January 2010

…And the Law Won

Happy Friday!

This is the time of the year when a lot of the prospect rankings come out and I’ve already posted quite a bit about it. I found Keith Law’s top 100 on ESPN.com. You have to have an ESPN Insider account to read the whole thing, but here are the highlights:

Law has Jaff Decker at No. 27, which is a heck of a jump from MLB.com’s No. 50. Law says Decker has the “Brian Giles body,” which I hadn’t heard before but is probably more fitting than the typical “Matt Stairs body.” More importantly, he says Decker’s excellent on-base percentage with power should make him a solid starter at a corner outfield spot in the major leagues, and if he develops more power than expected he could be “not far off from stardom” in the big leagues. That’s probably the most complimentary Decker review I’ve seen… Fair and complimentary. Well done, Keith Law.

Law also has Simon Castro at No. 46. I’d never really seen him in anybody’s top 50, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be. Law says Castro needs to refine his slider and improve his fastball command in the strike zone and he should be a solid No. 2 starter in an MLB rotation.

I like Law’s top 100… Not because he has two TinCaps in his top 50 and not because I passed him in the skywalk in Indianapolis at the Winter Meetings (a quasi-celebrity sighting if there ever was one). He used to work in the Toronto front office, he seems to have watched the majority of the players he’s ranking and while he has his own opinions, he gets help from other evaluators when he needs it.

If you’ve lost track, Baseball America finished releasing the Top 10 prospects for all 30 organizations. You can find them here. Their prospect handbook (which is required reading) should be out soon, if it isn’t already.

Now on to a discovery I’ve made in the past week. The potential exists that I could be traveling by air in the next few months (no details yet, but I’ll let you know). That being the case, I decided to educate myself on the things you are and are not allowed to bring onto a plane. All I really wanted to know was how big a tube of toothpaste you can bring in a carry-on bag (As Ace Ventura says, gingivitis is the No. 1 cause of all tooth decay), but the unintentional comedy of the TSA’s list was so good I had to share.

Let’s start with “sharp objects.” I don’t remember ever needing a sharp object on a plane. So you can imagine my surprise when meat cleavers, sabers and swords were on the “not OK for carry-on luggage” list. Have people really tried to bring any of those things on a plane? Can you imagine the conversation at the security checkpoint?

“Sir, you can’t bring that meat cleaver into the terminal.”
(Unintelligible, incredulous questioning)

On to sporting goods… Bow and arrows, ski poles and spear guns… Not allowed to be carried onto a plane. Incredible. Guns and firearms was worth a read, but the real show is in the “martial arts / self-defense items” category.

Billy clubs, black jacks, brass knuckles, kubatons, martial arts weapons, night sticks, nunchakus, stun guns and throwing stars. All prohibited on planes. This eliminates all Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles except Donatello and his bowstaff, wrestling legend Big Bossman and people who know how to spell nunchuks properly.

Security guy: “Those are nunchakus and they’re not allowed.”
Ninja: “No, these are nunchuks. I don’t know what a nunchaku is. Now if you’ll excuse me…”

Also, there are no explosives allowed on planes.

As someone who works in a place where large groups of people congregate, I understand that you have to spell out exactly what is and isn’t allowed. That becomes a lot tougher when it’s millions of people from all over the world who have different cultural norms. But it’s a sad day when you have to tell anyone other than an F-16 pilot that he’s not allowed to bring explosives on a plane.

Hopefully you learned as much about carry-on luggage as I did. Even though the only thing I can think of NEEDING to know is that only liquids in a 3.4-ounce container or smaller are allowed. Now you know… and knowing’s half the battle! (Do you have any idea how tough it is to find a GI Joe PSA that isn’t some idiot’s parody remake? I think that’s the only one on the entire internet!)

And now, just because… musical guest, Kenny Rogers!

Have a great weekend!

DW

Double-Secret Requirements

I don’t like to regurgitate anything, whether it’s food or news stories you’ve already read elsewhere on the Internets. Most baseball sickos like me have been pretty entertained by the free agent signings lately… Jim Thome to the Twins, Ben Sheets to the A’s (for $10 MILLION?!?), Jon Garland to the Padres, an Expos hat to Andre Dawson’s HOF plaque (in spite the Hawk’s preference)… It’s typical baseball stuff.

