Monday, August 14, 2006

Weekend Leftovers

-The Cardinals and Grizzlies seem to have both caught the same terrible disease...

-The Cardinals get swept in Pittsburgh with very little about their game looking like a division leader. Mediocre, to bad, pitching. Little offense. No energy or enthusiasm apparent. For this team...the way they've been kicked around by teams in their own still be leading the NL Central by a game-and-a-half, is astounding at this point. We're now hearing the typical behind-the-scenes stuff that we hear when a team is tanking. There are cliques of guys who don't talk to other guys. There are pouters, and guys worried about their contract. There aren't any "fun characters" (like Walker and Sanders last year) to lighten the mood. All of the stuff you hear about struggling teams that you don't hear when things are rosy. Hopefully a leader will identify himself soon to try to get this bunch back on track. But, without solid starting pitching, it will be tough.

-The Grizzlies play in the independent Frontier League where expectations change dramatically from season to season. Heck, from week to week for that matter. But, since I became associated with the team in 2003 I've never seen the baseball, or the whole atmosphere surrounding the on-field operation, anywhere close to this bad. Danny Cox's team just got swept in a six-game homestand. That's right. They lost six-in-a-row at GCS Ballpark... their home venue. At any level of sport that is a disturbing occurence. They've fallen to 13 games below .500. What's the problem? In a word...everything. Pitching...particularly the bullpen...isn't getting it done. No timely hitting. Pathetic defense at times. Sloppy baserunning. The team looks like a bunch of guys who have some individual talent, but no direction, desire or focus. Good thing that Grizzlies fans keep flocking to the stadium for G.M. Tony Funderburg's good food, drink, promotions, and fun. On the winless homestand they still averaged over 5-thousand fans per game...great for baseball at that level. In fact, amazing!

-As a proud father of two healthy young men, I can't imagine the excruciating experience of the Utah parents of the conjoined twins separated last week. These poor little girls, Kendra and Maliyah Herrin, were given no chance at a normal existence. Together, they were doomed to be freaks. Separated, they will have enormous challenges. Before the operation, they shared not only a torso, but a liver, kidney, bladder, a single pelvis and two legs, one controlled by each girl. Not all that long ago, "less-human" humans would have had them put to death, or banned to an asylum, rather than deal with the consequences of their birth. Today we have the medical wherewithal to give them a chance at a decent, if not normal, life. But try to imagine making the decision to send these children into surgery knowing that neither may survive. And if they do, it will be as a partial human being. Sometimes Mother Nature, or whatever entity you choose to believe is responsible for this type of creation, is extremely cruel.

-I met Dustin Diamond...a.k.a. Samuel "Screech" Powers from the 90's TV show Saved by the Bell... at a Grizzlies game last week. Dustin is a fun-loving, but somewhat strange, guy who is now dealing with the question and challenge that many actors before him have had. How do you make a living when you can't get a part because you've been a child star and will always be thought of as the character you played? (i.e.-Jerry Mathers/"The Beaver", Danny Bonaduce, Macauley Culkin, Shirley Temple..etc) Dustin's 29. Married. Now living in Milwaukee...far from the Hollywood lights. He's traveling around appearing at events...(such as minor-league ballgames)...partly to raise money to pay the mortgage on his Wisconsin home. He hung out with the Grizzlies staffers, hoisting a few beers and cutting up for a couple of hours, after the game...and, I'm told, was the life of the party. (He's also doing some stand-up comedy wherever he can and tried out some of his material on the gang.) It's my uneducated opinion, based on the short time in his company, that Dustin has a ton of worries about his personal and professional situation. But, as any good actor can, he masks them well. I hope he finds a positive direction for his career and life. He seems to be a good person.

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