Many, many thanks for the many, many texts, e-mails, and Facebook messages in response to yesterday’s news that Washington Bullets owner Jim Cummings had passed away. A life well lived is one that touches and makes a real difference in the lives of others. From all the reactions we have gotten to the news of his passing, and from reading the reactions on his and his daughter Kendra’s Facebook pages, it is evident that Jim touched and made a difference in the lives of many.
For us here operating this dopey little fantasy baseball league, Jim made a huge difference, and not just because he was the league’s most avid supporter. You see, it was Jim who ultimately reconnected our Livernois Clan with our dad, Guao Wee! owner Richard “Pop” Livernois, after years of, well, unconnectedness. This comes by way of league founder Joe Livernois’ account of our reconnection with our dad, the book “Road to Guanajuato: Estrangement In Paradise”:
And later in Jay’s telling:
As it turns out, Tony’s research into the deep past also served to rekindle a more recent generational connection. Tony's efforts put him in touch with a long-lost cousin, Jim Cummings, in 1999, who had also recently become interested in the vagaries of the Livernois lineage. After decades of being out of touch with the Livernois side of the family, he located Pop in Mexico. He had remembered my father – his uncle – with fondness and, like the rest of us, had lost track of him. Jim and Pop exchanged correspondence in which Jim learned with sadness of Pop’s estrangement from his children. Jim contacted Tony, brothers in genealogical pursuit, and gently encouraged him to make an effort to reacquaint himself with his father. Tony thus became the first among us to bury old hatchets.
I will always be thankful to Jim. Though he was just a name in the family tree before he called me one Super Bowl Sunday in the late ‘90s, he quickly played a key role in my life just by provoking me to reach out to my dad. That I got to know him a little bit -- through long phone calls (every call started with with a fast “Cousin Tony this is Cousin Jim” ), e-mails, a family reunion, a Stanford/Notre Dame tailgating, and this dopey little fantasy baseball league -- made my life even richer.
Tony is the one who came to Leon with a box full of videotapes he thought Pop might like to see, only to discover that Pop did not own a VCR. Tony had also produced a ninety-minute video that he thought Pop would like to see. The home video included live action of Pop’s extended family, including in-law wives and husbands and grandchildren that Pop had never met. We had all interviewed our kids, asking them basic questions about their interests, their schools and what it is like to be a Livernois. At the end of each interview, the kids signed off by looking directly into the camera – directly at Pop – to wish him a Happy Birthday. The kids were sweet and beautiful and most of them told Pop they hoped to meet him someday. Even our cousin, Jim Cummings, had created a videotape of himself and his wonderful family wishing Pop a Happy Birthday. It was fitting that Jim be included on the tape considering that he had been responsible for reconnecting us with our father a couple years earlier.
Side note: I just notice this yesterday, but it tickles me to no end: Jim’s profile picture on Facebook is the picture we featured in yesterday’s entry where he’s accepting the Ruiz Cup from his son Guy.
James Patrick Cummings
Man, this is all very hard to type. I can’t seem to get my thoughts together into a coherent piece. So I’m just going to pass along several random things...
First of all, Jim’s longtime best friend Bill Cunning, owner Full Circuits, is the one who passed the sad news along:
I asked Bill if he thought it would be appropriate to mention Jim’s passing on the SLPL today and Bill said:
Was just informed that our friend, cousin and all around great guy to all that knew him, Jim Cummings, passed away today. I'm numb, but wanted you to know right away and I'm sure you are as shocked as all of us. Very sad news.
Bill also shared something about Jim that I did not know:
I think he would love it. I know he read your Home Page comments religiously, as I do, and he thoroughly enjoyed the SLPL. As you know, he was proud of his Livernois blood and would be honored of any mention you might make of him.
Jim won the 2005 Overall SLPL Championship. Here is our report of his being crowned champ in early 2006:
Jim was a great baseball player. He played semi-pro ball and more than once hit 500-feet home runs against very good teams. Back in the day, when his semi-pro team played Cal (who I believe was competing for the college World Series at the time), Jim played so well that the opposing Cal coach recruited him for a full scholarship to Cal. In our high school there was an athlete Billy Heil who was all CIF in both football and baseball, and Heil once told Jim that he had never seen anyone hit a baseball as hard and as far as Jim could. He was a true sportsman and a very good athlete.
And here’s the photo we featured in that article:
(March 25, 2006) - Perennial-loser but newly-minted champion Jim Cummings, owner of the Washingtino Bullets, was awarded the coveted Ruiz Cup last week at his home near Ridgefield, WA, for being named the 2005 SLPL Overall Champ. "What took so long?" Cummings asked at his raucous, take-no-prisoners press conference following the Cup's presentation. "You guys couldn't get that cheap ceramic mug through customs or something?"