Now, I have legitimate, honest-to-goodness, original news you won’t find anywhere else. Remember when I told you Monday that the MLB Network’s show on the top 50 prospects in baseball (tonight at 8:00) is required viewing? Well, now it’s double-secret required. Someone (possibly multiple someones) who played for the TinCaps in 2009 will be in the top 50. I can truthfully tell you that I don’t know who the player is (the only heads-up I got was that we had someone in the Top 50), but the astute observer will look at the most recent MLB.com rankings from August and see that Jaff Decker was 48th on the list. I don’t think he did anything to drag his ranking down and a few of the guys ahead of him have lost their prospect status (read: MLB rookie eligibility), so he’s my best guess. If you’re wondering, Mat Latos pitched 50.2 innings for the Padres in 2009… the cutoff is 50 innings, so he’s not considered a rookie or a prospect.

I know I said I’d shut up about it, but this afternoon I found a(nother) prospect rater oversimplifying the Jaff Decker/conditioning thing. Baseball America is a wonderful resource and they are the best in the business at what they do. BUT anybody who refers to Decker as having an “utter lack of athleticism” and infers that he doesn’t “pay attention to conditioning” hasn’t seen him play enough. I realize you can’t know everything about everyone when you work in the baseball prospect ranking business, but does anyone care that he dropped (at least) eight pounds during the season? Does anyone know how tough that is, considering minor leaguers don’t get personal chefs and that playing baseball games every day wears you out, then you have your early work and possibly a workout? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. And I hope he comes to Spring Training looking like fitness celebrity John Basedow and hits .380 in the California League. I’m not saying he’s going to be Willie Mays, but barring a catastrophe he’ll play in the big leagues. Isn’t that what every prospect wants?

Also just came across a starting list of players the Padres have invited to major-league Spring Training. I haven’t seen it posted on the Padres’ website, but I believe it’s right. It doesn’t include the recent signees like Matt Stairs. TinCaps from 2009 with invitations: Simon Castro, Mat Latos and James Darnell. Other recent alums: Ernesto Frieri, Wynn Pelzer, Jackson Quezada, Cory Luebke, Lance Zawadzki, Luis Durango, Kyle Blanks, Will Venable.

What does an MLB Spring Training invitation mean? Well, I don’t think there’s an RSVP form included with the invitation. In fact, for most young guys, it’s more of a “this is an opportunity so get your butt to camp or else,” so it’s an invitation in name only. Everybody on the 40-man roster goes to Spring Training with the big club. But, for guys who are on the 40-man roster but don’t have much (or any) major league experience, it could be a chance to make the Opening Day roster, or it could be a chance to make a good impression to become the guy who gets the call in case of an injury. For the Simon Castros and James Darnells who aren’t on the 40-man roster yet, it’s a chance to get an early start, work with the MLB coaching staff, show them what you’ve got (as Jay-Z might say) and set yourself up for a callup in the not-too-distant future. So the invitation is a good thing. It means the major-league team likes you and wants to see you play.

I think that’s all for today. Coming Friday: TSA carry-on baggage dos and don’ts. Oh baby.

Take care!

DW

Prospects and Priests

Happy Monday!

If you follow Minor League Baseball very closely at all, you probably heard Friday afternoon that A’s prospect Grant Desme is retiring from baseball to go into the priesthood. Professional athlete-in-his-prime-turned-priest would be a big enough story in and of itself, but the fact Desme was the only player in MiLB to hit 30 homers and steal 30 bases in 2009, THEN was the Arizona Fall League MVP, adds a whole other layer. This isn’t some career minor-leaguer giving it up… He’s a good player. But it’s just another reminder that baseball players are people, not just robots who are really good at a game. Desme found something bigger than baseball that he wanted to do and went for it. More power to him.

I don’t remember if I linked to this prospect review of the Padres’ organization, but if I haven’t, check it out. And here’s another one from the San Diego newspaper. The Baseball America prospect handbook should be out soon, which is pretty much looked at as the gold standard. On Wednesday at 8 p.m., the MLB Network will have an hour-long all-prospects show where the MLB.com Top 50 are unveiled. Consider it required viewing, unless you have bowling to do. Even then, DVR it.

