Monday, May 30, 2016

Friendly Encounters: Steve Harvey and Deena Fagiano

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

Deena Fagiano is one of a handful of Chicago Bliss players who have been on the team for all four seasons I have covered them.  Deena is one of my favorites, too.  As an under-the0radar Italian runner-receiver-lineman, she fits the mold.  As a person, she breaks the mold.
Deena is funnya nd fun.  She is entertaining, intelligent and goofy (in a good way).  She often gets overshadowed on the Bliss by bigger names with bigger stats, but Deena is a consistent contributor, appreciated by coaches, teammates and true fans.
Last season, she was one of the eight players featured on Pretty.  Strong., the docu-series focusing on the Bliss.  Chicagoan Steve Harvey got Deena to appear on his show.
The episode turned a bit cheesy, as part of it was about finding a date for Deena, including her throwing real passes to a couple guys.
It's kind of cute, but seriously, Deena can't have any problem finding dates.  If she does, I'm sure there are hundreds of guys at any Bliss game who would gladly take her out.
Still, it was entertaining and it gave Deena more exposure and that is all good.  The LFL itself is under-the-radar and I really cannot understand that.  These ladies deserve our attention.
Steve Harvey and Deena Fagiano in Chicago, IL-Summer 2015.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Celebrity Jersey Cards #275 Shawn Kemp & Bill Russell

This is a regular series which attempts to combine my lifelong passion for trading cards with my semi-professional interest in celebrities.  We continue working our way alphabetically through Major League Baseball.

Six-time NBA All-tar Shawn Kemp was born in Indiana and played 8 of his 14 seasons with the Seattle SuperSonics.  Unfortunately for Kemp and his Sonics, they reached the NBA Finals during the season when the Bulls set the (then) record for wins in a season (72) while on the way to their 6th title in 8 years.  Kemp was honored by the Seattle Mariners, which explains his Celebrity Jersey Card.
 Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Russell came out of Louisiana to win 11 NBA titles in 12 yeaqrs for the Boston Celtics, including 2 as a player-coach.  Later, he coached the Sonics and the Sacramento Kings, without as much success.  He returned to Seattle for the ceremonial pitch honors and to make his way onto a Celebrity Jersey Card.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Brittany Cervantes and the 2016 Chicago Bandits

As the 2016 season opener for the Chicago Bandits draws closer, I am featuring some of the Bandits here.  This is just the beginning of my coverage of the 2016 Bandits.
An alum of the University of Kentucky, Brittany Cervantes is entering her fifth season with the Bandits.  She first joined the Bandits after an open tryout.  The star first baseman has improved every season.  Last season, she batted .358 with 9 home runs and 23 rbi's.  She was the NPF Offensive Player of the Year.
Brittany also was the first Bandit I ever interviewed.  That interview occurred after a victory and can be found at On the Beat With Brittany Cervantes.  I'll always have a special place for Brittany because of that.  I was a bit nervous and excited to start a new coverage.  I enjoyed the interview so much and really felt Brittany's excitement.  I remember driving home looking forward to coming back.  I was pretty much hooked from that game and it all started with #22 Brittany.
I hope to see everyone out at the ballpark this season.  Check out ChicagoBandits.com for ticket info and updates.  Also, stay tuned right here for regular coverage.
Brittany Cervantes and me in Rosemont, IL-Summer 2015.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Jordan Trovillion Loves Johngy's Beat

At the recent Motor City Comic Con, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jordan Trovillion.  That interview can be found at On the Beat With Jordan Trovillion at the Motor City Comic Con 2016.  It's hard to believe that it had been four years since I last interviewed Jordan.
After the interview, Jordan was nice enough to give us a quick promo.  Once again, we want to thank Jordan for the interview and also for the promo.  We hope it isn't four more years until we next speak.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Jennie Finch and the Chicago Bandits

The Chicago Bandits start their season one week from today.  I have had the pleasure of covering the Bandits for the past two seasons and one of the greatest experiences was meeting softball Hall of Famer Jennie Finch.
Finch has done it all in the world of softball.  Time magazine described her as the most famous softball player in history.  She won the 2001 Women's College World Series with the University of Arizona and helped lead Team USA to the gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics and a silver medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics.  Then she embarked on a pro career.
She pitched for five seasons with the Bandits, going 36-8.  She pitched two perfect games along the way.  I could fill a page with the rest of her accomplishments and awards, but you can find that info in many other places.
I have seen Finch around the Bandits, as well as teaching youngsters.  She is immensely popular and viewed as royalty.  I was very excited about meeting and interviewing her.  I am happy to say she was as nice and professional as could be.  It ranks as one of my all time favorite interviews.  That interview can be found at On the Beat with Jennie Finch.
Finch is the real deal.  She was a winner at every level.  She continues to give back to her sport with her clinics and other commitments to the softball community.  Finch didn't have to take time for my interview, but she did so willingly and we talked a bit after, too.  Then, she went on to do a couple more interviews.
There are few players higher in their respective sports than Finch.  She's like the Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky or Babe Ruth of softball.  That isn't exaggeration either.  She would definitely be on the Mount Rushmore of softball.
One week from today, the Bandits start their season.  Two new teams are in the league (Dallas and Houston).  Young women softball players will be trying to make their name in the great sport, like Finch did not so long ago.  I'll be there for plenty of games and hopefully I'll see Finch again.
For more info on the Bandits, check out ChicagoBandits.com.  I hope to see you at the Ballpark in Rosemont!
Jennie Finch and me in Rosemont, IL-August 2015.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Billy Martin at Wizard World Chicago 2015

