Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Weak In Review

Everybody's doin' it nowadays ... compiling news n' notes n' nuggets pieces.
So, here's mine (with extended bonus coverage):

SUNDAY, JUNE 18 -- The "Mickel-Slam" went up in smoke with Phil's poor club selection and some wacky techniques in "cutting it" (whatever "club selection" and "cutting it" means ... all I know about golf is what I learned from the Medicus infomercial) on the 18th hole at Winged Foot.
What rubbed Team Haystack the wrong way were the endless days of "Why Did Phil Choke?" and "What Caused Phil's Meltdown?" after he gave away the U.S. Open championship.
Gave away? Like Montie had done moments earlier?
Mickelson played like crap throughout Sunday, so his 18th-hole implosion was no big surprise.
His postgame self-loathing of "I'm an idiot" only compounded matters for the guy who usually melts under the pressure of a Tiger-induced surgery to a 72-hole tournament.
Note: The baseball equivalent to the rationale that Phil "gave it away" is Your Team trailing by four runs in the 9th and then, after FIVE walks and three errors, the cleanup hitter striking out to end the game and then some loser in Loserville losingly proclaiming, "We HAD that game! We HAD 'em!"
Phil went par-bogey-par-double bogey to close out his U.S. Open while Geoff Ogilvy went par-par-par-par.
Maybe it's some sorta anti-Aussie-ism that had Forgetful Phil failing to be congratulatin' instead of self-hatin'.
Just wait'll Eldrick is using his icy stare to turn Phil into a puddle at the British Open.

MONDAY, JUNE 19 -- The final day of the hockey season -- a Cup Finals Game 7, no less -- and we barely got to know Ty Conklin.
Good Ol' Konk ... the Edmonton Oilers' backup goalie who was thrust into Game 1 after Dwayne Roloson left the game with a knee injury and a wounded ego after he allowed a 3-0 lead to slip away.
When Brind'Amour pirated the puck away from The Konkster's sloppy mishandling of said disc behind his own goal, jeez ... someone wanna frickin' get me a real goalie in this series?

In Commissioner Batman's New Thank-You-Fans NHL, every day is filled with optimism and promise.
Kinda like a freshly-Zambonied sheet of ice.
That is, unless you live in Chicago (four Cup Finals since winning it all in 1961) or Toronto (zero Cup Finals since winning the Cup in '67) or Boston (five Cup Finals in the past 34 seasons) or Montreal (one Cup Final, one Cup won since the '80s began) or New York (four Cup Finals, one Cup since 1940).
When five of the Original Six perennially suck, it makes for a league less-relevant than Lou Ferrigno vs. Kyle Rote, Jr. preparing for the obstacle course semifinals in the "Superstars" competition.
Commissioner Batman's Sun Belt manifest destiny is laughable, notwithstanding the foolishness of Cups won in the past six seasons years by Dallas, Tampa Bay and now Carolina.
In '03, the league was trying to ram Paul Kariya down our throats as the Face of The NHL. A year later, the flavor-of-the-month was Jarome Iginla. Now, the best player might very well be rookie Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, a delightful talent who no one sees ever (but, hey, there's a big Thank You Fans painted on the ice!)

Your baseball equivalent would be ... well, there isn't one because, in the Big Three (MLB, NFL and NBA), there are TV contracts and marketing strategies in place to promote the sports' stars.
Hence, the NHL has less cachet than the Winter X Games.
Those nutjobs zipping off jumps on their snowmobiles are more-recognizable than 87 percent of the NHL.
Sorry, Conn Smythe-winner Cam Ward, whoever you are.
Same to you, Hart Trophy-winner Joe Thornton, who, hopefully, can escape obscurity in San Jose and get some big-market exposure during next season's Cup Finals between the Thrashers and the Predators.
Unless the Blue Jackets find a hot goalie.

Actually, that Hurricanes' goalie who won our hearts with, ummmm ... his anonymity and mediocrity is a prime candidate to become just another scrub on the scrap heap with J.S. Giguere and The Bulin Wall.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Cinderella of '03, won himself a seat on the bench for The Mighty Dorks of Anaheim as Ilya Brysgalov set some shutout records ... then, somehow, allowed his mediocrity to take over.
The Bulin Wall -- what they call Nikolai Khabibulin -- got nailed by NHL lockout $$$ complications and then played woefully for the woeful Chicago Blackhawks.
Dammit, America! That's the first Russian goalie ever to win a Cup!

