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?
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?
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?
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?
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.