Also, I read that one Matt Stairs has lost 30 pounds over the off-season. Maybe he was sick of people making him into a stereotype. I hope he comes out and makes the Padres’ big-league roster and goes ballistic as a 42-year-old.

One more thing about the whole Matt Stairs-Jaff Decker comparison I keep hearing and I promise I’ll drop it… It is, in fact, possible to get into better shape as you get older. It just takes work. Jaff Decker is from Peoria, Arizona. The Padres’ Spring Training facility is in Peoria, Arizona. He can drive the five minutes to the Padres’ complex and work out with some of the best trainers around, as often as he wants. The only way he could be in a better situation to maintain and improve himself physically is if his dad were Gilad.

Finally, I know it’s an old article, but I thought this was a pretty interesting article about how MLB teams are starting to lose the casual fan. Maybe some should take notes from MiLB teams, where it’s (supposed to be) all about affordable family entertainment. Don’t be surprised if the Texas Rangers are the first to do that, since they are being bought by the group that used to run the Altoona Curve. They know what they’re doing when it comes to the business/promotions side of baseball.

That’s all for today… Take care!

DW

*NEWS FLASH – STAIRS A PADRE*

Goodness gracious… Generally I don’t post on the Sabbath, but in this case I’ll make an exception. Call it a late Christmas present for all of us.

Matt Stairs signed with the Padres. This makes me happy for several reasons.

1. Because every good baseball team should have a good mullet.
2. Because this means that Matt Stairs and Jaff Decker will be in the same spring training camp and if, by chance, they stand next to each other, some prospect know-it-all-wannabes will have the epiphany that, “You know what? Maybe all those ‘Jaff Decker has a Matt Stairs body’ were a stretch of reality.”
3. Furthermore, maybe they’ll have a second epiphany that, “You know what? Matt Stairs is 42 and still playing baseball. You know who isn’t? Nomar Garciaparra, the guy who was supposedly in the best shape of anyone who ever played the game. Maybe we should stop saying ‘Jaff Decker can really hit, but he isn’t a bodybuilder.’ and see what happens. After all, he’s about to be 20 years old playing at the Advanced-A level. That’s pretty good.”
4. Hopefully people who want to look beyond the obvious “look at Matt Stairs” jokes will understand that Matt Stairs wasn’t always the caricature he is today. When he was in Double-A, he played second base and stole 30 bases in a season. Did that just rock your world a little bit?
5. Because, plain and simple, I have a man-crush on Matt Stairs and I think it’s a crime that a segment of the baseball community has turned him into a negative stereotype. This aggression will not stand. People should understand that he has changed from a speedy middle infielder into a professional hitter during his career and there are millions of kids who would do anything to have a career as long and productive as he has. And if I can change, you can change. EVERYBODY CAN CHANGE!

That’s all. Coming tomorrow: A’s prospect goes 30-30, then goes into the priesthood and more!

Enjoy the football today!

DW

Going Conan-do

I know I’ve touched on the whole Conan O’Brien situation (not that you really read this to hear about that… honestly, I’m not even sure anybody reads at all). There was a time I watched him all the time at 12:30, I think he’s the funniest guy on late night TV right now and I think NBC probably thinks he’s funnier than Jay Leno (it’s about the money, stupid). But I’ve watched Conan a few minutes each night this week and he’s been tough to like. If someone were paying me $33 million to do nothing for a few months, and then I was free to do whatever I wanted, I’m not sure I’d be ripping that someone for 90 minutes per night on national TV. If an athlete (and all of his friends) did this after being bought out from a contract, his agent would be using the Drew Rosenhaus method of media relations within 24 hours. But then again, it’s just late-night TV and there are a lot worse things going on in the universe.