Cam Ward ... cute story and all -- y'know, the late-night, strawberry-milkshake sessions.
WHICH, by the way, we never would've learned about if the 'Canes' regular goalie, Martin Gerber, hadn't flashed incredible postseason form by allowing NINE goals in the first 74 minutes of the playoffs vs. Montreal.
That's a goals-against of 7.22.
It's sad to think that Ty Conklin and Martin Gerber are less-skilled at playoff hockey than, say, Michelle Wie, Jason McElvain or Barbaro, the Stories of '06 which have reduced Cam Ward to back page status.

NHL hockey ... bad for the brain.
Thanks, Batman.
And good for you, Hartford With No Whalers!

TUESDAY, JUNE 20 -- It was easy to become engrossed in the NBA playoffs this year, despite the referee-bashing and wins which were nitpicked.
I think I know why Miami won it all.
ESPN had reporter Rachel Nichols on the Heat beat throughout the postseason. Meanwhile, Dallas suffered from an ESPN mix of Colleen Dominguez, then Alex Flanagan ... and I think David Amber came off the bench before Colleen Dominguez returned in a too-little, too-late effort.
That's the NBA for ya -- a complex, mind-warper trying to remember if Colleen Dominguez is the Frederick's of Hollywood front-runner and Alex Flanagan is the best fit for Victoria's Secret and how Rache figures into the lingere equation.
It's good to have Erin Andrews heating up in the bullpen.
Alas, I don't always have her ESPN assignment sheet with me.
Currently, she's in Omaha at the CWS, eye-candying us through some awkward interviews.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 21 -- I watched a good chunk of Argentina and the Netherlands play to that World Cup scoreless draw ... which, I guess, we're supposed to say ended "nil-nil."
Fabricio Coloccini subbed in in the 24th minute and he offered consistent, steady backfield play.
Sadly, he is only my third-favourite among the F-squad stars.
Right now, it's: 1) Fred of Brazil 2) Frings of Germany and 3) Fabricio.
Torsten Frings ... gotta love that kid.
My hunch: When it's all said and done, Torsten is bound to do some-Frings special.

Stateside, the Phils were blanked, 5-0, by the Yanks -- one night after Ryan Howard drove in all seven of the Phils' runs in a 9-7 loss.
That blast off of Mussina into the top deck in RF ... ouch.
That ball was badly bruised.
The most-intriguing angle to a 7-RBI game is if it's the most ribbies for a Phillies player since a pitcher drove in seven, which it was when Robert Person did so a few years ago.
A pitcher ... with seven ribbies … is that what the guys in the broadcast booth call “helping your own cause”?
By the way, the Phils are NOT fun to watch (although the "Charlie-Manuel-Was-Fired-Today" Meter needs a few more quarters and some dimes before time expires).

Jimmy Rollins -- who began the season as the career .270 hitter with the 36-game hit streak that had us all wondering not IF DiMaggio’s 56-game hit streak would be broken but WHEN – saw his average dip to .250 with an 0-for-5 collar.
Although rookie Cole Hamels didn't get smacked around by a depleted Pinstripers lineup, I feel as though we need to focus less on Cole Hamels and begin wrapping our minds around this concept:
The Texas Longhorns and the Hawaii Rainbows might each have starting QBs with the first name "Colt" this season.
Colt McCoy and Colt Brennan.
I have no idea what the motivation is for naming a kid "Cole," let alone "Colt."
You simply can’t find any “COLT” novelty mini-license plates in the amusement park gift shop.

THURSDAY, JUNE 22 Just like you can’t find any “KOBY” novelty mini-license plates in the amusement park gift shop, which is unfortunate for Roger Clemens’ son, but proves that there’s still hope for Jelly Bean Bryant’s kid, Kobe, and George Karl’s son, Coby.
Because of this Koby-Kobe-Coby novelty mini-license-plate crisis, I couldn’t bring myself to watch Rocket’s 2006 MLB debut.
Well, that – and the fact that I didn’t want to tarnish the most-recent memory that America had of its pitching treasure.
And, that eternal snapshot was of Rocket earning the win for that 17-0 Team USA win over South Africa in the WBC a few months back.
Rocket did it for you … for me … for our troops overseas … for freedom …

In other sports news of global import, now that Team USA’s soccer stiffs are going-going-Ghana from World Cup play, can we please cease and desist on those Gatorade commercials with highlights of American soccer to the tune of the instrumental "Take Me Out To The Ballgame"?
The Stars N’ Stripes’ national pastimes are the NFL and imposing American imperialism wherever possible (via 17-0 victories over backwards-thinking governments).

