Nick's Knacks Nick's Knacks

  • My Best (TV) Friend

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

    Television - Creative Commons

    I’ve had a lot of TV relationships in my day. Some, like my friendship with Jon Gosselin, have proven more complicated than others. Jon’s d-bag ways have forced me to distance myself from his company. It’s been quite some time since we have associated. And though I am saddened by his personal devolution and the subsequent demise of our television friendship, I do not regret the investment. I think I am a better man for it.

    I was, of course, great friends with Ricky Stratton and Arnold Jackson back in the day. I snuck around behind the backs of my parents with Mike Seaver and David Hogan; always looked up to Alex P. Keaton; casually dated Samantha Micelli; pretty seriously dated Jamie Powell; had a long distance fling with Kelly Kapowski; and always stood in awe of my uncle Hannibal.

    More recently, I’ve forged pretty solid relationships with Neal Caffrey and Chuck Bartowski, though their jobs keep the hazard factor pretty high, and it’s been a while since I’ve gone by my middle name, Danger. Greg House and I have lost touch and my pal Jack Bauer has seemingly fallen off the face of the earth. He’s like that sometimes. Bill Klein is a great guy to hang with. My wife and I quite enjoy the company of he and his wife Jennifer.

    But my best TV friend, far and away, is Buddy Valastro. Maybe it’s the shared Italian heritage. I don’t know, but the “Cake Boss” and I are like ramma-lamma-lamma-ka-dinga-da-dinga-dong:

  • “Trippin’ Through 9 Innings

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

    Saturday marked the 40th anniversary of Dock Ellis’ psychedelic journey into MLB’s history books.

    Easily lost in the absurdity of the achievement and the brilliance of the animation is Ellis’ address of the psychological benefit of playing high.

    “That’s the way I was dealing with the fear of failure - the fear of losing, the fear of winning,” he says.

    It’s the heart of every performance enhancing drugs scandal in the history of sport. Ego, money, fame – they’re all along for the ride. But fear drives the bus. Nothing motivates an individual to insanity like fear.

    LSD isn’t regarded as your run of the mill PED, but think about it. What is a no hitter? As much as it is the opposition’s 0-27, it’s the crowd. It’s the timidity of the dugout. It’s the whispers and the countdown: 5 outs to go…4…3…gotta set down two before surrendering one. It’s the physical exhaustion and the psychological labyrinth: “He’s lookin’ heat. Give him the off-speed. A walk doesn’t kill ya. My arm feels like jello.”

    The very essence of a no-hitter (or any feat of improbability) is everything that Dock Ellis’ outing was not. He feared nothing…except maybe the toss back from the catcher. And the Padres? They likely feared just about every windup!

    Congratulations(?), Dock.

  • Presidential Street Cred

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

    Boots

    I don’t know what size boot Obama wears, but I do know that no-size boot feels comfortable in the old behind. You better check yourself, BP:

  • Nature vs. Nature – Far Worse Than Anything We Could Do

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

    Peta Protestors - Creative Commons

    The next time some PETA wacko tries to convince you of the cruelty of hunting, show ‘em this little number:

    I don’t know how often PETA wackos approach you…it’s probably pretty rare…but at least now you’re armed with a witty visual.

    Darn shame what happened to that pigeon.

  • Separated at Birth

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    I’ve always thought Rick Peterson (pitching coach) of the Milwaukee Brewers was a dead ringer for Shrek’s Lord Farquaad:

     

    Adam sent along this beauty - Ken Macha and Spaceball's Yogurt:

     

    Let’s try to run through the entire club. Send ‘em along (nick.vitrano@1440wnfl.com) and I’ll post ‘em.

  • How Much Would You Pay?

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

    The city of Milwaukee has closed the “Soup” kitchen. When the Brewers signed Jeff Suppan in December of 2006, I was giddy with excitement. Conventional wisdom in the present day is something along the lines of:

    “He’s a career .500 pitcher. What did you expect?”

    Too easy.

    At the time of his signing, Suppan was in the off-season of a stellar 48-26 three-year run with the St. Louis Cardinals. The finances of the contract aside, the burden heaped upon him was not unwarranted. He was expected to win. He was expected to eat innings. He was expected to be durable. He was expected to deliver this team to the post-season. He did none, save the last. And therein lies his redemption.

    “Soup” was a cumulative disappointment in Milwaukee, but for one month in 2008, he contributed to $42 million worth of memories.

    Remember 2008? The 162 game rain that quenched a 26-year thirst? How easily we recall the Braun blasts, the McClung fastballs, the dominance of CC, the “Reign of Sveum.” How quickly we forget the unblemished August of Jeff Suppan.

    Suppan certainly did not single-handedly shoulder the squad in August of ’08. The team opened the month 60-49…closed 80-56. They were playing solid ball at the time. But when the Wild Card was won in game 162, the Brewers needed every one of his 5 victories that month. Of course they could have used a couple from him in September, and he absolutely blew in the NLDS, and he was so awful this year that even after being demoted to the pen, the team decided it was better to pay him to go away than to pay him to lose games.

