken down player he was with the Mets, I would much rather remember Willie Mays, the baseball player and not Willie Mays, the retired autograph seller.
Lucky for me, I have never let my 30 seconds in the presence of Willie Mays taint any memory I have of him.  Really, that's because I have no memory of him.  He is still the myth.  He is still larger than life.  He is still forever young.  Say Hey!


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