The great shortstop swap

I love the trade deadline, the rumors and the big deals. While I hated to see Johnny Cueto leave Cincinnati, I’m glad he went to a great team in Kansas City. But that move was expected. I never expected to see Troy Tulowitzki in a uniform other than Colorado’s.

Both Tulo and Jose Reyes made their debuts for their new teams yesterday. And of course, I grabbed some images from news sites to make baseball cards of the pair in their new duds. No Photoshopping here…this is the real deal on virtual cardboard.

Jose  Reyes Rockies

Reyes was 1-for-3 in his Colorado debut, with a single, a stolen base, and a walk. He was also caught stealing. How long will he be wearing a purple uniform? There are already rumors floating around that he could be headed elsewhere, and if that time comes, a new TWJ card will be created. But for now, he’s the mile high shortstop.

Tulowitzki Blue Jays

Tulowitzki wowed his new team, going 3-for-5 with a home run and two doubles, driving in three runs and scoring three himself. His slugging percentage in Canada is 1.600. Of course, he won’t keep that up the rest of the season, but it’s a mighty impressive first game in Toronto.

You can check out all of the 2015 TWJ “revamped” series virtual baseball cards at TWJ cards on tumblr.

Red Sox Rhymes: Verses and Curses by Dick Flavin (2015)

redsoxrhymes

Red Sox Rhymes: Verses and Curses
by Dick Flavin
William Morrow, 2015
224 pages

Red Sox fans rejoice as Fenway’s finest are immortalized in verse by “Boston Red Sox Poet Laureate” Dick Flavin in Red Sox Rhymes: Verses and Curses. Singing the praises of Pedro Martinez, Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky and more, Flavin combines his flair for words with his love for baseball and creates some memorable lines about Boston’s major league franchise. There are eight themed sections in this hardcover book, covering the glorious and the inglorious, the players and the management, and a handful of personal, biographical verses.

Included in the section about the Splendid Splinter and his teammates is a re-working of the Ernest Lawrence Thayer’s classic, “Casey At The Bat.” Originally recited privately to Williams, Pesky, and Dom DiMaggio, during a visit to Williams in Florida while he was ill, Flavin was asked shortly thereafter to recite “Teddy At The Bat” during the memorial service held at Fenway Park for the Boston legend. It is a wonderful tribute to the man, and alone is almost worth the purchase price of this volume. But there is so much more inside.

Should Joe DiMaggio‘s brother Dom be in the Hall of Fame? Flavin thinks so, and lists numerous reasons to support that belief in “The Little Professor.” There are parodies of the Christmas classics, “’Twas The Night Before Christmas” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” and tributes to Pedro Martinez and Carl Yastrzemski. There are even a few lines written for non-Sox, such as Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, and Jackie Robinson.

A thoroughly enjoyable book of poems about the country’s most poetic sport, Red Sox Rhymes is a must-have for any baseball buff.

Learn more about William Morrow.

Purchase Red Sox Rhymes: Verses and Curses by Dick Flavin.

Fun Cards Submission: 1982 Topps Sean Casey (Highlights)

Casey 2015

Todd Frazier put on a show at the Home Run Derby a couple of weeks ago, but there was a guy in the stands that stole a little bit of the spotlight for about ten seconds. Reds Hall of Famer Sean Casey was hanging out with the fans and snagged one of the home runs that flew his way, and TWJ contributor Patrick immortalized the moment on virtual cardboard for all of us to enjoy.

Casey, also known as “The Mayor”, hit 130 home runs during his own big league career, and appeared in three All-Star Games representing the Reds. Three times he hit 20 or more home runs, and twice he reached 99 RBI, but was never able to get to the century mark.

Patrick sent this card over shortly after the event, but I failed to post it right away because of other obligations. My schedule is settling down now a little bit, and I should be able to take better care of the site. I apologize to Patrick for the delay, and to the readers for the infrequency of posts recently. Hopefully things are back on track and you will see something happening here more than once a week.

1975 Red Sox: American League Champions (Images of Baseball) by Raymond Sinibaldi (2015)

1975 Red Sox

1975 Red Sox: American League Champions (Images of Baseball)
by Raymond Sinibaldi
Arcadia Publishing, 2015
128 pages

The Images of Baseball series from Arcadia Press never fails to impress. With this installment, author Raymond Sinibaldi has compiled an impressive collection of photographs from the almost-storybook-ending 1975 season of the Boston Red Sox. Carlton Fisk‘s home run in Game 6 of the World Series that year is one of the most memorable walk-offs in the history of baseball. Though the Cincinnati Reds were crowned the champions of baseball that year, Fisk has been quoted as saying that Boston won the Series “three games to four.” Sinibaldi takes a look at that team, starting in 1967 and the players of that pennant winner that would stick around to play a major role on the ’75 squad.

