Thursday, December 07, 2006
This is Dawkins' Town Now
Mike Lieberthal, a member of the Phillies since 1994 and the team's all-time leader in games caught, signed a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers yesterday.
While this was not a surprising move (the Phillies had made it clear they had no interest in bring Lieberthal back), it still ranks as a momentous occurence in the Philadelphia sports landscape.
Lieberthal, you see, must now relinquish the coveted title of "Longest Tenured Philadelphia Athlete". The Phillies' lone throwback to the Jim Fregosi era, Lieberthal played 1174 games over 13 seasons, and broke in with a team that included the likes of Randy Ready, Fernando Valenzuela, and Larry Andersen. Congratulations on your Brotherly Love longevity, Mike. But a new sheriff is in town now.
The esteemed Eagles safety, known throughout the NFL for being fucking terrifying, is currently in his 11th season with the Birds. He barely edges the Sixers' Allen Iverson, who made his professional debut just a few months later.
Congratulations, Dawkins, on your new-found status as Longest Tenured Philadelphia Athlete (or LTPA). But, as Lieberthal could surely tell you, being LTPA is a double-edged sword. While the increased recognition is nice, it also means that you will become the symbolic face of the city's 23-year Championship drought, thereby becoming a convenient receptacle for over 90 seasons worth of sports frustration.
But who I am kidding here? Whereas Lieberthal had to quietly endure the burden of being the symbolic embodiment of Philadelphia sports failure, Dawkins is having none of that. He's Brian Dawkins, and if you disrespect him he will go after you. He will eat you up and shit you out over and over again, until there is no hint that that endlessly recycled pile of shit was ever a living breathing organism.
You don't want that to happen to you, do you? Then respect Brian Dawkins, LTPA.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Oh, Zap! Guess What I Saw!
For those who have not seen what I believe to be the greatest commercial ever—played during Yankees games between promos for “Kids on Deck” and “The Ultimate Road Trip 2”—here is a quick synopsis:
Edited over scenes of Real Zap Lube Workers In Action, a dark-haired, olive-skinned young woman—somewhere in her low- to mid- 20’s—constantly waves her hands and points in a chopping motion, driving home the Zap Lube mantra of “fast, friendly service.” She is dressed in a tan top, and feverishly opens her hands throughout the advertisement. If you would like to learn the “Girl From the Zap Lube Commercial” motion at home, simply follow these steps:
- Lock hands together loosely, with fingers pointing at the opposite walls (as opposed to the ceiling or floor). The fingertips of your left hand should be resting at the knuckles of your right, and vice versa.
- Open your hands, pivoting at the wrists.
- Say something like, “conveniently located at
Tonnelle Avenuein North Bergen”
- Repeat four or five times, until the very end, where you karate-chop at the words, “Fast, friendly service.”
- Smile somewhat uncomfortably, and freeze.
And this is not an exercise in pointing out bad acting (which I do not think it is), or wondering if the Zap Lube girl is the daughter or niece or girlfriend of anyone associated with Zap Lube. It is more a question of why she hasn’t reached greater prominence. There should be blogs dedicated to her, and poems and Greek tragedies written in her honor. “Ode to the Zap Lube Girl” should be an internet sensation, and a reading of it by Michael Kay should be the most-viewed clip on You Tube. Instead, there is a brief mention of it on a message board that is otherwise—as far as I can tell—dedicated to railing against a popular New Jersey public access psychic who may or may not have stalked a girl with an acne problem, and there is a quick reference to the Zap Lube Girl on a couple myspace profiles.
Not to be outdone, the Mets’ flagship station, SNY, has its own version of the Zap Lube Girl, in the form of the Frank’s Carpet Warehouse Girl. In fact, the two commercials are eerily similar, with a cute, somewhat spunky young woman smiling and talking over moving action shots in the background of the place of business. But the Frank’s Carpet Warehouse Girl just lacks something that the Zap Lube Girl has. It could be the constant gesticulating with the hands, or the honest cadence and exuberance that the Zap Lube Girl offers. It might even be the straight hair. In fact, the argument of Frank’s Carpet Warehouse Girl vs. the Zap Lube Girl may end up representing the microcosm that is the difference between the Mets fan and the Yankees fan. While the Zap Lube girls seems unrehearsed and a touch flighty, she looks like the kind of girl you would like to take out to a nice dinner, and then introduce to your whole family at the wedding of your second cousin, Stephen, exactly four months after your first date. She seems refined, and you constantly want to sleep over at her apartment because her bathroom always smells nice. The Frank’s Carpet Warehouse girl, meanwhile, has a strange dye job, and wavy, somewhat-frizzy hair. You’d meet her at a Mets game, let her drink you under the table at a bar afterwards, and then bring her to your family’s bar-b-q on
And let’s be honest… it would be incredibly hard to dump the Zap Lube Girl…or the Frank’s Carpet Warehouse Girl. Not because they are both hot (although they are), but could you imagine watching another Yankees game, and seeing your ex-girlfriend touting the virtues of a place of business that offers both oil changes and a car wash? Or trying to sell you carpet? It would be tough…in fact, it must be tough for their real-life ex-boyfriends to watch a Yankees game, and then have to leave the room every time a Zap Lube commercial comes on, because he cheated on her one night with a pharmaceutical sales rep, never realizing that one day, his shy girlfriend would be wildly waving her arms, urging people to bring their cars to North Bergen.
