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 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 7, 2022

You, Reading Gil Thorp. Me, Trying To Snark About It.

Charis the tennis player (the only Milford High girl we’ve been introduced to this season so far) points out how ludicrous it seems to jump to conclusions about Papa Hamm’s camera-shyness. Since the witness protection program idea has already been thrown out, it can’t be the reason. Odds are it’s something really stupid he’s using as an excuse for ghostwriting books for business executives.

Smash cut to La Maison Du Jambon where we have another Milford athlete’s mom ticked off at that Milford athlete’s dad’s bizarre behavior. Shades of last spring, non? Mama Hamm’s appearance begs the question: If he’s the one trying to hide, why’s she the one who’s constantly changing her hair, clothes, and glasses? Mama’s confrontational speech reads like a lame Milford Mad Lib:

“You, fantasizing about Marjie Ducey. Me, indulging your fantasy by dyeing my hair blonde and putting on wire-rimmed glasses.”

“You, trying to live down the failed tryout for Colonel Sanders you lost to Norm McDonald. Me, suggesting you should be the one who dyes their hair.”

“You, thinking you can’t be seen. Me, thinking our son can’t see.” Wait, neither of them are thinking this. That’s how this plot has remained even remotely plausible.

Have at it with your own Milford Mad Libs in the comments, gentle readers, and stay dry this weekend.

April 30, 2022

Marjie Ducey Never Lugged a Monster Camcorder Around. Neither Should You.

If you told me today’s strip had been written and drawn twenty years ago and fished out of a drawer for today, I wouldn’t have been surprised. Wonder what was going on in Milford twenty years ago today? I don’t even think this blog had been started yet.

April 30, 2002

Well whaddaya know, Milford was playing Central then too. The laws of gravity weren’t quite as rigid then as now. Okay, what about ten years ago, then? Well thankfully TWIM was in existence, and we were getting to know young Scooter Borden Jaxxxon Kiser.

Back to the present day and still trying to figure out this nonsense. Amazed to find out there’s an online version of the Star, and that it has employees who are dedicated to capturing video for that online version. That’s probably a lie the editor-in-chief told Heather to cover up the fact that it’s not only payroll but also headcount that’s been slashed since Marjie’s retirement. Probably told her this dinosaur of a camcorder was state-of-the-art, too. How naive is she to think that the “beast” takes better videos than today’s smartphones?

Naive enough to know that the only VHS player in town belongs to the Milford High Athletic Department. Between her and Kaz, they’ll go to the videotape and discover the little ruse G-Hammm, Scooter and Wilson have going on. That’s the only way this strip of anachronistic non sequiturs has any relevance to the plot.

meta: Thanks to tdrew for covering for me on Thursday. I owe you one.

April 9, 2022

Barbarians at the Fence

I don’t know if Rob’s writing up a post as I write, but I have a concert to go to tonight so I’m going to double up for sake of continuity.

April 8, 2022

Hey look, Milford High has a girls’ tennis team! I can’t remember the last time there was a girls’ tennis plot in Gil Thorp. I don’t think there’s been one since I started blogging here, anyway.

A new name, Charis Tompkins. Charis isn’t a very common name; the only one that springs to mind is Charis Wilson, model and one-time wife of the famous photographer Edward Weston. Charis Tompkins IRL appears to be Canadian.

St. Casilda of Toledo was born a Muslim princess, the daughter of the ruler of Toledo, who showed kindness and charity to Christian prisoners. She appears to be the patron saint “against sterility.” Her feast day is today. I cannot find any record of a St. Casilda High School on the North American continent.

There’s no cheering during points in tennis, but wouldn’t it be more interesting if there was? Same goes for golf. There are also no tennis balls that color. That thing almost looks like an Osage orange.

April 9, 2022

Know what else is cute? How the Milford teams always show up to watch their opposite number play after their own practices are over. I’ve long suspected they only do it to check one another out wearing less clothing than they typically do in school. Today they might’ve gotten more than a glimpse as Charis went from Milford red to green and black in the blink of an eye.

Know what’s not cute? Charis’ boyfriend. Is it Scooter? The mind boggles at the thought. What strangeness brought these two together? Will it keep them together through the spring? Reckon we’ll find out.

March 2, 2022

Kaiser Gilhelm Steps Up

Man, check out the withered arm on Gil! Is he ready to be Emperor of Germany or what? Actually, his forearm looks to be appropriately sized, but his bicep has shriveled considerably. Must be hard keeping his arm still above the elbow while he shoots pocket pool. That, or all the blood in his arm has traveled to his super engorged hand.

Now that Dr. Pearl’s involved, Pardon My Pranit is just steps away from taking the express bus to Valley Modified. He should’ve gone there first to find his hired muscle.

What’s today’s lesson, gentle readers? All together now: “Always get the money up front before you place someone else’s bets.” Sheesh, what an amateur.

