Thursday, October 30, 2008

the best defense

Player: Barry Larkin
Card: 1992 Post #23 (of 30)
Errors: Player is hiding unsightly neck mole with glove. Player does not have enough equipment on his left hand - where's the wristwatch, decoder bracelet and heart monitor? The Reds were really living up to their name that year.
Hi, I'm Barry Larkin.
With just a few precious days until voters make one of the most important decisions in our township's history, I'd like to take this time to clear up a few rumors that my opponent - the nefarious and evil Todd Worrell - has been spreading about me, my family and my campaign for Vinegar Bend Township Highway Commissioner.
First off, during both the McArthur Elementary School Candidate Forum and the Boy Scout Troop 435 popcorn sale, my opponent has claimed that I am a communist. This is simply not true. I play for the Reds. I am not a Red. But apparently some voters still have some questions, especially since the local "media" has decided to publish the June through December minutes of the Vinegar Bend Communist Supporter Club, where I am listed as treasurer, vice president and second chair violinist. I can understand your confusion.
Well, let me be perfectly clear: I am not, nor have I been for at least six years, a Commie. And, as you can see, with the help of my sons Trotsky Larkin, Mao Larkin and Marks Larkin, I have airbrushed all references to the "Reds" off my uniform to alleviate any further mix-ups. Furthermore, I think voters should consider that the publisher our local newspaper has a long history of this kind of smear journalism. I'll stand on my facts any day.
Second, my opponent - the wily anarchist Todd Worrell - has accused me of being an elitist, part of a "collector series." This could not be further from the truth, more or less. It's true that I was a 12-time All-Star. But, really, am I that much better than a Jeff Blauser, an Alan Trammell, a Julio Franco? No, I'm a regular guy, just like the males in your family. And as the Vinegar Bend Township Highway Supervisor, I will reflect the values your family treasures: hard work, moderation and sobriety.
Finally, my opponent - the cowardly and really pretty jerky Todd Worrell - has made the claim that I am obsessed with myself. He would have you believe that just because I wear "wrist bands" with my own picture on them, I am all about what this position can do for me, rather than what the township highway supervisor can do for the constituents. False, false, false. I wear that wrist band to remind me of where I came from and to remind me of my father - who worked in a wrist band shop for 56 years until, tragically and ironically, he developed arthritis in both wrists and died. And I'll work just as hard, if I'm blessed by the Almighty next week by winning this election.
I thank you for your time to clear up these falsehoods and innuendos. And remember, when you head to the polls on Nov. 4, be sure to turn all the way to the end of the ballot, after the school board, after the coroner, after the pet limitation ordinance and after all those judges. That's where you'll find an evil sex pervert and me, Barry Larkin - a Vinegar Bend Township Highway Supervisor that you can count on to be American, all the way.
My name is Barry Larkin and I really approved this message.
Scoring: 4-2

Thursday, October 23, 2008

world serious

Players: Wade Boggs, Pete Rose
Cards: 1984 Topps Ralston Purina #4, 1999 Omega #227
Errors: Anton Chigurh, meet Peter Rose. Does Wade Boggs ever take his batting gloves off? Congratulations to the designers involved in all these uniform choices - you are an inspiration.


Welcome to a very special edition of Uglee Card Crossfire, World Series edition. I'm your host Tucker Carville and on tonight's program, I'm very happy to welcome some famous alumni from the teams squaring off in this year's World Series. From the Philadelphia Phillies, Peter Rose, and from the Tampa Bay Rays, Wade Boggs. Good to have both of you.

Rose: Hello, Tuck.
Boggs: Hey there, Tuck.

Well, I'll get right to it. Where do you both stand on the illegal immigration issue? It seems both the Phillies and the Rays support using immigrants from all over the world - Japan, the Middle East, Vatican City - to do their dirty work. They come here, but they refuse to learn our language, adopt our culture or eat our hot dogs. Should these players be deported or tarred?

Rose: Excuse me?

Answer the question, gentleman! This namby-pampy rhetoric is exactly - no, precisely - what has dulled the American voters into submission. Your response is just more pablum from men wearing strange, zip-up suits with large striped collars and tall-hat Tom Selleck wannabes! This is socialism at it's worst. It's very worst.

Boggs: Well, I thought we were here to make our predictions for the Series.

Yes, please go ahead, talk about baseball while terrorists and anti-American zealots are infiltrating our Boy Scout troops, teaching in our schools, driving our trains, painting our crosswalks, designing the country's Sodoku puzzles and populating our small huts. This is madness gentleman! Madness! I'd like a straight answer from the silver, ghostly embodiment of Wade Boggs which will haunt my dreams.

Boggs: Well, let's see. Uh...I'm pro-American, Tuck, if that's what you think the Rays bullpen could be the diff...

Bullpen? Bullpen! Oh, it's bull, all right. I don't care about some old washed up gambler. I want want to hear about Wade the Chicken Eater. I want a plan that will fix our crumbling infrastructure. I want answers to why a third basemen would wear long sleeves in Tampa while people in this country have no sleeves at all. And it's not just me - it's the American people: the baseball moms, the poker in-laws, the ping-pong grandmothers and the bowling cousins. What say you, sir?

Rose: Phillies in five?
Boggs: Rays in six?

Thank you both for being here. This has been Tucker Carville saying, if you're not American, you might as well punch yourself in the face.

Scoring: CS 1-3-6

Thursday, October 16, 2008

in the event of my demise

Player: Lee Tunnell
Card: 1984 Fleer #268
Errors: I hope that glove is keeping your fingertips warm because it’s certainly not going to help you catch any baseballs. Player got yellow fever; he got it bad. Player is considering renting that gap in his mustache.
To whomever finds this missive,
I write this from a prison both metaphorical and physical. More than 497 days ago myself and 24 other men were taken, under duress, by a surprise attack during our national anthem.
We were grabbed, blindfolded and taken far from our homes. Since then, our days have been long. We have sustained ourselves on a diet of tobacco, chewing gum and powdered Gatorade.
Our captors - who wear large hats, earrings and eye patches - forced us to engage in ridiculous and humiliating rituals involving other tribes. First, we are required to wear the costume of the American bumblebee. (The picture included was smuggled out in a rear cavity by a fellow prisoner - a man named Marvell.)
Once we are dressed, we pick up sticks and swat hopelessly at white balls thrown perilously close to our head. This has gone on for months, day and night.
And things are getting worse. Three weeks ago, a prisoner only known to us as “Tekulve” was eaten. Just yesterday, another prisoner, who called himself Rhoden, tried to escape. The guards caught and gave him "The Zimmer." We were too scared to ask what that was - afraid our spirits would break for good.
By the time you read this, I may already be dead, or worse: traded. If I have gone to be with the Great Umpire in the Sky, please know that I leave my collection of black sleeves to my mustachioed patriot, Dale Berra.
If this reaches you, send troops. We are being held in a sports arena at the center of what we can only surmise is a large Midwestern city. Look for the land where three rivers meet and the average temperature is 17 Fahrenheit degrees at night, 28 when the sun is out. If you discover our location, ask for a guard named "Candelaria" who seems to express some sympathy for our cause.
God speed,
Lee Tunnell #CR 567
Scoring: 3-6-1

Thursday, October 9, 2008

body of evidence

Player: Mike Rossiter
Card: 1992 Topps #474
Errors: Player sent in senior picture for Major League baseball card. Player's attention was diverted from camera by some suh-weet honies walking by.
Baseball card autopsy 1992-474. Starting time of card autopsy is 19:34. Card autopsy performed at Alameda County Medical Examiner's Office. Card autopsy conducted by Alameda County assistant deputy coroner Ken Mackenzie, badge #456TR89.
The card is that of a 1992 Mike Rossiter, an unbent regular edition card weighing 2 ounces and measuring 3.5 inches in height.
The card is dull, with a nondescript "Draft Pick" label that fails to indicate which round he was selected or by what team.
Card is cool to the touch, almost too cool. Card features player wearing a totally rad multi-colored shirt made fashionable by Miami Vice villains and the homeless.
The statistics on the back are symmetrical and show no masses or injuries. The trachea is in the midline. The hips are symmetrical and are free of scars. The lower extremities show no evidence of trauma.
The back has a significant abnormality. Two branches of a tree, possibly oak or elm, have sprouted from the back, about seven inches below the shoulder line.
In this medical examiner’s opinion, card's cause of death is attributed to a horrid fashion sense complicated by dense foliage growing from player’s back.
Scoring: FO2

Thursday, October 2, 2008

you make the call

Players: Sid Fernandez, Jerry Don Gleaton
Card: 1990 Fleer #203, 1991 Topps #597
Errors: Jerry Don Gleaton is melting into his pants. Pardon me, would you mind stopping what you're doing, smiling and standing awkwardly while I take a snapshot? GQ says showing your undershirt is a fashion faux-pas.
When you came up to the bigs, you didn't have to make these kinds of choices. But, now, alas, the time is here.
You're no longer a dominating pitcher - if you ever were. You never won 20 games or struck out 250 batters. The writers called you "crafty". But everybody knows that means you threw junk and you threw it left-handed. So, you survived. Pitched more years than Sandy Koufax, without one-tenth his stuff.
Your rookie year, you were somewhere between 210 and 230 pounds. And even though that's about 500 donuts ago, that's the weight that stays in the team media guide, forever.
But it couldn't stop you from arriving at this point in your career, a crossroads.
Obviously, the choice may not be entirely your own. You may need to consult a physician, haberdasher or butcher.
Or, more likely, you can just go with your gut.
Either way, you must confront the reality: belt or no belt?
Select a nice blue belt and you're never going to have to worry about the pants falling down. They'll be snug against your sizable posterior, no worries. They're also fashionable without being haughty.
Then again, you could end up in a one-hole's-too-tight, one-hole's-too-loose situation. Belts also put you at risk for an unfortunate buckle incident. Of course, any metal on your uniform could make you vulnerable to the 'ole Pittsburgh magnet trick.
But eschew the belt at your own risk. Sure, the elastic band is classic comfort. Good for bundling newspapers and sucking in a few extra pounds. It can also give you the breathability you need to field a Brett Butler drag bunt.
Of course, everyone knows that elastic has a mind of it's own. In the fifth inning, for no apparent reason, the band can slowly creep past your waist, head straight for your armpits, like an orange-and-black python swallowing you whole. And it's pretty difficult to scuff up a baseball on elastic.
But we all must choose. So, what will you do?
Scoring: 8-2