For the 1975 team, future Hall of Famers Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, and Fisk played major roles. Rice, who was a rookie, joined Dwight Evans (who has a strong Hall of Fame case himself) and another rookie Fred Lynn in the outfield. Lynn was named the Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year in 1975, the first time in history that happened. In addition to photos from the regular season of 1975 and the postseason against the Oakland A’s and Cincinnati, Sinibaldi turns his attention to another player that he believes should be honored along with Yaz, Rice, and Fisk in Cooperstown: Luis Tiant. Fifteen pages are devoted to “El Tiante,” from his early years in Cleveland and Minnesota, to his later career in Pittsburgh and the Yankees, with an obvious emphasis on his years in Boston.

It is absolutely wonderful to see all these images from 1975 collected into one volume, including several photographs of Fisk hitting that dramatic blast in Game 6. Red Sox fans will cherish this book, and baseball historians will relish in the memories of the 1975 Red Sox: American League Champions.

1975 Red Sox: American League Champions, $21.99, Arcadia Publishing. Available at local retailers, online bookstores, or through Arcadia Publishing and the History Press at www.arcadiapublishing.com or (888) 313-2665.

Learn more about Arcadia Publishing.

Purchase 1975 Red Sox: American League Champions (Images of Baseball) by Raymond Sinibaldi.

Fun Cards Submission: 1976 Topps Traded Johnny Cueto

cueto trade

TWJ contributor Patrick delivers again with this “fun card” of former Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto. Man, it’s difficult putting “former” before “Reds” in that sentence. We’ll miss Johnny Beisbol in Cincinnati, but I’m happy to see him going to Kansas City, one of the most exciting teams in the majors to watch. I caught a few minutes of last night’s game against Cleveland in between zzz’s, and it was good to see Lorenzo Cain and Edinson Volquez and the rest of that Royals squad on the field. Can’t wait to see them in the Fall Classic again this year.

Tony Oliva: The Life and Times of a Minnesota Twins Legend by Thom Henninger (2015)

Oliva

Tony Oliva: The Life and Times of a Minnesota Twins Legend
by Thom Henninger
University of Minnesota Press, 2015
280 pages

Nearly every team has a player like Tony Oliva: immensely popular among both fans and players, yet forgotten by the world at large outside of their “home” city. Oliva’s career in Minnesota as a player and coach saw him spend time with Hall of Famers Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, and Kirby Puckett. Author Thom Henninger’s new biography, Tony Oliva: The Life and Times of a Minnesota Twins Legend, covers all the bases, starting with his initial failed tryout with the Twins and the young player’s inability to return to Cuba afterward because of the Bay of Pigs operation. Henninger’s follows Oliva’s career, the ups and downs and personal, non-baseball highlights, interjecting memories of his teammates in with the statistical record.

That statistical record plays a major role in the author’s epilogue, “The Hall of Fame Question.” Despite Oliva’s popularity and success in Minnesota, he has not yet been rewarded with the ultimate honor bestowed upon baseball players. Henninger breaks down Oliva’s career, comparing his peak years of 1964-1971 to other men who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, both contemporary and those who came later, making the case that Oliva does belong among baseball’s immortals. It is a compelling case, but still short of a slam-dunk for the Cuban-born player.

Tony Oliva: The Life and Times of a Minnesota Twins Legend is an enjoyable book, one that Twins fans and baseball history fans will relish. Whether or not you believe Oliva belongs in the Hall of Fame, his story is worth reading.

Learn more about University of Minnesota Press.

Purchase Tony Oliva: The Life and Times of a Minnesota Twins Legend by Thom Henninger.

Fun Cards: 1938 Goudey Johnny Cueto, Kansas City Royals (sketch card) @JohnnyCueto

Cueto

Johnny Cueto was traded to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday. Cueto, the best pitcher the Reds have had since Mario Soto, will rejoin former Reds teammate Edinson Volquez in the Royals’ starting rotation as they attempt to capture a World Series Championship.

