J.R. Westberg - AKA Whiskers - Sometimes known as JR - Real name is Jerald. He is a Champion. He entered the League in 2010 as the GM of the upstart Orioles who made a splash in their inaugural season and won it all the following year in 2011. On a team full of silly talent he often got overlooked by the talent scouts and league punditry. However a quick glance at his career .949 OPS tells another story. He can mash. Now the Orioles have divided for numerous purported reasons. Some involve Beardface wanting to bring in his bro. Some involve ego. Some involve too many cooks in the kitchen. Some involve a simple numbers game for the roster. Whatever the real reason, JR now has a chance to prove that he can win it all again without the Beard or Aqua. That would enshrine him in HRL lore…
JR is a 28 year old guy who grew up in Spring Lake Park MN. He went to UW Stout for 2 and then the U of M for the final 2. He has a degree in human physiology and now works as the top orthopaedic researcher at HCMC. He looks into better ways to treat severe extremity trauma – i.e. wounds suffered by soldiers in the trenches. He lives with his girlfriend Megan in Robbinsdale.
Much to your dismay Whiskers no longer officiates MMA bouts. However he is still in the game via his work training people in the arts of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He is willing to train you! He plays guitar in local rock band Semeron (new album en route). Many HRLers know it well. Suffice it to say he doesn’t have a lot of spare time – esp when you add in the HRL and Porter Field hijinx in which he partakes.
He was not a wiffle mainstay until high school when he, TJ, Beard, Aqua, Shants and other kids started skirmishing in TJ’s backyard on a regular basis – it kept them out of trouble and who knew it would someday lead to a future championship in the greatest waffle ball organization mankind has ever known. JR had been waiting to get in the league for over five years - but the patience finally paid off. Without further ado – a Championship edition of Side of Cheese:
SOC: Can you repeat?
The Nationals could, the Senators have a tougher road to haul, but I think it can be done.
SOC: Are you guys robots?
Our CPU’s are a neural net processor; a learning computer. But Skynet pre-sets the switch to read-only when we're sent out alone.
SOC: Favorite memory of the HRL so far?
The World Series against the Red Sox last year were some pretty epic games. My fondest memories though were probably Willie from the Yankees trying to fight all the Orioles a few years back, and Dirty Steve and K-Mart trying to tag-team some really drunk lady after last year’s all-star game. The same lady who spit on Vlade I believe. Her and K-Mart got married in Vegas a few weeks later Iheard.
SOC: Favorite MLB player growing up?
Ken Griffey Jr.
SOC: Toughest guy to pitch to in HRL?
Spoon showed up two years ago for a three game series against us? (or maybe last year, I can’t remember). In three games, I don’t think he swung and missed once. For current HRL’ers, the toughest guy I’ve personally faced is DJ(Shamwow close second).
SOC: Toughest pitcher to face in HRL?
Out of past pitchers, Trans-Am from the Dodgers. For the current pitchers, Seuss.
SOC: If you had to pick something to listen to for an hour...random reggae or randommodern country?
SOC: Do you fish? If so - last thing you caught
I occasionally fish. The last fish I caught was a Northern on Lake Bemidjii
SOC: Do you hunt? If so - last thing you killed
Last time I hunted was in high school. I shot a deer and it was a miserable experience. I shot a poor Doe and it started flopping around on the ground making these horrible noises. I was posting, so the rest of our hunting party was still walking though the woods so I was alone. The poor thing was in obvious pain, but I didn’t want to get too close so I tried to put it out of its misery from a distance. I was so nervous and shook-up that I couldn’t shoot straight, and shot 12 times - all misses. Eventually the thing bled out, and I bawled my eyes out. I’m not against hunting at all, but just a rotten first experience for me, and have never been back out since.
SOC: Favorite National?
I hate them all equally
SOC: Favorite Senator?
I love them all equally
SOC: Stranded on a deserted island for a year and you can pick 3 foods to have unlimited supplies of - they are?
Ice cream, cheeseburgers, and French fries.
SOC: Do you wipe standing, semi-standing or remaining seated?
Seated. Funny story about my good friend Matt (Titanic as someone from the HRL dubbed him, during our first winter meeting experience, he got so drunk he fell over) I lived with Matt during college, and he often pooped with the door open. It always grossed me out, and I pleaded with him to shut the door, but to no avail. I got sick of it one day and decided to implicate him in a pooping scandal. He was taking a crap when I walked by and immediately screamed to everyone in the house (we lived with 4 other guys), “Matt wipes standing up!” (he doesn’t). Matt got incredibly furious, and insisted that I take it back. The news of Matt wiping standing up spread from person to person and eventually our entire circle of friends, plus MANY MANY more, thought Matt wiped while standing, and still do to this day.
SOC: Favorite 3 bands of all time?
Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, Opeth.
SOC: Favorite 3 TV shows of all time?
Sopranos, Deadwood, Seinfeld.
SOC: Favorite 3 beverages?
Sprite, Oberon, milkshakes.
SOC: Best restaurant in town?
Red Stag Supper Club in Minneapolis.
SOC: Your go-to restaurant?
