by Dr Lefty
On Thursday, a TWG regular messaged me on Twitter with a link about the Dec. 31, 2017 death of Michael Scott of Middletown, CA, wondering if it was our Michael Scott. I told him it probably was, considering that we knew he lived in Middletown and that he’d been gravely ill after a recurrence of the brain cancer he thought he’d beaten. I’ll be delighted if he shows up here, saying Mark Twain-style, “Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” But I sadly suspect that the news is true. Here’s a screenshot of the link, though it doesn’t lead anywhere if you click on it.
Let’s be honest: The Chef wasn’t always easy to get along with. In fact, he and I had a pretty public falling out on the blog a couple of years ago, and I blocked him from my feed for awhile. He emailed me to make peace, and we agreed to a truce. We did find common ground talking about recipes, menus, and cooking tips, and he even asked me to send him my turkey chili recipe (and twitted me mercilessly about my fondness for ground turkey, which I guess he found rather low-class). Some of you knew him before he arrived on the Giants Extra scene as Twinfan, a powerful personality on Henry Schulman’s Giant Splash blog who sometimes rubbed people the wrong way (imagine!).
Putting all that aside, there are many clues to a life well-lived. According to his Disqus bio, he was a “retired chef, computer systems builder, and Navy veteran.” He also was married for over 40 years to Merna, for whom he cared devotedly, despite his own serious illness, after a stroke confined her to a wheelchair some years ago. Though they didn’t have children, they loved their cats and their yellow Lab, Zeke. The son of legendary football and baseball broadcaster Ray Scott and the nephew of broadcaster Hal Scott, Michael came by his love of sports (and the Twins) quite naturally.
And wow, was he a tough customer, going through Merna’s stroke, his own cancer that was supposed to finish him off years ago, and the two of them fleeing for their lives from the horrendous Valley Fire that devastated Middletown in September, 2015. I vividly remember him posting that night that the fire was getting close to them and they might have to evacuate–and then we didn’t hear again for days, finally learning that their home had burned to the ground and that they and Zeke had barely escaped when a sheriff’s car evacuated them after they called 911. It was an incredibly harrowing and heartbreaking story. Here’s one story with a photo of Merna at the top and another with some quotes from both of them. We then followed as Michael and Merna were profiled in several local news stories as survivors staying at the Napa County fairgrounds. (I can’t find it again, but there was a great story that included the detail of Zeke stealing cupcakes off refugees’ plates at lunchtime. Typical Lab, even a senior one about to cross the Rainbow Bridge.) Eventually they bought another house and moved back to Middletown but then sadly lost Zeke right after moving in, having also lost several of their cats in the fire. It seemed like things were finally looking up when Michael shared on the blog that after years of debilitating treatment for his cancer, he’d been pronounced cured. But the good news didn’t last long.
On the blog, we’ll remember him for calling us all knuckle/dunderheads (nice riff from his fictional alter-ego, Michael Scott of The Office, the boss at a paper company called Dunder Mifflin) when our opinions about the Giants didn’t converge with his (always correct) one, his unwavering love for Gregor Blanco, always having the backs of the relievers I wanted to DFA, and, of course, his famous lists. Here’s a screen shot of one from about seven months ago.
On a personal note, I remember his concern and kindness towards me when my own beloved Lab, Winnie the Pooch, was hospitalized in 2014.
Godspeed, Chef. Not sure how we’re going to manage a new baseball season without you to keep us in line.
Baseball news: There was some this week!
The week started with the Giants’ modest acquisition of Austin Jackson, a versatile right-handed-hitting outfielder who had a nice partial season with Cleveland last year. Jackson was signed for two years/$6 million with some escalators built in (but, smartly, none of them kick in until 2019, so they don’t impact the Giants’ 2018 tax numbers). See Greek Giant’s post about the addition of Jackson, but as I noted then, I prefer this highlight of Jackson (from 2017) to the one GG posted from the 2012 World Series (much as we enjoyed the moment at the time).
The week’s modest acquisitions continued with the news that Chris Heston, also known as “Hesto Presto” for his ability to induce double-play ground balls–nickname supplied by the (then) radio announcer for the AA Richmond Flying Squirrels–is returning to the Giants on a minor league deal. So we’ve brought back the last guy to pitch a no-hitter for the Giants and we’ve brought back Hector Sanchez, who caught the second-to-last one. You know who has to be next, right?
We then received the disappointing but not surprising news that Barry Bonds missed Hall of Fame election for the sixth time. And then–finally!–someone made a serious baseball splash, and it wasn’t just the Marlins divesting themselves of all of their talent. The Brewers–the Brewers!–were the unlikely source of the biggest Hot Stove day of the whole winter, both trading for Christian Yelich and signing Lorenzo Cain to the largest free agent deal so far this offseason. And now we wait for the next shoes to drop: For whom and to whom will the Brewers trade one of their now-extra outfielders (and which one)? Will the Brewers keep charging and sign a big free agent pitcher? Will the Cubs start to feel the pressure–bearing in mind that the Brewers won 86 games and finished second in the NL Central last year–and finally get around to signing a free agent starter? Will the Giants figure out how to benefit from the Brewers’ outfield logjam?
We’re getting there, folks. It will be February in a few days. The Fanfest is two weeks from today, and pitchers and catchers report 17 days from now. Almost time for baseball again, and I, for one, am ready. Lefty out.