Saturday, April 4, 2020

Micky Dolenz at Wizard World St. Louis 2017

The new year is well underway, which means a whole new year of Wizard World events across the country. The next Wizard World is June 5-7 in St. Louis, MO.. I won't make the trip, but I will be there in spirit.
A couple years ago, Jack and I did make the trip to St. Louis for Wizard World. It was my fourth Wizard World city (along with Chicago, Columbus and New York).
One of the cool celebrities we met was Micky Dolenz, the former singer and drummer for the Monkees. Dolenz's career actually started well before his Monkees days, when he was on tv's Circus Boy. He had his own band for a while before he auditioned for the Monkees tv show.
The Monkees became a hit series, although short lived. The four musician/actors eventually became a real band. That band has continued to remain popular and has reunited many times over the years.
Micky isn't the only entertainer in the Dolenz family. His younger sister Coco appeared on some episodes of The Monkees and also sang some backup. His daughter Ami is an actress, too.
Check out WizardWorld.com for all of the info on the Cleveland event and all of the other Wizard World events all year. Also, check out MickyDolenz.com for news on Dolenz.
Micky Dolenz, Jack Keenan and me in St. Louis, MO-April 2017.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Aubree Munro of Team USA

Aubree Munro was a star catcher at the University of Florida. In her four seasons, she hit .254 with eight homers, 76 rbi's and 57 runs scored. She also had a fielding percentage of .997. She was a two-time NCAA National Champion and a two-time WCWS All-Tournament selection.
Aubree was selected in the 2016 NPF College Draft by the USSSA Pride as the 39th overall pick. She played a bit for the Pride, but concentrated more on Team USA. With Team USA, she was a World Cup of Softball Silver Medalist in 2016 and 2017. In 2019, she was a Pan American Games Gold Medalist.
Like her Team USA mates, Aubree was excited when she was named to the 2020 roster. Unfortunately, with the pandemic, the Olympics were postponed until 2021. As I have mentioned before, I am really looking forward to this Olympics. Never a big fan of the Olympics, I am excited to see my friends (or at least acquaintances) take the big stage.
I will be supplying recurring coverage through the Olympics here, for Global Traveler and for Patch.com. Also, follow Aubree at @Aubree_Munro1 on twitter. Also, go to the Team USA softball site for all of the info on the team.
Aubree Munro and me in Rosemont, IL-June 2019.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Cards That Never Were: Doug Favell Topps 1968-'69

Cards That Never Were is a recurring series in which I create virtual trading cards for players missed in various sets. It is a concept I have borrowed from far too many to list, but I appreciate all of their efforts.
Doug Favell started his professional hockey career in the Boston Bruins organization. The Philadelphia Flyers selected Favell and teammate Bernie Parent in the 1967 NHL Expansion Draft. After the 1972-'72 season, Favell was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Bernie Parent (who had been traded there in February of 1971). Favell played three seasons with the Leafs, before being sold to the Colorado Rockies. The Edmonton Oilers selected him in the 1979 NHL Expansion Draft, but Favell chose to retire.
Favell played 370 games and had a 317 goals against average for his career. He was one of the first goalies to use the butterfly technique. He was also the first goalie to use a painted design on his mask (although former teammate Gerry Cheevers was the first to actually have artwork on his mask).
An excellent lacrosse player, Favell played professionally for the Detroit Olympics and the Philadelphia Wings. He was inducted into the Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2005.
For his efforts, Topps (or OPC) issued cards for Favell in every set from 1969-1979. Since they missed a 1968 rookie card, I felt compelled to create one.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Chris Chelios at The National 2017

