Go Ask Daddy About Young Sluggers, Window Clubbers and Cheeseburger Lovers

photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc
photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc

With temperatures plummeting into the upper 20s here the Carolinas overnight, it’s hard sometimes to think about spring.

Unless the topic is baseball.

I know many people consider March Madness the sports world’s harbinger of spring, but to me, it’s that February time when pitchers and catchers report to spring training. And spring training is the main reason I wish I was a ballplayer (that, and the free lids).

I feel like I would have excelled as a spring training ball player.

Noon games. Tropical climates. Seafood buffets. If you kill the ball, it’s a good sign for the season ahead. If you struggle? It’s just spring training. It’ll come around. It’s that time of year when hope springs eternal. Fans of some teams have nothing if they have no hope.

Elise asked about Angels star Mike Trout this week, and it occurred to me that she’s also asked about Panthers star Luke Kuechly. They’re both young handsome men with unlimited potential and a bright future ahead of them.

Which makes it obvious why she’s asked about them: They remind her of daddy.


1. How old is Mike Trout?

Mike Trout (5968461665)

On August 7, Mike Trout will turn 23. In other words, too old for you.

No one since Mickey Mantle has taken the game by storm like Mike Trout. The kid was AL Rookie of the Year and runner-up for league MVP behind the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera. He’s been to two MLB all-star games, has two silver slugger awards, and even won the 2012 Heart and Hustle Award (I’m most impressed with that one).

Aside from about 78 “youngest in baseball to ever … ” distinctions, Mike Trout still lives with his parents and would rather hang out at home in his man cave than hit the nightlife scene in L.A. The Angels selected him with a supplementary draft pick given them when they signed away Mark Teixeira for a boatload of money. Thanks, yankees!

Also, Mike Trout got to play for minor-league teams named the Kernels, Quakes, Travelers and Bees before becoming the second star player in Angels history with a fish-related name (here’s to you, Tim Salmon).

2. Is there another football team in Denver?

Jack Williams (American football)

I know I haven’t been back in Colorado for a while, but the Denver Broncos are the kings of the city.

When I was a kid, we had a USFL team called the Denver Gold. The league played in the spring and was the best chance for a Mexican kid like me to ever see a pro football game at Mile High Stadium. I went to exactly one game, against the Tampa Bay Bandits, who had the Ol’ Ball Coach, Steve Spurrier, as a coach, and Smokey and the Bandit star Burt Reynolds as a minority owner.

I love my Rockies, but by July, there’s usually no more hope. The Denver Nuggets are golden – until round 2 of the NBA playoffs. The Avalanche’s heyday was so long ago you kids still wore pants with elastic bands and needed daddy’s help in the bathroom.

(Speaking of help in the bathroom – check out these throwback Broncos uniforms. I wish they wore these every week! Love the socks).

3. Could you really punch a hole through a car window like Mr. Miagi at the end of Karate Kid?

To quote Mr. Miyagi: Aye.

Would I want to, though? If I really needed to bust a car window – for an emergency, such as a kid or pet trapped in a car, or a pizza – I’d pop it right in the middle of the largest window available. There’s some mathematical reason this is the best idea.

I’d wrap my hand in something to cushion the blow to my hand, something with little value to me – a lakers jacket, for instance. And no matter how well I cleaned up the mess, there would always – ALWAYS – be broken glass in that car.

4. Will a piranha eat anything?

Souvenir piranha jaw detail

I’m pretty sure if you dropped a chunk of soy in the water, they’d turn up their ferocious noses up at it.

But, who wouldn’t?

Sure, piranhas have all those 4-millimeter daggers in their heads and can sniff out a drop of blood in 53 gallons of water. And thanks to Teddy Roosevelt, they have quite the reputation as ruthless killers in the Amazon. Truth is, they’re about as toothless as the dojo master in Karate Kid, when he doesn’t have all his homeys to back him up.

A piranha school is more likely to scavenge carcasses like a vulture than it is to take down a cow or person like Roosevelt saw in Brazil in 1913, or Hollywood showed us with a couple of piranha B movies.

