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In Memoriam: Harvey Pekar (1939-2010)

By Illya Harrell On July - 12 - 2010
Harvey Pekar personified Cleveland.  He oozed Cleveland.  Every word he wrote had a little smell of Cleveland.  And write he did, from the mid-1950s until 2010...seven decades. Chiefly known for his intelligent comic books, graphic novels, and a 2003 film, American Splendor (named for his slice-of-life comic books). He began writing boxing articles in 1950s.  Then moved on to one of the absolute loves of his life, jazz music.  Pekar wrote close to 10,000 jazz reviews. His comics were about anything and everything Cleveland. In one, he lamented the helplessness of Cleveland sports fans.  How all Cleveland teams teased and taunted their fans, over-and-over ...

2011 All-Star Game: Will It Move Out of Arizona?

By Illya Harrell On May - 22 - 2010
The Arizona Immigration Law is undoubtedly stirring a lot of emotions.  If you have not heard of it, then feel free to go back to sleep. Your government will take care of you—that's a promise—well, from them. In 2011, Major League Baseball's All-Star game is scheduled for Arizona. This has people in a tizzy, calling for the MLB to move it, cancel it, have all the players wear pink berets instead of ball caps, hold special ceremonies honoring the vast number of Hispanic ball players, etc. None of that will happen.  Especially the pink berets—that was just made up.  In fact, it would not be at ...
"Civil rights include the ensuring of peoples' physical integrity and safety; protection from discrimination on grounds such as physical or mental disability, gender, religion, race, sexual orientation, national origin, age, and individual rights such as the freedoms of thought and conscience, speech and expression, religion, the press, and movement." That's a definition of civil rights from Wikipedia. On Saturday night Cincinnati hosted it's second consecutive "Civil Rights Game." Both the Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals dressed in 1947 throwback jerseys and donned caps that read "Civil Rights Game" in honor of the year Major League Baseball broke it's color barrier. Should the "Civil Rights ...
How can a player with a six-year stint in the majors, and a .200 career batting average become one of the most beloved characters in Major League Baseball? Be Bob Uecker—that's it, fairly simply. Milwaukee Brewers' fans are lucky enough to have the opportunity to listen to the "Ueke's" colorful and often legitimately laugh-out-loud funny commentary on a nightly basis. Uecker, 75, will undergo major heart surgery on Friday, and most likely be out of commission for 10 to 12 weeks. Uecker spent six seasons as a catcher with four different Major League clubs: the Milwaukee Braves (before they moved to Atlanta), the St. ...

Cincinnati Reds: Another Take on the Joe Morgan Hiring

By Illya Harrell On April - 24 - 2010
*Anyone reading this needs to know that some [expletive] headline editor changed my original title from, "Cincinnati Reds: Another Take on the Joe Morgan Hiring" to "Racial Side of the Reds Hiring Joe Morgan".  I apologize on behalf of the [expletive] editor who changed the title which I feel makes the article sound as though I am bigoted toward the black people everywhere.   Cincinnati, whether deserved or undeserved, has long held a reputation of racist city. And no, that's not a photo of Joe Morgan giving a "black power" fist. He's waving. But the photo looked silly after trying to crop it ...

Super Sexy Surfer Babes

By Illya Harrell On April - 22 - 2010
I have no idea why surfing has always fascinated me. It's possible that living in a land locked state, and never having had the opportunity to give it a whirl. The closest I've come to surfing has been rubber raft rowing in the Mud River as a youth, boogie boarding in the Atlantic, and tubing on the Potomac. Or maybe it was Jeff Spicoli saying, "All I need are some tasty waves, cool buds, and I'm fine." No, stop lying to yourself...It's all about the babes!Begin Slideshow

Chris Henry: Darwin Award Candidate 2009

By Illya Harrell On December - 17 - 2009
Death.  Happens every day to thousands of people. It's as much a part of life as living and breathing. Chris Henry was just one of the many who died on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009.  And it's safe to say that of those who died on that day, Henry undoubtedly was on the lower end of the character spectrum.  "Oh, but he had turned his life around." Ha! Then why was he in the back of a pick-up truck trying to break through the glass to do God only knows what to his fiancée.  If this article sounds cruel, please stop reading. What separates Chris Henry from those ...

New York Yankees: Bad for the Bronx, Bad for Baseball

By Illya Harrell On September - 22 - 2009
In the not so distant past the New York Yankees embodied everything good about baseball and America.  Slowly that faded.  Yankee lore officially died on August 19, 2006—ground breaking day of New Yankee Stadium. This is a story about corporate greed, political cronyism, and arrogant negligence to the neighborhood where the ghosts of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, and Thurman Munson occasionally pitch tent and drink beers with ghost fans of those "Bronx Bombers".   The new and the old Yankee Stadiums both stand in New York state's 16th Congressional District.  Outside of the beltway, it is more commonly known as ...

Yankee Fans 1935: Celebrating Almost 75 Years of No Class

By Illya Harrell On September - 14 - 2009
Yankee Stadium, Sept. 14, 1935, the Detroit Tigers came to town for a double header.  Hank Greenberg, a native New Yorker, and the first formidable Jewish baseball player did not gather a hit in either game and struck out five times. In the 1998 film, The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, his son Stephen detailed the indescribable sadness his father felt upon returning from the host stadium of his childhood heroes and favorite team. The New York American chronicled the day, "The hooting and jeering which some of the fans turned loose against Hank wasn't much of a tribute to the ...

Innocent Joy: Opening a Fresh Pack Of Cards

By Illya Harrell On September - 10 - 2009
Is that not the most incredible Eric Davis baseball card ever?  Man, I loved that guy, easily my all-time favorite Reds' player. "The Class and the Ass" was the immediate title that came to mind when I saw the Don Mattingly and Mark McGwire card. During the warm months, on the first Thursday, the city shuts down the street below my apartment building and holds an outdoor concert. Vendors fill the avenue and try to hock their wares. In my apartment, on those Thursdays, I can not avoid the music—which to myself is exactly three notches above God-awful. There is one brilliant ...

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