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By Nightmare –

Last week we were playing next to the Aces.  At some point I found myself talking to Psych, and although I forget the situation, part of the conversation has been stuck in my mind ever since.  I’m sure Psych forgot already, which makes this weird, so of course I’ll tell you about it.  Which will probably make it even more weird.

Psych turned to me and asked me something like, “You wish you were young so bad, don’t you?”

“Yes.”  I think I said initially.  Then, “No.”  I said I couldn’t explain.  It’s not that I wish I was younger, it’s a different feeling than that.  And I couldn’t explain it.  I still can’t, I don’t think. 

So, of course I spent way too much time this past week thinking about it.

Do I wish I could get out of bed in the morning without something hurting?  Yes.  Do I wish a strong sneeze wouldn’t destroy my back?  Of course.  I miss a full head of hair, obviously.  Drinking til 2am and being able to get up and to work on time was fun.  And the hangovers now… no gracias.  And wouldn’t it be great to be able to get up out of a chair without an audible grunt?  Oh, and how bad do I miss my metabolism… sigh.

But on the other hand, I don’t miss working low-level, entry positions.  I’d never move back to a small, crappy apartment.  I never enjoyed people not taking me seriously because I was “inexperienced.”  I certainly never want to feel lost or unsure of my future again.  And the pressure of fixing what generations of us old people have done?  Yikes.  And I have absolutely no interest in TikToks, or Snapchats, or Bumbles… speaking of, I also don’t miss being single, or lonely, or going through a series of BS relationships…

Which I guess is to say, I love my family.  I love being comfortable (emotionally, not physically, my neck hurts just typing this).  I genuinely enjoy “family time.”  I love taking my kid to experience all the things I did—when I was young.  I look forward to more of that.  I look forward to more time with him, especially at the rinks playing wiffleball down the line.  I look forward to my kid asking Psych, “Do you wish you were young?”

So, buddy, I think no, I don’t wish I was young.  Being young was hard, for me.  You kids have it hard.  Maybe harder than us olds had it, in a lot of ways…  But I do wish I had more time.  Which, I think, is different.

Anyways, all this thinking about being young reminded me of a version of the rankings I started in the pre-season.  When I must have also been feeling nostalgic… I wanna talk about toys.

Time for jokes…

(#22) Pogs, Trash Pandas (1-12).  I barely remember Pogs.  I remember you threw them down and smashed other ones… I don’t know, something about throwing and smashing the Pandas?  That sounds violent, but for some reason it seems appropriate.  When the Pandas throw things, they tend to get smashed.  They’ve lost 7 or 8 in a row.  At this point, I don’t even believe most of the players on this team exist (even though I’ve met at least one of them before).  I don’t see things getting any better.  Ever.  Pandas v. Marlins this week.

(#21) He-Man, Lugnuts (1-13).  Early drafts had me comparing Franklin to a Potato Head… but that seemed… too hilarious.  So instead, I’ll compare this hodgepodge of characters to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.  For the kids out there, He-man was the strongest guy ever, he wore a little iron chest plate and a fuzzy thong.  That’s it.  But he was pretty cool, and he had this huge cast sidekicks with super obvious/ridiculous names.  Like the guy who looked like a bee was called Buzz-off.  And the bad guy who stunk and looked like a skunk was called, Stinkor.  Ram-man rammed stuff, and Man-E-Faces had, you guessed it, many faces.  They were awful, but awesome, and fun all at once.  Kinda like the Lugnuts, even down to the ridiculous nicknames.  Anyways, the ‘Nuts held the Aces to zero bombs and kept the score reasonably close (w/in 5) last week.  That’s impressive (to me).  They get the Riders next, but I don’t know how well it will go for them without Homerun Hoover…

(#20) Matchbox Cars/Hot Wheels, Twins (3-12).  When I think Twins, I think, “Original.”  What toy is more classic than Hot Wheels?  Similarly, the Twins are a classic, original franchise.  Sure, your miniature car collection is a little old now, a little rusty, it has seen better days, but the fond memories are still there.  After embracing the suck for two entire podcasts, K-Mart went out and beat the Vibes.  That’s not something a team embracing the suck would do…  Twins try to tame the Ponies next.

(#19) Scooters, Marlins (6-10).  So, I’ve struggled finding a toy to compare the Old Fish too… but I keep coming back to scooters.  Why?  Shipwreck.  The legend of Shipwreck’s fertility is known far and wide.  Also known, is that my kid and Shipwreck’s kids are very close friends.  Six kids and, for some reason, twice as many scooters, many of which, at one point or another, have tripped me, whacked me in the shin, or for some other reason infuriated me to the point of wanting to hammer throw the damn thing across the street… oh, and Shipwreck was one of a few eye witnesses to me absolutely eating sh!t on a scooter a few months ago.  My pumpkin head bounced off the pavement like a basketball and I may have been concussed.  Anyways… Sanchez and Stache pointed out the Marlins have dropped 8 in a row.  I hadn’t noticed that, but now I can’t unsee it.  They look to right the ship versus the Pandas this week.

