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Stuff That Can Kill You in Florida

I recently met a woman who told me the reason she moved from New England to Florida was her fear of ticks. Apparently, she was very frightened of Lyme disease and thought that Florida would be a good place to move to protect herself and her family from ticks. She moved to Florida to escape ticks. I wanted to laugh. I thought, “Lady, are you insane? Do you know how much stuff can kill you in Florida? I mean, have you even seen the size of our bugs?” Of course, I didn’t say that. I merely smiled politely and nodded while I kept thinking. If safety was your number one priority, would Florida be your pick? She couldn’t think of a safer place to move? Does she read the news? That’s when this list came to mind. I know some of these things are not unique to Florida (e.g. deadly hurricanes hit other states), but does any state have this many weird things? So here, in no order of likelihood or importance, is a list of 19 things that can kill you in Florida. Why 19? Because I could only think of 19. If I think of more or if anyone has any suggestions, I’ll add more.

1) Alligators

2) Lightning

3) Sinkholes

4) Your neighbor’s meth lab exploding

5) Red ants

6) Killer bees

7) Pythons

8) Tornadoes

9) Hurricanes

10) Florida man

11) Riptides

12) Sharks

13) Sting rays

14) Jellyfish (even dead ones washed up on the beach can sting. Bastards.)

15) Flesh eating bacteria at the beach. This lucky guy was attacked by a stingray and then he got the flesh eating bacteria.

16) Mosquitoes

17) Cigautera fish poisoning

18) Brain eating amoeba

19) Digging in the sand at the beach

Remember to buckle your seat belt and wash your hands. Welcome to Florida.


Words of Comfort

My team, the Tampa Bay Rays, got swept this weekend by the mighty Oakland A’s in the aptly nicknamed Mausoleum, since it now houses the carcass of what was once a seemingly good team. In the past week, they’ve done the following: lost 1 to KC, lost 2 of 3 to the LAA, and now lost 3 of 3 to OAK. They’re now down 5.5 games for the AL East title to the disliked Boston Red Sox, so that’s pretty much a lost cause. They’re now in danger of losing the second Wild Card spot, holding the slenderest 2.5 game lead over Baltimore. Today, I saw my boys misplay an easy fly ball in the outfield, over throw a ball to first, and get thrown out at the plate for the third out on a sharply hit single to the outfield. They’re just not looking good, and Jobu only helps those who help themselves.

When the Beatles found themselves in times of trouble, Mother Mary comforted them, but for me, books have always been my source of comfort. I just started reading Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn. I usually don’t start my baseball reading until the post-season, but I’ve been a bit melancholy watching my team and I needed a distraction. In it, he writes,

You may glory in a team triumphant, but you fall in love with a team in defeat. Losing after great striving is the story of man, who was born to sorrow, whose sweetest songs tell of saddest thought, and who if he is a hero, does nothing in life as becomingly as leaving it.

I wish I could write like that. Those words are perfect. I have fallen for this team in defeat. He was writing about the Brooklyn Dodgers 62 years ago, but he’s speaking a universal truth to any sports fan. Well, except for Yankees fans. They only know of glory.

Super Sam Fuld

For as long as my daughter has been aware of baseball, Sam Fuld has been her favorite baseball player. Mind you, she is 4 years old. She doesn’t know anything about batting averages, slugging percentage, or WAR. All she knows is that “Sam Fuld is silly.” In 4 year old speak, she sees how Sam Fuld plays the game. Very enthusiastically. With a lot of effort. Just throws with body without any regard as to where or how it may land. He is silly. Every time we would take her to Tropicana Field, Lana had one question, “Will I meet Sam Fuld?” I don’t know, I would say. Maybe. We’ll try. One of the nice things about Tropicana Field and having a small fan base is that it affords lots of opportunities for fans to interact with the players. For whatever reason, whenever Lana was there, Sam wasn’t available. One day, my ex and I received an email from the Tampa Bay Rays. Sam Fuld was hosting a post game juvenile diabetes fund raiser with an opportunity to meet Fuld. I was not in town that weekend, but my ex said he would take her. Excellent.

Lana was so excited when she learned she would finally get to meet Sam Fuld. I asked her in the days leading up to the big day, “What are you going to say to Sam Fuld?” She said, “I am going to tell him, ‘Sam Fuld, you are silly!'” And we both laughed. I said, “You tell him that.” Well, my ex reports that is exactly what she said when she met him. Based on the picture taken, I think Sam got a kick out of it. Lana’s dad also reports that Sam is as nice in person as he seems on television.


“Sam Fuld is silly!”

The kid also got to meet other Rays. I know she has no appreciation right now how lucky she is. Someday, I hope she looks back on these pictures and realize how damn lucky she was. Not many kids ever get an opportunity like that, and yesterday, she was keeping some really amazing company yesterday. And honestly, so were those players. She’s a pretty special little kid. Not that I am biased or anything.

Future Basketball Royalty Wil Myers

Future Basketball Royalty Wil Myers

Chris Archer

Chris Archer

Matt Moore

Matt Moore

Alex Cobb

Alex Cobb

Jose Lobaton

Jose Lobaton

Jamey Wright

Jamey Wright

Reasons I Love My Job: Vocal Cords

The other day, I had a lovely older woman in her 80s as a patient. She spoke with the sweetest Southern drawl. A native of Kentucky, she told me, and her voice was like a smooth bourbon. She had bright blue eyes, high cheekbones, a petite frame, and her mind was sharp. I could tell she had once been a great beauty. She was prim and proper, the picture of Southern gentility. All her statements were adorned.”Thank you, darlin’.”  “Please, sweetheart would you mind…” And so on.

