click the "headlines" for full story . _____________________ . About "Still In Progress..."

"THE ONE THAT SLIPPED AWAY..."



You don’t get too many cold calls when you’re a self-proclaimed baseball-history lunatic.
 
Calls mostly come from creditors or money-starved alumni associations, rather than from potential employers, friends or girls, for that matter.
 
The only e-mail squatting in my inbox this morning, for example, was an ad for inflatable, team helmet-and-tunnels — the kind the college and pros run through to take the field.
 
I’m thinking of getting a University of Arizona one.
 
It was June of 2007 when my cell phone flashed a foreign, Florida area code.
 
The man on the other end of the digital line was cold calling the sports writers of Tucson, in a quest to locate an old, yet lost, friend.
 
Billy Loes,” the Floridian said. “He was a pitcher; won a World Series with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
 
“Ever hear of him?”
 
‘Um, do you mean the same Billy Loes who famously “lost a ground ball in the sun” during the 1952 World Series?’
 
The man’s quest to track down his lost friend led him to an Old Pueblo nursing home. And from what little he’d deduced from the tight-lipped nursing staff, it seemed that good old Billy wasn’t his affable self.
 
In fact, according to the caller, it sounded as if Loes had two outs in the ninth inning of the game of life and had just gotten himself into a run-down between the bases.
 
The timing of the call couldn’t have been worse. The next morning, I tossed the last of my belongings in the back of my truck, jumped on I-10 and didn’t stop until I reached a new job and life in South Carolina.
 
The opportunity to chat with the infamous Brooklyn Dodger right-hander slipped through my fingers like an over-petroleumed spit ball.

Loes, 80, passed away on July 15 in a Tucson hospice.

I wanted to talk with Loes, to look him in his quirky face and ask him firsthand if he really lost that ball in the sun. Several of his Dodger teammates came to his defense, affirming that the late-day sun poking through the pillars of Ebbets Field, did, indeed, cause sun spots.

I wanted to know which hitter was the toughest he faced in the pre-steroid era of Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle and Stan Musial.

I wanted to know if the Dodger really predicted in the New York press that the Yankees would win the 1952 series against Brooklyn in six games. He later proclaimed that he was misquoted. He actually said ‘Yanks in seven,’ to which he was correct.

I wanted to see what shell a former player wears when his legacy isn’t held together by stats, but rather by dubious anecdotes — the kind only the game of baseball can concoct.

Loes allegedly has claimed that he didn’t want to win 20 games in a season, because that meant having to reach the benchmark every year. And that was just too much stress for the Queens, N.Y. native.

He needn’t stress too much. In 11 seasons (including stints with the Orioles and Giants) he finished with a forgettable 80-63 record and a clunky 3.89 ERA.

I wanted to ask Loes about yakking up one of the most notorious balks in baseball history.

It was in that fabled 1952 World Series and Loes was on the mound with a lead in game six.

An anxious Brooklyn crowd on the edge of their seats clasped their hands together in prayer, as if to will their Dodgers to the first World Series title in its seven-decade history.

Instead of becoming a hero, he balked, moving a runner into scoring position. That set up the infamous “lost ground ball in the sun,” to the next batter, which gave the Yankees the win.

The very next day, the Bronx Bombers snatched another World Series trophy away from the Brooklyn ‘Bums.’

According to the legend of the balk, while standing on the mound, the ball simply fell out of his hand.

And a golden opportunity literally slipped through his fingers.
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"DO THE BUCKS DRIVE YOU TO DRINK?"


OH, DEER


Which came first:


The Milwaukee Bucks

or


????

answer:

The Bucks played their inaugural season in 1968, and promptly tied for the NBA's worst record with another 1968 expansion team, the Phoenix Suns. After winning a coin toss, Milwaukee selected Kareem Abdul Jabbar with the first pick of the 1969 draft. Two years later the Bucks were world champs.

Jagermeister can trace its roots back to 1935 Germany. The liquor was popular among hunters, which gave rise to false rumors that it was one-part elk's blood. It's satirically dubbed 'leberkleister' by Germans, which translates to 'liver glue.'

Check this out: Catch the subliminal message in the Jager logo? Take the circle around the logo (the "O") and combine it with the elk and the cross and it spells out: "O Deer God."


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"STRANDED AT SECOND BASE..."

"Culling The Thoughts That Occur When You're Waiting For Something To Happen..."










I rarely talk to Mexican food, mostly because I failed Senor Bravo's Spanish 110 my senior year at the University of Arizona.

Besides, when Mexican cuisine speaks, it often doesn't care much about what you have to say. It's usually the one doing all the chatting.

But when my pack of La Banderita soft tortillas shells told me the other night to check out "The Perfect Game" at www.theperfectgamemovie.com, I decided to listen.

After all, the phrase 'perfect game' is a rather large boast - be it athletic or cinematic.

