The Foul Ball-Popcorn Incident

It’s the summer of 1999.  Freshman year of college is over.  It’s the season after the 1998 Padres went to the World Series.  Baseball fever is still burning in San Diego and voters are excited about Petco Park.  (Incidentally, I voted in favor of the Petco Park initiative in the first election I ever voted in after I turned 18)

My best friend and I decided to catch a midweek baseball game at Qualcomm because someone had tickets on the first base line that they couldn’t use.  So off we went.

The seats were great.  We were about three rows up from the field and we were right in line with Wally Joyner at first base.  My friend had a crush on catcher Ben Davis, so her attention was diverted when the pitch was thrown, the bat connected with the ball, and a pop up fly ball was sent high into the sky.

Like I said, we were given the tickets and we left for the game without any real preparation. This meant I didn’t bring any protection.  No, not that kind of protection.  I’m talking about my trusty baseball glove.  I’d never caught a foul ball before; I always went to games with my glove in hopes of catching one.

As I looked up, it became painfully obvious that the ball was going to drop straight in our seats.  Time stopped—it literally stopped—as I started to ponder my predicament.

I don’t have my glove.

That ball is coming right down at me.

She’s not going to catch the ball.  It’s up to me.

If I catch the ball barehanded, I could break my hand.  That is not good.

I don’t have my damn glove.

I can’t possibly catch it in my left hand.

Everyone is watching me.

I don’t have my f—ing glove!

I don’t have my glove, but I DO have this bucket of popcorn.  Hmm.  I wonder if this will work….

When time started working again, my friend realized what was about to happen and started to scream. As if that was going to help. Geez.

Suddenly, as I moved to position the popcorn bucket, the man behind us reached between our seats (with his glove poised ABOVE my popcorn bucket) and caught the ball.

He caught MY ball.

The moral of the story:  Never go to a baseball game without protection.  Trust me on this one.


For Sports Fans, A Night of Highs and Lows

It’s Opening Day in baseball and the National Championship game in college basketball.  For sports fans, it’s a double whammy.

As a Padres fan, I went into Opening Day with the ol’ “hope springs eternal” mantra on repeat in my head.  After all, last season the team spent a small fortune on a pool of talent, and this season we have new manager Andy Green at the helm.  Opening Day is a time of hope and optimism, and nothing says optimism like a new manager sitting on a talented team.  Tyson Ross got the start against our I-5 rival Los Angeles Dodgers, and it seems like nerves may have gotten the best of him after 7 earned runs and a slew of other not-so-good stats.  Clayton Kershaw, by contrast, left the game after 7 shutout innings.  Adding insult to injury was a solid performance from Adrian Gonzalez who, after years away from the Padres franchise, still earns a warm reception at Petco Park as the one who got away.

It was a rough night for Padres fans in San Diego, but the hope is still out there, and we have another shot for a win against the Dodgers tomorrow night.

As soon as the baseball game was over, I switched channels to the NCAA National Championship basketball game.  Admittedly I’d been flipping channels between innings, so I knew the game featuring #1 seed North Carolina and #2 seed Villanova was tight.  At one point in the second half Villanova had a double digit lead that had Michael Jordan on the edge of his seat.

With 4.7 seconds left, North Carolina’s Marcus Paige hit an improbable three to tie the game at 74.  Paige was recovering his footing after dodging Ryan Arcidacono’s dive.  During the timeout, Arcidacono helped wipe the floor, which is very considerate considering he’s the guy who inbounds the ball for Villanova with 4.7 seconds left.  He gets the ball across the court, where it gets passed to Kris Jenkins, who is wide open and sinks a three to win the game.

Cue the confetti.  Villanova wins 77-74, and Michael Jordan gives the world a new Crying Jordan meme to play with.

It was a night of highs and lows.  Congrats to Villanova on one of the craziest finishes in NCAA Tournament history, and good job to the Dodgers.  (Sorry, couldn’t bring myself to congratulate them…though props go out to new manager Dave Roberts because he’s a good guy)

A buzzer beating 3-pointer is much more defeating than a 15 point loss, but a loss is a loss at the end of the day.

In the case of North Carolina, I have no doubt they’ll be back at the Big Dance next year.

For the Padres, it’s a drop in the bucket.  Never mind that tonight’s loss was the largest Opening Day shutout in MLB history.  Pfft.  There are over a hundred-something games left in the season, so it’s safe to say we’ll get ‘em next time around.  Next time happens to be tomorrow.

