Baseball Toaster The Juice Blog
Monthly archives: November 2007


Cocaine, Amphetamines, and Steroids
2007-11-30 18:16
by Scott Long

I like to see this site as a place where the status quo is taken on. As much as I dislike Barry Bonds the person, I hate watching anyone end up being the scapegoat for a large group of offenders. We have all heard the rumors of future Hall of Fame pitchers who used steroids, let alone most of the top power hitters of the past 2 decades. I've been of the mindset that as soon at MLB starting testing for them, throw the book at any players who found using PED's. But to treat players like pariahs, who used prior to testing is wrong, as they were just competing in the marketplace where it was encouraged.

And then we come to the idea that the past greats wouldn't have used steroids. From reading Lawrence Ritter's Glory of Their Times, I feel pretty confident that many of the top players during the turn of their century would have thrown their Mother* down a flight of stairs, if it would have given them 10 points on their batting average. (*Lou Gehrig was definitely an exception.) We know from Jim Bouton's Ball Four that greenies (amphetamines) were prevelant in the clubhouse during the time he played. During the Pittsburgh Drug Trials of the 1980's, Bonds' Godfather, Willie Mays, and another Hall of Famer, Willie Stargell were described as providers of the drug. An excellent piece written by the Dallas Morning News' Gerry Fraley discussed much of the history of amphetamines in MLB, featuring an illuminating quote from David Wells' book Perfect I'm Not.

Those little buggers will open your eyes, sharpen your focus and get your blood moving on demand over and over again. I won't ever object to a sleepy-eyed infielder beaning up to help me win.

While speed doesn't show the physical effects that steroids do, it is hard to argue that they haven't given an edge to many players. While it appears that I was erroneous in stating that Tim Raines' career was enhanced by cocaine, as Jay Jaffe torched me on Baseball Prospectus for, I do think the question of benefits that players from who used the drug is being underrated. Jaffe brings up an interesting question in his Unfiltered piece.

...while there may possibly be some short-term performance benefit to using cocaine, the high potential for addiction, the rapid buildup of tolerance requiring greater quantities, and the deleterious physical effects of continued usage make this a route of performance enhancement that can’t be taken seriously. Think about it another way: of the hundreds of professional athletes who have found trouble with the white lady, wouldn’t you think at least one ego-inflated Canseco type would come forward to tell us how it improved his career?

Here are some names of players from Raines' playing era that were at least alleged (if not convicted) of having had involvement with cocaine: Lonnie Smith, Vince Coleman, Tony Phillips, and Willie Wilson. What benefit would a player get from offering up that cocaine helped me play better? At least, with steroids, it is drug that is prescribed by doctors and is not seen as the scourge of society.

Jaffe's article is well-done and does a great job of outlining Raines' career being a slam dunk Hall of Fame career, which I agree with wholeheartedly. The one minor point I have a problem with in Jaffe's effort to campaign for Raines is when he speaks about Raines' "youthful dalliance" with cocaine. I have to say that carrying coke in the pocket of your uniform and not sliding feet first because you are worried about breaking the vials of powder in your pocket seems a bit more than a dalliance.

Finally, let me offer up to people that want to go to a online journal which discusses PED's in sports, check out Steroid Nation, which is written by Gary Gaffney, an M.D. from the University of Iowa's College of Medicine. In September he discusses an interview done with Jim Bouton. Gaffney brings up an important point on the subject of drugs and athletes:

Amphetamines certainly constitute a performance enhancer. Stimulants improve concentration and motor coordination. There is little room for a hierarchy in PED rankings.

While using Tim Raines' as an example seems to be improper, I still believe the notion that cocaine and amphetamines has helped players achieve better results on the field. I'm sure that there were players who were negatively impacted by these drugs, as well, but the same I'm sure can be said for steroids. There is a reason that people in many different professions have used these substances and that is because of the energy boost they provide. Athletes have taken short-cuts to achieve success for as long as they have been available for them to use. We might not like this, but it is fact of life and it isn't going to change just because of drug testing, which can't even detect some PED's.

Football Picks
2007-11-30 18:15
by Scott Long

Went 2-2 last week, with the Rams really dropping the ball at the end, in a game which they absolutely dominated. It was bad beat central last week, as you would know if you were on the Bears or Cardinals. I was all over the easiest side of the year, with the Eagles almost winning outright. Eagles this week are the best play I've seen in a couple of months, as they ride their more confident play at home versus a Seahawks team going cross country and playing at 10 AM their time.


Oakland (+3.5) Denver

Tampa Bay (+3.5) New Orleans

(4 star) Philadelphia (-3) Seattle

Miami (-1) NY Jets


Arizona St. (-7) Arizona

Oklahoma (-3) Missouri




How Tim Raines' Eligibility Opens Bigger Questions on Hall of Fame Inductment: Postnote Added
2007-11-29 17:33
by Scott Long

Let me begin this intellectual exercise by stating that Tim Raines should be elected to the Hall of Fame. Any player that Bill James rates as the 2nd best leadoff hitter of all-time should be in Cooperstown. Now let me also add that Joe Jackson and Pete Rose should be there, as well. Oh and while we are discussing great players with character flaws, let me mention that Barry Bonds should go in with 100 percent of the vote when he is eligible. Some players reach levels of greatness on the field that supercede their own personal judgement mistakes.

