November 23, 2004
My S--- Doesn't Work in the World Series
Before the series, Joe told me, "It's going to take a miracle for me to beat you." Some miracle. My defense was as bad as a defense could possibly be, booting routine grounders, throwing balls into the stands, dropping fly balls, botching double plays, and overthrowing all sorts of cutoff men. It was a mess, although I suppose that's what I get for having an Aubrey Huff-Derek Jeter-Alfonso Soriano-Richie Sexson infield, along with Sammy Sosa in right field. Much like the idiot who threw a full beverage at Ron Artest in Detroit, I was asking for it (although unlike the guy in Detroit, I actually got it).
It's back to the drawing board for next year. I am blowing up my team in one league, trading away all of my veteran players (Jim Thome, Andruw Jones, Brad Radke, etc.) and rebuilding on the fly. In the other league, I'm not planning on any huge changes, but it could be a sub par year thanks to guys like Barry Zito, Derek Lowe, Sexson and Sosa having rough seasons (Diamond-Mind replays the previous year, so "next year" will be 2004).
The good news is that I have now played five full seasons of Diamond-Mind, three years in one league and two years in another. I have made the playoffs in all five seasons and have been to the World Series four times, which sounds really impressive. The bad news is that I have just one championship to show for it, with little hope of another next year.
So there I was watching Elf, a very solid, entertaining movie starring Will Ferrell and James Caan. Right in the middle of it, I saw a familiar face on the screen -- Artie Lange from The Howard Stern Show, who was playing a mall Santa Claus. From the moment I saw Artie until the moment his scene was over, I couldn't concentrate on the movie or suspend reality for even a second. In fact, I literally yelled out, "Artie!" when he popped up on screen. Luckily for Artie his one memorable role is playing himself on a radio show.
Speaking of Howard Stern, he had a funny bit on this very subject a few years ago. He was talking about the difficulty some actors have getting past their one famous role and he brought up Fred Gwynne from The Munsters as an example. Gwynne was an actor for 40 years and appeared in dozens of movies and TV shows, but as Howard said, when he saw Gwynne playing the role of "Judge Chamberlain Haller" in My Cousin Vinny, the only thing he could think of was, "Hey, Herman Munster is a judge!"
Her character is one of those girls you can't help but have a crush on, like Elisha Cuthbert's "Danielle" in The Girl Next Door and Scarlett Johansson's "Charlotte" in Lost in Translation. I wasn't a big Portman fan before this, but I have a newfound respect for her now. Either that or I just wish I could pick up a cute girl who is a pathological liar and has to wear a helmet at the doctor's office.
What I will always remember Tapeh for is a game he had in high school against my alma mater, Highland Park. Tapeh rushed for a state-record 385 yards with me in attendance back in 1997. It was easily one of the most remarkable athletic feats I have ever seen, as Tapeh looked not totally unlike a pinball all night long. I would guess he was actually tackled no more than two or three times, either scoring a touchdown or mercifully running out of bounds every other time he touched the ball.
I remember going to the concession stand near one end zone at some point in the second half, with Tapeh's team (Johnson) winning by multiple touchdowns. The play was at the other end of the field, at least 80 yards away, and all of a sudden I saw this lone player running towards me, getting bigger and bigger, closer and closer. Needless to say it was the longest of six touchdowns he scored that night. He also kicked an extra-point just for good measure and even lined up at quarterback a few times, just to screw with our minds a little bit.
Tapeh is a guy to root for. He has a pretty intriguing personal story (grew up in Liberia, struggled to pass entrance exams to get into school) and is an example of an incredible talent who had a number of major setbacks and still persevered. He was a burner in high school, a guy who was a stud halfback and track star, and then had to completely change his body and his game because he kept breaking his feet in college (first he'd break one and recover, then he'd break the other one). And now he's an NFL fullback.