Billy Martin is best known as the lead guitarist and keyboard player for Good Charlotte.  When he is not watching Good Charlotte's albums going multi-platinum, he spends his time building another career as an artist.  Merging the two passions, he contributed to Good Charlotte's stage design, album art and band merchandise.
His artwork is not limited to his band though.  He co-wrote and illustrated Vitriol: The Hunter in 2012.  It is the story of a hero, fueled by vengeance, in a decomposing city filled with the supernatural.  Recently, he has also done work on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: New Animated Adventures and BOOM!’s Adventure Time.
Martin is a versatile, multi-talented artist.  He's also a very popular comic con guest.  Too bad he couldn't showcase any of his music at the con.  That would have been awesome.
I look forward to meeting Martin again and reporting back here.  Until then, check out TheBillyMartin.com for updates, info and his convention schedule.
Billy Martin and me in Rosemont, IL-August 2015.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Motor City Comic Con 2016 Recapped

Another year of the Motor City Comic Con is in the books and it was awesome.  My full recap can be found on the Novi Patch at The Motor City Comic Con Was Epic!
I have been going to the MCCC since 2007 and I honestly believe this was the best and biggest one yet.  A few years ago, due to some big name celebrity guests and the huge attendance they drew, the MCCC had some major issues with lines and parking.  In fact, the MCCC was torched a bit on social media.  While the situation was bad, the con was still great and it was the unexpected level of attendees which caused the situation.
In any case, the MCCC organization addressed the parking and the lines.  This year they had a little glitch in parking, but the whole situation was much improved and effort was seen.  I applaud the MCCC for the strides they have made.
This goes a long way to making the MCCC an elite convention.  I really think it took a step into that category this year.  Huge celebrity guests, hundreds of artists and vendors and a very organized and helpful staff combined to raise the bar at MCCC.
I look forward to things getting bigger and better.  Most impiortant, I look forward to being there again and again.
Thank you to the entire Motor City Comic Con organization.  Thanks, too, to Cuzz Gekas for his valuable logistical skills.
Cuzz Gekas and me in Novi, MI-May 2016.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Friendly Encounters: Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Scottie Steiner

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

Scottie "The Wonder Boy" Steiner is the official timekeeper at Resistance Pro.  As such, he has met quite a few wrestlers over the years.  He doesn't really get too excited about meeting even the bigger name wrestlers.  Scottie is one cool customer.
He did get a bit jacked though when we met WWE Hall of Famer Hacksaw Jim Duggan at C2E2.  We both got our pictures with Hacksaw, but when he was done with mine, he instructed us to take another, as he choked me.  This is classic Hacksaw.  He gives more than expected every time.  After seeing Hacksaw do this to me, Scottie asked him for the same treatment.  Of course Hacksaw complied.
Scottie was a big help to Johngy's Beat at C2E2 and I am glad he got to have some fun in pictures like the one with Hacksaw.  Someday, Scottie should be a lock for the RPro Hall of Fame.
Scott Steiner and Jim Duggan in Chicago, IL-March 2016.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Celebrity Jersey Cards #274 Valerie Bertinelli & Monica Potter

This is a regular series which attempts to combine my lifelong passion for trading cards with my semi-professional interest in celebrities.  We continue working our way alphabetically through Major League Baseball.

Valerie Bertinelli was born in Wilmington, DE and became famous on One Day at a Time, which was set in Indianapolis, IN.  Thirty plus years later, she was just as cute starring in Hot in Cleveland.  It's that Cleveland connection which brings us to her Celebrity Jersey Card.  She's got an interesting grip on the ball there.  She gets extra points for the cap.  Actually, she gets extra points for everything.
Actress Monica Potter was born in Cleveland, OH and stayed true to her roots for her Celebrity Jersey Card.  She started acting on the daytime drama The Young and Restless, then moved to the big screen  She since has returned to television, most notably in Parenthood.  Potter gets extra points for the cap and for the pitching pose.  I'll also give her a few more points for being so cute.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

On the Beat With Michael Zapcic and Ming Chen at Motor City Comic Con 2016

How cool are Michael Zapcic and Ming Chen?  Very cool, despite describing themselves as comic book nerds.
I contacted both men about interviews at the Motor City Comic Con 2016.  Michael responded positively, but I did not hear back from Ming. At the con, I approached Michael and he was totally gracious and willing to do it right then.  Ming asked about the interview and I explained I tried reaching him.  He apparently never got my message, but still jumped in on the interview.  This was a classy move on his part.  What happened during the interview was pure gold.
These guys made my job easy.  They took it and ran with it.  They discussed their start, the lamest superheroes and other fun topics.
On the subject of lame Superheroes, I had to ask them about Aquaman, who often makes it onto lists of lame Superheroes.  They totally disagreed about Aquaaman being lame.  Finally some validation and from two experts.  I love these guys!
They are Comic Book Men, podcasters and pop culture ramblers.  Actually, they are everyting I want Johngy's Beat to be.  For now, I will settle for them appearing on Johngy's Beat!
You can learn more about them and be entertained greatly at MingandMike.com.  You should also follow Ming on Twitter and Mike on Twitter for updates and more fun.
Thank you very much to the Motor City Comic Con for their hospitality.  A special big thanks to Michael and Ming for their time and for being great guys!