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Cardboard Links, 2.7.09

February 7, 2009

wkrpIn a day or two I’ll resume “Somewhere I Lost Connection,” but I wanted to pause for a moment from that ongoing saga of an idiot abroad to introduce a new feature on Cardboard Gods.

Basically, I miss the feeling of community, of being “one of the gang” (like the collection of oddballs shown here, a group I loved to imagine myself into when I was a mostly solitary lad), that came with being a member of Baseball Toaster. So I have decided to do what I can on my own to hold on to that feeling of being part of a wider interconnected world.

First off, if you haven’t read the last Baseball Toaster post ever, please try to find some time to do so. Ken Arneson has written the Great American Blog Post.

The long chain of comments following the post is worth reading, too, in that it forms a meandering collaborative narrative about the quality and significance of Ken’s achievement with Baseball Toaster. My own feelings about being a contributor to the Toaster were summed up in those comments by another Toaster writer, Scott Long, who said, “I will miss being part of the community that was the Toaster. As someone who always identified with the Groucho Marx line, ‘I won’t belong to any organization that would have me as a member,’ the Toaster was the first place that made me realize maybe I could enjoy being a member of a large group (of course one where I didn’t have to meet and hang out with them in person probably helped this).”

Scott, formerly of The Juice, picks up where he left off in his new site, Not Safe for Work Sports, with a hilarious post on a recent hellish stand-up gig:

“From the stage, I took a picture of the room with my camera phone. I told them that I wanted record of this because the next time I felt like a show wasn’t what I wanted I could look back at this night and go, well at least I wasn’t here.”

In other Toaster alumni news, Phil Bencomo (formerly of Cub Town) is starting The Baseball Chronicle: An online magazine of baseball storytelling. The promising endeavor is currently accepting submissions for its first issue. Phil explains, “Every month or two, we choose a theme and publish great stories based, however loosely, on that theme.” The first theme sounds like a rich one: “Hooked.” Visit the site for more information on how to submit a story.

Mark TR Donohue (formerly of Bad Altitude) offers an entertaining post at his new site, Big Western Flavor, with a title that sums up my own ongoing relation to America’s biggest holiday: “What I Most Will Remember Is the Snacking.”

Jon Weisman at the relocated Dodger Thoughts presents Vin Scully, game show host.

At Bronx Banter, peerless sportswriter connoisseur Alex Belth offers some thoughts on and excerpts of the great sportswriter Charles Pierce, and fellow former Baseball Toaster contributor Diana Firstman chimes in with a choice clip from one of my all-time favorite shows. In related news, I recently made the happy, albeit dangerous (in terms of all the time I will probably now waste) discovery that I could watch old episodes of this show at IMDB.

Another Baseball Toaster alum, Ember Nickel, hits the ground running in a new blog with some deep thoughts about the reigning home run king:

“I resented Bonds before he hit his seven hundred fifty-sixth home run. The erosion of the long-term record did not offend but unsettle me. Someone I’d seen compete, up there with the historic legends? It didn’t seem possible.”

Many of us felt the same, I think. Supplant Hammerin’ Hank? Unthinkable. Fittingly, this past week, during which Hank Aaron turned 75, offered reassurances that Bonds can never pass Aaron where it really matters.

Aaron wasn’t the only titanic slugger to have a recent birthday. Joy of Sox celebrated the day with a great post about Aaron’s predecessor as Home Run King.

The Babe would have turned 114 yesterday if only he’d just gone a little easier on the butter. That would have made him the oldest living ballplayer, of course, a somewhat ominous honor that recently changed hands with the death of crotchety Bill Werber. The new holder of the title is former Brooklyn Dodger Tony Malinowsky, who was recently tracked down and interviewed by Jere Smith at Red Sox Fan From Pinstripe Territory

You know you’re getting old when the word “living” is starting to get used as an adjective to describe you, such as “oldest living ballplayer” or “greatest living Red Sox player.” Speaking of the latter, this week’s Boston Globe offered a story that made me happy because it mentioned that Yaz, who has had a few really rough years recently, was smiling from ear to ear. The cause of his joy? There is another Yaz, and he can rake.

I’m always happy whenever I hear that a Cardboard God is happy. When Don Stanhouse was last heard from on these pages, he didn’t sound so happy. But just a few months ago he seems to have experienced one of the peak moments of his life:

“Of all the honors I’ve been blessed to receive in athletics, this is the one that truly means the most. This is the most special award I’ve ever received.”

All the gods should be so blessed.

9 comments

  1. I used to love this show.


  2. I appreciate the link, Josh. Especially in a post like this, with all these fine writers and, more importantly (albeit slightly), WKRP! I get WGN on my cable–they’ve been showing reruns of it lately. I can never seem to get enough.


  3. WKRP was one of my favorite shows ever. The bomb threat one where they broadcast from the transmitter jumps immediately to mind. The one where Johnny Fever and Venus Fly Trap drink during an on-air segment, too. And of course the one where they play a softball game and Les comes up big.


  4. Thanks for the kind words, Josh. I will miss having your stories linked on my page. It gave my rantings some class. Even though we have both lost market share and more importantly, some of our best participants in discussion, it is kind of exciting to be on a new journey. I will continue to get my Wilker fix here.


  5. “The one where Johnny Fever and Venus Fly Trap drink during an on-air segment, too.”

    That’s probably my favorite. The Doctor’s reflexes get sharper the more he drinks. I also like the one where Venus convinces a gang kid to stay in school by teaching him about the atom. I think Tim Reid, who used to be a teacher, wrote that episode.

    Two WKRP “did you knows”:

    Did you know Howard Hesseman was in “Billy Jack“? (He was in the hippie drama troupe.)

    Did you know the legendary Jan Smithers was recently in a naked car accident?


  6. Did you know the legendary Jan Smithers was recently in a naked car accident?

    That article referred to her as James Brolin’s ex. I’m no Mike Farrell, but that strikes me as sexist. Incidentally, I get Brolin and Charles Grodin mixed up.


  7. If it were during her time on WKRP I would gladly stop my car to help a naked Jan Smithers. I always preferred her to Loni Anderson. I also preferred Mary Ann to Ginger.


  8. Yes, Jan Smithers as “Bailey” was perhaps the greatest unsung hero of my puberty. Sounds like she’s had sort of a hard time of it, which bums me out.


  9. Thanks for the link. I was totally amused by the line:

    “The Babe would have turned 114 yesterday if only he’d just gone a little easier on the butter.”

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ….. Bailey.



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