Thursday, August 28, 2008

this player is for surreal

Card: 1992 Topps #473
Errors: One of these players is not like the others; one of these players just doesn't belong. Who is Craig Paquette pointing at? Does Frank Bolick only play night games?
Comments: We are pleased to announce Paul Russo has been named the associate director of regional scouting for the Minnesota Twins. Paul, who served as interim executive assistant to the subregional director of Midwest scouting, replaces Clem Labine, who was recently promoted to senior executive director of player development and catering.
Paul joined the Minnesota Twins in 1992. He was a cartoon sketch before being painted by the esteemed Wassily Kandinsky for several years.
In addition to Paul's experience as a water color and a charcoal drawing, Paul was instrumental in encouraging the Twins to sign more illustrated players. Under Paul's leadership, the Twins scouting department has won numerous awards; including, most recently, the St. Paul County Fair Best in Show.
The Twins had many qualified candidates who applied for the position. However, Paul is an 'outside-the-cubism' thinker. He left a major impression on our leadership team, because he refuses to be abstract or transparent.
(Rumors that Paul was a real player simply using enhanced body paints have been thoroughly investigated and refuted.)
Until a permanent replacement can be found, Paul's previous position will be filled by night watchman Frank Bolick, who is currently working to transform himself from a solid to a more ephemeral artistic form, possibly a song or a spoken poetry jam.
We believe Paul puts us in the best position to move ahead in the post modern world.
Join us in congratulating Paul. (Please do not shake his hand - he smudges easily.)
Scoring: 5-2-6-2

Thursday, August 21, 2008

sign on the dotted line

Player: Junior Noboa
Card: 1991 Topps #182
Errors: Player put tape on hairy arms - that is going to hurt coming off. Player appears to be wearing McDonald's brand batting gloves. That can't be a real Major League uniform. Player not making eye contact with autograph recipient.
"Mister! Mister! Can you sign my scorecard?"
"Sure kid, no problem."
My first autograph request! Five years in the show and finally a break!
OK, stay calm. Focus, Junior. You can do this. Fear is not an option in the bigs. You are a champion. A lion.
C'mon! Your wrists are taped, you got on the suuh-weet uni and you're a pro athlete. You can do anything that you set your mind to, Junior. Mind over matter. If you don't mind, it don't matter.
OK, here we go...Wait.
What should I sign? Junior Noboa? J. Noboa? J.N. 4eva? That's stupid. How about my real name: Milciades Arturo Diaz Noboa. Yeah, and then maybe put Junior in the middle, with some quotation marks. This kid will love it! You da man, Junior. You're a tiger, a puma.
Wait. Maybe I should do a little more. Anybody can just sign their name. Heck, this dumb, ugly could kid probably could have signed my name. He'd probably even spell it right. I got to do something a little special. OK, how about: Milciades Arturo Diaz "Junior" Noboa, 2B, Expos.
Ugh. Why would I write that? He knows what position I play! He's got the damn scorecard in his hand! Pathetic. C'mon Junior, pull it together. Write something inspirational.
Stay in school. Don't do drugs. Never take a wooden nickel. Nice - that's it. Kids today probably don't even know about wooden nickels anymore. OK. "Milciades Arturo Diaz "Junior" Noboa, 2B, Expos. Don't take any wooden nickels." Yeah, real smooth.
Wait. That makes no sense. How can I tell this kid about nickels when I make thousands of dollars and he probably had to scrape together a week's pay - maybe even kill a man - just to get his tickets. It's like I'm rubbing my wealth in the kid's face. He'll probably be so mad, he'll kill again. Then I'll be an accessory to murder. Great. Going to prison.
Damn, why did I tell this kid I would sign his scorecard? Let's see, maybe...
"Hey, mister? Mister? Never mind, mister. I, thanks for trying and all, but I gotta go. But not because you're taking so long. Uh, no, that's not it. It's just that Tim Wallach looks really lonely over there and, well, nobody likes a lonely Wallach. So, you see, that's why I have to leave. See ya."
Scoring: WP, WP, WP, WP

