Tuesday, March 30, 2010

CY & I: Cub Busters

Part II of the Joey lovefest will have to wait another day; I'm at my sister's house watching her kids so I don't have access to my pics of his cards. Here's a little something to tide you over:
My friend Shane and I have a pretty good system; whenever I pull any Cubbie cards, they go straight to him and whenever he gets any Friars on cardboard such as the '09 Signature Stars CY to your left, your pal TTG's collection gets a little bigger. Despite being a fan of the hapless Northsiders, Sheezy and his delightfully depraved fiance Tara are two of the greatest people you'll ever meet. I'm pretty sure they think as highly of me, seeing as how I am their beautiful daughter Aubrie's godfather- hell, they even entrusted me with naming her!

Back to baseball, Shane and I are like any other red-blooded set of friends in that we root for the other's team when it doesn't affect ours but talk mess like crazy any chance we get. Case in point: the Christmas before last, I bought him a Cubs jersey with #84 on the back. After he opened and examined it, he said something to the effect of "Sweet, you put the year I was born on it!" Now, I know when he was born but between the time of me buying it and him saying that, that fact never occured to me once and I told him as much. He thought about it for a second before the light bulb went off and he said "Oh, fuck you, Joe! At first I wanted to wear this every single day; now I want to set it on fire!" Score one for me.

Just to make this even remotely about CY, I will say that one of my all-time favorite images is the one of him about to punch former Friar Derrek Lee in his fear-stricken face.

Monday, March 29, 2010

My Love For Joey Cora Knows No Bounds (Part I)

I’m always meaning to write something about Joey Cora on here but I have yet to actually do so. Maybe it’s because I feel like my stupid little words can’t do him justice; it’s certainly not for a lack of things to say. I don’t have that many cards of him as a Padre- mostly due to not that many existing- but enough to hammer out a few of my favorite Joey stories. But first, a little background…

As anybody who even kind of knows me knows, he is, without competition, my favorite player ever. I first took note of him when he was still a Padre; I pored over all Padres cards I pulled but took an instant liking to Joey, relating to his small stature, diminutive frame and virtual absence of anything even resembling power. At the time, my Friar fandom was confined to card collecting, box score reading and, when they played the Reds, radio listening so I never had an opportunity to see him in action until he’d been jettisoned, along with Warren Newsome, to the White Sox. He then officially became my favorite player as I got to witness him wring every last ounce of effort out of his tiny body, slapping singles, taking extra bases and diving for balls that mere mortals would let pass without a step. My love for him grew even more after he joined the Mariners…

Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow!

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Sorry for the hiatus, everybody (and by 'everybody', I mean 'both of you'). It's been a couple of weeks but I'm getting back in the swing of things. I've got a slew of Joey Cora posts lined up but first, this...

I never understood why Kouz was such a polarizing figure in his time with the Pads. I guess this might go back to the whole expectations thing- after all, when you hit the first Major League pitch thrown to you for a grand slam, people are bound to have high hopes of you- but still...

His production was neither particularly good nor bad- he even made MLB Network's By The Numbers's "All Average Team" due to this. People seemed to either love him for his looks (doesn't do much for me) or hate him because he was blocking Headley (doesn't do much for me).

Me? Eh, I liked the guy- still do- but I wasn't particularly broken-hearted when he went to Oaktown. Actually, I was pretty stoked but that had everything to do with getting Shrek back so it's neither here nor there. I hope he has a great season and a great career but I'm not gonna be naming my son after him or anything.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Everybody Loves Blummer (No Pressure, No Problems)

He might not be the best example of the point I'm trying to get across but Geoff Blum was the first guy who popped in my head and I think the comparison is fairly apt so I'm gonna roll with it.

In their years with the Padres, Blummer and Burroughs posted similar numbers- sure, Blum hit 'em out out of the yard a bit more frequently and Burroughs had a better average but they're close enough for where I'm going with this. In fact, Sean out-OPS+ed Geoff 91 to 83 yet Blum is recalled fondly by most while the mere mention of the word "Burroughs" makes San Diegans recoil in disgust. Why? I think you know where this is headed.

When we got Blum, we knew what we were getting: a below average guy who gets on the field because the rules say you have to have nine guys out there- and people in general didn't hold that against him. Sure, fans would get frustrated with his Ks and so-forth but nothing approaching the level of hatred generated by Burroughs. Every time he would fail, it seemed as though people regarded it as a personal affront, a slap in their face because they had faith and thought better of him than that. Why? I think you know where this is headed.

There are some people I grew up with and was in advanced placement classes with who now hold down modest jobs- nothing extravagant but sufficient enough to comfortably support their families; sadly, many consider them failures. Others I grew up with, ones who maybe didn't score as well on tests or for whatever reasons didn't get the attention that the first group did, now lead lives many of you would find harrowing. Yet they garner praise for staying out of prison this year, switching over to methadone or merely neglecting their children instead of completely abandoning them.

Expectations are a dangerous thing and can really skew the way we would otherwise view things. I recall one time several years ago; I forget the specifics but I had been planning this day for weeks. Of course this would be the day that everything that could go wrong did go wrong; my wife got called into work, it was teeming rain, my car was being uncooperative, ad infinitum. I saw my friend Jeff, a man wise beyond his years, later that day and told him my tale of woe- I will never forget his reaction. He smiled wider than I've ever seen anyone smile in the history of smiling and said "Well, good, buddy! You learned something about expectations today!" Boy, was I livid at first but it really gave me a new perspective on things, one I wouldn't trade for anything.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sean Burroughs & My Hatred Of The Word "Potential" (Mo Pressure, Mo Problems)

I was digging through my little brother's cards and found this, which got me thinking about Sean Burroughs. I think I might be the only person who didn't hate him- I rooted and had empathy for him. This was a guy I could relate to in that his baseball career was like my life in general: lauded as a child, showing signs of progress nearing adulthood, but ultimately being an absolute disappointment by the age of 27. I wonder if Sean Burroughs hates the word "potential" as much as I do? I despise it; it's right up there with "cute", the other four letter word that starts with "cu", and "slut". I think it's one of the most damaging labels that can be put on someone...

More on this with tomorrow's card. It all ties together, I promise.

Friday, March 5, 2010

A 'n' G Lies

First off, thanks to TC, who doesn't even read this blog, for today's card. It's the first Allen & Ginter's I've owned despite the fact that I've always thought they're pretty rad cards. I love the washed-out photography and the lack of what Jim Bouton would call "technicolor gingerbread". It seems like, for the longest time, card manufacturers were in a race to see who could cram the most stupid shid on the front of a card, so it was refreshing when these came along and stripped away all the BS and got down to the essence. Kinda like when Guns 'N' Roses put out G 'n' R Lies.

I'm pretty sick of hearing about Adrian trade speculation and he could be too for all I know. I don't know though since everything that comes out of the guy's mouth is so infuriatingly Crash Davis-like vanilla. I suppose maybe that makes me a hypocrite for wishing he'd say more and Jake Peavy would say less but oh well, I'm not losing any sleep at night over it. I just don't see why everybody's flipping out about how he's gonna get traded and he's gonna get traded now. I really like Adrian and I really like him being a Padre, but if Jedi Hoyer can get a ridiculous return for him that bumps the club to the next level, it'd be foolish not to. What I do know is that there is absolutely no reason to rush into something now just because. Something better than what the White Sox may or may not be offering will come along- all we need is just a little patience.