Here on The Stew, we're throwing the challenge a curve by requiring that all responding bloggers relate their 25 things to baseball. First up is 'Duk, head Steward of BLS.
1. I'm one of those rare people who throw left-handed, but bats right-handed. Rickey Henderson just became the first right/lefty position player inducted into the Hall of Fame, so perhaps it's not entirely my fault that I never played professional baseball.
2. I think left-handed catchers have a pretty good discrimination case on their hands.
3. I used to think that I was the only one unashamed to admit that he pulls for both Chicago teams and that he thinks the whole North/South hatred is somewhat childish. Then I read a profile on Vince Vaughn in Esquire where he used the same rationale I always use:
"I've always rooted for both," Vaughn says, raising his hands, I don't know what to tell you. "Because I love Chicago most of all."
My boy Vince is right ... We don't have to apologize for anything. It's baseball. It isn't like being Catholic and Muslim at the same time.
4. I'm still amazed by the fact I can go to a Cubs game during the day, then hop a train, head south and be at the White Sox game a half-hour later. I've done that daily double three or four times in my life. Back in 2000, I went to a Red Sox-White Sox game during the day, then trucked up to old County Stadium for Cubs-Brewers that night. Jeff D'Amico threw a shutout, believe it or not.
5. If I'm at Wrigley Field, you're probably going to find me in the third row in the corner of the right-field bleachers.
6. I still wish the Cubs could have done better than 79-83 the year I decided to write a book about quitting my job so I could go to Wrigley Field as much as I wanted.
7. Despite attending hundreds of games in my life, I have never caught a foul ball and only come close a handful of times. It's not that I'm unlucky. It's just that my seats are usually not good enough to be in position to catch one.
8. I've caught two batting practice balls in my day. One came from Dmitri Young at Kauffman Stadium, the other from Ken Griffey Jr. at Wrigley Field. Both are on my bookshelf, but I am uncertain which is which because neither have a league stamp and I didn't put any identifying marks on them.9. I have a completely random collection of baseball bobbleheads, most of which were given to me. My favorite is either the Rick Dempsey (the one where he's in a crouch) or the Chorizo sausage from Miller Park. I've only ever paid for two bobbleheads in my life.
10. My favorite ballpark food is a Kosher dog with mustard and grilled onions at The Cell, washed down with several plastic cups of Miller Lite.
12. I waffle on the Pete Rose Hall of Fame induction issue all the time. I love Chuck Hustle and used to think he should be in, no questions asked. However, I change my mind every time I hear stories of him acting like a miserable S.O.B.
13. But if we're going to deduct points for character when it comes to the Hall of Fame, I'm pretty sure we should add points for character, too. (Yes, I'm talking about Andre Dawson. Bert Blyleven, too.)
14. If I could choose any other park in the country to be my "home park," I'd flip a coin between Baltimore's Camden Yards or Pittsburgh's PNC Park ... then start praying the O's and Pirates start playing competitive ball.
15. I wish I could find my almost-completed 1986 Panini sticker book (a.k.a. the only reason my 8-year-old self behaved during trips to the grocery store).
16. The coolest individual achievement I've personally bore witness to was Tom Glavine's 300th win at Wrigley Field in 2007. Had I not decided I had better things to do, I could've seen either Mark Buehrle's or Carlos Zambrano's no-hitters.17. The coolest baseball play I've ever seen in person was Paul Konerko's grand slam in Game 2 of the 2005 World Series. I have video of the ensuing scene and it looks like we're in the middle of an earthquake. (Here's someone else's view.)
18. Had he and the Cubs not blown the NLCS in '03, Kerry Wood's two-run homer in Game 7 would be No. 17 on this list. Steve Bartman would never have become "Steve Bartman."
19. Every time I go to buy a baseball jersey, I decide I look stupid in it and walk away empty-handed. Very few commonfolk can pull this look off.
20. On a few different occasions, I've mentioned on the Stew that Ron Kittle and Leon Durham were my first "favorite players." Each time I've done that, someone has emailed me asking how I could have possibly picked those two. I have no explanation for that, other than they both wore glasses and "who the hell knows why a 5-year-old kid likes the things he does?"
21. My favorite baseball movie is The Bad News Bears. No joke, that's a perfect portrayal of my Little League experience right there. I even had a Morris Buttermaker-type for a manager on two different teams. One guy used to nip from a flask.
22. My parents and I have no idea when it comes to pinpointing the first MLB game I ever attended. I don't blame them as I assume nostalgia wasn't a big thing back then. However, you better bet my future son's or daughter's first ballpark visit will be Flickered, Facebooked, Twittered, YouTubed and whatever else for posterity.
23. I know that my impression of Haray Caray is a bad one. I'll put my mimicry of Lou Piniella up against anyone's, though.
24. I'm planning on crossing Petco Park, Safeco Field and the new Busch Stadium off my "ballparks to visit" list this summer. If all goes right, I'll be crossing off the new New York ballparks and Fenway, too. (Don't ask me how I've been to all the East Coast parks except for Fenway. It bothers me, too.)
25. I think the Cubs will lose a World Series before they win one, but that both will happen in the next 10 years.
- Wrigley Field