Wednesday, July 1, 2015

On the Beat with Kirsten Verdun of the Chicago Bandits 2015

The Johngy's Beat and Justin's World of Softball joint coverage of the Chicago Bandits continues today with Kirsten Verdun.  The second year pitcher out of DePaul University is also leaving her mark as a hitter.
Last season, Kirsten had one complete game win in her only start and she also had a save.  In total, she pitched 25 innings and had a 2.80 ERA.  Those are pretty good numbers, especially for a rookie.  Her 25 innings weren't a ton, but that isn't unusual for a rookie and this year, Kirsten is well ahead of that pace.  This season, Kirsten already has two complete game wins in three starts with an ERA of 1.81 over 19.1 innings.
Not content with shutting down the opposition, Kirsten also likes to provide offense.  She is one o the few pitchers who hits.  She has batted as the "Designated Player" and has done quite well.
In our interview below, we talked about all of this and much more.  Kirsten talked about advancing from rookie to second year, giving advice to rookies, hitting and other fun topics.  I predict big things for Kirsten and I will be watching her career develop.
After you watch our interview, head over to ChicagoBandits.com for updates and news.  Also, you can get ticket info and come out to the games!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

On the Beat with Amber Patton of the Chicago Bandits 2015

The Johngy's Beat and Justin's World of Softball joint coverage of the Chicago Bandits resumes today with an interview with Amber Patton.  We caught up with the veteran 3rd baseperson during the last homestand against the Dallas Charge.
The Bandits are off to a hot start and so is Patton.  With a .436 average, she is off to the best start of her 7 year career.  She also has 5 rbi's on this young season.
We talked to Patton about her years with the Bandits, going from a rookie to a team leader.  She discussed the changes over the years.  She also talked about her future, which sadly for Bandits fans, lead her to a major reveal.
In what is a Johngy's Beat scoop, Patton said this will be her last season.  She is moving on with her non-softball career.  This is a tough blow for Bandits nation, but we are just thankful for the many years she has played.
Patton has been an excellent player and member of the Bandits.  She has been a steady force for her entire career.  She gave the fans some great times and we all appreciate all she has done.
I hope you enjoy the interview below.  Please join me in thanking Patton and wishing her well as she plays her last season with the Bandits.  Check out ChicagoBandits.com for more info and updates on the team and for ticket info.  Come out to the Ballpark and join the fun...and say good-bye to Patton!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Friendly Encounters: Dominique Collins and Christopher Herrmann

Friendly Encounters is a weekly series featuring friends who have met celebrities.

Christopher Herrmann stars on tv's Chicago Fire.  Dominique Collins plays football for the Chicago Bliss, who play their home games at Toyota Park, home of the Chicago Fire soccer team.
That's kind of a long way to make a long stretch to connect these two.  No connection is really needed though.  The fact is they are two of Chicago's favorites.
DC is a valuable member of the two time Legends Football League champion Chicago Bliss.  She is one of the most focused, determined and hard-working people I have ever had the pleasure to know.  I have watched her develop as a player and am privileged to call her a friend.
I have seen DC pose with many fans and sign a ton of autographs.  I have several pictures with DC and each one represents a memorable event, like our first interview way back when in the end zone at the Sears Centre (their old home field).  I always think it is cool when celebrities take and post pictures with their favorite celebrities.
I don't know the specifics of this photo.  I wonder if Herrmann knew the football greatness who was standing next to him.  I am sure if he talked to DC for just a minute, he would know the great person she is though!
Dominique Collins and Christopher Herrmann in Chicago, IL-May 2015.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

C2E2 With Kurt Dinse

Kurt Dinse's website's info page states, "After retiring from a life of loud music, never ending travel & sleeping on strangers floors, Kurt Dinse has been drawing pictures and telling stories of the weird, stupid, and sometimes uncomfortable world that he sees."  I like to point to "weird, stupid and sometimes uncomfortable" to describe Kurt's art.
I have met and interviewed Kurt several times at various conventions.  The first time was back at Days of the Dead in 2012.  That interview can be found at On the Beat with Kurt Dinse at Days of the Dead 2012.
Kurt's work includes monster cards, art posters and other "weird, stupid and uncomfortable stuff."  One of my favorite pieces is a twisted version of the Chicago Blackhawks logo.  Kurt covers all fields in his art.  He truly is unique and he creates truly unique art.  He also happens to be a very nice and interesting guy.
I encourage everyone to check out his art and get updates at PungentBasementArt.com.  Give yourself some time though, because there is a lot of fun stuff on his site.
Kurt Dinse and me in Chicago, IL-April 2015.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Celebrity Jersey Cards #227 The Blue Meanie & Edge

Athletes get trading cards.  Why not celebrities?  At least celebrities wearing athletic jerseys should get cards.  I am doing my best to create cards for jersey-clad celebs.

Brian Heffron was born in Philadelphia, PA and has stayed close to his roots.  As "The Blue Meanie," Heffron became a star in the PA-based ECW.  Heffron is one of the nicest guys around.  My interview with him can be found at On the Beat with The Blue Meanie.  Heffron lost a lot of weight, but has kept the Meanie magic.  On his Celebrity Jersey Card, he is wearing a Phillies jersey, naturally.  He's have it no other way.
Adam Copeland was born in Canada and has always stayed true to his roots, too.  As Edge in the WWE, he became a superstar.  Neck injuries forced an early retirement, but he is clearly a Hall of Famer.  I got to go horizontal for his Celebrity Jersey Card and if you were a fan of his (especially the "Lita" years, this makes more sense.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Johngy and Blue Pants?