(#18) Pokemon, Bears (2-10).  Dear Bears Defense: Just like Pokemon, you gotta catch ‘em all!  That’s a Bears defense joke… although not a very good one.  But I laughed.  And really, these are for me, so I’ll leave it.  Also, there’s gotta be a joke here about the sheer number of Pokemon and Bears players.  Some of the Bears’ names even sound like Pokemon.  I choose you Cannablast!  I’ll admit, I actually don’t know what a Pokemon does, or is, but doesn’t one look like a duck(sauce)?  The PokeBears got swept in Hopkins last week and look to shock the Vibes this week (“shock,” cause Pikachu, right?).

(#17) Gobots, Hops (5-10).  “What is a Gobot?”  Is what many of you younger readers may be asking.  Gobots were a surprisingly popular knock off of the cooler, more fun, Transformers.  You’d get one, from an elderly relative probably, and at first you’d be like, “Sweet!  A Transformer!  This is going to be awesome!”  Then you realize, “Oh, a Gobot.  Maybe this could still be cool…”  But then you’re like, “This is not as cool as I thought it might be.”  And given all the talent on the Hops… yet the lack of wins, I feel like someone got me a Gobot.  Although, I’ll be honest, if I had a Gobot right now, I’d be pretty pumped.  Hops dropped a few to the Vibes, they take on the Cakes this week (Fantasy alert: I hear Boom may make an appearance).

(#16) Monopoly, Blue Sox (4-13).  Generally speaking, I’m typically in a good mood.  Not always a great mood, but not often a bad mood.  If you want to change that, quickly, challenge me to a game of Monopoly.  If you thought I got serious (and un-fun, right Vlade) wiffling, give me the thimble and get out of my way.  It will get ugly, and tempers will flare, and a dark side will come out… speaking of bringing out my bad side, the BlueSox! 

[PS: I’m just kidding, I actually like monopoly (and the Blue sOx), and can play without getting upset (Monopoly, not the Blue sOx).  But this was the last entry I had to write and I was very, very desperate for something, anything.]

(#15) M.A.S.K., Blue Wahoos (4-10½).  Most people probably won’t remember the Mobile Armored Strike Kommand.  And certainly, the Wahoos aren’t old enough to remember these toys, or the corresponding cartoon, but my favorite part (of the show) was at the beginning, the bad guys would get into some sh*t, then the good guy leader would assess the situation and then hand pick a squad of good guys to go to battle with.  They all had these weird masks that came down, and then their normal vehicles would turn into like crazy, pumped up, super vehicles… Anyways, I think T-Sea, or whoever the leader of the Wahoos is, has to go through a similar “pick a team” process every week… or maybe it’s just, “pick whoever can make it,” but the point is, I don’t think they get the same cast of characters each week, just like the show.  Also, cool a$$ toys for some cool dudes.

(#14) Model trains, Millers (5-9).  Although he hasn’t played in a few years, when I think of the Giants, I still think of Bliss (Sr.).  Specifically, I think of Bliss and Bliss Jr. playing together.  Which reminds me of when I was a kid, and the only toy my dad and I ever both really got into, were model trains.  And that’s sweet, and sappy, and all I’m going to say about it.  Millers swept Eagan last week and hope to provide Bliss Jr. more run support this week against the sOx.

(#13) Transformers, RoughRiders (8-8).  Transformers are more than meets the eyes.  I don’t know if Jagr Jr. and the rest are more than meets the eyes, but they are certainly not what meets the eyes… meh… anyways, I never know what to expect from the Riders, just like the Transformers.  Is that a dinosaur?  F**k no it’s a jet!  And is that jet a jet?  Heck no, it’s a whiny robot warrior, dummy!  The RoughRiders, wiffleballers in disguise, split with Hopkins last week and look to take all the Energon cubes from the ‘Nuts this week.  (In the cartoon, the Decepticons were constantly looking for Energon cubes, to get back to Cybertron or whatever, look it up.)

(#12) Voltron, Yankees (9-7).  So, for the young cats out there who don’t know, Voltron was the Power Rangers about 20 years before the Power Rangers were.  So, with that in mind, when I think Yankees, I think of the Yankees’ huddle.  And everyone knows, when the Yankees huddle, they come out bigger and stronger than before.  Just like Voltron, when they were getting their tails kicked individually, they’d come together and form Voltron, Defender of the Universe!  Okay, that’s a stretch, but I have to write 22 of these and they’re not all going to be gold.  The Yankees split with the Braves last week, they have this week off.

(#11) Pound Puppies, Chihuahuas (8-5).  I mean… this is literally the least amount of effort I could put into one of these, so of course I’m going to do it.  So, yeah, the Chihuahuas are Pound Puppies cause… they’re both dogs.  They dropped two to the Ponies last week, take on the Americans next.

