Monday, July 30, 2012

Share your memory from Game 1 of the 1988 World Series

Did you attend Game 1 of the 1988 World Series? If so, I’d like for you to share your story.

Leave a comment at the bottom of this blog post to share your story publicly, or email me the details privately at

-- Josh Suchon 

Friday, July 27, 2012

After the Credits -- Bull Durham

Note to readers: “After the Credits” is a feature in which we take the best sports movies ever made, and giving our opinion on what happened to our favorite fictional characters after the movie ended. Previously, Josh speculated on The Natural, and Matt gave his opinion on Jerry Maguire. In this edition, both will give their opinions on the legendary minor league baseball movie, Bull Durham.

-- by Josh Suchon and Matt Hurst

When the movie ends, Nuke LaLooosh was called up to the major leagues. Crash Davis was released by the Durham Bulls, went to the Asheville Tourists to get his final dinger to set the all-time minor league home run record, then shacked up with Annie, with the possibility that he would manage in Visalia the next year.

Each of us wrote our opinions separately, not knowing what the other person thought. A few are similar. Most are totally different. This is what we think happened “After the Credits” to the characters from Bull Durham. 

Coming in March – “Miracle Men: Gibson, Hershiser and the Improbable 1988 Dodgers”

“But the Bulldog in him came out when, after the Athletics were disposed of, he walked down the hallway to the interview room in the Oakland Coliseum and an A's fan yelled, ‘You were lucky, Hershiser.’ A couple of dozen steps later, Hershiser blurted out, ‘Oh yeah – grab a bat.’ He wasn't smiling.”

That was the final paragraph of Peter Gammons' story on Orel Hershiser in the October 31, 1988 edition of Sports Illustrated. The A's fan was a 15-year-old named Josh Suchon, whose eyes were red with tears, and who would cry himself to sleep later that night. Three decades later, Suchon is now 38 years old, the former co-host of “Post Game Dodger Talk” on 790 KABC in Los Angeles, and author of the upcoming book “Miracle Men: Hershiser, Gibson and the Improbable 1988 Dodgers.”

Triumph Books will publish the book in the spring of 2013, in connection with the 25th anniversary.

That Dodgers team crushed the author's heart as a teen-ager, but now he reflects fondly on an championship that's crazy even by Hollywood standards. Most champions contain a Who's Who of stars. That Dodgers team fielded a World Series lineup that had the audience asking, “Who and Who?”

The year is most remembered for Kirk Gibson's dramatic home run in Game One of the World Series, Orel Hershiser's pitching dominance, and manager Tommy Lasorda's masterful motivation. But there was much more that made the season memorable, bittersweet, and controversial.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sharpie Scribbles -- Chapter XI, Alomars vs. Ripkens

-- by Josh Suchon

Note to readers: The feedback on the “You Were Lucky, Hershiser” story was so positive, and triggered so many memories from a childhood where my playground was the Oakland Coliseum, I’ve decided to share more of these stories. I’m blatantly stealing this idea from “Cardboard Gods” author Josh Wilker, who used his baseball card collection to tell the story of his childhood in the 1970s. Wilker gave me his blessing, so I’m going to use my autograph collection to tell the story of my childhood in the 1980s.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, two families competed for the title of best family in baseball -- the Alomars and the Ripkens.

The similarities are impressive: both were led by strong fathers who didn’t have much of a playing career, but were consummate baseball men who stayed in the game as coaches, and taught their sons the right way to play; both of the older sons went on to a Hall of Fame career; both of the younger sons had solid careers; both named one of their son Junior; and most important, both families were huge targets to an autograph-obsessed kid like me.

What follows is a comparison of how the two families grade out, strictly on a Sharpie Scribble scale:

Sheer volume of autographs

The final tally is 16 for the Alomars and n11 for the Ripkens in my collection. It breaks down with eight by Roberto, seven for Sandy Junior, one for Sandy Senior, six for Cal Junior, three for Billy, and two for Cal Senior.