"Perfect Game" is a rehashing of the 1957 Monterey Industrials, an impoverished band of pegadores from Monterey, Mexico. The Industrials defied unfathomable odds to win the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

Major motion pictures have been made based on much less premise. Ever see "Ed," the movie about a chimpanzee that joins a Major League team?

Besides, how could you go wrong with a movie that stars both Cheech Marin and Lou Gossett Jr.?

I cannot tell you whether or not the "Perfect Game" is blemish-free because no theaters in this area are showing it. Not helping matters is the film's advertising budget, which apparently was limited to packages of flatbread.

So last night's dinner didn't just get me talking, it also got me thinking: what is the quintessential sports movie moment?

- Roy Hobbs hitting the game-winning homer in "The Natural?"

- Benny "the Jet" Rodriguez out-running Hercules the angry dog in "The Sandlot?"

- Rudy Ruettiger getting the first and only sack of his career for Notre Dame in "Rudy?"


...


Chris Snyder's catcher's mitt is apparently the Sun City of error; a place where guffaws go to retire.

The Arizona Diamondback catcher's current 217-game errorless streak is the third-longest stretch by a backstop in MLB history.

He squats behind Cleveland Indian Mike Redmond - who is still adding to his current streak of 249 games - and Mike Matheny who went 252 games without an error at the dish.


...


Someone call University of Arizona softball coach Mike Candrea: my 2-year-old daughter is ready to become a Wildcat. I deduced that this morning watching her throw a Wiffleball in the living room.

How many times have you heard this one: "You gotta see the arm on my kid? Now, I know he's only (insert age here), but..."

I once sat next to a guy who used every available second of the 45-minute flight from Atlanta to Savannah, Ga., talking about his son, Aristotle. You read that correct. His son was named after a Greek deity.

Note to self: tell no one about the skills you use to pay the bills. Unless, of course, you got rich turning your kid into a sports superstar; as is the case with only a handful of parents these days.

Take the case of Internet-sensation Ariel Antigua, whose YouTube video of him swinging a bat and fielding ground balls is going more viral this week than the Hantavirus.

It we're to believe the Internet (and who doesn't?), then the 5 year old from Lyndhurst, N.J., is Joe Mauer reincarnate.

You be the judge. Is Ariel the Next A-Rod without a cool nickname yet or just another product of overbearing parenting?


...


Baseball is a game that holds in high regard its etiquette, superstition and unwritten rules. Just ask New York Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who found out the hard way that pitchers hate it when you walk across thier mound between plays.

One of the more notorious superstitions is to never mention a no-hitter while one is in progress. But with technology dramatically re-sculpting our lives, do we need to re-evaluate how we prevent breaking the protocol of superstitions?

Human nature says we want to tell everyone in our rolodex when we're watching a no-hitter in progress.

Your buddy Gary in Orlando wants to make sure you heard it from him and not ESPN that Ubaldo Jiminez is blanking the Atlanta Braves.

When Yankees' hurler Phil Hughes cleared the seventh inning of a game against the Oakland Athletics on April 21 without yielding a hit, I rushed to Facebook to see which bozo would blab first.

The message board was silent, save for those kvetching about their lousy work day or those starving their cows on their virtual farms.

Is it acceptable to post on a social media that a pitcher is throwing a no-hitter?


...


Speaking of the Bronx Bombers, the Yankees' cable conglomerate the YES Network has added a running pitch count to the scoreboard in the upper left-hand corner of its screen during game telecasts.

How much more information do we need filling up a screen? And what's the next thing that baseball eggheads need blocking the view of the game?

I'm still waiting to hear that some super-fan has named his kid 'Rhelob' in scoreboard homage to "runs, hits, erros and left-on-base."

Don't confuse Rhelob with Shelob of Lord of Ring fame. Either name will condemn your kid to a lifetime of wedgies, wet willies and the daunting rear admirals on the playground.
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"MIX 'N MATCH: WHO IS BEN WATSON?"






A) Former New England Patriot Tight End?














B)

Wigan Athletic Central Midfielder?







 C)

Georgia State House 163 Candidate?



















D) All Of The Above


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"PERFECTIONS OF AN IMPERFECT GAME..."


We can’t all be perfect.

But these days, it seems that it’s becoming easier to go unblemished on the pitching mound.

Baseball prides itself on its imperfections, the anomalies unique solely inside its diamond-shaped heart.

It’s a place where flawlessness is usually reserved for myth.

So, when a pitcher tosses a perfect game, it’s considered entry into an elite fraternity — presumably Epsilon Tau Alpha or ERA to the non-Greek-speaking layman.

It’s a caste of 20 players dating back to 1880 that’s about as privileged as it is fickle when it comes to its enrollment.

Despite the discretionary company, it appears, in an age caricatured by hulking hitters, that it is now easier to toss a perfect game — AKA 27 batters up, 27 batters slink back to the dugout without reaching base.

There have been 11 perfect games thrown since Len Barker, a man known around the Cleveland Indian clubhouse as “the Big Donkey,” got stubborn with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1981.

