Episode 8: Futbol Americano


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Jonathan Tinajero

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Jonathan Tinajero was excited. He’d been scrolling through Facebook when he discovered a professional football league in Mexico. A native of East Los Angeles, Tinajero had dreamed of playing in the NFL, but his football career had fizzled in college. This looked like a fresh opportunity.

His father laughed at him. The LFA? La Liga de Futbol Americano Profesional? That’s a soccer league, son.

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Dad was wrong. The LFA is hoping to capitalize on the NFL’s popularity in Mexico, and soon Tinajero, a defensive back and wide receiver, was in Mexico City, playing for the Mayas, chasing those dreams again, and learning that the LFA is not exactly the NFL. Juan Reyes reports.

Juan ReyesJuan Reyes is a sportswriter for the Santa Cruz (California) Sentinel. He reported this story from Mexico City. For a gallery of photos of Tinajero and his Mayas teammates, click here. All photos are by Juan Reyes and Montse Lopez Flores.

Paulie Soda

The episode opens with our first story of losing from a listener. Jim Morfino called in with a memory from his childhood in the Bronx. Morfino, 74, lived across the street from Fat Nick’s candy store, which was really a bookmaking operation. “I don’t think there was a legitimate candy store in all the Bronx,” Morfino says.

Paulie Soda drove the soda truck, and was one of many Damon Runyon-type characters hanging out around the candy store, where Jim and his friends hung out after school. “Paulie was a loser,” Morfino says. A big problem for Paulie was that he hated the Yankees, so he bet against them all the time. A bigger problem: It was 1953, and the Yankees were on their way to winning their fifth straight World Series.

One day, though, Paulie let Jackie Pads talk him into betting on the Yankees. Just this once.

If you’ve got a story about losing in your life, call us up at 510-646-1082 and tell it to us. We’ll give you $50 if we use it.

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Johnny Rawls

Johnny RawlsIf you’ve been listening to Can’t Win 4 Losing, you’ve heard our closing theme song, “Can’t Win For Losing” by Johnny Rawls.  Now you can hear the story behind the song, as well as the story of how it became our theme. The Mississippi bluesman sat down for an interview before a gig in Fremont, California, earlier this year.

Music

Opening Theme: “Big Swing Band” by Audionautix. (CC by 3.0)
Closing Theme: “Can’t Win For Losing” by Johnny Rawls, courtesy of Deep South Soul Records. Visit Johnny Rawls’ website and Facebook page.

His latest album is called Waiting For the Train.

Other Songs Used

“Sing Swing Bada Bing” by Doug Maxwell
“The Duel” courtesy of Bensound.com
“Hold My Hand (Ambient Mix)” by Ars Sonor
Music by Chris Banks
Used with permission or via Creative Commons licenses.

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Bonus Episode: The St. Louis Browns


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Satchel Paige
Satchel Paige at the 1952 All-Star Game with, from left, Mickey Mantle and Allie Reynolds of the Yankees and Dom DiMaggio of the Red Sox.

We go deeper into the second of this week’s two stories, about the St. Louis Browns, baseball’s forgotten team.

The Browns check off two boxes for Can’t Win 4 Losing: They lost a lot in their hapless half-century of existence and then their city lost them. Maybe three boxes, as they’ve largely been lost to history. If you’re wondering what happened to them, they moved east and became the Baltimore Orioles in 1954.

This bonus episode includes three longer interviews with men whose voices you heard in Episode 5. We lined them up alphabetically by age.

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Ed Mickelson is one of 14 living ex-Browns. He had a cup of coffee with them at the end of their last season, 1953. He only got into seven games, but he managed to drive in the last run the team ever scored. It was in a 2-1 loss to the White Sox at Sportsman’s Park. “We went out in Brownie style,” he says. “We lost our 100th game.” Mickelson played 11 years in pro ball, including brief stints with the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs as well as his time with the Browns. He’s 91, retired from a career as a baseball and football coach and counselor at St. Louis-area high schools.

In the interview, which like the others is lightly edited for length, listen as Mick sends it into extra innings. I thanked him for his time, and he said he had more things he wanted to say. That’s when he told a couple of Satchel Paige stories.

Ed Mickelson Cartoon

Burton Boxerman is an author or co-author — with his wife, Benita Boxerman — of several books about baseball history, including Jews and BaseballVolume 1 and Volume 2; and Ebbets to Veeck to Busch: Eight Owners Who Shaped Baseball. We talked about his childhood in St. Louis, when for some reason he chose to root for the Browns, not the Cardinals. He was 20 when they moved to Baltimore, and it took him about 10 years before he settled on a new team to root for: The Cubs. He wanted a team that could find as many creative ways to lose as the Browns had.

Emmett McAuliffe is a board member of the St. Louis Browns Historical Society and a leader in keeping the team’s legacy alive, despite being born several years after they left town. He’s an intellectual property lawyer in St. Louis, and his office is filled with Browns memorabilia. (Gallery)

Music

Opening and Closing Theme: “Can’t Win For Losing” by Johnny Rawls, courtesy of Deep South Soul Records. Visit Johnny Rawls’ website and Facebook page.

