|COKE-FLAVORED SLURPEES: YUM|
|I'M WIRED FOR THE START OF THE SEASON.|
The 7-Eleven Slurpee cups are the only collectibles I saved from my youth. I remember riding my bike to our local 7-Eleven during stifling Florida summers in the early 1970s to grab a Slurpee and, more importantly, get a new cup. An older guy working the counter would go through the cups in the dispenser, asking which player I wanted. I'm going to recreate the experience by taking a cup to the local 7-Eleven and getting a Slurpee before a TV game now and again. For tonight's season-opener, I thought Cesar Cedeno was an appropriate choice with the Astros making their American League debut against the Rangers.
This cup was in dispensers in 1973, when Cedeno was 22 and in the middle of an outstanding three-year run from '72-'74, when he averaged 24 homers, 85 RBI, 56 steals and batted .302. He also won five consecutive Gold Gloves in center field.
At one point, fans called the Astrodome "Cesar's Palace.''
After the '73 season, Cedeno was involved in an incident back home in the Dominican Republic with his mistress. The woman was shot and killed and Cedeno was charged with involuntary manslaughter. He spent only 20 days in jail. No, really, 20 days.
Cedeno was never the same. He was heckled by fans, and changed his approach at the plate, trying to hit for more power. He never again showed the promise of his early-season numbers, especially when the Astrodome fences were moved back and he began battling constant leg injuries, no doubt exacerbated by that cement field.
You could say he is cautionary tale for Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, of which so much is expected in this coming season.