Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Explain the Infield Fly Rule

I've never been big on the April Fools' joke stuff.  First off, everyone's expecting stupid gags. I'm pretty sure the height of the April Fools joke to me was pointing behind my brother's head and telling him that he missed a hot-air balloon.  I'm sure of that, and I am also sure that I was no more than five years old at the time.  Of course, that's pretty much the target demographic for such jokes.

But, not wanting to let a good excuse for a theme post go by, I decided to use the day to highlight the package of all kinds of needed cards that I got from Adam at Infield Fly Rule.  I sent some shiny Rockies his way, and he sent me a bunch of junk wax that somehow has eluded me.  

Now, Adam is not a fool.  But this day has me ready to talk about fools in pop culture.

1.  MOVIE:  Fool's Gold
First, there was a flat out awful movie that came out in 2008 called "Fool's Gold". Rotten Tomatoes reviewers have 16 people who liked it and 128 people who called it Rotten. The movie starred Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey as a divorcing couple whose 8-year-long treasure hunt led them to financial ruin and a tattered marriage. Co-star Alexis Dziena had the best scene in the movie when she was almost impaled by a sword, and the on-screen result was this:

I saw this movie. In fact, it was the last movie that I watched in a movie theater. I went to the movie in Dubai, of all places, so the screen shot above would have to be completed with Arabic subtitles.  I saw it in the Mall of the Emirates, which features the indoor ski runs:

And I saw the movie because I was going around town with some Aussies, and the movie was filmed in Australia.

A propos of nothing, this is as good of an excuse as any to show Rob Deer cards.  Why? Because Deer often looked really bad at the plate, got paid plenty of money, and made as much sense for a team to continue employing him as it did for someone to build a ski hill with a black diamond run inside in the freaking desert!

Yes, I needed all of those late 1980s cards -- the Score, the Fleer, and the Topps Big.  I had the Score already, but my copy was signed by Deer in person in 1988 at a game. So, I needed a clean version.

2.  MUSIC: Fools Gold

From the horrendous (or, at least the Rob Deer) to the excellent. A band from Manchester called The Stone Roses never got much airtime in the United States much beyond one song off their second album (the song was called "Love Spreads").  The Stone Roses came out of the "Madchester" scene around the same time as Inspiral Carpets and The Happy Mondays, and they probably influenced the direction of music in the UK at least as much as The Smiths or the punk scene of the late 1970s.  

On their self-titled first album, the Stone Roses released a nearly 10-minute long track called "Fools Gold."  It's an upbeat, dance-type song that is worth a listen some time.  They also did a much shorter version on the BBC's "Top of the Pops":

For a song and a group I consider to be sublime, only a sublime player's cards will do:

A Hall of Famer will fit the bill.  Beloved by Brewers fans and Twins fans and thanked by Blue Jays fans for his part in the 1993 World Series, Paul Molitor was a gentleman to all fans -- even obnoxious kids like me.

3.  TV: BBC's Only Fools And Horses

This is a very English show.  Much as Coach and Sam Malone are part of our American TV vernacular from the 1980s, Del Boy and Rodney are a part of the British TV language from that same time. Even more, though, Only Fools and Horses actually added new slang to the "Queen's" English -- such as "plonker" (meaning a fool or an idiot). 

Slapstick is always funny.  Just ask this guy:

I don't think Plesac has added any words to the English language as of yet, but he is an habitual jokester who fits into this category reasonably well.  Plonker.

4.  Movie: Fools Rush In

Matthew Perry and Salma Hayek star in a hilarious romantic comedy about two people who have a one-night stand. She gets pregnant, and they decide to get married. In the process, the two realize that they have to compromise some of their own cultural traditions. Hilarity ensues.

No, I've never seen the movie.

But, really, any movie starring Matthew Perry has to be the epitome of the 1990s.  

Kind of like Stadium Club is, in many respects, the epitome of the 1990s in baseball cards. You get parallels. You get blurred photos to give the effect of movement.  Heck, you even get Dave Nilsson having to give up his Aussie Culture to come live in the surf-less Midwest to pursue his childhood dream of baseball.  

See, it's got everything.

5.  Music: What a Fool Believes

The 1979 Doobie Brothers hit "What A Fool Believes" is an interesting song to me.  Michael Jackson actually sang backup on the original Doobie Brothers track.  Seriously:

It's sort of like when you collect a player and see him giving a cameo on some other guy's card:

Yup, there on Chuck Knoblauch's actual Topps Rookie Card in front of almost 15 fans in the bleachers in Milwaukee is none other than Greg Vaughn trying to break up a double play. I'm guessing it's after Knoblauch threw the ball already, but it's tough to say.  Still, there's Vaughn singing backup on Knoblauch's hit.

6. Movie: April Fool's Day

An 80s slasher pic with a typical set up: nine college kids stay at a friend's remote island mansion and end up murdered over April Fool's day weekend.


Nothing says slasher pic like...

Come on -- look at the guy. Mild mannered. Quiet. No one would suspect this guy singlehandedly murdered the Brewers.  To be fair, he really didn't do it himself.  It was counting on him to be healthy that did it.  That, and Phil Garner deciding that his pitching staff didn't need no stinking ligaments or rotator cuffs and that what Billy Martin did in 1980 with the Oakland A's was a great way to run a pitching staff.  

Three starters in 1992 -- Wegman, Jaime Navarro, and Chris Bosio -- all threw over 230 innings that year.  Wegman threw 261-2/3 innings.  What made that egregious for Wegman was the fact that he missed most of 1989 and 1990 with injuries. He pitched 193-1/3 innings in 28 starts in 1991, then the 261.2 innings in 35 starts in 1992, and then he threw 307 total innings after 1992 over three seasons for Milwaukee.  

Substitute Dr. Jobe and Dr. Andrews for a murdered, and you see the blood on the floor. Just in a controlled setting.

7.  Music: Why Do Fools Fall In Love

Last one.  Thankfully for y'all of course.  

In 1955, Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers recorded a big hit called "Why Do Fools Fall in Love."  The original title for the song was "Why do birds sing so gay", but someone decided that the lyrics should be changed to something less feathery.  The result:

And the easy card analog:

I mean, of course this is the 1991 version of the 1953 Topps card of Ed Mathews, but such a glorious reprint deserves to be treated with the respect of the original  At least now.

Adam -- thank you very much for the great cards, all of which filled gaps in my 1980s and 1990s collecting days.  

And, thank you to all of you who read this -- you are the ones who suffered all these fools.


  1. I bet Dr. Jobe and Dr. Andrews are the coolest guys to hang out with. I'd love to sit in on a TJ surgery, even if it was Bill Wegman or some other guy I've completely forgotten about.

    Alexis Dziena? Wow.

  2. I never noticed how few fans were in the stands on Knoblauch's rookie card.

    Happy to fill some needs for you, although it seems that my atrocious handwriting is now immortalized on the Web.

  3. I'm in agreement with Tom. Dziena=wow

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