The Roles We Play (An excerpt from Step Out of Your Story by Kim Schneiderman)

Step out of your story Kim Schneiderman

The Roles We Play

An excerpt from Step Out of Your Story by Kim Schneiderman

Some authors start out thinking they know where a story is going to go, only to discover that the main character’s natural unfolding takes the plot somewhere else. Suddenly, it’s as if the protagonist’s drives and need for expression usurps the author, and the writer can’t help but move in the direction that the protagonist insists on going. The challenge is, of course, being able to let go.

The same is true in real life. Once you have a sense of where your character arc is headed, you might realize that if you continue following the current trajectory, you won’t end up where you want to be. When this happens, you need to be willing to let go of your attachment to who you think you are in order to step into the person — or in this case, the character — you were meant to become.

For example, you may be a marketing professional with an interest in photography. And you may have a sense that your character arc involves developing your creative side by taking a digital photography class. But you might not expect where this will lead: that the photography teacher, seeing “real talent,” will invite you on a photography expedition to the Galapagos, and that on this trip, you’ll meet your soul mate, who will invite you to live with him in Santa Fe, where you become a wife, a stepmother, and a freelance photographer who occasionally shows in galleries. Of course, this is not what you ever envisioned; it’s better.

Naturally, letting go of who you are, and how you expect your narrative to read, is sometimes easier said than done. Once you’ve built a world around the people, activities, practices, and roles that define you, it can be very difficult to disengage when circumstances change, even for the better. But by closely examining the roles we play, we can determine whether they support or undermine our flourishing.

One of the challenges of being human is giving everything we’ve got to the characters we’re playing, knowing that eventually we may have to let go of the roles we think define us. In fact, once you create your character sketch, you may notice that your protagonist fits, and probably embraces, a number of roles, such as spouse, parent, daughter, and artist. Some roles we eagerly pursue because they provide us with a sense of identity, self-esteem, and perhaps a venerated status, like a doctor or a lawyer. We choose these roles consciously and unconsciously, and for both altruistic and self-serving reasons — to express our unique skills and talents, to improve our financial prospects, to fulfill societal expectations, to win other’s admiration, and sometimes to put our values into action. Hence, roles provide a sense of purpose, love, security, status, or a steady paycheck while suggesting certain competencies and intrinsic values — for example, that research scientists are intelligent and mothers are nurturing. Over the course of our story, we are constantly adding roles, which themselves evolve: for example, we all start as children, but we may also become a spouse and a parent, and with each addition the previous roles can shift in nature.

Some roles can feel intrinsic to our identity, and we can have a hard time letting them go or making necessary adjustments when they change. Consider your own story. When has this happened with you? Was it when you realized that you were no longer a child and needed to support yourself financially? Or was it the moment your youngest child left for college? Such transitions can feel daunting.

Yet when we confuse the essence of who we are with the roles we’re playing, we run the risk of getting lost when life circumstances change, as they do all the time. In fact, people often seek my counseling services when the roles they identify with are threatened, changing, or taken from them. Sometimes these transitions are welcome, despite some ambivalence, and people simply require time to become acclimated to their new status, such as when parents, after the kids leave home, become empty nesters, or when retirement arrives. More difficult to accept are lost roles due to tragedy or other difficulties — divorce, unemployment, the death of a loved one.

When people take charge of their narrative and become protagonists of their own story, I encourage them to regard these role transitions as important parts of every narrative — it’s what characters in stories do. Our stories are constantly changing, and our roles along with them. The important thing to remember is that we don’t cease to exist simply because the roles we thought defined us are no longer relevant.

# # #

Kim Schneiderman, LCSW, MSW, is the author of Step Out of Your Story. She counsels in private practice and teaches as a professor and guest lecturer at venues including New York University. She also writes a biweekly advice column for Metro Newspapers and blogs for Psychology Today. Visit her online at http://www.stepoutofyourstory.com.

Excerpted from the book Step Out of Your Story: Writing Exercises to Reframe and Transform Your Life ©2015 by Kim Schneiderman. Published with permission of New World Library http://www.newworldlibrary.com.

2015 Reds, 1990 Score style: Michael Lorenzen (Young Superstar) @Lorenzen55

Lorenzen

Rookie Michael Lorenzen is scheduled to take the mound against the Cubs tonight, going up against Chicago lefty Clayton Richard. Lorenzen is 3-4 with a 3.53 ERA, but has taken a loss in his previous two games. He has faced the Cubs once this year, giving up five earned runs in four-and-one-third innings in Chicago on June 11.