Anyway, what did Team USA expect on the soccer pitch? Who forgot to mark Pimpong, anyway?
It just goes to show, Ghana is for real.
Ghana is for real ... Ghana is real ... Ghana = real ... Ghana real! Ghana real! Ghana real!
Pimpong must hear that crap all the time (when Europe’s Aryan movement isn’t hurling racial epithets and bottles at him and his teammates).
Here's something, though, that Landon Donovan doesn't hear all the time (but he should): "You look like Adam Ant."

Maybe it's not hip n' trendy to reference new-wave sensations from the '80s such as Leslie Stuart Goddard, who, last I heard, got arrested in a British Isles pub for hopping up on a table and threatening the patrons with a flare gun and a carburetor.
To quoeth the Antster, "Blackfoot, Pawnee, Cheyenne, Cr-ohhhhhhhh! Apache, Arapaho!"
That was a good album, by the way.
The flare gun and the carburetor? Not the way I would've played it.

Where were we? Oh yeah ... I watched some of Brazil vs. Japan -- and those Joga Bonitistas from Rio and thereabouts, jeez ... for an outsider like me, that's quality stuff.
Most Americans will mock the names Ronaldo and Ronaldinho, but, then again, such derisive remarks originate in a nation which sometimes can't keep its Rolando Blackman separated from its Renaldo Balkman ('06 NIT MVP).
Well, I can’t, anyway.

Clemens can cram it, by the way.

FRIDAY, JUNE 23 A quickie ESPN Radio blurb informed me that Theo Bell, the Steelers' receiver on the Super Bowl XIII and XIV teams, died of kidney failure at age 52.

I seem to remember Theo filling in during the second half of the 35-31 win over Dallas when Stallworth was injured. Even if the details are a little foggy, that's another Steeler to add to the "Before Their Time" lineup. Just in the past year alone (as was reported in a previous Haystack transmission before Super Bowl XL) the Black & Gold alumni has shrunk with the deaths of Terry Long, Steve Courson, Bud Carson and Dave Brown.

On a brighter note, I got about 2 1/2 hours of sleep because I toiled during the wee hours of Thurs.-to-Fri. watching the Comcast replay of the Orioles-Marlins game, which had to be seen to be believed (well, the 8th, 9th and 10th innings, anyway).
Some shenanigans out there at the yard -- everything from Marlins mgr. Joe Girardi making four pitching changes in the bottom of the 8th … then, down to their final out and trailing, 5-2, Joe Borchard – who struck out four times two nights earlier – lining a low-laser, 2-run shot, which was followed by a game-tying solo job by Wes Helms.
Sure, it was a treat to watch the top of the 10th when Todd Williams tried to intentionally walk Miguel Cabrera – only Williams threw the first wide one not wide enough and Cabrera reached out and slapped a single CF to snap the 5-5 tie.
Borchard then hit a ground ball which Miguel Tejada threw away for a 2-run error.

God bless you, Joltin’ Joe. I still remember it was almost 10 years ago (Oct. ’96) when the Mrs. n’ I saw Joe The Prep QB Star gettin’ sacked seven times by my alma mater.
A few years later, the three of us engaged in some inconsequential small talk on the Stanford campus as Joe Cool was a two-sport star who ranked somewhere on the university’s food chain between John Elway, John Lynch, Toi Cook and Brian Johnson (crappy QB, shaky hitter/catcher).

Forget Brian Johnson as a two-sport star, Jim (though Bri did play two).
I'm going off the board with either Teyo Johnson (football/basketball) or Kristin Folkl (basketball/volleyball) or Adam Keefe (basketball/volleyball).
Wow ... that was interesting.

Anyway, adhering to the principles of the Borchard Hitting Doctrine, I followed suit and, in my final softball AB of the season (perhaps of my career), I lined a crisp single to RF and eventually came around to score.
That run pulled us to within 24-6 in the bottom of the 4th – and the outcome reminded me of that time when Inspector Callahan was confronted in the parking garage by the SFPD vigilante motorcycle cops.
“You ‘heroes’ have killed a dozen people this week,” the inspector snarled. “What do you plan to do next week?"