So ends a very exciting day in the sports world.


Opening Day Reflections: My Own (Brief) Baseball Career

It’s Opening Day and ballparks across the nation are celebrating the return of America’s sport: Baseball.

I grew up with baseball.  My father, having two daughters, made sure that I could play baseball and throw a football, which ended up being really useful for me later in life.  I liked baseball so much that I quit Girl Scouts at the ripe age of seven so that I could focus on my baseball career.  Who needs to sit around singing songs and making snickerdoodles, anyway?

However, in 1987 my options as a girl were limited.  There were no softball teams, so during t-ball signups my dad marched me down to the Peninsula Little League and signed me up.  I was one of two girls in the entire league, and I was incredibly fortunate to end up on a team comprised of my guy friends from school.  Our coach was not only my best guy friend’s father, but he grew up with my parents, so he kept an eye out for me.

When I arrived to our first practice with a pink Rawlings glove and blue and white bows in my hair (they matched my Slices and Skills uniform, of course), there were a few laughs.  However, my best guy friend Jesse decided that if I could have a pink glove, he should have the matching blue one.  Being the coach’s son ended any further teasing about glove colors.

Not to brag, but if you’re wondering about the differences between six year old boys and girls, I can tell you that I was assigned to play first base for a reason.  I didn’t think too much of it at the time, but it had a lot to do with my ability to listen and follow directions.  I’m rather proud of that accomplishment, really.  I practiced hard and took my sport seriously.  (I think part of me was worried that if baseball didn’t work out, I’d be sent back to Girl Scouts, and that just wasn’t going to happen)

I’ll never forget the game that won me the team ball.  I don’t remember much of the game itself.  I have no idea what the score was.  I don’t even remember if I got a hit.  I remember this game because it was the game where I realized that even though I was part of the team, as a girl I’d never be treated the same as my guy teammates.

I was at first base when the kid came up to bat.  He connected with the ball and sent a grounder straight to our short stop, Johnny Rod.  Johnny’s dad was the third base coach and Johnny was the oldest and biggest guy on our team.  He always had a huge chip on his shoulder and thought he was the best at everything he did, and he had no trouble letting me know that I didn’t belong at first base, let alone on the team.  Johnny snatched up the ball and threw it in my direction.  The runner was heading toward the bag, but Johnny had thrown the ball way too high.  Summoning up every ounce of bounce in my six year old body (taking gymnastics at the same time didn’t hurt, either), I jumped up and grabbed the ball in my pink glove.  I landed and made the out in the nick of time.  My teammates cheered for me, but I wasn’t paying attention to them.  I knew full well Johnny had thrown the ball too high on purpose.  And I wasn’t the only one.  Johnny’s dad left his spot at third base in an instant and was on the field chewing his son out in front of everyone.  The game stopped until he was done, and he made Johnny shout an apology to me before we could continue.

When the game was over, I pulled my cap off and my beribboned pigtails fell to my shoulders.  “Hey, that’s a girl playing first base!” one of the kids on the opposing team yelled, pointing at me.  I guess the pink glove hadn’t tipped him off…

Coach gave me the team ball for my outstanding performance that day.  It was a great moment for me, but I knew that Johnny was really irked about the whole thing, and I knew it didn’t help that his own father was heaping praise on me.  It made things awkward from that point forward.

I didn’t know it at the time, but my days playing baseball were numbered.  There was only so far that a girl could go in the little league.  Even when I stopped playing, I enjoyed going to games with my pink glove in hopes of catching a foul ball.  (That’s a story for another day)

As I sit and watch Opening Day coverage, I like to think back about my own baseball days.  Despite my brief baseball career, I’m quite happy being a spectator all these years later.  Baseball is a special sport that holds a revered place in our nation’s heart.   Boy or girl, man or woman, young or old, it captivates us and carries us through the long summer months and gives us something to cheer for (even when your team is losing).

Welcome back, baseball.  We’ve missed you.


Harley Quinn #26

Single and Ready to Kick Some Ass: Harley Quinn #26

No one likes ending a relationship.  For Harley Quinn, she had to end two at the same time: her blossoming relationship with Mason and her previous relationship with Mason’s neighbor at Arkham, the Joker.  The strings have been cut, and Harley is finally free of the Joker.  (Something tells me he’s not going to let go so easily, though)

Now that Harley has returned home to New York, she surrounds herself with her friends as life gets back to normal.  Queenie, however, thinks that the best way to start fresh is with a new look.  When Harley awakens from her nap, she has a brand-new hairdo.  If the style looks a little familiar, it’s because we’ve seen this Harley hair on Suicide Squad’s Harley Quinn.  Gone is the vibrant black and red in favor of Margot Robbie’s blonde hair with red and blue accents.  “It’s so…cinematic,” Harley breathes in delight.  Queenie also presents her with a custom made body armor jacket that features a defeated Joker behind bars with “Owned” written across the top.  It’s perfect.

