Posted on: July 15, 2009 11:30 am

Rock N' Jock HR Derby

After watching the home run derby last night, I came to the realization that Josh Hamilton has ruined all home run derby's from here on out. His 23 homeruns in the first round of the 2008 Home Run Derby, makes every other performance seem down right mundane and not worthy of my time. Last night, Prince Fielder and Nelson Cruz each hit 11 homeruns in the first round which is usually a big deal, but it no longer is.

As a matter of fact, I bet the majority of baseball fans can't name the winner of last year's home run derby, but they can tell you that Josh Hamilton broke the record for homeruns in any round of a homerun derby. And not only that, but I guarantee you most people will tell you that Mr. Hamilton was the actual winner of the home run derby.

Before 2008, I would have applauded Prince Fielder and Nelson Cruz for putting on a show for the fans at Busch Stadium and raved about how 2009 gave us one of the best derby's of all time, but all I can think about is how each of them hit less homeruns in all three rounds combined than Hamilton hit in the first round.

Since their is nothing that can really be done on behalf of the players and we will not see another performance like that again until the All-Star game is held in a wind tunnel, also known as the new Yankee Stadium, I have devised a plan to make the homerun derby entertaining once again...

Rock N' Jock Home Run Derby. That's right, you remember the Rock 'N Jock Softball games that used to be held on MTV with athletes, former athletes and celeberities. Well, I am stealing a few ideas from them for the purpose of saving the Home Run Derby.

Rock N' Jock used to have a variety of fake farm animals in the outfield, (real farm animals would be more entertaining but we don't want any wilbers or betsys getting hurt, plus PITA would have a field day with MLB) and if one of the players hit one of the standing replica animals in the outfield, they would receive extra bases depending on the animal. Well I say we place about three or four replica farm animals of varying sizes in the stands. A barn being hit would be worth an extra home run, a cow being hit would be worth two, a pig being hit would be worth three, a chicken being hit would be worth four. Don't tell me you wouldn't want to hear Chris Berman scream, "Albert just got into one...Oh man it's a moon shot...could it, could it...Oh my, he just hit a pig, he hit a pig...Albert Pujols has just won the homerun derby after hitting a big on his last swing!" Now that is entertainment at it's finest.

Also, there would have to be about ten sections that were partioned off for beautiful young ladies laying out on a lounge chair with a pina colada in one hand and a glove in the other hand. If one of the participants could hit one of these young ladies a ball and she was able to catch the home run, he would receive an additional five home runs for that round. I know this sounds a big difficult, but just picture the scene from Sandlot when Benny the Jet Rodriguez tells Smalls to stick out his glove and just squeeze. I know it sounds pretty difficult, but that's why they would receive five extra homeruns for such a feat, plus don't tell me Red Sox fans wouldn't like to see a beautiful blonde at the top of the Green Monster wearing a Red Sox hat and a red bikini, tracking balls like Torii Hunter. I know some of you are getting excited just from reading about the thought of this happening.

And of course, last but most certainly not least, we would have to introduce the money ball. The gold ball which comes last and gives money to charity is great and all, but it's not entertaining. The money ball would be, of course, green...maybe neon green to make it easier to see, but a participant would get the money ball thrown to him when he has nine outs. The money ball would be worth five home runs. However, they would only get one swing at the money ball. If they hit a home run, they are done and if they don't they are still done. This would add some pressure to the last swing, in turn, addding some much needed drama to the end of each player's at bat no matter what round they are in.

I know all of this sounds a bit off the all and almost excessively foolish, but don't tell me you wouldnt watch it, or at least take the time to TIVO such an event.

Posted on: July 14, 2009 12:46 pm

Another stud pitcher in pin stripes?

Did anyone else pick up on the subliminal message sent out by Roy Halladay when asked about his interest in a trade? His response was, "I'd rather hit (in the national league) than have to face (Derek) Jeter, A-Rod (Alex Rodriguez ), (Hideki) Matsui, (Mark) Teixeira and those guys."