Of course, Shoeless Joe and Charlie Hustle aren't in Cooperstown and Bonds looks to be a long-shot for making it in at least during his first year. Why I mention these men with Raines is that there seemed to be more than one reason why his nickname was Rock. Here is Raines in his own words on the subject of cocaine use from an interview he did for Baseball Prospectus with David Lauria in August 2007.

DL: Early in your career there was an issue with cocaine use.

TR: Yes, and it’s not something I’m proud of, but I also don’t want people to have the wrong idea about what happened. I was never a drug addict or anything like that. Not to make excuses, but I was young and it was a part of the culture at the time--I simply made a bad decision. But I was never arrested, or caught doing anything. I voluntarily sought help, because I didn’t want it to get in the way of my career, and coming clean was part of that therapy. I took what happened as a learning experience, and going forward I think it made me a better person.


Now many would offer up in defense of Raines that unlike steroids, cocaine would not have helped him perform better. While I never consumed anywhere close to the amount that he did, I used the stuff some during college and I can tell you that I can see where it could have had a benefit. For many of the same reason players have been using amphetamines since the 60's, doing a few lines could help stimulate your body and have the added bonus of making you feel a bit more confident. Do you think these players would have risked using this illegal substance if they thought it hurt their ability on the field? Now I'm not saying it was the reason for Raines success and I'm not singling him out, as many other major leaguers were using blow than as well, (at this time, coke wasn't seen as the absolute evil it later became when crack came on the scene), but I don't see where voters can okay this transgression, but castigate Bonds.

Anticipating some of this discussion, BP's Joe Sheehan in January offered this on the subject.


Raines, of course, has a black mark on his record, that being his use of cocaine in the 1980s. I would argue vociferously, however, that the BBWAA has made it clear that it doesn't believe that to be a serious offense. My evidence? Paul Molitor, who also used coke in that period, appeared on one ballot and was swept into the Hall with 85% of the vote. If Raines' use becomes an issue in his candidacy after that experience, I would strongly suggest simply ending the process of electing players to the Hall.

It's instructive, in the current environment, to remember how big a deal it was in the mid-1980s to learn that all these baseball players were doing cocaine, and how little it mattered when one of them came up for Hall of Fame consideration.

I don't disagree with anything Sheehan offers here. My problem is with the Hall of Fame hypocrisy that is steroids versus cocaine. Sure both of them are illegal, but ask about anyone who isn't a supermodel or child actor which is the worse drug and 9 out of 10 times you would get cocaine as the answer. It is ridiculous to me that Bonds might end up going to jail over lyring about using while so many other players who used as well were never put in this courtroom situation. (This includes NFL and NBA players, as well.)

I have a mostly Libertarian-view about drugs, so my problems with players using drugs only begins to bother me when the drugs have been made illegal by the sport, itself. Since baseball didn't have a real drug policy until a couple of years ago, it is impossible to know who was on them and who wasn't.

Here would be my Hall of Fame voting rulebook.

  • If a player's credentials are borderline like Jose Canseco, I can see it being a determining factor in saying No to their entry.
  • If a player's credentials state they should be solidly in, but not much above that (see Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmiero) I can see delaying entry for awhile.
  • But if they are on the level of the career hit leader (Rose) or the greatest player of the past 40 years (Bonds), you put them in and mention their transgressions against the game in their exhibit.

I didn't write this piece to try to hurt Raines' chances at the Hall. It just seems unfair that a player like Rock, who admitted during the Pittsburgh drug trials that he would keep coke in his uniform, use it during the games, and would slide headfirst so not to break the vial, would get a pass, while modern players who used steroids are seen a pariahs. Sure, Raines' rehabilitated himself, but do we really know that cocaine didn't aid his career? His best seasons were when he was under the influence. During a period when basestealing was at its peak (1980's), who is to say that cocaine didn't have as much to do with this spike as steroids did with the increase in homeruns? Yes, I know it is a pretty explosive question, but I think it is a fair one to ask, especially considering the careers of similar type players like Lonnie Smith, Vince Coleman, and Tony Phillips, who also were cocaine users.

Put Tim Raines in the Hall of Fame. He deserves for his career resume. If you believe he should be selected as well, just keep in mind that if you are also one of the people who feel that steroids should eliminate you from Cooperstown, it is time to reexamine your reasoning. Since amphetamines came into the game of baseball, drugs have had varying degrees of influence on the abilities of many of its players. We will never know how many or what percentage were using some illegal substance, so slamming the door on future enshrinement for those who were outed is unfair. The best approach the Hall of Fame voters should take is grading everyone on the curve.

Postnote: In the comments section it is brought to my attention that Raines claimed that he only used during the 1982 season. My belief had been that he had used up until 1985, before the Pittsburgh Drug Trial happened. I regret putting out any wrong information towards Mr. Raines. The point of this piece was one where I was trying to get to the issue that steroids are not the only drug that has helped players achieve more success on the field. Considering the massive usage of cocaine during the eighties by athletes in all sports, I believe that it had its benefits on the field. Sure, over time, users have to use more to chase the same high, which becomes more dangerous and destructive to the individual. Guess what, same goes for steroids. While they achieve different things for their user, steroids, amphetamines, and cocaine all have a lot of similar affects.