February 12, 2022

I’m the CAPTAIN. At least for now.

I don’t know what the weather was like today where you are, gentle readers, but here in the Mid-Atlantic it was gorgeous, a glimpse of spring in dreary mid-February. Sunny, a few high clouds, temperatures in the high fifties Fahrenheit, even touching 60 in some places. What a day, then, to spend as much time outdoors as possible, hence my getting to today’s post very late in the day. As I write a winter weather advisory is in effect; snow is forecast to begin around 1 AM EST with a total of 1-3 inches expected, and temperatures will have plummeted about 40 degrees from current by this time tomorrow night. Fun while it lasted, but take heart: true spring is not that far away.

Let’s dive into today’s strip by first reading the US Air Force Academy Honor Code Oath:

We will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does. Furthermore, I resolve to do my duty and to live honorably, (so help me God).

The Honor Oath is administered during a ceremony associated with the Acceptance Day Parade, when basic cadets are formally recognized as fourth-class cadets after completion of Basic Cadet Training (BCT). Once the oath is administered, each cadet is expected to live up to the letter and spirit of the code.

That emphasis is mine. Acceptance Day marks the end of basic cadet training – six weeks of mental, physical and military training. USAFA cadets are expected to live up to the Honor Code after completion of BCT. The Honor Oath is not administered to USAFA appointees during their senior year of high school.

That aside, under what conditions can a USAFA appointee have his or her appointment revoked? My understanding from spending way too much time researching this evening is that, while this is rare, it can happen for medical (e.g., breaking a major bone), academic (e.g., failing a class the last semester of senior year), and conduct (e.g., DUI, drug/alcohol arrest/conviction) reasons. In this age of social media, putting pics of oneself in a cardboard bikini online might rate, but I can’t be certain about that.

Obviously this has really upset Hollis; her irises have been completely drained of color. I am also drained having spent the last couple of hours* trying to suss out whether Hollis is on an over-reacting ego trip or if there really is any merit to her notion that not narcing on her underaged-drinking teammate will result in the loss of her ticket to Colorado Springs. On the other hand, if she does narc on her underaged-drinking teammate, she may end up with the kind of injury that will lead to a medical revocation of her appointment.

I’m thinking mountains out of molehills, but will be glad to be proven wrong. Talk amongst yourselves as you wait for the Super Bowl to start.

* Seriously, I spent so much time looking at service academy forums that I forgot to rant about how much I hate how Whigham draws molecular structures.

Sunday evening metapost: I am grateful to TWIMer Philip who, as a former USAF officer, provided a perspective that no amount of online searching could have provided me. I am also grateful for your service.

February 9, 2022

Cressa? She Is FIERCE!

I’m sorry but whenever I hear someone referred to as “fierce,” I think of… Cory Booker’s cousin.

Hey, there’s a basketball reference in there, too.

Cressa’s had enough of stale off-brand toaster pastries – she’s going where the action is! Hollis should catch the clue that bribing people with food won’t always guarantee the results she wants. She might also catch the clue that she’s not always wanted, either. Why else hadn’t she heard about the Tiffani Palmer shindig?

No matter, she and her right-hand snitch Cathy have crashed the joint. But Cressa’s nowhere in sight. Could be it’s more than her knee that’s feeling frisky; let’s hope she doesn’t reinjure that knee busting some kind of dance move. Legend has it that the Lady Mudlarks refrain from dancing until they’re eliminated from the playdowns. Hey, today’s strip has to advance the plot somehow…

January 24, 2022

I Got A System And I Can’t Lose

Filed under: High Five Fail, Pointy Fingers, Prairie Style Windows — nedryerson @ 4:37 am

Welcome to sports book talk with Pranit Smith. Pranit has to school Gabe on the finer points of sports wagering. Tevin surmises that it will all end in tears. There you have it. Another slice of life among teen sportsmen. Please kill me.

I feel nothing but apathy towards betting on games and all the claptrap that surrounds the practice. Point spreads, parlays, trap games, etc. always just seemed like a distraction from what happens in the field of play. To each his own, I guess, but it doesn’t give me a thrill to risk losing money of something arbitrary. Of course, I’ve thrown a few dollars away on slots, but I can do that for a little thrill in a self contained moment and not have to have to scream at a tv set for hours hoping some guy kicks a field goal for me to get a payout.

I’ve also found the coziness developing between the NFL and gambling to be disturbing. What are the ramification of the online betting advertising partnerships and having a team in Vegas? I’m not really sure, but I do remember the days when anything that whiffed of a connection between a sports league and any gambling was usually discouraged.

I’m assuming Gil is probably at least as old school in his thinking as me, but it will take him another few months to get wind of what’s going on and bring the hammer down. I’ll just parlay that into an opportunity to opine about whatever and share songs that spring to mind. To wit, here’s Little Milton:

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