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What’s eating Bobby Cox?

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Well, that headline’s just a little misleading because nothing’s eating Bobby Cox.

In fact, Bobby Cox is eating.

Or at least he was.

You see, my girlfriend works at Magnolias restaurant in downtown Charleston, S.C. It’s a popular place with tourists, and for some reason, celebrities seem to flock to it whenever they’re in town. Hello, Bill Murray!

Last night Katlyn asked me if I’d heard of someone named Bobby Cox: “He’s a manager of a baseball team or something. He’s coming in for lunch tomorrow.”

“YOU MEAN THE ALL-TIME LEADER IN MANAGER EJECTIONS AND ALSO THE MANAGER OF FOURTEEN CONSECUTIVE DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP TEAMS WITH THE ATLANTA BRAVES?”

Cox was in town because he was the guest speaker at the Charleston RiverDogs’ Hot Stove Banquet on Friday. I had wanted to go to the event, but unfortunately I’m not exactly shitting out twenties right now.

So as a consequence, I had trouble sleeping last night, thinking of the life-changing things that I would say to Bobby Cox when I inevitably stalked him during his low-key lunch: “Mr. Cox, thank you for everything,” “Mr. Cox, the game won’t be the same without you.” I’m not the kind of person who gets worked up about celebrities; I’ve actually seen Murray at a Halloween costume shop in West Ashley, and I ignored him. But Bobby Cox—this was a totally different story. He’s a baseball man, someone who’s spent the last 50 years toiling in the game I love. He’s a four-time Manager of the Year, he’s the fourth winningest manager in Major League Baseball history, and he was at the helm of the team that featured the best rotation in Major League Baseball history. Outside of some old-time players, Bobby Cox is one of the few on a short list of players/managers who I’d actually like to sit down with.

“His reservation is at 12:45.”

So around 12:00 p.m., I drove from Mount Pleasant to downtown Charleston. As soon as I hit East Bay Street, I saw Bobby Cox. Or I thought I did. I wanted to see Cox so badly that I turned every single old, wobbly man on the street into the Atlanta Braves’ manager. There was an old man wearing sweat pant jeans, and I was sure it was him. I couldn’t stop to confirm it from the car though, so I kept driving to Magnolias.

I was seated by 12:45, the time he was expected to appear.

He never came.

So I decided to have a few beers.

Next thing I know, a couple hours passed (I think it was now about 2:30 p.m.) and there was still no sign of Bobby.

Just as I was about to leave, in walks Bobby Cox, about two hours late for his reservation. He was wearing slacks, a blue shirt, and a black leather jacket. It turns out you can’t think you see a celebrity; when you see one, you know. It turns out he wasn’t wearing sweat pant jeans at all, and he looked exactly like you would expect Bobby Cox to look. He was with three other people, a man who looked like his brother and a pair of older women.

The bartender told me, “There you go, stalker!” and I just sat there, frozen.

I didn’t say anything to him. I didn’t try to get a picture with him. I didn’t try to get a picture of him.

My girlfriend doesn’t understand why I don’t take pictures, or why I’ll fight tooth and nail before I take one on our anniversary, while we’re in Disney World, or while I’m lifting a two-ton car.

Truth be told, I don’t need to prove that I was sitting next to Bobby Cox, that I met Bobby Cox, or that I didn’t meet Bobby Cox. The memory is ingrained in my brain for life, and I’ll never forget it. For an hour today, I sat ten feet from one of the most accomplished and respected figures in baseball history and didn’t say a word. For some people, that would be what’s called a “wasted opportunity.”

For me, it’s a damn good day.

Written by dylansharek

January 29, 2011 at 6:57 pm

I have lost my Golden Boy. I am upset.

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For the majority of Seinfeld fans, the most memorable story line in the episode “The Marine Biologist” revolves around George Costanza’s elaborate and continuous lying about being a marine biologist, capped by the gut-busting rescue of a beached whale with a Titleist golf ball lodged in its blowhole.

For me—and I hope I’m not the only one—it’s got nothing on the love story between Jerry Seinfeld and his beloved and beleaguered favorite shirt “Golden Boy.”

