Monday, July 31, 2006
D-Day Is Here
Tha Yankees traded for both Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle yesterday from the Phillies. Count me in the category of people who don't think the sky is falling because the Yankees did this. If the Yankees had landed Jason Schmidt or John Smoltz, I would be very unhappy about that. Abreu is having an off-year, with only 8 HRs and a .277 BA. He does improve the outfield defense, and the short porch in right will help him. Lidle is a hot-and-cold pitcher. He can eat up innings and is a definite upgrade over Sidney Ponson (any warm body is an upgrade over him).
I love the way the New York media is congratulating the Yankees for their "steal" of a trade. (Pass the barf bag, please.) They made a good trade, and didn't have to give up their prized prospect Philip Hughes to do it. They sent four minor leaguers, none of which is looked upon as any big deal down the road (three are at Single A right now). The Phillies were just looking to dump Abreu and Lidle's contracts and did it. Originally they wanted players like Hughes, Melky Cabrera, and Scott Proctor, but the Yankees waited them out. It also tells me a number of other things.
I don't think any other team, including the Red Sox, were serious bidders for Abreu, especially since that was the best the Phillies could do in terms of return (I think they were more happy just to get rid of Abreu and his contract more than anything else). They got the Yankees number one pick from 2005, SS C.J. Henry in the trade. His stock has fallen since he was drafted. What does this trade tell you about the Yankees farm system also? It tells me that they still have one of the worst systems in baseball. Their drafts over the last five years have been absymal. I still believe that this team will collapse one day due to their barren farm system. It's not a matter of "if," but "when." Count on it.
It's about 12:30 PM as I write this, I heard all different kinds of rumors about the Red Sox. I've heard trades involving Jon Lester, Mike Lowell, Coco Crisp and Mark Loretta. There's a lot of false rumors and fiction out there. On this day, I don't believe anything until I see it confirmed on ESPNews or some place like that. Trot Nixon may have suffered a serious bicep injury last night, so that will further complicate matters today. I'd love to see them add another starting pitcher or veteran pitcher in the pen. David Wells makes his return tonight, and a good outing from him will calm down a nervous fan base.
In four hours, the deadline will arrive and be gone. Stay tuned...
Sunday, July 30, 2006
I Love Days Like This
The Mets hammer the Braves in Atlanta, 10-3. The Mets now lead by an astounding 13 games, and the Braves continue to do their fade from any postseason berth. (Do you think your Braves can still catch the Mets, Jeff Francoeur?)
The Yankees get their heads handed to them at home by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 19-6, behind yet another stellar performance by the Big Unit.
The Red Sox come from 6-3 down in the eighth on a homer by David Ortiz and a two-run double by Mike Lowell. Big Papi wins it in the eleventh, 7-6, on a single to left, beating the shift. And Manny Ramirez threw a runner out at the plate earlier in the inning to keep it tied.
One of the those pleasurable summer afternoons that makes me glad to be alive.
Big Papi continues to truly amaze. But then again, he does it so often that when he DOESN'T come through it seems unusual. It was his 11th "walkoff" hit in his Red Sox career yesterday, and the fourth this season. Those 11 hits ties the MLB record for a four-year span. He now leads the major leagues in HRs (35) and RBI (99).
So what BS excuse will those moronic writers come up with to avoid giving him the AL MVP this time? Anyone of them that continues to insist that a DH can't win the MVP should have their heads examined. It's part of the rules of the road in the AL since 1973.
They should get over it. NO ONE in the AL has been more clutch or valuable than Big Papi in 2006.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Now The Clock Is Really Ticking
My thanks to Peter from Connecticut for letting us now about the site. I picked green, as Peter took red. I can't imagine why he selected that color....
Friday, July 28, 2006
A Day In The Life Of Doug Mirabelli
Doug Mirabelli's Day
9:00 Shakes off the cobwebs and gets out of bed.
9:01 Lets out a blistering fart and takes 90 second piss on his hands, farts 5 more times.
9:03 Drinks three raw eggs Rocky Balboa style and opens the fridge.
9:05 Takes out leftovers from the Kowloon Pupu Platter for three he picked up last night.
9:15 Grunts at his wife and gives his kids 20 bucks each to leave him alone.
9:17 Takes a dump.
9:22 Sings Van Halen in the shower.
9:25 Shaves and leaves his goatee.
9:30 Takes 35 vicious cuts with his bat naked in front of the mirror, screams out loud "Dougie is going deep tonight!"
9:45 Puts on his cowboy boots and tight jeans and tank-top and gets ready to leave.
9:50 Grunts at his wife and kids and tells them he'll see them tomorrow.