Lorenzen is effective at the plate for a pitcher, hitting .261 with six hits—including a triple—in 23 at-bats. He has been used as a pinch-hitter four times, failing to get a hit in those appearances, and a pinch-runner once. In his pinch-running appearance, Lorenzen scored the game-winning run on a Devin Mesoraco double.

2015 Reds, 1990 Score style: Joey Votto (Superstar)

Vottomatic

How awesome is Joey Votto? Not as awesome as he was in 2010, but he can still rake when he’s in a groove. Sixteen longballs, 43 ribbies, and a .277 average ain’t too sloppy. He wasn’t an All-Star this year, but I have to believe he was on the cusp if there had been room for an extra first baseman.

2015 Reds, 1990 Score style: All-Stars Todd Frazier and Aroldis Chapman

Frazier

Todd Frazier got the start at third base for the National League squad in the 2015 All-Star Game. He was 0-for-3 at the plate, grounding out to third base each time he came to the plate. The Cincinnati crowd cheered him on though, and he made us proud by hustling each time he came to the plate. This was Frazier’s second All-Star Game.

Chapman

Aroldis Chapman pitched the ninth inning for the National Leaguers, striking out the side. Twelve of his fourteen pitches were 100 mph or faster. Chapman has been selected to four consecutive All-Star Games.

2015 TWJ All-Stars

keuchel

Who’s on your All-Star team this year? The 2015 TWJ All-Star Game cards debut today at TWJ cards on tumblr. Many of the starters from last night’s game will be featured, but I have made a few substitutions in my lineup. A new card will be revealed each half hour, alternating between the American League and National League. Every card features a photo from Tuesday’s festivities (but none in those silly AL or NL jerseys). Be sure to check them all out—starting with Dallas Keuchel, which just went live moments ago—at TWJ cards on tumblr!

2015 Reds, 1990 Score style: “Franchise Four” Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Barry Larkin, Pete Rose

Alright, so technically these are not 2015 Reds…but it is certainly a 2015 highlight for this dismal Reds season. Announced before the 2015 All-Star Game in Cincinnati on Tuesday, Hall of Famers Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, and Barry Larkin, along with should-be Hall of Famer Pete Rose, took the field to a thunderous ovation as the Franchise Four of the Cincinnati Reds.

Bench

Morgan

Larkin

Rose

I was fortunate enough to be in attendance for Tuesday’s festivities. I have to say, if you ever get a chance to attend the MLB All-Star Game, it is worth it. I had an amazing night.

Random Awesomeness (part 195…All-Star edition)

Random Awesomeness

Purchase Frank Sinatra – Ultimate Sinatra.

2015 Reds, 1990 Score style: Todd Frazier, Home Run Derby Champion @FlavaFraz21

Frazier

For the first time since 1990, the host of the Home Run Derby is the champion. Ryne Sandberg won the competition at Wrigley Field in 1990; Todd Frazier took the title last night. Congratulations to the Toddfather, who has secured his place as my favorite Reds player this year.

I also created a special card for the TWJ set to commemorate last night’s victory, and to preview the All-Star design that should maybe possibly debut tomorrow. The regular set should resume on Thursday.

Frazier

Have fun watching the game tonight; I know I will!

Fun Cards Submissions: 1961 Baseball Scoops Todd Frazier @FlavaFraz21

Frazier 487 b copy

What a display! Cincinnati Reds All-Star third baseman Todd Frazier flew several baseballs to the moon last night, besting Prince Fielder, Josh Donaldson, and Joc Pederson in the 2015 edition of the Home Run Derby.

Frazier 487 copy

We were on the edge of our seats watching the first two rounds, and listening to the final round in the car. I’m so happy for Frazier and for the Reds, showing the world that this city loves baseball.

TWJ contributor sent over these two cards in the early hours of the morning. He said he couldn’t decide which one he liked better, and neither can I, so you get them both!

Friday morning at #Fanfest (and don’t forget to #voteCueto before 4pm)

fanfest duke convention centerThe All-Star Game Fanfest has come to Cincinnati! My youngest son and I took a trip down the Duke Energy Convention Center for a couple of hours this morning to check things out, and had a blast!

