The Traditional Thanksgiving Post

It has been nearly a month since my last post, which is sad. The fact that interesting things have happened in baseball during that period makes it even sadder. And you want more sadderer (besides my grammar)? I’ve tried to patch together a meager post or two during this period of time, but they’ve all wound up half-finished and unused. The only excuse I can offer for all this is that life has been on the topsy-turvy side, and that my writing efforts have been pointed in a different direction as of late. Usually I enjoy blogging in the offseason more than when baseball is actually going on, but this may not be one of those years.

The reason I have come back now is because it’s Thanksgiving, which is one of the greatest holidays in history. I always feel obliged to write something for Thanksgiving. It’s such a happy time. Sharing and caring. Love and warmth. … Thanks… and … giving. Sentence fragments. Thanksgiving is full of goodness, all around.

What is more, it is giving me the ideal opportunity to play catch-up with all the baseball stuff I’ve not written about for the past month or so. It might be a cheap way of doing it, but that’s OK. I’m a very cheap person.

NOW, as is my usual way, I present you with a rather random list of things for which I feel grateful. Please feel free to contribute your own in the comments section.

This year, I am thankful for…
Darwin Barney and his Gold Glove award. I want to, like, throw a parade for this guy. All out. Line the streets, throw flower petals, play tambourines, dance spontaneously… the whole nine yards. Watching his defensive play was one of the few things made tuning into Cubs games worthwhile in 2012.

Bob Brenly. The Cubs TV color-man of the past 8 years recently announced that he would be abandoning us for Arizona. You can’t blame him. He has connections there. Besides which games in Phoenix hardly ever get snowed out in April. But we will miss Bob. His commentary was always palatable (for lack of a better word) and shall not be soon forgotten. Happy trails, BB.

New family members. There are at least two new additions since last year. We’ve suffered some losses as well, but the love has only grown. I am profoundly thankful for all my family.
The ability to create. I have been considering lately what a gift this is. We have been provided with SO many outlets for creativity… whether it’s writing a blog, or sewing, or fingerpainting, or origami, or whittling, or cooking, or photography. It’s a wonderful thing.

Space. Not outerspace, although I like imagining the possibilities there. I mean the much smaller space in which I live. I have space to myself now that I didn’t use to have. Closet space and bookshelf space and floorspace. It is glorious.

The good old U.S. of A. I am sure there were many little storms of stinkery swirling around before, during and after this year’s election. I didn’t pay attention, but I know there were. There always are. Despite this, I am quite thankful to live in a country that gives me and everyone else a say in things.

Spotify. Because I can’t afford to pay thirty bucks for Sufjan Stevens’ new Christmas album box set. And for allowing me to indulge my inner nerd by listening to nothing but classical music and film scores for hours on end.

Homemade Bread. Noodles. Gravy. Autumn Wheat cereal. Curry. Soup. Mild white cheeses. Apple sauce. Dill. Chocolate covered Ritz with peanut butter. Tamagoyaki. Grape Nuts heated up. Hot chocolate. And food in general. I like food.

The baseball turkey. He’s last, but he certainly isn’t least.

Happy Thanksgiving, readers!

Advertisements

An Ode To Darwin Barney

As the Major League regular season winds down, I find myself pausing to reflect upon it. Sadly, it has not been a year to remember for the Cubs. Yet there are always a few bright spots, if you’re willing to look at them. Alone at the top of this year’s bright spots is Darwin Barney. As a small token of my appreciation for the efforts he has put forward in 2012, I have written the following poem. Don’t judge my poetic skills too harshly. It’s the thought that counts.
Darwin Barney… Cubs second baseman… You know ‘im.
Well, he’s been so delightful, he deserves his own poem.
His on-the-field efforts have been nothing but pleasin’,
And especially stand out this forgettable season.

He makes all the plays, sometimes leaping or spinning
And he hasn’t messed up for a whole lot of innings.
Whether it be routine, or web-gem deserving,
Darwin’s defense is a pleasure observing.

Now, Brandon Phillips has praised himself highly
While Darwin’s expressions are made much more shyly.
On the latter alone will I shower my love,
And, if I had a say? He would get the Gold Glove.

He might not receive much acclaim o’er his bat,
And yet, I wouldn’t just leave it at that.
He isn’t like Babe, or those muscle-man batters-
Darwin doesn’t hit homers, except when it matters.

He has bloomed in front of our eyes, like a lotus-
And even if some haven’t bothered to notice,
Most others among us are duly elated
And his efforts are very appreciated.

