Last Two Words of the National Anthem by Jim Williams

Play ball! The season's officially underway. Here's what you may have missed so far:

One of baseball's grandest traditions may be dying out. President Bush has declined to throw out an opening day pitch for the second straight year. While he's not the first President to decline the invite, Washington Post writer Paul Duggan suggests that the ritual is not as important as it was in times past. Last year, Vice President Cheney took his place on the mound and was greeted by a chorus of boos. This year, both are too busy to take part in this once great tradition. Even Dennis Martinez was too busy dealing with Nicaragua's trade deficit to attend any festivities this year.

Did you know that Frank Thomas is fluent in Esperanto?

Jim's rant of the week: Over the next two months, the San Francisco Giants will be installing 590 solar panels around AT&T Park. The energy produced by the panels won't power anything in the park. Rather, the energy will be returned to the Pacific Gas & Electric power grid and will only be enough to power a few homes. What it really amounts to is a bid for positive publicity for the Giants and PG&E. Who will pay the $1.5 million tab? Not the Giants. They'll benefit from the good PR while PG&E customers pay for the panels via higher monthly bills.

The Cleveland Indians could have gotten Jose Reyes in the Roberto Alomar trade.

The Tribune Co. announced on opening day that they'll be selling the Cubs at the end of this season. Mark Cuban has been mentioned as one of the few potential buyers able to afford the estimated $660 million price tag. Cuban promises to immediately recall Mark Prior from the minors and showcase him for a potential trade for Steve Nash.

Hollywood has made many biopics of baseball players. Forget about the character studies and reenactments of historical events. It's time for an action thriller biopic about the life of Ugueth Urbina. Instead of ending with a World Series victory, UUU (as my producers have dubbed it), would open with Urbina getting a World Series ring with the Marlins. Act 2 would focus on the kidnapping of his mother in 2004. Act 3 would delve into the reliever's arrest and recent conviction on attempted murder charges. He'll spend 14 years in a Venezuelan jail. If he can make a comeback in his late 40's, we'll have our Hollywood ending.

Jim's link of the week: Lastings Milledge Facts. #311 is my favorite, what's yours?

Tony Mullane did it in 1893. Greg Harris did it in 1995. Pat Venditte of Creighton University may someday join the club. Venditte is an ambidextrous pitcher who switches from lefty to righty depending on the batter he's facing. He's a hard throwing right-hander with an over the top motion and he's also a left-hander with a sidearm delivery and a biting slider. Check out his special glove with two thumb holes, one on each side of the fingers.

"It is well to remember that a Martian observing his first baseball game would be quite correct in concluding that the last two words of the National Anthem are: PLAY BALL!"

--Herbert H. Paper (Cincinnati Enquirer, 04/02/89)


Swampudlian : April 9, 2007 11:53 AM

That thing about the solar panels... That's just dumb. And the thing is that the solar panels would probably work better in San Diego, Arizona or Las Vegas (not sure which of these are in PG&E's "territory", but I'd venture it might be 2 out of 3). Just a stupid electric company looking to get publicity, whether it be good or bad. You make the call. Hey, Whatever-They're-Calling-It-Today Park is right on the SF Bay, right? Install some windmills beyond the outfield wall -- the big ones. I'd bet there's a fairly consistent breeze there, and at least it would make some sense. Maybe have Giants fans sign up at each of the windmills, and "if a home run hits this windmill, you'll get free electricity for a year". Now, there's an idea... Nah, makes too much sense.

And you know that Urbina didn't "get his World Series ring with the Marlins", right? He was wearing the Olde English D when he picked up the hardware, along with his batterymate Ivan Rodriguez.

tomhamilton : April 9, 2007 12:57 PM

My favorite LM facts:
109. Lastings Milledge can talk about Fight Club.
113. Lastings Milledge is the only drummer from Spinal Tap to survive.
452. Lastings Milledge knows the words to "Louie, Louie" and "Chacarron Macarron".
464. The Nolan Ryan for Jim Fregosi trade was a move to free up a spot on the 40 man roster for Lastings Milledge.

erniecamacho : April 9, 2007 02:07 PM

No offense Franco, but I need to hire Swampudlian as my editor.

Has anyone watched the Frank Thomas commercial in the second link? Canucks have no sense of humor... and they talk funny.

EC (resident xenophobe)

Swampudlian : April 10, 2007 01:00 PM

Lastings Milledge facts I like:

37. Rickey Henderson wishes his name was Lastings Milledge so he'd have a better name to refer to himself in the third person with.
52. Civil War cannons were nicknamed "Lastings Milledge's Arm."
92. Thomas Jefferson originally wrote for the Declaration of Independence, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that no man is created equal to Lastings Milledge."
113. Lastings Milledge is the only drummer from Spinal Tap to survive.
128. Lastings Milledge knows how many licks it takes to get to the tootsie roll center of a Tootsie Pop.
192. E-mail only works because Lastings Milledge can throw your letters to other computers.
207. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, JFK aimed Lastings Milledge's arm at the Soviet Union; the conflict was soon resolved.
225. Major league baseball just announced that it is illegal to shake Lastings Milledge's hand, it is now considered a performance enhancing drug.
231. Julio Franco eats five egg whites for breakfast. Lastings Milledge eats Shawn Abner, Gregg Jefferies, Ryan Thompson, Alex Ochoa, and Alex Escobar.
232. Lastings Milledge knows where they hid Jimmy Hoffa.
241. Lastings Milledge doesn't catch lightning in a bottle, he lets it out when he feels like seeing rain.
246. William Shatner never pauses for dramatic affect when he says Lastings Milledge, he knows it doesn't need any help.
252. Lastings Milledge, not Lee Harvey Oswald, assassinated JFK. And Milledge didn't do it with a bullet, he simply threw bullets from the Book Depository and the Grassy Knoll. Simultaneously.
263. Jim Leyland won't smoke when Lastings Milledge comes to the plate, he knows he has to save his cigarettes for when Milledge is done.
265. Lastings Milledge doesn't own an air conditioner. He's that cool by himself.
266. Lastings Milledge doesn't count in base ten. Base four is all he needs.
271. Lastings Milledge's jockstraps aren't washed and reused after games - they are recycled to make airplane black boxes.
274. In a Vice-Presidential debate, Lloyd Benson once told Dan Qualye..."Senator, I knew Lastings Milledge, I served with Lastings Milledge. You are NO Lastings Milledge."
283. Lastings Milledge has never lost at Tic Tac Toe. Ever.
285. Lastings Milledge can't go swimming because he would change the water into wine.
286. Lastings Milledge can eat just one potato chip.
288. Lastings Milledge can calculate pi to the last integer.
290. Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity. Lastings Milledge invented it.

That's all I can take for one afternoon... I actually skipped several others in the 200's... The 200's are quite good, as a group.

tomhamilton : April 10, 2007 01:12 PM

#37 is my new favorite. I was skimming and I missed it.

I'm going to steal two that I saw on a Chuck Norris list:
1) Lastings Milledge can divide by zero.
2) Lastings Milledge's calendar goes straight from March 31st to April 2nd; no one fools Lastings Milledge.

save me from the clowns : April 27, 2007 12:46 PM

First Lastings Milledge, now Jim Leyland:

Jim Leyland Facts


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