Here at the office, several staff members have started the Fort Wayne TinCaps Biggest Loser ExtravaganzaPalooza. The individual who loses the highest percentage of his or her body weight wins and everyone else gets nothing but a better body and, I assume, a happier spouse. I know what you’re wondering and the answer is yes, there is a penalty if you gain weight during the contest. It’s called the Tim Burkhart Clause, and he’ll owe a dollar for every pound he puts on during the festivities. Sometimes it’s a bummer to have your office right next to the food and beverage department. I know what else you’re wondering and the answer is no, I’m not participating because ever since I started working out on a regular basis in July, I’ve gained about five pounds, which is kind of the opposite of the goal. Anyway, that’s just my lame excuse and as a great man once said, excuses are like poems. They’re for sissies, and no one wants to hear ‘em. Bill Lehn is leading the losing so far and Burkhart… isn’t. I’m glad they’re taking their training so seriously.

Also this week, I got the opportunity to be insanely jealous of two Midwest League teams who get to play a game at a Major League ballpark. I love Parkview Field and I’m blessed to be able to work here, but it would be pretty unbelievable to call a game at a big-league park. One day…

In a recent post I mentioned that it would be OK if YouTube were ever to shut down, and leave behind only the Alaska Nanooks hockey intro video. Someone astutely corrected me, pointing out that I omitted other iconic videos. So I decided to expand the list a bit.

1. Ric Flair’s Custom Made
2. The Nanooks video
3. You should know this by now

Honorable mention:
This gem from the Club Trillion blog is growing on me. He loses points for pretending to swear at the beginning (a simple “dirtbags” would’ve sufficed… this is a family blog), but gains points for use of special effects during the fundamentals montage.

And, of course, this.

Now for this week’s musical guest, suggested by one Chris Watson (I blame him if you hate it)… Kim Mitchell!

Have a great weekend!

DW

End of the Line for Four

Tough one to start the day… Four former TinCaps were released by the Padres in the last couple of weeks: RHP Colin Lynch, INF Joey Railey and OFs Jason Codiroli and Angel Mercado. Lynch was the only one who was here for any sustained amount of time, but this is the equivalent of being fired from your job. It’s just no fun. If they want to keep playing, let’s hope they catch on somewhere else.

I’ll have more tomorrow, hopefully something more positive!

DW

Meet the New Boss… Same as the Old Boss

The Padres hired a new Director of Player Development (replacing Grady Fuson) and I think it’s fair to say he’s a familiar face in San Diego. It’s Randy Smith, who was Theo Epstein before Epstein was Theo Epstein. Smith was hired as Padres’ GM at 29 years old and has been all over baseball in all kinds of jobs since. From what I hear, he’s a good guy, a straight shooter and a scout at heart so he seems like the perfect guy for the job.

As you probably know, I consider myself something of a connoisseur of good pre-game intro videos which you see at the game. I thought the TinCaps’ video this past year was darn impressive, but nothing compares to the old Chicago Bulls intro. Until now. If you haven’t seen the Alaska Nanooks hockey intro, you haven’t really lived. Let’s go through this quickly…

1. A hint of the Bulls’ Alan Parson Project intro song at the beginning (best intro ever)
2. A bear flying a fighter jet, Top Gun style (best 80s movie)
3. A bear dropping a bomb into a volcano, leading to the earth blowing up Death Star style (combining the two best nerd-movie series ever in “Lord of the Rings” Mount Doom and “Star Wars” Death Star)
4. Unexplained black-hole/lightning sequence
5. IT’S A BEAR DOING ALL THESE THINGS!

If they shut down YouTube forever and just left that intro, wouldn’t that be OK? I thought so.

One last thing… Am I the only one who misses Tony Kornheiser saying “Wilbon, lemme AXE you a question!” on PTI? I thought that was one of the funnier recurring lines on the show, but I’m just the radio guy.

That’s it from here…  Take care!

DW

Stupid is as Stupid Does, Mrs. Blue

Happy MLK Day!

Big things happening in San Diego… It’s a brotherly reunion not seen since Marcus and Brian Giles were patrolling Petco Park. Kevin Kouzmanoff and Eric Sogard were traded to the A’s for Scott Hairston and Aaron Cunningham, then the Padres signed Scott’s brother, Jerry. Believe it or not, these look like important moves for the Padres. Scott Hairston is a really good fit for Petco Park and can be a center fielder (who hits right-handed), Cunningham was good enough to be Oakland’s No. 4 prospect entering 2009 according to Baseball America, and Kouzmanoff leaving means third base opens up for Chase Headley, which means Fort Wayne alum Kyle Blanks might be able to take the job in left field and run with it. Then in Jerry Hairston, Jr., you have a guy who can play every position except first base and catcher, which is big for depth and experience (and it comes relatively inexpensively).