Whichever way the acting careers of the Zap Lube Girl and the Frank’s Carpet Warehouse girl go, though, there should be a few more posts and websites on the web, concerning their unique place in our society. They are on commercials in between games played in the country’s largest city. You have as much a chance of seeing Chris Woodward or Nick Green in any given broadcast as you would the Zap Lube or the Frank’s Carpet Warehouse Girl. And that, my friends, has to count for something.
Friday, September 08, 2006
Get your Gay on!
High and Inside are preparing for the upcoming NBA season by doing a little shopping. We know it's still early, but you can never order your Pavel Podkolzen jersey too soon.
This year we decided to make a list of must have jerseys. You know; Ime Udoka (Knicks), You, ME, and Ronald Dupree (Pistons), Maceo Baston (Pacers; for Paul Shirley. He's better than you!), Chris Quinn (Miami; no matter how hard we try, we still can't believe he's better than us), Pops Mensah-Bonsu and Didier Ilunga-Mbenga (Dallas; hyphen-homies) and the new guys: J.J. Redick, Sheldan Williams, Bargnani, etc.
One jersey we certainly can't wait to own is not available on NBA.com. And why? OH, we're not sure. Possibly because he's GAY?
Yes, it's early, but no Rudy Gay jersey is available through the NBA.com store. We found Redick, Sheldan, and Bargnani. We even found Patrick O'Bryant and Leon Powe. Sure, there is no Tyrus Thomas or LaMarcus Aldridge, but eventually there will be. AND eventually there will have to be a Rudy Gay jersey.
Sure it seems a little silly that we are making a big deal and getting excited about seeing the swarm of young men walking around Chelsea with their Memphis jersey on, but it may be the first time since World B. Free where young men can express their feelings on an NBA jersey. Besides, you aren't even allowed to personalize an NBA jersey with the name "GAY" on the back. What ever will the NBA do when they are getting orders of GAY jerseys up the, well, you know....
And what will happen if Rudy Gay does become a superstar in this league? How long before the GAY jersey is embraced by the "streets?" Not long at all. In my opinion, the Association and Rudy will be the ones who will step up and put the "GAY" community on their backs.... Literally!
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
GOD for 40 Minutes
The Cleveland Indians' Kevin Kouzmanoff was one of many Minor League standouts who got called up to the Major Leagues at the beginning of this month.
Most September call-ups will leave little to no impression with baseball fans, but Kouzmanoff has already proven himself to be an exception to this rule. For Kouzmanoff -- a 25-year-old third baseman -- did something to make an immediate impact.
On September 2, Kouzmanoff made his MLB debut in a game against the Texas Rangers. And, as has been well-documented by now, he hit a grand slam on the first Major League pitch he ever saw. A grand slam! On the first pitch!
With that one swing, which occurred in the first inning of the Indians' eventual 6-5 win, Kouzmanoff achieved the ultimate in baseball perfection. His line became this:
1 game, 1 at-bat, 1 hit, 1 home run, 4 RBIs, 1.000 average, 1.000 on-base percentage, 4.000 slugging percentage.
And let's not forget -- HE DID THIS ON THE FIRST MAJOR LEAGUE PITCH HE EVER SAW!
Why would Kouzmanoff ever appear in the Majors again after achieving such blissful perfection? There appears to be no immediate answer, but he stayed in the game and failed to collect a hit over his next three at-bats. He is now hitting .250 over 12 at-bats with the Tribe.
Who let this happen? Kouzmanoff should have never been allowed to bat again after he connected for his grand slam. He was GOD! And, had he never appeared in a game again, he could have remained GOD -- the baseball player with the most exalted stats of all time, a deity among mortals, the supreme being of our national pastime.
While Kouzmanoff might have initally resented being forced to retire after one at-bat, it would have been for a cause much greater than Himself. It's a tough world out there, and this nation of lost souls needs all the inspiration and guidance it can get. With Kouzmanoff now stripped of his GOD status, who's left to turn to? Who will lead us?