This is the first time Cincinnati has hosted the All-Star Game in 27 years, and the Queen City is going all-out for this event. Everywhere you look you can see hints of the Midsummer Classic, from mustache statues to banners to pillbox hats and more. We had fun walking around looking for mustaches yesterday, finding eight of the twenty-one statues scattered about the area.

In 1988, Terry Steinbach connected for a home run off Dwight Gooden that proved to be all the American League needed to win the game. Hopefully, the National League can find a way to defeat them in 2015.

At the Fanfest, we got to meet a couple of American League mascots…

IMAG0422

I know there were more mascots there somewhere, but we didn’t see any as we roamed the three floors of activities. Speed pitch machines, batting cages, and stealing bases with Billy Hamilton were some of the activities that we enjoyed while we were there.

We also stopped by the Hall of Fame exhibit, all the way from Cooperstown…

IMAG0428

Some very cool jerseys on display, including Mike Schmidt and Nolan Ryan, two of the superstars of the game when I was my son’s age. We had a nice chat with the Hall of Fame representatives about Pete Rose, Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr., and Bob Gibson. They were friendly and really enjoyed talking about our national pastime.

We also stopped by the Topps booth, where we tossed some cornhole, and Derek picked up this sweet All-Star Game Gapper card…

gapper

We look at the autograph line for Rollie Fingers, and it was insanely long, so we skipped that. But Jim O’Toole‘s line was manageable, so we hopped in and snagged a couple signatures from the Reds great…

IMAG0437

fanfest

I’m looking forward to going back next week for some more Fanfest fun, and I can’t wait for the game Tuesday. It’s going to be a blast!

2015 Reds, 1990 Score style: Jumbo Diaz

Jumbo

It has been a while since I posted a 2015 Reds, 1990 Score style card. With the pitiful season the Reds have been having, I sort of lost my motivation. But I have several more made, and additional players that I need to slap on the classic junk wax design, so we’re going to power through.

Jumbo Diaz started the season with the big league club, but his 6.65 ERA was quite underwhelming. I like Jumbo, he appears to be a nice guy and have heard as much from friends who have met him. But this year his stuff just wasn’t major league quality. Diaz was sent to Louisville on June 7.

Writing History: A Guide for Students by William Kelleher Storey (2015)

Writing History

Writing History: A Guide for Students
by William Kelleher Storey
Oxford University Press, 2015
146 pages

Writing History, described as “a practical guide for beginning historians” by the author, arms students with the tools necessary to research and write historical essays. The book concisely covers several topics, including plagiarism, organization, and how to remain faithful to historical facts. Storey focuses on research essays, but his guidance can help those who are writing shorter pieces as well. Particularly helpful are the seventh and eighth chapters, “Writing Sentences in History” and “Choosing Precise Words,” which contain advice applicable to all writers (including bloggers). Writing History is highly recommended for those delving into historical research.

Learn more about Oxford University Press.

Purchase Writing History: A Guide for Students by William Kelleher Storey.

The League of Regrettable Superheroes: Half-Baked Heroes from Comic Book History by Jon Morris (2015)

League of Regrettable Superheroes

The League of Regrettable Superheroes: Half-Baked Heroes from Comic Book History
by Jon Morris
Quirk Books, 2015
256 pages

“Some (superheroes) have regrettability baked in; others have regrettability thrust upon them.” Author Jon Morris does his best to immortalize some of the biggest comic book blunders, while conceding that some were simply victims of poor timing. On the cover of the book, we see Fatman, Doctor Hormone, Fantomah, Bozo the Iron Man, the Eye, and Amazing-Man; inside are the biographies of Funnyman, Kid Eternity, Captain Marvel (but not that Captain Marvel), Squirrel Girl, and the unfortunately unforgettable NFL Superpro.

It was a blast reading through these profiles, and imagining what they might look like on the big screen with the Avengers and the Justice League. The answer is that they would look ridiculous, and the studio executives would likely regret inserting them into such franchises, but it is still fun to imagine the Ferret and Ravage and Mr. Muscles joining the ranks of Iron Man, Captain America, Superman, and Batman. My personal favorite is Fatman the Human Flying Saucer, and I would be thrilled to try out for the role; I certainly fit the body type.

Comic book lovers young and old will enjoy reading Morris’ The League of Regrettable Superheroes. And who knows, it might even inspire someone to resurrect and reinvent one of these long-forgotten crime fighters.

Learn more about Quirk Books.

Purchase The League of Regrettable Superheroes by Jon Morris.

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