"Kill a dozen more,” was the reply.
And you’re damn right … that response came from David Soul.

Look … ya gotta pop some Clint into the DVD player when you get home from a ballgame which leaves ya feeling a little incomplete.
For the record, the 24-6 loss would’ve stung a lot more had not we won the opener, 20-14 – one of the few bright spots in a 4-10-2 season.
Not that I had much to brag about. My exploits with the aluminum stick, yeeeesh … sometimes my swing is comparable to a Mary Kay LeTourneau smile.
Weak … uneasy … forced …
And now I get to spend July thru March fretting about my mechanics and wondering if maybe my game needs more wristbands and more headfirst slides into first base (as I’m popping out to shallow-RF).

I think that a complete breakdown of my batting stance and swing mechanics for a 4-10-2 team is better served with an entire blog entry of ….

SATURDAY, JUNE 24 Maxi Rodriguez … nice frickin’ shot, Meat! In fact, it was downright epic. Because of that delicious chest-trap and left-footed volley to the far post in OT, Maxi and his Argentine teammates will tangle with host Germany in the World Cup quarters.
This is shaping up to be a lot more fun than the WBC, but don’t quote me on that.
My only reservation is that for the third time in four matches for Argentina, Fabricio Coloccini sat on the bench.
No joke: Without Fabs, there’s no stopping Frings!
Although I do have Torsten Frings on my World Cup Fantasy League team, so what do I care?

SUNDAY, JUNE 25 -- OK, now I care. I was minding my own beeswax (probably nailing another Sudoku puzzle) when Beckham and his mates were lined up for the playing of England's national anthem, "God Save The Queen."
I musta been asleep at the wheel for awhile because that sounded a lot like "My Country 'Tis Of Thee."
Again ... the Yanks have ripped off from the Brits.

True, it would've been great for the blokes to comemorate the Sex Pistols' recent induction into the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame by cranking Johnny & Sid growling their rendition of "God Save The Queen" from the "Never Mind The Bollocks" long-player (a "record" ... what you kids now know as a disk).

I've gotta scoot and see about petitioning either the House of Commons or the House of Lords to enact legislation which would make The Jam's "Eton Rifles" England's national anthem.
"All that rugby / Puts hairs on your chest / What chance have ya got / Against a tie and a crest? / Hello, hooray / What a nice day / For the Eton Rifles, Eton Rifles! / Hello, hooray / I hope rain stops play / With the Eton Rifles, Eton Rifles! (what a catalyst you turned out to be / loaded the guns / then ran off home to your tea / left me standing like a guilty schoolboy-hoy ... )."

Weller could sure write some soddin' great tunes back then, no?
Well, I'm off to Parliament ...

Monday, June 12, 2006

BEN Nice Knowin' Ya

Appearing soon in the agate type:

TRANSACTIONS: Pittsburgh Steelers -- Re-signed quarterback Tommy Maddox to a one-year contract.

Y'know ... just as "insurance."
Get it? "Insurance" ... since that's what Tommy Maddox did full-time before the L.A. Xtreme of the XFL, HEY!!! This is supposed to be about Ben Roethlisberger and his courageous battle against the evil forces of a Chrysler New Yorker windshield and then it turns out to be a mini-bio on Tommy Maddox.
B-Roth vs. T-Mad?
Beats me.
Maddox HAS to get ready because he'll be the Steelers' emergency QB if Charlie Batch and rookie Omar Jacobs go off the tracks in what almost-assuredly will be the run to the second of three consecutive Super Bowl victories.

Training camp is barely more than one month away -- and the City of Champions spent the day re-prioritizing its life by re-assembling the jigsaw puzzle which was BigBenGoesSplatOnTheAsphalt.
Shortly before his body caromed off the side fender and ricocheted against the windshield, I heard Big Ben doing an interview on the "Mike & MIke In The Morning Show" on ESPN Radio (Eric Casillias was sitting in for Greenie) -- and, shortly thereafter, America held its collective breath as America's QB was down.
Sacked in the street.
Thrown for a loss.
In the NFL world which sometimes is more real than the real world, Ben would've been wearing his Steelers helmet and the radio inside would've had the voice of Cowher or Whisenhunt ordering him to get up because it's 3rd-and-12 and we should probably look for Heath or Hines working free in a seam in the zone.