Piranhas are nervous, sometimes just eat insects, and are tasty to fish higher on the food chain. Like Mike Trout.

5. In restaurants, how are their burgers so perfect?


Ah. Every time I see one of those ads with that perfect burger looking right back at me, I hear Mariah Carey’s Fantasy.

Turns out, those burgers, not unlike swimsuit models, get a little doctorin’. You know, digital editing, special lighting, ketchup applied with a syringe. Plus, they want to make sure everything good in it, like pickles, onion, special sauce, is bursting through the front, so you know it’s there – kind of like with Kate Upton.

In a restaurant, it’s more about the volume on the thing. At home, our burgers tend to be of reasonable size and closer to the FDA’s and Michelle Obama’s suggested serving size. In a restaurant, though, it’s about presentation – and beef. Lots of beef. And cheese.

Sometimes, though, they just go too far. A great burger is about the love and care that goes into its creation. My burgers are made with love. Lots of it. I don’t need a quarterback’s girlfriend and blue cheese and hot sauce and special lighting for that.

I really don’t.

At all.


  1. ksbeth says:

    4. apparently i have something in common with a piranha as far as our response to soy.

    ps – it is very good they have you as a father, you are able to clear things up and make sense of some of the world’s great mysteries. great post, eli.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      4. Not even a cowardly socially-dependent yet razor-toothed fish gets crazy over soy. Yuck.I suspect you also won’t lurk in the Amazon and devour a clumsy native.

      p.s. I do my best. They have more questions than I do answers, but I keep shoveling away. Keeps the joints lubricated, at least. Thanks Beth.

  2. Ann Koplow says:

    The awesomeness of this post was amazing. Its perfection was real, not a fantasy. Question: Was it made with love?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It was made with enough love to make a real-life McDonald’s dollar-menu burger look like something Katherine Webb would eat in real life.

  3. All I know is now that Christmas is over, I am longing for Spring myself. Spring training at the very least means we are heading there I suppose!! 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I think we should go right into spring from Christmas – like, the very next day. And there should be baseball played on that day.

  4. Thanks for the lesson on Mike Trout. I used to follow baseball (Yankee fan here, sorry) but now I usually only have time for football which is my first love anyway. Maybe when my boys are a little older, I’ll be able to get back into it. And, if you ever break a window Miyagi style, please video it and post it, especially if there’s pizza involved!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      If football keeps you away from the yankees, I’m OK with that! Trout’s a good kid. In a few years, I’d be OK with him dating my daughter.

      I love how Miyagi used that dude’s anger against him to get him to punch the windows out himself. The nose squeeze? Classic.

  5. Teri says:

    What a coincidence, Mike Trout is from a little town in Jersey that was 15 mins from where I used to live. He played high school baseball against one of the boys who lived across the street from me.

    It’s still snowing on your page. I feel like I need a sweater when I come here.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Cool. His Jersey boy status was a detriment to his draftability, apparently, because pro teams wanted to draft kids who played in warm climates over those from up north, because they could play ball longer.

      The forecast is for the snow to end Jan. 6. I’m reasonably sure that’s snow, and not lice or dandruff. Reasonably.

  6. tamaralikecamera says:

    You sound like my dad. To be fair, soy is terrible. Des was about to eat a bite of tofu the other day and my dad said, “Don’t do it, Des! Don’t do it.” However, unlike piranha, Des WILL eat anything.
    I do know a bit about food photography and I always do get upset that burgers can’t look as good (or as fake, to be honest) as we make them look.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      They served us soy burgers in elementary school, and it took many, many years of many, many burgers to bring me back around. In fact, I should have another, to be sure.

      I just discovered there’s such a thing as a ‘burger stylist.’ Did I miss my calling?

  7. laurie27wsmith says:

    I think the question about piranhas should be, is it safe to skinny dip in piranha infested water? Those teeth don’t fill me with confidence at all. I’ve yet to find a hamburger that looks like what they serve you though. I think they airbrush the pictures.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I wouldn’t even trust a trout for skinny dipping, friend. I’m taking no chances.

      I’ve had plenty of ugly yet delicious hamburgers in my time, friend … give me one with substance. It’s what’s on the inside that counts, right?

