Thursday, February 23, 2006

25 Reasons Rickey Henderson Rules

My little brother forwarded me this list and I had to share. Rickey Henderson is a great athlete. The guy stole 1,406 bases and scored 2,295 runs. I guess he was even still trying to play at 45. I was always partial to Mike Greenwell, but there is no way I could come up with any reasons he rules; much less 25. Enjoy.

1) Rickey… on referring to himself in the third person: "Listen, people are always saying, 'Rickey says Rickey.' But it's been blown way out of proportion. People might catch me, when they know I'm ticked off, saying, 'Rickey, what the heck are you doing, Rickey? 'They say, 'Darn, Rickey, what are you saying Rickey for? Why don't youjust say, 'I?' But I never did. I always said, 'Rickey, ' and itbecame something for people to joke about."
2) In the early 1980s, the Oakland A's accounting department was freaking out. The books were off $1 million. After an investigation, it was determined Rickey was the reason why. The GM asked him about a$1 million bonus he had received and Rickey said instead of cashing it, he framed it and hung it on a wall at his house.
3) In 1996, Henderson's first season with San Diego, he boarded the team bus and was looking for a seat. Steve Finley said, "You have tenure, sit wherever you want." Henderson looked at Finley and said,"Ten years? Ricky's been playing at least 16, 17 years."
4) This one might be my second favorite. This wasn't too long ago, I think it was the year he ended up playing with the Red Sox. Anyway, he called San Diego GM Kevin Towers and left the following message: "This is Rickey calling on behalf of Rickey. Rickey wants to play baseball."
5) This one happened in Seattle. Rickey struck out and as the next batter was walking past him, he heard Henderson say, "Don't worry, Rickey, you're still the best."
6) Rickey once asked a teammate how long it would take him to drive to the Dominican Republic.
7) Moments after breaking Lou Brock's stolen base record, Henderson told the crowd – with Brock mere feet next to him – "Lou Brock was a great base stealer, but today, I am the greatest of all-time."
8) Henderson once fell asleep on an ice pack and got frostbite – which forced him to miss three games — in mid-August.
9) A reporter asked Henderson if Ken Caminiti's estimate that 50 percent of Major League players were taking steroids was accurate. His response was, "Well, Rickey's not one of them, so that's 49 percent right there."
10) Henderson broke Ty Cobb's career record for runs scored with a home run. After taking his usual 45 seconds or so around the bases, Rickey slid into home plate.
11) On being Nolan Ryan's 5, 000th career strikeout: "It gave me no chance. He (Ryan) just blew it by me. But it's an honor. I'll have another paragraph in all the baseball books. I'm already in the books three or four times."
12) San Diego GM Kevin Towers was trying to contact Rickey at a nearby hotel. He knew Henderson always used fake names to avoid the press, fans, etc. He was trying to think like Rickey and after several attempts; he was able to get Henderson on the phone. Rickey had checked in under Richard Pryor.
13) I didn't believe this one at first. However, I emailed a few contacts within the Sox organization and they claim it actually happened. This is priceless, it really is. The morning after the Sox finished off the sweep against St. Louis last October, Henderson called someone in the organization looking for tickets to Game 6 at Fenway Park.
14) The Mets were staying in a hotel less than a mile from CinergyField in Cincinnati. While some players walked, most took the team bus. A few minutes after they arrived - again it was less than a mile - the last players off the bus noticed a stretched limo that had justpulled up. Of course, Rickey emerged from the back seat.
15) A reporter once asked Rickey if he talked to himself, "Do I talk to myself? No, I just remind myself of what I'm trying to do. You know, I never answer myself so how can I be talking to myself?"
16) OK, I know everyone has been waiting for it. Alas, according to both parties involved, it's not true. I wish it were. Heck, both Rickey Henderson and John Olerud have said they wish it were true. But it just didn't happen. The story went that a few weeks into Henderson's stint with the Mariners, he walked up to Olerud at the batting cage and asked him why he wore a batting helmet in the field. Olerud explained that he had ananeurysm at nine years old and he wore the helmet for protection. Legend goes that Henderson said, "Yeah, I used to play with a guy that had the same thing. "Legend also goes that Olerud said, "That was me, Rickey." Henderson played with Olerud on the Blue Jays and the Mets.
17) Rickey was asked if he had the Garth Brooks album with Friends in Low Places and Henderson said, "Rickey doesn't have albums. Rickey has CDs."
18) During a contract holdout with Oakland in the early 1990s, Henderson said, "If they want to pay me like Mike Gallego, I'll play like Gallego."
19) In the late 1980s, the Yankees sent Henderson a six-figure bonus check. After a few months passed, an internal audit revealed the check had not been cashed. Current Yankees GM Brian Cashman – then a low-level nobody with the organization – called Rickey and asked if there was a problem with the check. Henderson said, "I'm just waiting for the money market rates to go up."
20) In June 1999, when Henderson was playing with the Mets, he saw reporters running around the clubhouse before a game. He asked a teammate what was going on and he was told that Tom Robson, the team's hitting coach, had just been fired. Henderson said, "Who's he?"
21) Rickey was pulled over by a San Diego police officer for speeding. As the officer was approaching Rickey's car, the window went down a few inches and a folded $100 bill emerged. The officer let Rickey and his money head home without a ticket.
22) When he was on the Yankees in the mid-1980s, Henderson told teammates that his condo had such a great view that he could see, "The Entire State Building."
23) During one of his stays with Oakland, Henderson's locker was next to Billy Beane's. After making the team out of spring training, Beane was sent to the minors after a few months. Upon his return, about six weeks later, Henderson looked at Beane and said, "Hey, man, where have you been? Haven't seen you in awhile."
24) To this day and dating back 25 years, before every game he plays, Henderson stands completely naked in front of a full length lockerroom mirror and says, "Ricky's the best, " for several minutes.
25) In the last week of his lone season with the Red Sox, Chairman Tom Werner asked Henderson what he would like for his 'going-away' gift. Henderson said he wasn't going anywhere, but he would like owner John Henry's Mercedes. Werner said it would be tough to get the same make and model in less than a week and Henderson said, "No, I want his car." Turns out the Sox got Henderson a Red Thunderbird and when he saw it on the field before the last game of the season, Rickey said, "Whose ugly car is on the field?"

