C.J.: 'Kirby' play struck out with Tonya Puckett

  • Article by: C.J. , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 17, 2007 - 3:02 PM

Kirby Puckett's children didn't get to see the History Theatre's play about their father, the Twins Hall of Famer. That surprised some people.

"I had media and other people asking me about the play. I had Puckett scholars contacting me, telling me they planned on seeing it, I must be very proud and was I going to take the children?" Tonya Puckett, Kirby's ex, told me. "People thought naturally I would have known about it, which I didn't. ... And then my daughter was coming home saying she had a lot of friends whose parents were going to take them to the play."

Then Tonya heard from friends who had seen the play that it was a less-than-flattering look at Kirby Puckett's life.

"I felt like I have two children, Catherine and Kirby, and they are Kirby's children, so if it is not something positive about their father, there really is no reason why I would go and see the play, take my children to see the play," she said. "Any thing that's done I feel should be something positive. People should try to remember the wonderful things he did. There were a million. Focus on that, because that's what we're doing. We've continued to be involved in a lot of wonderful organizations that support their [father's memory] in a wonderful way.

"I wish people would stop dragging up negative things. That story could have been done [well had they] kept it more baseball."

She was astonished and just plain put off to hear from friends that someone portrayed her in the play. "The whole thing was fabricated," as far as Tonya is concerned. "People can pull little quotes out of a paper, but they don't know me. So you could not create a part that would tell you who I am as a person, even to play a four-sentence role."

The play didn't get a very good review from the Strib's Graydon Royce. There were several problems with the play, Royce told me, including this: "Kirby fascinated us because he was so wonderful to watch as a baseball player. But it's hard to put a real baseball game on a stage."

I didn't see the play and was repelled, in part, by the lead actor looking nothing like Kirby, in this day of mind-warping prosthetics and makeup. From what I've heard, I personally know much more interesting factual stories about Puck than were in the script.

Stray Cat on CBS

Nye's Polonaise Room was the backdrop for a recent CBS "Sunday Morning" interview with Brian Setzer scheduled to air, maybe, in December, a manager told me. Setzer of Stray Cats fame is a regular at Nye's.

Toobin at MABL

"Just a run-of-the-mill guy" is how Blackwell Burke attorney Dionne Hayes described CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

It's really no surprise that Toobin required no special handling in preparation for his Saturday night speaking engagement before the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers (MABL), a gala for the organization's scholarship foundation.

Toobin is author of "The Nine: The Secret World of the Supreme Court," which is getting good reviews. However, if you only have time to read something shorter from Toobin, make it "UNFORGIVEN: Why is Clarence Thomas so angry?" in the Nov. 12 New Yorker magazine.

After reading it in the company of a source, I wondered aloud if someday Americans would find out that Thomas was off his rocker the whole time he was a Supreme. "Don't we already know that?" the source said.

MABL really needs the funds Toobin will bring in; it's just plain aggravating to see most major Twin Cities law firms sending out prospectuses with few or no faces of any color among the photos of attorneys on staff. To prove the point, some blog should make itself useful by featuring the embarrassingly snowy holiday cards soon to be sent out by area law firms.

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