This Week in Milford

May 10, 2021

The Zane Clark Show With Special Guest Bobby Bittman

Filed under: actual action, baseball, Gil Thorp, Tilden — nedryerson @ 6:40 am

This strip might be the most whiplash inducing actual action strip ever. We start with two panels from last weeks game at Crockett (with no final score or hint of a win or loss) and the final panel is from three games later against Tilden. Clearly, the center of attention for this four game stretch is Zane Clark with his ups and downs. The other pitchers in the starting rotation and the outcomes of games take a back seat to the Zane Clark story.

Does Gil coach first base? Is that him in panel 3, high fiving awkwardly? Why does he have a jersey with an M on the back and not a number. I can’t remember if coaches jerseys have had numbers in Gil Thorp or in high school ball in general. I just think the M looks weird, whether it’s Gil or somebody else. Whoever he is, he’s pretty small compared to Eldrick Boston.

Since this strip covers four games, I’m sure we’ll have plenty of time to hang around at the Milford Public Library and the Milford Library Board meetings.

Say, speaking of libraries, here’s a word from one of our old TWIM favorites, Bobby Bittman, on the value of libraries, or libarries if you will:

May 8, 2021

Color Me Inconsistent

Yesterday and Thursday it was Zane changing outfits from one panel to the next (not to mention Katy’s eyes changing from blue to brown). Before that, it was Mama Brito’s constantly color-changing hair. Today it’s the always-red Mudlarks in black and chartreuse. There’s a lack of institutional control in the Thorpiverse and it’s throwing everyone for a loop. Hell, even Marty’s so pissed that his notebook is bleeding out onto his shirt and he’s karate chopping his pencil. Then again, his sippy cup’s nowhere to be seen so he might just be having a case of the DTs.

The Mudlarks have apparently traveled to Austin, Texas, to face Crockett. (There are no doubt other Crockett Highs; as this one hasn’t been identified by nickname yet, I reserve the right to come back and edit this post.) After his shaky bullpen outing, Zane Clark has somehow earned a right to a start, and he almost immediately goes all Robin Roberts Max Scherzer and gives up a gopher ball. He’s not throwing strikeouts like Mad Max, unfortunately.

Gil and Kaz laugh this off Bull Durham style. Surprised Kaz didn’t make a crack about the ball having a stewardess.

They must figure if Zane digs a hole early, he can’t blow a lead.

Seriously, though. There has got to be someplace that still runs this strip in black and white, doesn’t there?

May 5, 2021

Highlanders: There Can Be Only None

Filed under: actual action, big arms, Brown Hair, Highlight reel, Neal's friends, softball — teenchy @ 7:48 am

That rarest of strips today, nothing but solid sports action, but here’s a twist: Milford’s opponent represents a school that no longer exists.

Finney High School in Detroit closed in 2009 and was merged with Crockett High School to create the East English Village Preparatory Academy. EEVPA calls its teams the Bulldogs, but at least the colorists got close here. Finney’s namesake was a prominent Detroiter who played a significant role in the Underground Railroad. So consider this a nostalgic shout-out for Rubin’s readers in the Detroit Free Press.

With bags full of Highlanders and the potential tying run at the plate, Landry Carlson gets out of the jam thanks to a diving stop by Katy Brito. Postgame, Landry will go back to, uh, Montana? and Katy will be off to The Bucket the Milford Public Library for coffee and snogs with Zane, that is if daddy dearest hasn’t immediately joined the Library Board and padlocked the place.

May 1, 2021

Baby Brito

Abel Brito is a pest
Fixating on the library
Why can’t he give it a rest?
Why must he be so contrary?

Katy Brito loves her guy
She’s thankful that her dad isn’t meaner
Gonna give Zane a surprise
After swinging by the Cantina

She knows what it’s about
You’d think she’d thought this out
You might as well just shout
It’s gonna get Zane kicked out

And then they started sucking face
Katy brought a little cream and sugar
Can’t bring food into this place
Who said anything about coffee?

Though he didn’t play last year
Zane should remember ’bout the former Mayor
If he gets tossed out on his ear
It’s the end of him as a player

She knows what it’s about
You’d think she’d thought this out
You might as well just shout
It’s gonna get Zane kicked out

You know it’s no butter knife
But if he gets banned for life
What will he do at night?

What will Zane do after this?
Can’t buy a new computer
Maybe he’ll take his bro and sis
Sit in the car and wait and be a commuter

If Abel Brito has his way
No computers, no drinks, no eating
Family’s gonna make him pay
Givin’ him a verbal beating

He knows what it’s about
You’d think he’d thought this out
He might as well just pout
When he sees his daughter make out

(apologies to the late Elliott Smith)

April 21, 2021

Off the Road, On to Home Cooking

As Ned alluded to in his comment to his Monday post, GoComics has switched to the color version of the strip, so we’ll be in living color from now on, most likely.