(#10) Super Soakers, Mariners (8-8).  Hmmm.  Seamen… Super soaker… Seamen… super soakers… seamen… super soaking...  There’s no joke there.  After a split with Eagan last week, the Mariners take on the Mets this week… yeah, definitely no way to make a joke about soaking and seamen or seamen and soakers.

[Jagr Junior Jr: I wrote that one just for you because I know you read these out loud to your dad.  I am laughing my a$$ off imagining you repeating to your dad: seamen, seamen soakers, seamen soaking, seamen… #FatherSonBonding.]

(#9) My Little Ponies, Rumble Ponies (8-7).  If you didn’t see this one coming from a mile away and if you didn’t expect me to use this same lazy joke writing twice in one article, you haven’t been paying attention.  No way was I ever going to pass up a chance to put so little thought into a(nother) ranking.  The Ponies took 2 of 3 from the Pound Puppies last week.  They take on the Twins this week.  There were boy My Little Ponies, right?

(#8) GI Joe, Americans (7-7).  Is there any toy more American than GI Joe?  Man, I loved GI Joes.  For about three years, every cent I earned went right to Target for more of these dudes.  [Full disclosure, I meant to continue this entry by comparing each guy on the team to a member of the GI Joes, but I ended up just reading about the cartoon for about a half hour and forgetting why… so… sorry, not sorry.]  The All-American Heroes split with Eagan last week and take on the Pound Puppies this week. 

(#7) Star Wars Figures, Rubberducks (8-6).  I don’t have any idea why the Ducks have a “defeat the Empire” theme, but they do, so they get my second favorite toys on the list.  Let’s see if I can do better here than I did with the GI Joes… Okay, so Face and Daddy have a real Han Solo/Chewbacca thing going on.  Sarge would for sure be Luke Skywalker.  Paper Boy’s picture reminds me a of droid… maybe C-3PO, or maybe the unmemorable (except to me) bounty hunter, 4-LOM.  Old Yeller is a bada$$, so he can be Boba Fett.  And the only figure I can think of with a mustache is Lando Calrissian, so I guess Stache is Lando.  But that’s maybe a little too cool for Stache, so he is actually a nameless, mustached, Bespin Guard (a real figure, I looked it up). 

(#6) Beanie Baby, Baby Cakes (11-3).  Is this just the third iteration of the same lame joke?  Maybe.  Is this because Pooh Bear has the largest Beanie Baby collection I’ve ever seen?  Possibly.  Is this because HOV’s fantasy value is dropping faster than the value of Pooh Bear’s Beanie collection?  That’s harsh… but kinda funny.  Anyways, HOV hasn’t been HOV in a few weeks, and Seuss gave up 5 runs, in one game.  I’m not worried… but I’m not not worried either.  The Beanie Baby Cakes swept Hopkins last week and go back to tormenting Eagan and the Hops this week.

(#5) Nintendo Entertainment System, Braves (14-4).  The joke is that this toy is old (like the Bravados), but still awesome.  I still break out the NES a few times per year and love every second of it.  Even if it’s old, obsolete, dusty… and then I’d just ramble about how old it is.  And then say the Braves are old… except for Matty.  And I can’t tell how old Scrabble is… but anyways, that was the joke.  As for the rating, I was torn.  After playing these gents and seeing the “Scrabble Factor” firsthand, I planned on moving them up in the rankings.  Talented hitters with a great one-two punch on the mound, these guys mean business.  But whilst watching the live stream, I saw Scrabble leave the game injured.  Hurt Scrabble would mean lowering the Braves in the standings… But also Sanchez saaaaaid I’d lower them in the rankings, and I don’t want him to be right… So what’s a Nightmare to do?

(#4) Ninja Turtles, Vibes (10-5).  I mean, it’s the Italian theme.  For whatever reason, the Vibes act like a bunch of goombahs with the gabagool and the kisses and what not… and for whatever reason, my all-time favorite turtles have Italian names too.  Oh, and they’re young, like teenagers… I should have used that joke a few seasons ago… anyways, the teenage meatball wiffleball players took it to the Hops three times last week and hope to put up some big fantasy numbers this week against the Bears.

(#3) Power Rangers, Mets (9½ -2).  Remember when the Power Rangers, who were already pretty good at beating on all the little gray guys and Rita Repulsa, went and got themselves a Green Ranger… now, I’m not ready to declare Dox the ultimate Ranger, Tommy, just yet… but it sorta seems that way after last week, AmIRight?  Tommy… I mean Dox and the Mets take on the super soaking seamen this week after sweeping Eagan last week.

(#2) Foosball, or ping-pong, or the X-Men or Ninja Turtles Arcade games, or any game where 4 guys on the team go out to the bar and play and have fun and don’t invite the fifth player who’s just sitting at home alone, Grasshoppers (16-0).   Did anyone else get a bunch of texts from the other four guys on their team who were out at the bar having a great time without me… I mean them… I did.  D!cks.  Hoppers v Aces this week, I wonder if I’m even invited…

(#1) Legos, Aces (14-0).  Umm.  They’re both the best.  And that’s all you get, bigger Keeks.

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