Thursday, January 19, 2012

The NBA Life with Matt Bonner

Here's a bit from our weekly radio show in New Hampshire with Matt Bonner, one of the top-25 Raptors of all time. We've worked together on a radio show for eight seasons. The Red Rocket always calls the program, whether he's walking to the arena or sitting at his favorite sandwich shop. Bonner has never earned a dime from the show, but co-host Chris Ryan and myself did buy him lunch once in New York.

Me: We need to pump you up for the next game. Remember that time you scored 28 points at Utah? That was awesome. (Chris Farley-esque question.)

Bonner: I’m glad you guys remember that. It’s tough because I swear I’m the most heckled guy on our team. These wiseguys are incredibly mean, and they pick the most quiet times to yell. I can hear everything. You don’t want to give them a reaction because that only fuels the fire.

One time we were in Minnesota, and I was going through my shooting routine in pregame. These 30-year-old guys were just heckling me every time I missed a shot. They were really letting me have it, just making fun of me. After my routine, I went over there and just talked to them. I could see they were kind of nervous. I said, “Look, guys, I understand if you want to heckle me. I get heckled everywhere for some reason, but you guys have it all backwards. You should be cheering for me. I’m the guy that’s keeping the men’s league dream alive. I’m not athletic. I have a wing span shorter than my height (6-foot-10). I don’t really do anything. I shoot threes. I play hard. You guys should want to cheer for me.” They thought that was so great. They instantly became my fans and were cheering for me the whole game.

The Red Rocket is flat-out dusting the Lakers on this play.
Me: Remember that time when you and the Raptors and held Kobe Bryant to 86 points?

Bonner: It was 81 points. Give us some credit.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sobo shares post-op photos

The pictures say it all. Blue Jays minor leaguer Mark Sobolewski posted these on Facebook and granted permission to share here. This is the face of skin cancer after it attacks your neck in the form of a mole gone rogue. Have to admire Sobo for thinking of others and raising awareness during a scary time. Suspicious-looking mole:
And post-op picture after removal of lymph nodes:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Big scare for Sobolewski

Blue Jays minor leaguer Mark Sobolewski, in his words, after experiencing the scare of a lifetime: 

I have not told very many people about the past few weeks or so of my life. I am posting this album to raise awareness about skin cancer. Specifically, I want people to become more aware of melanoma. I'm a healthy, strong, 25-year-old professional athlete who prides himself on his physical condition and well-being. What started as an unusual mark on my neck/throat that I thought to be an ingrown hair, pimple, or something not very serious, turned out to be a deadly form of cancer. On Dec. 29, I found out that I had melanoma. Needless to say I was completely shocked and scared. For those who do not know, it is the worst form of skin cancer. I am not someone who has abused the beach, gone to tanning beds, or used any tanning oils. I have, however, grown up in Florida playing lots of baseball while having fair skin, blue eyes, and some moles. After meeting with a specialist in Tampa, I had surgery Jan. 11 to remove much of the surrounding area and two surrounding lymph nodes in hopes of eliminating the problem and seeing that it did not spread anywhere. Today, I am happy to say that it did not spread anywhere!

Mark Sobolewski batted .272 with eight homers and 49 RBI in his first Double-A season. Kevin Littlefield photo

I am truly fortunate and blessed that this was caught in time. Thanks to Joanie Martin for recommending that I go see a dermatologist, and thanks to Dani for having me ask her mother what she thought. To everyone: Please be sure to get your skin checked out! When detected early, doctors can save lives! I would also like to thank my family and others who were aware of this for their support and prayers. And most importantly, thanks God.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

One day closer to spring training

January is the l-o-n-g-e-s-t stretch of the off-season for pro baseball players, and it's starting to make them a little stir crazy. Justin Jackson was obsessed with gaining 2,000 followers on Twitter, and he finally got there. Now J-Jax is giving away a game-used bat and dropping videos.  "Stay Thor-Mode," he says ... Cabin-fevered Kevin Ahrens told his Facebook friends "You gotta love pedicures. Makes the feet so soft. Colby Rasmus came out of his tree stand and hollered at his FB peeps. "How's everybody been during this long off-season?" he said. Rasmus, IMO, will be a bargain for $2.7 million in 2012.

Ex-Fisher Cats outfielder Ryan Patterson signed a minor-league deal with the Marlins. He's been indy balling the last three seasons, playing in Wichita, St. Paul and Fort Worth ... Congrats to @BlueJayGal for winning the game-used Moises Sierra bat that I gave away on Twitter. I picked that one up at the Fisher Cats team store for 20 bucks.