When it came time to review her discharge instructions, I had pictures of her procedure to show her, as we do with all our patients. One of them was a picture of her vocal cords. She pointed to that picture, and said to me in her sugary Southern twang, “That looks like a twat.” She then looked saddened. “Mine doesn’t look that good anymore.”

I lost it. I laughed so hard, I had to leave the patient’s bedside to collect myself. It was the last thing in the world that I was expecting from this grandmotherly figure. When I returned, her daughter in law was extremely apologetic. “I am so sorry! I don’t know what got into her!” I told her not to worry. Her mother-in-law had made my day. And you know what? I never thought about it before, but she was right. It does.

Not what you think it is.

Not what you think it is.





Happy Father’s Day

My dad passed away a couple of years suddenly from brain cancer. He’s the guy who gave me my brown eyes, sense of humor, and love of baseball. This 10 second clip, showing him playing with a neighbor’s boy in NYC, shows his personality more than anything I could write. Miss ya, daddy.

An Open Invitation

She ain’t pretty, but she’s mine.

I wrote the following as a comment on Hardball Talk, a favorite baseball blog of mine that I like to visit on an almost daily basis. Hardball Talk is like my baseball blog version of Cheers, a place where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came. The other day, head blogger and crime fighter-in-chief Craig Calcaterra posted a blog post about Jeff Loria: Will Jeff Loria’s Antics Hurt Baseball As a Whole?”

In it he writes:

People weren’t thinking “Marlins or nothing” before, so I doubt they are now. They’re thinking “Marlins or … Yankees?” “Marlins or Rays?” “Marlins or ___.”

A commenter who goes by lovistemiami wrote the following in response:

As a Miamian and a Marlins fan I agree on all points, except: Marlins or Yankees – yes. Marlins or Mets – yes. Marlins or Phillies or Braves – yes. Marlins or Rays – Ugh, I have never met a Rays fan. (Admittedly, I imagine they’d say they’ve never met a Marlins fan).

That hurt. Dissed by a Feesh fan. I responded with the following. I was particularly fond of this piece of writing. I included both a Jay-Z and a Daniel Webster reference. See if you can find them. I hope you appreciate that’s not an easy feat to pull off. I didn’t respond with anger, but with an open invitation to join us in this crazy journey of fandom together. This letter is not just directed to lovistemiami, but to all fans of this great sport without an allegiance to a team who might be looking for one in all the wrong places.

Hi, lovistemiami. /shaking your hand

Allow me to introduce myself. I’m a Rays fan. Now you know one. There’s a couple more of us who patrol this hallowed blog, fighting the good fight–raysfan1 and hittfamily. We’re fun, smart (ok, raysfan1 is a doctor–he’s really smart), and kinda cute.

We are a small fanbase, yet there are those who love us. We can certainly use all the fans we can get. As a Feesh fan, I know you are accustomed to small fan bases. Why would you base your fandom on the number of fans a team has when you know what it’s like to root for a team with few fans? Be a trendsetter! Be different! Join us Rays fans, and support baseball in our beautiful absurd land of flowers, sun, and beaches.

Now I will proceed to troll all those other teams you mentioned and convince you to join us. Don’t root for the Yankees–that’s like rooting for Donald Trump. The Mets–the Wilpons will break your heart. The Phillies? Do you have the stomach to boo all your players? I’m more of the positive reinforcement type myself. Silence speaks volumes, after all. Braves? C’mon man. Tomahawk chop? Really? Really.

I hope I’ve pleaded my case.


A Rays Fan

Chris Effin’ Davis

My Nightmare

My Nightmare

I am here to tell the tale of Chris Effin’ Davis. Prior to this season, I knew who he was. He’s a first baseman for the Orioles who spent some time with the Rangers. The season is but a newborn babe but now I KNOW who he is. He is the killer of hope, the crusher of baseballs, and the stuff of my nightmares. I woke up in a cold sweat last night, muttering the words “Chris…Effin’…Davis.”

In 11 AB, just 3 games, he did this to my beloved Rays: .636/.692/1.727. That’s an OPS of 2.419. 2.419!!!! I know it’s a small sample size and this kind of production is not sustainable (or IS IT?), but you have to understand how traumatic it is to witness a whipping, nay, a thrashing like this. Let me continue with the evidence. He had a total of 11 RBIs. To reiterate, he only had 11 AB. Three homers, three doubles, and seven singles was the final toll. Every time he came up to the plate. Boom. It didn’t matter what the Rays threw at him. Fastball. Boom. Curve. Boom. Slider. Boom. Every single time with men on base. BOOM. I’m going to curl up in a fetal position again and beg for my mommy.

Update: 10:30 pm. Since I wrote this earlier today, Chris Effin’ Davis is continuing his trail of destruction and has hit his 4th home run of the season in as many days–becoming just the 4th player in MLB history to hit a home run every day in the first four days of the season and joining the ranks of Willie Mays, Mark Maguire, and Nelson Cruz. Fortunately for my sanity, Davis has left the Tampa Bay area, but I’m having flashbacks.


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