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Cosmic Quote #33

“Santa has the right idea. Visit people once a year.”–Victor Borge

Or don’t visit anyone at all.  Just blog.  Thanks for visiting me here, have an enjoyable holiday season and a prosperous 2014.

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In Memoriam: Candlestick Park

“The trouble with this ball park is that they built it alongside the bay.  They should have built it under the bay.”–Roger Maris

“If I had to play here, I’d think seriously about quitting the game.”–Rocky Colovito

Candlestick in its early days.

Candlestick in its early days.

It’s no secret that Candlestick Park was not exactly loved by major league baseball players, nor by the ownership of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers.  But as possibly it’s last professional sporting event–last night’s 49ers-Falcons Monday Night Football game–has been played, it’s still worth noting some of the memorable events and players that graced this less-than-venerable venue.

It’s notable that Willie Mays put up some of the best offensive numbers in MLB history while playing more than half of the home games in his career there.  He battled the cold driving winds–conditions that had fans donning winter coats and blankets at times, even in mid-summer.  He became an opposite field hitter to go with the prevailing winds that on one occasion were so strong they blew a pitcher off the mound.  Names like McCovey, Marichal and  Bonds (both Bobby and Barry) also donned the SF Giants logo on this field.

As for football, there is no secret that the 49ers have wanted a new field for years, wanting more capacity and more modern amenities.  But NFL fans will remember for all times the championship exploits of  the likes of Montana, Young, Rice, Lott and Clark.

So what’s my point?  Lost in all the postmortems, let’s not forget one other brief moment in history.   Candlestick Park is where Bob Watson scored baseball’s 1 millionth run,  a story which I effectively created, and recount below.

Originally posted July 8, 2012

“In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.”–Andy Warhol

Bob Watson

The date was May 4th, 1975.  The place was Candlestick Park, San Fransisco.  And the man of the hour was Bob Watson of the Houston Astros,  who scored the 1 millionth run in major league baseball history.  Watson beat Dave Concepcion of the Cincinnati Reds by four seconds in a race around the bases from opposite ends of the country.  It was one of the most exciting early-in-the-season baseball moments ever.

To this day Watson’s name, and to a lesser extent Concepcion’s, is associated with that event in baseball history.  But there was another name in the news that was connected to the story.  He was  a 24-year-old local sportscaster from Westport, CT who used a first generation, eighty dollar electronic calculator to research and originate the millionth run contest, thus scooping all the professional statisticians and baseball journalists.  He went on a media tour to promote a “guess-the-player” contest sponsored by Tootsie Roll.  His picture and name appeared in wire service stories, in Sport Magazine and in the New York Daily News.  He appeared on television and spoke at press conferences alongside the likes of Stan Musial, Ralph Branca, Mel Allen and Bowie Kuhn.  He had 15 minutes of Warholian fame.   Then came oblivion.

The 24-year old whiz kid with the calculator was, of course, me.

I was exhilarated, excited and even euphoric;  then it was over.   And for thirty-something years the memory simply faded, almost to the point that it seemed to have happened to another person in

Millionth run center

The 1,000,000th run countdown center. That’s me talking to the gathered media as Stan Musial naps in the background. Check out my 1975 hair!

another lifetime.  It became just another forgotten footnote in the deep and illustrious history of our national pastime.  After awhile, I didn’t even care, so why should anybody else?

Then something funny happened.  Straight out the blue, nearly four years ago, I received an email from Kansas City Star sportswriter Joe Posnanski.

“Are you the Mark Sackler who originated the millionth run?” he asked.  “I’m writing a book about the 1975 Cincinnati Reds.  I want to include it and the events involving Davey Concepcion as an interesting sidebar to the season’s story.”

The next year, The Machine, Posnanski’s book chronicling a great season by one of the best teams in the game’s history, appeared in bookstores with a chapter on the millionth run.  After 34 years, somebody remembered.   My sister joked that I was getting another 15 minutes of fame.  My retort was that it was more like 30 seconds.

But then it happened again.  A few months ago, a gentleman named Timothy Gregg contacted me on Facebook to make the same inquiry.  Was I the millionth run originator?  Gregg, also a former sportscaster and sports promoter, now a digital media producer, was co-authoring the memoirs of Houston Astros TV commentator Bill Brown.  Of course, there would be a chapter on the millionth run in that book as well.  This time not from the Reds point of view, but the Astros.   This book–My Baseball Journeywas just recently published.  So fifteen minutes of fame is now fifteen minutes and forty-five seconds.   And counting…

If you are a baseball fan, both of these books are worthwhile.  Otherwise, stay tuned for more effluvia from my hopelessly cluttered cranium.

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Cosmic Quote #32

“If god could do the tricks that we can do, he’d be a happy man!”–Peter O’Toole as film director Eli Cross in The Stunt Man

the stunt manA moment of silence, please, for my favorite actor of all time, punctuated with a quote from my favorite movie of all time.  The quote above and the image to the left provide the faintest of hints as to why this is my favorite move of all time.   I will deal with that in a future post.  For now, let’s maintain the silence.

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2013 Funny Names In Review: Introducing the Horsey Awards!

Another guest post on the Blog of Funny Names. Check out the first annual Outerbridge Horsey Awards!

The Blog of Funny Names

“I don’t deserve this award.  But then I have arthritis and I don’t deserve that, either.”–Jack Benny

Oscars…Emmys…Tonys…Pulitzers…who cares?  There is a new accolade that every up-and-coming celebrity can now aspire to, over and above anything else out there.

