Tuesday, June 25, 2019

You could have knocked me over with a penguin feather

I am in the middle of two, back-to-back, end-of-the-school-year sports banquets.

There was one last night and there is one tonight. I do much of the organization for these banquets and it's not simple. Whoever thought that as a sportswriter and editor I would have to take food orders? Also, I get to be the so-called master of ceremony for these things. "Master of ceremony" is not in my personality type AT ALL.

Once I survive tonight, I am done. The easy season begins. But with all that has been involved and including everything I've gone through in my life these last few months, I need a vacation badly. Multiple vacations. Vacations on top of vacations.

So anyway, I was scrambling around today, trying to recuperate from last night and brace for tonight, running through the constant inventory in my head, when I decided to get the mail.

Among the usual boredom was a small yellow envelope with "Santa Clarita, CA" stamped on the front.

I opened it up and a homemade Happy Birthday card featuring a penguin and an owl fell out.

This seemed interesting. My birthday isn't until next month, and I really didn't know what to make of it. Probably one of the bloggers, I thought.

Then I opened it.

*Stands stupified*
*Brain shuts down*
*Can't form words or thoughts*
*Starts drooling onto the dining room floor*

What the hell?


Yes, I know this makes zero sense. This can't possibly be the case. Let's go through how ridiculous my assumption is here:

1. What baseball star is sending birthday cards to fans?
2. What baseball star has time to know when fans' birthdays are? What my birthday is?
3. What baseball star is creating birthday cards? What World Series champion is looking for clip art of penguins and owls?

Now let's see why it could be a signed birthday card from Ron Cey:

1. That's definitely his signature. Without a shadow of a doubt.
2. I did a comparison of Cey inscriptions and that's definitely his "B" and his "N" and his lowercase dotted "I" and holy smokes!
3. He does have my address. I sent him a few TTM requests several years ago. I don't know what player keeps addresses of fans on file. It seems ridiculous to believe any player would do this, I can feel how stupid this sounds as I type this.
4. I'm pretty vocal online about my appreciation for Cey and those Dodger teams from 1973-83. And I do have that Ron Cey-Fleetwood Mac lamp. I think he might keep up on the whereabouts of that.
5. Cey does live in Southern California. The address where I sent the TTMs is in Los Angeles proper.
6. Cey has always been responsive to his fans. One of the best TTMers around.

It's still tough for me to believe that it is in fact a card from Ron Cey -- if this is a well-executed blogger or reader attempt I would like to know -- but a signed birthday card from The Penguin is what I want to believe so I will.

Also, also: that owl means he (or someone connected to him) might be reading Night Owl Cards!

My goodness.

P.S.: It took this card for me to finally realize that both me and my all-time favorite player have bird nicknames.


  1. No one on the planet deserves birthday greetings from his childhood sports hero more than you do, N.O., after all you've been through the last couple of months. Pretty sure the Santa Clarita postmark serves as a 'catch all' mark for the majority of LA county. Congratulations on an amazing, personalized, collectible!

  2. That is too cool! Since I don't know when your actual birthday is, Happy early birthday! You need some happiness lately and I bet this will certainly provide it!

  3. I didn't think the turnaround would be that quick. From Portland to Woodlawn and then to Watertown in less than a week. And I told him when your birthday was. Happy Birthday!

    1. That is fantastic. Well done! It couldn’t have come out nicer. I’m thrilled, vicariously. NO, you certainly deserve such a nice surprise.

  4. I truly hope that this is what it appears to be, not just because that would be an incredibly thoughtful gesture but also because you've had such a difficult year. It would take a fair amount of effort and observation for Cey to send this, but damn if that isn't his signature.

  5. Wow, super cool and what a fun surprise for you (a much needed good surprise I'm sure).

  6. Awesome! Growing up a Phillies fan, it was always the Dodgers beating my team to go on to the World Series (77 and 78). I despised the Dodgers because of that, but I still had a respect for each of the individual players (because, well, they were dang good). Cey went to the Cubs and I still shudder when I think about him getting plunked by Gossage. He was a battler, and gained more respect from me then. From all that I ever heard about him, as well, always heard he was a good guy. Now, I see this. Ron Cey is obviously a complete class act. I hope he is a reader of your blog. Because I hope he'll see how much he's appreciated by you and the rest of the baseball community. Wow. That's just freakin' awesome! And an early happy birthday to you.

  7. That really is a wonderful surprise. Rod, kudos to you for orchestrating it.

  8. If it is a Santa Clarita postmark, that would make sense, since all the local mail gets taken there for sorting through that distribution center.

  9. Pretty cool. The player has become a fan of the fan. Ron’s a great guy.

  10. Man that's awesome. And it gives me several ideas...

  11. Very cool! I'm still waiting for my birthday card from Vladimir Guerrero...

  12. That's just unbelievable. Are you going to display the card somewhere?

  13. Well I'll be a monkeys uncle!

  14. How awesome is this? So happy your baseball hero sent this to you, with all you've gone through.