Oh, the Empire State has its building, and Sydney its opera house;
Africa has elephants, and Orlando a talking mouse.
China has its great big wall, and Ireland has its Blarney,
But Chicago has the Chicago Cubs, and the Cubs have Darwin Barney.

Darwin Barney: Defender of the Universe

We can all agree that 2012 hasn’t exactly been the most memorable season for Cubs Nation. But, as I am fond of often expounding, even the stinky years have their highlights.

Actually, calling Darwin Barney a “highlight” for the 2012 Cubs somehow doesn’t seem quite good enough. Seeing as how he has a whole highlight reel of sparkling defensive plays to his credit. And seeing as how, you know, he just set a National League single-season record for consecutive errorless innings by a second baseman.

On behalf of Cubs fans everywhere, I’d like to offer a big fat congratulations to Darwin on his achievement. I’m going to go ahead and go on record right now and say that if he doesn’t win the Gold Glove this year, I will be quite cross.

Yay, Darwin!!!!!!

Rhyme-o-rama 2012! Part Three

Grab your kazoos and party hats! Cue the confetti cannon and fireworks! Prepare your happy dances!

Opening Day has, at last, arrived.

Although, if you’re a Mariners, Athletics, Marlins, or Cardinals fan you’ve had your moment already. This celebration isn’t for you. Go away.

For the rest of us, let’s let the good times roll.

And what better way to kick off this glorious day than with the conclusion of Rhyme-o-rama 2012?

My remaining and increasingly un-predictiony “spoems” follow. I hope you’ll enjoy.

~

Let’s hope our hearts shall oft be cheered
By the presence of Blake DeWitt and his beard.

Rafael Dolis is as cute as can be
He’ll set up, which is fine with me.

Starlin Castro is here to stay-
We get to watch him every day. (Yay!)

Kerry Wood is my favorite, you see,
So instead of two lines
I am giving him three.

Don’t try to hit ’em where Reed Johnson ain’t,
He is everywhere, see, an outfielding saint.

Geo Soto I’ll shower with flattery,
He’s always a positive end of the battery.

Lendy Castillo and Shawn Camp have somehow made it this far,
I literally have no idea who they are.

Darwin Barney plays second base
By bubblegum power he activates.

Tony Campana, Campana Tony.
His speed is anything but phoney.

Luis Valbuena was acquired last minute,
If there was a prize for most infielders, the Cubs now would win it.

~

Thanks to you all for joining me on this strange, rhyming journey. Enjoy Opening Day, and Go Cubs!

Recapping Cubs Con: Day Two

Saturday morning kicked off with a Theo Epstein Q&A hosted by Len Kasper. (Warning: This is where my lousy note-taking skills are going to start rearing their ugly heads.) Theo cited the devoted fan base as a major factor in bringing him to the Cubs. “You don’t find this kind of passion a lot of places,” he said, adding that, “I’ll never forget that Kerry Wood moment for the rest of my life.” He said that he didn’t think he had done anything yet to deserve having his name chanted, but that he hoped it might be more warranted down the road. When asked what kind of changes would be made to Wrigley Field, Theo responded with, “I think that the ‘W’ flag should be raised more.” He’s clever, eh? The session as a whole was quite interesting. There is something captivating about this guy because, even though he didn’t say anything that I did not expect to hear, I was thoroughly enthralled for the entire hour.

“There aren’t a lot of Albert Pujolses around, and I’m glad the one there is isn’t in our division anymore.”

We followed up the Theo event with an hour’s fruitless wait in a Darwin Barney autograph line (oh well) after which we headed to the “Kids Only” Press Conference. It featured a line-up of Tony Campana, Darwin Barney, Reed Johnson, Todd Walker, and David DeJesus. Only youngsters were permitted to ask questions, and it was a scream. Where else would you learn Todd Walker’s dog’s name (which is Mr. Caboodle Snorkleson, or something close to that)? Or hear such a query as, “What would happen if you fainted on base”? Or learn that Tony Campana recently got carded at the movies? Or that if not a ballplayer, he would have liked to have been an astronaut? Tony was definitely a popular guy in this session, and Reed Johnson had us all in stitches.

Just a few gems from this highly entertaining hour:

Q (to Tony): How did it feel when you hit your inside the park home run?

Tony: I was tired.

Q.: What would you do if you were in a pickle?

Reed (confusedly): A pickle jar?

Reed: Is the reason every question is for Tony Campana because he’s the same size as you guys?

Q.: What do you do after a loss?

Reed: Cry. [Short Pause] A lot.

Q.: If Ernie Banks was still on the Cubs, what would he do?

