Friday, July 30, 2021

Felissa Rose at Flashback Weekend 2017

Flashback Weekend starts today in Rosemont, IL. Of course, I'll be "On the Beat" as usual.
It's been a while since I have seen Felissa Rose. I miss her zaniness and her hugs.
Felissa starred as Angela in 1983's Sleepaway Camp .Almost 40 years later, fans still ask for the iconic pose when getting pictures with her. Felissa has carved out a lengthy resume, but that one role alone is enough to make her beloved by all. It also helps that she is truly one of the coolest celebrity guests at any convention.
She's as sweet as can be. She is also usually involved in any sort of wild fun at the conventions. She is fun-loving and such a positive person.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Felissa years ago. That interview can be found at On the Beat With Felissa Rose.
Felissa isn't scheduled to appear at Flashback Weekend, but you never know where this dynamo will pop up. There are plenty of other great guests though.
Go to FlashbackWeekend.com to get all the info and scheduling. I hope to see a lot of friends there.
Felissa Rose and me in Rosemont, IL-August 2017.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

DJ Corchin at Wizard World St. Louis 2017

DJ Corchin is an author of several children's books. His books focus on communicating, emotions, optimism and other topics helpful to children. His books are informational and educational, while still being entertaining. Corchin never comes off as preachy. While aimed at children, even adults could enjoy the fun of the books (and maybe even could learn a lesson or two).

During the pandemic, Corchin has been doing virtual visits with children. The 45 minute sessions focus on A Thousand No's, his book teaching children about hearing "no" as an answer. Corchin talks to the children about perseverance and motivation, while also discussing his career. It's a concept. Not only is it entertaining for the youngsters, it also teaches valuable lessons in life.
Corchin is a great guy. I have met him many times and always have a good time catching up at these events.
For more info on Corchin, go to DJCorchin.com. For more info on Wizard World events, go to WizardWorld.com.
DJ Corchin and me in St. Louis, MO-April 2017.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Ally Carda and Team USA Take Silver

The dream ended for Team USA softball as they fell 2-0 to Japan. Japan takes the gold medal, while USA settles for the silver medal.
Cat Osterman started for USA, but Ally Carda and Monica Abbott also took a turn on the mound. Those three elite pitchers only gave up two runs (one in each the fourth and fifth innings), but that was enough for Japan.
Japan's Yukiko Ueno pitched six scoreless innings, allowing only two hits, while striking out five. USA had a couple mild scoring chances, but Japan always rose to the occasion and ended the threats.
Team USA had hoped to avenge their loss to Japan in the 2008 Olympics, but it wasn't meant to be. While USA had dominant pitching, the offense just wasn't there. They scored just nine runs in the six games, never plating more than two.
The best chance for Team USA was ended with a fantastic double play. A star of two previous games, Amanda Chidester hit a liner that bounced off of the third baseperson's glove, but the shortstop snared it and fired it to second to complete the double play and dash USA's scoring opportunity.
Both teams finished 5-1 in the Olympics. Both teams only lost to the other team. Yet, in the end, Japan came away with the gold.
Osterman spoke of the disappointment, “Obviously, we’re a little bit disappointed,” said Osterman. “You get to the gold medal game and you have your eye that prize, and to not accomplish that – it stings.” Disappointed, but not defeated, Osterman looked at the positives, “This was a tremendous Olympic Games. I think the goal in the long run is to not overlook everything we accomplished on our way to the gold medal game. We've done a lot of things that we're proud of and the end result is not what we wanted, but the journey was incredible and we played some incredible softball here.”
Softball will not be at the Olympics in 2024, but is expected to return in 2028 in Los Angeles.
Despite the loss, I am happy Ally got to make an appearance. It's a memory she will always have and one well-deserved.
I congratulate Team USA on their silver medal. I also salute Japan for their gold, Canada for their bronze and Australia, Mexico and Italy for being great competitors.

