Friday, 4 November 2011


Yet another Top 10 list of Tom Larscheid list of quotes from 1993. This one not so freudian but equally as humourous. The Top Ten lists ran for several years; yet never once did the Top 10 list actually can 10 items, usually it was eight or nine which always provoked letters to the editor. Go figure.

1) There's nothing like a few goals to bring a player out of a scoring slump.

2) A lot of people say the Canucks are in a slump right now, but the truth is that they just aren't playing well.

3) That's Bure's first ever goal in the NHL and its his first of the season.

4) Whichever team makes the fewest mistakes and scores the most goals is going to win this game.

5) The Canucks tonight had to play physical, play smart, and play lucky. They did both.

6) The Canucks really have to score more power play goals, especially when they have the man advantage.

7) If the Canucks want to win this game Jim, they're going to have to score a goal.

8) And with the Canucks leading 1-0, we'll take a short break then we'll be right back with more BC Lions football after the message.


From January '94, the ever popular BUM Report Top Ten List. These are actual quotes from Tom Larscheid on air broadcast of Canucks - Oilers game. Incidentally, this list hit the airwaves on at least three different local radio stations; Tom was not pleased, refusing to be intervied by BUM Report on three separate occasions.

1) I was alone with Pavel before the game and he says his groin never felt better.

2) That Ronning ... Oh boy, he sure is one smooth guy.

3) Oh Jim, don't you just love to see the big guys play the body? I know I do.

4) There's Sather, with that grin on his face, relaxing behind the bench, hands in pockets, enjoying himself.

5) Personally, I don't think Gino's upper body is 100 percent of what I've seen before.

6) I really like this youngster Arnott, he's one fine looking hocky player. He's really caught my eye, Jim.

7) Its too bad the Canucks don't have their hard guys, Hunter and Antosk,i on the ice right now

8) All those injuries have forced Pat Quinn to take a closer look at some of these younger guys.

9) Bure makes a nice back-hand pass on Ranford, and Billy-Boy handles him smoothly ... he's got those good hands, doesn't he, Jim?

Monday, 31 October 2011


From July 1992 BUM Report, written from notes scribbled on a wet scorecard during a rain delay to fill 16 column inches, about 20 minutes before press time  ...

I was born almost within throwing distance of Nat Bailey Stadium (of course it was named Capilano Stadium back then) and spent the first decade of my life growing up in the left field bleachers. Yes, there were bleachers there back then, made entirely of wood, cost a quarter to get in, and the place was alive with every kid from the neighbourhood.

Since then, I have attended somewhere in the vicinity of 900 ball games at Nat Bailey as well as another 150 pro games in other parks across North America, not only at each of the 26 major league stadiums but several other minor league parks including the entire Pacific Coast and California Leagues. (There were only 26 teams at the time this was originally published, as well as 12 PCL teams and another dozen in the Cal League).

Over the years I have cultivated and accumulated a great number of ball fan buddies and we often swap some of our favourite ball park memories. Most people expect me to dredge up old memories from Cap Stadium involving George Bamberger or Brooks Robinson or Spider Jorgenson or some such nonsense.

Or they want me to reminisce about the teams of the 60s when Sal Bando, Joe Rudi and John 'Blue Moon' Odom played here before going on to bigger things with the Oakland As, winning those five AL titles and three World Series titles in a row in the early 70s.

Those that know me better expect a humourous antecdote about Max Patkin or the antics of the Bleacher BUMS or want me to retell the story of the game in 1990 when Jeff 'Idiot Boy' Schaefer lost his cool and wanted to come up and start a fight in the bleachers with some of the BUMS.

But none of these are included on my list of favourite baseball memories; they're not even close. My fancies are tickled by simpler things. Of all the possibilities, I appreciate rain delays the most.

Did he say rain delays?

Yup. I thoroughly enjoy a good rain delay, but any kind of game delay will do in a pinch, whether it be a snow storm in Calgary or Montreal, a mosquito delay in Cleveland or a wind delay at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

So, what in Hell is so special about a rain delay? A rain delay affords a perfect opportunity for wandering the stadium, discovering new sight lines, swapping lies with other fans and debating the nuances, the mysteries and the lighter side of baseball.

