This Week in Milford

August 10, 2022

Urban Thorp

Today it’s all flashback as Luke Martinez y Hernnandez spins his tale for Marty’s “podcast,” painting Gil as the Valley’s version of Urban Meyer.

To hear old Hairy Hand Luke tell it, he was quietly minding his own business, admiring his reflection in the carefully polished bar top and nursing his glass of 2% milk while he waited for Bethany the barkeep to pour him another. But where was Bethany? Leaping across the bar to get up in Gil’s grill – and Gil didn’t turn away! (The artwork doesn’t quite match the dialog, Chief.)

There’s a grain of truth in observing that Bethany might have a thing for Gil, but it wouldn’t have been easy for Knuckles there to pick up on it as much as he was running his mouth. If Marty lets this hit the podosphere, this might boil down to a he-said, she-said, with Gil flying Bethany in to cast the tiebreaker.

Marty sounds downright incredulous in response – which does not sound like Marty Moon at all! Kinda reinforces the notion that Gil and Marty have a Ralph and Sam-style working relationship. Looking forward to seeing Gil leave his doghouse for a round of Johnnie Walkers with Marty at Barney’s before this arc is through.

Special Guest Cameo: The role of Gil in P3 is being played by Bob Crane.

July 23, 2022

Soiled it!

Dang, Gil should’ve held off on that last glass of Long Island iced tea water and checked his Depends before he got up on stage. Now he’s gotta slink off stage before he soils his reputation more than himself.

Presumably “the script” has something to do with why Mimi and/or the Thorp kids aren’t there to see Gil take his victory lap. This is gonna play out in slow motion (kinda like Boo Radley’s fatal car crash) and should at least be as interesting as a summer golf plot.

Before we pivot in that direction, let’s focus on the story that set up today’s cliffhanger. Emmett Tays was in an abusive household, and all Gil did was to tell him in so many words not to take it out on his teammates? Compare/contrast to the action he took with Aaron aand Maamaa Aagaard and Tiki Jansen (with Hadley V. Baxendale’s help) and chew on that one for a while.

Anyhoo, I’m here for the retcon.

New category: A Tinge of Regret, to reflect Gil’s current state of mind.

July 20, 2022

Are these guys all gonna go join John Pascoe at State?

A little over a week in and Barajas has run out of dialogue? Five straight panels of nothin’ but action? How are we supposed to respond to this?

I suppose by nitpicking the artwork to begin with. It’s an “unforgiving Milford night” that looks like daytime. That’s another one that’s on Whigham and/or the colorists. Ditto with the Milford and Oakwood uniforms. As I’ve often railed on in the past, color-on-color games are rare at any level with only a few exceptions. Finally, if this is a flashback, when did this game occur? (I think a call to TWIM SID billytheskink may be in order.) Did Milford’s uniforms canonically look like that that season? Take a look at these examples from the Berrill and McLaughlin eras – or, heck, from the earlier Rubin & Whigham era. Canon is important in the Thorpiverse, except when the matter of the Thorp kids comes up.

The next thing to nitpick is the lingo. “It’s good!” usually refers to a kick attempt for a field goal or PAT, not a touchdown. Since the Mudlarks were down by six, presumably Tays’ TD catch tied the score and it was the point after kick that was good. But what’s this “State” thing? It’s “playdowns” around the Valley and don’t you fergit it!

Call it whatever you will, we come away from today’s strip knowing that Milford made the football postseason in whatever season this represents. Why does Gil look so pissy, then? Is it because the player behind him has started bonking him on the head, or is it his typical response when he figures out he’s gonna have to do more coaching that he thought would be necessary during a season?

June 25, 2022

Nomar Hamm for You, Al

Oh look, it’s yet another late-middle-aged white guy in the Allen Funt/Ed Asner mold, the kind that are thick on the ground in the Valley. This time he’s named Al Drake and he’s at Channel 6 in Central City. Somebody must have picked up a copy of the Milford Star before their long commute to the Channel 6 studios and dropped it off in the break room, where Al stumbled upon it while rooting around a box of stale donuts left over from a staff meeting the day before. (Oh, alright, he saw the online edition on his massive 20-year-old desktop PC still running on Windows XP.)

Big Al can’t let one dying medium have The Gregg Hamm Story all to itself, so of course he wants in on it. Being from a bigger market, Al thinks Channel 6 can impose on Gil’s sense of order and have Gregg make the start in front of his cameras… but noooOOO! No one tells Gil Thorp when to start his pitchers except Gil Thorp. (Never mind that Gregg’s been starting almost every game we’ve seen this season.) No one tells Gil Thorp when to pull his pitchers except Gil Thorp, either, and he’ll shit-talk anyone who tries to tell him otherwise.

Gil Thorp accommodates no one from the media. Well, no one except Heather Burns. Her, he’ll let roam onto the field to interview his players. Mimi seems incredibly chill with this arrangement – so chill she hasn’t even bothered to field a softball team this season. Mezcal and Vicodin have a way of doing that. So does the pool boy coming by to open the pool up early.

If Channel 6 wants a piece of Hamm, it’ll have to move closer to Gil’s world.

meta: yhs will be on vacation from July 1-17, and will be off the grid for part of that time. I’ll plan on posting this coming Wednesday but can’t count on being able to post again until July 20 at the earliest.