Golden Boy is a shirt that Jerry has had for six years. It’s the first shirt he wears out of the laundry; it’s the Cal Ripken Jr. of his wardrobe. But Golden Boy has problems. He’s fraying around the collar. His days are numbered.

Jerry: Elaine, see this t-shirt. Six years I’ve had this t-shirt. It’s my best one, I call him…Golden Boy.

Elaine: I’m on the phone here.

Jerry: Golden Boy is always the first shirt I wear out of the laundry. Here touch Golden Boy!

Elaine: No thanks. Yeah, Yeah I’ll hold.

Jerry: But see look at the collar, see it’s fraying. Golden Boy is slowly dying. Each wash brings him one step closer. That’s what makes the t-shirt such a tragic figure.

Elaine: Why don’t you just let Golden Boy soak in the sink with some Woolite?

Jerry: No! The reason he’s Iron Man is because he goes out there and plays every game. Wash! Spin! Rinse! Spin! You take that away from him, you break his spirit!

Everyone has a Golden Boy: that shirt or pair of pants or hat that just makes he or she feel good. Michael Scott from The Office has his jeans. The Sex and the City broads have whatever the hell they wear. Craig Sager has a whole bunch of tacky suits.

I had my Charleston Rainbows t-shirt.

I remember the moment I picked up Golden Boy and actually felt him in my hands. Mormons (Yes, that’s the second reference to Mormons in two blogs) say that when God sends them a revelation, they can’t explain the feeling—it just feels right. Well, that’s how it felt when I picked up Golden Boy. I knew that this was going to be the shirt that I would wear daily until he died, and I knew I might just die with this shirt on.

I, however, lost my Golden Boy. Where, when, and how it happened, I can’t be exactly sure. I’m fairly confident that I put Golden Boy down at a softball game in early August, but I didn’t see anyone take him away, hear him cry. He was just gone, like a child abducted unknowingly off a playground.

This is my last recorded memory of Golden Boy:

This Charleston Rainbows t-shirt was the perfect combination of two of my favorite things: comfortable clothing and classic baseball.

From 1985 through 1993, the Minor League Baseball club in Charleston was known as the Rainbows. Now an exceedingly successful single-A affiliate of the New York Yankees and known as the Charleston RiverDogs, the Charleston Rainbows club was a minor league outpost for the San Diego Padres (1985-1992) and the Texas Rangers (1993).

In addition to retro baseball, I’m a huge fans of underdog (read: bad) teams. Let’s just say that the Charleston Rainbows never really shined; starting in 1989, the Rainbows, and subsequently the RiverDogs, went eleven straight seasons without a winning record. Despite the terrible time in team history—known as the “Dark Days” according to Wikipedia—fans have fond memories of the Charleston Rainbows baseball club.

Walking through the supermarket, people would routinely stop me and ask, “Where did you get that? That’s an old shirt!” I explained that Golden Boy was actually relatively new (the RiverDogs started reproducing these shirts during the 2010 season), but that they better hurry to get one for themselves. These shirts were flying off the shelves.

You see, I wasn’t the only one who found a Golden Boy.

So today, the Charleston RiverDogs had a 25 percent off sale on all merchandise and apparel. As soon as I got out of work, I rushed over to Joe P. Riley Jr. Stadium to reunite with my best friend.

All of the Golden Boys were gone.

So like Jerry Seinfeld, whose own Golden Boy perished during a fatal spin cycle, I was forced to adopt a new Golden Boy.

Meet Baby Blue:

Video of the Day: Roger Clamens eats batboy.

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There’s so many reasons to love minor league baseball. The beer is a cheap, you can move through the stands freely, and finding parking doesn’t make you want to stab yourself in the throat. And where else can you see a mascot named Roger Clamens eat the home team’s batboy?

Written by dylansharek

May 2, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Remember this?

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barry-bonds-in-dragJudging like Paula,

Your charity contest sucked.

You are no Idol.

Written by dylansharek

October 17, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Bill Veeck’s prosthetic leg now used in fantasy league.

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This, folks, is not a joke.