Meanwhile, despite her best efforts, the mayor has been cleared of all charges.  Add to that a mysterious nemesis, and it’s another day at the office for our girl.

Harley Quinn #26, in comic shops now!


Waiting Til October: Why I’m Skipping (Postponing) The Walking Dead Season Finale

Why I’m skipping (read: postponing) the season finale of The Walking Dead.

I usually try to stay away from Twitter during big television moments that are not broadcast live.  It’s not too bad here on the West Coast given the three hour time zone gap; it’s even harder when watching Doctor Who, when I have to stay away from Twitter all day.

I’ve been pumped up about The Walking Dead’s season finale more and more as we’ve gotten closer to the big day.  I had planned to stay away from Twitter today, but like most things, I couldn’t deal with the suspense and I peeked.  After all, I’m the one in the family who opens Christmas presents because I just can’t deal with the aniticipation….  So I peeked.

But something strange happened tonight.  I’ve been home most of the day with a sinus infection, and the television has been tuned in to AMC’s The Walking Dead marathon.  The commercials were pumping me up to watch, and up until 7:30pm I’d planned to watch the finale.  And then I looked at Twitter.

It looked like the writers were pushing the action to the last few minutes of the show.  (As usual)  But then the Tweets started coming in after the end of the show, and there was a colossal sense of disappointment coming from the Internet.  There were no deaths, as had been predicted.  Someone was probably going to die by Neegan’s hands, but at the end of the episode the audience still has no idea who it was.

I’m sure the writing was solid, and I’m sure the story was compelling.  TWD writers are fantastic.  I am a fan of the show, even through the ebb and flows.  I’m not skipping the finale in protest—I’m skipping it for my own sanity!  I can wait until October, in spite of the Christmas present thing.  I know I’ll enjoy the episode much more knowing that the answer is coming up next, as opposed to watching tonight and having to wait six months to get answers.

Six.  Whole.  Months.

Yes, I definitely made the right choice….didn’t I?

B066 - HARLEY_Cv29 (1)

Conner and Palmiotti Talk Harley Quinn at Wonder Con 2016

You know an interview is going to be epic when the DC Comics people warn you beforehand: “Don’t talk about the after birth…”

In any other situation it might seem strange, but it’s par for the course when you’re meeting up with Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti after the DC Rebirth panel at Wonder Con 2016.  I was lucky enough to meet up with this dynamic duo to find out what makes Harley Quinn so darn appealing, and to get an exclusive look at one of Harley’s upcoming adventures.  (Spoilers for the Loot Crate issue of Harley Quinn)


Sarabeth Pollock:  First of all, congratulations on so much exciting stuff going on right now.  In [Harley Quinn] Issue 26 we get the hair!

Jimmy Palmiotti: We’re acknowledging it, the movie, and we thought because of Issue 25 she had the blow out with the Joker. It’s sort of like starting a new day, and a new day for Harley means new clothing, a new hairdo, like any woman or anybody that’s been through something.  They want to go and clean it up and change.  Like now I have the chance to be this person because that person is not my life anymore and that’s what she does in 26.  So we thought Margot Robbie looks awesome with that haircut so why not throw it at Harley.  I mean, we change her costume every issue so what’s the difference?

Amanda Conner: So she might have a new hairstyle next winter!

JP: We’re always changing it.  She’s one of the iconic characters that as long as you keep to the red and black theme and the diamonds you can actually manipulate any kind of clothing.

AC: Like most girls with a closet full of stuff.

SP: Right, and she does it so well.  No matter what, even bowling.

JP: Bowling, yes, bowling!  Chad and John Timms—whatever we throw at them they create an outfit for her and we’re like “Yeah!  That’s awesome!”

SP: And I have to say, the Loot Crate issue—how much fun did you have coming up with anything that can happen happens?

JP: Anything can happen.  The Genie is the best thing to throw into a comic and we were laughing because we’re also big I Dream of Jeannie fans from way back when.  And so we had the genie and then we were like “Ooh, we can do anything.”  What was your favorite part?