9:57 Pulls onto Route 1 with Led Zeppelin blaring, cuts three people off, gives the finger to all three people.
10:15 Pulls into Fenway Park, tells clubhouse parking attendant to make sure he blocks Nomar in.
10:16 Puts the kid in a headlock and threatens the kid and his family's life if there is one scratch on his truck.
10:22 Walks into clubhouse and calls Nomar a homo for the first time today and 350th time this month, asks Nomar if he misses his boyfriend Lou Merloni.
10:27 Takes another dump, leaves door open and yells at anyone who walks by.
10:30 Gives Nomar a dead leg and calls him a homo.
10:33 Stuffs Derek Lowe in a locker and pisses on him.
10:37 Goes through a 10 minute hand shake with his boy Tim Wakefield.
10:45 Takes Pokey's headphones off and steps on them, says until he is hitting .250, no music.
10:50 Francona walks by and Dougie cuts him off and says "Is Dougie DHing the first game?"
10:51 Francona runs and hides behind Schilling.
10:55 Dougie tells Trot if he played 162 Games his numbers would look like this: .375 average, 72 HRs, 52 Doubles, 9 Singles, 6 Walks, 220 K'S.
11:17 Writes back response to fan's letter: "Hey P***y, I don't wear batting gloves because they are for p**sies like your boyfriend Nomar."
11:30 Walks out to batting practice with a tank-top on.
11:45 After no stretching steps into the cage, ignores the five bunts standard procedure.
11:47 Takes 25 cuts, hits 17 over the monster and misses the other 8.
11:48 Calls the batting practice pitcher a homo and tells him to go bang Nomar for mixing in a curveball after Dougie hit one onto the pike.
11:55 Tackles Nomar and gives him wedgie, calls him a pickle smoker.
12:00 Dougie's daily order of Double Chicken Parm from Joe Tecci's arrives.
12:07 Dougie finishes Chicken Parm and pours the rest of his sauce into Nomar's locker.
12:15 Tito posts lineup, Dougie sees he is not the DH, calls Francona a p***y. Francona runs behind Schilling.
12:25 Dougie gets naked and takes 25 swings in front of the clubhouse mirror, announcing "Dougie is going deep tonight!"
12:45 Takes yet another dump, uses Nomar's $350 silk shirt to wipe his a**.
1:05 Game starts, Dougie tells Francona he is not going to the bullpen to warm up pitchers. Francona hides behind Schilling.
1:25 Dougie announces he is ready to pinch hit in the bottom of the first for Nomar.
1:45 Abe Alvarez comes in, Dougie tells him he sucks and will back at Portland (AA Eastern League) by 7 tonight.
1:55 Dougie's four Fenway Franks arrive, pays with Nomar's credit card.
2:15 Finishes shopping with Nomar’s credit card, maxed it out at Auto Zone.
2:30 Dozes off.
3:30 Sees they are losing and goes back to the dugout and tells whole team they suck except for him and Wakefield.
3:33 Announces himself ready to pinch hit.
4:30 Sox lose game, Dougie tells Francona he should have DH'ed him, Francona runs away.
5:00 Dougie tells Nomar singles are for p**sies.
5:30 Dougie takes batting practice again, refuses to bunt.
5:33 Dougie hit 22 pitches over the wall: 11 fair, 11 foul, all pulled, he missed 15 pitches.
6:00 Dougie see’s name in lineup, calls Francona a p***y for batting him 8th. Francona hides behind Schilling.
6:05 Dougie demands to bat cleanup.
6:25 Announces that Dougie is going deep tonight.
6:30 Dinner arrives, two steaks from the Capital Grille. Dougie pours steak juice into Nomar's locker, makes Derek Lowe eat the fat.
6:35 Dougie gives D-Lowe an atomic wedgie.
7:00 Tells Wakefield to show some balls tonight and don't throw anything in the dirt.
7:10 Scoreless first. Dougie tells Francona it must be the catching.
7:25 Dougie tells fans in on deck circle he is going deep.
7:27 Dougie screams at pitcher, tells him he is a p***y and he is taking him deep.
7:30 Dougie hits bomb off the wall, coasts into second. Almost gets thrown out.
7:31 Tells pitcher his fastball sucks. Tells shortstop and second baseman that he didn't get all of it.
8:15 Dougie ropes a rocket to third, third baseman takes all day and still turns a double play on Dougie.
8:16 Fans boo Dougie.
8:17 Dougie tells family of four to @#%$ off and steals some kid's hot dog on way to dugout.
8:18 Dougie is tired and is happy he hit into a double play, as he did not want to run the bases anymore.