That’d be a dozen perfectos, had Tiger pitcher Armando Galarraga not been fleeced by Jim Joyce. The first-base umpire incorrectly ruled what would have been the final out of Galarraga’s June 2 bid in Detroit to become the fraternity’s 21st member.

Conversely, MLB only witnessed the feat nine times in the 100 years prior to Barker’s perfect game.

That’s an average of one every three years in the post-Barker era, as opposed to one every 11 years dating back to the 19th century.

Perhaps MLB’s new steroid-testing policy has done to the long ball what debit cards did to the panhandling industry — that is, systematically destroy a once-profitable market.

Maybe it’s the pitchers who are much stronger? Of the 65 players suspended by MLB since 2004 for using performance-enhancing supplements, 34 of them were pitchers.

None of them — it should be noted — are members of the perfect game fraternity.

While it can’t be determined whether or not science is being used to gain perfection, we can use science to predict the next one.

Of the 20 perfect game thrown, seven of them have been thrown in May — the most of any month by far.

None have ever been tossed under the humidity of August.

Chalk it up to fresh arms, colder weather and chillier bats.



PERFECT GAMES BY MONTH



April – 1

May – 7

June – 3

July – 4

August – 0

Sept. – 3

Oct. – 2

It also helps to be pitching on the Lord’s Day to trap a little divine mound magic. Seven of the 20 perfect games occurred on a Sunday afternoon — the most of any day of the week.

Also a mere six of the 20 have been thrown on the road.

Does a foreign city plus the lure of performance inhibitors equate to perfection?

Only one has been thrown on a Tuesday. Monday’s only perfect game was the biggest anomaly of them all: Don Larsen’s call to perfection in the 1956 World Series.

Saturday has played host to two bouts with history. They happened 130 years apart in 2010 (Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies) and 1880 (Lee Richmond, Worcester Ruby Legs).




PERFECT GAMES BY DAY OF THE WEEK
 
Sunday – 7

Saturday – 2

Friday – 3

Thursday – 3

Wednesday – 3

Tuesday – 1

Monday – 1

All of these pitchers in this class of perfection have proven to be fallible.

One of Cy Young’s MLB-record 511 career wins was perfect; but the former Cleveland Spiders is also credited with the most losses (316) in history.

There are as many pitchers with losing career records (five) in the perfect game frat as there are hall of famers.

As Joyce, Galarraga and the rest of baseball were painfully reminded last week:

Nobodie’s perfekt.


PERFECT GAME NOTES


The Florida Marlins are selling roughly 13,000 of the unsold tickets to Roy Halladay’s perfect game on May 29 in Miami. Tickets are going for face value and are selling faster than Halladay shut the Marlins.


Dennis Martinez (1991) and Kenny Rogers (1994) threw perfect games three years to the day on July 28.


Eight of the perfect games thrown have come from left-handed pitchers.


The combined career record of pitchers who have thrown perfect games is 3,351-2,424.


PERFECT GAMES


Roy Halladay, R*
May 29, 2010
Saturday

Dallas Braden, L
May 9, 2010
Sunday



Mark Buehrle, L
July 23, 2009
Thursday



Randy Johnson, L*
May 18, 2004
Tuesday



David Cone, R
July 18, 1999
Sunday



David Wells, L
May 17, 1998
Sunday



Kenny Rogers, L
July 28, 1994
Thursday



Dennis Martinez, R*
July 28, 1991
Sunday

Tom Browning, L
September 16, 1988
Friday

Mike Witt, R*
September 30, 1984
Sunday

Len Barker, R
May 15, 1981
Friday



Catfish Hunter, R
May 8, 1968
Wednesday

Sandy Koufax, L
September 29, 1965
Wednesday

Jim Bunning, R*
June 21, 1964
Sunday

Don Larsen, R
Oct. 8, 1956
Monday

Charlie Robertson, R*
April 30, 1922
Sunday

Addie Joss, R
Oct. 2, 1908
Friday

Cy Young, R
May 5, 1904
Wednesday

John Montgomery Ward, R
June 17, 1880
Thursday

Lee Richmond, L
June 12, 1880
Saturday

*Road Game
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"FROM THE MOUTHS OF ATHLETES..."






“It’s unbelievable. We just won the Stanley Cup. I can’t believe this just happened. Holy crap.”







- Patrick Kane being interviewed Wednesday on NBC after his overtime goal in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals delivered the Chicago Blackhawks their first Stanley Cup in 49 years.
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"FROM THE MOUTHS OF ATHLETES..."






















"I guess I wasn't thinking."


- University of Arizona shortstop K'Lee Arredondo on what she was thinking right before hitting a 2-run home run in the sixth inning of Sunday's NCAA Softball World Series semifinals that propelled the Wildcats to a win over Tennessee. Arizona faces UCLA in a best-of-three finals starting tonight at 8 EST.
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"DUKE COACH VIC BUBAS ON JOHN WOODEN"






















There are very few college basketball coaches who can boast that they’ve beaten John Wooden more than once at his own game.

