I Knew Who Held The Mark

Unbeaten Rays one win away from tying MLB record for best start ever

I remember my freshman year of high school when the Milwaukee Brewers started 13-0. That was back when they were in the American League. They were pretty good in the 1980s and then fell into the doldrums for a while. They’re doing all right this year so far, in first and a game ahead of the…. Pittsburgh Pirates?

Clearly, I do not follow baseball that closely these days.

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In Trash Pandas News


The Trash Pandas, unfortunately, were the team that threw the no-hitter.

(Remember, gentle reader, the Rocket City Trash Pandas have been my favorite minor league baseball team for five years, which means mostly I wear that sweatshirt in heavy rotation in the winter and I post about them when I see them in the news–not that I follow them closely.)

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News From My Favorite Minor League Baseball Team


Saturday’s college football game between North Alabama and Jacksonville State will be played in only one direction. Both schools, when on offense, will be trying to score on the same end zone.

The game will be held in Madison, Alabama, just west of Huntsville at a minor league baseball stadium. Toyota Field, which is home to Los Angeles Angels Double-A affiliate, the Rocket City Trash Pandas, will host the FCS matchup on Saturday.

Yes, I still have and wear on occasion my sweatshirt. Funny, though, it’s a sweatshirt, which means I wear it the opposite of baseball season, like now.

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I Don’t Understand The Metaphor

In this column about the Bears doing what the Bears do, we get this simile:

A 27-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers landed like a cement pillar to the gut.

I am not entirely sure in what circumstances one takes a cement pillar to the gut. While skateboarding, and you hit one of those “don’t drive here” pillars?

Because nobody, not even in Chicago, is going to pick up a freaking pillar and hit you with it. And if you’re on foot, other parts of you are likely to impact any pillar you run into.

Metaphors: Leave them to the professionals, children. Not that many remain who are qualified to handle them, and probably none in the papers.

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Amongst the music-themed sponsored posts I see on Facebook, I have learned that David Gilmour, of Pink Floyd and solo projects, is apparently a Dallas Cowboys fan:

Well, he’s British, so maybe he thinks Dallas is really America’s Team.

Here’s the last song on his 1984 album About Face–my favorite of his solo albums. I got it on cassette, about wore it out, and now have it on CD. The song is entitled “Near the End”:

I quote it a lot. Well, relative to other songs.

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Albert Pujols did something Sunday that he hadn’t done in his previous 2,987 regular season career games – he took the mound.

With the Cardinals safely ahead of San Francisco 15-2 and looking to save the arms of the pitching staff, Pujols was called on to toe the rubber in the top of the ninth. It marked the first time in his 22-year MLB career that he’d pitched in a game.

His stats were memed as follows:

As I like to point out, and did on Facebook, he’s worse than José Oquendo, whose ERA was 12.00 with six innings pitched in three games.

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A Horror Story for Brian J.

Not by me, mind you. Something that fills me with dread: Justin Fields Must Recruit Former Teammate To Chicago:

Still, it doesn’t mean Fields can’t find a way to bring in at least one of his former teammates. He’ll do some extra legwork to lure Chris Booker to Chicago if he is smart. Don’t feel bad if you’re unfamiliar with the name. The senior spent two years for the Buckeyes as a backup. He made only two catches during that time—both of them in the year after Fields left.

So why in the world should the QB even bother?

Namely, because Booker has untapped potential. He’s 6’3 with understated speed and surprisingly polished as a route-runner. After dropping out of football at Dayton in 2018, he transferred to Ohio State with no intention of playing again. However, he was convinced to join the school’s club football team. In his first game, he scored touchdowns on a reception, an interception, and a kick return. His head coach knew he had way too much talent for that level right away. So he pestered the school’s varsity program to give Booker a shot.

They finally did after a year. He became a regular on their scout team and would catch passes from Fields in practice.

