10 innings

Acting as if I’m a real columnist having a lazy day, I present a “News and Notes” column!

1) Headline in the Sun-Times following the Palmeiro news: Caught ‘roid-handed. Another good headline this week, despite not being baseball-related, was the Trib’s headline announcing the appointment of a federal monitor to watch the city’s hiring practices: City gets a Hall monitor. I imagine the headline writers are all staying up late these days practicing their headlines in the hopes of Daley being indicted. Me, I’m just practicing my gleeful chortle. Maybe I’ll get to warm it up chortling over Rove.

2) Palmeiro and Sandberg are linked yet again, this time in Sandberg’s Fire Sermon in Cooperstown on Sunday being followed so closely by Palmeiro essentially giving back his “Redeem in five years” ticket to the Hall. Those of you up on Cubs gossip will know how they were linked before, but if you need a refresher, contact me in some way that enables me to tell you the story while not being sued for libel.

3) Albert Pujols has stolen 11 bases this season without being caught. Next up for Prince Albert: some work in the offseason on his change-up so he can pick up some innings out of the bullpen.

4) Speaking of running, poor Lenny Harris, in legging out a three-run double against the Cardinals the other night in Florida, catapulted himself to the top of my list of worst baserunners in the game. He’s been a slow runner for years, plagued by leg and weight problems, but these days, his build is Kruk-like and he runs as if he’s on two peglegs. If this were a backyard whiffleball game, everyone would agree on special slowness rules for his ghost runner.

5) TV Guide is changing its format to not have nearly so many listings. How will I ever know when Scooter’s going to grace my television? I guess I’ll have to go to Jeanniezelasko.com to find out. I wonder if Jim has any thought about the changes to TV Guide?

6) In a discussion at work the other day about how to encourage bloggers who have written about our products, the idea of just contacting them with a thank-you came up. Or maybe we should send them minor-league baseball tickets?

7) After the Sox/Tigers game I attended recently at Comiskey, I was walking out next to a girl who said to a friend, “There’s my bus, gotta go.” She looked up to the ballpark, blew a kiss, and said, “Love ya, Comiskey.”

8) After today, there’s a third of the season left, and Ken Griffey Jr. has still not visited the DL.

9) For a while a few weeks back, an image search for Johnny Damon brought up a certain pumpkin as the fourth response. It’s fallen back to ninth lately. Get to work, readers!

10) The Post-Dispatch reports today that the Cardinals are, after all, leaving KMOX and buying 550 AM KTRS. I think it’s a big mistake, as do many other Cards fans, and I’m sad to hear about it. KMOX was the Cardinals for me for my childhood. But this is really a topic that deserves its own post soon.

Television programming update

The episode of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” featuring five members of the Red Sox airs next Tuesday, June 7th, at 10:00 P.M. Eastern on Bravo (with copious repeats throughout the following week). TV Guide gives it a 9 out of 10 and includes, as a tantalizing preview, the phrase “Johnny Damon gets foil highlights.”

Also in next week’s TV Guide, Superstation WGN has a full-page ad (in the color section, although it’s a black-and-white ad) touting their Friday afternoon telecast of the Cubs vs. Red Sox as a rematch of the 1918 World Series, for all the TV Guide readers who have been waiting for that for 87 years. Presumably, the Saturday game is on Fox (although my DirecTV edition of TV Guide only lists what’s on the national Fox schedule, so it’s “teams to be announced”) — and the Sunday game is in the week-after-next’s TV Guide, so as far as I’m concerned, it’s a complete mystery where it’s going to air.

And the figurine is going for big bucks on eBay

Back in the olden days, before they had cast members of “Desperate Housewives” on the cover every other week, TV Guide always contained a lot of ads for local TV stations. This is because they would trade out advertising space in the magazine in exchange for the stations running commercials for TV Guide.

This is the best baseball-related local TV Guide ad I’ve found in my collection; it’s from Saturday, May 18, 1968, and is the work of WJIM-TV in Lansing, Michigan, which is now called WLNS.

