Monday, April 17, 2006

One plunk weekend; Brewers at Houston

Juan Cruz hit Craig Biggio with a pitch yesterday marking the 2nd time Biggio has been hit in a pinch-hitting appearance. Also, despite Cruz being the 14th pitcher whose last name ends in Z to plunk Biggio, this was the first time Biggio has recorded consecutive plunks against pitchers whose names end in Z.

Tonight the Brewers are in town, featuring starting pitcher Dave Bush. Bush has hit a batter in each of his last two starts bringing his career total to 21. Bush has never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch, but if he does he would become the first pitcher with the same last name as a sitting U.S. president to plunk Craig Biggio. However, Dave Bush is the first major league pitcher with the same last name as the sitting president since the Johnson administration.

Today is the 10th anniversary of Biggio's only April 17th plunk. Paul Wilson threw plunk 62 on April 17, 1996.


At 4/17/2006 07:10:00 AM, Anonymous cletus j. "bubba" huckabee jr. said...

Now if you ask me, and plenty folk do now and again, Lester Shaunassee has some explaining to do when it comes to me not being able to predict this here plunking prior to the plunking taking place. See, Lester Shaunassee was recently deputized as a Off-Hours Overflow Constable, meaning he gets called in to lend a hand on weekends and holidays when the other Constables (that being Jerry McTaggert, Bobby-Joe Needham, and Scooter) are either off duty or already preoccupied with constabling to the point of needing a little assistance. So Lester got sworn in and officially deputized and he draws a little pay from the county now and again, but at heart he is still just a junior silo manager out at the feed and grain mill. (you may have seen it – it’s the one on the rail spur out the other side of Stillwell, and it has the big 57 foot ear of corn painted on the side of the silo. Some folk say it looks more like Gumby of “Gumby & Pokey” fame, but it was supposed to be a big ear of corn to represent the abundant cereal production known on the Stillwell side of Chesterfield County. Of course, on our side there is much less grain production and a whole lot more hog sloppin’ going on – but that don’t have much of an impact in the argument about it being a 57 foot ear of corn, or a 57 foot Gumby. Trust me, it ain’t Gumby) .

Anyhow, Lester was called in a while back on account of the County-wide frog giggin’ season was getting underway and there was about 342 visitors in Chesterfield County for opening weekend of 2006 Frog Season. (Last year I bagged me the prettiest little doe frog you ever did see. Season before last I got me three big bull frogs and a passel of yearlings) Lester was called out to help direct traffic on account of so many people driving in and wanting to park right close to the swamp. They would pull their vehicles up close and then some other feller would come in right close, and then a third,. And before you knew it there would be 45 assorted vehicles strewn about the place and inevitably a couple of them would be so stinkin’ close that the person inside could not get their door open to get out. Lester’s job was to stand there next to the swamp and direct folk what wanted to park so as to get them parked without a fisticuffs breakin’ a loose amongst the frog giggers.

You may be commencing to asking yourself how this has anything to do with Craig “Target” Biggio and his magnetic ability to get plunked as he stands at the plate during professional Baseball competitions, and surely I will wheel myself around and get to that point eventually, but first I need to address Lester and the frogs, and the grain mill, and why I spent a week in the Chesterfield County jail as a ward of my own community. (shames me no end, but the truth needs to come forth).

First of all, in a roundabout way, it is the abundant grain that provides more than adequate substance for the abundant frogs. That is why Chesterfield County is famed for the frog giggin’ – it’s all in the cereals. So we got us the best cereal growing soil in the tri-county region and that draws in the insects and grubs, and that draws in the frogs. The abundant frogs draw in the sport giggers every year about the time the Baseball season commences to starting. The undisputed champion frog gigger in the tri-county region is Ambrose Kennedy. He has bagged his limit in bull frogs every year since they introduced 24-hour electricity to Stillwell. Ambrose is a sportsman’s sportsman and he knows a thing or two about just about any sort of sport you might like to discuss…. Which is why I was out there seeking his input on the Biggio plunking prognostication…. Which is just about where the story begins…

I drove over on a Thursday evening to be there for the start of the season on Friday. By the time I got there there was already a mess of vehicles strewn about the banks of the swamp on the side of the road, all scattered about the embankment and under the trees and such. I saw that old Ford Ambrose drives, so I pulled up next to it. I reckoned that as long as I was next to his car I might could track him down out in the swamp and commence to asking questions and ciphering’ plunking equations as he gigged. I reckoned wrong.

See, as you probably realize, Ambrose shares a name with Hughie Jennings. The current plunk champion was born Hugh Ambrose Jennings. That trivial fact did not escape me as I sat in the shed and scratched ideas on my big chief pad all through the winter. I’d sit out there and contemplate and ruminate and cogitate and before long I was all comfustigated and needed help. Ambrose was the obvious choice on account of his sporty demeanor and also his namesake. See, the Ambrose I know was born Ambrose Percival Stewart-Granger IV – but we call him Ambrose Stewart-Granger for short.