So the two know each other well. Teammates and coaches alike grew surprised by his progress. That included receivers coach Brian Hartline, a former NFL standout. While he never cracked the offensive starting lineup, Booker became arguably the best special teams player in the entire program and one of the best in college football. Every time somebody was making a play on kick coverage or blocking units, #86 was in the frame. Sadly the ascent came too late in his career to drum up draft interest.

My beautiful wife, who shared this story with me as she’s friends with the lad’s mother, said, “It would be the one way to get a Bears jersey in our house.”

“The hell it would,” I countered thoughtfully. “However, if he were to sign with the Green Bay Packers, everyone in the house would have a Chris Booker jersey. Even the cats.”

What followed was an attempt to edit a listing from the Packer Pro Shop for pet jerseys to include the name and number of the young man in question. An effort abandoned when I determined it would require a couple hours of work for a couple of chuckles at best.

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They’re No Rocket City Trash Pandas

The Beloit Snappers minor-league baseball team finally unveils its new nickname:

A long-gestating rebrand is finally complete for the Beloit Snappers, who announced Monday that their new mascot would be the “Sky Carp.”

Before you ask, a sky carp is a slang term for a goose that doesn’t migrate for the winter.

So why did they change the name? (He asked innocently, but since the article does not say why, he assumes it is because Snapper is also slang for something.)

(As you might remember, gentle reader, the Rocket City Trash Pandas are my favorite minor league baseball team, and it looks like they actually finally got to play this year.)

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Wherein I Impressed My Son With My Knowledge of Sports Trivia

This morning, whilst I was driving him to school, the sports guy mentioned that the Atlanta Braves in 1995 became the first team to win the World Series in three different cities, and he asked the morning D.J. if he knew what they were.

“Boston, Milwaukee, and Atlanta,” I said. And I hoped we’d be in the car long enough to hear the answer.

After a bit more chit-chat, Ned Reynolds said, “Boston, Milwaukee, and Atlanta.”

My oldest in the back seat snorted. “God, Dad,” he said, not equating me with the almighty but instead impressed.

“They’re a Milwaukee team,” I explained. Which is true: Once a Milwaukee team, always a Milwaukee team. Strangely enough, the oldest baseball card is a 1952 or 1953 Del Crandall that I picked up on the ground when I lived in the housing projects. It had rounded corners then and a crease that eventually became a tear, so it’s held together with thirty-year-old Scotch tape, so it’s practically worthless. But I remember where the Braves have been.

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I Know His Name Is Jaromir

Jaromir Jagr has ‘no choice’ but to keep playing as he nears 50.

It’s mostly to honor his father:

“As long as my father breathes, I take the club as my responsibility,” he said. “He held it for 20 years. As a son, I would be embarrassed if I left.”

Which is better than having to work for a living because he spent his athlete millions on hookers and coke.

It kind of mirrors, in a way, his former teammate Mario Lemiuex, who took an ownership stake in the Pittsburgh Penguins when they went bankrupt and then un-retired to play six more seasons for his own hockey club.

(Jaromir Jagr, as you might recall, is the source of that one thing Daddy always says.)

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Sad Trombone Sound For Chicago

Apparently, the Bears have another new old quarterback to lead them to further mediocrity, and Greg Couch at OutKick is unsympathetic:

The Chicago Bears will announce today that they have signed some guy named Andy Dalton. From here on, I’m going to refer to him simply as Some Guy.

Some Guy ends the era of Mitch Trubisky, who Bears general manager Ryan Pace traded up for in the draft. He picked Trubisky over Patrick Mahomes and Watson. Trubisky failed for four years.

Yes, I know who Some Guy is. For years, he was Cincinnati’s Trubisky. They stuck with him even longer than the Bears stuck with Trubisky. Some Guy then went to Dallas last year where he continued to be faceless and nameless.

The Bears didn’t want Some Guy. They wanted The Guy. Chicago is the black hole of NFL quarterbacks. It’s where quarterback careers go to die. The Bears haven’t had a real quarterback for 70 years, other than a few years of Jim McMahon 35 years ago.