With the new season rapidly approaching, the normally soft-spoken Cummings ripped fellow owners and league management after accepting the prize. "So I got a mug. Big deal. Let me talk about something really important, like the upcoming season," Cummings said. "I've got two wishes for the 2006 season. One, I wish that Mr. James Woo would pay for his trades on time just like the rest of us. This will make it easier for the commissioner (Rube Furrow) and won't tarnish the ownership group any further. And two, I wish that Mr. Aaron Pankoke would continue to make boneheaded decisions like not trading for Konerko the last week of the season."
Pankoke, whose Strokes were crowned champs in 2003, was quick to respond. "Cummings, being a loser for so long, obviously doesn't know how to act like a champ," he said by telephone because he was in Arizona with his club for Spring Training. "I have two words for Jim Cummings: Use some of your award money to buy a little bit of class, willya buddy?"
Cummings softened his rhetoric a bit when asked about the Ruiz Cup presentation, attended by SLPL management. "There was no way in hell I was going to have a picture taken with that knucklehead (VP of Baseball Operations and Other Festivities) Pedregoso Rios. So I demanded that I be allowed to have my son, Guy, present me with the cup. Guy, he's the true champ of our family. He sets the example for the rest of us, guided by one rule: 'Love is the answer. What was the question?'"
Cliffy's Crushers Owner Mary Brown, when informed of Cummings' remarks at her home in California, said she was baffled. "What’s that dude's problem?" she asked. "He's like those whiny White Sox fans who spend more time worrying about the Cubs than they spend celebrating the fact that they just won the World Series. Jim, dude, brush that chip off your shoulder and just enjoy it. And White Sox fans, accept the fact that no one cares about your team but they adore the Cubs. Get over it and celebrate a little.”*
2005 SLPL Champ Jim Cummings with son, Guy, in front of an
actual game-day hat worn by the Bullets during their championship season
*For those coming to this via Facebook who don’t know that we are a dopey and sarcastic fantasy baseball league, none of what was said in that article was true except: (1) Jim did win the 2005 championship, and (2) Jim did consider Guy the true champ of his family. Everything else was us just having fun at our owners’ expenses.
We are going to stop right here for now. We will likely have more to say after some of the numbness wears off. Thank you, Bill Cunning, for passing along the news and sharing stories of Jim’s baseball prowess.
And Jim, we’re going to miss the hell out of you. You were, year in and year out, our favorite owner. The Bobblehead-of-Lettuce forever bobbles for you, sir.
- Jose Bautista, 15-day DL
- Clay Buchholz, 60-day DL
- Ryan Braun, Suspended
- Nelson Cruz, Suspended
- Carlos Gonzalez, 15-day DL
- Jason Heyward, 15-day DL
- Ryan Howard, 60-day DL
- Matt Kemp, 15-day DL
- Angel Pagan, 15-day DL
- Albert Pujols, 15-day DL
A reminder: Five paid trades nets you one free trade. Ten paid trades nets you two more free trades. If you are close to either, remember that you can use your free trades anytime before the end of the Regular Season, which means your free trades will be worth $20 each. That way, you can prepare for the playoffs by loading up with players from playoff teams ... for free. Think about it.
Good luck the rest of the way!
The $15 Trade is nearly dead. In fact, with the first pitch of tomorrow’s (Thursday’s) first game, the $15 Trade will go the way of the dodo and be replaced by the $20 trade. For those of you still trying to position themselves to win some championship monies, submit your trades using this form.
I don’t --. I can’t --. I’m at a loss to --.
Whiskey?! Tango?! Foxtrot?!, Long John Silver’s?!?! Two ball-like objects, just hanging around, doing nothing worthwhile?! Is the intent to increase sales? Foot traffic? If so, with what possible demographic? In what possible way?! I mean, seriously, LJS, W?! T?! F?!
With this Tip of the Ballcap, Vince Livernois takes over into third place solo with three tips. Jay Livernois still leads with six. Joe Kelly is in second place with four. Brian Thornburg, and league follower Missy (@missyisms), are tied for fourth place with two each.
The worst baseball card of all time,
1996 Pinnacle Foil No. 289
With this Tip of the Ballcap, Jay Livernois increases his league lead with six Tips of the Ballcap. Joe Kelly is in second place with four. Vince Livernois, Brian Thornburg, and league follower Missy (@missyisms), are tied for third place with two each.
"Seriously, you better tune in fast if you don't want to be ostracized by white people."
I don’t --. I can’t --. I’m at a loss to --.
Whiskey?! Tango?! Foxtrot?!, Wendy’s training department?!?! “Most of all, you’ve gotta have your tool”?!?! I mean, seriously, W?! T?! F?!
The whole fish tank motif has me thinking of the opening scene of Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life: ‘Morning!
With two consecutive Tips of the Ballcap, Joe now holds sole possession of 2nd place with four. Jay Livernois leads the league with five Tips of the Ballcap. Vince Livernois, Brian Thornburg, and league follower Missy (@missyisms), are tied for third place with two each.