Considering the overwhelming number of my autographs came at the Oakland Coliseum, this is an impressive total for a National League family like the Alomars. It shows how much I took advantage of spring training and how accommodating they were.

Off memory, I want to say that Billy was back in the minor leagues during my peak 1987-89 years of collecting. But that wasn’t the case.

Upon checking, Billy was in the majors. For some odd reason, Billy was just a much tougher autograph to obtain than his more in-demand older brother. You'd think it was the other way. 

Edge to the Alomars.

Monday, July 16, 2012

After the Credits: Jerry Maguire

Note to readers: In honor of Sports Illustrated’s recent “where are they now” issue, we’ve decided to introduce a new feature to the Out of Ink blog. We’re taking the best sports movies ever made, and giving our opinion on what happened to our favorite fictional characters after the movie ended.

-- by Matt Hurst

The movie ends with the belief that all is good. Jerry and Dorothy live happily ever after, Rod Tidwell got his contract and little Ray has a great arm … for a five-year old. But this is sports. Mom and Pop operations never work in sports. Small receivers aren’t stars. Nerdy kids don’t succeed on a field unless they have an instrument in their hands at halftime.

Jerry Maguire: He went through his highs and lows both professionally and personally in the film and seemed to finally figure everything out and how to make it work in perfect harmony by the time the credits rolled. His struggles made him a better man, a better husband and a good father to Ray. But his career suicide still allowed other agents at bigger corporations to undercut him. He didn’t mind because he had Rod Tidwell’s contract and friendship. Word got out and a few athletes began to come Jerry’s way. With the possibility of forming his own big-time agency, Jerry decided to re-read his manifesto and keeps his production small. Just him and Dorothy and a few NFL players. Nothing more than that. He is happy with his life, even if it isn’t as glamorous as it once was.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

After the credits, part I -- The Natural

Note to readers: In honor of Sports Illustrated’s recent “where are they now” issue, we’ve decided to introduce a new feature to the Out of Ink blog. We’re taking the best sports movies ever made, and giving our opinion on what happened to our favorite fictional characters after the movie ended.

--by Josh Suchon

We start with the movie The Natural. The final scene of the movie shows us Roy Hobbs, back at some farm, playing catch with his son, while his wife looks on with a big smile on her face. We’re led to believe that Hobbs retired after his dramatic home run put the Knights in the playoffs.

What happened in the playoffs? Earlier in the movie, manager Pop Fisher says he just wants to reach the World Series. He doesn’t care if he even wins. This is typical of why Pops wasn’t a very good manager. Who on earth is just happy to be there and doesn’t want to win it all? Hobbs’ home run was so eerily similar to Kirk Gibson’s in 1988, it’s not a stretch to think that Hobbs wasn’t healthy enough to perform in the playoffs, just like Gibson didn’t play again the rest of the 1988 World Series. Hobbs was bleeding, after all. This doesn’t mean the Knights won, just like the Dodgers did. No chance. Not with Pops’ attitude. The Knights didn’t have Orel Hershiser either. Without Hobbs, the Knights had no chance. They were swept in the World Series.

The Pittsburgh manager: Without question, his performance in the one-game playoff was one of the worst in history. Why on earth didn’t he intentionally walk Hobbs? In case you forgot, Hobbs hit a three-run homer in the ninth inning to beat Pittsburgh, 3-2, in the one-game playoff. There was nobody else in the Knights lineup who could beat you. Who cares if Hobbs is the go-ahead run? The Pittsburgh media crucified the manager for this strategy, and management agreed. He was fired, justifiably, two days later.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Podcast: Kansas City Royals - The Draft

In honor of Kansas City hosting the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, Josh Suchon and Matt Hurst hold their first-ever fantasy draft. Rather than choosing current players from all teams, we took a twist on the typical fantasy draft and made sure to choose only Kansas City Royals players from the franchise's history. We plan on having the teams "play each other" via a computer simulator and posting the results. The Out of Ink team will also be performing more of these drafts soon, so check back often.