Among the comments centering around the possibility of an Oil Can Boyd return to the big leagues, one poster at Baseball Think Factory casually mentioned this amazing piece of trivia:

Bill Veeck's leg.The former-White Sox, Browns, and Indian’s owner, Veeck lost much of his leg during World War II when a piece of artillery shrapnel crushed his foot. Complications led to amputation of most of the leg and the limb eventually required a prosthetic.

That seems simple enough.

But this is Bill Veeck we’re talking about: the guy who sent Eddie Gaedel, a midget, to the plate during a regular season game; the guy who inked Satchel Paige to a one-year deal when he was somewhere in his mid-40’s; the guy who was unapologetically loyal to the “Clown Prince of Baseball,” Max Patkin.

So when it came time for Veeck to design a prosthetic, he did it his way. A to-the-death smoker, Veeck carved holes into his wooden prosthetic so he could ash out his cigarette butts. The leg became the penultimate symbol of Veeck’s non-traditional thinking, the epitome of his grand ideas.

Veeck died at age 71 after he had a cancerous lung removed.

That, too, seems simple enough.

Creepy.But his smoky, smelly prosthetic wasn’t much of keepsake for family members.

So naturally, it went up for auction.

Bob Colleary, a television writer, beat out the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not crew for its possession in 1999. He paid $8,500.

And since then, the leg has been the centerpiece of a fantasy baseball league aptly called, “Bill Veeck’s Leg.”

The league mates lug the leg to their chosen draft location and base their draft order on the order they draw paper slips out of Veeck’s leg. The league’s champion earns the “honor” of bringing the leg home, which has got to be the world’s most ridiculous championship trophy.

It’s an appropriate tribute to Veeck, to say the least.

Mike Veeck, Bill’s son, is a Mount Pleasant, SC resident and owner of the Charleston Riverdogs, the Yankee’s Single-A affiliate. My efforts to reach him have not been successful, but I’m still trying and will have an interview with him in the coming months.

Beat With Uggla Stick’s owner not happy with team’s output thus far.

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I woke up this morning to find a hilarious link of my Facebook wall.

My friend Doug is a big basketball fan (specifically the Boston Celtics), so yesterday I wrote to him about the Shaquille O’Neal-to-Cleveland deal. In response, he followed up with “Big day today…what’s the biggest story of the day, you ask? Probably this…” He then linked to The Onion‘s sports section and the article, “Fantasy Baseball Owner Rips Team In Media.”

Beat With Uggla Sticks owner not happy.

It’s an awesomely satirical piece that is incredibly funny to picture. And even if you don’t do the whole fantasy baseball thing, it’s still definitely worth a look.

Check it out here.

Written by dylansharek

June 26, 2009 at 2:09 pm

Kung Fu Panda or Fat Ichiro?

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To be Kung Fu Panda or Fat Ichiro: that is the question.

So it seems like San Francisco’s catcher/first baseman/third baseman Pablo Sandoval is for real. He is currently fifth in the National League with a .335 average and 10th in doubles and hits. Even though he’s swinging at mostly everything, Sandoval’s improved in almost every offensive category this season, making his spectacular 2008 call-up look like anything but a fluke.

But perhaps the best part about Sandoval is that he’s got cheeks that would make any grandma giggle in delight and he’s got a paunch the size of the Giant’s fan base. He’s cute in a no-homo, teddy bear/baby/fat person/kitten kind of way.

Fans in the bay area have taken to calling the 5’11”, 245 pounder “Kung Fu Panda,” based on his fleet footed fielding and likeness to the protagonist in the movie of the same name. When you really take the time to absorb it, the likeness is uncanny.

Happy, happy, joy, joy.Douchebag Panda.

But there’s another nickname slowly gaining steam that I just might prefer.

Fat Ichiro.

Started by someone at McCovey Chronicles, the nickname is much more suitable for Sandoval. He’s a fat guy who can hit and field with the best of ’em. You don’t need to see a picture to understand it. It’s short, simple, and all-encompassing.

The only thing left to do is buy the jersey.

Coming soon to a store near you.