Pushing rocks up a hill

And we know how steep those hills can be.

Have you ever in the past or present, gotten tired of preaching the word of Riesling, and also that of the reality of Terroir? For me, there are strong parallels there to debating evolution, the merits of goose-fat, and that Rickey Henderson is the greatest lead-off hitter of all time. I mean, look man, statistics show that goose-fat is preferred by four out of five ducks…


I don’t really get tired of extolling the virtues of these things, no. Though I hope I don’t sound preachy. I sometimes wonder at the intractability of some folks, and I definitely believe that many people simply DO NOT KNOW THEIR OWN TASTES. That is, they like what they’ve “decided” to like for whatever reason, but they’re not doing an authentic sensual sounding. This happens only with wine, as far as I know. But it happens distressingly often.

I can’t escape the strong sense that many people’s so-called aversion to Riesling is a barrier they themselves erected because, for some reason, they thought they should.

Did you ever have seats in left field when Rickey was playing? What a flirt and a ham the guy was.

Terry, you’re in the biz, so partly it’s in the interest of making a living for you to “push rocks up a hill.”

Having said that, from my perspective your writing has an earnestness to it that takes it well beyond (in a positive way) the realm of hawking a product. I sampled a number of Rieslings over the course of several years without developing any affection for the variety. I foolishly decided that Riesling was “too sweet” and rarely drank them after those initial forays. After discovering your catalogs, I was encouraged to re-approach Riesling and somehow managed to discover – or perhaps Riesling simply chose to reveal itself to me – a beauty and allure that I had previously missed.

Thanks for pushing those rocks… :slight_smile:

Thanks to you too Jim. I can only add that if it was only about making a living, I could have found easier ways. The only reason to push rocks up hills is passion or masochism, and I ain’t into no pain.

naw, it happens all the time with people and their characterizations of their political beliefs - i.e., they claim affiliation with a certain party but when quizzed re: where they stand on various issues, it turns out that they are aligned with the mainstream of the other party. Just shows how misleading some labels may be.

(edited to be less political)

Well, maybe in the Rev. Al Green sort of way, but that’s all Love and Happiness anyway and I’m totally glad of it. Btw, I’m quite sure that you could register as the Reverend of Riesling on the internet for less than the cost of a bottle of Minges Froschkönig.

Yes, I grew up watching Rickey come to town with the A’s and Yankees and A’s again. His personality seals the deal for me. If Rickey Henderson was a wine, Gelber Muskateller he would be. A sleek extrovert with surprising lead-off power.


Rickey Henderson Quotes for your amusement:

  1. Rickey… on referring to himself in the third person:

“Listen, people are always saying, ‘Rickey says Rickey.’ But it’s been blown way out of proportion. People might catch me, when they know I’m ticked off, saying, ‘Rickey, what the heck are you doing, Rickey?’ They say, ‘Darn, Rickey, what are you saying Rickey for? Why don’t you just say, ‘I?’ But I never did. I always said, ‘Rickey,’ and it became something for people to joke about.”

  1. In the early 1980s, the Oakland A’s accounting department was freaking out. The books were off $1 million. After an investigation, it was determined Rickey was the reason why. The GM asked him about a $1 million bonus he had received and Rickey said instead of cashing it, he framed it and hung it on a wall at his house.

  2. In 1996, Henderson’s first season with San Diego, he boarded the team bus and was looking for a seat. Steve Finley said, “You have tenure, sit wherever you want.” Henderson looked at Finley and said, “Ten years? Ricky’s been playing at least 16, 17 years.”

  3. This one might be my second favorite. This wasn’t too long ago, I think it was the year he ended up playing with the Red Sox. Anyway, he called San Diego GM Kevin Towers and left the following message: “This is Rickey calling on behalf of Rickey. Rickey wants to play baseball.”

  4. This one happened in Seattle. Rickey struck out and as the next batter was walking past him, he heard Henderson say, “Don’t worry, Rickey, you’re still the best.”

  5. Rickey once asked a teammate how long it would take him to drive to the Dominican Republic.

  6. Moments after breaking Lou Brock’s stolen base record, Henderson told the crowd – with Brock mere feet next to him – “Lou Brock was a great base stealer, but today, I am the greatest of all-time.”