    There’s not enough track in the world to get this train to the Land of Make Believe, where the Jeff Suppan deal smells rosy. But I think it’s fair to ask, how much would you pay to get back to the post-season?

  • Begs the Question

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    My grandmother was an exceptional judge of character. I didn’t give her the credit she deserved in the moment because, well, nobody wants to be told what to do or with whom to hang out. But hindsight always ruled in her favor - Grandma Ella always spotted the dirty socks well before the wash was done.

    “You will be judged by the company you keep.”

    It’s not the most fair of adages, but it certainly applies to the weekend Lake Delton adventures of our Green Bay Packers.

    Citing multiple sources close to the investigation, several media outlets have reported that Brandon Underwood is the one of the seven who remains in steamy waters. The other six have been cleared of wrong doing.

    A portion of that six has spoken out in annoyance that they’ve been named at all. And while I understand, my sympathy goes only so far.

    Matt Flynn, Khalil Jones, Josh Sitton, Korey Hall, Brad Jones, and Clay Matthews should be thanking their lucky stars that the Lake Delton PD released their names in clearance of the incident.

    With a simple Google search, anyone can find out which players were scheduled to attend the golf tournament. You guys think the questions are annoying now? Imagine the grilling and speculation you’d all be subject to had the Lake Delton PD not cleared you…not released your names. And though you didn’t do anything criminally unjust, your proximity to the incident (criminal or not) begs the question, “What did you do?”

    I don’t know the timeline. I don’t know who was or was not present. I don’t know who was or was not in the know. But I am certain that Brandon Underwood is married with two sons. And I am certain that we are all judged by the company that we keep.

  • Robbed By MLB

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    “Does somebody have to die before we fix that?” Evidently, yes.

    The record books will show that Armando Galarraga tossed a complete game one-hitter on June 2, 2010. Jim Joyce’s memory (and that of the collective baseball world and beyond) will prove immeasurably more historic.

    Galarraga’s bid to become MLB’s latest perfectionist died in the hands of first base umpire Jim Joyce, who blew the 27th out of the game. And Joyce knows it. “I just cost that kid a perfect game,” he remarked.

    There’s no defending Joyce’s miss. Lookin’ right at it, he made the wrong call. He single handedly ripped a page from the annals of MLB.

    Galarraga handled it like a champ. “I got a perfect game,” he said. “Maybe it’s not in the book, but I’m going to show my son the CD.”

    The truth is that he should not have had to handle it at all. Joyce certainly should have gotten the call correct. But Major League Baseball is at least partially culpable in the theft.

    The sport that will bury a camera in the dirt in front of home plate so we can observe foot placement, body torque, and lumber physics, refuses to allow technology to insure that their game is properly officiated. “It’ll slow down an already sluggish affair,” opponents argue. Really? Slow it down more than a player-manager-umpire beyatch fest in the middle of the diamond?

    When comes to the objective realities of the game - home run or off the wall?…fair or foul?…safe or out? – there’s no reason that a guy on his couch should see it more clearly than the men on the field. Or in this case, the man on the field, for everyone else saw precisely what Jim Joyce did not.

     

  • Dang!

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    Our man Jake sent in these photos taken from his patio. Yeah…the patio of his HOUSE! At the risk of sounding like the biggest “P” this side of the Mississippi:

    “Jake, it’s time to move, buddy.”

    Anyway, he’s fairly certain that 4 foot fella on the left is a pine snake, but needs some help in identifying his 2 foot partner. Can anybody help?

     

  • It’s a Beautiful Day

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

    Lee is the king. Take that, dreadlocks! But where was Oates’ mustache?

     

  • I Still Be-LEE-ve

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    He did not have a very good night, but I’m still on the Lee bandwagon. Z…he thinks Crystal may have taken the crown. Only one thing is certain, friends:

  • I’ll Never Let Go, Jack

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    After eight days on the job, Jack Bauer has had enough. 24 is over. Maybe it was the lack of sleep coupled with the overwhelming charge of saving the Western World. Maybe it was the fact that, as the above graphic accurately points out, Jack never got the chance to relieve himself. Maybe it was working with Chloe. Maybe he never got over Edgar’s death. Or maybe Jack finally came to his Brad moment (Teen Wolf reference in 3 – 2 – 1):

    “Come on guys, I can’t do this all by myself.”

    Though it was the longest eight days ever, I’m going to miss ol’ J.B. and his cast of CTU characters. I have to admit that I barely watched this year. In fact, I’ve barely watched since the fifth day. But ironically, 24 was the great security blanket of television. It was always there and it was always entertaining. If nothing else, 24 served up endless Jack Bauer absurdity.

    Hurry to the big screen, J.B.