Everything's going to work out fine (that is, if you call the insertion of plates in one's skull "fine").
I'm just glad that I don't have to host a candlelight vigil or prepare any heartfelt eulogies.
Not that I would anyway. Look ... the merits of "wearing a helmet" while riding a motorcycle isn't up to you or me. That's for Greta Van Susteren and Nancy Grace to sort out.
And, it's not my job to get all preachy because I'm a big believer in Charlie Batch.
Big Ben got the Steelers the Super Bowl title which most of America hoped for -- and if he chooses to go sans helmet when riding a motor-scooter, why am I 'sposed to care about someone who doesn't care about himself?
Big Ben doesn't come to my house and rip the Pall Mall outta my mouth as I'm lightin' up and urge me on with, "Dude, I could really use your support for the next 10 seasons. Why would you want to cut it short with cigs?"
Touche, Benny Roth!

That's the dynamic in our "Ben-ship." We don't talk to each other, but we have a silent camaraderie. If I don't hold my end of the Ben-ship, well ... he doesn't really give a rat's ass.
And, if he doesn't do his job, I'm ready to move onto Charlie Batch as my Super Bowl XLI MVP.
It's a powerful bond.

Which is why when I first heard about the 2-wheeler vs. 4-wheeler mishap, I wasn't any more moved than when Zola Budd tripped Mary Decker Slaney in the '84 Olympics ... America's all-time heartbreaker.
I was definitely more floored when that wasted limo driver wrecked in Detroit and left Vladimir Konstantinov paralyzed one week after the Wings won the Cup in '97.
That left me disconsolate.

On the other hand, what happened to Rothlisberger definitely causes one to sit back and "take stock."
Of what, I have no idea.
It just seemed like the thing to say.
I'm there for ya, Ben!
That is, until you're out of the lineup and I need someone else to get the job done.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Grim Future For Grimsley?

At long last!
All of these Jason Grimsley trading cards in our expansive collection of Phillie trading cards -- the studs n' the stiffs -- are finally worth something.

For those of us who've spent 32 years as a Phillie diehard (most of the time), we were gettin' mighty tired of reading the back of those cards and learning how Jason Grimsely didn't pitch his final two years at Tarkington High (in Cleveland, Texas) due to injuries, so he played shortstop instead.

Now, the pitcher who broke in with the Phils has added to his bio with material which is meatier than the fact that he was not only the youngster who was dealt to the Astros for a youngster named Curt Schilling but was also the starting pitcher in the famous "9 In The 9th" classic at Dodger Stadium in Aug. '90 (for those of us who have it on videotape, we've watched Lasorda slap that coffee cup to the dugout floor maybe 200-300 times).

We've learned that the names on the 20-page affidavit are blacked out, so until the redacted becomes "unredacted," the data is incomplete and choppy. However, what we do know, right now, is that Jason Grimsley's immediate release from the Diamondbacks would seem to spell the end of a 22-year career in professional baseball.

The odd aspect of that is seeing the name "Jason Grimsley" and "22-year career in pro ball" in the same sentence.
Sure, the Grimsley/HGH news quaked powerfully through the free world Wednesday, leading the pundits, to the surprise of no one, to pontificate that this Grim development is "only the tip of the iceberg."
Naturally, this "tip of the iceberg" will either:
A) Lead to the ruination of The MLB
B) Prompt a total overhaul of The MLB's drug-testing procedures
C) Both A and B
D) Neither A nor B

Dig this, brethren: If the '94 Strike of Strikes couldn't kill the game, it's not too likely that anything which infringes on our inalienable right to worship the 3-run jimmy jack will act as a catalyst for social change.

It matters not if Barry Bonds is fornicating atop the Giants' dugout with a teenager (boy or girl, no big diff) whilst J-Grim is jamming a hypodermic needle into Bonds' buttock (ever mindful of the sciatic nerve located near that exposed gluteus muscle). America will show its outrage for 8 1/2 minutes, then, it'll be back to, "Gimme gimme gimme more 3-run jimmy jack."

Especially the walk-off jimmy jacks.

We thirst for our fence-busting stars, be they wired on HGH or Tibetan yak semen, to provide muscle maxicity in performing their fence-busting tricks with those uranium-injected bats to strike the plutonium-filled balls into the stratosphere.

We've discussed this before.

So, before we get all panicky with "The MLB won't last beyond 2009," let's all settle down.
For anyone who believes that this is a HUGE story, this might be the time to stop huffing Liquid Plumr before your morning coffee.
The sport cannot be killed, no way, no how.
Not ever.