Finally, the drug that has negatively impacted and often destroyed more players careers than any has been alcohol.


Let's Just Forget Last Week's Picks
2007-11-24 21:37
by Scott Long

My football selections last week had the sucking power of Marilyn Chambers during her prime.  Let's hope this week is better.  I only liked 1 college game this week, so didn't mess with the limited schedule.  (If you can still get down on Oklahoma, I highly recommend it.)


Cleveland (-3) Houston

St. Louis (+3) Seattle

Philly (+24) New England

Tennessee (-1.5) Cincy



Supporting Most of the Troops
2007-11-23 21:12
by Scott Long

The biggest misunderstandings in regards to standup comedy is that comics like to be heckled. While most of the audience understands this, there are a surprising amount who don't. Very few comedians are very adept at dealing with hecklers. Some comics have a character they inhabit, others are very low-key in their delivery, while most have a set routine and heckling wrecks the timing of their act.

I'm one of the exceptions when it comes to hecklers, as even though my goal is to do the act that I have planned, I'm more than willing to verbally evicerate whoever gets in my way. Dealing with hecklers is not my goal, though. Let me explain it this way.

Outside of psychiatrists, I can't think of a profession where people get uncomfortable having a conversation with you, as many believe they will somehow wind up me analyzing them and then put them into my act. There was a woman who lived in my neighborhood, who would always bring this up saying “I bet you will end up putting me in your show.” Finally, I decided to alleviate her fears. I explained that “don’t think for a second that anything in your life would be interesting enough to make its way into my act.” I think I can speak for most comedians in saying that we are not trolling for material and most of what does come to us is when we are by ourselves. Same goes for hecklers. You are not going to help our show, unless it is a completely dead audience and the comedian you heckle just happens to be adept at the art of roasting.

Last Friday night, I had a drunken heckler. (And yes, there are sober hecklers, sometimes.) I slammed the guy a few times, but he kept jumping in during the middle of a joke, wrecking the timing of the material. I finally got so pissed off that I went off, savaging him to the point that the audience was cheering me to go for the jugular. One thing you learn early on is if you are a funny comedian, the audience will behave like they are at a Roman Coliseum, wanting you to go for the kill. Considering that they have paid a cover to watch the professionals, the tolerance for some a-hole who believes he is “helping the show” is very limited.

After unloading a couple bombs on my heckler, I hoped that this would be the end of it and I could back to the regularly scheduled portion of the show. Feeling wounded, my heckler offered up the excuse that “I’m going to Afghanistan next week.”

This was a pretty crafty response, as almost every comic I know would back off and instead act like the guy was some kind of hero. I’m not that guy. I have what can be a fatal flaw and that is that I don't pacify people I should often ignore. Since I’m not like the Comedians of Comedy, who go around performing only for audiences who generally agree with their political points of view, conflict does happen sometimes at my show. I’m a touring standup who goes basically where I can get work and who will pay me a decent wage. I’m not a great comic, but I do feel some pride in not just preaching to the converted. Here is what I offered my heckler.


“So you are telling me you are going to Afghanistan. Normally I am very strong in my support for our troops. I am not a flag-waving robot, though. Just like in any profession there are good people and bad people. I know a load of comics who are egotistical dickheads. I would sometimes put myself in that category. I’m guessing you are the type of soldier who would have been setting up pyramids at Abu Ghraib prison. Now, I don’t want anything fatal to happen to you, but if you lost a limb, I can’t say I would be that broken up about it.”


Youch…that is some cruel stuff to say to someone, let alone someone who is serving our country. I’m not sure it is completely defensible, but I will offer that this jerk would not stopping interrupting the show. I gave him a couple mulligans, but he wouldn’t stop. After I offered up the quote from above, I was a bit concerned how the audience would respond. They were very supportive, laughing and hooting. Now, just for a little bit more info, I wasn’t performing at a rally. The audience was just a bunch of middle-class Americans from a small city (less than 40,000) in northern Wisconsin. I’m guessing the city votes overwhelmingly Republican. After the show, I had a man who looked like he stepped off the cover of some “Greatest Generation” book come up to me and offer this point of view. “I fought in the Korean War and I can tell you that guy who was heckling you was an embarrassment for me. If that is the kind of soldier we have fighting for our country, I don’t think we will ever solve our problems overseas.”

Now, I want to mention that I don’t think for a minute that my heckler that night was a good example of what our troops are like. I’ve done comedy shows at military bases and have had nothing but good experiences, as these soldiers are not the Sean Hannity-lovin’ robots many Liberals think they are. While they might not be as diverse politically, as the general public, they are often more aware than anyone how larger policies have put them in a state of constant FUBAR.

I decided to relay this story, as I know 4 years ago, my words would have caused a different outcome from the audience at this venue. I think it is good that many Americans have stopped blindly leading with their patriotic hearts. We should support the troops, but not pretend that they are all outstanding human beings anymore than we should do the same with politicians. While your job might give you a little bit of extra credit, it shouldn't be a teflon for all of your actions.