Channel 6 viewers that day saw the Senators beat the Tigers. Just a bump in the road for Detroit, though, on their way to winning the pennant and the World Series.

Original comments…

Jason: I can’t tell…is that a bobblehead or a figurine? Either way, it would be a great giveaway this season!

Jim: I’m pretty sure it’s a figurine, because it looks like the bat is attached both to the paws and the head, which would make it hard for the head to bobble. But remind me next time you’re going to be in my apartment, and I’ll let you take a closer look at this TV Guide ad.

Jason: Well, I actually looked up on eBay, but this was the only Detroit Tigers figurine they had:


To mark the impending Opening Day, they dug up another baseball movie over there at the Encore channel: “The Slugger’s Wife,” from 1985. This movie has everything, including the Braves’ blue-and-white uniforms, Mark Fidrych and Skip Caray as themselves, and Rebecca DeMornay and Loudon Wainwright III singing rock hits of the late ’70s and early ’80s, including (why not?) Neil Young’s “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black).” Not to mention the titular slugger having a chance to break Roger Maris’s home run record on the last day of the season while his Braves need to beat the Astros to capture the N.L. East title. (Levi, I’m sure, is bristling at the merest idea that this is what actually happened in 1985.)

While I’m at it, I’ll mention that some parts of the country got a baseball-related TV Guide cover this past week: Detroit got Ivan Rodriguez, Philadelphia got Jim Thome, South Florida got Josh Beckett, Chicago got Kerry Wood and Mark Prior, Houston got Andy Pettite and Roger Clemens, and Southern California got Vladimir Guerrero. Any or all of these people could be the answer to a future trivia question, since this was the first TV Guide issue since 1954 to contain eight days of program listings. (The national cover was “Where Are They Now?”, spotlighting such long-gone television personalities as Eriq LaSalle and Gillian Anderson. The current editorial staff at TV Guide seems to believe that the public’s memory extends no longer than eight days, an opinion they share with the producers of the VH1 show “Best Week Ever.”)

Still, it’s nice to see TV Guide using baseball in an attempt to drive newsstand sales in certain areas, rather than their regular standbys of “Star Trek” or an upcoming movie.

This is Priority Mail?

Way back in March, in this very blog, I maligned the AAA web site because it would only allow a total of eight destinations on the form to have a Triptik made for your upcoming road trip, so I had to make two separate requests, and then all I got in the mail was a Triptik for the final third of this trip; I had assumed that someone saw two requests by the same AAA member coming very closely together and threw away the first request.

Well, all this time, it turns out the AAA and their web site wasn’t at fault. It was the U.S. Postal Service. The Triptik covering the first two-thirds of this trip, it turns out, came in a much bigger box (because of all the Tourbooks that came along with it), too big to fit in one of the package lockers in my apartment complex, as the mailman discovered when trying to deliver it on February 4th (I know this because of a telltale scrawl on the address label). But he didn’t leave a note then, for whatever reason, and the package apparently got forgotten about somewhere in the North Hollywood post office until yesterday, when I finally got a note telling me to pick it up in a hurry or they would return it to the sender on May 3rd.

But now we have the small problem that all these Tourbooks are the 2003 editions, because the updated editions don’t come out until March or April (if I had remembered this, I wouldn’t have ordered the Triptik for this trip so early), and the more significant problem that the route shown on this Triptik doesn’t reflect our current plans, which involve going from Carmi, Illinois, to Detroit via University Park, Illinois, so we can drop Luke off at the Metra station.

So I’m going to go in person to a AAA office soon to get them to make a “corrected” Triptik while I wait, and maybe a big pile of 2004 edition Tourbooks, thus avoiding the Postal Service altogether, and the North Hollywood post office in particular. (My copy of the April 11th TV Guide also seems to have disappeared into a black hole, but TV Guide extended my subscription for two weeks to make up for it.)