One Pack. No Turning Back.
Deleted Scenes, 7.14.17
With all the interviews and thousands of pages of research that go into writing a book, there's no way in hell that I'll be able to fit all of it into the finished book. So why not share some of that material here, the book version of a DVD's Deleted Scenes?
The first Wax Packer, Rance Mulliniks, was a fixture on the 1980s Toronto Blue Jays. A reliable utility player who should have co-starred with Garth Iorg in Platoon, Rance had a career year in 1987 when he hit .310 with a .371 OBP in 124 games. The Jays were in the pennant race down the stretch, up 3.5 games over the Tigers with only 7 games to play. They dropped all 7 and lost the division.
During the beginning of my 2015 road trip, I spent a couple of days with Rance retracing his childhood in California's Central Valley. We grilled at his house, he gave me a hitting lesson at his baseball academy, and I broke bread with his mother at Denny's. During our time, he shared lots of old war stories about his glory days with the Jays. This story was in response to my question about his relationship with the Toronto press:
Rance: “In 1987, we win 3 out of 4 the next to last weekend of the season against Detroit to go up three-and-a-half games. I’ve had a good series, and I’m standing at my locker after we had lost in extra innings, and there have got to be 15 members of the media standing around. They said ‘How do you feel about winning 3 out of 4?’ I said ‘Well, if you don’t appreciate winning 3 out of 4 from the Detroit Tigers at this point in the season, you don’t like big tits.’ They all crack up laughing. There were no ladies there. Then I said ‘Now you guys know you can’t write that. I’m just joking.’
So I’m staying in this high-rise structure [in Toronto], and the next morning I get up and go downstairs to get a paper, and the concierge stops me and goes, ‘Mr. Mulliniks, excuse me sir, do you mind if I ask you a question? I would just like to ask you what exactly it is that you said.’ I said ‘What are you talking about?’ He goes ‘Obviously sir you haven’t read the paper this morning.’ I said no. He said ‘The Toronto Star wrote it, ‘if you don’t like 3 out of 4 at this point in the season you don’t like big tits.’ Another guy named Larry Milson in another paper, he wrote it ‘If you don’t like 3 out of 4, you don’t like ice cream.’”
The game has changed since Rance's time, and so has the media's relationship with players. Back in those days, the press was much more embedded with teams, even traveling on team charters. They had more access, and therefore were given more responsibility to not break the trust the players put in them. Players opened up more, confident that the beat writers had their best interest in mind and would protect them. And now you know the next time you see "ice cream" in print, you'll give it a second thought.