Chris Chelios played an unbelievable 26 years in the NHL, 8+ with my beloved Blackhawks. That career, ended after the 2009-10 season with the Atlanta Thrashers, earned him an enshrinement into the Hall of Fame.
Prior to his NHL career, Chelios was an outstanding prep player. He even played at Mt. Carmel, my alma mater. It's a long-running joke among my friends that no other duo of Mt. Carmel alums played as many games as Cheli and I. Together we played 1,651 games in the NHL. Of course, I played none, but that doesn't get in the way of a (bad) joke.
Actually, Cheli didn't attend Mt. Carmel for long. Despite him being 3 years older than me, we weren't even there at the same time. I think he played his freshamn year at MC, before the family moved to the west coast.
Despite his Chicago roots and his time playing for the Hawks, I had never met Cheli until last year at The National. He looked to still be in playing shape, despite being 55 years old.
I mentioned our MC connection (but not the bad joke). We talked a bit about his son Jake (then playing defense in the AHL) and daughter Caley (a sports reporter in Tampa).
It was a thrill to meet Cheli. Because of ages and proximity, I really followed Cheli's career for more than 30 years. (How had he really escaped me until then?)
Chris Chelios and me in Rosemont, IL-August 2017.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Squared Circle Expo Update

The Squared Circle Expo is scheduled for May 29-30 in Indianapolis, IN. With the pandemic, all conventions are in a holding pattern. The fine folks at SCE are keeping all updated as best as can be.
I wrote at length about their latest update at Squared Circle Expo Update on Patch.com. In short, the SCE is still scheduled as is, but the organizers are looking at other options with the host hotel and the guest wrestlers. They will keep all posted as developments occur and I will report their updates, too.
As we settle in for a long lockdown, we realize the things we miss most won't be the events. It will be the friends and the memories.
Ed "Mr. Zubaz" Gonzales and "Hardcore" Heather Owens are two friends I miss and looked forward to seeing at the SCE. It's no shock that I miss the #ClassyBroad, but yes, I miss Ed, too. They are such a huge part of the convention scene. I have known them for several years and they are two great people.
Nobody works harder than these two and nobody parties harder. Despite being extremely busy at conventions, they always have a few minutes to catch up.
Although I haven;t been with them in a while, at least I have been entertained by them through their Pop Drunk YouTube channel. They drink, talk Funko Pop figures and basically have a ball and I have just as much fun watching them.
It looks like the SCE will be postponed, but it will happen at some point. I will be so happy to see Ed, Heather and all of my other friends there. Until then, I will sit at home and watch Pop Drunk videos to get my Ed and Heather fix.
Check SquaredCircleX.com for all of the info on this great event. Also follow Squared Circle Expo on Facebook for more frequent updates.
Ed Gonzales, Heather Owens and me in Schaumburg, IL-November 2018.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Friend Encounters: Lacy Marie and Michael West at Days of the Dead Louisville 2017

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

Author Michael West is a regular presence at Days of the Dead conventions in the midwest. The Indiana resident has been part of the celebrity author lineup, but also goes as a horror fan, like the rest of us.
Michael has written many books. A noted fan of horror, Michael has crafted horrifically good stories within the pages of his books. He has also done short stories, which I think are especially challenging in the horror field. I first interviewed Michael back in 2012 and that can be found at On the Beat With Michael West.
It's always fun around Michael, whether we are talking about his latest book project or I am watching him meet his favorite celebrities.
One celebrity Michael met was fellow author Lacy Marie. Lacy Marie's latest series is written to inspire people to remain loyal to living their lives regardless of life's circumstances. Her writing goal is to impact lives.
I can only imagine the conversation between these two talented folks. I would have loved to hear how their minds work. Of course, they probably just discussed regular stuff and not the intricacies of writing. Either way, I find them interesting.
Go to DaysoftheDead.com for more info on the Indy event and more. Check out ByMichaelWest.com for more info on my talented author friend.
Michael West and Lacy Marie in Louisville, KY-October 2017

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Cards That Never Were: Ed Giacomin Topps 1978-79