Welcome to the first annual Outerbridge Horsey Awards, given to the best of the funny names honored herein during the previous 12-months.  Yes, not to be outdone by the actors, journalists, broadcasters and pig farmers of the world, we can be just as self serving as any of them.  Here are the inaugural winners of the Horseys; they are  sure to be the envy of the galaxy, if not the entire universe.  (Note: if you don’t know who Outerbridge Horsey is, you haven’t been paying attention to this blog.  Shame on you.)

To imbue a Hollywood-like aura to this affair (and please be wearing a tuxedo or evening gown…

View original post 707 more words

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Time Way Out: The Jug Handle State

“I believe that there’s an intelligence to the universe, with the exception of certain parts of New Jersey.”–Woody Allen

The unintelligent part of Jersey.

The unintelligent part of Jersey.

I have spent the lion’s share of my adult life working in the pharmaceutical industry.   To be precise, I sell goods and services to pharmaceutical companies.  This is a difficult profession, for it entails enduring one of the most hair raising trials-by-fire in any known line of of work.

I have to drive in New Jersey. 

Unfortunately, due to the high concentration of  pharma companies in the so-called Garden State, I have to drive there often.  At least, I try to.  I sometimes think it would be easier to run in quicksand.  It has taken me 15 minutes, on one occasion, just to cross the street.  I have been 20 minutes late in getting to a location less than a mile away–not because there was a lot of traffic–but because I was pointed the wrong way on Route 22 and the nearest jug handle turnaround was three miles and seven traffic lights in the wrong direction.

It all started away back in the mid-1980’s.  I was driving for the first time to Sandoz in East Hanover.  As I approached my target on Route 10 from the west, there majestically high on hill to my right towered a high-rise with large block letters S-A-N-D-O-Z emblazoned across the top floor.  Brilliant!  I found it and I was on time.  I drove past an intersection, turned right into a parking lot and pulled up to a security gate to register for my sales appointment.

“Sorry sir, this is the service entrance, you need to go to the visitors center at the main gate.”

“Huh? Where’s that?”

The guard pointed to the intersection that I had just passed.  No problem, I was 10 minutes early for my appointment.   All I needed to do was pull out of the security area and turn left.  There was just one problem.  Between me and the traffic going in the other direction was something that looked like the Berlin Wall–complete with barbed wire and machine gun turrets.  It was then that I learned about jug handle turns.  You see, New Jersey has it’s own laws of physics.  In New Jersey, you have to turn right to turn left.  Understanding quantum mechanics is easy compared to understanding traffic patterns in New Jersey.

So I continued in the wrong direction on route 10 until I came to the first jug handle turn; I think this was somewhere near Bangor, Maine.  I came back to the original intersection I had missed, only to find there was no left turn allowed there, either.  This required me to go to the next jug handle, just outside of Allentown, PA.  Needless to say, I was late for my appointment.

It all boils down to this.  Other states have freeways, expressways and thruways; in New Jersey they have no-ways. Once you get on, there is no way to get off.  You have to drive to Delaware to turn around.**    There is one good thing about all of this, though. Here where I live in Connecticut, all the country roads in the woods can be confusing, particularly at night.  In a strange area it is easy to drive around in circles if you don’t have a GPS.   But in New Jersey, you don’t need a GPS to know you have gone wrong.  When you miss your turn in Jersey your whole life starts passing in front of you.   By now I have lived more lives than a cat.

**This literally did happen to me once, though it was actually in southeastern Pennsylvania, which has obviously been mapped out by the same civil engineers that designed New Jersey.  I was on a limited access connecting road and missed my exit.  In order to turn around, I had to drive six miles to the end of the connector–which was in Delaware!

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Google This: Search Term Haiku #4

“What, never? No never! What, never?  Well Hardly Ever!”–Sir William S. Gilbert (HMS Pinafore)

Sir William S. Gilbert

Sir William S. Gilbert

Whoever said that anything worthwhile is not easy must have been talking about Google.  Really!?  Yes, really.  Search term haiku continues to increase in difficulty, as Google reports fewer and fewer of these terms.  On a recent day, for example, I was thrilled to see on my WordPress stats page that some 23 hits on this site had come by way of search engines.  I was, however, horrified to see that only three of the actual terms used were reported.

I don’t give up so easily.  So even as I try never to break my own rules for this genre, using only verbatim excerpts from terms that found this blog, let’s just say I follow them with a fortitude worthy of Sir William S. Gilbert.  You can see the full detailed rules in a previous post. So here goes nothing.  (note: As a result of my Equation of Inane Celebrity Meme Virality being Freshly Pressed a year or so ago,  this blog continues to get many “meme” related search hits.  Read that original post here.)

terms

.

One Potato

Paris Hilton meme

show white girls pussy photo

she swallowed a ring.

.

.

Two Potato

Lindsay Lohan meme

a chubby mariachi

Al Capone female

.

Three Potato

Life is wasted meme

You can’t hear me, can you?

Smartphone distraction

.

Rutabaga

Celebrity meme

Mr. Rutabaga Head

funny to Google

.

More

Heisenberg name meme

when geeky scientists can

exchange sapouse tube**

.

**SIC, and as Red Skelton used to say, “I just do ’em, I don’t explain ’em.”

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