His latest album is called Waiting For the Train.

Other Song Used

“The Messenger” by Silent Partner (Creative Commons)

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Episode 5: Breaking Up — San Diego’s Life After the Chargers


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If you’re enjoying Can’t Win 4 Losing, please take a moment to rate and review the show at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts. Thank you!

Johnny Bolt Pride

One of the most painful types of losing in sports is when a city loses its team. San Diego Chargers fans were heartbroken and angry when their team moved up the freeway to Los Angeles this year. They burned jerseys and threw eggs at the team headquarters.

But not all of them. “Not having the NFL be in your city is a win,” said writer and sports commentator Dallas McLaughlin. “There’s no way it’s not.” With the Chargers struggling to convince an indifferent L.A. to pay attention to them, Maya Kroth reports from San Diego now that the Bolts have bolted.

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Read a transcript.

Plus: The St. Louis Browns check off two boxes for this show. Their city lost them when they left town and became the Baltimore Orioles after the 1953 season, and in their half-century in the Lou, they were consistent losers.

You’d have to be at least 70 or so to even remember the Browns existing. But there’s still a St. Louis Browns fan club, and the guy who runs it, Emmett McAuliffe, isn’t even 60. Host King Kaufman talks to him about the appeal of a team he never saw — at least not before the Orioles wore throwback Browns uniforms during a road series against the Cardinals in 2003.

Also, author Burton Boxerman talks about growing up as a Browns fan, and how, once they left, he had to find a new team to root for and he picked the Chicago Cubs, because their relentless losing reminded him of his beloved Brownies.

And Ed Mickelson, 91 years old and one of 14 living former Browns, talks about his brief but memorable time at Sportsman’s Park. He wasn’t a Brown for long, but he did drive in the last run in the team’s history. It was the only run they scored that day as they went down to their final defeat.

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People in the episode

Chargers

Maya Kroth is a freelance print and audio reporter based in Mexico City. She’s available now for reporting on the aftermath of the Mexico City earthquake. You can find her work at mayakroth.com. Editors seeking coverage should contact her via Facebook messenger.

Dallas McLaughlin is a writer and performer in San Diego. His debut standup album is called An Evening of This!

Matthew T. Hall (referred to as Matt Hall in the story) is the editorial and opinion director at the San Diego Union-Tribune.

John Abundez, pictured above, is a lifelong Chargers fan better known as Johnny Bolt Pride. He says he has never worn a jersey with an owner’s name on the back. He roots for his team, and remains a Chargers fan even though they’ve moved to Los Angeles.

C-Siccness is a San Diego hip-hop artist whose song “Save Our Bolts” was used in this episode with permission.

Maya Kroth
Kroth
Dallas McLaughlin
McLaughlin
Matthew T. Hall
Hall
C-Siccness
C-Siccness

 

 

 

 

Browns

Emmett McAuliffeEmmett McAuliffe is an intellectual property lawyer in St. Louis and a member of the board of the St. Louis Browns Historical Society. His law office is filled with Browns memorabilia. Click his photo for a gallery.

 

Burton BoxermanBurton Boxerman is the author, with his wife, Benita Boxerman, of many books about baseball history and other subjects, including Jews and Baseball, Volume 1 and Volume 2; and Ebbets to Veeck to Busch: Eight Owners Who Shaped BaseballThey are working on a biography of Bill DeWitt Sr., who was a Browns executive and owner, and the father of the current Cardinals owner, Bill DeWitt Jr.

Ed Mickelson is one of 14 living former St. Louis Browns. He was a first baseman who spent the last few weeks of the 1953 season with the Browns, driving in the last run in team history during a 2-1, 11-inning loss to the Chicago White Sox on Sept. 27, 1953. Mickelson, 91, had a solid, 11-year career in the minor leagues and played briefly in the big leagues for the Cardinals and the Cubs in addition to his stint with the Browns.

After retiring from baseball, Mickelson was a football and baseball coach and a counselor in St. Louis-area high schools, retiring in 1993. His 2007 memoir, Out of the Park: Memoir of a Minor League Baseball All-Star, is notable for its honesty about his post-career depression. This photo from a Browns Reunion Luncheon on Sept. 26, 2017, shows Mickelson, left, talking to his friend and the most famous living ex-Brown, Don Larsen.

Ed Mickelson and Don Larson
Photo courtesy of Julie Mickelson Drew.

Music

Opening Theme: “Big Swing Band” by Audionautix. (CC by 3.0)
Closing Theme: “Can’t Win For Losing” by Johnny Rawls, courtesy of Deep South Soul Records. Visit Johnny Rawls’ website and Facebook page.

His latest album is called Waiting For the Train.

Other Songs Used

“Movie Piano Theme” by EK Velika
“St. Louis Tickle” by Heftone Banjo Orchestra
“Hot Swing” and “Gaslamp Funworks” by Kevin McLeod
Used under the CC BY 3.0 Creative Commons license.

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