Pappa’s café in the Crystal, New Hope area. Cash only, and best pancakes I’ve ever had.
SOC: Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip?
SOC:Your favorite Dave?
SOC: Favorite type of Asian food?
The Sweet and Sour from Pei-Wei is fantastic.
SOC: Your favorite toy as a kid?
I had tons of little toy figures; army guys, monsters, warriors. I would set them up all over my room and stage huge mock battles. I eventually had to stop once I moved in with my girlfriend (last year). I do still play Xbox360 though, mnTwins07 HIT ME UP!
SOC: Favorite 3 movies of all time?
Saving Private Ryan, Braveheart, The Big Lebowski.
SOC: One thing you love that you wish you didn't?
SOC: One thing we don't know about you that would surprise us?
I lived in a haunted house growing up (TJ and I still have a video tape of some weird shit going down, it is called “the ghost video”). In addition to mundane things: lights flickering, toilets flushing, seeing things out of the corner of my eyes, I experienced three days of horrible hauntings brought on by bringing a rock home from a battlefield in Gettysburg (Beardface will claim bullshit, but it absolutely is not).
Long story short; for three days straight we had a clock fly off a wall, doors opening and closing, shoes flying down stairs, faucets turning on and off, cars malfunctioning. I mailed the rock back to Gettsyburg Nat’l Park and along with it a nice letter about how “bad I felt taking a piece of history” (NO MENTION OF GHOSTS)…everything stopped.
One week later I get a voicemail from the Park Ranger who thanked me for my letter, and said that he knows the REAL reason I sent the rock back, and that he has to make a special trip to the battlefield every week, to put rocks back on the ground that people had taken and mailed back. Creepy stuff.
SOC: Perfect Burger toppings are:
Guacamole, pepperjack cheese, chipotle sauce.
SOC: How many states have you been to?
North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maryland, Washington D.C., Texas, Tennessee, Missouri, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Oregon.
SOC: How many countries?
England, Scotland, Ireland.
SOC: Last book you read?
Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin
SOC: The Man is to Tugboat as Whiskers is to________:
SOC: Word association
Dense: Black Hole
Please: and Thank you
SOC: Best Semeron lyric:
That’s really tough. I’ve often maintained that Adam is the best lyricist I’ve everread (honestly, no hyperbole). I’ll offer up my personal favorites sections.
Cherry Blossoms (off the new album) –
“Oh life, come to call,
Oh how swiftly we run to fall,
Soft wind, carry, all blossoms back up to the tree “
Finley (didn’t make the cut on the new album) –
“Days are dipped in kerosene, a flash and they are gone”
Trees (new album) –
Maggie, one day we’ll be,
Free of their tyranny,
No more for fear of thee,
My people run and,
The bored and weary we,
Make up an enemy,
Maggie don’t wait up for me,
I’m off to fight a tree
Frank the Monster (off the first album) –
“There’s no fear of drowning, when you’re born for the gallows”
SOC: Worst Semeron lyric:
Bliss – “Indolence is ignorance, our only crime is bliss” – This crappy lyric, from a crappy song, didn’t even make the cut of the first album (which was horribly crappy); recipe for badness.
SOC: Rank your top 4 favorite sports to view:
Mixed Martial Arts, Baseball, Basketball, World Cup Soccer.
SOC: What is your dream job?
I’d love to be a historical tour guide in Europe. Just travel around to awesome places all day.
SOC: Favorite quote?
“The World is my country, and science is my religion.”
SOC: What inspires you?
Seeing other people’s creativity.
SOC: Give me 3 things on your bucket list?
1. Travel to Rome
2. Visit all the battlefields from the Normandy Invasion
3. Climb a really high mountain (not Everest high, but something close)
SOC: Fastest Orioles in order from Fastest to slowest:
Beardface, Aquaman, Shants, TJ, Whiskers
SOC: If you could redo one HRL nickname whose would you change and what would it be?
I would change TJ’s name. If JR didn’t work as a nickname, than TJ shouldn’t
either. I cant’ remember who came up with it, but I liked “Ball Boy”.
SOC: How many baseball stadiums have you been to?
I’m assuming we’re talking MLB here – 4: Metrodome, Target Field, Miller Park,
SOC: 3 things you would change about society?
I would love for the political system to get a complete overhaul, the system was originally based on giving a voice for the voiceless; but with the Internet as prevalent as it is, almost everyone can have a voice now (not saying that they should); the whole system just seems archaic and broken now. How to fix it, is a topic for another day.
It would be nice if people stopped worrying so much about what other people are doing, if it isn’t hurting you, or hurting someone else, why the fuss?
A little more general and esoteric, but I wish things were a little easier. We are only on the planet for a short amount of time, and the window of time where our bodies allow us to do what we want is even smaller. People work their tails off just to put food on the table, and miss out on so many things the world can offer.
Next thing you know, you’re 70 years old and life has passed you by.
SOC: How much do you sleep each night on average?
SOC: Favorite radio station and show/host?
I used to listen to 93x most of the time, but newer hard rock music is borderline unlistenable. Their weekend playlists are still pretty good though. I really like listening to Dan Barreiro on KFAN.