It is amusing, though, when we sit back and realize that the year that Bonds and Grimsley were drafted (1985) coincided with the drug trials in Pittsburgh when John Milner told us about the "nasty red juice” in Willie Mays’ locker (which may or may not’ve been cough syrup) and Petey The Parrot (the Pirates’ mascot) was called in to testify.

Booze, weed, blow, juice ... technology usually remains one step ahead of Johnny Law, hence ... they're synthesizing the newest formulas right now which'll make 'roids n' HGH look like Hawaiian Punch in the Year 2013.
And, when we dig deeper, we discover that there are no signs posted in dugouts, clubhouses or the collective bargaining agreement which state unequivocally that "no player shall smoke crystal meth in the batter's box during actual game action."

Look ... the intel provided by Ken Caminiti in an S.I. cover story and by Canseco in "Juiced" didn't exactly "blow the lid off of who's who in The MLB's list of junkies."
Such name-dropping didn’t force us to take a long, hard look at “the game” and to take a long, hard look at ourselves.
Or a long, hard look at nasty, red juice.
Or a long, hard look at Petey The Parrot.

It did, though, cause us to take a long, hard look at the jimmy jack.
And we want it supersized.
Preferrably 15 minutes ago.

We don't know who Grimsley's "outted" in his affidavit. The names’ll get leaked and everyone from Gammons to Buster Olney will espouse some indignant rhetoric (which they don't actually believe -- 'cuz, if they did, they'd continue to wonder aloud why spit-tobacco is banned by every level of baseball, yet, the MLB has a multitude of players with tins of Copenhagen/Skoal tin in their butt pocket).

Was it really only a little more than a year ago when Big Mac was all choked up and evasive before Congress (and Sammy needed an interpreter)?
Those kids saved The MLB in '98 (or so Stupidca wrote in his best-seller which he peddled to suckers).

Seriously ... the only thing dumber than junkie ballplayers is the people who report on junkie ballplayers.

But, this is interesting:
Grimsley’s teammate with the ’96 Angels, Jim Abbott, went 2-18 with an ERA of 7.48 (while Grimsley that year led the AL in one interesting department -- "hit batsmen").
Before Grimsley took down Jim Abbott with a batch of bad junk, he poisoned Kyle Abbott (1-14 for the ’92 Phillies) by giving him a batch of bad junk before The Grimsley Reaper was dealt late in spring training for Schill.

What possessed Jason Grimsley to kill the Abbotts?
It's a question which begs to be asked.
Then again, other media members have different agendas -- such as what Jayson Stark did the other day when he had the temerity to say on a national radio show that Grimsley’s “relations” with the ’93 Phillies, the ’95 Indians, the ’99 Yankees will be explored.

What for?

True ... the Yankees should be stripped of the '99 MLB championship -- but such a forfeiture should be based solely on the reasoning that '99 was THE most-boring World Series in the history of World Series boredom.
It's dog-chasin'-tail time in The MLB ... Stupidca built 'em up in '98; Stark is tearin' 'em down in '06.
And it's some real flimsy circumstantial B.S.
Maybe that how they do things in the UAE, but it's not how we drew it up in the USA.

Unless the FBI dragnet includes interviews of every busboy Grimsley didn’t tip in Utica (in ’86) and every ballpark groupie he may’ve slept with in Spartanburg (in ’87) and every starry-eyed youngster whose ball he didn’t autograph in Reading (in ’89), then, we should leave this to Nancy Grace to peck at with her razor-sharp beak and her brain-burning drawl.

Some of us will take the high road and refuse to judge Jason Grimsley, lest he judge us for certain transgressions which may've unfolded a week after he was drafted in '85 ... y'know, like gettin' yer horizontal mambo on with that blonde nympho who, thankfully, lets ya off the hook for spoonin' and leaves at 1 a.m. -- and then you find yourself even more thankful less than 7 hrs. later when yer girlfriend stops by for a quickie on her way to work, only you intentionally fail to disclose to her that you were in the same state of undress and arousal less than 8 hrs. earlier and, "yes" ... '85 was a good year for Tarkington High seniors who were drafted in the 10th round by the Phillies and for those of us who actually cared about high school seniors who were drafted in the 10th round by the Phillies (when we weren't mixing it up with the fillies).

