This Week in Milford

May 11, 2022

“Know Who Else Had Trouble Handling Balls? My Mom!”

Filed under: actual action, Bad Jokes, baseball, talking hand, Valley Tech — teenchy @ 9:03 am

Today’s baseball history lesson is the story of Bert Shepard. Bert Shepard’s major league career lasted all of one game, a relief pitching stint for the Nationals/Senators on August 4, 1945 against the Red Sox. It was his journey to the bigs that made Bert’s career all the more memorable.

Shepard, a lefty, had played semipro and was playing sandlot ball when he was discovered and signed by the White Sox in 1939. He struggled with control problems, was released, finished high school, and then signed another pro contract in 1941, this time with the Cardinals. In their famed system, Bert again showed flashes of talent at the C and D level but still struggled with control. At the beginning of 1943, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, where he attended flight school, earned his pilot’s wings and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant. In early 1944, Shepard joined the 55th Fighter Group in England and was soon flying P-38 Lightnings over the continent.

On May 21, 1944, Bert was flying his 34th mission over Germany when, after having destroyed a train and an oil tank on a strafing run, his P-38 was taken down by flak. He was knocked unconscious when a shell grazed his chin and his plane hit the ground at full speed. Miraculously, Shepard wasn’t killed, but soon faced another threat when the angry German farmers who found him turned their pitchforks on him. A Luftwaffe doctor, Ladislaus Loidl, and two armed soldiers soon arrived at the scene and held back the farmers at gunpoint.

The Luftwaffe doctors amputated Shepard’s leg 11 inches below the knee. He was later transferred to a prison camp where a Canadian medic fashioned an artificial leg for him. Shepard began playing catch with a cricket ball and then resumed pitching a baseball. In February 1945, Bert was involved in a prisoner exchange and returned to the US. He began practicing baseball with some players from a local semipro team. Realizing that he was still able to throw his familiar pitches, Shepard became determined to resume his professional baseball career. Shepard went to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington to be fitted with a new prosthesis, where he was visited by Robert Patterson, the Undersecretary of War, who presented him with a commendation for his service, valor, and courage. Patterson asked Shepard what his goal was, and the former flyer replied he wanted to play baseball. Undersecretary of War Patterson called his good friend Clark Griffith, owner of the Senators, who then offered Shepard a tryout.

Griffith signed him to a major league contract, but had no intention of using him in a regular game, figuring to keep him around to serve as coach and batting practice pitcher. In addition to pitching BP Bert visited veteran’s hospitals, offering encouragement to other wounded veterans, and made a training film for amputees returning from the war. Finally on August 4, with the Nats down 14-2 in the top of the fourth, and the Red Sox with the bases loaded and two out, Washington manager Ossie Bluege brought Shepard in to try and stop the damage. The Nats were playing their fourth consecutive doubleheader, and an already thin pitching staff was getting battered by Boston. Shepard struck out the first batter he faced, George “Catfish” Metkovich. He stayed in the game and, for the remaining five innings, gave up only one run on three hits.

With the Nats battling the Detroit Tigers for the AL pennant in 1945, Bluege was reluctant to use Shepard again. His only other on-field highlight occurred on August 31 when he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross between games of a doubleheader. Washington released him on September 30; he was resigned in 1946 but, with the return of so many pleyrs from the war, Shepard failed to make the team and would never play in the majors again. He would, however, meet Ladislaus Loidl, the Luftwaffe doctor who saved his life, at his home in Austria in 1993.

The reason I’m posting the Bert Shepard Story is because, unlike Gregg Hamm, Shepard could field bunts.

Of course, you need to see bunts to be able to field them but, once fielded, you should be able to make the throw to first. Why Valley Tech baserunner feels the need to share his insights with Scooter is beyond me; he should have saved them for the bench. Now Scooter will have to come up with signals for the Milford infielders to play in for the bunts. His Nolan Ryan reference implies that the Hammmmer will start striking out a bunch of Techsters but still lose the game anyway.

Today’s post title, of course, a reference to Regular Show‘s Muscle Man, who never was able to get the mom joke format down pat.

May 9, 2022

Big Floppy Hats Are SO 2016

Filed under: actual action, baseball, Pantheon of Mysterious Objects, Valley Tech — nedryerson @ 6:14 pm

Remember when we thought we were going to get way more Scooter Borden than we could handle and possibly want to stab ourselves in the eyeholes with rusty farm implements? Well maybe I still feel that way, especially if Scooter’s going to use terminology like compadre, fired up and on the bump. But Scooter’s stupid jibba jabba has so far been nothing compared to the sheer, unrelenting monotony of Gregg Hamm’s old man, Mr. Incognito.