      1. laurie27wsmith says:

        You have to watch where you dangle yer bits. It’s all about the inside Mate. A good hamburger is hard to beat. I like mine with a good beef patty, a pineapple ring, beetroot, tomato, lettuce, onion and a fresh buttered bun.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        It all starts with the patty, mate. The right seasoning and grilled just so, it doesn’t need much of a supporting cast.

      3. laurie27wsmith says:

        True but then there’s the ‘Works Burger.’ With the salad and an egg, bacon and cheese, a whole meal in itself.

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        That’s too much decoration for me, friend. I like mine down to the basics. Although blue cheese and hot sauce … I could be convinced of that.

      5. laurie27wsmith says:

        The classic Aussie works burger is a meal all on its own. I see that there will always be differences when it comes to hamburgers. Now we have the mixed grill, a meal for champions………

  8. Carla says:

    I’m thinking that if I keep reading your posts I’ll get some inkling of what the 300 men in my office are talking about come this Spring. Perhaps it will land me a promotion. Or they’ll wonder why the one with boobs keeps talking about baseball.

    The old burger trick. It’s a blood thing I don’t eat red meat or this would bother me.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      You don’t have to do much … I should write a post about baseball for women to get that upperhand in the office come spring. What do you think?

      They’ll either be fully impressed or wholeheartedly threatened by your knowledge. Plus, probably some of them have boobs, too.

      Oh, it really doesn’t bother me about the burgers. I’ve learned to love a burger from the inside out.

  9. Beef with cheese…say no more…

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Beautiful basics. No need for special sauce with the right beef and cheese.

  10. Rorybore says:

    oh no they did not!?
    did they just use sex to sell a frickin hamburger? I’d burn my bra in protest….but they would probably enjoy that. unbelieveable how low we have sunk. stuff like this makes me want to punch ad execs in the throat.
    or throw a ferocious piranha at them.
    See…. a real woman keeps her sense of humour in the midst of a rant 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It was more a parody of what happened when Brent Musburger went all lala over Katherine Webb, girlfriend of Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron during a game broadcast.

      OK, they did just sex to sell a frickin hamburger.

      But did you see that burger? Blue cheese, hot sauce … gah, it could have been Forrest Whittaker selling it (OK, maybe not), that was one mean burger.

      I would take a much lesser burger at your suggestion, though, Rory. I just would.

  11. Fair is fair. If they’re going to use Katherine Webb to sell hamburgers to men, then I want to see commercials with Adam Levine selling chocolate to women. Totally unnecessary, but I’m sure the ratings would be stellar!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Probably a lot of boys would enjoy the Adam Levine commercials, too.

  12. Letizia says:

    Why do I find that piranha cute? Like a little kid who thinks he’s strong and everyone just goes along with it. I know I’m crazy and I’d change my mind if I was in the water with it (and a hundred of his biting buddies!).

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Piranhas *are* cuddly in a razor-sharp dagger kind of way. They’re kind of the Scrappy Doo of the Amazon. Let’s stay in the boat all the same.

      1. Letizia says:

        Just looked up Scrappy Doo on google. Piranhas ARE the scrappy doos of the Amazon! Too funny!!

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Or maybe Scrappy Doo is the piranha of Hannah Barbara cartoons. Who’s to say?

  13. Spring would be nice. But escaping to watch some spring training in AZ would be nice, too!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’m with you – if you can’t get spring where you are, go where spring is. Or summer. I’m headed to Mexico in 17 days!

  14. Girls will find handsome in different ways, but usually fall for a guy that reminds them of their dad in some way, or every way. To me, good hamburger is the tastiest meat out here. I still love a patty pan fried in a cast iron skillet, on a sesame seed bun that has been kissed with butter and lightly pan toasted.
    Visit me @ Life & Faith in Caneyhead. 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Wow, I never knew that, Barbara, about girls and the boys they fall for. (every little thing, is gonna be alright.)

      I love to doctor up the meat of my hamburger, and go easy on the toppings. I’ve just finished a delicious dinner, and I want a burger.

      That’s the power of the burger! Especially as you’ve described it.

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