September 07, 2011

The Physiology of Turtles, Necks

Steve Finley, 1991 Topps

The thing about spring training that a lot of people don’t know is: it’s cold out there! I mean, it’s called “spring training,” but it really starts in winter, especially for the pitchers and catchers who report in February. But if you’re an outfielder like Steve Finley, it can be even worse with all the space out there, and inactivity, and air. Even in warmer climates like Florida and Arizona, you can wake up on an early March morning and it could be like, 51 degrees! That is ridiculous!!! Until the blood starts flowing and the lunchtime sun makes its presence felt, you need a turtleneck to keep your neck warm.

Scientific studies have shown that an exposed neck in harsh conditions is not conducive to above-average baseball, and is a risk that should only be intentionally undertaken for entertainment purposes by professionals like Bear Grylls. (Real life safety example: “Gonna sit this one out today, Skip. My neck is freezing!” -- J.D. Drew.) In that respect—and also in the respect of pure fashion (this goes for the outdoor discotec as well), I highly recommend a loose-fitting, multi-layered turtleneck. Don’t have a multi-layered turtleneck? Check it—just fold over an elongated single-layered turtleneck. After all, you want to stay warm, but you don’t want to choke yourself.

Ha, ha! FASHION ROAST! Early 90s, amiright? I totally rocked the folded-over turtleneck—get this—underneath a shirt and tie in high school. Wowzers. Speaking of school, who’s down with physiology?

Steve earned a Degree in Physiology from Southern Illinois (Carbondale) Univ.

I don’t believe that for a second. Carbondale? Physiology? Pfft. That is stupid. I’d like a second opinion.

Finley, who grew up in Paducah, Kentucky, attended Paducah Tilghman High School and Southern Illinois University, where he earned a degree in physiology

I stand corrected. Physiology, according to Wikipedia, is the science of the function of living systems. The human system, for example, cannot function with a chilly neck, as we discussed earlier. Freakin’ science, man. Crazy. What else, Wiki?

He was named MVP in the All-Stars Series between Japan and United States (Tokyo, 1996). Later in 1996, during Rickey Henderson’s first season with San Diego, he boarded the team bus and was looking for a seat. Finley said, “You have tenure, sit wherever you want.” Henderson looked at Finley and said, “Ten years? Rickey’s been playing at least 16, 17 years.”

Ha, ha! I love randomly placed “Rickey Henderson is an idiot” stories that are probably not true. One time I saw Rickey Henderson in an elevator and I said, “Going up?” and he said, “Going up? Rickey just got here. I don’t even know John Olerud. No one goes there anymore that place is too crowded. Rickey runs fast. Two plus two equals hairnet.” Then he started doing jumping jacks and the elevator fell to the bottom floor but Rickey emerged unscathed and hit seven leadoff home runs that same day. True story.

Anyway, let’s get back to Steve Finley and this card, shall we?

He spends off-seasons hunting quail or geese and refereeing basketball games.

- - - - - - - - -

Alarm goes off at 5:30 a.m. on a crisp November morning. Steve Finley and his wife sit up in bed, yawn, stretch, kiss each other gently.

Wife: I’m so happy to have you home for a while, honey! What do you want to do today?

Finley: Love being home, babe. Was thinking of calling Marty and going to hunt some quail while the gettin’s good.

Wife: Quail? Really?

Finley. Or geese. Doesn’t matter. If it’s flying around, I’ll shoot it. We’ll eat it. It’s called physiology … ever hear of it? Rolls eyes condescendingly ...

Wife: Okay, well, that shouldn’t take long. What about later? I thought we could go on a nice nature hike together ...

Finely: No can do, babe. Got a grammar school ballgame to ref.

Wife: I don’t understand why you continue to referee basketball games. You make millions playing baseball. You need the extra 30 bucks? It's just weird, is all. It’s like you don’t even want to be home …

Finley: It’s not about the money, babe. It’s about the love of the game. I mean, the rush I get from hitting a home run, or shooting down a giant quail—I get the same rush from running down the court to call a three-second violation on some punk kid. It’s in my genes. It’s my function.

Wife: You’re right, I'm sorry. Well, maybe later tonight we can sit down to a nice romantic dinner.

Finley: Yeah, maybe. Alright, Marty just beeped me back. Gonna head out, babe. Catch ya’ on the flip.

Wife: Okay, be safe. Don’t forget your turtleneck!

Finley: I never do, babe. I never do.


Josh D. said...

Multiple card turtleneck sightings?!?! That is some fine research. :-) Nicely done.

mkenny59 said...

Ha, thanks, Josh! To be honest though, I had already had this written and ready to go when I came across the Pinnacle one just before posting, and thus, HAD to add it, obviously. Still though, no matter the circumstances, two turtleneck cards are two too many.