You need a hall-of-fame pedigree and the same Hoosier-state blood coursing through your veins to topple the almighty.

You need to be former Duke University head coach Vic Bubas , who, to put Wooden’s career in perspective, carved out a prestigious hall-of-fame career of his own, despite winning 451 less games than the legendary UCLA coach.

You won’t, however, hear Bubas brag. In fact, one of the fondest memories the former Blue Devil holds dear of Wooden is the time the Bruins beat Duke in the 1964 NCAA Championship game and the lifetime of friendship the game set in motion.

The title was the first of many for Wooden — 10 in 12 years to be exact. Bubas playfully hounded Wooden for a "thank you" every time the two got together.

On June 4, Bubas and the world lost the basketball legend and inspired-humanitarian, who passed away at the age of 99.

Bubas reflects on his friend, colleague and teacher:

Christopher C. Wuensch

Sad news to hear about the passing of Coach Wooden. How close were you to him? You certainly crossed paths back in the day.

Vic Bubas

We played each other five times. The first time we met in the Final Four and in the championship game; that was in ’64. They beat us by like 12 or so, maybe 15, I’ve forgotten the score (UCLA 98, Duke 83,) but that was their first championship. That’s when they started their run.

The following year we entered into a two-year agreement where he agreed to come to Duke for a game. Then we played another game the following night in Charlotte and we were able to win both of those games handily.

The year after that was Kareem’s (Abdul Jabbar) — he was still known as Lew Alcindor back then — first year on the varsity at UCLA. They beat us rather handily both times on their home court.

Off the court, we had a good relationship. I was in several clinics with him, went to banquets and so on. We were pretty good friends. Both of us were from the state of Indiana.

CCW

That was my next question. You’re both Indiana boys, correct?

VB

Yeah. He was legendary way back then. His team ( Martinsville High School ) won the high school championship. He then goes to Purdue and was an All-American. His whole basketball coaching and playing career was nothing but a success. I enjoyed my relationship with him, enjoyed competing against him.

Of course, when he went on his run (10 titles in 12 years,) he made it tough on everybody else. I don’t know if that will ever be accomplished again. That’s kind of unbelievable.

I think the thing that I admired most about John Wooden is the fact that in addition to being a great coach, he was a great person.

He was good for the game . He was a terrific example for the young men that he coached and a good influence on them. I think the coaching profession was very lucky to have somebody who, other than just winning, was as good as John was in everything in his relationship with people, with his players, the whole thing.

We lost a dear friend, but he lived a long and fruitful life. He had a wonderful wife and he always talked about her. There was hardly a time where he wouldn’t refer to her as one of his big inspirations to do well and do the right thing.

CCW

What was he like in person?

VB

The reputation he had was that he was a great teacher. Everybody understood that he was a great coach. He spoke of himself as more of a teacher than as a coach.

CCW

Did he have a different persona on the court than he did away from it?

VB

No, I think he was pretty even. But at the same time, even though he was professorial, if you want to call it that, and they referred to him as the professor at times, he did it the right way. He could get after officials and get after his players, but it was never in a crude way. It was just a way of making sure that everybody stayed motivated without using words that would be embarrassing. He stayed away from all that stuff. He was really a clean example for all of us to follow.

CCW

He was a contemporary of yours, but did you find yourself learning from him?

VB

Oh sure. But by the same token, coaches are always learning from each other. When John would be talking, either at a clinic or a banquet or coaching or whatever, everybody paid close attention because his record was so good and he was so humble. He always gave credit to the players and the people that surrounded him to try to take the emphasis off of himself. He left quite a pattern for the rest of us to try to follow and, of course, for the coaches today.

CCW

Did it seem like back in the ‘60s, his teams were always standing in the way of you winning more titles?

VB

They stood in a lot of people’s way (laughs) when you win as many championships as he did. What was it 10 out of 12 or something like that? Along the way he beat a lot of people. But the game was better as a result of it.

Here’s another thing that people don’t realize. When he was on top for so long, that meant that his preparation had to be exceptionally good. People would really try to beat him.

When you run around with a target on your back and everybody in the world can’t wait to play you because that would be a feather in their hat if they beat him…why that’s quite a burden to carry. He didn’t let his team be overwhelmed by that.

He said he was satisfied with them if they gave him their very best effort. If you give it your best effort, that’s good enough for him.

CCW

He prided himself as being a teacher, but what made him so successful? Was it the preparation?

VB

First of all, you have to be honest about it. I don’t care which coach you’re talking about. When you’re winning big and, particularly if you’re winning championships, the one thing that you must have is good players — somewhere between good and great.

John had great talent, but, when you have that, then you have to figure ways to work together and reach their potential. He did that marvelously . He emphasized team play versus individual, although he had a lot of individual stars, also. He knew how to blend the talent and he knew how to recruit the good players and I think players enjoyed playing for him and stayed in school.