Resistance Pro put on another great show.  "Split Second" was a little bit different though.  It had the usual great matches, but several interesting things happened.  For a recap of the mat action, check out my story on TruSchoolSports.com at On the Beat at Resistance Pro's "Split Second."
Today, I want to feature Leva Bates.  It's no secret that I am a big fan of RPro's Women's division.  Their matches are often "Match of the Night" material.  The women are athletic, tough and charismatic.
I am generally not a huge fan of bringing in bigger names for one match.  The wrestler comes in and puts on a great match, but there is nothing behind it.  I'd rather see someone else in the company get a spotlight match.  Leva Bates at "Split Second" is one of the exceptions.
Bates has wrestled for Shimmer, TNA, the WWE and other organizations.  In addition to her great wrestling ability, she is known for her use of cosplay for her outfits.  "Blue Pants" came with an impressive resume, like a lot of wrestlers.
The difference in Bates is intangibles.  She has such a great personality.  She eagerly posed for pictures and signed autographs before and after the show, as well as intermission.  She talked at length with her fans.  She even joined her fans in big group pictures.  In short, she went way above and beyond the call of duty and she did it all with a smile.
Inside the ring, she was all business, but still looked to be having fun.  Crazy Mary Dobson (her opponent) and Bates had a mutual respect, even sharing a gimmick table, but they battled it out in the ring and gave the fans an exciting match.
I think Bates has a brilliant future.  Her and Crazy Mary will be battling each other down the line in the WWE at some point.
This is just another example of RPro getting it right.  Choosing the right incoming wrestler is not easy.  RPro hit a home run with Bates.
Leva Bates and me in Summit, IL-June 2015.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

At Days of the Dead with Michael West

I first met and interviewed bestselling author Michael West at Days of the Dead in Indianapolis, IN, in 2012.  That interview can be found at On the Beat with Michael West at Days of the Dead 2012.  This weekend, I will be making the quick trip to Indy for Days of teh Dead 2015 and I will be checking in with West for an update on his latest work.
West is as talented as he is friendly.  He is always willing to discuss his work, horror stuff or pretty much anything.  One of the funniest thing is that his children are convince that spirits live in the woods near their home.  I am sure West has fun with that.
West is a fan of horror, as was witnessed when I ran into him as a fan at the Days of the Dead in Chicago last year.  West was recognized by some fans, including me, who asked for pictures with him.
I have enjoyed his Poseidon's Children book and have some of his other books on my "to read" shelf.  I enjoy a good horror story and West delivers.
To learn more about him, check out ByMichaelWest.com or come out to Days fo the Dead and meet him.  I guarantee you it will be horrifyingly awesome!
Michael West and me in Schaumburg, IL_November 2014.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Cards That Never Were: George Theodore 1975 Topps

"Cards That Never Were" is a recurring series in which I create virtual trading cards to fill in the glaring omissions in various Topps sets.  I borrowed this concept from too many others to mention, but I thank them all.

George Theodore played mostly outfield for the New York Mets in 1973 and 1974.  "The Stork" played in 45 games in 1973 and 60 in 1974, although his plate appearances dropped from 134 to 89.  This would indicate he was used a lot as a defensive replacement.  His batting average also dropped from .259 to .158.  He also had two home runs and 16 rbi's in his two seasons.
Topps deemed Theodore card-worthy in 1974, but not in 1975.  Based on his stats, I can understand their decision, but I don't agree with it.  Of course, if it was up to me, everyone who played would get a card every year.
Anyway, I found a great picture of the lanky Theodore showing his batting stance.  I certainly see why he was called "the Stork."  I created this 1975 Theodore card and now Theodore's career is covered.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Wizard World Fan Fest with Judge Hydrogen

Our continuing coverage of Wizard World Fan Fest brings us to Judge Hydrogen, a visual artist and musician.  I am sure it is no coincidence that the visual of him at his booth was what drew us to investigate further.
As quoted on his site, "The focus of his works are apocalyptic myths."  He also states, “It is my obligation as an artist to capture visually life tearing itself apart."
I should have just copied his entire quote, but then I'd say I should have copied his entire "About" page.  Instead, I pulled those two quotes and I encourage you to go to JudgeHydrogen.com to read the rest and check out the other pages including his store, reviews, samples of his music and more.
I really need to interview Judge Hydrogen in the future.  His thoughts on humanity, myths and technology are fascinating.  I would love to hear him expand these thoughts.
Actually, he does expand these thoughts through his music.  When I listen to music samples, I usually try to pick my favorite one or two and highlight them.  In this case, I really was drawn into all five samples.  A Body of Water, In Peace, Ancient, Prostrate and Abandoned to Wolves share the same feeling, while still being completely different.  I found them stirring and emotion-provoking.
"A Body of Water " is in "Sinister," the Ethan Hawke film.  Listen for it during the pool party scene.
This is an interesting guy and I really hope our paths cross again.  I hope to bring an interview here in the future.  Until then, head over to JudgeHydrogen.com, the Judge Hydrogen Facebook page or the Judge Hydrogen twitter feed for more info and all updates.  You can also get samples of the music.
Judge Hydrogen and me in Rosemont, IL-March 2015.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Friendly Encounters: Kristy McNichol and Jack Keenan

This is a weekly series about friends who have met celebrities.

Occasionally, other people join Johngy's Beat to cover various events.  One such pinch-hitter is Jack Keenan who has supplied his photographic skills to the cause.
I always appreciate the extra helping hand, but I really love it when the person gets some extra benefit out of working with me.  Such was the case at the recent Hollywood Celebrities Show.
Jack got to meet and do a little promo work with Kristy McNichol.  In his youth, Jack had a bit of a crush on Kristy (who didn't though?).
I have had my fun meeting many of my favorites and it was cool to see Jack interacting with Kristy.  He described her as charming and she told me she found him delightful.  It could not have worked out any better.
Kristy McNichol and Jack Keenan in Rosemont, IL-May 2015.