Sunday, August 14, 2022

Celebrity Jersey Cards #600 Matthew Modine & Jeff Daniels

Celebrity Jersey Cards is a weekly series in which I create virtual trading cards for celebrities wearing jerseys. Today, I continue my alphabetical march through all the MLB teams.

California native Matthew Modine has carved out an excellent career. One of his first major roles was in Full Metal Jacket. Now a New York resident, Modine heads "Bicycle for a Day," a pro-bike organization. Modine played baseball Hall of Famer Honus Wagner in 2004s The Winning Season and earned a Celebrity Jersey Card in the process.
Born in Georgia and raised in Michigan, Jeff Daniels appeared on and off Broadway before jumping to the big screen. His second role was in Terms of Endearment, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture. The tarantobelus jeffdanielsi, a parasite that kills tarantulas, was named to honor his role in Arachnaphobia. Daniels threw out a pitch for the Pittsburgh Pirates and earned his Celebrity Jersey Card.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

On the Beat With Alejandra Lion

About a month ago, I saw Alejandra Lion wrestle in a four-person match at 2econd Wrestling. Very impressed, I reached out for an interview, which happened yesterday and is at On the Beat With Alejandra Lion.

Lion's journey started in El Salvador, but came to fruition in Dallas, Texas. Always a fan of wrestling, Lion debuted in 2018 and has earned a few titles already.

The interview started with Lion discussing her start. We moved on to her match at 2econd Wrestling. She explained the challenge of wrestling multi-person matches. She also expressed happiness at wrestling in Chicago and being able to explore the city a bit.

Lion named a few of her wrestling role models and how it feels to be on the other side, having fans of her own. She also spoke about soaking it in and how she feels entering the ring and wrestling.

She explained her wrestling style and her finishing maneuver. In the four-person match, she showed excellent brawling skills, along with solid technical wrestling. She also made a connection with the fans.

Of course, we had to discuss her hair, one of her distinctive features. The lion has an amazing mane, although sometimes her opponents use it against her. Undaunted, she's not going to change her look.

Lastly, Lion discussed her own animals. The queen of the jungle has quite a little personal zoo.

Still based in the Dallas area, Lion's appearance at 2econd Wrestling was her first in the Chicago area, but hopefully not her last. The fans really got behind Lion and all the women wrestlers at 2econd Wrestling.

I thank Lion for her time and consideration. Check back here and for more of my wrestling coverage, including interviews.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Kris Statlander at New York Comic Con 2021

The New York Comic Con is less than four months away. I plan on being "On the Beat" once again, meeting a lot of interesting celebrities, wrestlers and creators.
Last year, All Elite Wrestling had a large presence at NYCC. Kris Statlander was one of the many wrestlers to appear at the AEW booth. Still dealing with the pandemic, Statlander was wearing a mask, but it was still cool to meet her.
Statlander made her debut in 2016.After wrestling in a few indy companies, Statlander signed with AEW in 2019. In 2019, Sports Illustrated ranked her No. 6 of the top ten female wrestlers of the year.
She was extremely nice, even apologizing for wearing a mask. While the apology was unnecessary, it was classy for her to do it. Masks were (and still are) a part of our lives to some degree. I won't get into the mask debate. I'm merely commenting on Statlander being very nice. The mask did not deter any of the hundreds of fans who lined up to see her.
I am sure wrestling will have a big presence at NYCC again this year. NYCC runs October 6-9.
Go to for info on Kris and her mat mates. Check for updates and scheduling on NYCC 2022.
Kris Statlander and me in New York, NY-October 2021.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Hannah Flippen and Athletes Unlimited Softball 2022

My coverage of Athletes Unlimited Softball Season Three continues on The Every Day Fan with AU SB Week Three Draft Recap. I look at the teams and the leaderboard implications.

On week One, I caught up a bit with former Chicago Bandits player Hannah Flippen. Currently sitting in 7th place in the standings, Flippen is positioned to make a move upwards.

Flippen was a star player at Utah, before playing professionally. She was also a member of Team USA 2016-18. Her mother was an All-American at Utah State and helped the Aggies to two national titles.