This of course will allow us to snark on inconsistencies in hair or skin color as well as the on the absurdity of coloring an already dark uniform red. Low hanging fruit. I preferred the b&w version myself as it left more to the imagination.

We start today’s strip with some exposition. Presumably Zane Clark got through another inning and “Gonzo” Gonzales closed the door on Nottingham and got the save. Zane then gets the hold and gets to hold Katy’s hand before she’s off to the Milford Activity Bus for a road trip.

The Lady Mudlarks have traveled to Syracuse, NY to face Henninger, a team whose home unis look a lot like the Padres’ road uniforms of the early 2000s. Maybe that’s not “sand” but “khaki” and, along with the nickname, a nod to the Black Knights of the Hudson. In any event, the colorists actually got it close to right on this one.

Tomorrow will bring us another Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? moment, one that will probably revolve around the use or lack thereof of the Milford Public Library. In the meantime, let’s just appreciate that today’s strip answers the question “Which Corina is best Corina?”: the one that is neither seen nor heard.

April 19, 2021

Very Pointedly Not Looking

Zane Clark’s relief appearance is off to a bad start. He walked Nottingham’s first batter and now he has given up a sharp single to right. The tension is rising in the Milford dugout! Kaz’s sideburn thinks maybe Gil should stroll out to the mound and settle Zane Clark down. Gil’s forehead wrinkles dismiss Kaz’s sideburn’s notion. Gil’s turkey neck adds that Gil is not even going to look in Zane Clark’s direction. It’s way too early in the season to start coaching. Everybody knows that showing up for a game and filling out a lineup card is really the most Gil can expect to contribute. To be fair, and we’re always fair here, Gil could be playing it casually because he doesn’t want to coddle Zane or because he doesn’t want to hit the panic button too soon and rattle Zane. Whatever the case, this game is The Zane Show and we are all along for the ride.

We see that Zane is giving himself his own talking to. Maybe Gil is playing this right. Maybe Zane has a good head on his shoulders and despite his disheveled home life, he has the mental fortitude to pull his own head out of his ass.

Here’s a pointed question for our readership: Do pitchers typically have the index finger sticking out of their glove? I did a quick search and looked at some images, but that was boring. It does look like the artwork has Zane’s index finger sticking out of his glove but the colorist colored over it with the brown of the glove. Maybe I’m just seeing it wrong or maybe Zane has a discolored finger. Maybe it will fall off.

While we’re talking Gil Thorp in color, I’ll report that today’s strip image is from the GoComics site, which has typically always used the non-colored strips, but today surprised dozens of people by using a colored strip. What the hell is going on here?!

April 17, 2021

That Cavalry Must Be Custer’s 7th

Filed under: actual action, Bad Jokes, baseball, Coach Kaz — teenchy @ 4:02 pm

No deep analysis today, just the kind Marty Moon might do between pulls off his sippy cup of power.

Kaz’s gratuitous finger-point makes zero logical sense as he’s pointing in no particular direction. Maybe it’s just a general “up,” as in “You ready to get lit up, Zane?” Oh, Zane’s ready alright. He’s been tossing simulated games to his kid brother in front of nobody for the past two years.

Our cliffhanger: Will Zane blow the save? Will Mark indeed become “Fear of” Godleski if Zane loses his W? Will Gil apply his infallible Thorpian logic to explain Zane’s meltdown to Mark and the team that the only losses that matter are conference losses? Or can Zane find his stuff, recover and enter his relief pitcher period? Or will the Bulldogs suffer the same kind of screw-ups the Mudlarks typically do?

Nice early spring weekend out there. Baseball is back, and a little closer to the pre-pandemic version. Crowds are coming back to the ballparks. Now get out there and enjoy yourselves.

April 16, 2021

From right field to blown save

Filed under: actual action, baseball, freak hands, Gil Thorp, Marty Moon — robmize2013 @ 8:12 pm

And we get introduced to the starting lineup which includes RuhRoh, Munch, Macy, and Zane. Half the guys played football for chrissake. Same bums. Its like nobody else can play sports except the same guys. By senior year theyve played 12 seasons. No wonder Zane took a couple years off.

Of course the ball finds Zane just as Marty is announcing his name.

No baseball cap for Gil the manager? And only 4 innings for your ace workhorse, even though its only opening day? I know they play at least 7 innings, so the bullpen needs 3 innings; plenty of room for 2nd guessing if they blow this lead, especially if Gil chooses the right fielder.

And I predict thats what will happen.

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