Let me translate that for you. "I would love to play for the Yankees where I would surely lead them to a World Series Championship, and my numbers would be even better since I wouldn't have to face the juggernauts in the Yankees lineup."

I don't know about you, but that seems pretty clear to me. He stated that hitting isn't really something that he was good at as he offered it as an unwarranted alternative to facing a ridiculous lineup, and the only way to ensure that he doesn't have to pitch against those guys is to play on the same team as them. Everyone knows the old adage, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." Well Roy Halladay seems to be very familiar with that saying.

I know the Yankees spent more money than the equivalent of our National debt on two pitchers in the offseason, but they will stop at nothing to win another championship and Halladay would turn the possibility of a 27th ring into a certainty.
Posted on: July 9, 2009 2:31 pm

Pepto Joey

In case you were too busy stuffing your own face this weekend on the Fourth of July, you might have missed American professional eater, Joey Chestnut, claim his third consecutive hot dog eating championship. The hot dog eating competition is considered the Super Bowl of professional eating, which is held each year on the Fourth of July at Coney Island. Chestnut once again outlasted national superstar Kobayashi and set a new world record by eating 68 hot dogs in a span of 10 minutes. Now I don't know about you, but that sounds not only absolutely obsurd but it sounds like something that a human being should not be able to accomplish. After about five hot dogs, you can point me to the nearest corner with a big garbage bag and I'll see you in about half an hour. So when I hear 68 hot dogs, it makes me want to sit on the john and read the dictionary from cover to cover.

What is the most amazing thing to me is what I heard Mr. Chestnut say in an interview after he was asked what he does when the competition is over. His calmly responded by saying he signs autographs for a few hours and then goes to sleep. Sleep?!?! What happened to running toward a bathroom and puking all that stuff out. Either he is not human, has an abnormal digestive system, or he is taking some amazying meds to help him deal with that pain. Which got me to thinking...How is Joey Chestnut not doing commercials for Pepto Bismol. Could there be a more perfect partnership than those two. Just take a look at how the bottle would look.

Just look at the pain on that man's face. There is no need for words. And if I saw a man endorsing Pepto Bismol that can take a nap after eating 68 hot dogs without pain, then I know that the pink elixor can cure any problems that I am going to matter how much I eat. The company could even get Joey to do that little song and dance that they have random people doing on commercials. I am no genius, but this just seems to easy to me.
Category: General
Posted on: July 8, 2009 12:39 pm

Starting Lineup Search

Last week, I did a piece on gumball football helmets that we all enjoyed collecting as children that have now become collector's items and sell for thousands of times their original value. This week, I thought it would only be fitting to cover another collector's item that falls under the same category. Whether or not you collected starting lineup figures, I am pretty sure you received one as a gift or somehow found one in your closet.

As a child I had about 10 of these figures which I purchased myself just because I was collecting my favorite players. After they sat on my desk, I eventually found ways to put them to use besides an aesthtically pleasing feel to my room. I would line them up on my dresser and then stand on the other side of my room with the Nerf bow and arrow guesses it...shoot them off like I was at a firing range. This is probably one of my most fun memories as a child, but it was short lived after mom realized that starting lineup figurines violently flying against the wall at close range leave permanent marks on the wall in an array of colors. The creative side of me felt that the many random color marks on the wall added character to the room, but mom didn't share the same vision as me.

Once I got older, collecting starting lineup figures became a big hobby of mine, and I have quite a collection today. While they all sit in huge plastic boxes in my parents' closet, they used to cover my walls like wallpaper at a memorabilia store. I spent my free time and my own money scouring Toys R Us stores, KB Toys and Starting Lineup conventions trying to find great deals. I started collecting only baseball figures, but that quickly turned into football, basketball and hockey. While I don't have many of the very expensive pieces, I have most of my favorite pieces which I haven't been able to part with and don't know if I ever will be able to. Let's take a look at some of the most interesting, popular and expensive figures on the market.