We can only pray that sometime soon, another unwitting rookie will connect for a grand slam on the first pitch he sees. And that individual, whoever he is, should not be allowed to play another moment. When GOD materializes before our disbelieving eyes, we would do well not to let Him slip back into the form of a flawed mortal such as ourselves.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
You know what's cool about us?
Here are a few of the "cool" things we are now aware of:
1) WNBA fans are funny as all H-E-double Kara Wolters shoe size!
Now, we have no idea who this Katie girl is and whether or not her "Boo" gets her that ring, but that spaceship with the basketball on the grill is pretty funny. WNBA.com insists that this is the "most clever" sign in the building. From our sources there was a sign that read "Take me Drunk, I'm at the WNBA Finals!" Go figure...
2) "I'll fight a bitch for this thing!"
It seems to us that there are more important things worth fighting for, ladies. The WNBA insists on referring to the trophy as "bling." Really. Read the article (or take our word for it) and you will notice that the key to every "tatted" gals heart is bling. They are also trying to push "pimp juice," the slam "crunk" contest, and "Juwanna man? You go someplace else!"
3) They actually think this guy is what is cool about the WNBA.
So this guy, Frisco Del Rosario (photo not doctored in no way shape or form. Seriously...), was one of two people to attend both the WNBA Finals and the NWBL Finals. Yes, he is a fan of multiple women's basketball leagues.
Now, apparently he paints his face purple in support of the Sacramento Monarchs and actually offers up a game plan for the Monarchs. The game plan sounds really bizarre coming from a man with a purple face: "They have three or four bodies to throw at Ford..." And he has three more in his basement if needed. So, he's dedicated!
His favorite player is Ticha Penichiero because she is simply "delicious."
4) White people with devil eyes!
Ol' blue eyes ain't got nothing on the Sinclair family who are Pistons and Shock fans. One great perk about the game, as noted, is that "Rick Mahorn will come over and tease the kids." What I wouldn't give to be there and hear what Rick Mahorn has to say to these kids. "Hey kids, how many of your heads do you think I can fit in my ass?" Answer: the entire Sinclair family!
5) If you aren't entertained, you can Bang your favorite player!
Enjoy the leather sofas, but wear a rubber, dudes!
So, if you aren't convinced that the WNBA is "cool," then you're obviously not paying attention.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Julio On His Birthday
Julio Franco -- the greatest role model in all of sports -- turned 48 last night.
To hear Julio tell it, his birthday is just another day. As a denizen of the eternal present, Julio has no use for arbitrary markings of the passage of time.
Nonetheless, as a tribute to this enduring legend, we here at High and Inside have compiled Julio's birthday stats. Here is how he has fared on August 23 throughout his career:
August 23, 1983 (Cleveland Indians): 1-for-4 with an RBI as Indians lose to Angels, 5-2, in front of 7,001 fans at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium.
August 23, 1984 (Cleveland Indians): 2-for-4 with an RBI as the Indians fall to Blue Jays, 6-1. Doyle Alexander pitches a complete game for the Jays.
August 23, 1985 (Cleveland Indians): 2-for-5 with a double and two runs scored as Indians coast to a 10-5 win over Milwaukee. 6,292 fans show up at intimate Municipal Stadium.
August 23, 1986 (Cleveland Indians): 1-for-5 with RBI as Indians edge Red Sox, 5-4. Tom Seaver pitches for the Sox and does not factor into the decision, allowing four runs on nine hits over 5 1/3 innings.
August 23, 1987 (Cleveland Indians): 1-for-4 with a run scored as Indians fall to Tigers, 4-3. Jack Morris picks up a complete-game victory for Detroit.
August 23, 1988 (Cleveland Indians): 1-for-3 with a double, sacrifice fly and a run scored as the Indians defeat the Brewers, 6-2. Replaced at second base late in the game by the immortal Houston Jimenez.
August 23, 1989 (Texas Rangers): 1-for-4 as Julio’s Rangers fall to the Oakland A’s, 5-4. Dave Stewart earns the win, Kevin Brown takes the loss. Dennis Eckersley picks up his 27th save.
August 23, 1990 (Texas Rangers): The 64-60 Texas Rangers enjoy an off-day.
August 23, 1991 (Texas Rangers): 1-for-3 with a run scored as the Rangers roll to a 6-1 victory over the Royals. Brian Bohanon tosses a complete game and picks up the win.
August 23, 1992 (Texas Rangers): The Rangers crush the Indians, 14-4, but Julio was on the disabled list at the time (he was limited to just 35 games this season). A pre-boating accident Steve Olin takes the loss.