SP: I’d say when she’s wishing she was more “well endowed” and then as soon as her wish is granted she falls on her face.  You watch the women on The Housewives of Orange County and wonder how they stay upright.  For Harley, it’s asking for the wrong thing or the right thing in the wrong way.  Like a million bucks, literally, or in that episode of The Twilight Zone when the guy asks for a million dollars and then the IRS shows up.  You have to ask for the right thing and she’s always one step behind.

JP: Yes, except with the JLA.  She went up there and of course we had to pull on Superman’s cape and pants Green Lantern.

AC:  Someone was saying Harley was sexually harassing the JLA.  Oh my God!

JP: I didn’t think of that when we were doing it.  I just thought what’s the fun you could have?

AC:  She’s just pestering them, yeah.

JP: And actually I don’t know if you caught it but she presses the button for them to come out of orbit and if you look on the last page they’re like “Oh, a shooting star.”  That’s actually the JLA Tower going by.

AC:  It’s really subtle.

JP: It’s real subtle but it’s the JLA coming out of orbit and burning up.

SP: So let me switch gears a little bit.  Harley does so many things.  She’s probably the most complex character, more so than even Batman.  It’s probably harder to write her than a guy like Batman.

AC: It’s more fun to write it because she is so complex, you know.

SP: Is there ever a point when you have to stop and say that something is too good or two bad for her?  Or how do you figure out what she wants to fight for, like the animals early on.  That’s such an unusual cause.

JP: Oh, and she has a thousand parakeets that show up once in a while and they like her and they come in at weird times.  I actually have them in a new issue.

AC: We’ve taken what has always been with Harley and just sort of ran with it.  Because back in the day she had the hyenas, right, so she’s an animal lover.

JP: She loves animals.

AC: So we just took that and ran with it.

JP: I would almost say she tried to be a vet at some point.

AC: Yeah!

JP: Before going into psychology she probably tried to be a vet at some point, probably messed that up, but you know we don’t harm pets, we don’t harm animals.  Except between two pieces of bread when we’re hungry.

SP: Bernie has it bad, though.

AC: Bernie is her common sense.

SP: Like Jiminy Cricket.

JP: Yes, and we want to show she’s got a good soul, you know, it’s in there.  She wants to do right but there’s a point where the switch goes off and it’s not like she becomes this massive killer or anything.  She just looks at the shortest distance between her and the problem and just goes for it.  Sometimes it’s with a mallet, sometimes it’s driving a car off a cliff, whatever it may be.  So although it’s an intricate character, she’s also a wish fulfillment character for writers because whatever we come up with we can kind of work into her personality as long as we stay true to her.  There’s a fine line even with her relationships with Ivy and her friendship with Tony.  These are friends.  These are people who have each other’s backs.

AC: She’s a loyal, loving person who happens to be a psychopath, you know.  We sort of keep to Wile E. Coyote rules with her.  We do have a certain amount of rules with her.

JP: Although the Loot Crate one we just sort of went crazy.

AC: But the rules are still there.

JP: We just figured this was our opportunity to get 500k people to try it out for the first time so we better make this the craziest thing.  That’s why she (Conner) wanted to draw it.  She was like “I have to draw this!”

AC: I love drawing and I don’t get to do it as often as I used to so I was like I’m doing this!

SP: It was such a great “gateway drug.”

JP: We hope so.  We hope they get it and think “Let’s see what else they got” or “let’s walk into a comic store.”  So we saw the opportunity and thought this was our chance, better than advertising to get people to try something new while they’re putting on their wool hate and t-shirt and button from the box.  So we hope that works.

SP: Speaking of people wearing things, you see all of the people walking around the con and all of the different iterations of Harley going back 20 years.

AC: It’s awesome!

SP: What do you think the appeal is for young girls, women, men, even pets…. Out of all of the members of the Rogue’s Gallery, why her?

AC: Here’s my theory.  I don’t know if I’m right about it.

JP: You’re always right.  It’s a husband thing.

AC: Good answer.  It’s like when you see her and she is so perfect and she’s so iconic, she’s so hard to identify with.  We all want to be her but it’s impossible to be her.    But Harley is full of flaws and she’s messed up and she eats a lot of food and she goes to the bathroom and she has to clean up after her animals, and she’s easy to identify with.  And then there’s that wish fulfillment thing that we talked about where if you’ve ever been in traffic and some jerk cuts you off and you fantasize about having a rocket launcher on the hood of your car just like her.  You know, she’s the kind of person who would have a rocket launcher and she does things we wish we could do.