9:10 Dougie strikes out on inside pitch after crushing 4 foul home runs. Calls pitcher/catcher/ump all p**sies.
9:30 9th inning. Dougie is exhausted. Walks out to the mound and calls Embree a p***y and tells him to just bring the heat. Dougie wants to get home.
9:50 Dougie showers and walks around the clubhouse naked. Tells the Globe's Dan Shaughnessy and Gordon Edes to bl*w him.
9:55 Dougie shaves and leaves a goatee.
10:00 Knocks Nomar off his exercise bike. Calls him a homo singles hitter and leaves clubhouse.
10:10 Cuts off 4 Red Sox fans. Gives the bird to everyone near him.
10:25 Arrives at Kowloon Chinese Restaurant on Route 1.
10:45 Sits down at bar and digs into his pupu platter for three.
12:00 Stumbles home and parks truck on the front lawn, goes for a dip in his above ground pool.
12:10 Leaves tighty whiteys on his neighbor’s windshield.
12:15 Walks into house naked and screams "who saw the bomb I hit tonight???"
12:30 Wakes up the whole neighborhood.
12:45 Takes 35 swings naked and orders porn.
12:55 Pulls out bucket of KFC and gets ready for the movie.
1:15 Dougie passes out on couch.
So now whenever Mirabelli comes up for the Red Sox, those immortal words stick in my head:
"Dougie's Goin' Deep Tonight!!"
The Clock Is Ticking
The Red Sox could use another arm in the bullpen, and are of course, looking at another starting pitcher as well. Rumors about a trade with the Phillies for Jon Lieber or Cory Lidle don't sound possible unless the Phillies come down from the ridiculous requests for either Craig Hansen or Jon Lester. Those two pitchers are simply untouchable, and certainly not for marginal guys like Lieber or Lidle. There were also rumors of a possible Mike Lowell-for-Jake Peavy swap. The Padres aren't going to trade a 25-year-old stud pitcher like Peavy, despite the fact he is having a rather rocky year. The Red Sox may also be content for the return of David Wells next week, but with his age, not to mention girth, counting on him may be very problematic. They traded away Bronson Arroyo during spring training, thinking they had enough starting pitching (and NO ONE ever does).
At this time of year, the rumors get silly, even downright stupid.
The Mets could use another starter as well, but maybe waiting for Brian Bannister to return from his hamstring injury. The emergence of John Maine over the last couple of starts may make the Mets let the deadline pass without adding anyone.
The Bobby Abreu-to-the Yankees rumors seemed to have cooled considerably. The Phillies would love to dump his huge contract, but I hear the Yankees have soured on Abreu's work ethic, and maybe content to wait for Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui to return in September. They would be better advised to worry about their pitching anyway. They ain't gonna win any pennants with Sidney Ponson in their rotation.
Well, stay tuned for what happens over the next three days. The biggest name who figures to be traded, Alfonso Soriano, is still with the Nationals, and the deal supposedly sending him to the White Sox has hit a glitch. (With the way their pitching has fallen apart, they might be better served to worry about that instead.)
Rumors are a dime a dozen now, so don't believe 99% of what you hear.
The other 1%? Well....you never know.
Who's The New Stache King?
With Sal Fasano having given up his title as having the best "Porn Stache" among baseball players, I have two nominees for the title. The Mets' Jose Valentin and the Tigers' Todd Jones are my early favorites.
I personally would have to give the nod to Jones. His is very similar to Fasano's, but Valentin has that cool "pencil-thin" one that a little classier than Jones'. A tough choice indeed.
Anyway, if anyone has any other baseball players they'd like to nominate, please leave it in my comments section.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Death Of A "Porn Stache"
But not the kind of throwback you'd think of. He had one of the best moustaches in sports, a retro-'70s, "porn stache."(For those not understanding what that is: "porn stache" is a slang term meaning a moustache like the ones made famous by the porno stars of the 1970s.) Fasano was never a great player, as he's bounced around to many teams over his career. But he gained a cult following in Philadelphia, as his moustache and long hair, combined with his "everyman" persona, clicked with the Phillies fans. A group of Philadelphia fans formed "Sal's Pals," and wore fake handlebar moustaches and put up a big banner at Citizens Bank Park for him. Sal was so touched by their support that he once sent the group of fans free pizzas during a game.
But once Mike Lieberthal returned from the DL, Fasano's days in Philly were numbered. His first game with the Yankees was last night in Texas, and the "handlebars" in his moustache were gone (although the rest of his stash was still intact). The Yankees have that rule about facial hair, and won't allow the type of moustache that gained Fasano popularity in Philadelphia. He also had to cut his hair, as it was way too long for the Yankees and their corporate, stuffed-shirt image.