 Ally Carda and me in Rosemont, IL-Summer 2019.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

K.C. Hobson (But Not Butch) At the Chicago Dogs

Last weekend, I took in the series between the Chicago Dogs and the Cleburne Railroaders. The Dogs took two of three games and I talked to a bunch of players from both teams. Unfortunately, I missed Dogs Manager Butch Hobson, but I did get his son K.C.
Papa Butch played six seasons with the Boston Red Sox, followed by one season each with the California Angels and the New York Yankees. Butch was named the first manger for the Dogs back in 2018 and my intro interview with him from then can be found at On the Beat With Butch Hobson.
Son K.C. was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the sixth round of the 2009 MLB Draft. Kristopher Clell spent time in the minors with the Blue Jays and the San Francisco Giants, before joining the Independent Leagues. In 2020, he signed with the Dogs.
Hobson is hitting .279 this season, helping his Dogs to a 38-25 record, good for second place in the North Division. The Dogs trail their rival Milwaukee Milkmen by three games with about 35 left to play.
For more info and scheduling, go to TheChicagoDogs.com. You can also go to Global Traveler for my full recap of the weekend with the Dogs.
K.C. Hobson, Harrison Miller and me in Rosemont, IL-July 2021.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Friend Encounters: Tony LaRussa and Glen Rylko

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

This picture is such a classic. I look at this picture and I see two Hall of Famers. Tony LaRussa was in his first stint as manager of the Chicago White Sox and Glen Rylko met him at the historic Palmer House.
I never thought I would have to write "in his first stint" for LaRussa. Who would have thought 35+ years after leaving the Sox unceremoniously he would return amid some criticism, too. Of course, he quieted the critics by leading the team to first place and heading tjem into the playoffs as a real contender.
Glen and I first crossed paths at a wrestling event, but have since connected at comic cons, too. Glen and his wife Alicia are such great people. Glen continually supports me on social media by sharing and commenting on my posts. I appreciate his support, but I really appreciate his friendship.
I enjoy Glen's posts about wrestling, his son Patrick, his charitable efforts, his adventures with his mom (lovingly called Miss Ellie) and more. Glen also posts some classic throwback pictures, like the LaRussa picture below.
Wrestling and comic cons have expanded my circle of friends. I am grateful for all the friends and experiences I have gotten through these activities. Glen and Alicia would be at the very top of any list of friends.
Tony LaRussa and Glen Rylko in Chicago, IL-1982.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Celebrity Jersey Cards #547 Mo McRae & Ken Medlock

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

Born in Los Angeles, California, actor Mo McRae earned his Celebrity Card with the cross-state rival San Diego Padres. McRae co-starred in the very underrated Pitch television series about a woman pitcher. McRae is probably better known for his role on Sons of Anarchy though. Although he has a lengthy resume in his 20ish years of acting, I will take his role as Blip Sanders in Pitch above all others.

Actor Ken Medlock also earned his Celebrity Jersey Card with the Padres in The Kid From Left Field, starring Gary Coleman, but he also co-starred in a few other sports moves, like Moneyball. Medlock looks a bit like former Padres pitcher Randy Jones on this card. On a side note, nobody has worn #80 for the Padres.
 

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Cards That Never Were: Vida Blue Topps 1984

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. More of my creations and many great creations of others can be found in the Custom Baseball Cards Facebook group (and not just baseball cards).
Vida Blue was selected by the Kansas City Athletics in the second round of the 1967 MLB draft. He made his MLB debut in 1969 and pitched for the A's through the '77 season. Along the way, he won the Cy Young and MVP in '71 and three World Series with the A's. He was traded to the San Francisco Giants prior to the '78 season. After five seasons with the Giants, he was traded to the Kansas City Royals. He pitched two seasons for the Royals, missed the '84 season and signed with the Giants for the '85 season. After two seasons with the Giants, he was released and signed back with the A's, but did not appear in the majors with his original team. All told, he went 209-161 with a 3.27 ERA. 
For his efforts, he received cards in every Topps set from 1970-'83 and 86  and '87. That left nly an '84 to be filled.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Stacey McManus of Team Australia

The Olympics started Wednesday. Of course, my main attention is on Team USA and softball, but I also have some love for the other softball teams, like Team Australia.

A few years back, Team Australia sent eight players to the National Pro Fastpitch Chicago Bandits  Stacey Stacey was one of the Aussie Eight, as they were so creatively called. Stacey is a middle infielder for Team Australia.