I think one of the things he didn’t have to face that modern coaches face today is what to do with these players that have the talent to sign professionally after one year of college. If that were the case back then, I think it would have been much more difficult for John to put that kind of run together.

But he was a great coach and he might even do it under present conditions. With everybody trying to catch him, plus the new pro rules, it would be very difficult. But that is to take nothing away from what he did. There is nobody that’s going to approach that kind of thing. There’ll be coaches that win a few championships, but not with the magnitude like he did.

CCW

Do you have a favorite John Wooden story?

VB

I used to always tease him when we’d get together for a banquet or something out in public, where I knew he was in the audience.

The first time I did this he was taken aback a little bit, I said “John you never did thank me.”

He says “for what?”


I said “for launching you on your career. The championship you won against us was your first one. So I really launched you and I’ve never heard you say thank you, yet.”

So we used to laugh about that.

CCW

Did he have a good sense of humor?

VB

Oh yeah. John was a pleasant guy. He was.

CCW

He sounds like an amazing man.

VB

We were lucky to have him in the profession. That’s what you hope for. That’s what you work for and it’s very hard to come by because of the pressures and the temptations that go with the job today.
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"WOODEN SOLDIERS: John Wooden 1910-2010"

John Wooden came as close to Sainthood as one man could without sprouting wings.
Today's selection from the vault celebrates the life of the legendary UCLA basketball coach, who passed away on June 4 at the age of 99.

This selection is from the 2005 article I did for the Explorer Newspapers in Tucson, Ariz., in which the players from a small Christian school in Oro Valley, Ariz., got the opportunity to sit down with the coach.

Turns out, a few hours with Wooden was enough to turn around the team's misfortunes.

By Christopher C. Wuensch
02.02.05
Explorer Newspapers

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"PLAY ON, WORDS...LAMAR ODOM or ALARM DOOM?"

WAKE UP CALL


It’s time for the Los Angeles Lakers to wake up in time for the NBA Finals. To do so, they’ll need to rely on Lamar Odom, whose name can be rearranged to spell “Alarm Doom.”











As long as we’re rearranging letters, Nomar Garciaparra signed a one-day contract earlier this season with the caveat of retiring as a Boston Red Sox. One of the more unique names in all of sports, we’re lucky Nomar’s father, Ramon, only reversed the spelling of his son’s first name and not his last. I would have quit sports writing before spelling out Ramon Arrapaicrag on a consistent basis.




Begin typing “When was the last time the…” into Google and the search engine’s first suggestion is “the New York Jets won a Superbowl?.”

Other championship droughts that Google suggests include the Viking, Cowboys, Saint, Colts and Cubs.

It also spits out the suggestion “the planets aligned?.”

The answer, of course, is same as the last time the Cubs won a World Series.

So what else does Google suggest based on the start of common queries?

A few examples (at least according to my computer settings):


Begin by typing:


Is it illegal for a…man to marry his widow’s sister?

Answer: ‘Till death did we part…


When is it appropriate to…say I love you?

Let’s let www.myfemalesexuality.com handle that one. Instead we’ll jump to Google’s next suggestion:


When is it appropriate to…use a semicolon?

The answers; vary


At what point…does a cell phone become a living thing?

No answer is given, but it sure beats answering the next Google option:


At what point…does a girl become a woman?

Sounds like another question for Myfemalesexuality.com.


How do you play…curling?

Not exactly grammatically correct, but I believe you start by going to the liquor store and buying a six-pack of Labatt Blue.


Who was the first player…to sign with the New England Whalers?

Answer: Larry Pleau; you had to ask?


How many athletes…use steroids?

Answer: None, wink, wink…




Speaking of drugs in the sports place, introducing the MLB ALL GANJA TEAM:

Tobi Stoner, P – Mets

Justin Smoak, 1B - Rangers

Jung Bong, P – Braves

B.J. Weed, OF – Angels

Bret Hemphill, C – Angels

Darren Grass, C – Padres

Brandon Puffer, P – Twins

John Danks, P – White Sox

All-Marijuana Team Hall-of-Fame:

Herb Hash, P – Red Sox


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"IT'S NOT JUST AWRIGHT...IT'S DOLEMITE!!!..."
























On a good day, I stand 5-foot, maybe…8 inches tall.

Despite my limited stature, I’ve always believed I was a big man ensconced in a little man’s frame. Instead of short, bleach-white and cumbersome, I’ve always dreamed of being long, tall, old-school and afro-strong on the basketball court.

Call me Napoleon Dolemite.
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"STRANDED AT SECOND BASE..."







“Culling the thoughts that occur when you’re standing around waiting for something to happen”












In February, we received the disheartening news that Frisbee inventor Walter Frederick Morrison had flung his final disc, passing away at the age of 90.

Now more bad news has rattled the world of novelty outdoor fun.

George P. Nissen took a figurative jump toward the heavens on April 7 and never returned to Earth. The creator of the modern-day trampoline was 93. Nissen's invention transformed sports as we know it, from flying mascots at halftime shows to the Olympics - where it's a summer event. That's more than baseball can boast.