I would guess the picture above with the Yankees hat is one of those "ESPN" creations. It is clearly a picture of Fasano when he was on the Phillies, with the Yankees hat and uniform superimposed on him. (Note: I found this far better picture and used it instead of the two blurry ones I used last night.)
I'd wish Sal all the best, but you know where his new address is. I guess the Phillies fans will have to find a new cult figure to latch on to.
Walking In Their Sleep
The lead in the AL East is now down to 1 1/2, as the Texas Rangers once again laid down like dogs to the Yankees in Arlington. A great comeback by Texas in the eighth wasn't enough as Jason Giambi hit a two-run homer in the ninth to win it. They've now lost seven straight at home to New York. Thanks a whole bunch, guys.
The highlight yesterday was at my favorite New York pub, when my pal Eric brought Sheila Papelbon to the bar. That last name may sound familiar. She is the mother of Jonathan Papelbon, the best closer in baseball. I met her, and she's a really nice lady. She and Eric work in the same company, and she works down South. Eric had shown her the New York Magazine article about the "kayreoke" night, the one in which I made a comment about her son. ("If Jonathan Papelbon ran for governor of Massachusetts, he would probably win.") She told me she found it rather funny.
We talked about a number of things regarding her son and the Red Sox, and Jonathan sounds like as nice a person as she is. She, of course, is a big Red Sox fan and was wearing a Sox jersey with her son's name and number on it. It was fun to hear from her about Jonathan's take on stardom with the Red Sox, and that he's handling it very well. She asked me about how I became a Red Sox fan living in New York. I told her about my parents being Brooklyn Dodgers/Mets fans and Yankee haters, and how that runs in my family. Sheila was truly amazed at the number of Red Sox fans here in New York City, and loved the fact that there was a bar (actually several) that caters to Sox fans here. We hope to see her back later this year, hopefully at a time when the Red Sox are wrapping up the AL East title.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
ESPN Fires Reynolds
Reynolds has generally had a good reputation as a player and a broadcaster and is known as a devout Christian. He has pleaded his innocence and believes he will get his position back at the network. He may be fighting an uphill battle at ESPN, as the network is known to be bananas about their sexual harrassment rules.
I always enjoyed his take on baseball when he first started on Baseball Tonight, but in the last few years, Reynolds came off way too much like a Yankee fan for my taste. Back during the 2004 ALCS, he picked the Yankees to win that series because "of the rings, and the pinstripes," which absolutely horrified Peter Gammons. Too often Reynolds sounded to me like he was angling for a gig at the YES Network.
However, he does deserve to tell his side of the story and defend himself. We'll see how all this plays out.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Thanks For Everything, Bill
Bill Mueller hit a long drive to right that landed in the Red Sox bullpen and gave the Red Sox the win, 11-10. It is generally credited to being the turn-around of the Red Sox 2004 season (but in reality it came later in August). Whenever I hear Joe Castiglione's call of the Mueller blast it still sends shivers down my spine.
When I saw that the date yesterday was July 24, I immediately thought of that blast that set off a frenzy at Fenway during that magical season.
And of course, who could forget the other huge hit he got off the so-called "Greatest Closer In History" in ninth inning of Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS? I'll never forget that line shot he hit back through the middle past a sprawling Rivera to score Dave Roberts to tie up Game 4.
Memories I'll treasure the rest of my life.
Now comes word that the 2006 season appears to be over for our old friend Bill, now with the Dodgers. He had yet another surgery on his bad right knee, and he's been told by doctors that the cartilage in the knee is so bad, with so little of it left, that it cannot take another major surgery.
Bill Mueller may have played his final game in big-league uniform, and that really is a shame.
He's an absolute professional player. He's a terrific defensive player and well as a great clutch hitter. He plays the game the right way and always carried himself with class. I was sorry to see him leave the Red Sox, and I was pulling for him to succeed in Los Angeles.
If this is the end, I wish Bill Mueller and his family all the best. Thanks for being "One of the 25", Billy. We'll never forget what you did to bring a championship to Boston.
For me, July 24th will forever be "The Day Bill Mueller Hit That Huge Home Run To Beat The Yankees."
Trivia Night Controversy
I asked, "Who was the goddess of love in Greek mythology?" I had the answer as "Venus," but as it turns out the answer is actually "Aphrodite." (I know very little about Greek or Roman mythology, but it sounded like a good question to use.) Just about all of the 10 teams involved in the contest last said Aphrodite, but I figured they all got it wrong. (That should have triggered something in my head, but didn't.) As soon as I said "Venus," a few of the bar patrons went absolutely bananas and some shouting went on, and three of them ran up to my station and protested the answer. From the shouts and the looks in their eyes, I figured they were right and I was wrong, so I threw the question out and gave everyone one point extra (as just about everyone had that as an answer, it ended the protests).
