Tag Archives: Rickey Henderson

Good News Friday: A beautiful interaction at a Brewers game. My annual Jim Murray tribute. And a novel way of telling someone they’re gonna be a Grandma

brewersfan

First up on Good News Friday today, we have a very cool and seemingly random story out of Milwaukee.

A woman named Sarah went to a Brewers baseball game recently with her two sons, and had such a wonderful experience with a total stranger that she wrote wrote an open letter to “The Mystery Man in Section 113, Row 17, Seat 22” on her blog.

In it, Sarah talks about this stranger playing with her kids kindly throughout the game (that’s them, above), encouraging them about catching foul balls, and then at the end of the game, taking him down to the dugout to try to get a ball from one of the players.

If that was the whole story, it would be a nice, sweet tale of two strangers. But it gets better. I urge you to click here and read Sarah’s post, and the updates below the awesome photos.

Guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

**Next up, I thought this was kind of sweet. This couple from Florida, Sean and Lynn Kreps, were trying to come up with a unique way to tell Sean’s mom that Lynn was pregnant.

And so they led her on a little scavenger hunt around their kitchen until she opened the oven. To find… you guessed it, a bun.

I love the smile on the mother’s face when she discovers it. So cute.

jimmurray

**And finally today, it’s August 16, which means three things: It’s my father’s birthday (Happy birthday Dad!), it’s one day before my 38th birthday (Man, I’m old…) and it’s time for my annual tribute to the greatest sportswriter who ever lived, on the anniversary of his death.

Jim Murray died on Aug. 16, 1998, and to say he was one of my writing heroes is a massive understatement.

Murray wasn’t just a great sportswriter for the L.A. Times; he was a storyteller, a comedian, and a man who wrote with a tremendous heart. He wrote now-legendary lines like “Rickey Henderson’s strike zone is smaller than Hitler’s heart” and “Gentlemen, start your coffins,” at the Indy 500.

He also said, of the in-his-prime Muhammad Ali, “I’d like to borrow his body for just 48 hours. There are three guys I’d like to beat up and four women I’d like to make love to.” and that former Lakers star Elgin Baylor “was as unstoppable as a woman’s tears.”

If you’ve never read the former L.A. Times columnist, here are a couple of my favorite pieces by him. The first is a beautiful elegy to his late wife, (he describes her as “a champion at living”) and the second is his heartfelt “obituary” to his left eye, which had finally completely failed him (the last three paragraphs are just so perfect).

If you want to read a couple of pieces that will make you laugh and maybe make you cry, there’s no one better than Jim Murray.

And rest in peace, Jim Murray, the greatest there ever was.

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A fabulous HBO documentary on “Aunt Diane.” Honoring the late Jim Murray. And the King of Jordan is the world’s richest Trekkie.

Sometimes you see a movie that stays with you for days, and keeps you staring at the ceiling at night.
I saw a movie like that last weekend. It’s a documentary on HBO called “There’s Something Wrong With Aunt Diane,” and it’s about the tragic 2009 car crash when a woman named Diane Schuler killed herself, her daughter, three nieces and three strangers when she drove in the wrong direction on New York’s Taconic Parkway.
The movie is haunting as it interviews basically everyone in Diane’s life, trying to figure out what made a 37-year-old mother of two decide to do something incredibly reckless. The filmmaker, Liz Garbus, gets cooperation from Diane’s widow and her sister-in-law, as they, too, look for answers.
An easy answer can be found in Diane’s blood-alcohol-level (0.19, twice the legal limit) and the traces of marijuana in her system.
Her family, of course, says she was never a drinker, even though a bottle of Absolut was found in the car after the wreck. It’s heartbreaking to watch Diane’s family grope for any possible answers to what happened. They don’t believe she was depressed or crazy or anything like that; they think something happened to her medically to cause her to drive for two miles on the wrong side of the highway.

Garbus does a terrific job telling the story from all sides, from the victims to the witnesses to the police who handled the case, and you alternate between feeling sympathy for Diane’s family, and anger at her for destroying so many lives.

I kept asking myself after the movie how so many people in her life could’ve missed the signs of trouble in Diane Schuler. But maybe there weren’t any signs. Maybe she was just barely holding on for a while, and something that July morning in 2009 just made her crack.
It’s truly a terrific film; check it on HBO all month, and on HBO on Demand.

**Today, as I do every year on Aug. 16, I’m thinking about Jim Murray. The greatest sportswriter who ever lived died on this date in 1998, and as long as I have this blog, I’ll do my tiny part to honor him on this day.