Of course, Scott Hairston has already been with the Padres. When I heard about how good his home stats were, I couldn’t help but remember back to the Winter Meetings, when I talked to Chris Long. His official title is Senior Quantitative Analyst for the Padres, meaning he’s the stat guy. So if Chris had anything to do with this trade and Scott Hairston is killing it in San Diego in 2010, remember the name… Chris Long. Stat master.

One thing I couldn’t help but think about is the inclusion of Eric Sogard. He is a second baseman who played at Double-A last year, so his departure could mean everybody behind him in the minor leagues gets bumped up a level in 2010. Or maybe the Padres go sign a minor-league free agent. I’d love to see Vince Belnome back in Fort Wayne in 2010 for selfish reasons (like his All-Star season in Eugene and ridiculous run here at the end of 2009), but this could mean he’s going elsewhere.

Now to more pressing matters, like the return of the TV show “24.” If you’ve never seen it before, it’s like the television version of [insert name of addictive substance here]. In fact, at our house we turned on the DVR and waited an extra 30 minutes. Then when we started watching, we could fast-forward through commercials and still watch the end right around the same time as the rest of the world. And in no way is that depressing.

If you have watched “24,” you know that, at one point during the show, Dennis Haysbert was the President of the United States. As in, the former Pedro Cerrano as the leader of the free world. That’s a stretch, but “24″ isn’t a show you watch because of how realistic it is. Well, this season, Mykelti Williamson is playing the head of the “24″ version of the Homeland Security Department. Yep, Benjamin Buford Blue of “Forrest Gump” fame is looking out for threats to our country. As ridiculous as that sounds, he pulls it off. I’m already looking forward to next season, when hopefully Val Kilmer is piloting Air Force One.

Of course, this weekend was also a football weekend. The one game that was any good was the Jets-Chargers game and for more reasons than because it was the only one that wasn’t over at halftime.

First of all, Nate Kaeding was jinxed from the start because CBS brought up some graphic about how he’d never missed a field goal in his entire life, including Pop Warner football. He then proceeded to miss three field goals. With all the shots of a “this is the worst day of my whole life” Kaeding standing on the sideline, I couldn’t help but notice that his helmet is freakishly larger than the rest of his body. Like, Kazoo from “The Flintstones” gigantic. I have a pretty gigantic melon myself and we’ve discussed Tony DesPlainesbulbous cranium several times, but Kaeding puts virtually everyone to shame.

Secondly, I think that despite all the things the Chargers’ players did poorly on Sunday, Norv Turner has officially cemented the “worst coach of a good team of all-time” award. You’re down three points. You’re kicking off with a timeout and the two-minute warning on your side. You know the Jets are going to run the ball. Call me crazy, but I would’ve kicked the ball deep, trusted my defense to make three tackles, get the ball back with a relatively short field and around 1:10 to go, and let my offense try to move the ball about 30 yards for a field goal. Unless, of course, you want to completely embarrass Kazoo by onside kicking with your punter, with the best-case scenario being you recover the onside, the offense drives for a touchdown and your Dark Helmet wannabe kicker only has to hit an extra point. The worst-case scenario is… what actually happened. The Jets recovered the onside kick with a short field, got a first down to end the game as Norv mismanaged the clock, and Nate Kaeding was later seen boarding a plane to Siberia piloted by Scott Norwood and Ray Finkle. I may have made that last part up.

One thing I noticed that should not be forgotten is this: When the Chargers onside kicked, the Jets brought out their onside kick recovery team. Also known as “the hands team.”  Well I’ll be darned if the one Jets player who I know to be a one-man “anti-hands team” is out there. Ladies and gentlemen, Braylon Edwards! I was so flabbergasted by this, I threw a shoe.

