They’re ready for a fight

Today was the first time since going back to school that I spent an entire day around students. I observed teachers in an ESL setting and a special ed setting.

I saw students play a cherished game, struggle to learn the three R’s, laugh and roll their eyes, erase mistakes and sneak a snack. I saw teachers care and love their kids.

And I thought about those students who have needlessly died because a winnowing segment of our population fetishize weapons of war and mangled the meaning of our founding document and don’t understand the gravity of the situation.

The words of a few far better writers than I echoed through my mind.

The first from a celebrated American treasure:

“That it’s namin’.

For the loser now

Will be later to win

For the times they are a-changin’.

Come senators, congressmen

Please heed the call

Don’t stand in the doorway

Don’t block up the hall

For he that gets hurt

Will be he who has stalled

There’s a battle outside

And it is ragin’.

It’ll soon shake your windows

And rattle your walls

For the times they are a-changin’.

Come mothers and fathers

Throughout the land

And don’t criticize

What you can’t understand

Your sons and your daughters

Are beyond your command

Your old road is

Rapidly agin’.

Please get out of the new one

If you can’t lend your hand

For the times they are a-changin’.”

— Bob Dylan

The second from a British songwriter gone to the stars:

And these children that you spit on

As they try to change their worlds

Are immune to your consultations

They’re quite aware of what they’re going through.

Finally, from Pearl S. Buck:

The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible, and achieve it, generation after generation.

They’re ready for a fight

Who is the best first baseman not in the Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame debates are some of the most fun arguments to have. Who belongs in? Who doesn’t belong? Why do we chose them. Some players are locks. They’re the players whose resumes are impeccable. They’re extremely rare. But some players have some knocks against them. Dizzy Dean and Sandy Koufax didn’t have incredibly long careers. Craig Biggio never had an MVP season. Duke Snider didn’t get to 500 home runs or 3,000 hits.

With all that in mind, let’s look at who are the best players not in the Hall of Fame at each position. We’ll start with first base. Continue reading “Who is the best first baseman not in the Hall of Fame”

Who is the best first baseman not in the Hall of Fame

I’ve been impatiently waiting to watch “Field of Dreams” with Michael and Minnie. It’s probably going to be next season.

However, I decided to show them the Abbot and Costello classic, “Who’s on First?

It’s a farcical comedic bit in which two men get into a baseball argument because the players on the team have strange names, like the eponymous first baseman, Who.

The whole big flow over Minnie’s head like a fly ball.

However, a few minutes in, Michael got it. He started laughing. “The man is Who?”

I was proud of him.

However, he didn’t catch the name of the second baseman. So he kept asking me, “Who is the second baseman?”

Michael: “Who plays second base?”

Pat: “No, he plays first base.”

Michael: “I know that! Who plays second?

Pat: “No he plays first base, do you know who plays second?”

Michael: I don’t know!

Pat: No, he plays third.

Michael: Aaaasrgh! Stop it!

Think about the helpers

“Look for the helpers.”

– Mr. Rogers

Now let’s think about the helpers at Wednesday’s massacre. You saw four different types of helpers. The first were the teachers in the classroom. They’re on the front lines in the nation’s criminally unaddressed mass shooting epidemic. They will lay down their lives for those kids. The second were the police officers, charging into the scene to protect the teachers and children. They will lay down their lives for those kids and teachers. The third is the medical professionals at ambulances on scene. They charge toward the last en of fire, sometimes saving lives. The fourth are the journalists, charging toward the line of fire to get you information as best they can. Yes, they can screw up. But they’re going to the scene, nevertheless. They’re tells no you what’s happening and how to get safe.

Now think about what those helpers need.

Are there enough teachers on those classrooms? Are they trained enough to respond? Do they have the resources to address kids who are a threat? Do they have the mental health resources do deal with the pressure and shock of the situation? Are there enough school resource officers at school?

Are there enough police officers to stop this? Are they paid well enough? Do they have the resources after an event like this that they could address PTSD without losing their badge? Are they trained enough? Are the programs that could address gun violence funded enough?

Are those EMTs given the mental health resources they need to do their jobs? Are they trained for these scenarios?

Do those reporters have mental health resources for after they witness this trauma up close? Do they have enough training for covering an event like this?

How many times did you answer “yes”?

Think about the helpers

Baseball has the best names

My buddy Dave shared a meme on my Facebook wall today that helped you pick out your 18th century baseball name. It had fun nicknames based on your first initial and great baseball last names based on your last name.

It was quite fun. It also made me think of my favorite baseball names. Here they are:

Hall of fame division

Catfish Hunter dominated the American League as an Oakland Athletic and New York Yankee. A’s owner Charley Finley gave him the nickname as a marketing tool.