It looks like Ruth Hamm is getting tired of her husband’s crap, too. She’s clearly snarking at him about the measures he’s taking to avoid being identified in public. That would suggest that she doesn’t think it’s a matter of life and death if someone spots him watching his half blind kid on the bump. Maybe after another couple weeks of big, flappy hat talk, we’ll find out what the big mystery is, but I’m bored with it. I’d rather deliberate on the mystery of what the heck the thing is on the Hamm’s counter. Is he packing a lunch in a customized Bento box? Maybe he is going to put on a mask that he keeps in an old Steak & Shake carryout box.

Let’s watch some baseball, shall we. One would presume that we’re looking at a Valley Tech player attempting to lay down a bunt, but the colorists never know which end is up, so we can’t be sure. If it is a Valley Tech player at the plate, will blind Gregg kick the ball all over the infield or will one of the other infielders commit an error because he’s too distracted by Gregg’s dad in the stands sporting a big, floppy hat?

All I can think about are big, floppy hats.

March 16, 2022

“Coaching”? Bwahahahaha! >snort<

I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to post today’s strip but I can’t stop laughing at it. Will update directly. >snort<

Phew! That took longer than I thought.

Of all Milford’s rivals Valley Tech is always the chippiest, and the girl with the blue ponytail does her best to keep up that tradition. First with the reach-in, which begs the question: If someone fouls Hollis, does that make her a Talley whacker? Then, having heard all the on-court talk about Hollis being a selfish, bossy snitch, VT girl fires off a sarcastic fascist salute. Heil Hollis!

All that pales in comparison to the chef’s kiss that is the last panel. Acquiescing to a player’s request to change positions and, well, letting her succeed there is considered “coaching”? Pretty low bar to clear in Milford to be sure, but that’s no bar at all. Maybe Gil agrees and he’s the one being sarcastic.

Oh, and when was the last time you saw anyone play racquetball? For me, I think it was during Poppy Bush’s administration. Even then, everybody’s racquets had strings.

December 8, 2021

Stumblin’ In

It didn’t take long for VT’s Matt Hasselbeck Jr. to eat his words. Milford draws first blood, but isn’t it kinda chancy (see what I did there?) to have your star tailback returning punts? Oh, what’s that? Maybe he didn’t return the punt and just ran in for the touch on a play from scrimmage? Either way, I hope he ran an extra ten yards through the end zone once he crossed the goal line. Gotta get ready for that Canadian ball, dontchaknow.

On to the next drive and Milford scores on another explosive play, as Tevin goes left while everyone else goes right. Classic misdirection. Pity it’s gonna get called back for holding on the Mudlark that’s got VT #51 tied up. That might be Tommy “Jamón” Serrano, who previously succumbed to Boyd Spiller’s fake juice but hasn’t completely recovered from learning that it was fake. In fact, to the untrained eye (or maybe the eye that was trained half a century ago, give or take) those two look like an electric football Backer figure locked together with an All Purpose figure…

…which would make perfect sense if we revert back to one of our original Gil Thorp tropes: that all of this action is playing out in Marty Moon’s crate in his parents’ basement.

Speaking of Marty, how nice of him to show up to broadcast the Mudlarks’ season finale. How do we know this is the finale? Look at the calendar, and the deus ex machina Rubin’s dropped in our laps. Milford’s gonna drop the Valley title to Goshen – the same Goshen they blew out by 24 not quite two months ago? Doesn’t make any sense unless the Milford loss is the only one Goshen’s suffered all season. If both teams end up tied in conference play, the Mudlarks take the title based on head-to-head. None of that matters when you have a plot to wrap up and you’re you’ve wasted on hooch most of your time on details that didn’t really advance it.

Post title refers to how Goshen will make the playdowns.

December 6, 2021

Aww. It’s Snot Over

Filed under: Gil Thorp, Heather Burns, Valley Tech, Walking and Talking — nedryerson @ 4:38 am

Looks like we’re sticking with this fall plot until we get a satisfying conclusion. (Ha ha ha. I think I just hurt myself.) We have walking, talking semi-shadowed Tevin and friend interrogating the definition of snot-pounding. Yes, this is exactly the kind of gold that this plot has been giving us that makes it impossible to leave now! Somebody said it standing on top of a table in the cafeteria, so I guess that makes it law. We shall see a snot-pounding. It has be decreed.