So now I’m confronted by the prospect of a Jets-Colts AFC Championship game. Obviously I can’t cheer for a team Braylon Edwards plays for. But I’ve already discussed my lukewarm feelings toward the Colts. And, aside from this gem from Kenny Mayne, the adopted Wisconsin Buzzcut in me can’t cheer for the Vikings. I guess it’s Saints or bust.

This is going extremely long, so I’ll cut out from here.

Take care, everybody!

DW

Ketchum if You Can

Yesterday I went to the downtown public library on a research mission. I’ll get to my findings in a little bit, but there are more important things to point out first.

1. The library in downtown Fort Wayne is phenomenally nice. I am embarrassed to say it was my first visit in my 14 months of living here. I had heard good things, but hadn’t gone over there despite it being located two blocks from the ballpark. The facility is huge and well-maintained, the staff was friendly and knowledgeable and the computers are new.

2. It’s not often you’re referred to as a “patron” unless you’re a sleazy college sports booster or a patron saint of something, but the library is the place where you can be a patron without doing anything quasi-illegal or miraculous. You just have to show up. It’s a nice feeling, really.

3. The guy who helped me find the newspaper microfilm looked just like my high school librarian, who I liked a lot. Apparently if you have grey (Or is it gray? Why haven’t we decided upon this as a society yet?) hair, a full beard and an incredibly dry sense of humor, you must be a librarian. And a darn good one, I might add. Not just anybody can teach a bonehead like me how to use a microfilm machine. Anyway, my high school librarian’s name was Mr. Ketchum. For no real reason, we decided it was funny to say, “Ketchum if you can,” probably because it’s funny to imagine him running extraordinarily fast. When our teachers brought us to the library to start a research project, Mr. Ketchum was always around to help and/or showcase his underrated arsenal of jokes. Most people never fully appreciated this, so if they weren’t listening to his helpful library hints, he would look at the inconsiderate punks and, mid-sentence without changing tone or volume, say, “You can fail if you want to!” then continue with his tips on how to find things in a library. And so the saying, “Ketchum if you can, fail if you want to” was born whenever referring to our librarian. I told some high-school friends of mine about this whole thing today and I’ve gotten about 10 e-mails back and forth about the fantastic librarian-ing practiced in Conneaut, Ohio, in the early 2000s and now in Fort Wayne in the early 20-teens. So congratulations, northeast Ohio and northeast Indiana. Your libraries are in good hands.

Now for what I was actually over at the library… As I mentioned in my last post, we’re hosting the 2010 Midwest League All-Star Game this June. I was looking for a box score and any other interesting stuff about the 1994 All-Star Game, the last time Fort Wayne hosted the game.

First of all, Alex Rodriguez and Raul Ibanez played on the same Appleton team. And they didn’t win the first-half championship. Which goes to show that just because a team wins doesn’t mean they’re always loaded with prospects, and just because a team has a ton of prospects doesn’t mean they’re going to win. Minor League Baseball is weird like that.

Secondly, Sal Fasano (who is managing the Lansing Lugnuts this year) won the Home Run Derby… by winning a coin flip. He and some dude I’ve never heard of each hit two homers in the regulation round, then tied again in a playoff, so they just flipped a coin. Fasano won.

Thirdly, the NBA Finals were still going on (on June 20!) between Patrick Ewing’s Knicks and Hakeem Olajuwon’s Rockets.

Fourthly, the Brewers were still playing in the American League.

Fifthly, one of the MWL all-stars was Bobby Morris from Munster, Indiana, who was actually Hal Morris’ younger brother. Like the pitcher for the Reds.

Sixthly, the South team won, 3-2, and none of their three runs were earned. Maybe not the best defensive performance for the best players in the league.

Seventhly, one of Fort Wayne’s all-star pitchers (Javi DeJesus) played the national anthem on his trumpet before the All-Star game. He was a big musician in college and said he’d like to choreograph marching band routines when his baseball career was over. I wonder if he’s doing that now.

Eighthly, Tom Nichols (then the Fort Wayne broadcaster, now with the Dayton Dragons and an all-around good guy) did the game on radio. Ernie Harwell came on as a guest on both the TV and radio broadcasts. I didn’t grow up listening to Tigers’ games, but everybody from Detroit swears by Harwell. Pretty big-time to have him on the air.