Darwin: He’d wanna play a double header.

Q (to Tony): Are you gonna hit a real home run this year?

Q.: If you could change into any animal, what would it be?

Reed: A cheetah, so I could be just like Tony.

And I am sure the whole world will want to know that Reed Johnson’s favorite flavor of ice cream is mint chocolate chip, while Tony’s is cookies & cream, Darwin’s and David’s is strawberry, and Todd Walker’s is vanilla (with stuff on it.) I know that this is some pretty hard hitting stuff…. I hope you folks can handle it.

Almost immediately following the Kids Only conference was a session called “Outside The Foul Lines”, with Ryan Dempster, Geovany Soto, Randy Wells and Tony Campana (again.) It was, unsurprisingly, another winner. I won’t rehash all the contents of this panel as it was, I believe, broadcast on WGN radio and should be available for download sometime soon. It is worth a listen, for sure.

To round off the afternoon, we waited in a few more lines and procured autographs from Travis Wood (sorry you’ve not gotten a ‘Welcome To Chicago” post yet, Travis) and Todd Walker (I’m still a fan. Can’t help it.)

Doesn’t he look like somebody? I can’t figure out who. Help me out, people.

Before heading back to the ‘burbs for the night, we happened to witness Randy Wells in a hallway with a lady friend. He was taking her picture with a life-sized cardboard figure of himself and urging her to “kiss it”… I don’t think she did.

Darwin Barney: Movie Star

I don’t know if this is common knowledge or not (a pox on you all for keeping it from me if it is) but Cubs second baseman and FBB-favorite Darwin Barney has a pretty decent fallback if baseball doesn’t work out for him. The fallback I refer to is a career on the silver screen.

Did you know, noble public, that in his minor league days our own little Darwin had a role in a major motion picture?* I really hope that you did not. This is just the sort of dainty little tidbit that I delight in drawing out from the shadows and into the light for all the world to see.

Intrigued parties will be further pleased to learn that this same motion picture (entitled “Calvin Marshall” and revolving around an ambitious but talentless college ballplayer) is available to watch free of charge on Hulu. If “Rudy” and “Summer Catch” got together and had a movie-baby, it would probably be something like “Calvin Marshall”. Darwin’s role isn’t that important, but he does get plenty of face time.

For those who aren’t interested in sitting through a whole movie just to see Darwin Barney, never fear… I took plenty of screenshots for you.

*Of course, when I say major motion picture, I mean in a “Weekend At Party Pier”** kind of way.

**If you know what “Weekend At Party Pier” is, God bless you.

I still haven’t found what I’m looking for

In January, I posted a collection of a few of the perplexing, amusing search terms that led internet searchers to The FBB. I really get a kick out of some of these… gleaning them may take months, but it’s worth it. Some are funny and some just leave me scratching my head. In any case, here is another crop. Enjoy. (Note that once again all these “Googlings” have been left exactly as they were; no corrections in spelling, grammar, etc., have been made.)

***

tim lincecum bed bath and beyond girlfriend : If it was just “Tim Lincecum Bed Bath & Beyond”, or just “Tim Lincecum girlfriend”, I could understand. Combining them, though? What were you hoping to uncover with that?

judd sirott no longer doing cubs play by play : Knowing the popular opinion regarding Judd Sirott, I guess this is what one would call wishful Googling.

nutella derek jeter: One of those that I don’t understand, but I love. LOVE.

joe mauer eyelash: And another of those.

 advantages of a jumbotron in a small town: I can’t think of any.

cliff lee charming: He is, isn’t he?

is darwin barney north korean or south korean?

is darwin barney his real name

darwin barney’s last name: A face-palm triple header.

 my emails from mrs carlos and mrs dempster.: Maybe try looking in your inbox.

how can baseball be a good thing for kids: How can it NOT be?

americans listen to wgn radio every day: We do?

what does a rat as big as a tigers look like: Like THIS.

 evan longoria psychic

matt garza is adorable: In a muppety kind of way.

who died in the boston tea party: Uhhh, nobody?

town virginia boston tea party: Boston is in Massachusetts. The last time I checked.

Yep!

 suitted babies

“doctor who” fruit: I don’t know how this led to The FBB, but I am thrilled. It gives me an excuse to post this:

 people with extraterrestrial resemblance: RYAN DOUMIT!!! Is it just a resemblance, though? I’m not so sure. And I’m betting whoever searched this isn’t, either.

marlon byrd loves me: So does Jesus!

the darwin barney initiative: Who searched this? I need to know. Whoever you are, you’re my favorite.