Murray wasn’t just a great sportswriter; he was a storyteller, a comedian, and a man who wrote with a tremendous heart. He wrote now-legendary lines like “Rickey Henderson’s strike zone is smaller than Hitler’s heart” and “Gentlemen, start your coffins,” at the Indy 500. He also said, of the in-his-prime Muhammad Ali, “I’d like to borrow his body for just 48 hours. There are three guys I’d like to beat up and four women I’d like to make love to.” and that former Lakers star Elgin Baylor “was as unstoppable as a woman’s tears.”

If you’ve never read the former L.A. Times columnist, here are a couple of my favorite pieces by him. The first is a beautiful elegy to his late wife, and the second is his heartfelt “obituary” to his left eye, which had finally completely failed him. Enjoy. And rest in peace, Jim Murray, the greatest there ever was.

**Say what you want about the King of Jordan, King Abdullah, but the man sure as hell knows how to spend his money.
Apparently he had a spare $1.5 billion lying around. And instead of using it to feed the world’s population or something useless like that, he’s building an environmentally-friendly Star Trek theme park!
Seriously, look at this thing. Isn’t it worth going to Jordan just to stand on line at this bizarro place?
And how much money do you think it would take to get William Shatner to come for the grand opening to host this thing?

“Rescue Me” and Rickey’s induction speech

rescue_me

So I’m one of those people who gets really mad when my friends and family don’t watch a TV show I recommend heavily.

I think I have a secret fear that if I don’t zealously spread the word, it’ll get canceled.

I told everyone I knew to watch “Freaks and Geeks,” still the best show about high school ever. Few did. It got canceled after 18 episodes.

I raved about an old Jay Mohr show called “Action,” which was hilarious but criminally unloved. I loved “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” which lasted a whole season.

After the pilot, I spread the gospel of “Dirty Sexy Money.” “It’s smart, it’s funny, it’s well acted, and it’s probably way too smart for most of America!” I exclaimed. It too got canceled.

With that track record, friends and family have grown skeptical. But dammit, sometimes I’m right. And from the first episode in 2004, my favorite show on television has been FX’s “Rescue Me.

If you are not familiar with it, a brief primer: It’s about life in a New York City firehouse post 9/11. The adventures of Ladder 62 make for the most hilarious yet heartbreaking show I’ve ever seen. In one minute, you’ll be busting out laughing at the wildly inappropriate humor. A few minutes later you’ll be devastated by the drama.

If you haven’t seen it, I beg you to give this hilarious clip a try. Or this unbelievably heart-wrenching one.

No show I’ve ever seen does comedy and dark humor better. Denis Leary is the star and is a genius. He plays Tommy Gavin, who has so many terrible qualities but so many great ones. Leary has been on other shows before and I’ve always watched them, because the dude is flat-out funny. When I was 14 I wore out his “No Cure for Cancer” comedy cassette, I played it so much. (The joke about the guy with the voice-box pulling up to the drive-through at McDonald’s still kills me).

Turns out Leary, who is one of the writers, is also a great actor, and the rest of the cast is fantastic, too. There’s Franco, the Puerto Rican tough guy who gets all the ladies and was revealed this season to have some interesting 9/11 theories. There’s Mike the probie, who is just so stupid but so endearingly earnest. There’s Ken (aka Lou), a great foil to Leary’s Tommy, who’s unlucky with women but has a great heart. There’s Sean, a great partner for Mike who has great comic timing and facial expressions.

There are lots more terrific, well-drawn characters, too, including a pair of crazy women Tommy’s constantly ping-ponging between. (For fans of the show, yes, I know that’s an old picture of the cast I’ve got up top, but I’m still mad they killed off Jerry the Chief a few years ago. I loved him.)

I don’t know why the Emmy Awards people keep snubbing this show, but it’s in the middle of Season 6 now and it’s still fantastic.

OK, end of arm-twist. It’s on tonight at 10 on FX, and it’s well worth your time.

rickey

**On another note, I was wildly disappointed in Rickey Henderson’s Baseball Hall of Fame induction speech. Not only was Rickey one of my favorite players growing up (at least when he was a Yankee), but the dude was 100 percent unintentionally funny. He spoke in the third person constantly; one of my favorite Henderson stories was when, disgruntled with the team he was on, he called every GM in baseball and said “This is Rickey, calling on behalf of Rickey, letting you know that Rickey is available in a trade.”

Then there’s the story, which may be apocryphal, when he went up to John Olerud and said he played with a guy in New York who also wore a batting helmet in the field.

“Um, Rickey, that was me,” Olerud allegedly said.

Anyway, Henderson’s speech was anticipated since he was elected in January; what would such a strange dude say on the biggest day of his life?
Sadly for us, it was a straight, emotional, speech. Rickey didn’t even call himself “Rickey” during the 14-minute talk.

I’d say it was a pretty big letdown. Oh well. We still have the great Phil Rizzuto speech from1994 to appreciate.