Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cardboard appreciation: 1984 Donruss Rudy Law

(It's Mardi Gras. Another "holiday" that means nothing in the Northeast. We've got no beads. We've got no jambalaya. We've got no girls willing to flash anything. I mean it's 6 degrees, for crying out loud! Here's to appreciating the Northeast. At least it keeps out the riff-raff. Time for Cardboard Appreciation. This is the 104th in a series):

Do you associate moments or stories with a certain player that have nothing to do with the player, or at least nothing to do with what he accomplished in his chosen profession?

If you're anything like me, then you do. You do it all the time. This player's card reminds you how your little brother puked in the car on the way to Cooperstown. That player's card reminds you how you stashed all your cards in the closet when your new girlfriend came over for the first time because you didn't want her seeing them.

Surely you have cards like that.

This card -- in fact, every Rudy Law card -- reminds me of my hateful ex-boss.

It's a terrible burden for a former Dodger player to carry around, but I can't help it. It's all I think of every time I see a Rudy Law card.

I worked for my hateful ex-boss for six years. I hated him every minute. Everyone did. Each day was spent hoping that I would get through it without him talking to me.

He was an obnoxious, loud, unrealistic, delusional, inappropriate slave driver completely incapable of paying a compliment. The day he announced that he was leaving for a new job, I vividly remember half-dancing through the aisleway with a fellow co-worker. It's possible we even held hands. I don't know. The blissful nature of the moment prevents me from thinking of it through anything other than a flower-covered haze. It was probably one of the top 10 days of the 1990s.

But before that glorious day, we were forced to listen to him prattle on about whatever obnoxious thing was on his mind. The guy was socially inept, yet thought he was the world's greatest gift. This is the worst possible combination of character traits that has ever existed.

During the warm months, his painful filibusters would turn to his softball exploits. You see, not only was he under the assumption that we gave a damn about whatever he did outside of the office when he wasn't torturing us, but I think he actually believed that he was a national caliber softball player.

He wasn't. I saw him play. He wasn't.

One of his softball stories involved Rudy Law.

He was talking about participating in one of his weekly games on a team that I couldn't possibly believe would agree to have him on board. He said they were playing a team they had never played before, and he was on the mound (again, I can't believe anyone would let him near the mound).

While preparing to pitch, he looked toward the next batter and saw that the player was Rudy Law.

Now, I don't know if it really was Rudy Law. My hateful ex-boss did embellish a lot. But let's assume Law was reduced to playing softball against overweight, talentless, samplings of dork flesh during his post professional baseball career.

So, that's what my boss said. He said he looked in and couldn't believe it was "Rudy Law!"

He said this very loudly, so everyone could hear it. He did that a lot.

And he didn't say "Rudy Law."

He added another word in between "Rudy" and "Law."

I'll let you think about that for a minute.

Then I'll let you decide if you want to read the rest of this.

So, here goes ...

What he actually said was, "I couldn't believe it was Rudy Fucking Law!" He repeated the player's name a few times. And each time Rudy had that new middle initial.

Now, I am not squeamish around curse words. I work in a profession in which there are more than a few curse words floating around the newsroom. It's almost impossible not to curse during a particularly stressful deadline moment.

But if there is such a thing as "curse-word etiquette," there is a time for cursing and a time to avoid it. Sometimes cursing is understandable and sometimes it's excruciatingly awkward.

If you want to say this while out at a bar with your buddies, all of whom know and respect early '80s rookie prospects, then fine. But don't do it in a workplace setting, loudly, in front of your underlings, all of whom desperately loathe you.

This was so awkward that he might as well have said it in front of a nursery school class.

It was so inappropriate, that it was burned into the brains of employees who heard it. People would repeat it, like it was a Charlie Sheen sound byte. Then they'd shake their head.

All these years later it's still burned into my brain. I cannot see a Rudy Law card or hear a Rudy Law story without that being the first thing that comes to mind.

It's been 15 years to the month since I last saw my hateful ex-boss, but the story remains.

I'm not sure what I need to do to rid myself of the thought. Maybe put all my Rudy Law cards in a pile and burn them? Will that exorcise the demon of Rudy F. Law?

I mean, come on, Rudy deserves better.

It's bad enough he had to face my boss in a softball game.


  1. Nothing against Rudy, but it sounds like you should rid your collection of him. Sounds like that boss did a number on you.

  2. Maybe you should try and track down Rudy F. Law and find out if he actually DID play in softball leagues during the mid-90s in rural NY. Wouldn't it be nice to hear that your boss was just a liar?

    I'm sure somebody in the sphere has a contact address (WSC?).

    Include this post in your letter and I'm sure you'd get a response.

    Doc T