Monday, June 25, 2007

Anson Mountain Has a Friend

On the subway this morning I read a great piece of sports writing. It’s a memoir about taking the LAPD entrance exam by Anson’s friend Ann. The story’s not about sports, but it is about her relationship to her father, measuring up, scaling the walls of the Harvard Divinity School, and the particular pain of physical exertion. I’d describe it as a track-and-field story, in a way. She’s discussing it online at noon today.

I like well-edited online chats, but I hate comments on the online version of newspaper sports sections. They’re generally asinine, mean-spirited, and use horrible grammar and spelling. They’re an outlet for cranks, and they add no value to the online versions of these papers. Blogs are far superior, of course.

Musa’s Challenge of the Week: Send Ann a question in which you mention Anson, Mountain High Publishing, Frank Wychek, or TKS.

Tie-Breaker: Find and link to one correct usage of the word “whom” in an online chat or in the comments section of any online newspaper.

Winner gets the leftovers from yesterday's brunch and an invitation to my birthday party on Friday!

Friday, June 22, 2007

A Titan in the Ring: An Experimental One Act Play

Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that this play is subject to royalty. It is fully protected by Mountain High Publishing, and the copyright laws of the United States. All rights, including professional, amateur, motion pictures, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio broadcasting, television, and the rights of translation into foreign languages are strictly reserved.
Whenever the play is produced the following notice must appear on all programs, printing, and advertising for the play: —Produced by special arrangement with Mountain High Publishing.“
Due authorship credit must be given on all programs, printing and advertising for the play.
Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Frank Wycheck – Former Tennessee Titans tight end, current sports radio host and professional wrestler. Wearing Harley Davidson motorcycle jacket.
Max Wycheck – Older Brother of Frank. Frank’s endorsement agent. Has a slight, so small it’s almost not worth mentioning, coke problem. Wearing a Steve McNair Titans jersey.
Bo Rice – Frank’s sport agent. Right arm in a cast. Wearing a suit with the right sleeve cut off.
Wrestler #1 – Wearing face paint and long black tights.
Wrestler #2 – Wearing silver wrestling trunks and boots.

The set consists of card table with three chairs around the table. In the background, Wrestler #1 and #2 wait for instruction from the actors.

Max: The Long Bomb? (Wrestler #1 does a Five-Star Frog Splash on the prone Wrestler #2.)

Frank: No.

Bo: I still like The Hail Mary. (Wrestler #2 lifts Wrestler #1 in the air and tosses him off of the stage.)

Frank: No.

Max: (smacks the table with palm) Oh, god, why didn’t I think of this before?

Frank and Bo: (in unison) Yes?

Max: The Frank-enstein. (Wrestler #1 chokes the life out of Wrestler #2.)

Frank and Bo: (in unison) No.

(A knock comes from off-stage. All three men turn towards the sound.)

Frank and Bo and Max: (in unison) Pizza!

(All three stay seated. Max and Bo avoid eye contact with Frank until Frank sighs and goes to pay for and retrieve the pizza. The pizza is placed on the table and the three of them eat in silence for thirty minutes. While the pizza is being consumed on stage, index cards should be handed out to the audience by stagehands. At the twenty-five minute mark, cards should be collected with audiences’ suggestions for the name of the finishing move. These cards should be delivered to the stage and placed in a pile on the table. The suggestions should be worked into the play at the discretion of the actors and will be improvised by the wrestlers.)

Max: The Run-n-Shoot? (Wrestler #1 bounces off the (imaginary) ropes and then spears Wrestler #2 in the stomach with his head.)

Frank: No.

Bo: The Wycheckmate? (Wrestler #2 performs a basic neck crank on Wrestler #1.)

Frank: No.

Max: The Onside Kick? (Wrestler #1 executes a kick to the groin of Wrestler #2.)

Frank: No, no, no, no.

Bo: Roughing the Passer? (Wrestler #2 lifts Wrestler #1 into the air and drops him on his shoulder.)

Frank: No.

(Remainder of play to be performed once the actors have exhausted the possibilities from the audience)

Max: (Pushes his seat away and stands.) Fellas!

Frank and Bo: (in unison) Yes?

Max: Fellas!

Frank and Bo: (in unison) Yes?

Max: Fellas!

Frank and Bo: (now standing) Yes?

Max: (arms outstretched) The Music City Miracle. (Wrestler #1 lifts Wrestler #2 into a Argentine Backbreaker Rack and runs towards one side of the stage before stopping suddenly and performing a Spinning Airplane Toss.)


Frank: Yes! (Removes jacket and pants to reveal titan blue and white wrestling trunks. Raises one arm in the air and confetti falls from above the stage. Lights dim. Curtain falls.)


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Can't Wait For September

I own a lot of action figures. I own the entire 1990 line of Dick Tracy figures (yes, Dr. Gravitee, even Prune Face). I own Marvel 3 Age figures of Iron Man and Wolverine made to look like little toddlers. I own, still in the box, the 1992 Dream Team Olympic Basketball set of figurines from Starting Lineup. And, come September 2007, I will own this action figure of Vince Young. This is incredible. It's the perfect pose for Mr. Young, searching downfield for receivers that have either fallen down or are covered, already gearing up to bootleg this damn thing all the way to the end zone.
This will go on the shelf reserved for sports related figures, including a 1990 Starting Lineup figure of Mark McGwire (in the super awesome pose of covering first base...since that's what I still remember about McGwire, his play in the field) and a vinyl figure of Gnash, the Nashville (Ontario?) Predators' mascot.
This said, I wonder what fan is anxious for the release of the William Thomas figure. Though I had to look it up, he's gone to the Pro Bowl, but is there a huge demand for William Thomas action figures? Not to say that offensive lineman shouldn't get their own action figure. If there had been a Bill Fralic figure in the late 80's, I would have bought one. But William Thomas? Not to mention that the sculpt has him balancing his entire weight on his toes in a pose that seems to defy gravity.
Still, even with the Vince Young toy, I won't be happy until someone produces a Joey Gathright figure, complete with Misubishi Galant. Perhaps we should create a line of Sinkhole Superstar figurines with a build-a-figure of Colonel Powell for people who buy the entire set. The license for Eileen Shea and Steve Logan shouldn't be prohibitively expensive. And there's already a Drew Henson Bobble Head Doll. Just say the word and I'll get in touch with my "toy guy".

