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December 31, 2010

A Year of Talkin' Baseball

'tis the season for plenty of things...returning Christmas presents, going back to work and, of course, year-enders!

The Hall of Very Good is no different.

Next week, following the Hall of Fame announcement (read as: I'm too busy/lazy to do it now), come on back for the Top Ten Stories of the Year.'s a year of "Talkin' Baseball".  That's right, the best of what has become my favorite part of doing this site...talkin' baseball with whoever will respond to the request.  Click the BOLD text to read the entire piece!

GAR RYNESS, aka "Batting Stance Guy" (February)

Manny (Ramirez) is great to me. I’ve done pre-game shows for visiting teams at Dodgers Stadium and Manny will always scream and whistle across the field while I’m filming. “Do Ethier! Do Ethier!” I’ll then hold up a finger, as if to say, “Hold on Manny, I’ll come over there after this.” The first time that happened the Cardinals TV staff said, “wait, do you know Manny?” That’s when it hit me how weird the last two years have been.

"Diamond King" DICK PEREZ (February)

As far back as I can remember, I had a desire to draw. On the margins around my school notebooks there were caricatures of school mates and images from my imagination. After I realized that there was no way I would ever achieve my real dream of becoming a professional baseball player, I concluded that I had to choose a real life career. I chose art.

Hall of Famer GARY CARTER (May)

The loss of my Mom was a huge impact on my life as we were a very loving family that went to church regularly. I didn’t understand why a loving God would take someone away as dear as her. It helped me to understand how fragile life is.

Author GEORGE CASTLE (May), Talkin' Andre Dawson (July) and Lou Piniella (September)

Sammy (Sosa) is still too raw for Cubs fans. Worse than alleged steroid use, he walked out on the team on the last day of the 2004 season. However, I don’t feel Sammy will be regarded in the same breath as Banks, Williams, Santo, Jenkins, Sandberg. His ego exploded as he got successful, and that will stain him forever.

Talkin' Ken Griffey Jr. with KEN GRIFFEY SR.JEFF MONTGOMERY and C.J. WILSON (June)

After announcing that I would retire at the end of the 1999 season, Junior asked me if I would give him a signed jersey…which I did. The next day in our clubhouse was an autographed Griffey jersey.

Competitive Eater PAT BERTOLETTI (July)

I usually spend most of the game wandering around trying to eat at all the food stands. I think the White Sox have the best food in the league. I would only go to a Cubs game if there were free tickets and Old Style involved.

Reality Show "All Stars" JONNY FAIRPLAY (September), ROB CESTERNINO (September) and RUSSELL KOOK (December)

If I were going to start an alliance with any past Mets, first on the list would be former (and hopefully future) manager Bobby Valentine. I also am very partial to both Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez and think they do a great job calling the game and are both really interesting guys and have great baseball IQ.. And Keith, on day one, would have the greatest mustache in "Survivor" history. Unquestioned.

Outspoken Pitcher JEFF JUDEN (October)

I would still like (a 1999 Yankees World Series ring) if they have any spare change left. I have room on my middle finger for it.

Former O.J. Simpson,'s KATO KAELIN (November)

Airline ticket to Milwaukee…$450.00. Car rental…$150.00. Tickets to game…$55.00. Sitting next to Shawn from The Hall of Very Good…PRICELESS.

San Francisco Giants' Biggest Fan ASHKON DAVARAN (December)

I had a chance to meet Steve (Perry) before the World Series Parade, and he seemed to be pretty cool with it. I thanked him for writing one of the best songs of all time…he said thanks and that I did a good job with it.

All in all...a great year for talkin' baseball.  Sure, I'm biased and I wish I could add more of my favorites (for example DANIEL NAVA, GARRETT WITTELS and MATHER ZICKEL from "The Bronx is Burning"), but since most lists are "Top Ten" lists...I decided to keep it at ten.

Which was your favorite?  Please let me know below!

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