See, Hughie Jennings played a right long time back in the day when Baseball was populated with men known by names like Brickyard Kennedy, Patsy Donovan, Farmer Weaver, Crazy Schmit, Boileryard Clarke, Piggy Ward, Ducky Holmes, Welcome Gaston, Candy LaChance, Happy Townsend, Doc White, Klondike Douglass, Germany Schaefer , and Elmer Flick. (do a little investigating for yourself and you’ll see that Jennings played with each and every one of them on a ball team during his time in the big leagues) Them was all good Baseball names. Nicknames used to be standard in Baseball, but when players started making millions a year in after tax revenue they kind of did away with Baseball nicknames. It would be hard for a Baseball player today to run his empire of real estate holdings, fast food franchises, deluxe car wash outlets, and used trailer lot with a nickname like Piggy, or Candy, or Patsy, or Crazy… but back in the day when Baseball was man’s game (before the advent of aluminum bats, mercy rules, designated hitters, and Japanese-style tie games) , back when they played the game by the rules until it was finished… back then before any ball players owned sports grilles in strip malls, they had room for some good nicknames.

I reckoned, rightly so, that any namesake of the current plunk record holder, and especially a namesake what happens to be the champion frog gigger, might be able to shed a little light on my prognostication stalemate. See, I was doing pert good last season with my predictions and prognostications. I never did actually correctly foretell any specific date on which Target Biggio got plunked, but as the season wore on I got closer and closer. If a major league season was 218 games per year rather than 162 games per year, then I reckon within them last ten games (i.e. between game 208 and game 218) I would have predicted the date, the inning, the pitcher, and which of Target’s appendages was hit. I went out in to the swamp looking for Ambrose so I could discuss my mathematical equations with him and absorb his observations, but that’s when the trouble started.

See, Lester Shaunassee had been deputized as an Off-Hours Overflow Constable and he was out lurking around in the swamp looking for infractions of the law with which he might could write up his quota of tickets, thus earning the county some much needed revenue. The way I see it, a frog giggin’ license costs $17 per year and that revenue goes direct to the county, so I see no need for the County to send out their constables to harass us frog giggers just because we don’t happen to strictly adhere to the law when it comes to parking our vehicles along side the road. So Lester spotted my vehicle, which I happen to call “Betsy,” parked there against the embankment amongst all the other gigger’s vehicles, and he proceeded to start writing up a ticket for a variety of infractions (busted tail light, out of date plates, no inspection sticker, etc). I turned and saw him sidle up to my vehicle just as I was about chest deep in swamp water out there lookin’ for Ambrose. I was a hollerin’ and spewin’ and makin’ a big racket in hopes of attracting Ambrose out from his hiding spot, but I looked up and saw Lester fixin’ to dock me a fine and I turned and called back to him, I hollered, “Don’t write me no ticket Lester I’m lookin’ for Ambrose and then I’ll be out of here and I’ll move Betsy, ya hear?!” But Lester misheard, he thought he heard me say some threatening words … such as “Lester, ifin’ you lay one of your snivlin’ fingers on Betsy I will personally grab you by your dewlap and frog march you down here where I will force feed you some of this here Chesterfield County swamp water, now get away from Betsy afore I get riled up and agitated.”

That’s all it took. Lester radioed in for backup and when them other officers of the law appeared and drew their riot guns on me (I mean, they had a bead on my noggin as sure as I’m sittin’ here at my computer typing this) and told me to wade up out of the swamp and produce my frog giggin’ permit. That’s when I knew I was in for trouble… I didn’t have me no permit. I done told them I was not out there chest deep in the swamp to do no giggin'... and they all laughed at me and asked what kind of fool would wade in to the swamp unless he was after some frogs. So they hauled me down to the poky and threw me in there with a couple of vagrants and I spent a week because Mama didn’t show up with the $128.75 bail money for a week on account of me spending all the spare change on those springs I used in the prognostication machine last season.

I’m still riled up again Lester because I know he threw me in there just to spite me, but I’m back home and staying indoors in the trailer because of the shame I feel in the community now that I am a convicted criminal what failed to secure bail.

That is why I failed to produce the specific prognostications prior to the season commencing. I can tell you that I got me a gut feeling that the next plunking will happen during the Brewers home stand… but that is just a gut feeling and not based on scientific fact (like my previous prognostications) I never did find Ambrose, but I hear tell he got him his limit and then some. All of Chesterfield County is dining on frog legs this week… except me. I’m eatin’ crow.

At 4/17/2006 09:33:00 AM, Blogger pbr said...


Cletus that is indeed a long and tragic and long tale. Much like Gallileo was persecuted by the church authorities for pursuing heliocentrism, I suspect the Chesterfield County authorities might not fully understand the importance of your work.

At 4/17/2006 10:05:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sure is getting tough - I'm not sure whether I'm coming here more lately for the Biggio plunkings or the Cletus sightings...

Now here's my theory as to why you weren't able to track down Ambrose. The Frog Giggin' is just a coverup. With all the visitors visitin', it is the perfect opportunity to sneak off and take advantage of that abundance of cereal in the area that you were mentionin. Therefore, my hunch is that Ambrose was off making his Lucky Charms crop for the year. If you had looked under the rainbow instead of under the swamp, I bet you could have found what you were looking fer. And probably avoided a stint in that cell.

I hope they at least fed you some of those Lucky Charms while you were cooped up like a prognasticator.

At 4/17/2006 08:12:00 PM, Anonymous DM said...

I am so pleased to learn that comfustigated is a word.


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