Friday, June 15, 2007

How well do you want to know Musa D?

Back in January we were told:

“The Tigers, top to bottom, are the most solid team around. Stronger than '06. No holes. Really. As long as Sean Casey stays healthy at first, they'll be tough."

The Tigers have since then lost to injury, for at least a few games, two starting pitchers, both setup men, their backup catcher, and their starting shortstop and second baseman, among others. On the other hand, Grandy’s triples are earning some notoriety, along with a comparison to Sam Crawford stolen from TKS.

I’m going to see the Tigers play the Nationals next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights. You can still get five-dollar bleacher seats at RFK. I recently attended an MLS game there. There’s a Brazilian player on DC United with the one-word name Fred. There was a banner for a laborers’ union hanging on a barrier around the field, adjacent to a banner for a gay nightclub.

My girlfriend is going to the stadium with me on Tuesday. A friend will accompany me on Wednesday. But I have a free seat on Monday, so I’ve decided to hold a contest. The first person to correctly answer the following trivia question wins The 1st Sesquicentennial Watch a Ballgame with Musa D Trivia Contest.

Your question: At the first major-league game Musa D ever attended at Tiger Stadium, in the summer of 1986, which Milwaukee Brewer slugger broke the collarbone of Tigers pitcher and University of Florida alumnus Randy O’Neal with a line drive? (Hint: An anagram of his name is “I Be In Glove.”)

Tie-breaker question: How did Musa D feel about the baserunners circling the bases as Randy O’Neal lay on the mound writhing in pain?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Places to run: Ireland (and its environs)

Howth Cliff Walk
Run distance: 3.25 miles one way
Location: 12 miles north of Dublin
Description: The cliff walk starts just outside the Howth city center (ask a local for directions) and runs the whole perimeter of Howth Head (a.k.a. “The Nose”) to the 1814 Baily Lighthouse.

Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk
Run distance: 3.7 miles one way
Location: 12 miles south of Dublin
Description: Climb the 790 meter Bray Head and then follow the path that hugs the cliffs. On a clear day you can see Wales.

The Forest behind Belleek Castle
Run distance: 2.5 miles one way
Location Ballina in Co. Mayo
Description: A forest path that winds its way through the castle grounds of the Belleek castle. Enchanting without being spooky.

Buncrana Ocean Path
Run Distance: 3 miles one way with optional 1-mile beach run
Location: Buncrana in Co. Donegal
Description: A paved path that winds along the coast. Don’t forget to check out Friar Hegarty’s rock, the site of the poor friar’s beheading.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Down & In

I was reading the magazine version of our Distinguished Competition and saw an interesting piece in the Media Blitz section. It read, "Now that his tough rookie year is over, J.J. Redick is focusing his energy on producing a book of poetry." I immediately searched for some of his work and found a few examples and I don't really want to spend a lot of times discussing the merits of his work (it's terrible), but it made me think of the one athlete I know who wrote poetry, relief pitcher Dan Quisenberry. Helicon Nine Editions published Quisenberry's collection of poetry, On Days Like This, and one of his poems was included in the anthology, Line Drives: 100 Contemporary Baseball Poems, alongside poems by critically respected poets such as Beth Ann Fennelly, Yusef Komunyakaa, Wyatt Prunty, Charles Bukowski and Andrew Hudgins. The poem in that anthology, "Baseball Cards" has a nice ending.

I tell folks
I used to be famous
I used to be good
they say
we thought you were bigger
I say
I was

According to a friend from Kansas City, Quisenberry attended a poetry workshop in KC and was genuinely interested in literature, so it's not as if this was just a vanity project for him. Most of his writing seemed to occur after he had retired and I wondered if there were any current pro athletes who also were writing poetry or fiction. I wonder if creative writing might be losing great writers to the NFL and NBA and MLB in the same way that US Tennis is losing great athletes to these same leagues. Of course, I understand why someone might decide to play in the NBA and make millions rather than submit their poems to small journals and attend an MFA program and then end up teaching composition at a small community college in Nebraska, but it would be awesome to open a literary journal and see a bio like:

Lofty Parsons has published poems in Northwest Review, Fence, Carolina Quarterly, and Poetry. He lives in Seattle and currently plays strong safety for the Seattle Seahawks.

Lofty Parsons would immediately become my favorite player.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Sinkhole Pioneers: Ireland

During the twelve days I was in Ireland, I counted MLB baseball caps. Here was the final tally:

New York Yankees: 67
Boston Red Sox: 1
Rest MLB baseball teams: 0

This surprised me. Previous to my informal poll, I had thought that Boston and Ireland had a special bond.

This discovery reveals an interesting love triangle:
Boston loves Ireland;
Ireland loves The Bronx;
The Bronx loves itself.

In this love triangle, nobody loves Boston.

I can imagine the three of them at a party. The Bronx is telling stories loudly and never wandering far from the keg. Ireland is sitting on the couch seductively, legs crossed, staring dreamily at The Bronx. Boston is sitting on the arm of the couch, hoping to catch Ireland’s eye, hoping for a more-than-near-kiss.