Nadel's chicago sports column
CHICAGO — OK, admit it. Ever since you first saw my goofy mug smiling back at you from your sports page, you have wondered what I must have looked like B.C.:
Before Cueball. Well, wonder no more!
All you need do is check out the June 14 entry of my blog, The Baldest Truth (www.thebaldesttruth.com), and you'll see quite a hairy sight, a 20-year-old Nadel not only in full-’fro mode but also sporting a scraggly beard and cheesy ’stache.
I enjoyed finding my old college ID and posting it, and I got an even a bigger kick out of some of the reaction from people who knew me way back when.
From John Lamich, one of my Marquette roommates: “I almost forgot what a pathetic mustache you had.”
From John Kelly, another college buddy: “Yo yo yo. What's happenin' Mr. Kott-aire!!”
And going all the way back to my days as a high-school doofus in Milford, Conn., Trish Townsend — a girl I had a major crush on in 1975, by the way — posted this comment on the blog site: “Mike, I always sat behind that head of hair in Latin. It's the bald head I'm still trying to get used to.”
For me, that was the highlight of The Baldest Truth's week. Here are a few other entries I had fun with:
PADRES DAY: The Cubs never really had a chance against the Padres on Fathers Day — or, as Carlos Zambrano taught me to say it, “Dia del Padre.”
PRACTICING OR PREACHING?: “You don't like to see showboating. Just hit the ball and touch the bases and high-five your teammates." — Lou Piniella.
Hey Lou, don't tell us. Tell Alfonso Soriano, your $136 million hot dog.
HOLD THE MUSTARD: The buzz at the ballpark Saturday was that Padres starter Chris Young plunked Derrek Lee — touching off a bench-clearing melee — in retaliation for Soriano's showboating of the previous day. I didn't see it that way, but if the Cubs really think that was the case, they should work with Soriano to help him respect the game more.
For years, Sammy Sosa showed up opponents with his home run hops, chest taps and finger kisses. The Cubs not only didn't rein him in, they encouraged his behavior. Then they wondered why opponents would mock him or throw at Sosa and his teammates.
Look, I've got nothing against athletes having a good time, celebrating great achievements and displaying their personalities. But there's a classy way to do it and a classless way to do it. They can't have it both ways.
If Soriano wants to take an exceedingly long time admiring his home runs, if he wants to walk backward down the first base line as he watches the ball leave the park, if the Cubs let him behave like a hot dog, then they should expect retaliation.
I say Soriano should be better than that, but it's his life.
He'd better learn how to duck.
GEZUNDHEIT!: Sosa has a chance to hit career homer No. 600 against the Cubs this week in Texas. And in what could be a double-whammy for Sammy, he could hurt his former team in the standings, too.
Of course, he also could strike out 12 times in the three games, get caught hitting with his “special batting-practice bat” or sneeze himself onto the disabled list.
MASTER OF MY DOMAIN: From Zach Roberts of Green Valley: “Does somebody tell you what to write about or do you have complete control? Keep up the good work.”
Well, certain subjects are no-brainers for any Chicago sports columnist, such as Bears games or playoff games involving the Chicago baseball teams.
Occasionally, I bounce subject matter off of my supervisors or trusted associates for their input, and I have to clear all ideas involving expensive travel, but the final call on each day's column usually is mine.
My new editors at GateHouse News Service strongly encouraged me to provide a Best of The Baldest Truth compilation column once a week, and I agreed it would work as a way to cross-promote the blog. Otherwise, though, I have had almost complete autonomy in my nine-plus years doing this, and it's one of the many great things about this job.
And don't worry, Zach. For publicly saying my work is good, the check's already in the mail!
AND SOMEWHERE, DUSTY SMILED: By any chance, did you see the Detroit shortstop whose incredible defensive play saved Justin Verlander's no-hitter?
That's right, folks: The one . . . the only . . . the Neifi!
Mike Nadel (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the Chicago sports columnist for GateHouse News Service. Read his blog, The Baldest Truth, at www.thebaldesttruth.com.