Unfortunately, it probably won’t be a long-term thing, unlike the Jay Cutler or Mitch Tnopointnowinlearningtospellitsky things.

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Apparently, I Am Not Eligible To Start For Denver Today Either

NFL rules wouldn’t allow Colin Kaepernick to help COVID-19-stricken Broncos:

The Denver Broncos not having any quarterbacks available Sunday may have been seen as an opportunity for Colin Kaepernick to play in the NFL again.

But that was never a possibility, as league rules mandate that acquired players must remain in COVID-19 isolation for six days before joining their new team.

You mean someone might have been actually interested? Nah, bro, we were just working his name into a headline again:

Then again, Denver, along with every other team, has never seemed interested in reaching out to Kaepernick.

The guy has been out of football for three years now. Let it go.

You know whom the Broncos wanted to bend the rules so they could play? A coach:

The Denver Broncos are starting undrafted rookie practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton at quarterback Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, but the team wanted their starting QB to be Rob Calabrese, their offensive quality control coach for the past two years, sources told ESPN on Sunday.

Denver felt that Calabrese had the strongest command of its offense and he could run the system better than anybody, sources told ESPN. The league denied those requests that were made throughout the day Saturday, saying that the Broncos could not activate a coach to their active roster. The league doesn’t want coaching staffs being storage areas for potential players, sources said.

Considering that the Broncos are playing the New Orleans Saints, who are starting gadget quarterback Taysom Hill again this week, it would almost be worth turning it on to see who does better. However, the Red Packers are playing at the same time, so Nogglestead will be tuning in to see the team that the Packers defeated in Super Bowl I instead.

UPDATE: Sorry, the quips keep coming, so I’ll add them:

  • Where is José Oquendo when you need him?
  • “And starting at quarterback, Sarah Fuller!”
  • I told my youngest, who broke and dislocated my finger with a football pass that he needed to suit up. Strangely, and disappointingly, enough, my boys are nominal Broncos fans because the oldest had friends in kindergarten who were Broncos fans. My boys have grown since then, but they still sleep under Broncos blankets and the youngest, at least, has not yet outgrown Broncos apparel. He did not believe me about having to start for the Broncos. So if the Packers game goes badly, we might well end up watching former Packer Taysom HIll.

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When Your Boxing Metaphors Fail

As usual, on the day after a Chicago Bears loss, I’m prowling the Chicago newspapers’ Web sites, enjoying the rending of the sackcloths. In one such document, we get the coach offering some resigned optimism:

“When you keep fighting, a punch will normally land,” Nagy said. “And if it’s a good one — a nice little uppercut that knocks him out — then you get another and the next one is a body shot and you just keep throwing them. That’s all you can do. You stay strong.”

Technically, in boxing and mixed martial arts, you pretty much stop punching once you’ve knocked your opponent out. And on the street, if you’re so inclined because you’re a punk, you start kicking, not dropping on top of the opponent to punch his unconscious body.

But, hey, it’s Chicago. Maybe they do things differently there.

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I Tried To Teach Him Hockey

I met this boy when he was a year old: John Burroughs alum Chris Booker paves unlikely football path to Ohio State.

His mother and my beautiful wife worked together, and our families had dinner together. Well, “families” might be a little misleading–my beautiful wife and I were freshly married and did not yet have children. As we had dinner together, the toddler had a Fisher Price golf club. I tried to teach him how to put both hands on the club, extend it horizontally, and say, “Cross check.”

Apparently, it didn’t stick. (Ahut, as my mother would say, a little verbal rimshot to say Did you catch the joke there?)

However, it is entirely possible now that I will be able to say in a year or two that an NFL player danced at my wedding. We have photos of little Christopher spinning on the dance floor of the reception hall. I will explain to everyone that he was already practicing his touchdown dance.

As long as he’s not a member of the Chicago Bears. If he is, I will disallow any knowledge of him and delete this post.

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