After my final slam of my dim-witted heckler, I didn’t hear anything more out of him. At the end of the show, I mentioned that I might have been hasty in my words when I had said that (him) losing a limb wouldn’t tear me apart. I wished him the best of luck and the safest of travels. Not exactly a “We are the World” type moment, but I’m all about giving people a chance to redeem themselves. Well, except for this guy.



Football Picks
2007-11-16 16:52
by Scott Long

Went 2-4 in the Colleges, 3-2 in the NFL, last week.  I really don't like the games for this week, so I have a smaller than usual amount of releases. 


Kentucky (+8) Georgia

Northwestern (+13.5) Illinois

Kansas St. (+7) Missouri

Ohio St. (-4) Michigan

Louisville (+8.5) South Florida


Baltimore (+3) Cleveland

Detroit (+3) NY Giants

Tennessee (+2) Denver



Diamond Views of Alex Rodriguez
2007-11-12 17:39
by Scott Long

Recently I was contemplating the world of Alex Rodriguez. I kept coming back to the idea that he is a Solitary Man. This got me to thinking, where better to go to explain his recent Yankees past and future, than with the lyrics of one Neil Leslie Diamond? Hopefully Scott Boras will use the words of Neil to understand better what Alex has went through and what he wants in the future.

I wonder what are feelings that A-Rod must have? I know I’m playing amateur psychologist here, but my guess is if Alex was to write a poem about his Yankees experience, it would resemble this.

Gave you my heart
Gave you my soul
You left me alone here
With nothing to hold
Yesterday's gone
Now all I want is a smile

First, they say they want you
How they really need you
Suddenly you find you're out there
Walking in a storm
When they know they have you
Then they really have you
Nothing you can do or say
You've got to leave, just get away
We all know the song

You need what you need
You can say what you want
Not much you can do
When the feeling is gone
May be blue skies above
But it's cold when your love's on the rocks

First, they say they want you
How they really need you
Suddenly you find you're out there
Walking in a storm
When they know they have you
Then they really have you
Nothing you can do or say
You've got to leave, just get away
We all know the song

Love on the rocks
Ain't no surprise
Pour me a drink
And I'll tell you some lies
Yesterday's gone
And now all I want is a smile
(Lyrics from Love on the Rocks)

Or maybe a more succinct A-Rod would have offered this type of explanation.


It was more than a matter of knowing

All the words that were finally said

It was more than the coming or going

It was more than a matter of wanting

Or needing the foolish games we played

A-Rod has tried at times to be more open about his feelings, but he had a hard time truly expressing his deepest emotion. Emotions like these.


Can anybody save me

Save me, save me from the storm

Save me, save me

Save me 'fore I'm gone

I'm only a man

And a man's gotta break

There's a lot I can stand

But not a lot I can take

Save me, something is taking me over

And there's no place that I can hide

(lyrics from Save Me)

So he decided to opt out of his contract, no longer wearing the Pinstripes.

Open wide these prison doors.

Take these chains from 'round my heart.

Make believe that I'm no more.

Pay no mind when I depart.

Need to find another place where love is not just tossed away.

If you really care for me, open wide these prison doors and set me free.

(Lyrics from Open Wide These Prison Doors)

Sure Alex could have shown more class with his announcement, but I’m betting if you knew what was inside the man’s heart, he would have offered up something to the Yankee fans like this.

It used to be so natural
To talk about forever
But 'used to be's' don't count anymore
They just lay on the floor
'Til we sweep them away

And baby, I remember
All the things you taught me
I learned how to laugh
And I learned how to cry
Well I learned how to love
Even learned how to lie
You'd think I could learn
How to tell you goodbye
'Cause you don't bring me flowers anymore

(Lyrics from You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, Anymore)

I mean, how emotional is that? Bravo, Mr. Rodriguez! So now he is offering himself up to other teams. Sure many fans look at him like he is the sexy girl, who has a little too high of an opinion of herself, but I see something else. A Solitary Man offering up his latest Traveling Salvation Show. I say pack up the babies and grab the old ladies because everyone goes and everyone knows, Brother A-Rod’s show. What are Alex’s thoughts on his possible destinations? I would suggest they would be close to these.

And so it was
That I came to travel
Upon a road
That was thorned and narrow
Another place
Another grace
Would save me

You are the sun
I am the moon
You are the word
I am the tune
Play me

(Lyrics from Play Me)

Many think his most likely destination is with the Angels, Dodgers, or Mets. Maybe another work of Neil Diamond will give us some insight on where A-Rod’s mind is on these options.

