December 19, 2012

Uncle Larry


Nick Johnson, 2002 Fleer "Triple Crown" series

This is part of Fleer's "Triple Crown" series, like that time Nick Johnson won the triple crown.

Baseball America's top rated prospect in the New York Yankees organization last year,

That worked out well. I'm not sure if I can express to you, blog readers, our family's love and hope for one Nick Johnson. We were all convinced he was going to be the next great, homegrown Yankee. He killed my cousin's fantasy team for like five years. My wife, enamored by his chunkiness and the idea that he fell under the radar of the more popular Yanks, had a crush on him that remains to this day. (And I am not threatened by this, since I did as well, platonically speaking.) It is also the reason she cannot stand Jason Giambi, who made ol' Nicky expendable. When he left we remained sure he would find great success elsewhere. I think our expectations were less a case of us being dumb than the fact Nick Johnson could not go six days without breaking his hand or whatever.

Johnson can call on his uncle, Philadelphia Phillies skipper Larry Bowa, for advice.


- - - - - - - - - -

Larry Bowa: Hello?

Nick Johnson: Hey uncle Larry, it's Nick.

Bowa: Uh, hey Nick. Why are you ... won't I see you on Christmas in five months?

Johnson: Yeah, sure, mos def. I just thought that maybe we could talk now for a minute.

Bowa: Okaaaay, what's up?

Johnson: Alright, I was wondering -- can you give me some advice about how to play baseball?

Bowa: Are you serious right now?

Johnson: Yeah. I mean, you played in the bigs, right? You managed in the bigs. You must know a lot of stuff. I thought maybe you could impart some wisdom.

Bowa: Listen, Nick, I'm kind of busy. I mean, you made it -- you're in The Show now. There's not much I can tell you that you don't already know. If you had a more specific question, like something you're having trouble with -- girls, drugs, a worthless batboy who needs to be fired -- I'd be happy to see if I can help ...

Johnson: Yeah, okay. Let me ask you this then -- how do I stop breaking all my body parts?

Bowa: Hmm, yeah, that's hard to say. Kind of a freak thing, I guess. Have you thought about not being such a pu-- Talking to wife in background ... What? Well if I don't say it who will? Whatever! Yeah, nevermind, Nick. Nothing you can do about that.

Johnson: Unc, is there any part of my game that you'd like to see improve? You know, from the standpoint of being my uncle and being super-duper proud of me and everything?

Bowa: You know, Nick, to be honest ... I'd love to see you be a bit more aggressive at the plate. Sometimes it seems like you're looking for a walk and not trying to make something happen ...

Johnson: Oh, yeah, that's good advice! Give me a second, I'm writing this down ... Try ... to get ... on base ... less. Awesome. Are you speaking from the experience of your .252 on-base percentage in 1973?

Bowa: Did I call you, or did you call me? If you want to get all caught up in "on-base percentage" and "GLORP" and all that other CRAP, be my guest! When I played, I only cared about one thing: WINS! And HEART! And GUTS!

Johnson: That's three things. Can you tell me also -- how do you maintain your composure, which is something you became famous for and which is something you're doing right now?

Bowa: If I could reach through the phone THIS SECOND, I'd grab you by your little pansie ear like I did when you were a kid clinging to your mommy, and I'd pull you through the line and throw you on the couch here. Then I'd pry your eyes open "Clockwork Orange"-style and make you watch tapes of the late 70s and early 80s Phils so you'd learn HOW TO PLAY BASEBALL FOR REAL!

Johnson: Hangs up, breaks wrist.

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