Ninthly, the Midwest League was divided into the Northern and Southern Division. That’s weird to me, but I’m the new guy.

Last thing… I’ve finished my learn-to-speak-Spanish CDs. The final lesson simulated a conversation in which you’re supposed to ask a senorita out for dinner. When they bought me the CDs for Christmas, do you think my parents were trying to sneakily tell me something?

Now for the grand finale. The other day I got on a Youtube music video roll unlike any I’ve ever seen or heard of before or since. The first is arguably the weirdest music video I’ve ever seen. The second isn’t far off the pace. The third is a song nobody will admit to liking, but we all do. The fourth was Erik Davis‘ warmup song when he started a game on the mound, but I’d never heard it before that. The fifth is one of the top five karaoke duet songs ever. And the sixth is the Friday music video of the week.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Lionel Richie!

“Related Videos” on YouTube… where would we be without it?

Have a great weekend!

DW

Something About A Yellow Hammer?

Happy Wednesday!

First off, for all you Purdue fans out there, Evan Turner told me to tell you to “have some of that.” Purdue had no business beating Ohio State in football, and Ohio State had no business beating Purdue in basketball. We’re even.

The other day, Jared Parcell and I spoke to a group of Senior Masons at a local restaurant/smorgasbord-type place. I like doing the whole public-speaking thing, because people generally don’t ask you to come somewhere to talk to them and then boo you out of the room. They like hearing from us and I like meeting people. It’s a win-win. And it’s a win-win-win when there’s free food, which there was.

The point of all this is that Jared finished his spiel about Parkview Field and how awesome it is, and when he asked if there were questions, one gentleman raised his hand and asked if, when Jared lived in Texas, he learned the cheer “Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer.” Jared said he had not. The guy then went into the entire Alabama football cheer. Keep in mind, Alabama just beat Texas for the BCS National Title. Jared didn’t actually go to the University of Texas (he went to Texas Tech), but this whole scene of a senior citizen giving Jared the business about college football is the leader in the clubhouse for the funniest moment of 2010 so far.

Now on to less important things.

Fact: Conan O’Brien (and/or his writers) is funny.
Fact: Jay Leno (and/or his writers) might come up with one good line per hour-long show. And he was supposed to have retired by now.
Fact: I’ve watched Jimmy Fallon’s show twice. Once by mistake, but left it on to see if it was as bad as I feared. It was. Then, just to be fair and see if it was just a bad night, I watched again. Neither time did I even crack a smile.
Fact: The true measure of a late-night host’s funny-ness is how they do with guest “interviews.” Conan is still funny, the other two bums still aren’t.

Therefore, in a perfect world, who should get the top spot?

Conan. But it’s not a perfect world. And it’s just late-night TV. If I were Conan, it would be a big deal to me, but I’m not. So let’s move on.

In baseball-related news, you may remember that Fort Wayne is hosting the 2010 Midwest League All-Star Game. The only other time we hosted, it was 1994 and there was a players’ strike which cancelled the World Series and eliminated any chance for the Montreal Expos to contend ever again. Not a good start, but I’ll keep going.

The MLBPA strike didn’t really affect the minor leagues directly, and there were some good players in that All-Star Game. Really good. Check these out…

Alex Rodriguez (voted to play in the game but promoted to higher levels)
Raul Ibanez
Mike Sweeney (appropriately was on the DL, even in 1994, but a really good player nonetheless)
Billy Wagner
Richard Hidalgo (he of the 44-HR season in 2000)
Shawn Hill
Jay Witasick
Frank Menechino
Matt Mantei (who had some ridiculously good seasons as a closer in the NL in the 90s)
Sal Fasano (who, oddly enough, is managing in the league this year)
Bobby Morris (who isn’t famous, but comes from a town called Munster, Indiana. I used to love that show growing up)

So what I’m saying is, when tickets go on sale on February 23, you’ll want to be at the front of the line. Not everybody in the MWL All-Star Game goes on to become MLB superstars, but enough of them do to be worth coming out to watch.

That’s all for now! Take care!

DW

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