Sorry, We're Closed

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Most Inappropriate Thing I've Heard All Year

Dodgers TV announcer Charley Steiner, formerly of ESPN, was for some reason chosen to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" today at Wrigley Field. (Maybe whatever c-list 'celebrity' the Cubs had booked canceled, and they couldn't get one of WGN's news team to fill in at short notice.)

As the top of the seventh ended, Steiner ambled into the booth. He prefaced his song with some sort of dedication to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. After he sang, he ended with a line he'd used in an ESPN ad, originally uttered in Titanic: "Follow me! Follow me to freedom!"

I'm nearly speechless.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Just a Quick Self-Disclosure

For some reason, I feel compelled to publicly state that I care about wearing what I consider to be "stylish" clothes.

I've never said that publicly, I think!

Okay, odd self-disclosure out of the way...

Who's up, really up, on Del Shannon? I need to learn more about him and his cool music from someone I know.


Friday, August 26, 2005

Frank Robinson, Hypocrite?

Washington Nationals manager Frank Robinson believes that Baltimore's Rafael Palmeiro, who recently served a ten-day suspension after testing positive for a banned steroid, should have his statistics wiped from the record books.

I've written about this before; senator Jim Bunning, a former Major League pitcher elected to the Hall of Fame in 1996 who is widely believed to have cheated on the mound, said the same thing while grandstanding at congressional steroid hearings earlier this year. (Yes, steroids in professional sports are more important, apparently, then getting to the bottom of why we're torturing political prisoners or why our president lied to get us into an oil war.)

But Frank Robinson saying this stuff opens up an even gooier can of worms. Robinson, a Hall of Fame outfielder who hit 586 home runs in a 21-year career, was a member of the Baltimore Orioles from 1966 through 1971 and played on World Series winners in '66 and '70.

Robinson was one of the toughest players of his day, a black man who admirably stood up for himself. He was also a "take no prisoners" baserunner and a true team leader.

He also played on a team that used amphetamines as if they were Life Savers.

In Jim Bouton's baseball diary of the 1969 season, Ball Four, Seattle first baseman Don Mincher (teammate of pitcher John O'Donoghue, who got greenies from his former teammates in Baltimore for the Seattle club) said, "Just about the whole Baltimore club takes them."

For some reason, nobody's been asking Frank Robinson about whether he'd return his World Series rings or allow his statistics to be wiped from the records because his teammates took greenies. (And certainly no reporter covering the Nats has had the temerity to actually ask Robinson if he used illegal drugs while he was playing to give himself an extra edge.)

So I'll do it now, even though I know Robinson will never see this article. Frank, did you take illegal drugs while you were playing? Come on, big guy. Let's hear it.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Today's Chicago Tribune article

You can read it here...but please buy it, too!


Monday, August 15, 2005

Let's Play Catch-Up!

Stuff happening soon...

*Beatlefest, this weekend. Hyatt Regency O'Hare. Music, food, drink,, I have an article coming up in this Friday's Chicago Tribune--which is about Beatlefest, believe it or not!

*Captain Blood Orchestra gigs to be announced soon...

*Hopefully, a DJ appearance soon as well.

Question of the day: what's the song you can't get out of your head today? For me, it's either The Flares' "Foot Stomping" or Gary Lewis' "Count Me In."

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Not a Big Thing, but...

During last night's Indians/Royals telecast on the Royals Television Network, Fred White (Former KC radio announcer, now working with the team's alumni relations department) sat in with telecasters Bob Davis and Paul Splittorff during yet another stultifying loss, the Royals' 12th straight defeat.

White was there to promote this weekend's 1985 World Series championship team reunion. As the Royals went down feebly, the three announcers diverted attention from the game going on, waxing nostalgic about the '85 club, occasionally showing video clips of some of the players who were attending the reunion.

And Fred White did something I've never heard before--he blamed the fans for not buying enough tickets to the reunion series against Detroit. "I know fans are down on the current club," he said about the long-suffering supporters of the Royals, who have enjoyed one winning season in the last decade, "but it's got nothing to do with the '85 club."

While one could expect a club employee, who has probably spent a lot of time arranging this weekend, to be disappointed, it's hard to blame Royals fans for not wanting to pay premium prices for a team with the worst record in baseball, whether Jorge Orta and Buddy Biancalana will be at the park or not.

And that leads to the even more ridiculous assertion from White (who was there in '85, and should know better) that the "key" to the team was...get this...Buddy Biancalana.

Buddy Biancalana, a shortstop who hit .188 in 138 at-bats. Not George Brett, who hit .335 with 30 homers and 103 walks. Not Frank White, a Gold Glove second baseman who added 22 homers. Not 21-year-old righty Bret Saberhagen, who went 20-6, or any of the other young starting pitchers (Mark Gubicza, Danny Jackson) or veterans (Bud Black, Charlie Liebrandt). Not Willie Wilson or Steve Balboni or Dan Quisenberry, the league's best reliever.

This may not seem like a major point, but it's an insult to those guys, and to anyone actually old enough to remember the 1985 Royals, to call Buddy Biancalana the "key" to anything. He couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat, and the fact that he was a little bit better defensively that year than Onix Concepcion doesn't make him the "key" to anything.

Sure, Biancalana was a funny character when he went on David Letterman after the World Series after going 5-for-18. But "memorable" doesn't necessarily mean "important," and Fred White should know that. Maybe that's why nobody cares about the Royals--they can't even get their own history right, much less put together a competitive team.