This Week in Milford

May 18, 2022

Time, Limp!

Today’s baseball history lesson is the story of Jackie Hayes. Hayes, a shortstop on Wallace Wade’s Alabama Crimson Tide baseball team (yes, Wade coached baseball in addition to football at the time), got his start in the majors in 1928 as a utility infielder for the original AL Senators. Having been awarded the starting second base job for 1929 by the Nats’ new manager, future Hall-of-Famer Walter Johnson, Jackie would lose that job to Buddy Myer, a .300-plus hitter who Washington had reacquired after an ill-advised trade to the Red Sox. While Hayes was the better glove man, Myer was the better hitter and baserunner (he led the AL in stolen bases in ’28 for Boston and would win the AL batting crown in ’35 for Washington). After two more seasons playing sporadically for the Nats, Hayes was traded to the White Sox in a multi-player deal.

While still a great fielder, Hayes struggled with injuries on the South Side, including several beanings; in two seasons where he managed to stay healthy, he hit over .300. Things would take a turn for the worse during spring training 1940. After a shower one afternoon, he felt as if he had soap in his right eye. The next day his vision was blurry, and the club sent him back to Chicago for treatment. After several misdiagnoses and no relief from deteriorating vision, Jackie Hayes would be diagnosed with glaucoma.

Hayes wouldn’t give up. He played in a handful of games, but didn’t start for the first time until August 21 when, wearing a makeshift helmet with ear flaps and closing his right eye when he stepped into the batter’s box, he went 2-for-3. Hayes batted .195 in 18 games for the White Sox and retired after the 1940 season. He would go blind in his right eye soon thereafter and went completely blind in 1943, but he did manage to have a productive life after baseball, serving as a county tax collector and occasional visitor to local and regional schools for the blind as a motivational speaker. Still, Jackie Hayes will always be remembered as the first major league baseball player to wear a protective helmet.

The Hammer’s apparent obliviousness to the comebacker whizzing past his right ear made me wonder if he wasn’t already completely blind in his right eye, which triggered my memories of Jackie Hayes. Wonder if Gil could track down one of those padded caps offered to MLB pitchers a few years ago for Gregg, the ones that made them look like the Great Gazoo. I think only Alex Torres ever wore one in a regular season game, so there’s probably a bunch lying around some equipment manager’s cage somewhere.

Finally catching a clue that something is wrong with the Hammer on the bump, Gil quickly tells the suddenly popular Morrison to hit the showers and wait for him with a loofah to get hot fast. Without adequate warmup, there’ll soon be another Mudlark pitcher out with an injury, and Gil’s 10-3 record will be gone quicker than you can say “lemonade on the back porch.” Of course Gil will lay into Gregg before realizing the true extent of the situation and turning his wrath to Papa Hamm. Why Kaz is being spared for letting Scooter Pie talk him out of fielding practice for the Hammer is beyond me, and yet another of the gaps in this plot as massive as the ones left after an infield shift.

May 16, 2022

Heather Burns Is Impressed

Filed under: actual action, baseball, freak hands, Gil Thorp, Mimi Thorp, New Thayer — nedryerson @ 8:35 pm

The Thorps are relaxing at home with some coffee and the morning paper. Hey Gil, your team is off to a ten and three start! Say, that’s pretty darn good. Yeah, Heather Burns thinks that’s hot! Oh no! My pinky is looking weird again and I can barely hold on to this supposed newspaper and neither one of us can focus our eyes, so let’s go back to bed until say, June. Sounds good. Wake me up when it’s time for lemonade.

Meanwhile, Half Blind Hamm is back on the bump against New Thayer. It’s a chopper to the left side. Is that good or bad for Hamm? As long as he’s not trying to field it, so what. Guys are going to hit choppers, and dribblers, and squibs, and grounders, and bloopers, and comebackers. It depends on what you do with them. We’ll find out what happens to the chopper later.

March 23, 2022

A Good Season? Guess We’ll Have to Take Gil’s Word for It

Boy that Hollis sure took some tough stands, didn’t she? Calling out teammates who sipped hard seltzer and twisting Mimi’s arm to get more playing time and fluff up her resume was tough. Speaking of tough stands, tough guy Gil finally eases up on Pranit Hollywood when nothing’s on the line…

… or at least we’re being led to think that. A quick scan of the game results and I see Milford’s at 4-2, 2-2 in the conference, with 1 unknown outcome.* More than one conference loss usually implies no playdowns, so it’s safe to say the Mudlarks are playing out the string. And of course Milford was out of it because Pranit didn’t play. No one ever steps up for Milford.