In death, Nissen and Morrison join what's got to be a rocking outdoor barbeque in the sky.

Preceding them in the afterlife was George Hansburg. The inventor of the pogo stick was 87 when he died in 1975.

Also up there is David N. Mullany, who was 81 when he passed away in 1990, but not before introducing the Wiffleball to backyards across the world.

One thing these men had in common - besides keeping generations of kids flustered when these inventions got stuck in trees - was their advanced age. That can't be a coincidence, rather a testament to staying active, regardless of the ridiculousness of how you do it.

If that theory is true, then Reyn Guyer, 75, has some time left to play outside before God calls him in for supper.

Guyer, a Hasbro toy hall of fame inductee, invented the Nerf football and the awkward living room-classic 'Twister. Here's hoping he can still contort his body.

...


When you hear the names Kerri Strug and Robert Fischer mentioned in the same breath with the word 'wedding' and 'nuptials,' the first thought is: 'wow, their kids will be some kind of super cerebral athletes.

And while that certainly might be the case one day, it won't be due to the marriage of gymnastics' and chess' most recognizable icons respectively - especially considering that bishop-brainiac Bobby Fischer died two years ago.

The Tuscon-born Strug, a 1996 Olympic gold medalist, married Robert Fischer III on Sunday at Skyline Country Club.

Fischer is a lawyer for Lamar Smith - the Republican Texas congressman and not the former Carolina Panters' running back, whom once held the record for most carries (40 for 209 yards) in an NFL postseason game. The football playing Smith could have also used Fischer's services, having wracked up two costly DUI arrests during his career.


...


It's been a bad month for those with long and cumbersome names.

A week after the eruption of Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull snarled international travel, several other big names (literally) made dubious headlines stateside.

Chris Jakubauskus' debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates was a painful and forgettable one. The right-hander took a Lance Berkman line drive to the forehead in the first inning of Saturday's game against the Houston Astros and landed on the disabled list with a concussion and a face contusion.

The bad news continued to pile up this week for those whose names have consonants where vowels should be and vice-versa.

On Sunday, a swollen leg forced Kentucky Derby favorite Eskendereya from racing in the 136th installment of the fastest two-minutes in all of sports. So much for being healthy as a horse.

April was a tough month for those with elongated names - unlike March, which saw former Wildcat tight-end Brandon Manumaleuna sign a five-year contract with the Chicago Bears.


...


Speaking of Texas politicos and wounded animals (insert you own pun here), Eskendereya should consider himself lucky that he's only got a swollen leg.

Texas Governor Rick Perry admitted this week to shooting and killing a devious coyote that was eyeing him and his dog up on a morning jog.

According to the Associated Press: the governor was not required to file a report for discharging a weapon, said Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Tela Mange.

There's no word, yet, but we have to assume that Mange got the approval to talk to the press from her boss Sally Scabies.


...



And then, of course, in the Sunshine State...a Punta Gorda, Fla., man has published a book about his torrid, nine-month love affair with a dolphin.

The most shocking revelation to come from this tragically named book "Wet Goddess: Recollections of a Dolphin Lover" is that bestiality is legal in Florida.

I could make this stuff up, but it wouldn't be as funny...trust me, I've tried.


...


Back to expired desert dogs, "Still In Progress At Press Time..." would like to extend an apology to the fans of the Phoenix Coyotes.

On Monday, we published a story about hockey superstitions with the focus on diehard Coyotes' fan Kyle Canfield. The Tucsonan was growing his playoff beard in the name of the charity Beard-A-Thon.com. A day later, the Detroit Red Wings ended the Coyotes' season and surely sent Canfield scrambling for a Schick.

Canfield raised $10 since we published his plight, upping his total earned toward various youth charities to $170. Way to go, Kyle. Sorry if we jinxed your boys.

The same first-round jinx befell Steve Penny and the New Jersey Devils, whom "Still In Progress..." also endorsed.

It's not too late to donate to their causes. Visit Beard-A-Thon.


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"TODAY, I STOPPED MY BABY FROM..."

"Eating a crayon. In her defense, the crayon’s name was ‘Macaroni and Cheese.’"





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Comments:






When did "Macaroni and Cheese" become a color and not just a good source of sodium phospate?


"Macaroni and Cheese" also known by the good people at Crayola as "Macarrones Con Queso" and "Macaroni Au Fromage."


Click on the photo to enlarge it...but only if you want to see the fuzziest crayons ever.


Meet my daughter; she's a pro at using a crayon to color on another crayon.


Note that most of those crayons are only half-crayons. They're the casualties of Babyzilla.


Crayola needs to market a crayon that's the same exact color as my rug and walls.


Answer: Periwinkle. Question: Name the Crayola color that makes me feel the most uncomfortable saying aloud.


