October 26, 2006 at 7:11 a.m.
Kim Jong-il, the dictator of North Korea, came to power after his father, Kim Il-sung, died in 1994. He was supposedly born in 1941 or ‘42 (accounts vary) on a sacred mountain in the northern part of his homeland under a unique conjunction of celestial bodies.
The diminutive despot is 5’3” and he claims that his physical stature is not a matter of concern. However, it is reported that he wears lifts in his shoes and maintains his bouffant hair style that makes him appear taller. His unusual appearance has led local radio talk show host Joe Soucheray to refer to him as “Marty Allen.” (You aging boomers will have to describe Allen to curious youngsters).
I remember reports from several years ago that “Il” (I think it was David Letterman who said that Kim Jung has a brother named Menta Lee) had taken up golf. It was reported that, on his first round, he scored in the high 20’s. Not bad for 18 holes.
He is not a fan of air travel. Rather, he travels by rail. In other ways, he doesn’t seem all that unusual. He apparently has a fondness for tall, blonde women, fresh lobster and expensive cognac (though recent word is that he’s been cutting back). His appetites do seem a tad lavish, considering the conditions most of his countrymen live in.
His latest fascination is with nuclear weapons and missiles that could conceivably deliver them. The cartoonish image this little fellow projects seems rather laughable. However, this all reminds me of a conversation I had with a California Cousin of mine in 1976.
The cousin was a teacher in one of the many primarily Hispanic communities in East Los Angeles. He told me that he was initially amused by the strutting bravado of many of his young students. “I used to laugh at these skinny, little kids walking around like they were real tough......UNTIL..... one of my colleagues pointed out to me that....THEY'RE ALL ARMED!”
It was 25 years ago that “The Wave” first crested in sports stadiums around the country. Some claim that, led by professional cheerleader Crazy George, Oakland A’s fans were first to do the wave in October, 1981. Washington State football fans claim they were the first. Wherever it started, it’s become as commonplace as overpriced beverages at sporting events.
Speaking of overpriced, a Cory Lidle autographed baseball would have cost you $15 on eBay before his plane crashed into an apartment building. The moment it was established that he had been killed in the crash, the sale price was $318.
Now that the Twins are gone and the Oakland hitters looked like Twins hitters did against the A’s, the Detroit Tigers seem to be the best story in baseball. The Tigers have been the essence of futility for the last two decades.
Perhaps the low point was the 1993 season when the Motor City Kitties put on a late season surge that limited their loss total to 116. Tiger fans must have had that “here we go again” feeling when the 2006 club lost its last five regular season games (including three at home to lowly Kansas City after losing five and six run leads)
In the process, they lost the American League Central Championship to our beloved Twins (even though the low -budget Twins had been as many as 12 games behind Detroit midway through the season) and were forced to go to New York to face the highly skilled and even higher paid Yankees. After looking outclassed by New York in the first game, the Tigers came back to win three in a row to oust the Bronx Bombers.
Then, they ousted the “second half specialists” from Oakland, a team that, year after year, is one of the best teams in baseball...after the All-Star break. “The Gambler,” (former Twin Kenny Rogers), has been the pitching star for the Tigers in the postseason. He used his never-throw-a-strike style to shut out the Yankees 6-0, then beat the A’s 3-0 on a two-hitter, then gave up zero in eight innings against the Cards. Rogers has pitched 23 innings of near perfect ball. But, what was that on his hand?
It’s been 50 years since Don Larsen pitched a perfect game in a World Series game against the Brooklyn Dodgers. Larsen threw 97 pitches and mowed down 27 consecutive Dodgers for the win.
When congratulated on the anniversary of the event, Larsen said, “It was sort of nice. I was glad to be a part of it.”
Larsen claims that he didn’t know he’d pitched a perfect game until someone told him after the game was over. He knew he had a no-hitter, but wasn’t aware of the perfect game.
He threw mostly fastballs and sliders. “The secret was control. I never had such good control before, or since. You can throw the ball 200 miles an hour, but if you can’t throw it over the plate, you better find a new job,” the former Yankee hurler added.
I guess that helps to explain the success of pitchers like Kenny Rogers and Brad Radke.
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