L.A.'s fine, the sun shines most the time
And the feeling is 'lay back'
Palm trees grow, and rents are low
But you know I keep thinkin' about
Making my way back

Well I'm New York City born and raised
But nowadays, I'm lost between two shores
L.A.'s fine, but it ain't home
New York's home, but it ain't mine no more

"I am," I said
To no one there
An no one heard at all
Not even the chair
"I am," I cried
"I am," said I
And I am lost, and I can't even say why
Leavin' me lonely still

Did you ever read about a frog who dreamed of bein' a king
And then became one
Well except for the names and a few other changes
I you talk about me, the story's the same one

But I got an emptiness deep inside
And I've tried, but it won't let me go
And I'm not a man who likes to swear
But I never cared for the sound of being alone

"I am," I said
To no one there
An no one heard at all
Not even the chair
"I am," I cried
"I am," said I
And I am lost, and I can't even say why
Leavin' me lonely still

(lyrics from I Am, I Said)

Wow, what an emotional guy, this A-Rod is. I’m not sure I follow the frog analogy, and sure palms trees do grow in LA, but the rents are not exactly low, so he should rethink that part. The rest, though, is right on the money. I’m guessing he realizes that the Angels are the best fit, but he probably has reservations, all the same.

Hey, I'm walkin' proud, me and the boys got a date with the angels.

Walkin' proud, we and them boys ain't exactly like strangers.

Walkin' proud, talkin' proud.

Baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby.

Jungle time, rumble time, tumble time.

Hey, I'm checkin' out, this ain't my style it it ain't my persuasion.

Checkin' out, guess I ain't built for this kind of occasion.

Checkin' out, steppin' out.

Mama, mama, mama, mama, mama, mama, mama, mama.

(lyrics from Jungle Time)

This is a big decision, so asking your Mom her thoughts are a good idea. I’m not sure, though, I would do it like you’re a 5 year-old at a candy store, Alex. Mama, mama, mama, mama, mama, mama, mama, mama.

No matter who ends up with A-Rod, his basic need is a simple one.

So you really want a job in the circus.

Paint your face and make the people smile.

Hey clown, come on down.

You've been too long walkin' that high wire.

When you're falling, you'll be calling, too,

callin' out to someone who believes you,

someone who's there when nobody needs you,

callin' out to someone who

believes in you.

(lyrics from Someone Who Believes in You)

Hey, isn’t that what we all want? Just for someone to believe in our talents. I can imagine A-Rod saying “sure my years with the Yankees had a lot of ups and downs, but I am the best player in baseball, so how about giving me what I need most. Respect. Support. Love. Well, that and 40 million per year, because...

Money talks
But it don't sing and dance
And it don't walk

(lyrics from Forever in Blue Jeans)


College Picks 4-1 last week. 30-22 for the Season
2007-11-09 17:13
by Scott Long

In a college football world where teams like South Florida, Kansas, Missouri, and Boston College can make appearances in the Top 5, one thing holds true. The Juice Blog will bring you winners on the games. While I went 2-3 in the NFL last week, the regular season game of all-time went about the way I suspected. The Colts speed on defense kept Brady from getting into a rhythm, but the absence of Marvin Harrison (I relied on NFL injury expert Will Carroll* who wrote he would play:) kept the Colts from putting more TD's on the board. No matter, the Colts covered.

All year in the colleges, I've done best when giving out dogs and not trying to handicap the Pac-10. Well, I'm following one of those 2 trends this week, with all dogs on the board.

Notre Dame (+3.5) Air Force
South Carolina (+7) Florida
Northwestern (+2.5) Indiana
Oklahoma St. (+6) Kansas
Tezas A&M (+19) Missouri
Stanford (+11) Washington State

Arizona (PK) Detroit
Dallas (-1.5) NY Giants
Minnesota (+6.5) Green Bay
Cleveland (+10) Pittsburgh
Washington (-3) Philly

* Had lunch with the raconteur of baseball writers, Will Carroll, and as usual, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The guy has more contacts than Bausch and Lomb.

The Complete History of Candy (Juice Blog Style)
2007-11-07 21:30
by Scott Long

During my time at this blog, I've written on some pretty insubstantial topics. The following piece might be the biggest waste of space on the internet, well besides this. The idea started as a follow-up to my orignal post on candy bars, as I would cover the non-candy bars which are worthy of space on convenience shelf stores. So I began to rack my brain of all the candy I've consumed in my life and after an hour, I made an appointment with my physician for a complete check-up. Jesus H. Wonka I've shoved a lot of junk down my gullet. Unlike candy bars, which can only feature a few different combinations and flavors, candy has endless possibilities. Also, at the end of this piece I discuss the candies that should be put in some type of junkfood graveyard. So here we go with a walk down Candyland Lane.


Every year for Christmas, I used to get in my stocking a Santa’s Sweet Storybook. One of my earliest memories was Christmas of 1971, as I sat down with my Storybook and watched my first football game, a NFL playoff matchup between the Chiefs and Dolphins. Backup QB Mike Livingston had recently spoken at our church’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes dinner, so I had decided to be a Chief fan. I sat in front of the TV and went through one Life Saver after another. I ended up eating all eight packs of my Storybook. Looking back here are the 3 things I have come to a realization about that day.

  1. I remember thinking that football goes on forever, which was the case on this day, as the Chiefs and Dolphins played the longest game in NFL history.
  2. The roof of my mouth was raw and my teeth had 6 coatings of sugar.
  3. My parents were young and not always that knowledgeable on the ways of raising a 5 year-old boy.
Best Lifesaver packet is the Tropical Fruit, as it beats the original 5 flavor roll packet. Kind of like why Physical Graffiti is what I want over Zeppelin 4, as it's not oversaturated.