June 18, 2022

I Love the Sound of Breaking Hamms

If Rubin set out to drive clicks to Janet Cooke and Stephen Glass, not to mention Mason Hamstetter, he succeeded. Credit where credit is due, I suppose.

Janet Cooke was a writer for the WaPo who lied about her academic credentials and fabricated a story about a child heroin addict in the District. Bob Woodward – yes, that Bob Woodward – submitted the story for consideration for the Pulitzer and it won. It was soon revealed that there were discrepancies in her backstory; the WaPo board pressured her to confess and the Pulitzer was rescinded. Cook subsequently disappeared from the public eye.

Stephen Glass had been a feature writer and associate editor for The New Republic for several years when rebuttals from the subjects of his articles (D.A.R.E., the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Hofstra University, among others) began to shed light on his journalistic integrity. Glass’ bosses at TNR caught him in a lie involving a software company and its talented young hacker employee, all of which were fabrications created by Glass. He was fired by TNR then, after getting a law degree from Georgetown, was rejected for admission to the New York and California bars due to lack of moral fitness. Kinda makes you wonder why Georgetown Law let him in to begin with.

There have been other plagiarism scandals in this country, from Jayson Blair (not cleared) to Stephen Ambrose (not cleared) to Alex Haley (cleared and not cleared in separate cases) to the current President of the United States (cleared). Some of those charged have built back better than others. Seems like Mason Ham(m)stetter has kinda built back okay, so maybe he needs to chillax with his wife a little bit. It’s not like Gil’s gonna leak this to the press; he and Marty aren’t exactly best buds. Now if Heather Burns crawls out from under Gil’s desk off-panel, all bets are off.

Gil looks perplexed, doesn’t he? I haven’t seen him look like that since he was pondering whether to have an iced tea.

Musical inspiration for today’s post title:

June 11, 2022

While Heather Watches, Gil Finds a Pair

Like a baserunner who rounds third and heads for home, the third-base coach’s stop sign unheeded, this plot has now blown past the mere unrealistic into the realm of pure fantasy.

Rob emphasized this yesterday. Let’s say for the sake of argument that Gil was correct and there’s no rule allowing the umpire to force a coach to remove a player from the game. The ump is absolutely within his rights to remove a player, a coach, or a manager from the game if that player/coach/manager is causing a potential safety hazard to the other players. Kaiser Gilhelm does not get to be the decider here, no matter how much of a show he wants to put on for his girl Heather…

… and for the record, his little smart-assed remark about Louis C.K.’s strike zone should get him run to the Milford activity bus for the rest of the game. Arguing balls and strikes is a no go, even if you’re arguing balls and strikes from a previous game. Besides, if Gil won his argument, why is Ggerg sitting on the bench when he gets back to the dugout?

Louis should either stick to refereeing basketball or give as good as he gets, like Bill Haller did to Earl Weaver.

May 21, 2022

Jinkies! Kaz and Gregg Hamm’s Right Eye Have Something in Common!

Okay, all of you who had Papa Hamm coming to Gil’s office with Gregg, give yourselves a cookie. All of you who had Mama Hamm being named after a character from Scooby-Doo, give yourselves a clairvoyant cookie.

The next mystery to solve is why the Hamms were so clueless about their son’s deteriorating vision. Odds are they invested so much time, effort and money into buying disguises for Papa Hamm they willfully ignored Gregg’s impending blindness. When Gregg told Papa he could barely see him, Papa just took that as evidence of how good his disguises were.

Finally we have Gil navel gazing in the teacher’s lounge, patting himself on the back for not picking up on Gregg’s poor eyesight sooner. As just about every one of you TWIMers have commented, the coaches should’ve picked up on this as soon as they practiced fielding bunts or comebackers. Waiting for Kaz to admit to Gil that he let Gregg slide on practice after taking Scooter’s word that they’d do it at home. Sounds like that would’ve been the first time they did it all season.

Scooter will get his comeuppance soon enough when Gil upbraids him for his complicity in the Hamm scam. Then the Mudlarks will unravel like a ball of yarn and miss the playdowns. Rubin skipped a girls’ plot for this?

meta: Following up on my last post, I found color footage of Jackie Hayes wearing his batting helmet. He appears briefly in a clip from George Case’s color home movies from the late ’30s and early ’40s. Some of his footage appeared in HBO’s When It Was A Game, and it’s also available from Case’s estate as well. Note Monty Stratton, another major leaguer who had to deal with a disability, appears a few seconds later.

April 23, 2022

Can You Fist Bump in Braille?

The grand scheme is in full swing, and with only three players in on it (oh, and a tennis player but who’s counting? Is she even gonna get a story this spring?) it seems to be working. The big question: how long before someone picks up on it, who will that someone be, and how will they know?

Probably not Marty; he’s too busy with his own chatter. Did he get a new set of choppers after basketball season, or has he been sucking on the sugar cubes he’s been muddling with bitters to make his sippy cup Old Fashioneds?

How about Noah Syndergaard Kaz? Gregg’s awkward return of his fist bump might be a clue. Oh wait; it’s his right-angled approach that’s making it awkward.

Maybe another Mudlark who isn’t in on the plan will figure it out, especially if one of them calls Hamm by name while out in the field. Guess it’s a given he can distinguish Scooter’s voice from his other teammates in the heat of the moment.

You know it won’t be Gil; he’s always the last to know and the pissiest when he finds out.

Nice graffiti by the Chief on the dugout there, BTW.

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