August 23, 1993 (Texas Rangers): Julio (now a designated hitter after his injury plagued 1992) has his best birthday yet. The 35-year-old goes 2-for-3 with a double, walk, two runs scored and two RBIs as the Rangers roll to a 13-6 victory over Baltimore. Fernando Valenzuela takes the loss for the Orioles. Fernando Valenzuela!
August 23, 1994 (Chicago White Sox): The season ended earlier in the month due to the player’s strike. 36-year-old Julio sits at home and contemplates moving to Japan.
August 23, 1995 (Chiba Lotte Marines): Julio turns 37 in Japan, with Bobby V’s Marines. Unfortunately, day-by-day stats for the 1995 Japanese Baseball season are hard to come by. If anyone has any leads, please leave a comment.
August 23, 1996 (Cleveland Indians): Julio’s back with the Indians, but does not play in the Tribe’s 6-5, 11-inning loss to Milwaukee. He may have been on the disabled list at this time. The details, they are scarce!
August 23, 1997 (Milwaukee Brewers): 2-for-4 with a run scored as the Brewers defeat the Tigers, 5-2. This may have been Julio’s best game ever in his underwhelming Milwaukee career.
August 23, 1998 (Chiba Lotte Marines): Julio turns 40 in the land of the rising sun.
August 23, 1999 (Mexican League): Julio hit a stunning .423 in 93 Mexican League games. He appeared in one game for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and struck out (his only major league at-bat in the years between 1997 and 2001). What he was doing on his 41st birthday remains unclear.
August 23, 2000 (Samsung Lions): Back in Asia, but this time in South Korea. Birthdays are illegal there, so it is best not to ask what Julio did to celebrate number 42.
August 23, 2001 (Angelopolis Tigers): Back again in Mexico – but not for long. In September 2001, the Atlanta Braves ended Julio’s stint in baseball purgatory. He has been back in the Major Leagues ever since.
August 23, 2002 (Atlanta Braves): In his first Major League birthday appearance since 1997, Julio goes 1-for-4 with an RBI in the Braves’ 4-3 loss to the Dodgers. The 44-year-old makes an error at first base (his sixth miscue of the season).
August 23, 2003 (Atlanta Braves): Does not play, as the Braves beat the Rockies, 5-4.
August 23, 2004 (Atlanta Braves): The 70-53 Braves enjoy an off-day as Julio turns 46.
August 23, 2005 (Atlanta Braves): Pinch-hits in the ninth inning of the Braves’ eventual 10-1 loss to the Cubs. Strikes out – this is the first time Julio played on his birthday and did not collect a hit.
August 23, 2006 (New York Mets): Does not play in the Mets’ 10-8 win over the Cardinals, although he does make an appearance in the on-deck circle.
Julio on his birthday: 13-for-40 (.325)
The record of Julio’s teams when he is on the active roster on his birthday: 7-6
How Much Did I Just Give?
Now, this is a generous act. No question about it. But, then comes the news today that the NBA's version of Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez (he says he's 38, but Jeff Van Gundy seems to think that he's "probably 48 and might be 58) wants to play at least two more seasons. This could turn out to be a great story if he can come back and play significant minutes in the Association. However, it got us to thinking....
Is it possible that Dikembe, who's earned over $110 million in his career, might be having some "buyer's remorse?" I highly doubt it. He doesn't seem to be the kind of guy who spends his "bank" on extravagant things. Maybe some extra tall slacks here and there and a Premium Cable package. I don't think he's dipping into his Disney Vacation coin jar.
Is it really that hard to realize when your time to hang up the old size twenty-two's has come? We've seen in before in sports when guys just don't know when to quit. Is it time for Dikembe to stay at home and write the crime novel he's had floating around? Maybe.
Personally, I think that he could be a serviceable big man in the NBA. It's possible. There are always jobs available for 7'2" centers in the NBA. But, does he want to be the 7'2" version of Mateen Cleaves, waiving a towel at the end of the bench?
Another question we have to ask is whether or not the NBA has a need for a lumbering 7'2", 38(ish) year old, center anymore? A guy like this would not even see any playing time against such teams as the Suns or the Nuggets (who look fast this year) or anyone else with a young athletic big man. The NBA just doesn't seem to suit him and his style of play. We talk about the style of play in America being "quick" and dominated by "slashers." Well, we saw that with Dwyane Wade putting a tired Shaq on his shoulders and winning a championship. Shaq, one of the most dominant 'bigs' in NBA history, wasn't even really a factor. Is the bump and grind style of play that Shaq and Deke are used to becoming extinct? Look at it this way: do you think Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh with their quick footwork would have a field day down low against Mutombo? I certainly do.
So, Dikembe, we love you and all, but I think you may be better off recording a record with Bono. You and your seven names, and Bono and his one. Interesting...