1988-98 Figures: The Starting Lineup figures from 1988 and 1989 are the rarest as there just weren't that many made when the pieces were first in production. Also, nobody really new starting lineup figures were going to be collector's items as many parents simply bought them for their children to play with. It is hard to find unopened figures and once the plastic player is removed from his case, it loses almost all value. While some of the opened figures from these two years can still sell for about $15 dollars depending on the buyer, it is the unopened and pristine figures that bring in the big bucks. Almost all the football and baseball figures from these two years go for about $40 while the superstar players can sell from $250 to $500, once again depending on the needs of the buyer.

First Pieces: Just like baseball cards, the most expensive and the most wanted items are a player's first piece. Unless a piece is highly undermade, a player's first piece will always be his most expensive, which may also have a lot to do with the pieces from 1988 and 1989 being the most expensive. On the left you can see Peyton Manning's first piece, which only goes for about $15 dollars since there were so many figures being produced by 1998. On the right, you can see Daryl Strawberry's first piece, which is actually sitting next to me at this very moment, but it is opened and is one of the little guys that took quite a beating from the Nerf arrow. Thanks to Daryl's legal troubles, his peice only goes for about $8 dollars, but I bet you it means much more than that to any fan that grew up watching Strawberry in his prime.

Goalies: While goalies bring no extra value to a piece, it's hard to deny that they are the coolest figures out of all the sports. They are bigger pieces, their uniforms are more creative and the come with helmets. Yes, football players come with helmets to, but they are now way near as cool as the the detail that comes with the hockey Goalie Helmets. When I was a collector, I actually traded away some of my goalies to get some baseball pieces that I was attempting to get complete a set for and I really wish I would have never done that. As you can see, while many of these pieces bring different monetary values, ther are so many other aspects that are important to an enthusiast. I am not even a fan of hockey and I wish these were the pieces I focused on more as a young collector.

So if you remember playing with starting lineup figures as a child or even a young adult and know that you have multiple pieces that fit the description of the peices above, it may be time to start cleaning out your closet in an attempt to find some ebay gems. Good luck searching!
Category: NFL
Posted on: July 7, 2009 1:21 pm

Reds exposed

I have always wondered how the Cincinnati Reds received their name and after last night, it's quite clear because the Philadelphia Phillies gave them a good ol' fashion butt whoopin'. The Phillies tied a club record for most runs in the first inning while the 22 runs allowed by the Reds was the most this season for the team. As a matter of fact, the previous worst defeat for the Reds, baseball's first professional franchise, was 26-6 on July 26, 1892 which was also against the Phillies. All of this makes perfect sense as Cincinnati named its team after the bright shade of red left on one's skin after receiving a painful spanking. There is even visual proof that back up such a claim.

Posted on: July 1, 2009 2:50 pm

Packed Stadium

With construction finally under way for the Marlins new ballpark, the team has also announced that it will change the capacity from 37,000 to 100. The change is part of an aggressive attempt by upper management to sell out more games and make the stadium look full when fans are watching the game on television. Here is what the ballpark should look like once it is completed.

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 1, 2009 11:06 am
Edited on: July 1, 2009 11:17 am

Gumball Helmet Gold

Do you remember those tiny football helmets in the gumball machines that were frequently seen when walking out of Publix or any other supermarket when you were a child? Of course you do, because whether or not you collected the helmets, you always convinced your mom to hand over her change in an attempt to pull your favorite team out of the machine. Granted, I always ended up getting more duplicates of the Jets helmets in an attempt to secure some Dolphins memorabilia, but I had to try anyway.

While I was able to procure the entire set on my own by countless turns of the quarter machine, it was no small task. I can remember riding my bike to Publix and sitting in front of the gumball machine with rolls of quarters in my pocket that I had collected or "borrowed" from my dad's stash of change. After months of work, and just after my 10th Green Bay Packers helmet, I finally completed the set with the last helmet that I needed, the Seattle Seahawks. Oh how glorious it looked when it hit the bottom of the machine. All the patrons in the store had no idea that they were part of a monumental occasion.