JP: And I also think she brings out the designer in people because we have her in different outfits.  A lot of people who are saying I’m going to come as Harley but I’m going to do my own thing where I do this or I’m going to do that to my hair but it’s still Harley and I think to cosplayers the most exciting thing is they don’t have to stick to exactly every single thing.  They can build on it and own it and I think that’s the appeal that no other character has.  There’s no other character that has so many different versions as Harley.  There’s really no other character I thin.  You could do Vampire Harley, you could do Transformer Harley.

AC: We’ve seen Zombie Harley, we have seen Bride Harleys.

JP: Brides.  A lot of Bride Harleys.

AC: And little tiny Harleys that are adorable.

SP: Lastly, if you guys could do one thing that’s maybe not even canon, possible somewhere in time or in history, if you could plug her in somewhere, where would you want to see her?

JP: Ooh.

AC: I would like to see Harley at my New Year’s Eve party…oh, wait.

JP: What does that mean?  I don’t know what that means.

AC: Well, if a genie put her anywhere, that’s where I would put her.

JP: Oh, okay.  We have, in Harley’s Little Black Book, we have an issue coming up with the Bombshells.  Is that announced?

DC Comics Powers That Be: Announce it!

JP: All right, anyway she’s with the Bombshells.  Something happens where she goes back in time and it’s sort of bizarre wish fulfillment but she kind of goes after Hitler at one point.  I don’t want to ruin it too much but let’s just say she’s with him in his final hour.  And, you know, she’s maybe responsible for some things that happen.  But since it’s an alternate kind of issue we’re having some fun with it.  So that’s when I got to put her back in time.

AC: We’re gonna get in so much trouble!

JP: I mean, I’d love to have her back with dinosaurs as the only woman on earth and only dinosaurs, but I also think the future with Mandy and Harley as the only people left and Mandy would be running away from her the whole time.  There are a million stories!


And it’s so true.  With the advent of DC Rebirth (not afterbirth, as Conner suggested during the panel) there is a whole new world to discover with Harley Quinn and all of her friends.  Check out the next issue of Harley Quinn at a comic book store near you!


What’s Inside: March 2016 Loot Crate

Looking Inside the March Loot Crate

Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t opened or received your March Loot Crate yet, turn back now!

I’ve waited long as I could to share my March Loot Crate.  Of all of my Loot Crates, I think this one is my favorite.  In fact, I know it’s my favorite.

The March Loot Crate theme is Versus, which is perfect timing with the March 25th release of the highly anticipated Batman vs Superman movie.  That being said, the good folks at Loot Crate did not disappoint.

This month’s t-shirt celebrates the famous classic Star Trek episode “Mirror, Mirror” that pits Good Spock vs Evil Spock.  Juan Ortiz, the artist who designed the shirt, is an avid Star Trek fan and created posters depicting every episode of the original series.  The “Mirror, Mirror” poster, he says, is based on boxing posters with their striking but limited use of color.

When you think of rivalries, no rivalry comes to mind more than Alien vs Predator, and not only is AvP represented on the March 2016 Loot Pin, but there is also a blind box featuring either an Alien or Predator 4.5 inch figure.  I got the Alien figure.  (Yes, I open my blind boxes.  I’m also the kind of person who will open Christmas presents several days early if someone leaves them within reach.  I have crazy amounts of patience for many other things…but not for blind boxes.  I need to know!!!)

Given that we’re still in the last days of winter, the March Loot Crate also features a reversible Daredevil vs Punisher beanie.  The red side features an embroidered DD while the black side features the Punisher symbol.  I see this beanie coming in handy during those chilly nights outside the San Diego Convention Center during SDCC.  It does get chilly down by the water at night.  I know this because I live here.

While everything in the Loot Crate box is near and dear to my heart, this month we receive a Loot Crate Exclusive edition of the Harley Quinn comic.  If you’re not reading Harley Quinn, this is a great chance to get to know one of DC Comic’s most complex—and perpetually entertaining—characters.  When Harley find herself her very own Genie in a bottle, the sky is the limit (as you’ll see when she takes a little trip into orbit).

Lastly, in honor of Batman vs Superman, there is a Mighty Wallet made from Tyvek.  I’m not exactly sure what Tyvek is, but it’s so strong that I doubt Superman himself could tear it.  It’s also 100% green, which is awesome.

Are you a Loot Crate subscriber?  What did you think of this month’s Loot?