Hard to say there is a better candy, which doesn’t contain chocolate. Best flavor is the strawberry twists, though the Cherry bites are a close 2nd. The watermelon pull and peel is damned good, as well. Cherry Nibs are also a Twizzler product.

Tootsie Rolls
Tootsie Fruit Rolls
Tootsie Pops

All of them are good, but the best Tootsie Roll is the medium size, as it provides the best chewing texture. The fruit flavored tootsie rolls are underrated, with lime the best flavor. Tootsie Pops are one of those candies that reconnect me to my childhood. I’m not positive, but I might have learned to count to three from watching professor Owl in the commercial explain how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Pop center.

Charms Blow Pop
It depends on your mood, but the Blow Pop is right there with the Tootsie Pop as the greatest sucker. Charms sweet and sour lollipops were one of my favs, though I’m not sure if they are still made.

Dum Dum Pops
Chupa Chups (Strawberries and Cream)

During my childhood, the doctor would actually give you the pure sugar cane of a Saf-T-Pop, if you were good during the appointment. How about an expose if Dr. Oz ever did this during his practice? Dum Dum Pops are most famous for being given out at the bank. Give me the Mystery Flavor! It would appear that some smart corporate exec. decided to corner the market for medical offices and banks. Chupa Chups are a little more sophisticated in their flavors. I vote for the Strawberries and Cream. Lollies are a rounded lollipop on a hollow, plastic stick. Two-toned, with a consistency of a SweeTart, without the tart part. They were always part of my order, when I hit the concession stand after my Little League games.

Sugar Daddy
Black Cow

My parents had just turned 20 and 18, when I was born. They came from very flawed families and had no idea how to raise a child. For example, I cannot remember either one of them ever being on my case about brushing my teeth. I did very little of it. Considering all the candy I have eaten in my life, it is amazing that I don’t look like this.

The 3 rock hard taffy suckers above were some of my favorite candies and also possibly the worst food for your teeth. (Looking back at the italicized words of the last sentence makes me think I will have gay porn google ads below this piece.)

Sugar Babies are the safer, easier to eat version of Sugar Daddy’s.

Laffy Taffy
BB Bats and Kits
Giant Old Fashioned Taffy

Continuing on the category of filling pullers. Laffy Taffy is kind of artificial, but I do have a thing for the banana flavor. BB Bats and Kits are basically the same product, just packaged differently. Put me down for the strawberry. When I was in single digits, I would probably have rated the Old Fashioned Taffy first on my list of candy. I used to buy them at the concession stand, when going to high school football games with my parents. Depending on the freshness, it would either be chewy or it would crack from its brittleness. Either way, it was delicacy for a 8 year-old, especially the banana version.

Black Jacks
I loathe black licorice (more on that later), but for some reason, loved these licorice flavored small taffies. The black, pink, and white look is kind of bizarre, but I had one recently and it still worked for me.

Hot Tamales
Most jelly candies I’m kind of lukewarm about, but the Hot Tamales have a synthetically magical appeal.

Jelly Belly
Never got the whole jelly bean fetish that some have, as it just seemed like a candy my Grandmother could keep in dish and not have to worry I would scarf them down like some kind of manic meth user. When Jelly Belly’s came out, it was a revolution in the candy industry, as the flavor punch out of such a small object was incredible. Even cooler was the amazing replicas of things that had never been done in the candy world. My top 5 Jelly Belly’s. Caramel Corn , Buttered Popcorn, Pina Colada, Strawberry Cheesecake, Cotton Candy.


Both of these came out in the mid-70’s, kind of like Dave Kopay. I had a friend who I swear lived on Starburst during high school. He was a really great all-around athlete, which just shows the miracle of the human body.

Brach's Milkmaid Caramels
Brach's Butterscotch disks
Brachs Neopolitans
Brachs Royals Caramels

Brach’s makes old people candy, but these I dug. Raspberry is my choice of the royal caramels. There are lots of generic butterscotch disks, but only Brach’s is good.

Bottle Caps
The cola flavored bottle cap is one of the top 10 flavors in the world!

Old fashioned candy sticks
The cherry cola is great, but most of the flavors are worth checking out. Usually found at Stuckeys or Cracker Barrels.

Jolly Ranchers
They can be hit or miss, but the grape and watermelon flavors are outstanding!

The Ferrara Pan Company makes some of the weirdest candy. Only Lemonheads are consistently good. A real lemon drop is better, though they really f--- your tongue up.

A less tart, slick textured SweeTart. Very artificial in concept and taste, but in the case of Spree’s, that’s a good thing.

Chewy SweeTarts
You might have noticed the absence of SweeTarts. Not a big fan, but I always dug the Chewy version, which looked like an Alka Seltzer on steroids.

Not particularly good individually, but when you stuff the whole package in your mouth at one time, it works. This should be the instructions on Smarties.

Pixie Stix
Fun Dip

If you need a fast rush of adrenaline and can’t find a coke dealer, slam a couple Pixie Stix. Kind of like sucking down a pre-sweetened packet of Kool-Aid. By the way, Pixie Stix doesn’t work the opposite way, as when you add water, it fails to replicate Kool-Aid, or even Wyler’s.