During her time with the Bandits, I had a fun exchange after one particularly hot day. When talking of the game, I said "at least the game was short." Flippen thought I said she was short. I quickly restated I was referring to the weather and we had a big laugh.

It's great seeing Flippen and all the players, especially former Bandits, back on the field. With the unique scoring system of AU, I still waffle on how to cheer, but I do lean towards rooting for my former Bandits, like Flippen.

Week three games start on Friday at 5:30 PM CST with Team Jaquish facing Team McCleney. Following at 8 PM CST, Team Chidester battles Team Mulipola. Saturday and Sunday feature two games each, with the week's final game seeing Team McCleney taking on Team Mulipola at 7 PM CST.

Hannah Flippen and me in Rosemont, IL-July 2022.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

On the Beat With Steve Ahrendt

Yesterday, I interviewed Steve Ahrendt, whose presence is felt on many levels in several companies around Chicago. A broadcaster, general manager, podcaster and more, Ahrendt has even stepped into the ring to do battle. The interview can be found at On the Beat With Steve Ahrendt.

As usual, the interview started with Ahrendt discussing his start in wrestling. Having a late start, Ahrendt took a bit of an unusual route entering pro wrestling. In a few years though, he made up for lost time.

In talking about broadcasting, Ahrendt brings up Jim Ross. Although he doesn't copy Ross, he approaches calling matches in a similar fashion. He brings a fan's aspect to the announce table. After I compare him to the WWE's Pat McAfee, Ahrendt gives his thoughts on the football player-turned-announcer.

While broadcasting was his background and entry point, Ahrendt has assumed other roles, too. He also has worked both as a fan favorite and a heel. Ahrendt discussed working both sides, which is easier and which he prefers.

As will happen, occasionally a broadcaster will get involved in storylines and find himself in the ring. This has happened to Ahrendt a handful of times, but he semi-proudly states he is 3-2 in such matches.

Working in a few companies and seeing so many young wrestlers, I asked Ahrendt to name some under-the-radar wrestlers in the area. As expected, he immediately gave me several men and women.

Last week, I interviewed Chicago area entertainer Joey Roth. During the interview and in post-interview reactions, the current issues between Roth and Ahrendt heated up again. Since Joey gave his side, I felt it was only fair to let Ahrendt give his perspective.

Both men make valid points. I have been on the wrestling scene long enough to see where this is going. It will end up in the ring. It might be Roth against Ahrendt or they might have wrestlers battling for them. Either way, both will be involved and it will be highly entertaining.

Ahrendt ends our interview with a preview of several wrestling events where he will appear in some role. Chicago area wrestling is in high gear and Ahrendt is all over the scene.

Thank you to Ahrendt for his time and consideration. Check for my coverage of Chicago wrestling.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Major Wrestling Figure Podcast at New York Comic Con 2021

The New York Comic Con running October 6-9, is less than two months away. Last year was my first time at NYCC and I plan on returning this year.
Last year, I met the guys behind the Major Wrestling Figure podcast. Pro wrestlers Matt Cardona and Brian Myers host the weekly discussion of wrestling figures. "Smart" Matt Sterling produces this cool podcast. Wrestling figures are hotter than ever and this podcast covers everything.
One of the interesting parts of meeting these men at NYCC was many people did not realize Cardona was one of them. This was a great way to meet Cardona before people realized it and mad the line extra long.
This is a lesson to all. Sometimes wrestlers or celebrities appear at other booths as part of something else other than self-promotion. These are usually good ways to meet the folks in a different setting and probably with a slightly shorter line.
Either way, all three were really cool. You could tell they had great chemistry as hey interacted with each other and as a group with the fans.
Find the Major Wrestling Figure podcast on all major podcast platforms. Check for updates and scheduling on NYCC.
Brian Myers, Matt Cardona, Mark Sterling and me in New York, NY-October 2021.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Friend Encounters: Abe Lincoln & Kayla Wood, Kylie Ohlmiller, Dempsey Arsenault and Ally Kennedy

