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!


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