Monday, January 31, 2011

JMR's 2011 Basement Bar Hall of Fame Induction

If you know anything about the JMR Journal, you know that Halls of Fame are family friendly go-to destinations. Whether it be enjoying the confetti blast at the Hall at Patriot Place, or wishing Providence had a Sports Hall of Fame, nothing says sports history to our family like a Hall of Fame. But we're running out of destinations.  Not to be deterred, we (all right, me) have decided to create our own Hall of Fame in our basement bar.

Now here are the ground rules. Each of us, yours truly, MM, DLG, C and G will nominate one “person” to be enshrined in our JMR Basement Bar Hall of Fame. His or her picture will adorn our basement bar until 2012, or until we run out of room. We’re not Cooperstown for Christ's sake. There are no qualifications for enshrinement, and the lucky recipients of this honor don’t even have to be a real people (The Boxing Hall of Fame is getting jazzed up right now). Each of them will receive an official letter from JMR welcoming them to the JMR Basement Bar Hall of Fame and inviting them to the festivities on the First Saturday in May 2011.

It's a Man, Baby!
MMChelsea Handler.  MM says she was torn between picking a hot guy (AKA Desmond from LOST, to commemorate the finale of her favorite show, okay, favorite character of all time. I've mentioned she saw him running without his shirt while our family vacationed in DC in 2009, and she nearly veered off the organized tour in pursuit.)  Then she tried going with a successful female sports figure of 2010, and thought maybe Venus, Serena or Maria (though as she tells me this, she appear hard pressed to come up with Maria's first name, never mind SPELL her last one), but none of them really did it for her.

So anyway, she went with Chelsea Handler, a stand-up comedienne with her own late night show on E! that she has beaten me over the head with for so many months of 2010, that I finally have been converted and actually even DVR it for us to watch in case we miss it.  She's funny, successful and likes the rappers.  Just like a younger MM.  And don't worry, I will have no impure thoughts as she adorns the walls of my bar -- since whenever I see her, I feel compelled to remark in my best Austin Powers persona, "It's a MAN, baby!" Good choice.

It was an honor just being nominated!
DLG: Spongebob Squarepants.  It was a choice between the dreaded yellow sponge and her stuffed animal named Torty. When I asked her why she picked SpongeBob she answered me in her own words "Because I love him! And because my brothers love him.  And he is great!!" She didn't notice my attempt to have her pick someone else to have a picture in MY Basement Bar.

G: Shaquille O’Neill: "I like fizzy water." G! focus! "OK OK. I want him to be in the Hall of Fame because he’s a Celtic, he’s big and 7 feet tall; he’s good and he’s a good singer."  If he ever watches Kazaam, Big G might change his mind about the singer part. And somewhere Kobe Bryant is wondering how is backside tastes.

C. Shoeless Joe Jackson. Dad has converted another one into Field of Dreams. If you ever want to see some man tears shed, put this movie on. We watched it a couple of days ago and I had to fight back the obligatory tears when Kevin Costner is playing catch with his old man at the end of the movie because he refused to play catch when he was a teenager. This movie even has me using words like allegory and symbolism like I’m a two-bit English professor. Oh yeah, Joe Jackson was a pretty good hitter in his day. And his legacy produced the funniest part of the movie when describing Jackson, Costner’s character eloquently states that while Jackson DID take the cash from the gamblers, there was no proof that Jackson actually threw any games. That doesn’t make him a good guy, it just makes him really, really stupid.   In C's words though he's one of the best baseball players in the world.  He had never heard of him though last week. 

JMR. Kevin Dineen.  I thought long and hard about this one. I had considered Hickory High’s 1953 basketball team, Wade Boggs (Did I tell you that I had 9 of his 1983 Topps Rookie Cards at one point?) and even the legendary crooner, Jimmy Buffett. But in the end, my first inductee had to be a Hartford Whaler. Now I could have chosen Gordie Howe, but after he wanted to charge me $40 for an autograph (and his book!) at the Hartford Whalers Fanfest back in August, I said “No thank you, Mr. Hockey.” I could have inducted Brendan Shanahan, but I burned his #94 jersey back in 1995, so I couldn’t forgive him that easily.

Ultimately, it came down to my two favorite players. Rick Ley and Kevin Dineen.  Ley was a star for the team when I was growing up in 1970’s and 80’s.  Growing up in central Connecticut - a stone’s throw away from where the Whalers practiced - I was lucky enough to have a Dad who did business with the team and the local rink.  I had the opportunity meet Mr. Ley, and receive an autographed stick, puck, hat, everything. By the way, I’m still pissed that I lost that stick. But there’s only one person who scored the last goal in franchise history and there’s only one guy who stood out on the ice at that last game cheering the fans and throwing things to us. And there’s only one guy who, while he was trying to leave the aforesaid Whalers Fanfest, stopped what he was doing, signed my daughter’s poster and asked if she was a Whalers fan. (She shook her head no, but only because she didn’t know what the Hell he was talking about). For that, Kevin Dineen is my choice for the 2011 Class of the JMR Basement Bar Hall of Fame.

Now I know we aren’t talking about Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Christy Mathewson, Honus Wagner and Walter Johnson here, but we’re not the BBWAA either. Come back to see the letters that were sent to each of inductees. And yes, I have no idea how I am going to get letters to Joe Jackson and Spongebob, but I’ll find a way.

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