A good example of this would be last month's afternoon doubleheader rainout at Nat Bailey Stadium, where 2500 diehard ball fans were huddled under the roof and waited for the umpires to decide whether or not to start the game. (Or, closer to the truth, waiting for word from the concession that all the food was now sold, so send the fans home).

Once the rains began, the diligent army of groundskeepers and security guards entertained the crowd with their speedy and efficient covering of the field with the big blue tarps. It was truly a thing of awe, like watching one of those precision drill teams in action, and when the tarp was down and the infield was safely covered, the crowd let out a roar of approval. It sent shivers down my spine.

For Big Jim, a long time ball fan whom I was chatting with, the tarp laying brought to is mind the classic TV clip of a Baltimore rain delay in the early 80s when catcher Rick Dempsey came out and entertained the fans by doing his Babe Ruth 'called shot' impersonation, culminating in his circling the bases and then sliding face first into the puddle at home plate.

This triggered memories of my first trip to Baltimore's Memorial Stadium, where there was a 45 minute thunderstorm delay and nobody could leave the stadium because of flooding in the parking lot. And there I was, a fool tourist, wearing nothering more than shorts and a ball cap, in deep agreement with a total stranger that no matter how much or how often it poured, its blasphemous to put a roof over a ball yard.

Within moments of reliving those memories, Jim and I flashed on the same inspired idea -- a sliding contest -- and entertained ourselves trying to determine which Cs player would be likely candidate for the event. Paco Martin? Maybe. Chris Cron? Perhaps. We immediately agreed on the fun-loving Ron Coomer. And for sure, Jerry 'Stewman' Willard if he was still here.

Later, roaming the stadium I ran into Cardinal fan Dan Walker Gibson (named after Cardinal outfielder Walker Cooper) and we swapped stores about other game delays we had witnessed.

My offering was a hurricane delay at a Ranger game in Arlington where I shook hands, collected an autograph and had my picture taken with Hall of Famer Frank Robinson. Minutes later my girlfriend Corinne had her autograph request snubbed by her long-time favourite player Cal Ripken who who was doing nothing but standing alone watching the rain at the time. Corinne immediately flushed Cal Ripken from her favourite player list.

Dan vaguely remembered another delay in that same stadium when a baby armadillo burrowed to the surface in centre field during a game and had to be chased off the field.

But both of these stories were topped by Ed King's skunk delay in St. Louis, where volunteers to catch and remove the culprit were scarce (for obvious reasons) until one brave groundskeeper chased the critter for 10 minutes, finally managing to trap it under a white bucket then flipped the bucket, skunk and all, and carried it out of the stadium on the end of a long stick.

Of course there are other kinds of game delays, such as the San Francisco earthquake delay during the World Series, or the volcano delay in Spokane when Mt St. Helens erupted and the game was finally called due to lack of visibility caused by ash and other debris in the air.

But I like rain delays the best. Maybe because they're elusive, sort of like a Nolan Ryan no nitter; you can't really plan for one, you just have to be there when it happens.

Thursday, 27 October 2011


This was a Vancouver Province letter to the editor a couple of years ago. Hahahaha must have had about a dozen phone calls and e-mails from friends that day warning that I may as well have painted a big target on my back. Happy to say that wasn't the case  ...


Last Thursday around noon I was travelling along River Road on my way to Ladner following Delta Police cruiser 609. Over the distance of about six miles the cop made four lane changes, one right turn and two left turns -- all without signalling.

At one point we left a red light together and in no time he was speeding well over the posted speed limit until he got stuck behind a dump truck. He proceeded to tailgate for at least a half mile until the road split into two lanes, at which time he pulled out and passed the truck on the inside, again without signalling.

I wonder what would happen to me if a cop witnessed me speeding, tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic and failing to signal?

Rusty Monger


Yet another rant from my university newspaper days at UBC circa 1988.
Can't remember if it ran in the Ubbeyssey, the 432 or Red Menace ...

So, the St Louis Blues have traded Adam Oates because he wants to renegotiate his already signed contract. Well, I for one am not overly concerned about money.

Sure, I care about my own money (or at least I would if I had any) but I simply do not care about the contents of Adam Oates' wallet or Trevor Linden's or Roger Clemon's or Hulk Hogan's or anybody else's financial situation either.