Dizzy Dean famously got hit in the head by a ball. Headlines the next day said X-rays of his head showed nothing.

Enos Slaughter had a funny enough name it was a punchline in Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First?” But he had a fierce bat,

Frankie Frisch owns the greatest alliterative name in history. He also has a kickass nickname, “The Fordham Flash.” Frisch hit .316

Heinie Manush was born Henry Emmett Manush in Tuscumbia, Alabama in 1901. He hit a robust .330 in the major leagues.

Mordecai Peter Centennial Brown earned his “Three Finger” nickname when he lost two digits in a childhood accident. He has the third best career ERA.

Mule Suttles starred in the negro leagues before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. Known for prodigious home runs, he’s probably one of the best players to ever pick up a bat.

Pud Galvin won more than 300 games in his career, becoming the first player to pull off the feat. His parents named him Hames Francis.

Yogi Berra gained fame while mangling the language in a career that included winning 10 World Series rings and three MVPs. He was born Lawrence Peter Berra.

No way! Division

Bud Weiser is the pride of Shamokin, Pa. he played in 41 games. Cannonball Titcomb had a brief Major League career. During that time, people called him by his first name, Ledell. His nickname arrived after his last game. Coco Crisp was born Covelli Crisp. He hit 130 home runs and stole 309 bases. Milton Bradley is his given name. He played in one All Star Game.

Modern gems

Oil Can Boyd pitched for three teams in a ten-year career. His birth certificate says Dennis.

Calvin Coolidge Julius Caesar Tuskahoma McLish went by the nickname Bus in a career that lasted from 1942-1964.

Vinegar Bend Mizell pitched for ten seasons in the 50s and 60s, earning three All Star nods. After his career, Dennis Mizell became a state representative. A republican, he’d later be defeated by Zack Galifinaikis’ uncle.


Jack Glasscock held the record for double plays until Ozzie Smith passed him in the 1980s. Johnny Dickshot sounds bad enough, but his nickname was “Ugly.”Pussy Tebeau played in two big league games. President Trump desperately wants his baseball card. Rusty Kuntz sounds like a dirty joke, but he’s a baseball lifer, still coaching for the Royals.

Stubby Clapp sounds like a venereal disease and not a guy who had a cup of coffee with the 2001 Cardinals.

Classics from the 1800s

Alamazoo Jennings played just one big league game. Buttercup Dickerson once led the league in triples. His birth certificate says Lewis. Chicken Wolf had a solid career. He led the league in hits, batting average and total based in 1890. Con Daily needed to steal more bases. He played in 628 games, though. He swiped 92 in that time. Count Sensendorfer played in parts of four 1870s seasons. John was his given name. Lady Baldwin won 42 games in one season, but just 31 the rest of his career. His parents named him Charles. Peak-A-Boo Veach, born William Walter Veach, didn’t do much, hitting just .215 for his career.

Baseball has the best names

Light up my fries

We cut the cord years ago, so we don’t see many commercials. I forgot how absurd infomercials and “as seen on TV” commercials are. Oh, sure, infomercial fails are a funny thing.

This morning, while watching SportsCenter at my brother’s house, I realized how bonkers Infomercial successes are.

Take, for example, the Atomic Beam “tactical” flashlight.

That’s right. It’s a flashlight you can use in your fryer. Just what everyone needs. I seriously want to know how they came up with the idea of testing this.

But this isn’t the only product that has these absurd successes. How often do you see things get run over by trucks or set on fire to prove their worth.

Light up my fries

Eagles fan Sam Alito delivers a second win for PA

Supreme Court associate Justice Sam Alito is a huge Philadelphia sports fan. On his first day in chambers, there was a knock on the door. Being the rookie on the court, the New Jersey native had to open the get up from the table and open the door. When he did, the Phillie Phanatic burst in to give him a hug.

Well, a day after the Philly’s pro-football team won the Super Bowl, the state learned the conservative justice gave democrats a huge win.

This wasn’t expected by many pundits.

The court has a conservative majority. And with Clarence Thomas and Noel Gorsuch on the team, a partisan one. So when it looked at a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that the state’s congressional district map was unconstitutional, many expected Alito and the other conservatives would overturn the ruling. The funny thing is that most of the justices don’t fall on party lines when it comes to gerrymandering. Alito’ colleagues Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy seem to have really taken partisan gerrymandering up as a bette noir.

In truth, the issue is more about who is in power. Dems in Maryland are as corrupt on this as republicans in Pennsylvania. The court’s cherished One Person, One Vote doctrine appears to be at loggerheads with the issue, so Alito’s decision is shocking, but not quite surprising.

Eagles fan Sam Alito delivers a second win for PA