Some of us will choose to remember Jason Grimsley as the guy on the '92 Upper Deck card #406 with the oddly-contorted mouth and the airbrushed eyeballs (as Upper Deck often did back then) as he was halfway through his delivery while wearing the maroon Phillie apparel (which they didn't wear in '92, switching to the current red ensemble before spring training).

It's doubtful that Jason The Accused-'Roid-Trafficking Monster will ever be asked to autograph any of these early-'90s Phillies cards for the sisters in C-block because, here in America, we don't imprison white-boy squealers.
We only incarcerate Rae Carruth.
And Denny McLain.
And sometimes Art Schlichter
The real criminals.

Besides, Jason Grimsley will receive a special exemption, anyway -- due to his ties to the '85 draft ... "The Draft Which Saved The MLB."
Just lookit those illuminaries:
1. Brewers, B.J. Surhoff (ss-c)
2. Giants, Will Clark (1b)
3. Rangers, Bobby Witt (rhp)
4. Reds, Barry Larkin (ss)
6. Pirates, Barry Bonds (of)
8. Expos, Pete Incaviglia (of)
10. Dodgers, Chris Gwynn (of)
11. A's, Walt Weiss (ss)
14. Braves, Tommy Greene (rhp)
16. Phillies, Trey McCall (c)
17. Royals, Brian McRae (ss)
18. Cardinals, Joe Magrane (lhp)
20. Mets, Gregg Jefferies (ss)
22. Cubs, Rafael Palmeiro (of)

Some of us were lucky enough, on our first day as a cub reporter, to conduct phone interviews with Nos. 6, 11 and 20 -- only it might've been more fun to talk to No. 10 and ask, "Do you really feel as though society is ready for a stocky, white man such as yourself to take the all-time home run record away from a black man who took the home run record away from a stocky, white man?"

Little did we know that a skinny, undernourished kid from San Mateo would be preparing for the role which Inky seemed destined for after we saw him spending the '85 season at Okie State racking up 48 dingers and 143 ribbies to go along with that .464 avg.

Fantastic memories from '85, for damn sure ... except people tend to forget that, with the 18th pick of the 10th round (two selections after Grimsley was chosen by the Phillies with the 16th pick in that round), the Cards selected Mississippi State second baseman Gator Thiessen.
The Gator's four more-famous MSU teammates -- Clark, Palmeiro, Bobby Thigpen (in the 4th round) and Jeff Brantley (in the 6th round) – were all drafted before The Gator, so ya gotta wonder if maybe why that's why they gave him the cold shoulder before they stopped talking to him altogether.

The ’85 draft had a lot of sentimental value which extended beyond some those 10-minute friendships forged with picks numbered 6, 11 and 20.
In case it slipped anyone's mind, after the 'Spos tabbed Inky with theit 1st-rnd. pick, they got Randy Johnson in the second round.
Virginia Tech had two pitchers drafted that year – the righty, Dell Curry (taken in the 14th round by the Orioles, but who opted for the NBA over The MLB) and the proud southpaw, Bean Stringfellow (which, we believe, is one of the silliest aliases of all-time).

Speaking of Bean, the Yankees took Billy Bean in the 24th round in '85.
For the record, that's the homosexual Billy Bean, who is not to be confused with the A’s GM Billy Beane.

Kinda makes ya wonder if Big Stein viewed the gay Billy Bean (of Loyola-Marymount) as “the best athlete available” (since a high schooler named Deion Sanders had been drafted in the 6th round by the Royals and a college kid named Vincent "Bo" Jackson had been drafted in the 20th round by the Angels...neither signed with those teams) with the 23rd pick of the 24th round after the Cubs snatched up Mark Grace (of San Diego State) with the 22nd pick of the 24th round.

Common sense says that Big Stein was not in the market for a first baseman since he had a youngster (Donnie Baseball) who was in the middle of an MVP season -- although it gets kinda kooky when we consider how it was Grace (The MLB’s hits leader in the 1990s) who would one day haunt the Pinstripe nation with that leadoff single in the bottom of the 9th against robo-closer Mariano Rivera in Game 7 of the '01 Series.

The great thing about The MLB is that it protects its Class of '85ers. When all is said and done, the Jason Grimsley case will achieve closure in a manner which will have the scribes scribbling that the matter was handled with dignity and valor.

Then, we can get back to worshipping at the holy Temple of the Jimmy Jack ...