Now, with nothing on the line and Kaz pulling the baseball gear out of storage, Gil relents and lets Pranit Smoothie back in the game. A meaningless win, some platitudes for the next two days, a lame joke on Saturday, and then time to pound that Budweiser hit the old batting cage. Wonder if Pranit will ever collect on the gambling debts owed him. Guess we’ll have to wait and see if he shows up for baseball with all his limbs intact.

What a wasted use of Marty this season. No way he wouldn’t have gotten word of Pranit’s suspension and run with it like a drunk with scissors. Even the Chief is phoning it in. He’s put Tevin’s head on Gordon Achebe’s Ted Kluszewskiesque body.

* The season so far:

@ All Saints W, 57-56

Redford W, 60-54

Jefferson L

Goshen W (“a bounce back”)

@ New Thayer W (“comfortable”)

@ Madison ???

Central L, 58-60 (notice how a three would’ve won it? Pranit the implied scapegoat)

January 12, 2022

Sasaki Gets Stitches

The Lady Mudlarks struggled through the name-dropping shout-out non-conference portion of their schedule. Rather than leaving it to Mimi to help the girls gel and improve their game, appointed captain Hollis Talley, at the suggestion of teammate and friend(?) Cathy Sasaki, decides to lead by example. The example she uses to lead by is an unscheduled, voluntary practice after practice, followed by a thirst-quenching, electrolyte-restoring round of hot joe at the Coffee Cantina.

Now it’s time to move on to conference* play, where It Just Means More®. Despite a yeoman effort by the stalwart Landry Carlson – sinking shots while getting tickled under the armpit – Milford loses again, dropping to 1-3, 0-1 on the season. Now what’s a captain to do?

Ignore her rat fink of a bestie, if Hollis’s hand is any indication. It doesn’t take a space cadet to see that the post-practice practice was held with no advance notice, was clearly made optional and, most importantly, was not held with Mimi’s endorsement. Now Cathy’s gonna dime out two girls who weren’t at that practice (Cressa, another stalwart from last season, and the heretofore unmentioned Maddie Bloom) and somehow blame them for the loss? Hopefully Hollis threw that hand up for Cathy to talk to it, rather than as a sign that she’s going to take that info to Mimi to act on… or to act on it herself.

Does the Air Force engage in fragging? Asking for a friend.

*Rubin has been calling it the Valley Conference since time immemorial. What’s this “league” crap? Did he watch The Big Lebowski before cranking out today’s strip?

October 27, 2021

Say “Wing-T” again. I dare you. I double-dare you…

Alright alright alright, a second day of action after a week of hypnosis and it’s not trying to cram multiple games in one strip. Pinch me, I’m dreaming. Let’s get to it and break down the film:

P1: In the visitors locker room at New Thayer, a dismayed Kaz either is grasping for a second-half strategy or trying to figure out why Tevin has a Black head but a White arm. If the Mudlarks run the play he’s drawn up, they’ll get flagged for an illegal formation (too few men on the line of scrimmage) and an ineligible receiver downfield (a lineman, really?).

P2: If the New Thayer QB had as much time in the pocket as it took me to figure out if he was getting rushed by DeEldrick Boston or DE Eldrick Boston, he should’ve gotten the pass off with plenty of time to spare. Pretty sure it’s the latter, as we were introduced to Eldrick as the starting first baseman as a sophomore in 2020 and he was giving the chicks something to dig back in the spring. That should make Eldrick a senior by now and no doubt he wants to impress those college scouts Chance Macy’s been ignoring.

P3: One of the reasons Milford’s trailing at the half is that New Thayer’s been loading up the box against the Delaware Wing-T. Gil tests Tevin’s memory of rage comic memes or How I Met Your Mother catchphrases, and Tevin passes with flying colors. Now let’s see if Boyd’s hyp-mo-sis helps Tevin get the ball into his receivers’ hands. Might help if those receivers start looking the ball into said hands.

