Posted in Features


How the Splash sculpture came about

Let’s talk baseball

courtesy of Julie Musial

When your last name is Musial, people sort of expect you to be able to talk about baseball. But though the World Series has just ended, I’d rather not talk about whether the Dodgers have an advantage over the Astros because of the designated hitter, or whether paparazzi will be all over Kate Upton every time Justin Verlander takes the mound.

Instead, I’d rather discuss an issue that most fans of the game don’t know about — the hosing of 500 former players by both the league and the union representing the current players, the Major League Baseball Players’ Association (MLBPA).

I don’t know much about the business of baseball. My late uncle did, however. When he was the general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1967, he was praised by the players for making fair offers to them during contract negotiations. Of course, life was simpler back then.

When he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, “Uncle Stan,” as he liked to be called, said during his induction speech that, “If a young man is college educated and goes into baseball, he’ll find many doors open to him. And incredibly, he could be only a few years away from eligibility for full rights under the finest pension plan in industry.”

That was when all you needed was four years to be vested in that plan. But now, Major League Baseball (MLB) and the union have slammed that door in the face of retirees who, through no fault of their own, aren’t pension eligible.

Over the 1980 Memorial Day Weekend, the league and the union averted a players’ strike when the league made the union an offer it couldn’t refuse. To prevent a strike, the league negotiator told the MLBPA officials that, moving forward, all any player would need to qualify for health insurance was one game day of service. And all that player would need to qualify for a pension was 43 game days of service.

In other words, let’s assume you’re called up to “The Show” in mid-August and stay on the roster till the end of September. You’ll not only qualify for health insurance, you’ll get a pension too.

And nowadays, the maximum pension is worth $210,000. Even the minimum pension for someone who only has 43 game days of service is a reported $34,000.

The problem for all the men who played PRIOR to 1980 was that this sweetheart deal was never made retroactive for them.

So a retired Tiger like Chuck Scrivener, who resides in Birmingham, Michigan, doesn’t get a pension. And he played a lot more than 43 game days.

In spite of the fact that the players’ welfare and benefits fund is valued at more than $2.7 billion, the union is loathe to divvying up more of the pie. Which I don’t really understand. The sport of baseball is flourishing, and the union doesn’t want to help senior citizens? And many of these guys are on fixed incomes too. What a shame.

The late A. Bartlett Giamatti, who was once MLB’s Commissioner, was often fond of saying that, “in matters of decency, baseball should lead the way.”

I couldn’t agree more. And I’m guessing my late uncle would feel the same way too.

St. Johns’ own Julie Musial, of Krepps Road, is the niece of the late Hall of Famer Stan Musial.

A Look Back – Football Physicals

by Barry Clark Bauer

This photo, taken in 1972, shows young football hopefuls getting their physicals from Dr. James Grost before being allowed to join the team.

The only player I recognize is Jim Hebeler, in the back. Jim was an electrician at Federal-Mogul before the plant closed.

Benny and Jessie’s Pet Info – Can I give my dog Benadryl and if so, how much?

Benadryl, also known by its generic name diphenhydramine, is one of the few over-the-counter drugs that veterinarians routinely have owners administer at home. While it is generally well tolerated and has a wide safety margin, there are a few things owners should keep in mind before dosing it at home:

1. What is Benadryl used for?

Benadryl is an antihistamine, blocking the H-1 receptors on smooth muscle and blood vessels. Some of its most common indications are the treatment of environmental allergies, allergic reactions to insect bites or stings, and pre-treatment of vaccine reactions. It also has some efficacy in the prevention of motion sickness in dogs and as a mild sedative.

2. When should I not use Benadryl?

Benadryl is contraindicated with certain conditions, such as pets with glaucoma, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. It’s always best to contact your veterinarian for guidance before administering any medication to your pet, including Benadryl.

3. How much Benadryl should I give?

The standard dosage for oral Benadryl is 1 mg per pound of body weight, given 2-3 times a day. Most drug store diphenhydramine tablets are 25 mg, which is the size used for a 25 pound dog. Always double check the dosage before giving an over the counter medication. In addition, many formulations are combined with other medications such as Tylenol so make sure Benadryl tablets contain only diphenhydramine.

4. When should I contact my veterinarian?

Oral Benadryl is considered a mild to moderately effective antihistamine. If a pet is having an acute allergic reaction with facial swelling or difficulty breathing, skip the oral medications and go straight to the vet. Many allergic diseases require a combination of medications and treatment of underlying infections; if your pet is not responding to the medication, talk to your vet for other options.

Maralyn’s Pet Corner – 7 Great Reasons to Adopt a Senior Cat

November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month. Why might you want to consider adopting a senior cat? There are lots of good reasons. Here are seven of the best.

When you adopt a kitten, its personality is still developing. As a result, you won’t know whether your new friend is going to be a lap cat or an independent spirit. With a senior, that’s not true. Its personality is already fully developed, so what you see is what you get. You’ll know right away whether your new feline companion is going to be a cuddlebug or an independent thinker. But keep in mind that in a shelter environment, your new cat’s personality might not shine through quite as strongly because of the stress and fear associated with being in a strange place.

Senior cats, quite naturally, are already fully mature. By adopting a senior cat, you’ll avoid the rambunctiousness associated with kittens, who are frequently quite active, curious, and into everything, including things they shouldn’t be. Senior cats are typically more sedate, though they still often enjoy a good play session with their people, or with other feline companions.

In most cases, senior cats have already been housetrained. They’ll know how to use the litterbox and may even already be trained to use a scratching post, rather than using your beautiful couch or expensive chair to sharpen their claws.

Being older, senior cats often enjoy a good nap. Many seniors want nothing more than to curl up on your lap or rest near you while you read, watch TV, or sleep. What’s more comforting than having a purring cat resting nearby?

According to the feline life stage guidelines issued by the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), cats are considered senior from 11-14 years and geriatric from 15 years onward. However, many cats live into their late teens or even into the twenties, so a senior cat may have many good years left. You shouldn’t pass up the chance to adopt a senior because you’re afraid your new companion won’t be with you for long.

In most cases, a senior cat will have already been spayed or neutered when adopted. In addition, a senior cat will not need to complete an entire series of vaccinations and dewormings such as those that a young kitten will require. That doesn’t mean that your new senior cat can go without regular veterinary care though. Most veterinarians advise an examination every six months to a year, depending on your cat’s overall health and age.

Senior cats are often among the hardest pets for shelters and rescues to place in a new home. By adopting a senior cat, in most cases, you’ll literally be saving the cat’s life. Your senior citizen will repay you for your kindness with friendship and appreciation. You’ll also be allowing your new cat to live out her senior years in the comfort and dignity that an older cat deserves.