Hey, look, it’s Heather Burns! Remember how she was going to revolutionize how Milford sports were covered with he trusty Twitter account? No? Well she was going to cover Milford sports one way or another except we never saw much evidence of that actually occurring. Her she is in Gil’s office in some sort of journalistic mode. Oh no, she’s already falling into the habit of setting Gil up for acerbic comebacks. Oh Heather, of course Gil does actually know how many times in a row Milford has beaten Valley Tech, but it’s Coaching 101 to never dwell on anything in the past and only talk about the next game. Careful Heather, you’re already veering into Marty Moon territory and this will displease Gil.

Gil still has a bunch of bound books in his office sitting on that file cabinet. They look phony though, like someone used the bindings of old volumes to build a false “wall of books”. It looks to be about big enough to conceal four or five bottles of hooch.

December 4, 2021

Let’s Snot and Say We Did

(alternate title: “Talkin’ Smak!”)

Well, kudos to Neal Rubin. Before today the compound word “snot-pound” apparently did not exist.

This week of kids standing on cafeteria tables spouting stupid platitudes comes to the stupidest, most platitudinal (dunno if that’s even a word) end possible. Just who had “negative expectations” of Tevin based on four or five plays in jayvee? Only one kid ever even mentioned it – the same jackhole standing there posing like he knocked out Sonny Liston even as he’s getting roasted – and nobody put any credence into it.

And how many kids placed their trust in hypno-jackhole there? I count three: the kid who needed a B on his algebra test, the lineman who kept missing his assignment on the jet sweep, and Kianna, who might not have had Tevin not pretended to be the fourth and played along with the jackhole. So on whom do we pin the Mudlarks’ late-season collapse? (And where the heck has Marty been to do the pinning?)

That one’s easy: this falls squarely on Gil and Kaz. No sooner than word spread round the campus that jackhole had tried his parlor trick and was taking credit for Milford wins, they should’ve nipped it in the bud. But nooooooOOOOOOoooooo! Somehow it dragged on until “six or eight guys” had undergone the jackhole treatment. Only then did Gil give his half-assed “we’re good!” speech, whereupon the Mudlarks crapped the bed and haven’t won a game since.*

We can only hope today’s strip wraps up the arc. The only loose end to tie up is finding out which sport Kianna quits; the rest is all Spiller – I mean, filler.

*Somehow we never saw these six or eight guys get hypmotized. Another hole in the plot, kinda like the holes in Georgia’s allegedly vaunted defense (speaking of crapping the bed… and now you know why today’s post was so late).

July 7, 2021

You’ve Got Other Things to Jab, IYKWIM

Looks like Paul Muench wasn’t long enough, if you know what I mean.

More like Zane Clark came up a little short, if you know what I mean.

I think Katy Brito’s ready for him to jab her capulets anyway, if you know what I mean.

But if Zane wins the Library Board position, he’ll have to sharpen his own pencil, if you know what I mean.

But if Katy’s dad wins the Library Board position, Zane won’t be logging on, if you know what I mean.

Either way, Zane will become a two-time loser in one day, if you know what I mean.

Not if Gil’s bribe pays off, if you know what I mean.

Twenty-nine years is a long time to be eating pie, if you know what I mean.

Betcha that old codger won’t be eating pie on the Library Board anymore, if you know what I mean.

Too bad Zane won’t be needing to use the library once his senior year’s over, if you know what I mean.

Too bad Gil didn’t grease the skids for Zane to get into college like Mimi did for that Corina kid, if you know what I mean.

Maybe Zane should have run for library janitor, if you know what I mean.

[long, drawn-out pause]

Say, that stairway at Milford High looks like it was designed by M.C. Escher, if you know what I mean.

June 30, 2021

A Little Too Eager with the Swordfights, Methinks

A line that did not bear repeating gets repeated. At least it gives Zane a chance to practice Mimi’s ventriloquism trick. Time to pull out that old Rowan Atkinson decking Colin Firth clip again.

I’m as dumbfounded as many of you as to why the Library Board seat decision was not made soon after, if not immediately after, Zane and Abel had their little debate. In any event, a coffee bar has yet to pop up in the Milford Public Library though bringing one’s own coffee in and drinking it there is A-OK by the library staff.

On to the halls of Milford High before the Valley Tech game (which, we can only hope, is the season finale) and Gildeaux can’t help but notice Zanes’ postcoital flush rosy glow. Looking Chipper? I thought Zane was a pitcher/outfielder, not a third baseman.

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