brewers baseball and things


Ed Halicki rides the bus

The J line ran night and day and Storey Island sat in perfect darkness. There was also mom’s home-made soups and Dad’s steel drums, but everything felt like an incestuous privilege” to Dirk Whipple; everything except riding that J line.

Mom knew a doctor; not the kind with a stethoscope, but one with a knack for palms and moon risings. Stelphus was his name and he and Momma Whipple mapped out a plan to seduce Dirk downtown with a burger and fries as bait. Worked like a charm. Dr. Stelphus sat at an adjacent table and didn’t say a word until Dirk’s mouth slowed down and he began pushing fries around his plate.

Only then did Stelphus make his move; striking up casual conversation and 45 minutes later, Dirk’s palms had been read and time of birth revealed. It was Momma Whipple’s turn now. She handed Dirk a 5 dollar bill and told him to “go and fetch some ice cream for him and his new friend.”

Stelphus put his hand on Momma Whipple’s. “Dirk may never show an interest in your soup or daddy’s steel drums,” he explained, “But don’t you worry about him riding that J train into the dark tunnel and out onto higher ground. All that in and out is good for the boy” and when Dr. Stelphus winked at Momma Whipple, she threw her arms up and raced to get Dirk; regretting she’d ever came.

It was on the J ride home where Dirk found a pack of unopened Topps baseball cards which didn’t arouse any excitement in him, but he opened the pack just the same, hoping one hundred-dollar bills might be inside, but there weren’t and so he flung the cards one by one onto the subway floor until one card sucked his eyes in. The player was kneeling down; looking like a sniper and aiming his bat at someone not even in the picture. Underneath it said “Ed Kranepool.”

Maybe an assassin,” Dirk thought; excited to use a word he had just learned from the scarf dealer on Storey Island and less than a week ago too and now this picture? He flipped the card over and found a number in the upper left hand corner. It said 641. Dirk assumed all the cards had numbers for identification purposes like prisoners of war getting digits branded onto their wrists or forearms. 

Dirk wanted to have more and more of these cards and collect them in a big pile and climb the fire escape of a big building and set them all free. He scanned the subway floor and counted six cards plus the ones still in the pack; “a good start,” he thought. The next morning Dirk walked to Clifton’s Pharmacy and began the ritual exchange of coins for cards.

That’s where he met Simmy Timpkins and learned of the 726 cards needed to complete the 1980 set. Simmy was big around the ankles and had all kinds of connections; stuck his nose in everybody’s business so when the time came and Dirk needed only one more card, Simmy stepped in like a pimp and promised him #217 Ed Halicki if Dirk would do him “just one small favor.”

There was an electric pole at the corner of Palisades and Avenue T and that’s where a gang of monk parakeets had taken refuge. Simmy’s little brother wanted one of the lime green critters for a pet and if Simmy didn’t get it for him than Simmy’s older brother would perform messy justice on Simmy.

Dirk made his way to Avenue T, spotted the hairy nest high above and just before beginning to climb, he said in a whisper,  “screw it” and scanned the neighborhood for a pharmacy not named Cliftons. Dirk spent 40 dollars on cards that day; one pack after another and as luck or destiny would have it; he scored not one, but two Ed Halicki cards. 

Dirk went home and gathered up all the cards, waited till dark and climbed the fire escape of Doogan’s Flour factory. There must have been over 3,000 cards he set free with all those doubles and triples flying every which way; some twirling like helicopter leaves towards the river and others nose diving into backyards and a few even slipping through open windows and onto a moving bus. One of them was Ed Halicki. 



day night and day

I have two TV’s,  so I guess in terms of world wealth, I am terribly spoiled. One of them is flat screen and that’s where I watch all the baseball games and movies. The other one is so old that it has one of those VHS bellies built into it. I keep it because I have some Brewer games on tape that are not available on You Tube like that game from I think 2005 when Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks both hit their first career home runs.

And that old TV freaking exploded Saturday morning. Thank goodness I reacted quickly; wrapping my arms around my head like Egyptian Mummy strands avoiding what I thought were going to be  flying shards of TV tube, but it was just a dream or I guess a nightmare, but what a loud BOOOOM and bizarre way to wake up on Sa-Turds day. The TV suddenly looked like a still and very peaceful Buddha.