Monday, February 20, 2006

You: I’m heading to Milwaukee for the weekend. What should I do?

Me: Start by getting a jumbo cheeseburger and some frozen custard at Kopp’s. You can’t beat the burgers and the custard is 99.8% butter fat. Yum. I used to work at a place just like Kopp’s and never tired of the food.

Next you might want to take a jaunt around The Domes. In the middle of a cold Wisconsin winter you can go into a desert, rainforest, or wonderful flower garden.

Brewery tours anyone? You can go wander around the old Pabst City, but you won’t see any beer getting made because the plant stopped brewing in 1996. So you can either go with Miller Brewing Companies main tour (which I hear is pretty good) or a smaller operation like Sprecher.
The art museum is wonderful. It’s located right on Lake Michigan and as you come up Wisconsin Avenue you’re delighted with a view of the newer addition designed by Santiago Calatrava. The Milwaukee Public Museum can be a full day’s event. Find the Indian buffalo hunt exhibit and press the button on the far right side to activate the rattle snake. The highlight might very well be the Streets of Old Milwaukee. You can walk around and pier inside windows of the buildings that replicate Milwaukee as it was around the 1880s. The County Zoo is world class. I prefer the penguins and monkey island.

Ultimately, you should plan on visiting this great city in warmer weather. Come April 3rd Miller Park will be the place to be. Some of the best memories I have in Mil-town are tailgating at County Stadium and then Miller Park. The State Fair has more than just animals and pig races; they have cream puffs, big ones. I’d recommend getting some flavored milk at the Herb Kohl's Milkhouse. Raspberry and root beer are my favorite. Heralded as the "City of Festivals,” you have your pick; Rainbow Summer, Riversplash!, and Bastille Days (mid-July) are downtown and The Lakefront Festival of the Arts is held, well on the Lakefront (next to the art museum). The following are all held at Henry Maier Festival Park week after week from June to September: Pridefest, Asian Moon Festival, Polish Fest, Summerfest (aka The Big Gig. Each year, more than one million attendees drink beer, eat fried egg plant, and listen to music at this 11-day event. Featuring both top name entertainers and unknowns on 13 stages), Festa Italiana (late July), German Fest (last week of July), African World Fest (early August), Arab World Fest (Mid August), Irish Fest, Mexican Fiesta, Indian Summer.

To be continued...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Candy, flowers, and jewelry are nice. But my favorite part of the day is the cards.
Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 06, 2006


Steely Dan is more than one guy.

Steely Dan is a jazz band and I like them. There I said it. Let me start this off by pointing out the founding/principle members Walter Becker and Donald Fagan decided to name the band "Steely Dan" after a steam-powered dildo in the William Bouroughs novel "Naked Lunch.” Curious? These guys can write and I find myself humming along to most of their songs. The history of this band and the evolving background is very interesting. Becker and Fagan are poets.

Recently I was sent one of the most hilarious collections of short movies I’ve seen (thanks Pat). It’s no Spinal Tap, but Yacht Rock tells the tail of the rock genre most love to hate. Start with #1 and watch Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, Messina, Hall & Oats, Toto and of course Steely Dan struggle to keep their unique sound alive.

To avoid having to buy all 6+ albums I’ve been asking anyone I think is a music fan, “Do you have any Steely Dan albums?” Either they have a greatest hits collection, only the most acclaimed album Aja (as I do), or nothing. If nothing; they almost certainly laugh at the idea of owning a Steely Dan album or haven’t even heard of the group.

After the group reunited in 2000 and won a Best Album Grammy for Two Against Nature I read articles questioning if this group was as innovative and important to rock history as I believe they are. Steely Dan is mulling a tour this summer once Donald Fagen is done with his solo tour, which is already pretty shocking, since Steely Dan is the very definition of a studio band and hasn’t toured much before. Check them out! If you’re a music fan you owe it to yourself to give Steely Dan a shot.

Friday, February 03, 2006


This is a comical concept ... tired of having cocktails at home alone? You can pop in this DVD to watch a guy named Steve on his couch, sipping right along with you. "No stupid chitchat, no crying about ex-girlfriends, just you and Steve tipping a few back," the website promises.

I'll toast to that. L'Chaim!
-stephen