The concept is building a team for a best-of-7 playoff series. We limited our rosters to 20 players. Matt Hurst won the coin toss, and elected to draft second and third overall. Josh Suchon selected George Brett (1980) with the first overall pick. Hurst countered with Bret Saberhagen (1989) and Bo Jackson (1990).

After that, the picks alternated. The rest of the picks in the first 10 rounds, in order: Darrell Porter, David Cone, Zack Greinke, Carlos Beltran, Kevin Appier, Frank White, Mark Gubicza, Dan Quisenberry, John Mayberry, Mike Sweeney, Amos Otis, Willie Wilson, Danny Tartabull, Jeff Montgomery, Joakim Soria, Gary Gaetti, Jose Offerman.

This is how the final rosters stack up.

Monday, July 9, 2012

My review of the Celebrity Softball Game (really)

-- by Josh Suchon

Tuned into the Celebrity Softball Game because the menu on my television incorrectly said it was SportsCenter, and I wanted to see what I didn’t miss in the Home Run Derby. (I used to love the Home Run Derby, but it’s just too damn long. When they shorten it to two rounds, I’ll start watching again.)

Bo Jackson

Watched the Celebrity Softball Game for a few minutes because I wanted to mock it and figured I’d get a few minutes of material for jokes. Continued watching the game because I got the dumb idea that I’d take a page from the Ken Levine book of blogging and write a ridiculous review of this ridiculous event.

A funny thing happened on the way to me ripping everything. I actually watched the whole thing, and was actually entertained.

I still don’t like the hybrid rosters of baseball legends, celebrities, musicians, athletes from a few other sports, and a few token hot chicks. I’d rather see one of the following rosters:

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Podcast: Making the MLB All-Star Game Better

In this episode of the Out of Ink podcast, Josh and Matt discuss if Major League Baseball's All-Star Game is the best feature of star athletes of all the professional leagues, ways to improve the Midsummer Classic and their best memories of the All-Star Game.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Sharpie Scribbles - Chapter X: I'm Not Who You Think I Am

-- by Matt Hurst
I have never been an autograph chaser.

Even as a kid it just seemed weird to me to get someone's name scribbled down on a piece of paper or a card or a ball. I'd rather have someone's picture taken with me.

That proves I was there. It takes a split second longer to get a picture taken with somebody than to have them scribble something down. Plus, it can't be faked.
Much better than an autograph, in my opinion.
This is no offense to anyone who seeks out autographs. I do weird stuff that I'm sure would cause many of you to look at me cockeyed.

I don't know if I would put money on it, but it's probably very close - I bet I've signed as many autographs as I've had things signed.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not famous. Sure, I've had moments of minor fame in my life (interviews on radio and television shows, broadcasting and radio work, a byline and picture everyday in the newspaper) but by no means should anyone ask me to scribble my name on something.

And yet, I have.

Walking in and out of special entrances to Major League Baseball parks every day for four years will cause kids to just ask you for your autograph. I was in my early to mid-twenties and in decent enough shape for a kid to possibly confuse me for a ballplayer.

I'd always tell them "Trust me, you don't want my autograph."

They'd think I'd be giving them a line, but I'd say "I'm just a baseball writer" and they'd feel foolish for approaching me. I'd thank them for the offer and that would be that.

Once, though, during spring training, a kid asked me for my scribble. I gave him my line and his mother said, more to me than actually out loud, "Please just do it. He wants as many as he can. Then we can leave."

I felt like I was doing the mom a favor.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sports metaphors to explain dating and sex

-- by Josh and Matt

You don’t need to like sports to enjoy sports metaphors.

When a politician finishes a speech or a debate, the staff will often claim their boss “hit a home run.” How often do you hear the phrase “game over” to explain situations that don’t involve games?

Even if you don’t like baseball, and even if definitions are slightly different, you understand the jist of “getting to first base” or “getting to second base” in the mating dance.

To “spit game” you need not be involved in an organized game. Of course, dating is a game and sometimes you have to “play the game.”

In the naming game for dating and mating, the options are endless with sports metaphors.