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Tag: bob hope

Hope Springs Eternal


Over at the New York Review of Books, Frank Rich weighs in on Richard Zoglin’s new Bob Hope biography:

When Bob Hope died in 2003 at the age of one hundred, attention was not widely paid. The “entertainer of the century,” as his biographer Richard Zoglin calls him, had long been regarded by many Americans (if they regarded him at all) “as a cue-card-reading antique, cracking dated jokes about buxom beauty queens and Gerald Ford’s golf game.” A year before his death, The Onion had published the fake headline “World’s Last Bob Hope Fan Dies of Old Age.” Though Hope still had champions among comedy luminaries who had grown up idolizing him—Woody Allen and Dick Cavett, most prominently—Christopher Hitchens was in sync with the new century’s consensus when he memorialized him as “paralyzingly, painfully, hopelessly unfunny.”

Zoglin, a longtime editor and writer for Time, tells Hope’s story in authoritative detail. But his real mission is to explain and to counter the collapse of Hope’s cultural status, a decline that began well before his death and accelerated posthumously. The book is not a hagiography, however. While Zoglin seems to have received unstinting cooperation from the keepers of Hope’s flame, including his eldest daughter, Linda, he did so without strings of editorial approval attached. Hope’s compulsive womanizing, which spanned most of his sixty-nine-year marriage to the former nightclub singer Dolores Reade (who died at 102, in 2011), is addressed unblinkingly. And with good reason—it was no joke. At least three of his longer-term companions, including the film noir femme fatale Barbara Payton and a Miss World named Rosemarie Frankland whom Hope first met when she was eighteen and he was fifty-eight, died of drug or alcohol abuse.

[AP Photo via NPR]

A Very Funny Fellow


One of Woody’s heroes. 

[Photo Via: Biography.com]

Observations From Cooperstown: Hughes, Pitching, and Scranton/Wilkes Barre

I’m not ready to become all jelly-legged about Phil Hughes, not based on a trio of starts. Hughes’ drop in velocity is not as unusual as some make it out to be. I remember just last year the articles that were written in the Bay Area expressing dismay over Madison Bumgarner’s springtime loss of velocity. By the end of the regular season, Bumgarner was not only a significant part of the Giants’ rotation, but he was the No. 4 starter in the postseason, pitching for a world championship team. During the regular season, Bumgarner pitched to the tune of a 3.00 ERA. And then he pitched even more effectively in the postseason, culminating in a scoreless eight-inning start against the Rangers in the World Series.

Assuming that Hughes is not hurt, I think his velocity will return. (It was a bit better on Thursday night against Baltimore.) A 24-year-old pitcher doesn’t usually lose his fastball unless there is something wrong with his elbow or his shoulder. But Hughes could be serving as a test case for what is a flawed organizational pitching philosophy. The Yankees are so overly protective of their minor league pitchers, employing the strictest of pitch counts and innings limits, that it makes me wonder if they are hindering their development.

It’s one thing to avoid giving young pitchers 220-inning workloads in the minor leagues; it’s quite another to bend to the other extreme and do damage in another way. If pitchers don’t throw enough, they can’t develop arm strength, and if they can’t develop arm strength, they won’t be able to throw as hard as they are capable. If pitchers can’t even give you 175 innings in the minor leagues (Hughes never went higher than 146 in a season), how can they be expected to give you anywhere close to 200 innings in the majors, where the competition is stiffer and the pressure is greater?


Goofin' Around

Seriously, now…got to love spring training.

[Photo Credit: The Best Way to Spend Time On Line]

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver