Wednesday, December 31, 2008

One less role model


In another example of a guy with too much money to ever have to worry about driving drunk, Charles Barkley was arrested early this morning on suspicion of drinking and driving in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Reports state nothing more than Barkley refusing a breath test (but did take a blood test; results still unavailable), and being processed, cited, and released. According to officer Lt. Eric Shuhandler, Barkley then left in a cab.

Which he should've done in the first place.

As I wrote about Joba Chamberlain earlier in the year, with as much money as these guys make, why wasn't a cab called in the first place? I suppose I will never be in a position to truly understand this phenomenon, but if I were to ever reach a point in my life where the media follows my every move, I will certainly fork over an occasional $20 cab fare.

And speaking of drinking and driving...

Please don't do it this New Year's Eve (or ever, for that matter). It's not worth it. Sure, you may be out $20 - or whatever it may cost you - and that might mean one or two less drinks at the bar because of it, but think of the consequences you may forever pay should you get caught. I've had a lot of fun with this site this year (and my other one, Darryl Strawberry Fields), and I don't want to lose any readers because of a dumb decision.

Here's to a great 2008, and to hoping for an even better (or worse, in the sports world) 2009.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to me!

I'll admit, this entry is a little bit of what you call "cross promotion". Sort of. You can also find this entry at my other site, Darryl Strawberry Fields. But it's somewhat relevant to this blog, so I'm posting it here, too. It was an early Christmas present from Topps Stadium Club to me. Happy Holidays, everyone!

With the rest of the week off from work, I figured at least a couple pack breaks were in order. It seems that I was destined to open these two 1994 Stadium Club packs on the day before Christmas. So, without further ado...

The first pack:


The first group:



Not too bad a start, by '94 standards. Both Listach and Hamelin had reasonably decent starts to their careers, each winning a Rookie of the Year award (in '92 and '94, respectively.) And the next bunch:



I've always liked cards of players signing autographs, so the Teddy Higuera was a nice pull. Also, that's a Zane Smith rainbow foil at the bottom... one per pack, baby! And then, there it was:




The first Darryl Strawberry I've pulled so far from the three boxes of packs I bought! I've opened a ton of packs, too; far more than I've shown on this site. Riding the high of pulling a Straw, I decided to open one more pack of Stadium Club...



The first bunch:



David Cone is always a nice pull, but not much else of even sentimental value from the first few cards in the pack. So let's move on to the second half:



I always liked Joe Orsulak when I was younger, but only because his name was Joe (as is mine, in case you're unaware.) But so far this has been a pretty crappy pack. Pretty crappy, until:



Yeah!!!!!! Back to back Strawberry pulls! And not just any Strawberry, this one is a rainbow foil, one per pack! What a happy Christmas this will be! I'm thinking of giving away the rest of my box of Stadium Club, because it's only downhill from here. Unless I pull one of those rare (relatively) and often counterfeited First Day Issue versions. I'm gonna hold off a while, though, and enjoy these two pulls.

On a serious note, this blog has been a blast to work on, and I've got lots more in store. Thanks for reading, and I hope you're enjoying it. Happy Holidays, everyone!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Through the mail success!


It's been a while since I last posted an autograph I've received as part of my off-season project.

The next one I got back was Mark Gubicza, formerly of the Kansas City Royals (and one year with the Angels)!

Gubicza actually has a World Series ring, which he earned with the Royals in 1985, and was a two time American League All-Star (1988 and '89). He even finished third in Cy Young voting in 1988. I was wondering why he was so good on R.B.I Baseball 2...

Career success aside, he is actually the Royals career leader in three not-so-glamorous categories: Walks Allowed (783), Wild Pitches (107), and Hit Batsmen (58). He is the Royals single season leader in Walks (120 in '87) and his career Wild Pitches total places him 64th all time in MLB history. Well done, Mark!

His career 132-134 win-loss record and 3.96 ERA are decidedly pedestrian, but at least he had a couple years of fame. Thanks, Mark, for signing the open area on my '92 Topps card! I'll definitely use him and the Royals the next time I fire up the ol' Nintendo.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Video

Happy Friday, everyone! Enjoy this video of Frank Beamer getting punched after Virginia Tech beat Boston College in the ACC Championship game.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bail out for the BCS?


We've separated church and state (kind of), so can we please do the same with sports? Texas Congressman Joe Barton is going to attempt to push legislation that would force the BCS to adopt a playoff system to determine the national champion.

Joe: Your Longhorns didn't get screwed. If they'd beaten Texas Tech, they'd be in. Can his motive be any more transparent?

First congress felt the need to intervene with baseball's steroid issue (though oddly forgetting about the NFL), and now this? Aren't there more important things to worry about like - oh, say - the economy?

Just my two cents.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

There's no crying in basketball!

Long story short: The Celtics choked away a huge lead and Kevin Garnett yelled at his teammates. Glen "Big Baby" Davis had his feelings hurt and cried at the end of the bench.

Now, I know for sure that there's no crying in baseball; Tom Hanks said so in A League of Their Own. I'm no expert on the NBA, but I'm pretty sure crying is frowned upon there, too.

What a baby.