Thursday, August 14, 2008

dear john

Player: Darren Holmes
Card: 1993 Fleer #412
Errors: Player was told it was a team picture, only to discover he was alone in the stadium for an intimate afternoon with the photographer. Player's Rockies uniform looks remarkably similar to Milwaukee jersey. Player staying very classy with his sporty V-neck, accompanied by matching long sleeve combo.
Dear Darren,
It is very difficult for me to write this. You've been a fairly adequate part of my life for almost six years now. We've had some good to above-average times. Vero Beach. San Antonio. Beloit.
But something seems to have changed with you lately.
I catch you staring off into space.
You shave irregularly - and I mean that both in terms of frequency and coverage of your face. Your posture could be considered weak, at best.
But it's more than that. I didn't realize how I truly felt until I saw your 1993 Fleer card - the guy sitting next to me on the bus was using it as a bookmark for his copy of "Six People You Meet in Hell".
Geez, Darren - you're supposed to be a major league ball player. Someone kids idolize. A hero to grown men. The guy women dream of being with.
1993 Fleer says otherwise.
First of all, did you notice that you're on the Rockies now? Guess what: you got picked in the expansion draft. So what's with the Brewers gear? Grow up, Darren.
I might have forgiven you that. I might have been able to overlook a uniform slip after all our history. But you're holding a bat! A bat? The Brewers are in the American League, for at least four more years! You've never batted once in your entire career! You may as well have picked up a sword or a fireman's hose or a large mouth bass. Ridiculous.
That picture is sort of a symbol of where we went wrong. I want to face reality. You live your half-shaven, dazed, wrong-team life in Fantasyland.
I suppose you know where this is going: I really believe it would be better if we took some time off, split up, saw other people or, preferably, all of the above.
I hope you know how hard this is for me. I'm tearing up inside just trying to write this letter. But we know this is what's best for both of us. Or at least me.
So as we move our separate ways, be assured, it was definitely you, not me.
Scoring: LO4

Thursday, August 7, 2008

a nice place to visit

Player: Ruben Sierra
Card: 1992 Topps Stadium Club #387
Errors: Player is neither at a stadium, nor wearing a baseball uniform, nor in the act of playing a sport. Player borrowed his hat from a Love Boat passenger. Nice bling.
Dear Ruben Sierra,
My mother has reached the advanced stages of Alzheimer's. She requires constant care and doesn't recognize any of her family members. We love her so much and desperately don't want to send her to a nursing home. Unfortunately, her care has become exhausting to me and my wife. We're fighting with each other more than we ever have. Mom sacrificed a lot for me, so I feel like I owe it to her, but how can my wife and I love Mom - and still find time to love each other?
Frustrated in Flagstaff
Dear Flagstaff,
Thank you for writing Ruben Sierra. The love of our mothers is a very precious thing. Have you considered bringing the family to Puerto Rico? With both Spanish and English as the official languages, Puerto Rico is considered the crossroads where Spanish and Anglo cultures meet. Puerto Rico uses American currency, so it's a place the whole family can feel closer. Give it a try.
Sincerely, Ruben Sierra

Dear Ruben Sierra,
I'm a self-diagnosed car nut, who owns six vehicles. But for driving around, I prefer my 2004 Dodge Ram. It's got 103,00 miles but I treat that car as good as my kids: regular tune-ups, oil changes and she stays in the garage all winter. Last week, I was on my way to work and she started backfiring on a bridge with a slight incline. Now, she backfires every time I go uphill. I checked the fuel injectors, the gaskets, but can't find the problem. Any ideas?
Baffled in Buffalo
Dear Baffled,
Thank you for writing to Ruben Sierra. With close to four million residents, reliable transportation is always a high priority where I grew up: Puerto Rico. Did you know the average temperature is 83 degrees in the winter? This 35-mile long island is known as the "Island of Enchantment" for its diverse climates. So come and stay for a weekend, a week or a month! Also, check your spark plugs and ignition coils.
Sincerely, Ruben Sierra

Dear Ruben Sierra,
I'm 18, so this is the first year I'll be able to vote in the presidential election. I know I should care, but I'm just not that interested. Neither candidate seems to be speaking my language. But my dad says it's my duty to vote. Isn't it my right to express myself by NOT voting?
Perplexed in Pasadena
Dear Perplexed,
Thank you for writing to Ruben Sierra. Taking part in the governmental process can be a confusing time in a young person's life. We've learned that the hard way in Puerto Rico, where we have been part of the United States since 1898 - but still don't have a vote in Congress. Fortunately, since Puerto Rican residents are U.S. citizens, travelers do not have to worry about customs duties on any goods brought out of Puerto Rico to the mainland. Additionally, almost all Puerto Rican businesses accept major credit cards, and ATMs are easily accessible. Why don't you exercise your freedom and come visit us in Puerto Rico?
Sincerely, Ruben Sierra
Scoring: 9-2