March 3, 2021

We’re the Mudlarks, Not the Cougars

Good: Vic Doucette shifting away from providing advice on motorsports careers and back to what he does best: falling back on Bermanisms for Milford hoopsters since he’s run out of NBA PA guys to emulate. Glad he used Tessi’s nickname else we wouldn’t have known if this was a girls’ or boys’ game.

Not so good: some rando Mudlark mom giving Vic the bad touch* while grooming heaping praise on him. Timing couldn’t be much worse given the current headlines about [insert politician/women’s gymnastics coach/team doctor name here]. Doubt the Chief gave that much thought while he was drawing this, unlike the additional details he added to Mudlark mom’s blouse in closeup. I’m imagining an unseen P4 zooming in further to show the stitchwork in the blouse and the unplucked hair in her mustache.

Who are these people? Who is handsy Mudlark mom’s daughter? Tessi? Corina? Becca Ramirez? Or some as yet identified player named Robinson?

Retcon alert: Did we ever hear a rotating parent do PA work for Milford before? After Vic, will we ever hear another Mudlark PA announcer again?

*This was my tentative title for today’s post until I realized I used it about a year ago. Didn’t link to the video then, suppose I could do it now.

December 5, 2020

Gil’s Intrigued: The Rest of Us Are Bored

Geez, Marty, why so surprised? Have you killed so many brain cells with Johnnie Walker that you can’t remember Gil trotting out the Wing-T in 2007, also late in the season? (Hint: It was right after you called out Cully Vale as a convicted killer.) From the sound of it Milford may have practiced the Delaware offense but not so much with Leonard Fleming under center. Good thing New Thayer sucks this year.

Today’s strip has the feel of an arc-ender, what with Gil’s “wait ’til next year” spiel to Marjie and his fourth-wall-breaking, shit-eating grin in the final panel.* Gil’s counting on two things here: (a) No one reads the Milford Star (b) Chance Macy doesn’t get blowtop mad for a second straight season. He didn’t lose his cool this season; must have gotten some decent anger management training. Anna Corinna Karenina could stand similar to knock that chip off her shoulder.

Still the Mudlarks have to wrap up their season against traditional rival Valley Tech. Think Rubin will remember that?

*If this does end up being the last strip in the fall arc, I may come back for a metapost.

September 2, 2020

A New Thayer, Not in New Thayer

As much as Corina wants to be in Milford, I get the sense she really doesn’t belong there. First off, she’s wearing this tiny-ass backpack and asking about lockers. At son of teenchy’s high school there are lockers but nobody has enough time between classes to stop at them, so everybody carries all of their day’s materials in backpacks big enough to use on an extended Appalachian Trail hike. Then again, more of the class materials are becoming electronic and are accessed via school-issued Chromebooks. This is especially the case now since more and more schools (including son of teenchy’s) are going remote this fall. So maybe Corina is ahead of the curve here.

Where she isn’t – and where it appears she doesn’t really belong in Milford – is in keeping up this tough chick front. Wasn’t Corina’s problem with authority figures, not fellow students? So why mouth off to two girls who are innocently offering help? If either of them had any sense, they would take Corina’s reference to hiding a couple of bodies as a threat, report it to Dr. Pearl, and have Corina’s ass on the next bus back to Valley Mod so fast it’ll make her head spin. People have been expelled from Milford for less. But since Rubin has seen fit to carry her into a third story arc, she’s here for the duration. No softball this fall, so will she stay in shape playing soccer? Let’s hope so; <a href=”https://gilthorp.wordpress.com/2016/09/14/those-soccer-balls-seem-very-large/“> Coach Dawes</a> won’t put up with her shtick.

Rubin uses the bodies joke to transition us to football where, again, he and Whigham remain committed to detachment from reality. These two rando Mudlarks are already suited up in game unis and helmets fully decaled before even having played their first scrimmage. They’re scoping out a Will Thayer and how he fills out those pads. Is this a broad hint at steroid use? Isn’t that what we said about Saad Shamoun before he told Steve Boone he’d been working out with John Pascoe and Tipp Nunn?

metapost: Obviously I haven’t figured out yet how to embed hyperlinks in the new WordPress editor. Hopefully I can come back later today and work on that.

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