Monday, September 20, 2004

digesting it all

Back in early August, I spent a week at the family compound sifting through the tons of old sports mags kicking around. It has taken awhile to go through them, but the light is at the end of the tunnel. There's only a couple of boxes to go through before they have all been prepared for eBay or hacked up for clipart.

For a few years in the mid-late 80s, little sports junkie Jamie subscribed to Baseball Digest and Hockey Digest. These mags were as old as the hills - my father had a couple of crumbling issues from the 50s kicking around. Not deep, analytical reading, but enough to kill off the afternoon they arrived in the mail.

Even then, I sensed these digests were in a time warp. The ads were the giveaway - into the early 90s, you could still order Fleetwood 7" records of late 60s sports highlights, posters of NHL stars circa 1973 and hats with slots to display your favourite player's sports card. The NHL poster offer was especially funny, given that no team posters were available for any team who joined the league after 1972. You could still order a team shot of the California Golden Seals long after they ceased to exist.

Typical Baseball Digest articles:
"Al Nipper Joined A Select Group of World Series Starters" (change the position and player, and you had the smae article year-after-year. Kind of like the kid in grade school who delivered the same speech about Terry Fox each year, only changing the number of years since he passed on)

"The '67 White Sox Had Pitching, But No Punch!" (again, a fill-in-the-blank piece - shuffle years and hitting/pitching. The editors must have had a Mad Libs template)

"These Are The Majors Worst Hitters of '80s - So Far!" (Mario Mendoza didn't play deep enough into the decade to qualify - the guy they named the "Mendoza Line" stat after, to measure how futile a hitter you are)

"Whatever Became Of Two-Hour Games In The Majors?"

"Kurt Bevacqua: Life and Times of a Big League Utility Player" (well remembered for having a baseball card in '76 depicting his victory in a Bazooka gum blow-off)

Typical Hockey Digest articles:
"The Sutter Brothers - They All Play Like Sutters!" (as opposed to playing like Gretzkys or Kannegiesers)

"Ron Francis Has Become A Whale Of A Leader" (this pun is one reason I miss the Hartford Whalers..."Ron Francis Has Become a Hurricane Of A Leader" lacks zip)

"The Flames Finally Went Out" (and all the people were singing, they said nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah...)

"Hockey Doctors Tell Chilling Tales" (heh heh kiddies, it's the old Mortician here to tell you about the knees that eroded away!)

"Tony Esposito Enjoyed His Hall Of Fame Night" (wouldn't it be more interesting to know who didn't?)

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