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Clap On, Clap Off

  • Lost in the shuffle of Monday’s trade that brought Terrence Long and Dennis Tankersley to Kansas City was the Royals’ signing of Chris Clapinski, a 33-year-old minor league infielder. Clapinski, who I’m going to call "The Clapper" because I want to, signed a minor-league deal and as of right now is the favorite to be the team’s utility infielder in 2005.

    Clapinski being the team’s jack-of-all-trades infielder isn’t such a horrible thing, especially since he couldn’t possibly be any worse than Desi Relaford was in the same role last year. In fact, he’s had a very productive career as a Triple-A roster filler, spending at least a portion of each of the last nine years at that level. He’s shown good strike zone management skills and moderate power, making him a better player than a lot of the backup infielders some teams are employing for a lot of money (Jim Hendry, I’m looking in your direction). His 2004 hitting line translates into a .257 MjEQA (Major League Equivalent Average), which trumps anything The Neifi’s going to give the Cubs next year. He’s also been productive in 105 major league at-bats, hitting .267/.355/.400.

    Chris Clapinski is another one of Allard Baird’s reasonable gambles in the mold of Cal Pickering and Jimmy Serrano, and I don’t really have a problem with it because of the low-risk nature of his signing. However, this likely ensures that one of my favorite players, Jed Hansen, will be signed by some other organization as a six-year minor league free agent, as Clapinski was.

    Ultimately, there’s absolutely zero difference between Hansen and Clapinski, as their skillsets and age are damn near identical. Still, the Royals’ outright refusal over the years to use Hansen as a utility player is baffling. There’s no telling how many inferior players they put on the 25-man roster when he’s been just a short drive away from Kansas City.

    But it isn’t all bad. After all, the 2005 Royals could have guys nicknamed "Tank" and "Clap" on the team next year. That’s pretty damn cool if you ask me.

  • I’ve never watched Last Comic Standing on NBC, but I might start watching religiously after seeing Gary Gulman perform on campus. He was one of three finalists from the show’s third season, and it was very easy to see why. He not only had solid material (one bit about Fig Newtons was laugh-til-you-cry funny), but his delivery of the material was flawless and seemingly effortless. In my opinion, the guy’s a natural and a must-see if he’s performing in your area. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

  • I was at a local department store last Sunday in search of a couple pairs of jeans and a couple of shirts when I saw a guy walking towards me, talking to somebody. Unusual? It wouldn’t be, except there wasn’t anyone walking with him. It turns out that he was using one of those hands-free ear piece devices that are an accessory to cell phones nowadays. In a store. When he wasn’t driving.

    Now I’m pretty damn lazy, but I haven’t become so lazy that I can’t hold a phone to my ear when I want to talk to somebody. Perhaps these people who’re using the hands-free device outside of a car are going to be considered trendsetters in a few years, but I think they just look stupid. Folks, nobody thinks you’re cool because you have a tiny headset in your ear, and nobody’s going to be confusing you for somebody important like a Secret Service agent. Lose the headset, and use a cell phone like a normal person.
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