And we're back to normally scheduled programming & summer officially started
First of all, I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend. Second, I hope everyone is ready for the all-out eight-week sprint to the first of August when the vacations tend to end as the kids start to get ready to head back to school and us sports fans finish up projects to enjoy the football season.
This is officially my offseason. I made it and it feels amazing, but after this weekend I don't know how if I'll be sleeping in on many Saturdays after Memorial Day Weekend Saturday Screencaps went nuts to the tune of a half-million readers over three days for that single column.
We'll see how things go on Friday nights through the summer. My plan was to sit around the patio firepit late into the night and listen to music and sleep until 7:30 through Labor Day.
In other news, after today's shift, I will have completed two full years with OutKick. Bobby Burack and I are the remaining OutKick reboot survivors from June 1, 2020, when Clay flipped the switch on this operation and marked a new day in the history of this website he started so many years ago.
Clay and I had talked over the years about joining forces for an OutKick reboot and somewhere around March of 2020, he made it clear this was happening and now here we are with a sale to Fox News Corporation and I have the Best Damn Morning Column in the United States *as named by Screencaps readers and a virtual mowing league franchise.
Clay went from an early-morning Fox Sports radio show to co-hosting in the Rush Limbaugh timeslot.
I went from having like 60 connections on Linkedin to wherever that account is now with a bunch of vice presidents, owners and intimidating members of the military wanting to 'connect' with some very ordinary guy in Ohio. Guys, you really have to stop with the Linkedin connection requests. It's one huge job title after another on there. I didn't know just how many "senior" level OutKick readers are out there.
It was so crazy over there last week that the founder of that plant-based chicken company I wrote about dropped my name in a post and that caused even more havoc. I'm literally just a guy in Ohio who's trying to work less and golf.
Anyway, it's been one helluva wild ride over 24 months and the fire is still there to keep pounding the pavement to kick even more ass over the next 24 months.
OutKick has massive goals over the next year and if the numbers from April -- when Fox officially flipped the ownership switch -- to May prove anything, it's that this site is about to explode.
• Tark writes:
Greetings from Maxwell Air Force Base. I hope you and yours had a happy Memorial Day. The people I served with who gave their life for our freedoms would have wanted that and they’d have been all about Americans taking pride in their lawns, coaching little league, gathering neighbors together for beers. I didn’t know many of the fallen, only a few but they’d have been all over it.
On Saturday, while most people slept, this happened:
I wrote last Veteran’s Day about Coach (Maj. Ret.) Mike Kazlausky and the Falcon baseball program. Coach Kaz is a patriot’s patriot. He’s a warfighter, a pilot, and a leader of men. He’s also an incredible baseball mind and has taken on THE hardest D1 job in the country. Not only are the entrance standards difficult, but the weather is unforgiving with cold temps and winds that regularly top 70 mph sustained. Oh, and Falcon Field is situated at 7,200 feet above sea level. If you’re a baseball fan and understand the challenges of Coors Field, Falcon Field is at least 2x worse for pitchers because of the altitude, the chain link fences and the fully turfed field.
In spite of all of this, the Falcons have built a program on the foundations of patriotism, hard work and selflessness. They are led in the field by a 6’6 sophomore who was an All-American last year as a freshman because he was the nation’s best closer on the mound but also one of the top Catchers and DH’s in the nation. Paul Skenes will likely be a top round draft pick when he’s eligible next year. He has already touched 100 mph on the mound. You’ll know his name soon.
But he’s not even close to the full story. This team has 8 seniors that graduated and became lieutenants on Wednesday. One day before their run to the championship. 7 of them have qualified for pilot training. The 8th was selected to be sent to medical school first.
I’ve read some of the comments on the site that College Baseball is uninteresting or not something a casual sports fan is interested in. I have a feeling that the TNML crowd will feel differently if they watch the interview of Kaz moments after securing the first NCAA appearance for Air Force since the Vietnam War. He views his job as vastly more important than teaching 18-22-year-olds about baseball. Within his job description is preparing future military leaders to “turn our enemies into hair, teeth and eyeballs” and “put warheads on foreheads.” His words.
Congratulations also to the Army West Point Black Knights as they move on after winning the Patriot league and will face Southern Miss. Go Falcons! Beat Texas!!!
It was a great weekend for the young men who will soon be wearing their nation’s uniform and defending each of you while you mow, or coach or sleep. They’ll do so from locations dotted around the world that most probably can’t find on a map and would travel to if they were paid to do so. They’ll be away from their families for months at a time and they lead kids old enough to vote but not old enough to sip that garage beer with you yet. And they will be incredible at it.
They know exactly what they’ve signed up for and they have offered to give you everything they have up to and including their lives. That’s the difference between them and the other college athletes they play against. Kaz and his band of brothers are national treasures! See everyone in Austin on Friday!
The play of the game in the Mountain West Championship Game:
Shame on anyone who has commented on this site that college baseball is uninteresting. I sat there this weekend watching the Gators-Vols championship game thinking there could've been fireworks at any moment. Now you're going to give me a regional in Knoxville over an early June weekend? This is must-watch TV & I don't care if you're a Vols fan or not.