The Brewers almost came from behind in the 9th to beat the Cubs Friday night. Lots of home runs too which may be like an uncivilized messy burger at a greasy spoon to some, but I like greasy burgers at local greasy spoons every once in a while and I ate one of those Saturday and well, the Brewers win when they hit home runs; always did and maybe always will. I like the fight in their fabric this past week.

The subway car is always something to exit; slipping through those Star Trek swooosh doors into an inverted cathedral; the massive cement underground; the up and down escalators way more than myth or metaphor with heaven and hell definite possibilities. I had a burger to eat and the Brewers another game to play. The afternnon passed and so did the evening. I digested that burger and by George, the Brewers beat up on the Cubs 12-4 with three more home runs; one of them the first in Jason Rogers’s career and heavens to Betsy it came as a pinch hit three run blast. Rogers looks a bit like Bill Madlock and he plays third base too.

The Brewers are 10-21 and I just saw a man wake up from under an evergreen tree.  He stretched his arms, yawned and apparently had a good night’s rest on pine needles and under the stars. Today is Sunday.


there’s always larry dierker

I could always scream “A CHANCE” when my eyes open and breath and voice return in the morning, but I escape into my own thoughts instead. I slither in the sheets and eventually get the courage to sit up; rock back and forth; shake dust from my mind.

Then it’s off to the computer and before that, it was off to the tv and before that my mouth-watering for cereal and before that; where’s my mommy?

I flee to the bathroom or coffee pot nowadays. I’m on auto pilot I guess; maybe even brainwashed by hope because I could have said Booo and stayed under the blanket; played games all day, but I go to work.

I’d like to see or hear or smell the world like it was on the first day of big bang creation way back when and I know my desire is impossible and dangerous because of the potential lusts and addictions rising from the ruins of my frustration.

Snow mounds on the local baseball field look like incurable diseases.

I love coffee in the morning and the chocolate Danish and second coffee during my 15 minute work break and beer after work feels like summer vacation when I was 13 years young and just bought Combat Rock.

I loved Winkie’s Variety Store store; the racks and rows of toys and board games and aquariums filled with fish; mostly goldfish but exotic enough. And the entire front section devoted to candy and bubble gum and Topps, Donruss, Fleer and magic tricks and perfect rubber baseballs to play strikeout.

But the windows were thick cubes and you couldn’t really see through them; only colors all smeared and distorted and if you squinted or shifted to the right or left, the distortion got worse or better; depended on what you wanted; a carnival mirror or reality; maybe the same thing.

It always felt a little suspicious to me because you couldn’t see inside; could never know what was going on in there and that’s exactly how I feel now. I can’t look back inside and see what’s going on in there. I’m cut off from the past and it depresses me. I’m stuck in the prison of now, but if I accept it like death, maybe gratitude rushes in like buffalo and Larry Dierker comes to life again and it feels like the first time.

It’s not the inside of Winkie’s Variety Store. It’s not the first day big bang creation either, but it is September 1964 and that’s close enough.

Maybe everyone had a friend resembling Lawrence Edward Dierker or maybe that’s just me trying to sound clever, but Dierker did have perfect teeth and a smile on crash course with squinty eyes and freckles; a recipe for rabble rouse always the first to do; always the most outlandish.

Larry Dierker turned 18 on September 22, 1964. He also appeared in a major league game on that day; as a starting pitcher for the Houston Colt .45’s. There were younger ones; maybe Bob Feller? and definitely Joe Nuxhal who was 15 I think, but any teen on the burial mound blows me into the next state of mind and Dierker struck out Willie Mays in his first inning.

His overall debut wasn’t so good; but he pitched 2 more times out of relief in 1964 and didn’t allow a run in 6 innings. 

Maybe the Colt .45’s were desperate with nothing to lose; not afraid to make asses of themselves; no reputation to uphold or preserve.

The Brewers traded Yovani Gallardo this off-season. He was up for free agency after 2015 anyway but there is still a year to fill and Gallardo was drafted and developed by the Brewers; appeared as opening day pitcher the last 5 or 6 years. He probably won’t appear on a stamp, but he was the ace and he is gone.

Move over Yo and let drafted and developed Jimmy Nelson take over.