Someone write a letter to Guinness to see if this is the most crayon jokes ever told within a 15-minute time frame. Make sure you write the letter using a "Raw Sienna" crayon.
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"PLAY ON, WORDS"


To combat their desperate need for ARMS, the quarterback-bereft St. Louis RAMS drafted Oklahoma signal-caller Sam Bradford with the first pick in the 2010 NFL player draft.



 





A.R.O.D. THE REROLPXE
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Since graduating from Miami (Fla.) Westminster Christian High School, baseball has deployed Alex Rodriguez to all corners of the country - from Seattle to Texas and New York. Is it just a coincidence that AROD is DORA, spelled backward?


HYBRIDIZATION NATION

Hybrids are all the rage on the roads these days. Why can't they be hip in the world of sports? In the name of contraction, perhaps we should consolidate teams with similiar names:

Vi-Kings
Minnesota football meet Los Angeles hockey

Hor-Nets
What city is halfway between Charlotte and New Jersey?

Pad-Rays
Same sport, same rate of success in San Diego and Tampa Bay. 
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"FURYK WINS IN AWKWARD FASHION"

Make no bones about it; Boo Weekley is the adopted son of Hilton Head Island's annual PGA Tour stop, the Verizon Heritage.

Perhaps it's the self-professed 'red neck' antics of the two-time heritage winner - last year he indulged the masses at media day by riding his driver as if it were a bucking bronco. Local Tour officials responded by plastering the image all over the sneaker-shaped island located in the rump of South Carolina's Lowcountry.

Maybe it's the way Weekley's affable attitude and goofy grin woos the Southern Belles. Or his camouflage golf attire that speaks volumes to the common man in a twisted "Happy Gilmore' sort of way.

Whatever the key to his charm is, there's no debate: everyone here loves Weekley.

But when it comes to predicting a Heritage champ, nobody wants to look foolish and reveal that they know boo about golf.

So every year, Jim Furyk becomes the defacto pick of the punditry to take home the hideous plaid Tartan jacket awarded to the winner.

The so-called experts cite the former University of Arizona alum's succinct driving and punching short game as the necessary tools to thrive in the wind-swept course located along the dolphin-infested waters of Calibogue Sound.

This year, Furyk finally proved the prognosticators to be geniuses.

Furyk outlasted Brian Davis in a one-hole playoff on Sunday to win the 42 annual Verizon Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links. His 69 on Sunday to leave him at 13-under-par, 271, for the week capped off one of the more thrilling Heritage finishes in years.

There was no guarantee of a win down the stretch for Furyk - who led after Saturday's third round - as golfers such as Heath Slocum, Bo Van Pelt and Davis seemingly flip-flopped leads in front of the flip-flop-wearing crowd with each hole.

Davis used a late flurry to draw even with Furyk and eventually force a tiebreaker. Furyk walked away with the nifty little purse of $1 million after a two-stroke penalty derailed Davis in the extra hole.

Davis admirably reported his infraction after his club struck a reed on his backswing, violating a PGA rule that essentially says a club cannot hit anything but the ball.

Said Furyky after the match of Davis' costly honesty:

"I admire him for what he did. It's a testament to our game and the people that play on the Tour, and that we have so many guys that do that.

"It's just awkward to see it happen at such a key moment in the golf tournament. Awkward for his to lose that way and a little awkward for me to win.

"Obviously, I'm very happy to win. But you almost don't know how to react to the crowd and kind of wave and let them know that 'hey, I'm excited.' But I don't want to take away from Brian. It was an awkward moment, an awkward way to win.

"I've only had a win feel more awkward than that once in my life. And I hope we don't have to talk about that."

READ ABOUT FURYK'S OTHER AWKWARD WIN BELOW

The win was the first at the Verizon Heritage for Furyk in a dozen tries. Twice before (2005 and 2006) he finished as tourney runner-up.

It's the first time since 2006 that he's won multiple Tour events in the same season. Furyk, who's claimed two of the last four PGA tournaments, won March's Transitions Championship in Palm Harbor, Fla.

The 39 year old who prior to this season hadn't won a Tour event in two-and-a-half years, now sits a No. 2 overall in the FedEx Cup points standings and No. 5 in the official PGA Tour World Golf Rankings. Next week, Furyk takes his clubs to the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in search of his third win of the season - one earned presumably under less awkwardness.

Weekley, it should be noted, finished tied for 12th, six strokes off the leader.

QUOTES & QUIPS FROM THE VERIZON HERITAGE

Not the First Awkward Win for Furyk

Jim Furyk, he of 15 career PGA Tour victories, admits his win Sunday at the Verizon Heritage ended on a bizarre note. But winning on Brian Davis' self-imposed penalty during a tiebreaker hole isn't the weirdest win of his pro career.

Says Furyk:

"(I) Won the Argentine Open where Eduardo Romero and Vicente Fernandez got disqualified after we finished 18.

"I was supposed to go to a playoff with them, with Eduardo, I believe, but they had signed the wrong scorecards. They kept score on the wrong card.