Shortly after Joe sent this to us, local minor league club Kane County Cougars posted this to Facebook:
Nicely done, Jared!
Whiskey?! Tango?! Echo-Lima-ing?! Foxtrot?!, Colonel Sanders?!?! I mean, seriously, W?! T?! E-L-ing?! F?!
So Skeeter opted to rule in favor of his first cousin rather than in favor of his father. What is especially surprising is that both Jay and Marcus were willing to share the Tip of the Ballcap, as shown in the complete Facebook discussion:
That should make the upcoming Labor Day holiday a barrel of laughs around Jay’s house. Hopefully Skeeter can opt to instead score an A’s game for his day job with STATS, LLC that day.
But that’s okay. We appreciate that Skeeter made an impartial ruling despite it likely coming with a personal cost. And Marcus, next time you see Jeren you might want to buy him a round of drinks.
This is Marcus’ second Tip of the Ballcap for the season, which ties him for second place with owners Vince Livernois, Joe Kelley, Brian Thornburg, and league follower Missy (@missyisms), each of whom have two Tips of the Ballcap. Jay Livernois still leads the league with five Tips of the Ballcap.
Though not a traditional Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, we cannot disagree Jay’s assessment. I actually prefer this version to the original, which you can see here:
Update: If you’re scoring at home: We don’t know how to score this Tip of the Ballcap. We gave the tip to Jay because he e-mailed it to us on August 7, which prompted us to post the video here, but since receiving Jay’s e-mail we discovered that MFs In D.C. owner Marcus Rochellle had posted this video on his Facebook wall way back on August 2. Does Jay get the full tip of the ballcap with Marcus getting to assist? Or, does Marcus get the full tip of the ballcap since he posted it to Facebook first with Jay getting the assist? To be fair, we have raided Facebook postings in the past (see here, here, here, here, and here); had we seen Marcus’ posting earlier, we likely would have posted it and given him full credit, but Jay took the extra effort and e-mailed it to us … and we always appreciate when people take the extra time to think of us.
Okay, I’m sending this one over to our official league scorer, Jeren Livernois, owner of Punching Judy’s. Skeeter, how do you rule? Who gets the full Tip of the Ballcap?
Updated August 9: See here for Jeren’s ruling.
We are not sure how to read this. Is this another cry for help? Do we need to send professionals? Or more raccoons?
I wasn't sure if I was the guy in the beard or the raccoon, but I'll take any publicity I can get.
If my team were any worse I'd be in 49th place.
One thing for sure (this year), I'd never hire myself as a baseball GM.
I remind myself of the old Groucho Marks quip, that I believe goes something like this: "I'd never want to join a club that would have me as a member."
I really was pumped up and ready to jump in and improve my team this year, until I found out I was triple digits behind in the FIRST MONTH … and then things really GOT BAD.
But there is always hope for NEXT YEAR, even though this year did not BOTHER ME, BOTHER ME, BOTHER ME, BOTHER ME, BOTHER ME !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
The only SLPL player affected by the batch of suspensions is Nelson Cruz, who sits on the rosters of six owners. For the record, Nelson Cruz will score exactly zero points during his 50-game suspension.
A thing of beauty, this is. So much funny packed into five minutes.
Whiskey?! Tango?! Foxtrot?!, Bill Cunning?!?! Consider this blog post an intervention. All the people in the world that love you, that rely on you, that like to argue politics and religion with you, that serve you waffles with extra syrup, that deliver your newspaper, that administer your fantasy baseball league, your friends, your family, we are saying this now, in one voice, as loud as we can: Please, Bill, return to civilization. Dancing to R&B with raccoons in sleeveless t-shirts and overalls is a cry for help, a cry we hear loud and clear, and we want to help you. We love you, man. Come back. Come back! Seriously, W?! T?! F?!
No. No, he can’t. Well, I’m sure he could, but, well, Fred is a he, which means he tends to protect his underside. Even though he lost his, er, well, let’s just say he lost a couple fly balls in the sun about six years ago, Fred is like any male of any species who has experienced the excruciating pain associated with having damage done to the, um, er, fly balls. And sliding the underside down stairs, which are replete with edges on which fly balls can and invariably do uncomfortably land, is just inviting needless excruciating pain. Even if Fred’s memory of having fly balls is six years past, he still has the time-tested evolutionarily-built propensity to protect himself down there at all costs, which means he instead opts to just walk or bound or bounce or flounce down the steps like all male dogs should. So my hypothesis is that even if he wanted to be a little more efficient about getting down the stairs, he would not go for the option that would invite unnecessary, agonizing, heart-thumping, raw, brutal pain.
Or, it may be that I just never trained him to slide belly-first down stairs.
Fred, Protector of Fly Balls