Nelson endured a roller coaster debut in 2014; 82 hits in 69 innings and this year could be a flop or fantastic; and so could today and that’s exactly how I like it; the unpredictability keeps me from looking over my shoulder into those window cubes.


revisiting Pluto with a squirt gun of embalming fluid

Big debate yesterday; dome houses versus regular rectangular ones. I tried to impress my opponent by referencing  Buckminster Fuller; in praise of his spaceship planet earth. He didn’t bite. I had no idea he was so smart or maybe he just knew how to look smart. He reeled off a rosary bead list of negatives to the dome.

He had a masturbatory personality. Loved to hear himself talk and think. Who the hell am I to judge. Some of the best conversations I’ve ever had are with me, myself and I. But this guy was arrogant and pompous and cock sure. His great uncle is probably Winston Churchill. I got a head ache.

All I wanted to do was stand up and walk to walmart so I did and never bothered to say goodbye. I don’t need to buy anything. I just look. It’s better than a museum because you don’t have to walk so damn slow and pretend to be a cultural elite. Walmart shoppers are aggressive and violent with karts and kids. I like that. I miss bumper cars and well…i love americans and canadians.

There’s not much in this world worse than the pace of museum walk. It’s worse than being stuck inside a white racquetball court with a bunch of snot nosed kids who never shut up or intellectuals who also never shut up, but I prefer the kids. They’re more nasty and not so damn cute with their words.

Anyway, I wanted a telescope because Earth sucks, but Walmart probably doesn’t have a telescope; not  on sale anyway and so I wouldn’t buy one. I’m too cheap and too lazy to carry one across town. But who needs planet earth. The British like to hear themselves talk  and always figure out a way to be right when they’re actually wrong.  And if I hear one more Italian , Spanish , or Greek brag about his country’s cheese or wine, I’m gonna construct an extra terrestrial runway. I like telescopes.

Americans who always rail on america. They’re so impressed with themselves; quoting French authors and deconstructing American society; praising Europeans. I do like the porta potties in Denmark. Pretty much everything in Denmark is great as far as I can tell including stashing Jews during Europe’s genocide feast. Is that Europe’s favorite sport? Europe. What a joke. How is that Mexicans speak Spanish? And Lord British Balfour carving up the middle east drunk on what? his own embalming fluid?

America’s Funniest Home Videos might be the most important show in America or the world for crisakes. I almost pissed in my pants watching it last night.

Walmart telescopes at 3AM. Loud inside and dark outside but the sun will get here; brave the bugs and trees and dirt and yippee, me and my telescope outside, but Yuck!!! Nature sucks. And then it stays dark for at least 12 more hours and this really sucks. I’m freaking out. Maybe stay this way forever. I adjust. We all adjust or jump off a bridge. It doesn’t matter.

The Brewers lost their fifth in a row and traded for Jonathan Broxton; the fat ass coveted set up man since the trading deadline-end of July. And now the waiver deadline-end of August-players dropped on a Chinese restaurant plate to sit and spin so all 29 other teams can take a long look and decide if he’s worth biting into or something like that.

So the Brewers are tied with the red Turd Cardinals, but who cares! Maybe those arrogant pricks talking World Series back in June and July. Maybe they care. Annoying fools. They steal away the mystery with their bold picks and promises. As if we believe their self promotion and propoganda anyway! Bunch of Vladimir Putins. Coldest mother fuckers on the planet.

At least the Giants are behaving like Giants. Swept the Brewers in style; 15-6 on Sunday.

Brewers are 73-63.



random thoughts on a foggy day

Surprised to see my parents not watching TV….almost never; just one episode of Jeopardy a few days ago. They seem to be getting busier with more projects as they get older and they’re knocking on 80’s door.

And not surprised to hear 19 year olds with confidence that knows no speed limits. I’m glad for them but they can be a bit freaky and in your face. Guess they haven’t had the equivalent of their legs cut off, not yet anyway; no life pulled out from underneath them. In germany, I hear the work week is only four days and the older people are ok with younger people not working as much while they ‘figure out” what to do. I kind of like that. Respect for the elders and also the opposite; hand off to the youth.

Brewer fans don’t boo Ryan Braun. Of course not. That would be like Mom not cheering for her son, but Braun looks depressed. I was talking to my dad’s best friend last night. We’ve been friends forever. He moved into a funny place. Lots of old movie pictures on the wall of the complex and an old piano that is broken in the lobby. Humid; smells like Florida in the hallways; carpeted hallways. Something out of that “Mystery Train” movie. Anyway, he’s lost like 50 pounds; problems with the pancreas or something, big bummer. The body is such a bastard; so not reliable. But he ignores the inevitable so we do too.