Cards That Never Were is a recurring series in which I create virtual trading cards for players missed in various sets. It is a concept I have borrowed from far too many to list, but I appreciate all of their efforts. Many creations (not just baseball) of others can be found on the Custom Baseball Cards Facebook group.
Goalie Ed Giacomin made his NHL debut with the New York Rangers in the 1965-66 season. Near the end of the 1975-76 season, Giacomin was traded to the Detroit Red Wings. He retired after the 1977-78 season. He was inducted into the Hockey Hal of Fame in 1987.
For his efforts, Giacomin received cards from the 1965-66 Topps set through the 1977-78 set. After appearing in only three games in his last season, it is understandable that Topps did not ssue a card for Giacomin in the 1978-79 set. Of course, I felt Giacomin needed a "career capper" card to honor his career.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Celebrity Jersey Cards Marilu Henner & Arnold Schwarzenegger

This is a weekly series in which I create virtual trading cards for celebrities wearing sports jerseys. With what should have been the start of baseball season, I begin working my way alphabetically through the Major League Baseball teams.

Born in Chicago, IL, Marilu Henner rose to fame as Elaine Nardo on tv's Taxi. She also starred in Johnny Dangerously, a vastly underrated movie. Marilu is a nickname for Mary Lucy. Henner has hyperthymesia or total recall memory. She remembers specific details from every day of her life since she was a small child. Henner earned her Celebrity Jersey Card when she donned the Angels jersey for her National Anthem performance at an Angels game.
 Born in Thal, Styria, Arnold Schwarzenegger has done it all. He has been a fitness competitor, an actor, a politician and more. Now Schwarzenegger has a Celebrity Jersey Card from an ad he did with former Angels outfielder Brian Downing.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Coach Amanda Eberhart and the Nebraska At Omaha Mavericks

Yesterday, I wrote about the Western Illinois Leathernecks. Today, we feature the University of Nebraska at Omaha Mavericks, who also play in the Summit League.
At the Rambler Rumble, the Mavs went 3-2. At the tourney, I caught up with old friend Tatum Edwards, former pitcher for the National Pro Fastpitch Chicago Bandits, an assistant coach for the Mavs.
I also met coach Amanda Eberhart. Entering her second season at Omaha, coach Amanda brouyght a lot of experience with her.
As a player, Eberhart earned Third-Team All-America, All- Great Lakes Region first team, Horizon League Player of the Year and Horizon League Tournament MVP honors as a senior. She hit 20 home runs and had 58 RBIs. In her career, she set the UIC record for home runs (52) and hit by pitch (35) and ranks second in RBIs (193) and walks (125). 
Her coaching career started at UIC. Her other coaching stops include Northwestern, North Carolina State, Indiana and IUPUI. Last season, the Mavericks struggled through a 4-43 season. They have already passed that win total this season.
The Omaha Mavs are another collegiate team I will be following throughout the season. I keep adding teams to my watch list, because I see the teams and I become attached. I don't think it's a bad thing. It'll keep me plenty busy.
Go to OMavs.com for more info. Also, check here for more coverage of NCAA softball.
Amanda Eberhart and me in Rosemont, IL-February 2020.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Coach Mat Mundell and the Evansville Aces

At the Rambler Rumble a few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting the University of Evansville women's softball coach Mat Mundell. The Purple Aces went 3-2 over the weekend.
A 2003 graduate of Eureka College, Mundell started his coaching career at the University of Illinois Springfield as assistant men's basketball coach. He was named Head Women's softball coach in 2009 and became all-time winningest softball coach in UIS history. Coach Mundell took the helm of the University of Evansville Purple Aces in 2014.
Coach Mundell led the Purple Aces to 24 wins in 2016 on his way to his staff being named the Missouri Valley Coaching Staff of the Year. Last season, the Purple Aces went 19-30, but Coach Mundell is very optimistic about the future. "The University of Evansville is poised and in a position to take the Missouri Valley Conference by storm," Mundell said.  "We will make tremendous strides to return to the glory of the past."
The Purple Aces have three seniors and eight juniors on the roster. This season, Redshirt senior pitcher Emily Lockhart is 3-0, while sophomore infielder Jessica Fehr leads the way offensively with a .438 average.
Go to GoPurpleAces.com for more info. Also, check back here for recurring coverage of NCAA women's softball.
Matt Mundell and me in Rosemont, IL-February 2020.