Fun Dip is a less grainy version of Pixie Stix. The sticks that you use to get the sugar dust out of the packet are kind of lame, even though they are edible.

Bubble Yum

I can remember the revolution that was Bubble Yum, when it originally hit the shelves. I was in 7th grade and I used to buy a packet of it and then sell pieces of it individually at school, so I could cover my habit. Grape Bubble Yum is the best gum in the history of mankind. It has an amazing fragrance, which just smelling it being chewed by someone else can make your mouth water.

The best pure bubble gum is Bubblicious. I would rate Bazooka right behind them and the bonus there is that you get one of the HILARIOUS Bazooka Joe cartoons as a bonus.

Fruit Stripe gum
Chiclets (mini)
Gold Mine Bubblegum

Fruit Stripe gum loses it flavor seemingly before you even get the piece soft, but the first 10 chews are delicious. Not a fan of Chiclets, but the tiny fruit pieces they sold in the paper packet with the clear window was cool. Are they a candy or a gum? That is the Razzle dilemma. I dig me some Razzles. Gold Mine bubblegum hasn’t been carried in most stores for a long time, but they are a really unique product. Small pieces of gold (truthfully more yellow in color) that are packaged in a little burlap bag. Pure nostalgia here, as I haven’t seen them in a store in 25 years, but they belong on my list.

Freshen Up Gum
When this product came out, it was all the rave. If you haven’t had Freshen Up, it is a gum which contains a gel in the center that squirts in your mouth. I know many of you that are repulsed by the idea, but I’m no homophobe and can say, even though I haven’t see the product in a long time, I always dug the Spearmint flavor.

Pop Rocks
This just might be the most bizarre food item ever developed. Eating Pop Rocks is akin to having a chemistry experiment in your mouth.



Zotz fizz candies
The only candy which can compete with Pop Rocks for being bizarre. I have no idea what is the filling that hits your tongue like battery acid, but it can’t be something the FDA should have ever approved.

Now and Later
Mike and Ikes

All of these candies are favorites of many, but I kind of have a take or leave it attitude towards them. Dots are a great temporary filling for gaping dental damage, though.

The dispensers were awesome, but if you ate the candy by itself, you quickly realized it was a poor-man’s Smarties.

Switzers Licorice and Red Ropes
Not bad, but Twizzlers are way better.

Big League Chew
Pretty great, right out of the pouch, but if you don’t chew it all in the first hour, it starts to curdle into something not worth keeping.

Root Beer Barrels
Sounds good in concept, but is really hard to finish one.

Poor Man’s Starburst.

Waxed bottles and Wax lips
Kind of like a flaming shot of Ouzo. They should be tried once, but not really a good idea after that.

Candy Cigarettes and Cigar Gum
Yes, the ethical elements of these do hold a shaky ground, but in the 70’s, the official disease was called Cancer, Schmancer. Actually eating a real menthol Kool tastes better than a candy cigarette. The Cigar Gum was better, but the pink and yellow color they came in didn’t exactly make you look like George Burns.

Bit O Honey
A strange product that I suspect will fall off the convenience store shelves within 20 years. Not bad, but it hits me as the official candy of The Greatest Generation.

Boston Baked Beans
Another bizarrely boxed candy by Ferrara Pan. Used to be found in lots of bulk candy vending machines, which never seemed very sanitary to me.

Wrigley’s Gum
I’ve chewed my share, but it has been eclipsed at this point. Added note: Wrigley’s infamous history with the Cubs doesn’t help it gain points with me.

Cinnamon Toothpicks
At one point in my childhood, it became a fad for boys in my class to buy these super hot liquid bottles of cinnamon and dip toothpicks in them. Then you would take them to school and see who could take the heat. Look, we didn’t have internet porn and our TV only received 4 channels.

Cough Drops
Sure they are not candy, but the cherry ones by Dr. Smith’s were pretty damn close. As horrid as Halls cough drops are, I got a strange enjoyment out of their Cherry flavored ones as well.



Candy Corn
Circus Peanuts

These are the 3 candies I would most likely put in a Please Explain posting. Terrible texture and nasty flavor makes me really wonder how they have been popular for so long.

Chuckles and Regular Jelly Beans
Both are in the old person candy category. Not good.

Old Fashioned Horehound Candy Drops
If you see anyone who eats these, don’t be surprised if they aren’t a zombie who was born in the 1800’s.

NECCO wafers
For those kids in school that would eat chalk.

Teaberry, Beemans or Black Jack gum
Disgusting gums from my youth.

Chiclet like gum which had a Scope like minty flavor.

Dubble Bubble
I always chewed the gum that came with my baseball cards, but I wouldn’t have bought it alone. Bazooka blows away Dubble Bubble.

Caramel Creams and Cow Tales
Good caramel is scrumptious. Cheap caramel is dismal and what is found in these products. I will admit that the caramel apple version of Cow Tales is decent.

Mary Janes
Molasses is not a flavor that should have existed past 1976. Molasses is Pre-bicentennial.

Starlite peppermint disks
Just like the Saf-T-Pop and Dum Dum Pops, these peppermint candies seem to corner the market in low-rent diners. Drop the extra dime and give me an Andes mint.