He was tuned to the Little League World Series, then the Red Sox and Angels and talking about the Brewers. He was drinking RC cola. I had some 7-up. We ate those little fish crackers. He sees it; sees Braun being severely depressed. He was always a bit stand off; away from team celebrations, but this year he’s walking dead; maybe the conscience is getting to him or maybe he’s pissed about fewer home runs. Who knows. Who cares. He still leads the team in RBI’s.

Nice fog this morning and not rolling in; just sitting there in these wet lands not far from my parent’s condo; still as can be. Already seen some dead mice and a few frogs; all kinds of birds and good dreams last night….good because I remember some of them.

The coffee here is half decaf, maybe better for Mom’s health. I don’t know, doesn’t matter, so I drink an extra cup or two. Still got cravings for cigarettes, but not as many. Over 100 hours now and still not a puff. I don’t have too much pride about anything, but this is something; this quitting the cigarette death. Yeh, I feel some pride for the discipline and strength and money saved.

Found a pouch of Big League Chew at Winkie’s Variety Store. What a store! Jigsaw puzzles, airplane models, beach toys, games, silly puddy, glass figurines to decorate bathrooms, baseball cards, huge rack of candy bars and gum galore. I bought some Trident and a couple of Big League Chew pouches.

Brewers didn’t play yesterday; rare two off days in the same week. Never can tell if that’s a cure or a curse; a needed rest or a needle to the balloon. And the TV is always off here so no news, but the radio talks about forest fires in the west, Isis in Iraq, racial riots in St. Louis. I thought Isis was a Greek goddess and didn’t Dylan write a song about her? on the same album with The Hurricane and Mozambique?

My cousin wrote a book before he passed away. It’s called “The Story of Me.” He printed a bunch out and gave em to family members; freaking good, if not great and funny book about his life. He’s got some quotables in there; one of my favorites so far is something about getting old not being that bad because his enemies start dying too.

I might go swimming today; easier now with clear lungs or clearer lungs. Easier to take a full breath, Who knows where this will all go right there?



a picture is worth a thousand illusions delusions dimensions, same thing?

Someone takes the actual photo on a baseball card. “Say cheese, smile, turn your head to the right, lift your left leg a bit. Perfect. The look of Walter Johnson. Hold that. Click” Maybe a strange shaped cloud rolls overhead or a rusty bridge in the background is seen and maybe it’s appropriate to include in the shot.

It’s hard to distinguish between intentional and accidental when it comes to meaning and baseball cards. But someone takes the time to arrange the perfect light and setting and what not. None of the cards feature a photographer’s name. There is no byline; just a Topps insignia, but someone travels all over baseball creation and snaps photos.

I’m not a big fan of studio poses or contrived shots on the mound but image seems more important than substance or meaning these days. Or maybe it always was. Maybe it was even more important back in the day with all the jewelry and face paint, masks and what not.

Anyway, I prefer action photos and the multiple meanings we assign them as deluded as they may be. Everyone can enjoy their own delusion. We can share or trade them and all live in one happy deluded baseball card world. And if we agree on the same delusion, maybe it becomes an illusion or a dimension. 

I think Topps issues its cards in February. Nowadays the card companies are many and each one launches a new wave of cards on a weekly or maybe monthly or seasonal basis. A baseball season features all kinds of changes; from opening day to the all star break and Word Series.

There are trades and records broken, winning streaks, no hitters, and what not and the baseball card world mirrors these changes or attempts to anyway. The intent in a photo can only be hinted, but there is no judgment, no asterik for those who used steroids or extra star for players who make more media noise.

gallardo blueThere’s just a photo and on the back side some bio info and basic stats. The rest is up to the viewer. The 2014 Opening Day Topps card of Yovani Gallardo displays his number 49 in full view. It’s not the first time his number can be clearly seen. The 2011 Topps Sparkle Sp Variation was maybe the best with a star above the Milwaukee insignia and that number 49 easy to see.