If I live another 106 years, I don't care if I never hear another athlete complain about how he is underpaid or hear him defend his greed with that thin weak explaination that he is only trying to 'guarantee security for himself and his family' or some such rubbish.

Of course you're underpaid, of course you only have a few peak earning years ... of course, of course, of course. But here's what you can do, Jock-o: you can quit your whining, move back to Sudbury and work in the nickel mine or move back to Saskatchewan and work at the grain elevator or you can stay in BC and get into an unemployment line. But stop crying to the press; nobody wants to hear it.

What I would really like to hear is some overpaid, coddled, momm'a boy tell the truth -- I'd like to hear at least one player say, 'All I really want from this game is enough money to build a regulation size hockey rink in the back yard for my kids and fill my Olympic size swimming pool with $20 bills and go skinny dipping with Victoria's Secret models until I get ink poisoning'.

Until then, keep your piggybank woes to yourself.

And apparently its not just money either. Some athletes are claiming the money is just incidental,  that its really all about respect; respect from their teammates or from management or from fans or from strangers on the street.

Here's what I wanna hear: I wanna hear an owner tell a player, 'Okay, Meat, you want respect?  We'll give you respect. All team employees will now be required to salute you on sight, your assigned parking space will be repaved in gold and your locker carpeted in ermine. We'll bronze your skates and hand-rub Bavarian goat cream into your glove -- and oh yeah, since its only respect that you want, we're respectfully cutting your salary.'

And while we're on the topic, how many of us are tired of hearing club owners lament about being forced into bankruptcy because of drastically spiralling salaries?

If a player is paid a million dollars a year, its because that's what the owner figures the player is worth in increased ticket sales or souvenir sales. And if the owner can throw around that kind of dough, the team must still be wallowing in profits or else they'd sell the franchise or go bankrupt or hold a clearance sale or hire an arson or whatever.

And as long as I'm on a good rant here, I'm tired of fans whining about overpaid and greedy ball players. Don't tell me jocks are overpaid; just stop whining and stop going to the games and stop buying souvenir jerseys and caps.

And don't tell me that you think Igor Larionov or Jose Canseco should be happy with his current contract and shouldn't get a raise unless you turned down your last pay raise because you already make more money than a Haitian seamstress, or unless you swing a better bat than Jose or have a better wrist shot than Igor.

And don't tell me Mike Tyson or Razor Ruddock is overpaid. What exactly should be the going rate for performing 12 rounds of open face surgery or for exposing your mug to twin battering rams for the amusement of blood thirsty, barbaric, frothing fight fans?

Would you rather see the millions go into the pockets of promotors like Donald Trump or Donald King?

And I don't care how much money the winner of a tennis tournament or a golf tournament will earn either. What difference does that make? Do you think they play harder if the pot gets bigger? Of course not. I like to think they play hard every time out because they like to win.

And I don`t want to hear about incentive clauses either. Or about ticket prices. Or about free tickets. Free tickets work on the basic assumption that empty seats don`t buy peanuts or programs or beer or souvenirs, so even if you got in the gate for free, the owner still has his cash vaccuum hooked into your pocket.

So the owners are getting richer, the players are getting richer and the grandstands are getting fuller.

So what? Who cares? Play ball!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011


Here's a silly little thing I wrote for the BUM Report in 1991 ...
(Remember this was written in 1991 when Roger Maris held the home run record).

See if you can spot the 25 errors in the following story.

During my 17 seasons with the Brooklyn Phillies of the American League, I always enjoyed our western road trips. On of my favourite ball park memories is of a Saturday night Mother`s Day game in Vancouver in early February of 1975.

We had lost to the Canadians the night before and were currently on a five-game winning streak. We were playing a double header and I had pitched six innings of the first game and threw a two hit, one run, perfect game. I didn`t strike anybody out but I did get credit for a complete game with four Ks and I walked only one batter.

The second game ended in a tie and the winning pitcher got a standing ovation from the sell out crowd. It was now the third game of the doubleheader at Nat Bailey Domed Stadium and we were behind by two runs in the top of the tenth inning.

I was the lead off batter that inning and was at the plate with a runner on second base. The umpire gave me the `take sign`so I got ready to swing at the first pitch. The runner left with the pitch and the catcher rifled the ball to second base, but the throw was too late and the referee called the runner safe.

