Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Meet the Characters: Terry, Cynthia, and Craig "The Baseball Prodigy" Guggenbiller

Sega CD Summer is out! This is the second entry in my Meet the Characters Series

Obviously, Tommy isn't the only member of the Guggenbiller family featured in the book.

His parents are supporting characters, as is his older brother.

Terry Guggenbiller is the family's baseball-adoring patriarch. Tommy describes him as a "serious" man although he later concedes that, in retrospect, his father wasn't nearly as self-serious as he thought. Terry has an almost mystical connection to the sport of baseball.

He'll never hesitate to buy baseball equipment for his kids, no matter the cost.

A talented baseball player during his high school days, Terry probably had the tools to make it as a pro. A knee injury during his senior year ended his baseball career. Many in the town believe he could've made it to the big leagues.

As a baseball coach, Terry is observant and nurturing, although he can push his kids hard with a no-nonsense approach during batting practice. He has a tendency to buy all manner of strange baseball training items, most of them culled from the pages of Baseball Digest, and doesn't mind taking a training approach that's a little off the beaten path.

Outside of baseball, Terry spends much of his free time detailing his family's cars, including his beloved blue 1992 Buick Century. He loves going to the movies.

He's detail-oriented and soft-spoken. Those who don't know him well may even describe him as shy. He can't really keep up with technology and doesn't understand the appeal of video games, which he often refers to as "those videos."

A firm believer in the old axiom that "practice makes perfect," he reminds his kids that the best hitters in baseball failed 70% of the time (as a .300 batting average is exceptional in Major League Baseball).

Cynthia Guggenbiller keeps the household (and youth league) running. A school teacher by trade, she has perfected both the "mom voice" and the "teacher voice."

She and Terry were childhood sweethearts who grew up in the same small town and stayed there to raise their family. Cynthia, described by Tommy as the "more boisterous" of his parents, went to college relatively late in life to get her education degree and teaching license.

Shrewd and intelligent with a sly sense of humor, she does not suffer fools. She has volunteered with the Williamsburg youth league for many years, often working the concession stand and keeping track of the league's finances. She's spent a lot of time over the years helping arrange league schedules and inventorying equipment.

Cynthia tries to keep up with the interests of her offspring, which means she has reluctantly acquired encyclopedic knowledge of things like video games, G.I. Joe, Star Wars, and Star Trek. She places a high value on reading but doesn't particularly care if her sons read Star Wars novels or nonfiction books about sports.

She does her level best to advocate for her sons, whether that means taking Tommy to some Star Trek-themed exhibit or making sure Craig gets a CD player for his "new" car.

A huge sports fan, Cynthia could probably host her own sports talk radio show. In family conversations, she often voices her disapproval of Tommy's youth league coach, Swearin' Sammy Reed. Privately, however, she understands Coach Reed and appreciates the amount of time he dedicates to his community.

Craig the Baseball Prodigy is the best pure baseball player Wayne County has seen since Terry Guggenbiller swung the lumber.

Four years older than Tommy, Craig is obsessed with sports, baseball in particular. A powerful hitter with a wickedly strong arm, the only knock on his game is his pedestrian footspeed. His bat tantalizes baseball scouts at all levels.

Now in high school and the recent recipient of a drivers license, Craig spends less time with his little brother and more time doing "cool" stuff with his newfound sense of four-wheel freedom. He will still, however, share a pizza with his little brother at their favorite spot, Clara's Pizza King in Richmond.

Craig has pretty much outgrown video games featuring spaceships or cartoon mascots, but he has a soft spot for sports video games. He clings to Sports Talk Baseball because the roster features several players from the 1990 World Champion Cincinnati Reds team. Highly competitive, he's no longer allowed to play against Tommy in sports video games because they will undoubtedly get into an argument.

He does enjoy playing cooperatively with Tommy in NHL '94 and Captain America and the Avengers.

Craig knows he's one of the area's best baseball players. He realizes his little brother looks up to him and sometimes finds it within himself to encourage Tommy's growth as a player. 

Somewhat sarcastic and often skeptical of his brother's various schemes, he'll still go to war with Tommy when circumstances call for it.