It was a great experience getting to know the Australian players and their families and fans, too. Through the NPF, I got to hang around the elite players from the USA, but I never thought I would also be able to get to know great international players, too.

It was a great experience having the Aussie Eight play for the Bandits. It was like worlds colliding in the best way. Their fans became fans of the Bandits. We made a lot of new friends down under. Stacey's mom even gifted me a cute koala stuffed animal, which now sits on my shelf with my other NPF stuff. It was such a lovely gesture on her part. I appreciate it greatly and always smile when I see it.

Of course, I will be rooting for Team USA in the Olympics, but I am excited to see my friends from other teams and I wish them a lot of success. They are all elite athletes and great people. From sopcial media posts, it looks like they are all soaking in every moment, as well they should. I am so happy for them and for softball fans everywhere.

My interview with Stacey can be found at On the Beat With Stacey McManus. You can find more Australian players and other Olympians on my Chicago Bandits playlist on YouTube.

Stacey McManus and me in Rosemont-Summer 2017.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Alex Vincent at Flashback Weekend 2018

As we head closer to Flashback Weekend, I am recalling some of my favorite moments at the convention. Today, I feature Alex Vincent from Child's Play, one of my favorite horror movies.
Vincent played Andy Barclay in the Child's Play franchise. He started as a youngster and continued uin the role through his teens. The Child's Play franchise comprises a major part of his acting career, but Vincent has also done some writing and is a sound engineer.
Vincent embraces his role as Andy, much like he is embracing the Chucky doll in our photo. Vincent gets it. He knows the role earned him a spot in the hearts of horror fans. He understands it will always give him a place at horror cons. He is great about the whole thing, although he has moved on in his career. Vincent was happy to discuss his time as Andy when I met him at Flashback Weekend.
Flashback Weekend runs July 30-August 1 in Rosemont. The guest list is packed as always. For more info, check FlashbackWeekend.com.
Alex Vincent and me in Rosemont, IL-August 2018.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Good Luck Team USA Softball!

I have never been this excited about the Olympics, which start tomorrow in Tokyo, Japan. I always respected the athletes, but I never had much interest, except on rare occasions like the 1980 USA Miracle on Ice. This time it's different. This time it's personal.

Many of the softball players from Team USA and other countries are friends of mine. I watched them up close as they played in National Pro Fastpitch and other leagues in preparation for the Olympics.

Softball returns to the Olympics for the first time since 2008. It will not be part of the 2024 Olympics in Paris, but will probably be back for the 2028 games in Los Angeles. The 17-game softball competition culminates July 27 with the gold medal game, which should feature Team USA.

Led by Monica Abbott and Cat Osterman, two of the greatest pitchers of all time, Team USA is ranked No. 1. Also on the main, 15-person roster is pitcher Rachel Garcia, 2018 and 2019's USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year. Pitching tends to dictate outcomes, especially in tournaments like this.

It's been especially great seeing their recent social media posts after they arrived in Tokyo. Witnessing their efforts and talking to them over the last few years, I love seeing them realizing their dream.

As much as I appreciate the passion these elite athletes have for their careers, I am also amazed at their dedication to growing the sport. After playing two-hour games in the heat, it is not unusual to see them sign autographs and meet with young fans for the next two hours.

Of course, I’ll be cheering for Team USA, but with friends on every other team, I will be watching and wishing good performances to all.

The only disappointment so far was the recent announcement that the alternates (Taylor Edwards, Hannah Flippen and Keilani Ricketts) could not attend the games and were heading home. I don't know the reason, but I am guessing it is part of the COVID precautions limiting the overall attendance. No mater the reason, it has to be very disheartening for the three and even their teammates who hated to see them go. 

These three worked just as hard as their 15 full roster mates. They were just as excited, even if they weren't going to play. Now they will watch from home as their teammates go for the gold.

Check back here, on GlobalWomensSportsRadio.com and GlobalTravelerUSA.com for my coverage of the Olympics. Good luck to my softball friends!

Taylor Edwards and me in Rosemont, IL-August 2019.