Well, the gumball helmet industry has not only grown since the days that I was an ankle-biter but it dates back to much earlier than that. And while I was collecting helmets from an early age, I didn't realize this until I was in college. Today, you can easily go online and order a complete set of the current NFL teams, which are constructed much more soundly, along with a display case for about $60. However, the real fun comes with the thrill of searching for rare helmets that date back to the early 1960's. And while I'm sure the collectors were pulling these helmets out of the machines for less than a quarter, some of these helmets are selling individually for anywhere from $40 to $300.

While this may seem like a silly thing to collect, this is the perfect hobby for fans that love old-school football memorabilia but don't want to spend a lot of money. And while the older helmets are a little beat-up and less crisp as the newer ones, it's really cool to see the development of the league and the way logos have changed over the years. Let's take a look at what you can expect from the throwback helmets.

The blue Broncos helmet with the famous D that John Elway made memorable is not that rare but still a nice piece to have while the other three here are a little harder to find. I always liked that white Buffalo Bills helmet as the red logo reminds me of the bison from the "Oregon Trail" and the white Eagles helmet is pretty much the oppostie of what they are currently wearing. Other than the blue broncos helmet, these pieces would probably sell for around $5-10.

One of my favorites is the blue Oilers helmet which has many different variations depending on the number of stripes across the top. You can also find original Oilers helmets in silver and white as well. Interestingly, the current Jets helmet is their throwback helmet as this one is actually from the 60's as you can tell by the dirt on the helmet. The old Giants and Chargers helmets are also nice pieces as most of the helmets here would also sell for about $5-10 dollars with the Oilers helmet maybe getting about $20 or $30.

And if paying over $5 dollars let alone $300 for a gumball helmet sounds a bit ridiculous, you can always get the replica throwback helmets made for you at about $3 a piece which is what you are looking at here. The black Saints helmet on the far left of the top shelf is the rarest helmet and the one that costs $300. The fourth helmet on the top shelf is probably my second favorite and is an orange Broncos helmet with the white bucking bronco and sells for about $150. I don't believe any of the chargers gumball helmets were orignially made with the number, and they are strictly replicas although they do look pretty cool. Some other interesting helmets include the yellow Steelers helmet along with the yellow and Florida State-looking Redskins helmet. These sell for around $20-$40. You can also see how many different Oilers helmets were made as they are all visible on the third row from the top and also happen to be my favorite. Like I said before, most of them go for around $30 but the blue one with the three red stripes is much rarer and goes for around $200. Whether you are the type of collector that must have the originally made helmets or just likes to display the different styles of helmets from each decade, you can't debate how intriguing of a collection this would be for any sports fan. After all, your house will probably be the only one that includes a detailed history of football helmets for your guests from just a collection of tiny pieces of plastic. Also, for your viewing pleasure, he is a closer view of some of the throwback helmets along with a picture of what the newest NFL gumball helmets look like below.

So if you used to collect these artifacts twenty or thirty years ago, i would suggest cleaning out your closet.

Posted on: June 30, 2009 5:00 pm


I don't understand why the Lions would even consider sitting Matthew Stafford to begin the season. I understand that he is their franchise quarterback but that is even more of a reason to throw him into the fire. For most teams this would be a bit more understandable as they are attempting to protect their young quarterbacks, but there really isn't much to protect him from. News flash! The Lions didn't win a game last year. I could have been their quarterback and they would have had the exact same record. As a matter of fact, they could have thrown a scarecrow under center with a Lions jersey last year and they would have had the same record. They may have even beat the teams with birds as their mascot with a scarecrow out there, because we sure as hell know that they aren't scared of lions. Stafford has nothing to lose. He can win one game, and the fans will call him the second coming of...well, i can't really think of a quarterback that was ever good for the Lions, but you know where I am going with this. Either way, I say start Stafford or at least throw a scarecrow out their with his jersey on for marketting purposes.

Category: NFL
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