  7. Henderson once fell asleep on an ice pack and got frostbite – which forced him to miss three games — in mid-August.

  8. A reporter asked Henderson if Ken Caminiti’s estimate that 50 percent of Major League players were taking steroids was accurate. His response was, “Well, Rickey’s not one of them, so that’s 49 percent right there.”

  9. Henderson broke Ty Cobb’s career record for runs scored with a home run. After taking his usual 45 seconds or so around the bases, Rickey slid into home plate.

  10. On being Nolan Ryan’s 5,000th career strikeout: “It gave me no chance. He (Ryan) just blew it by me. But it’s an honor. I’ll have another paragraph in all the baseball books. I’m already in the books three or four times.”

  11. San Diego GM Kevin Towers was trying to contact Rickey at a nearby hotel. He knew Henderson always used fake names to avoid the press, fans, etc. He was trying to think like Rickey and after several attempts; he was able to get Henderson on the phone.

Rickey had checked in under Richard Pryor.

  1. I didn’t believe this one at first. However, I emailed a few contacts within the Sox organization and they claim it actually happened. This is priceless, it really is.

The morning after the Sox finished off the sweep against St. Louis last October, Henderson called someone in the organization looking for tickets to Game 6 at Fenway Park.

  1. The Mets were staying in a hotel less than a mile from Cinergy Field in Cincinnati. While some players walked, most took the team bus. A few minutes after they arrived — again it was less than a mile – the last players off the bus noticed a stretched limo that had just pulled up.

Of course, Rickey emerged from the back seat.

  1. A reporter once asked Rickey if he talked to himself, “Do I talk to myself? No, I just remind myself of what I’m trying to do. You know, I never answer myself so how can I be talking to myself?”

  2. OK, I know everyone has been waiting for it. Alas, according to both parties involved, it’s not true. I wish it were. Heck, both Rickey Henderson and John Olerud have said they wish it were true. But it just didn’t happen.

The story went that a few weeks into Henderson’s stint with the Mariners, he walked up to Olerud at the batting cage and asked him why he wore a batting helmet in the field. Olerud explained that he had an aneurysm at nine years old and he wore the helmet for protection. Legend goes that Henderson said, “Yeah, I used to play with a guy that had the same thing.”

Legend also goes that Olerud said, “That was me, Rickey.”

Henderson played with Olerud on the Blue Jays and the Mets.

  1. Rickey was asked if he had the Garth Brooks album with Friends in Low Places and Henderson said, “Rickey doesn’t have albums. Rickey has CDs.”

  2. During a contract holdout with Oakland in the early 1990s, Henderson said, “If they want to pay me like Mike Gallego, I’ll play like Gallego.”

  3. In the late 1980s, the Yankees sent Henderson a six-figure bonus check. After a few months passed, an internal audit revealed the check had not been cashed. Current Yankees GM Brian Cashman – then a low-level nobody with the organization – called Rickey and asked if there was a problem with the check. Henderson said, “I’m just waiting for the money market rates to go up.”

  4. In June 1999, when Henderson was playing with the Mets, he saw reporters running around the clubhouse before a game. He asked a teammate what was going on and he was told that Tom Robson, the team’s hitting coach, had just been fired. Henderson said, “Who’s he?”

  5. This is my all-time favorite. Rickey was pulled over by a San Diego police officer for speeding. As the officer was approaching Rickey’s car, the window went down a few inches and a folded $100 bill emerged. The officer let Rickey and his money head home without a ticket.

  6. When he was on the Yankees in the mid-1980s, Henderson told teammates that his condo had such a great view that he could see, “The Entire State Building.”

  7. During one of his stays with Oakland, Henderson’s locker was next to Billy Beane’s. After making the team out of spring training, Beane was sent to the minors after a few months. Upon his return, about six weeks later, Henderson looked at Beane and said, “Hey, man, where have you been? Haven’t seen you in awhile.”

  8. To this day and dating back 25 years, before every game he plays, Henderson stands completely naked in front of a full length locker room mirror and says, “Ricky’s the best,” for several minutes.

  9. In the last week of his lone season with the Red Sox, Chairman Tom Werner asked Henderson what he would like for his ‘going-away’ gift. Henderson said he wasn’t going anywhere, but he would like owner John Henry’s Mercedes. Werner said it would be tough to get the same make and model in less than a week and Henderson said, “No, I want his car.” Turns out the Sox got Henderson a Red Thunderbird and when he saw it on the field before the last game of the season, Rickey said, “Whose ugly car is on the field?”