Did Davis actually cry? I don't think so, but his facial expressions certainly seem to indicate he was holding a couple tears back. Decide for yourself:

Monday, December 8, 2008

Boise Bound


A funny thing happens this time of year in college football, and I'm not talking about the final regular season rankings after the dust settles from a weekend of conference championships.

Schools love to pretend there's meaning behind the term "student-athlete."

Now, I get that there are tens of thousands of actual student-athletes. You'll find them on the soccer or lacrosse fields, or in a pool somewhere. Whether they're on scholarship or not, they're really not bringing in money to their college or university.

And then there's the University of Maryland.

They turned down a chance to stay at home (essentially) and play Navy in the EagleBank Bowl in Washington D.C., instead opting to spend the money to travel to Boise, Idaho for the Humanitarian Bowl. Were they scared of the Midshipmen? Didn't want to be in the bowl as the official ninth selection from the ACC (the tie-in)? Hard to say, and I doubt that info will ever be released from the school.

The school said they couldn't take on Navy because of scheduling conflicts with the final exam dates, which is a complete joke for two reasons:

1) I doubt many of these guys take their classes seriously anyway. I shared a good number of classes with athletes when I was a student at Virginia Tech, and by shared I mean that they attended class for the first few minutes before skipping out. UM says 25 players would've been affected; no chance all 25 of them were aware of the final in question.

2) It's simple to rearrange the finals if those 25 guys really wanted to take them. I did it all the time at VaTech, usually to try to get out of town for vacation a few days earlier than everyone else. I can't ever remember a professor objecting to it, because if all the students left town early, they'd be able to too! And for most classes I didn't have to ask; alternative times were offered to get around staying extra late into the year for just one test. But asking to reschedule a final involved actually going to the class and speaking with the professor, which might be a bit much to ask of a starting receiver or tailback.

So enjoy the flight, Terps! I hear Boise is lovely this time of year. And the thousands of fans who were perfectly willing to shell out some cash to see their team play one more time in 2008? I doubt there'll be any in Idaho.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sentenced


The juice won't be loose for at least five years; that was the minimum sentence handed down for O.J. Simpson in court today by the state of Nevada.

Now, there was a mess of concurrent and consecutive sentences, and the live coverage I'm watching on msnbc.com is claiming Simpson's looking at a minimum of six to nine years behind bars before parole eligibility.

I'm hardly a legal expert, so I won't expand on this much more than I already have, but it seems to be fairly light considering all of the various kidnapping and use of a deadly weapon charges involved. The lesson to be learned here: become an athlete, get away with anything.

Talk about a fall from grace. Is there a worse decision maker on the planet than this guy? Between this latest debacle, not to mention the murder trials a decade ago, it's best for everyone that this guy is off the streets.

Check here for more complete details on the story.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Padres continue salary dump


Nice to see that the Padres have already punted any chances of winning in 2009.

With today's news that shortstop Khalil Greene is set to be traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for a couple relievers (in an admitted move to reduce salary), another San Diego fan favorite has been shown the door. The Padres have already told Trevor Hoffman he won't be back in '09, and an off-season trade of ace Jake Peavy is inevitable.

I'm hardly a Padres fan, so I could care less about their chances of a winning season in 2009. And I understand that the poor economy is affecting everyone, including billionaire team owners (messy public divorce or not). But you know who it's hurting the most? The fans.

For San Diego residents, the Padres are my only source for professional baseball within a two hour radius, and their lowest priced, readily available seats start at $14. How will any long time local, die-hard Friars fanss justify a ticket purchase next year? Money's sure to still be tight for most people, and the Padres are shipping out every single player that people are willing to pay to see!

Might as well trade away Chris Young and Adrian Gonzalez, too. Why they're at it, how about the Friar mascot guy? Let's remove any possibility of enjoying a ball game!

I'm not even sure where I'm going with this entry. I'm not saying Greene was crucial to their chances for a winning season, as I actually feel quite the opposite. Same with Hoffman. But if you want people to buy into your product, you've got to give them a good reason. $14 to see this mess of a team in '09?

I'll pass.

And for any readers in San Diego, click here for driving directions to Angels Stadium in Anaheim, just in case you get a craving for good baseball.

Monday, December 1, 2008

That's gotta hurt!


Sometimes, you do something to shoot yourself in the foot. Maybe it's saying something you shouldn't have to your boss or wife, or maybe you make a bet you know is going to lose.

Other times, you literally shoot yourself. Or at least if you're Plaxico Burress.

Burress turned himself in Monday morning after accidentally shooting himself in the thigh at a nightclub over the weekend. Burress's lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, says if the NFL will let Burress play, he'll play, and that he still sees him being a superstar for the rest of his career.

Giants running back Brandon Jacobs spoke with the troubled receiver over the phone, and added, "I called him and made a few jokes about the situation and his laugh is what I wanted to hear. If he didn't laugh I knew he was going to be down, which he shouldn't be down. It's a mistake that happened, something that shouldn't have happened and that's that."

Except that's not that.

Burress was carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison. After watching Commissioner Roger Goodell crack down in the past on guys like Michael Vick and Adam Jones, I have serious doubts that Plaxico will return as a superstar any time soon.

Because while the Giants try to make light of the situation, it's a far more serious legal issue both the organization and Burress are dealing with. Known for running his mouth and creating general turmoil within his teams in the past, it seems that Burress has really shot himself in the foot this time.