Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Name Game Part 2

Welcome back sports fans, the time has come to reveal our second list of great names from baseball's past. Round two will cover gents with last names falling somewhere between the unstoppable pitcher Omar Daal, whose name always makes me yearn for Indian food, and Mike Fyhrie whose name is reminiscent of the digestive repercussions resulting from the spiciness of said cuisine. So without any further ado, here is my team - suggestions for improvement are always encouraged.

1B - Babe Danzig: Sadly, the Babe had only a short stint for the Red Sox in 1909. After his release he threatened the Red Sox with a hex involving vampires, serpents, as well as the shedding of the blood of the non-believers. His curse proved less effective than Ruth's and may have long been forgotten, but the goth metal greatness of his progeny will be remembered forever.

2B - Boob "Gink" Fowler: Apparently the original name Fowler (who played for a few years in the 1920s) went by wasn't funny enough so someone decided to give him the nickname Gink. What does Gink mean? According to my Google machine, gink is a man or boy considered to be odd. If your first name was Boob I think a certain level of oddness would be forgivable.

SS - J.J. Furmaniak: Thanks to two brief major league stints with Pittsburgh and Oakland, J.J. makes our list solely for being such a major fan of my alma mater. I am a staunch believer that our mascot should be named in his honor.

3B - Bob Dillinger: I can't have one of these lists without including a celebrity and public enemy number one just happened to play six years for the St. Louis Browns among other teams shortly after his death. Now that's dedication to your sport!

OF - Johnny "Ugly" Dickshot: By far the MVP of this motley roster, I will let Ugly speak for himself. Just follow the link if you don't believe that a human being could actually go through life with this name.

OF - Jack Daniels: A Boston Brave in 1952, "Sour Mash Jack" as he was called, will patrol a spot in the outfield next to Ugly Dickshot, and in fact Ugly will likely blame his poor performance on Jack Daniels, as many a man has from time to time.

OF - Steamer Flanagan: Despite rumors to the contrary, 1905 Pirate Steamer is actually from Kingston, Pennsylvania, not Cleveland.

C - Pickles Dillhoefer: Dillhoefer's lack of success for three National League teams during the years of World War I and after could be contributed to the simple fact that he was a grown man whose teammates called him Pickles. With the dill last name I suppose it was unavoidable, but goddamn it man - maintain some small shred of dignity!

P - Bull Durham: Born Louis Raphael Staub, Mr. Durham realized that he would never become a professional baseball player with such a silly moniker. One name change later and the former Louis was able to enjoy a six year career from 1904-1909 with perhaps the most appropriate name in the history of the game (although Matt Batts would surely argue this question).

P - Cy Fried: A name like Cy Fried conjures up thoughts of the pitching greatness of his namesake, Cy Young, after whom the most coveted pitching award in baseball is named. Fried, whose career lasted all of 2 innings back in 1920 was unable to reach the level of Young's success, falling only 511 wins short of his win total of 511 (while appearing in 7,354 less innings). Fried also boasted a terrific 16.20 ERA. Note to those who are not a follower of the game: 16.20 is the opposite of terrific.

P - Frank Funk: I am so jealous of the stadium announcer who, when calling Frank from the bullpen, got to say, "We want the Funk, got to have that funk..." during the all too brief four year stint the pitcher spent with Cleveland and Minnesota in the early 1960s.

P - Roberto Duran: By the end of Roberto's 1997-98 career as a reliever his 6.58 ERA had Detroit Tiger fans screaming no mas, no mas!
Editor's note: I couldn't figure out how to insert the accent so think Spanish there, the joke has nothing to do with anyone's mother.

P - Emerson Dickman: I couldn't leave you without one more opportunity to be brazenly crude and Dickman, pictured above, was nice enough to pitch five years during World War II for the Boston Red Sox.

Honorable mentions: Joe Frazier as in down goes Frazier (on strikes), Whammy Douglas, Buttercup Dickerson, Charlie Frisbee, and Kosuke Fukudome.

See you soon for our next edition and make sure to thank your parents over Thanksgiving for not giving you such a shitty name (assuming you are not on this list).

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Throw that Money Honey

Conservatives, since they are usually devoid of any ideas of their own outside of cutting taxes, tend to deride most efforts by Progressives to solve problems as "throwing money at the problem." I have tried for years to become a problem myself so that people would throw money at me, but so far to no avail.
There is one issue in South Carolina politics where I feel the tossing of a few thousand Benjamins would be an integral part of the solution (yes only part, but enough to get people jumping up and down in defiant anger). I speak of the realm of education, where there are two linked problems that could be solved with an influx of green: low teacher quality and crowded classrooms.
First year teachers are paid a salary of 28,000 dollars a year (varies slightly from county to county, sometimes from district to district) with the possibility of earning more if you gain national accreditation, a masters degree, or a PHD. Lawyers and doctors routinely earn six figures a year. Where do you think talented people tend to go? Sure as hell not the barely able to feed yourself, much less your family salary, not if they have a choice in the matter.
Only the crusader type of person, who believes above all in the value of education would chose the field of primary education over one where they could make actual money. Outside of these holy warriors you get people who just need a job and go through the motions, doing enough just to not get fired.
There are, fortunately some great teachers nonetheless and many of us even in South Carolina were blessed to sit in their classrooms. I can think of a few myself, but there just aren't enough and they exist at an even lower rate in the poorer rural areas of the state (like the Corridor of Shame) where the low salary is combined with lousy working conditions and the exciting nightlife that goes along with living in places like Jasper County.
A fairer wage would draw more applicants and allow for a higher caliber of teacher, lowering classrooms sizes and giving the children of South Carolina a much greater chance to succeed. Study after study has shown the import the correlation between individual attention and student success.
So rear back and start throwing those dollar dollar bills ya'll. I think we owe it to our young people not to short change them - I can think of a lot worse things for my taxes to be spent upon.

In honor of Drs. Amy and Peter McCandless, my parents, who have over 70 combined years of experience in the field of education. I love you Mom and Dad!