"We sat in the scorer's tent 20 minutes waiting for a ruling. Everyone else was speaking in Spanish. I had no idea for 20 minutes what was going on and why we weren't headed down 18 to play in the playoff.

"And they said 'You're the winner.' And I said 'OK, why?'

"It was an awkward...two Argentineans and myself, it was an awkward moment. But I tell you, the fans there were really good about it and supported me. It was the only time it was more awkward to win."

What do pundits know, anyway?

In full disclosure, last year I predicted Furyk to win the Verizon Heritage - not for his strange, looping swing, rather because at times I can be a UA homer. Furyky failed to make the cut that year.

More Davis, Less Tiger

If the PGA was smart, it would latch onto players such as Brian Davis. With his ball lying in the stink during Sunday's tiebreaker, the 35-year-old London native reported himself to Verizon Heritage officials for a swing violation. His honesty forfeited a chance to walk away with an over-sized novelty check for $1 million (as well as a real check for that much) and his first career PGA Tour win.

Go Get 'Em, Slugger

If there's a better sports name than that of PGA Tour Tournament director and rules official Slugger White, I don't want to hear about it.
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THIS DATE IN FUTURE HISTORY
06.05.2040
Breast In Peace: Pamela Anderson passes away at the age of 72. Her lifeless body was found floating face-up in a Los Angeles pool. The buxom actress flourished in her second career as a Senior Olympic gold-medal swimmer, excelling in, of course, the breast stroke.




___ . VISIT THE FOLLOWING SITES FOR MORE WRITING FROM CHRISTOPHER C. WUENSCH . ___

My Blog List

THE PUBLIC SOUNDS OFF ON..."NO AUTOGRAPHS PLEASE...UNLESS YOU'VE GOT $10."


"Great article! I'll never forget as a teenager, seeing Carl Yastrzemski at a show. I waited in line, not realizing he was charging for his signature (I didn't pay). It's sad. You grow up idolizing these guys and want to honor them by asking for their autograph, all they want is the money."

- Abdulhadi Ahmedi, via Facebook

SIPAPT: It really is a bummer. Among some of the nicer athletes I've met, I'd have to include Tommy John and Martin Brodeur. Oh, and nice work on correctly spelling 'Yastrzemski.' !!
...

"I'm still waiting for Jerome Walton's $8 autographs to live up to its price tag. I think I bought like 8 of them and waited an hour on line in a mall. And I don't think he said a word to me."

- Gary Housman, via Facebook

SIPAPT: You can get an autographed Jerome Walton bat on eBay for $72. If you hadn't bought all those autographs back when Walton was considered a young phenom and not-a-future bust, you'd have enough to buy that bat today...and still have enough left over to buy a Bob Feller signature.
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"Since my uncle, Jesse Hill was head football coach at USC in the mid 1950's and later A.D., I've got every Trojan Heisman winner on a correct period football program.

"But my prized Heisman winner autograph is Glen Davis of Army, who won it in 1945. Back in the '70's, I was working at the L.A. Herald-Examiner and went to the Times Grand Prix on a press pass, and Davis was the PR guy for the Times in charge of the press. I had to have him sign my press pass so I could get into the Press Patio for the free lunch and beer.

"I kept the signature because I had heard that when he was married to his 1st wife, Terri Moore, Davis had caught her and Howard Hughes making love on the couch in his living room one evening and he knocked Howard out, over the couch, and threw him out on the front lawn, naked before throwing the clothes in the trash. I shook his hand, too.

"I got this story from Jim Bacon, who was Howard's PR guy, and was my co-worker at the Her-Ex later.

"Yer pal, Ferrari Bubba"

- Ferrari Bubba, via TucsonCitizen.com

SIPAPT: Wow.

...


"When I was 15, I worked as a caddie at the really nice local golf course in my hometown. It was the middle of summer and I had other things to do than sweat it out for some rich bozo on a Saturday morning.

"Anyhow, I get to work at 7 a.m. and I get the 'privilege' of being assigned to carry the bag of former St. Louis Cardinal pitcher Bob Forsch. For a guy who slammed 12 home runs and threw two 'no-no's,' he couldn't hit the green to save his life. I know, because I was carrying that 1/4-ton bag of his. Mind you, I've played enough golf to give tips to the guy if he's struggling (He did listen, too).

"So, 18 holes, four hours and what seemed like 15,000 yards later, it finally comes time to pay out. After he signs my pay-card, I look at it, and there it is in all it's glory.

"Right next to this 168-win, 1,100+ strikeout, 3.75 ERA Cardinal great's John Hancock: $2.

"I guess Major Leaguers didn't get paid that much in the '70s and '80s."

- Scott Salisbury, via e-mail

SIPAPT: You gotta remember, back then $2 could get you and a date into a movie, popcorn, Sno-Caps, one milkshake (two straws) and still have enough left over to tip the soda jerk (insert your Bob Forsch joke here).

...




In Progress At Press Time