Candy necklaces
Edible panties=not bad. Edible jewelry=not good. While the candy necklace might not be the most beautiful piece of jewelry, it still would look superior to what most ballplayers wear around their necks.

Red Vines
I love most red licorice, but Red Vines...Yeech.

The name is good, but what is in the box is not. Not to be confused with a product conceived by Ann Coulter...

Snaps (black licorice center)
Good and Plenty

Besides my strange enjoyment of Black Jack taffy, black licorice is one of the 5 nastiest flavors that I’ve ever tasted. (2 of this 5 I cannot divulge, as I don’t want to be sued.)

Gummi Bears
Swedish Fish

I don’t get the whole gummi bear thing. Why not just munch on a flavored condom. The other 2 listed here fail to even reach Dots quality.

This is the only pure chocolate product I address here. If you prefer Sixlets over M&M’s, you have serious taste bud issues and should consult a doctor.

Gobstoppers or Jawbreakers
If I want my jaw to feel tired, I would take a hit of ecstasy, as at least with it, I would feel one with the mankind and I would have a good excuse to get out the glowsticks and the Vicks Vapo Rub.

Candy Buttons
And you thought candy cigarettes are bad, how about an acid blotter of sugar. Honestly, 2 hits of Microdot or Yellow Sunshine tastes better and afterwards, you get to see colors, dude.


So there is the list. This piece should create conservation here until at least spring training begins. Fire away.

Jerry Seinfeld on Alex Rodriguez and the Mets
2007-11-03 22:19
by Scott Long

Hey, have you heard? Jerry Seinfeld has a new movie out. I actually heard an interesting interview on his promotional tour on Friday. Comedian Jim Breuer has a really fun show every weekday afternoon on Sirius Satellite Radio and he did a great interview with Seinfeld. There can't be 2 comics who are much more different in their styles, be it on or off-stage. Seinfeld is meticulous and sharply sarcastic. Breuer is bombastic, bigger than life, bringing a rock and roll feel to his comedy, following the example of his metal band heroes. The one common bond the 2 share is that they are both huge Mets fans, something that Breuer talks about on a regular basis.

During their sitdown, Seinfeld brought up how he wouldn't want ARod to join the Mets. I'm paraphrasing here, but it is Seinfeld's basic contention that he doesn't like all the deep breathing he does before each at-bat. He said that ARod seems to almost be tantric while preparing for each pitch. Seinfeld then discussed how he felt that Willie Randolph needs to go back to his Yankee look and lose the Harry Reems mustache he has sported more recently. Jerry is conservative when it comes to baseball and believes the Mets manager should lose the porn stache, as it sets a bad tone. Just like most comedy, this retelling loses a lot in the blog translation, but the whole segment was hilarious and made me wish that Seinfeld would do an hour a month on some talk radio show, breaking down sports in his observational comedic way.

Discussing the future of the Mets, Breuer did your typical rabid fan take, believing that the Mets should trade their whole bullpen to the Twins for Santana. He obviously doesn't realize that the bullpen is the area the Twins need the least help in, but I enjoyed his passion about the game. There are questions about how much MLB pitchman Dane Cook knows baseball, but there is no doubt how strongly these 2 comics feel about the game. My experience has been that very few comics I have run into have any interest in baseball, so it was really cool hearing a couple top-rate comics like Breuer and Seinfeld discuss the game from a different perspective than you get from a pure baseball analyst.


I read this Q/A in Sporting News with Rush's Geddy Lee, a couple of months ago, and have been looking for a place to put it in.  The piece outlines how Lee is a huge Fantasy baseball fan.  Geddy sang my favorite version of O Canada at an All-Star game, so I knew he was familiar with baseball.  Below are a few of my favorite excerpts.  The intererview was conducted by Matt Crossman.

Sporting News: I hear your fantasy league is hard-core.

Geddy Lee: It's a fantastic indulgence in baseball insanity.  We have 40-man rosters.  We have very, very tough eligibility rules....

SN: Do you really check your fantasy lineup during intermissions (at concerts)?

Lee: With the internet, I can check and see if I've got a pitcher going. 

SN: Limelight is your best song. It quotes William Shakespeare. Are you ever going to do a song that features Peter Gammons?

Lee: It's possible, especially now that I know him.  He's very quotable--one of the greatest storytellers I've ever met in my life.  He is fantastic character.  He knows almost as much about music as he does about baseball.

Football Picks
2007-11-02 22:12
by Scott Long

Another .500 week overall. Since it is the biggest regular season game to happen in any sport since UCLA played Houston (Lew Alcindor vs Elvin Hayes), I make a pick on the Colts. The key to them winning is that their speed on turf is the best I've ever seen in the history of the game. The Colts defense is better that it has ever been and the Pats has played a really soft schedule. I suspect the game will be tight.

South Carolina (+5.5) Arkansas
Iowa St. (+15.5) Kansas St.
Alabama (+7.5) LSU
Washington (-3) Stanford
TCU (-3.5) New Mexico

Washington (-3.5) NY Jets
Jacksonville (-3.5) New Orleans
Cleveland (-1.5) Seattle
Baltimore (+9.5) Pittsburgh
Indy (+5.5) New England

Societal Critic at Large: Scott Long
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