Author Archives: JT

Goodbye, Jeff LaBar

(March 18, 1963 – July 14, 2021)

Guitarist Jeff LaBar passed away yesterday. LaBar was best known for his work with Cinderella. He also performed with Cinderella bandmate Eric Brittingham in Naked Beggars and released a solo album in 2014. No cause of death was given as of the time of this writing.

Fun Cards: 1985 Donruss LL Cool J

LL Cool J 1985 Donruss

LL Cool J oozed cool in the 1980s. He still oozes cool today. “Mama Said Knock You Out” is my jam.

Fun Cards: Foo Fighters! 1995 Topps Dave Grohl, Pat Smear, Nate Mendel; 1997 Score Taylor Hawkins; 1999 Topps Chris Shiflett

Foo Fighters Dave Grohl 1995 Topps

Foo Fighters‘ 1995 debut album was groundbreaking. Not because it was radically sonically different; it was a rather straight-forward rock album. But the fact that Dave Grohl recorded the entire thing by himself for the most part, and so soon after the disbandment of Nirvana the year prior…honestly, Grohl is a musical genius. Nirvana didn’t deserve this man.

He is being inducted into the Rock Hall for the second time along with Foo-mates Pat Smear and Nate Mendel (who joined the band after the recording of the debut; both made their debut on 1997’s The Colour and the Shape), Taylor Hawkins (who sat down behind the skins in 1997, first appearing on 1999’s There Is Nothing Left to Lose), Chris Shiflett (additional guitarist since 1999, making his recording debut on 2002’s One By One), and Rami Jaffee (who came into the fold in 2017 on the Concrete and Gold album but won’t get a card because I’m not going to attempt a custom 2017 card).

Pat Smear Foo Fighters 1995 Topps

Nate Mendel Foo Fighters 1995 Topps

Taylor Hawkins Foo Fighters 1997 Score

Chris Shiflett Foo Fighters 1999 Topps

Fun Cards: 1983 Topps Wayne Nordhagen and Garth Iorg (Blue Jays Team Leaders style)

1983 Topps

This is the kind of stuff I do when my wife is out of town. Wayne Nordhagen and Garth Iorg. Wayne and Garth. Party on dude!

Fun Cards: 1981 Topps Max Schreck/Max Schrock (League Leaders style)

Max

I have no explanation for this one. I’m a horror movie fan and a baseball fan, and the fact that these two guys share the same name with only one letter difference (Max Schreck, Max Schrock), I just couldn’t get it out of my head. I had to do it. My sincerest apologies.

Fun Cards: 1990 Fleer “Super Star Special” Junior Felix/Felix Jose

Do you like listening to podcasts? I listen to a bunch of religious podcasts, but there is one baseball program that has been in my regular podcast rotation for quite a while. I’m talking, of course, of the Baseball Beyond Batting Average Podcast. For the past two weeks, BBBA teamed up with another baseball podcast, Two Strike Noise, to cover the 1990 season. And yes, Two Strike Noise has now been added to my podcast subscriptions.

I say all that to present a “fun card” inspired by the American League segment (which aired on the TSN feed)…a 1990 Fleer “Super Star Special” featuring Junior Felix and Felix Jose. Of course, they are not Hall of Famers like Steve Carlton and Carlton Fisk, but it is a card that definitely should have been in the early 1990s.

1990 Fleer

If you’re not already a regular listener of Baseball Beyond Batting Average or Two Strike Noise, pull up your favorite podcatcher (I use Stitcher, but they are available on all the major podcast apps) and subscribe right now!

Fun Cards: The Fictional Players of Pitch

Ginny Baker San Diego Padres

I discovered the show Pitch on Tubi TV over the weekend. In the fictional baseball show, Ginny Baker makes history by becoming the first female big leaguer, playing for the San Diego Padres. What surprised me most about the show is that I had never heard of it before (at least not to my memory). Ten episodes aired on Fox beginning in September 2016. Despite winning the Critics’ Choice TV Award for “Most Exciting New Series,” Pitch was canceled before it found its audience.

Mike Lawson San Diego Padres

Blip Sanders San Diego Padres

Yes, as a primetime television drama with a female lead, there was plenty of chick-flickish romance stuff, but it wasn’t overly schmaltzy. The baseball scenes were actually very well done, and the actors (well, most of them at least) looked like they could have actually been ballplayers. I haven’t finished watching the series yet, but based on the first five episodes, I recommend it with the standard caveats: too much language and too many sexual situations that could have been omitted or portrayed in a tell-don’t-show fashion. And even though I haven’t seen the final episode yet, I’m sure I will wish it lasted longer than a few short months.

Mike Lawson San Diego Padres Zack Morris Saved By The Bell

Livan Duarte San Diego Padres

The main character Ginny Baker is played by Kylie Bunbury (When They See Us, Big Sky). Supporting cast includes Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Saved By The Bell) as aging catcher Mike Lawson, Mo McRae (Sons of Anarchy) as center fielder Blip Sanders, and Christian Ochoa as Cuban defector Livan Duarte who is out for Lawson’s job. Dan Lauria (The Wonder Years) is manager Al Luongo. Off the field, Ali Larter (Heroes, Legally Blonde), plays Amelia Slater, Baker’s agent, Mark Consuelos (All My Children, Riverdale) plays general manager Oscar Arguella, and Meagan Holder plays Blip’s wife Evelyn.

Tommy Miller San Diego Padres

Ginny Baker Livan Duarte Rookie Stars San Diego Padres

Al Luongo San Diego Padres

Buck Gardland San Diego Padres

Butch Hunter San Diego Padres

Several broadcasters and ballplayers appear as themselves, including Colin Cowherd, C.J. Nitkowski, Matt Vasgersian, Joe Buck, John Smoltz, Eric Byrnes, Kristine Leahy, Duane Kuiper, Mike Krukow, Ken Roesnthal, Chris Myers, Dontrelle Willis, Matt Carpenter, and Salvador Perez.

Monday Through Friday in the New Testament and Lessons in Luke…Now Available in Paperback!

Monday through Friday in the New Testament

Monday through Friday in the New Testament and Lessons in Luke (Sermon Sketches) are now available in paperback and on your Kindle device.

Monday through Friday in the New Testament

Monday through Friday in the New Testament

I have published a book of devotionals on Amazon: Monday through Friday in the New Testament. It is currently available only on Kindle devices, but a paperback version should be available in a day or two.

One of my favorite guitarists is releasing a new album soon

Reb Beach 1988 Topps

This guy is hands-down one of the most under-appreciated guitarists of my lifetime. Hair metal gets a bad rap, and thanks to Beavis & Butt-Head‘s friend Stuart, Winger is the butt of many jokes. The band is really superb, though, and guitarist Reb Beach is a magician on the frets. His new album, A View from the Inside, is set for an early November release. The audio for “Aurora Borealis” just dropped this morning on YouTube, and it blows my mind.

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