The offbeat side of the news - The Buffalo News

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The offbeat side of the news

Still tossing it around

When ESPN’s Bill Simmons and “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm discussed classic sports movies on a recent episode of Simmons’ podcast, they poked fun of actors who don’t make credible on-screen athletes.

“Remember Roy Hobbs’ son at the end of ‘The Natural?’ ” Simmons asked. “Like, really? He doesn’t even have a speaking role. You can’t get somebody who can throw a baseball? Yeah, it’s been a pet peeve of mine.”

He went uncredited, but that actor is Buffalo’s own Bob Rich III, who was 15 when he played the role of Ted Hobbs in the movie that was filmed here.

Now 46, Rich made a spirited defense of his youthful baseball prowess to Off Main Street.

“I threw it easy to him, ’cause I heard he was a Red Sox fan, and I figured he would either drop it or let the ball go between his legs,” Rich joked.

He explained some of the “magic of Hollywood.”

First, Rich and Robert Redford, his movie dad, weren’t actually playing catch in that climactic scene in a wheat field. Director Barry Levinson filmed each throwing to a crew member off-camera, then spliced the footage together.

On top of that, Rich was told to throw the ball at a weird angle, almost while jumping, as slowly as possible – all while smiling. “It wasn’t in regular motion,” he said. “It’s tough.”

He’s been getting grief for his film form for 30 years.

His daughter, Jenna, 17, once told him, “Dad, even I throw better than you.”

He warned his son, Eric, 11, “Do not throw the ball like your dad did, unless someone pays you to do it.”

Hard to swallow

So your company lost $3 billion in market value.

And it happened on the same day you picked Buffalo as one of your expansion sites.

Don’t blame our fine community.

The news this week that natural and organic grocer Whole Foods Market plans to come to Northtown Plaza in Amherst was met with cheers from local fans of the upscale chain.

But the company’s stock price dropped nearly 19 percent, “vaporizing more than $3 billion of the company’s market value,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Whole Foods’ expansion into new markets coincided with news that the company was reducing its sales and earnings outlook.

The company’s jump into smaller and poorer markets means that it “has had to lower the traditionally high prices and profit margins that earned it the moniker ‘whole paycheck,’ ” the Journal reported.

Whole Foods has long been successful in upscale neighborhoods in major cities but also opened stores in Detroit and Idaho.

So not only does the chain come to Buffalo late, now it has a lot of wheat grass, goat-milk cheese and quinoa to sell to boost its market value.

We recommend a lot of coupons.

Gone but forgotten

Mary Ann Krupsak. Al DelBello. Mary Donohue.

If you’re a student of New York history, you know those are the names of past lieutenant governors, all of which left the post after one term, like Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy plans to do.

Some make headlines after they leave, as Mario Cuomo did. He was elected governor at the end of his term as Hugh Carey’s lieutenant governor.

But others are not heard from again. Which makes us wonder, who would want this job? Traveling from Niagara Falls to Montauk at a moment’s notice, always being a disappointment to whomever had expected the governor instead.

And say you take the job, you might not even be able to go out gracefully.

Friday, the Daily News editorialized on the way a Cuomo administration spokesman wrongly berated members of the Rochester media for going with a story that Duffy was leaving, saying it was untrue, when in fact, it was true.

Thankless, indeed.

Written by Jill Terreri, with a contribution from Stephen T. Watson.


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