Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Freaks and geeks

I've never been much of a Twitter person.

It's not that I have something personal against it or anything. The "Twitter-verse" just isn't for me, that's all.

Still, I find it refreshing that Mr. Night Owl is back to tweeting, even having a little sidebar that constantly updates his "feed".

It's given me bits and pieces of reading material during the last few afternoons, things to occupy my time in between his post(s) on any given day.

One of Night Owl's recent "tweets" caught my eye.

"Freaks and Geeks time on Netflix." (Equipped with one of the absolute all-time greatest Fleer cards.)

I've mentioned it a few times before on this blog, but Freaks and Geeks is my second-favorite TV show of all-time (after Seinfeld), despite the fact that it was only on for one season.

It's good to know that I'm not the only blogger aware of its existence.

If you haven't yet seen the series, I highly recommend you go out and watch it. I promise you won't regret it.

In the meantime, I'll give you a brief synopsis of the show, just for the sake of the rest of this post.

Freaks and Geeks takes place in 1980, following the fictional lives of two different groups of high schoolers. The "freaks" and the "geeks", obviously. (Containing some of the earliest acting roles of current stars like Jason Segel, James Franco, and Seth Rogen.)

In a nutshell, the "freaks" are the kind that hang out under the stairs and rarely show up for class. The "geeks" are constantly picked on, and, appropriate for the time period, are fans of Dungeons and Dragons. (That's only a tiny, tiny piece of what the actual show is about, though. If I keep writing about it, I have a feeling I won't be able to stop.)

Back to the point.

That tweet got me thinking. Could I see any ballplayers as part of the "freaks" during their school days? How about the "geeks"?

It didn't take long to find a few possibilities.

Dennis Eckersley strikes me as a bit of the "freak" type. I don't know what it is about that picture, but it just screams "freak".

I could definitely see Eckersley cutting math class every week.

When I was in high school, the different groups weren't as clear cut.

I don't think there were any definitive "freaks" or "geeks".

In terms of the present day, I'd say the early-'80s "freaks" are closest to the people who'd always call me "bro" or "dude" every time I'd bump into them in the hallway.

There were quite a few of those kids in my grade.

Something about this card of former player-turned-agent Rob Fick makes me think he was one of those "bro" guys.

I think it's that hand gesture he's making. Most poses on cards seem to be quite formal, with your typical hands-behind-the-back shot.

Only well-established veterans get to stray outside the norm in that department. Surely a lowly rookie couldn't do anything of the sort.

Yet, judging by this one, that's exactly what he did.

Thanks, bro.

You had to know he was coming.

A post dealing with the so-called "freaks" has to include something about "The Freak".

I'm in the process of watching last year's Giant-themed episodes of The Franchise. Thus far, I think my favorite scenes are the Lincecum-centered ones.

Sometime during one of the episodes, Lincecum said something along the lines of, "People can relate to me because I seem like that kid who rides their skateboard down the block every day."

He's right. I saw a bit of him in a lot of kids I knew during high school. He's the best representation of the "freaks" that comes to mind.

I could see "The Freak" playing lead guitar in a high school garage rock band.

Couldn't you?

Now, we move on to the other end of the spectrum.

The "geeks".

I don't really have a good definition of what being a "geek" involves. As I've mentioned before, there's a bit of "geek" in everyone.

It's just one of those things. When it comes to cardboard, you know it when you see it.

To be fair, most of the rookies featured in '92 Bowman remind me of bad yearbook photos. (Derek Lowe, anyone?)

Alex Gonzalez got the shortest end of the stick in that department.

"Geeky" is just one of the many, many words I'd use to describe that hair. And the pants. And the shirt. And the tie.

Especially the tie.

A quick dig through my one of my extra boxes netted me a few worthy "geek" candidates.

In the history of mankind, has anyone successfully pulled off a unibrow? Wally Moon probably came the closest.

Certainly not Benji Gil.

By any means.

Chris Sabo's goggles are incredibly funny, yet incredibly awesome at the same time. Even though he's involved in what looks to be a fairly dramatic play at the plate, I can't help but laugh.

Had I not known better, I'd assume that Sabo flunked his high school gym class.


The patron "geek".

The so-called "geeks" on Freaks and Geeks are proud members of their school's AV Club. Between the glasses and the hair, I get the feeling that Hershiser might have watched his fair share of two-reelers in high school.

But, man, could he pitch.

Not every "ace" is going to be a hulking Randy Johnson or Bob Gibson type, I guess.

Still, if I were to tell someone who knew nothing about baseball that this guy's nickname was "Bulldog", I doubt they'd believe me.

"This guy?" would probably be the most common response.

I can't say I'd blame them.

Here's a bit of a curveball.

I could definitely see Mr. Tekulve taking part in gripping games of D&D on Friday nights. (Hopefully he didn't name his character "Carlos the Dwarf". An inside joke for all you Freaks and Geeks fans out there.)

Then again, I wouldn't be surprised if I found out he snuck a few beers into his school's Homecoming football game.

Even though I've thought about it for the last couple hours, I'm not sure what label suits Kent Tekulve more.

"Freak" or "geek"?

I'll leave that for you to decide, because I sure can't.

On the whole, a lot of this represents a part of why I love the game of baseball so much. Literally anyone can play it.

Freaks and geeks alike.


Dennis said...

"Freaks and Geeks" is easily one of the greatest TV shows ever. Practically everyone on it went on to quality acting careers--Linda Cardellini, Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jason Segel, Ben Foster, Martin Starr. What a great series.

night owl said...

Not only was it a fantastic series because of the writing, acting, attention to detail, etc., but I love it particularly so, because that is the exact same time period when I was in high school. The "geeks" are one year older than I am, the "freaks" are a couple years older. I experienced virtually everything they experienced, from the music, to the culture, to the language, to the family life, to everything that was going on at the time. The show is so spot on.

Spiegel83 said...

Fick is no doubt a bro. He is from LA and went to college in the Valley.

Also, I was sitting in right field at Dodger Stadium during a Doyer/Nats game. Fick was playing right field and getting heckled by some obnoxious guy for several innings. Eventually, Fick had had enough and pointed at the heckler while grabbing his crotch.

Classy and funny, bro.

TTG said...

I love that Fick card. I'm a big fan; I have a game worn jersey (not card, the whole thing) of his.

Mike said...

Eckersley liked that look so much he still has it 35 years later!