1993

Cleveland Indians shortstop Jay Bell & MLB’s rookie one-swing wonders

Imagine waiting three years for your one big opportunity. Then imagine knocking it out of the park on the very first pitch.

Jay Bell on 1988 Topps card #637

Jay Bell on 1988 Topps card #637

That’s how the first Major League Baseball swing played out for Cleveland Indians shortstop Jay Bell in 1986 when he connected for a homer off Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven in his first trip to the big league plate.

It turns out that after being called up from the instructional league in September of that year Bell got some solid advice from future Indians manager Mike Hargrove, who advised the struggling hitter on the way to the airport to swing at the first pitch he sees as it would likely be a fastball.

The irony was likely not lost on the baseball fans in attendance that day.

After being taken with the No. 8 overall pick out of high school by the Minnesota Twins in 1984 Bell was part of a minor league package shipped to Cleveland in exchange for Blyleven.

Cleveland also received pitcher Curt Wardle and outfielder Jim Weaver up front in the deal, and later pitcher Rich Yett. The man affectionately known as the Frying Dutchman would go on to help the Twins win a championship in 1987 just as Bell’s career was getting started.

Can you imagine how rare it must be to hit a major league home run off of the first pitch hurled your way?

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The Evolution of Batman in Cinema

A new Batman hits the big screen next year featuring Ben Affleck in the leading role as the Caped Crusader. He’ll follow in the footsteps of a handful of others who’ve put their own unique spin on Bruce Wayne dating back to the 1940s.

Luckily for us there’s someone looming in the shadows who recently felt compelled enough to showcase Batman’s cinematic past in his own way. Jacob T. Swinney has pieced together old footage of all who has worn the cape in movies over the years, helping to bring some perspective to the franchise and the changes it’s endured.

“The Evolution of Batman in Cinema” features a look at the Batman (1943) and Batman and Robin (1949) serial shows that started it all and the Batman: The Movie (1966) release that put the character over the top.

Swinney also includes footage of the nearly three-decade run that followed more than 20 years later including Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992), Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993), Batman Forever (1995), Batman & Robin (1997), Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and The Lego Movie (2014).

The Evolution of Batman in Cinema from Jacob T. Swinney on Vimeo.

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Four teams remain in Stanley Cup Playoffs and none are from Canada

I hardly have time to care too much about the National Hockey League. There’s just too many other things going on in the world of sports to consume my attention.

But now we’re down to the final four teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. That’s reason enough to start paying attention, right?

What’s interesting about the upcoming matchups this weekend is that there’s no hard feelings stemming from previous postseason clashes to help get the excitement brewing. Instead we’ve got one team in the mist of a marginally lengthy Stanley Cup drought and, in comparison, three others still cleaning up confetti from recent triumphs.

On Saturday it’s the top-seeded New York Rangers and the No. 2 Tampa Bay Lightning meeting in the Eastern Conference. Sunday it’ll be the No. 1 Anaheim Ducks hosting the No. 3 Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference.

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Ice Cube (1990-1994) – Spotify Playlist

The four albums that unleashed the solo career of Ice Cube onto the world are a treasure in the history of hip hop.

Whereas stereotypes have largely perpetrated rap in certain ways over the past couple decades, the initial era of the former backbone of N.W.A. is worthy of revisiting as he’s helped legitimize social concerns for an entire group of people.

Once you get past the menacing attitude of the production and equally intimidating delivery of the emcee, there’s lots of depth to peel back within each album. Ice Cube in the early 1990s comes complete with commentary matching the times, which can be tough to digest upon first sitting if hesitant to soak it all in.

There’s scathing tracks about corruption of law enforcement and the prison system, and government degradation and racial tension, and tales of street life and sexual relations. It’s all packaged with punk rock bravado from a ghetto-American point of view.

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NASCAR wrecks that changed racing

Today’s Daytona 500 looks a lot different than it did decades ago. Although that’s a bummer for most purists of the sport, the advancements in safety that’s since altered races has proved necessary at each and every turn throughout NASCAR’s existence.

Take a look at the YouTube video below posted by MarkED912 featuring a long list of the crashes that have changed NASCAR over the years.

Blair Thomas doesn’t look happy about being a New York Jet

The only running back worth a first round pick in the 1990 NFL Draft turned out to be Emmitt Smith. At No. 17 overall.

Blair Thomas 1990 Topps Traded rookie card No. 34T

Blair Thomas (RB, New York Jets) 1990 Topps Traded rookie card – No. 34T

Despite being the second selection in the draft out of Penn State, by the New York Jets, Blair Thomas was outdone in the National Football League by nearly every contemporary picked after him. His pedestrian 2,236 yards rushing and seven touchdowns (533 carries) over six years trails a number of other moderately memorable guys, even some worth remembering. Terry Allen was taken by Minnesota in the 9th round before going on to rush for 8,614 yards and 73 TDs. Chris Warren, selected in the 4th round by Seattle, rushed for 7,696 yards and 52 TDs.

Maybe Thomas would’ve been better off with a different team. He entered the league at the same time as New York’s first-year head coach Bruce Coslet, who would last just as long with the Jets as Thomas did before going on to finish his NFL career with a worthless 47-77 record over nine years. It’s worth mentioning that Coslet never knew a season better than 8-8 while on the sideline with either the Jets or Cincinnati Bengals.

Thomas rushed for just 2,009 yards (468 carries) and five touchdowns for the Jets from 1990-93. He carried the ball at least 15 times in a game only eight times during that stretch and rushed for 100 yards or more just two times. Career highlights include 20 carries for 100 yards in a loss to the New England Patriots in his fourth career game, and then going for a career-high 125 yards on 27 carries against the Chicago Bears just four games into his second season.

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Playlist: Wu-Tang Clan Solo Album Compilation (1994-96)

The Wu-Tang Clan hit the scene in 1993 with a debut album that featured nine emcees rapping over gritty soundscapes unheard of at the time in hip hop.

What followed was the release of a handful of solo albums from 1994-96, by six individuals from within the group. The Clan’s creator, The RZA, oversaw the majority of production for each record outside of his involvement with the Gravediggaz.

This Spotify playlist contains 26 tracks from those albums. It opens with one song from each of the selections listed below, in order of release date, and repeats itself throughout. The intent was to include tracks from each solo album that featured other Wu-Tang members. Enjoy.
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