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

In 2021, Athletes Unlimited exposed me to the fun world of pro lacrosse. I covered the league for the entire season, partaking in many Zoom interviews with the players. Based in Washington, D.C., the players took advantage of the area and visited many historic and fun places. One of those was a Washington National game. 
Kayla Wood, Kylie Ohlmiller, Dempsey Arsenault and Ally Kennedy attended a game and got a picture with the Abraham Lincoln mascot. Obviously, the lady athletes were trying to get featured here in the offseason and of course, I am always happy to feature fun "celebrity encounters."
For more info on AU and the great players, go to In addition to lacrosse, AU has leagues of softball, basketball and volleyball.
Kayla Wood, Kylie Ohlmiller, Abe Lincoln, Dempsey Arsenault and Ally Kennedy in Washington, D.C.-August 2021.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Celebrity Jersey Cards #599 Carrot Top & Chris Kattan

Celebrity Jersey Cards is a weekly series in which I create virtual trading cards for celebrities wearing sports jerseys. Today, I continue marching through all MLB teams alphabetically.

Born in Florida, Scott Thompson grew to fame as Carrot Top, a comedian and actor. Carrot Top threw out a first pitch for the Phillies to earn his Celebrity Jersey Card. He also gets extra points for wearing a Phillies cap.
A native of California, Chris Kattan started his career performing with The Groundlings in Los Angeles. After a few roles, he landed on Saturday Night Live, where his career blossomed. Kattan went all out for his Celebrity Jersey Card, donning a full uniform. The #34 was most notably worn by the late Hall of Fame pitcher Roy Halladay.

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Cards That Never Were: Duffy Dyer Topps 1982

 Cards That Never Were is a recurring series in which I create virtual trading cards for players missed in various sets over the years. More of my creations and thousands from others can be found in the Custom Baseball Cards Group on Facebook. It's not just baseball cards.

After starring at Arizona State University, catcher Don "Duffy" Dyer was selected by the New York Mets in the 1st round 9 (ninth overall) of the 1966 MLB June Draft. Dyer made his Major League Baseball debut with one game in 1968. He split 1969 between the Mets and their minor league affiliate. In 1970, Dyer was up with the Mets for good. After the 1974 season, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Gene Clines. He signed with the Montreal Expos for the 1979 season, then was traded to the Detroit Tigers for Jerry Manuel before the 1980 season. The Tigers released Dyer early in the 1981 season.

For his career, Dyer played 722 games over parts of  14 seasons. He collected 441 hits, 30 homers, 173 RBIs and 151 runs scored. He had one at bat in the 1969 World Series that his team won.

For his efforts, Topps gave him cards in every set from 1969-1981. That left a 1982 "career capper" missing. I found a picture and with minor editing for the signature, filled that void.

Friday, August 5, 2022

Haylie Wagner and Athletes Unlimited Softball 2022

 Last weekend, Athletes Unlimited Softball returned to Rosemont, IL for its third season. As always, I was "On the Beat" and loving every minute of the softball action.

As much as I love softball, the best part of the weekend was seeing so many friends again. I caught up with fans, officials and players there, one of whom was pitcher Haylie Wagner.

A star pitcher at the University of Michigan, Haylie started her pro career with the National Pro Fastpitch Pennsylvania Rebellion in 2015. In 2017, she joined the Chicago Bandits, where I had the pleasure of getting to know h, see and interview her.

Pre-game on Opening Night, I wandered to the bullpen area and saw Haylie warming up with catcher Taylor Edwards, another former member fo the Bandits. It was like old times.

Not wanting to bother her, I simply watched her work on a few pitches. As her session ended, Haylie looked over and warmly greeted me. With a lot on her mind, facing her first start of the season in her former ballpark in front of so many fans, I didn't expect anything from Haylie, but her happy greeting made my night. Haylie is all class and definitely a fan favorite.

After the game, I was lucky enough to see Haylie again and grab a selfie. We greeted each other with "Go Blue," in reference to her Michigan ties. Although I have no connection to the Wolverines, I love the Big 10 and it is a fun thing with Michigan alumni.

I'll be "On the Beat" all season at AU. My coverage will be here and on Also check for more info and updates.

Haylie Wagner and me in Rosemont, IL-July 2022.