I didn’t really think about baseball cards for a long time. They were an early obsession, but between the ages of about 12 to 26, they weren’t much of a thought. Sometimes I looked at the boxes I had stored in the closet, sometimes I flipped through the assembled binders and looked reverently on random images of Andre Dawson or Scott Cooper I’d accumulated. But otherwise, it was a past hobby, replaced by CDs and whatever else.
There were little flickers of that old impulse through that dormant period, though. I picked up a Pedro Martinez card in a cereal box while I was in college somehow, and I’ve hung onto that ever since. And one day while I was combing through a flea market looking for records, I came across two cards for a dollar each that caught my eye — Carl Yastrzemski’s 1981 card, and this one, of Jim Rice in 1977.
He’s smiling and happy to be posing for the photographer in this shot, likely before the Red Sox played the Yankees in some brutal division tilt. He looks like an easy going guy. And he was the most quietly terrifying dude in the game at the time. Continue reading
Dave Parker, crushing it.
A few years ago at a place of business we shall leave nameless, I was feeling less than inspired. It was hard to see what, if any, impact I was really making beyond just getting through another day without throwing an inkjet printer three floors down into the lobby. It’s your run-of-the-mill office restlessness, but it was mine and it came at a point where it all felt like one cumbersome weight.
The saving grace here was that I wasn’t alone. I had three or four co-conspirators who were just as frustrated and annoyed by our rigid 8-to-5 life, and we came up with a series of inside jokes to help pass the time.
One of them featured the gentleman in this card, Dave Parker. By the time I learned about him, he was augmenting the Bash Brothers in Oakland, a still-viable designated hitter in his late 30s who could send 20 or more baseballs out of the park. We discovered some truly amazing pictures of Parker in his earlier days as a veritable baseball hurricane in Pittsburgh, winning MVP awards and sporting some terrifying face gear and occasionally lighting one up in the dugout. We printed up all of these and hung them up around the office.
I also had this card of him as a Milwaukee Brewer and I taped it to the monitor of my computer. When things got tough or our boss gave us yet another meaningless or impossible task, it was, “be strong like Dave Parker,” or “what would Dave Parker do?”
It’s March now. This is the time to start thinking about baseball and bitching about lineups and Spring Training scores, typically. But always, it seems like a good time to chill before crushing whatever problem is staring us in the face into oblivion.
What would Dave Parker do? He’d chill. Then he’d take care of business.
As of this morning, the Orioles are once again in first place with the Yankees, and New York seems to have its hands full with a Boston squad that has, to say the least, not been a threat for most of the year.
So as not to miss the point, the A’s also have a better record than anyone in the East and the Rays are breathing down the Yankees necks, too. But it’s the Orioles that seem to be applying the most direct grief onto New York, and to say that I’m not enjoying that would be the understatement of 2012.
Maybe this season won’t be so bad after all.
Beyond being tall and left-handed, there is little similarity between Andrew Miller and Chris Sale. Obviously. But this was a diagram born out of an inside joke and the frustration of watching a classically ineffective lefty warming up for my favorite team.
As Cee Angi so eloquently explained in The Platoon Advantage yesterday, she sympathized with my plight in having to watch Miller pitch, and countered that she was taking the opposite experience, watching Chris Sale pitch for the Chicago White Sox at whatever they’re calling Comiskey Park these days.
So, of course, that led to this Venn diagram, comparing the two when there is no comparison. But I’d like to explain why, exactly, Miller gets under my skin as much as he does. Continue reading
For the first time in 19 years, a pitcher has been properly recognized as the most valuable player in his league. So congrats go out to Justin Verlander, the American League Cy Young winner and MVP. It’s been a long time coming. Continue reading