The next pitch I walloped into the centre field bleachers for a grand slam, walk off home run and we won the game. (Incidentally that home run was my 41st homer of the season and tied me with Roger Maris for the most homers in a single season.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011


This one is new, hasn't been published anywhere before ...

Like a lot of boys my age, my interest in baseball began in 1961, largely due to the furor over  Mick and Rog's pursuit of the Babe's record of 60 spuds in a single season. In those days there was only one ball game a week on the tube, every Saturday morning, and it was always a Yankees game, in black and white, which is all moot anyway since nobody in my neighbourhood (35th & Fraser in Vancouver) owned a TV.

Since there was no TV coverage available to me and the Sun newspaper coverage of baseball was minimal, it was a struggle to get a regular baseball fix. The Fraser Street Library had only two titles which I read about a dozen times each:  The Eddie Mathews Story and The Life and Times of Casey Stengel. To this day I grimace at recollections of how Mathew's father nailed Eddie's baseball shoe to a plank in the ground so Eddie couldn't bail out, then threw baseballs at his shoulder to teach 10-year-old Eddie to not flinch at inside pitches.

Fortunately, I discovered one of my curmudgeonly old neighbours had boxes and boxes of  Baseball Digest softcovers (15 cents each; 20 cents in Canada) dating back to the 40s. A deal was struck, each time I mowed his lawn or toted his trash cans to the curb or went to the store for cigarettes for him I could take home a couple of these books. (Yes, in those days kids were allowed to purchase cigarettes -- and his preference was '38-cents-a-deck, Buckingham rag ends').

I wish I still had those digests, but I don`t, they are gone the way of  my treasured Topps baseball card collection. What I do have is close to 300 other baseball titles and another 400 magazines and programmes from every major league baseball team that I`ve hoarded over the past 50 years (not to mention my collection of 150 National Lampoon and Mad magazines). Last weekend, I began culling through these books and magazines in an attempt to create some storage space in my garage. So far, I haven`t been able to part with any of them, but it hasn't been a total waste of time, I've managed to put together a short list of a few of my favourites.

This list of six I would suggest be required reading for any ball fan ...

1) Ball Four (1970 Jim Bouton) ... the first book to blow away the shroud of media secrecy that `protected` fans from knowing what really went on behind the scenes with players and management. Bouton tells all, and in the process gets himself forever blackballed from professional baseball. Imagine, Mantle telling an autograph-seeking kid to 'take a hike' or Tony Kubek and Phil Linz fake-kissing on the team bus.

2) Moneyball  (2004 Michael Lewis) ... now a movie starring Brad Pitt, relates how the GM of a small market Oakland As team was able to win the AL West three times in four years (and revolutionize the drafting strategy and monetary value of players in the process) despite struggling with one of the smallest budgets in all of pro sports.

3) October 1964 (1994 David Halberstam) ... on the surface its about the 1964 World Series, a little deeper it also is a chronicle of the two most successful franchises in baseball (Yanks and the Cards), at its core its a commentary about the civil unrest of the turbulent 60s.

4) Baseball Babylon (1992 Dan Gutman) ... shocking, bizarre tales dating back to the Black Sox scandal:  murderers, racists, drug addicts, spies; inside dirt on DiMaggio, Pepitone, Boggs, Canseco and almost everyone in between. Chapters entitled Sex, Suicides, Murders, Drugs, Booze, Gambling, Mental Problems, Fights and Espionage.

5)  Bleachers (1988 Lonnie Wheeler) ... a daily log of the exploits of the infamous Wrigley Field Bleacher Bums during the 1987 baseball season as the Cubs briefly flirt with a NL pennant.

6) Fair Ball (2000 Bob Costas) ... Costas shares his views on what is wrong with the game today and he even suggests ways to fix it. Sure, Costas is a smarmy nerd, but he does offer some good insights and its obvious he has a true love for the game. (How else could you describe someone, who as a kid memorized each of the pitchers of Mantles 536 dingers?)

And there you have it, six books, offering six different perspectives (spanning 40 years) as seen through the eyes of a player, a general manager, a historian, a smut peddlar, a fan, and a media personality.

Post Script:  Somewhere in my collection I know I have two additional books, each with yet another unique perspective on the game written by an Oriole's groundskeeper and a minor league umpire that I will add to the list when I dig them out.