Sunday, May 28, 2006

Dude, where's my glove?

I was reading the newspaper with the Phillies game on when broadcaster Scott Graham began discussing the life story of recently signed Brewers pitcher Joe Winkelsas. Color man Chris Wheeler seemed disinterested in the story but I was enthralled. Winkelsas was addicted to marijuana. He once played baseball for a team that only played road games. He was working as a garbage man before signing with the Brewers. Joe Winkelsas was my new favorite player. I immediately sprang to the computer where I tried to find some more information on the middle reliever. I was rewarded with this amazing article from his days as an Atlanta Brave. I also found this more recent article. Here are some highlights from the articles.

Winkelsas is a simple man:

“Winkelsas loved two things when he entered the Braves farm system as a free agent in 1996: baseball and marijuana. But probably in the reverse order.”

He definitely thought of this while high:

"This game is nothing but fellowship," Winkelsas said. "It's nothing but change. It's a game of failure. . . . Everything you go through in life is taught in this game."

I love how the journalists can’t help themselves from using marijuana puns:

“His career ERA in the big leagues was 54.00. But the ERA wasn’t the only thing about Winkelsas that was high.”
“This time, Winkelsas isn’t going to let his opportunity go up in smoke.”

Winkelsas makes a strong case for employment in the garbage collection industry:

“I started to gain some strength, lifting and dragging things through the snow,” Winkelsas told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “It was like physical therapy that I got paid for.”

Winkelsas at rock bottom:

“He can see himself coming home from another bar fight at 4 a.m. --- drunk, blood on his face. Bacon grease on the corner of his mouth from eating at a restaurant whose name he can't even remember. Hair all messed up. Drool everywhere.”

What drove Winkelsas to drugs:

“His parents had told him they wed before he was born, but they had married three years after his birth. This discovery led to an even more shocking one: The man he knew all his life as his biological father had actually adopted him. He met his biological father, Joe Privitera, through a phone call at age 16. In the confusion, Joe Winkelsas smoked his first joint.”

Friday, May 19, 2006


I found this link on Ron Artest pays a visit to the author's place of work. I could see Bloggington Bear conducting himself similarly in a business meeting.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Phillies sweep Bonds

The San Francisco Bondses visited Philadelphia this weekend. The series was brimming with media storylines. The Philadelphia fans responded by packing Citizens Bank Park like sardines in a tin. The average attendance was 40,000 as compared to the usual 28,000 that come to non-Bonds baseball games. I guess it makes sense. Instead of saying that they went to a baseball game over the weekend, people can say they saw Bonds chase history. This guy for some reason felt that this sign had to be seen. Bonds was chasing Ruth's record. Bonds was visiting the notoriously rowdy Philadelphia blah blah blah blah.

The big story is that the Phillies have won eight in a row. This winning streak has salvaged a possible disastrous season. There is still hope that I can watch my first baseball playoff series in 13 years. The Mets come to town and with a sweep the Phillies will be a game behind them. Billy Wagner's presence should elicit some negative crowd reaction after he took a few shots at the team and perhaps, hopefully there will be a reappearance of the "Char" sign.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Mamba Returns

Is it just me, or is Kobe Bryant a serious candidate to take home "Best Year Ever" honors the next time does one of those ridiculously unwatchable year in review shows. In the last twelve months, Kobe has went from being a unabashedly selfish rape suspect who bought his wife $4 million "Don't Leave Me" rings and singlehandedly brought down the 21st century's first professional sports dynasty to the NBA's greatest scorer since MJ who still has the ability to give you 25 a night with 15 assists if needed while still reserving the right to blow up for 50 plus if the mood strikes him right. Not to mention the fact that all of a sudden he's a media darling, as evidenced by his new sponsorship deal with Nike and undoubtedly helped by the fact that he's playing his best team basketball ever this postseason after being blatantly robbed of the MVP award by this guy. (Sidenote: Are you kidding me? If you showed me this picture and told me someone in it was the two-time reigning NBA MVP, I'd guess the skinny He-Man lookalike on the right first, the chubby fraternity guy on the left second, and then the mildly psychotic looking Nash third.) To put it another way, in the last year Kobe has went from being in the league's and media's doghouse to one of the league's most exciting and marketable players. I, on the other hand, have went from being a promising marketing undergraduate to living at home and writing a sports blog. Advantage: Kobe. But his meteoric rise from scorned to likable over the past year even has me rooting for Mamba and the Lakers in this year's playoffs. After nearly singlehandedly eliminating the Suns with a sensational 50-point performance on Thursday night, Kobe has one more chance to send the West's number two seed packing on Saturday night. And after the year he's had, I'll be the first to admit he deserves it.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Apparently Mel Kiper Jr. does not grade on a curve

Mel Kiper Jr, draft evaluator extraordinaire, handed out his draft grades for all the NFL teams today. He felt Houston, Baltimore, and San Francisco had the best drafts giving them all a B+ grade. I guess Kiper is very stingy with his A's or he is trying to reinvent the entire system of letter grades.

There was always something creepy about Mel Kiper Jr.'s TV persona and this grading debacle has cemented my negative feelings towards him. He seems like the kind of guy that would call a sports talk radio station drunk on a Sunday night claiming that the trading of a 4th starter contributed to the downfall of his local baseball team. He specializes only in the NFL draft and comes across as robotic and distant. I picture ESPN reassembling Kiper every April in the basement and subsequently linking him to a computer in order to download draft information. He reminds me of a pretentious history professor who was pleased with himself that students rarely received A's in his class. You really have to impress Kiper to receive a sacred A rating from him and I am sure this pleases him very much.

The point of the grading system is you have five separate letter representations that define performance. The first tier teams earn A's , the second tier B's, and so on and so forth. It is interesting to note that Kiper gave his favorite movie of all-time 3 stars (Cabin Boy), his favorite restaurant earned 4 stars (Da Brickshaw Hotel), and his favorite hotel he awarded 4 stars (The Spanish Main).