It'll be the same thing in Austin and Coral Gables. Folks, if you're not watching college baseball, you're missing out on some fun action, especially during patio beers. Nothing this time of year makes the margs go down like college baseball tension on a sizzling summer evening. Try it.
Honeymoon fight explained, sorta
• Tyler from Louisiana wrote last week and mentioned a honeymoon fight. I needed more details and he took time out of his Memorial Day to explain:
The fight itself was not that much of a blowup, probably only a 3 or 4/10. I do not even remember what it was about and my wife does not remember it at all. However, it probably occurred because of a bit of stress caused by a more interesting detail.
We got married just outside of Portland, Oregon on June 9, 2001 on a Saturday. For our honeymoon, we planned to take the train to Seattle, a bus to Vancouver, BC, where we would stay a few nights, then the ferry to Victoria, BC for a few nights, then the ferry back to Vancouver to catch the bus back to Seattle and train to Portland.
We arrived in Vancouver late in the evening on Sunday June 10, feeling very hungry. However, our hotel was in a more residential neighborhood without many food options. We eventually found a grocery store just closing up, where we got two TV dinners, planning to heat them up in the microwave in our suite at the hotel.
For some reason, the kitchenette in the suite did not have any utensils, so my wife washed two of her hair picks and we used the handle to scoop the food out of the TV dinner trays. The next morning, we planned to walk a few blocks west to a major thoroughfare to catch a bus into downtown in order to see some of the sights.
We got to a bus stop around 9 AM or so and waited, and waited, and waited, never seeing a bus (on a major street in one of Canada's biggest cities??). Eventually we gave up and started walking north towards downtown. After crossing a bridge into the center city, while wondering where the busses were, we passed a storefront and saw in the window a sign, "Support the Transit Strike!".
I remember thinking something along the lines of, "You gotta be kidding me!". Needless to say, we spent a lot of time walking over the next couple of days. That probably led to some tiredness-fueled fighting. However, we had a great time, walking through beautiful parks, enjoying good food, a cheesy movie ("A Knight's Tale," a "great" piece of schlock), and enjoying each other's company.
That brings up another piece of marriage advice: Be flexible while on vacation. Even if your plans get messed up, make a choice to have fun in other ways. Attitude goes a long way in helping you roll with the punches.
I know many of you will be traveling with other couples and their children over the summer. How do you pick people you're willing to travel with? Is it based on how flexible they are on vacation? Have you had to have chats with former travel partners who have worn out their welcome? Have you been kicked out of the group travel dynamic?
Tell me about group travel nightmares. I see the Facebook photos. You make it seem like every group travel event is a huge success. I know better. Have friendships ended over group trips? Tell me about it. Did your wife get absolutely ripped and air dirty laundry around a campfire? Maybe you had one of those nights.
Let's hear the stories.
Indy 500 report
• Brent P. in Indiana writes:
I really thought you were going to take the day off today so I didn’t report in on the race. My vantage point was to sections over from James L in section 19. We have a group of 24 seats together and there is always a core 20 or so who go every year.
On occasion we have rookie spectators to the race and this year was no exception. A 30-something husband and wife from San Francisco and their friend. Was worried about their political bias when the “Let’s go Brandon “ chant started but they were joined right in.
Leading up to Taps you have God Bless America an invocation from a ranking military officer and the silence. I’m not sure what caused it but our friend from San Francisco got very emotional. After Roger Penske gave the command to the drivers to start their engines, I tapped them on their shoulders and said “we haven’t even got to the best part yet, when they go green your hair will stand up”.
I have included video of the parade lap, then the formation lap, and finally the first lap under green, that James L and myself had a vantage point. True to form the San Francisco wife turned around and showed me the hairs on her arm stand talk. The pictures are of our group pre-race tailgate and the mass of humanity walking in.
TNML official beer candidate
• Ron D. writes:
Good morning, Joe! Long time Screencaps follower here and huge fan of the Thursday Night Mowing League! The community that you created is one that takes me away from reality for 20 minutes or so every day and for that I am thankful.
We have several quality craft brewers in our community of Bloomington/Normal, IL. I was pleasantly surprised earlier this week when I walked into Keg Grove Brewing Company and they introduced a new beer named 'Grass Assassin'. It's an exceptionally crushable and flavorful lager perfect for a post mowing event. KGBC is in the process of canning this brew - you will appreciate the label currently under development which has a ZTR caricature laying down some lines.
If there ever could be an Official (or Unofficial) Beverage of the TNML this would be the one.
Look, I'm just waiting for a beer company to come along to do a deal. TNML is still a free agent. I don't want just any beer company to come along and slap their logo on TNML content. I want a beer company that understands the TNML lifestyle and what it's all about.
Maybe it's KGBC. We'll see.
And with that, let's get rolling on this blazing hot Tuesday. I know your body isn't back to full strength after four days of going hard. Do your best to give 110% at the job today.