2011 Sparkle

2011 Sparkle

Gallardo wears the number to honor former Brewer left hander Teddy Higuera. Both Gallardo and Higuera are from Mexico; two of Milwaukee’s all time greatest pitchers. 2014 may be Gallardo’s last season as a Brewer, so the card takes on additional meaning.

But sentimentals and history aside, there are also the 2014 Topps Opening day cards of Jean Segura and Carlos Gomez. segura toppsgomez cardSegura seems to ignore the burden of ribs and joints and gravity. And Gomez laughs in the face of expert advice “nice and easy.” Segura is a swan. Gomez is a pleasant bull. And I’m a baseball card fan with delusions.

The Brewers had an off day Monday and visit Toronto Tuesday afternoon to play the Blue Jays in celebration of Canada Day.

The Brewers are 51-33.


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seen your face before

mr_potato_headThe original Mr. Potato Head cost 98 cents. It was plastic pushpin limbs in a box. The body was not included. A real potato or other vegetable was used until the government regulated the situation due to health concern over rotting veggys. Kids tend to be cannibals without supervision.

Brown plastic replica potatos were then included in the package and kids were free to keep putting ears where lips were supposed to be. And maybe a kid contemplated creation and evolution wondering how nothing could so suddenly become a beautiful face. There must be a deliberate force behind all of this. “Of course there is,” says the kid “and It’s me. I’m God.”

Painting portraits and creating fictional characters heals Mr. Potato Head withdrawal and serves as a lasting tribute to whatever keeps creating the universe and the bubble yum delicious face of Natalie Portman and her kookie personality in Garden State.



Critics insist her character-Sam does not represent the real world reality of being a woman and that men always day dream about kooky girls like Sam. Well, it is just a movie and Sam is only a teenager, but she is a pathological liar, suffers from  epilepsy and has no father. And she speaks in wonderful gushes and well, she’s beautiful to me.

And anyway, I thought men day dreamed more about boobs and blondes and in the process unintentionally scared women into corners and competition. This is great news. If Sam is what the world wants; freak flags will soon fly higher.

I knew a girl. She was ridiculed for being kooky. She didn’t talk much. She painted a blue streak through her hair. l had a crush on her, but worried friends might call me cheesy, so my crush lived forever in secret and maybe that’s a good thing because she’s still the most sensual and interesting girl I never really knew.

Nowadays, every hallway in the hospital where I work has paintings hanging on walls. Therapy for the patients. I sneak a peak during my deliveries. I guess my knees are tired, but something’s been happening. A vague feeling bubbles up in me as I look longer at some of the paintings and it feels like my crush on that girl all over again.  It’s the first time in my life I’ve been pulled in by paintings.

Tryout by Sydney Goodman

Tryout by Sydney Goodman

I found Tryout on line with its dark colors and batter at the lonely plate of shadows. He’s naked. There’s an umpire standing stiff in the second base distance. There is no pitcher, no crowd; just a fold up chair beside the batter. The climate is severe and filled with judgment, but lots of courage and to think the painter intended it this way; deliberate and conscious like a kid creator arranging ears and noses on a Mr. Potato Head.

Deliberate like the Yankees, Dodgers, and Angels creating teams with money. Deliberate like the A’s recreating rosters with intelligence and the king of deliberate-the Minnesota Twins insisting the entire organization be filled with control pitchers and batters who get on base.

The Twins have been this way since Tom Kelly became manager in 1986. He won two world series and handed the baton to Ron Gardenhire in 2002 who’s been there ever since. Two managers in 28 years. That’s rare. That’s Twins. Great organization.

Samuel Deduno was on the mound at Miller Park Tuesday Night to face the Brewers and he stands tall at 6’3″ and that’s nothing new. But he’s wild and that’s new because the Twins avoid wild pitchers like the plague. Not even Deduno knows where the pitch will end up and he doesn’t throw a knuckleball. The deliberate nature of pitching seems removed. It’s a wild river in Deduno-ville and no one knows where it will flow.

Deduno walked four in five innings but induced 3 double plays to escape jams. Both Deduno and Brewer’s starter Yovani Gallardo labored. Gallardo’s pitch count reached 80 after the fourth inning. Brewer’s announcer Brain Anderson called the game a “funirian” pace. Is that even a word? Well, last night, it became one.

Home runs by Josh Willingham and Brian Dozier accounted for five Twins runs.. Final score; Twins 6; Brewers 4.

The Brewers are 35-24.