As all this was going on, my buddy Jim the bartender grabbed a cricket bat that adorns the wall behind the bar and started walking towards me, as he thought the whole thing might erupt into real trouble. (It didn't, as no one was threatening me with physical violence). Jim later said to me he was covering my back "just in case," and my friends Rhonda, Ruth and Jason, who were closest to me at the bar, said they would have jumped up to my defense had it gotten ugly as well. (It's nice to have friends, especially ones carrying cricket bats.)
I was a little bit shaken after all this went on. I was thinking after it happened that I felt like an umpire who has made a controversial call and one team is going crazy over it, giving him all kinds of abuse. I now have a new appreciation of what they go through, even if it's on a rather small scale. (Thankfully, the world wasn't watching the trivia contest on TV last night.)
The controversy didn't alter the outcome of the contest, as the winning team won easily, and by six points.
This morning, I went to the web site that I got the question from, to see who's fault that whole mess was. I went to ukwebstart.com, which is actually a pretty good site with a lot of good general knowledge questions. As it turns out, I have been exonerated, as it was the site's screwup. I wrote the question and answer they had down correctly. They had two consecutive questions, with their answers:
"Who was the goddess of love in Roman Myth?" "Aphrodite.
"Who was the goddess of love in Greek Myth?" Venus.
I did a quick Google check to be sure, and their answers are mixed up.
I'll have to check these questions and answers a little more carefully next week.
And I hope Jim never has to use that cricket bat in my defense.
Monday, July 24, 2006
Post Number 200
This past week I have gotten about 15 different people find my blog through search engines (such as Google, MSN and Yahoo) about a couple of almost throwaway lines I wrote about Alex Rodriguez and the bare-chested photos in Central Park last week. And they've been from all over the United States. It's amazing the way things work sometimes.
I'll be writing my Trivia Night questions today, and of course, if you're in Manhattan, stop by Professor Thom's for a fun night of questions and answers, along with the Red Sox-A's late game. I will also be writing another edition of "50 Things About Me" later this week.
Now, what shall I let the whole world know about me? Hmmm...
A Correction To My Faulty Memory
I guess the libations I had at my friends' birthdays on Friday night took their toll on my recollections of Friday night's contest.
I sure won't let that happen again.
Or will I?
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Late Day Ugliness
Jason Varitek hit a monster homer off J.J. (The Putz) Putz to get the game tied at 8 again in the ninth. But Richie Sexson won it with a leadoff home run off Mike Timlin to give Seattle the win.
Bad loss. Some lousy plays in the field the last two days cost the Sox this weekend. The Yankees get slaughtered in Toronto today and the Red Sox can't take advantage of it.
It's still a 2 1/2 game lead. Now it's off to Oakland to make the A's pay for what they did last weekend.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
An Astute Observation
"I am now convinced that Alex Rodriguez is responsible for global warming."
Funny, I was absolutely convinced that A-Rod was responsible for the sinking of the Titanic.
Homers Aplenty At Safeco
The Yankees lost again in Toronto, 7-3, so that now puts the first place Red Sox 3 1/2 games up on New York. They better watch out, as they are only a half-game ahead of the Blue Jays.
I watched the game at Professor Thom's as my friends Gareth and Kim were jointly celebrating their birthdays, which are very close to each other. Fun was had by all as the Sox led from start to finish, as Big Papi got it started with a first inning home run. The only negative on the night was Craig Hansen allowed two runs in his second inning of work. Hansen more and more looks like just a one inning pitcher. He was sharp in the sixth, getting the Mariners 1-2-3, but he struggled as soon as he began the seventh.
Good news as David Wells pitched a strong 50-pitch bullpen session before the game, and he's scheduled to pitch another in Oakland on Monday. He is on schedule to return against either Cleveland or Kansas City earlier next month. It will be interesting to see if Theo Epstein goes out and gets another starter by July 31. I think he would be wise to do so, as you can't count on Wells right now. They counted on his return in April, so much so they traded Bronson Arroyo to Cincinnati.
Friday, July 21, 2006
I also saw trailers during both the Mets and Yankees games that night (those games were on different TVs in the bar). I don't believe I've seen them since.
When I heard Stone was making a film about that horrific day, I immediately thought it might be a "government conspiracy" type of film. But it is the true story of the rescue of two Port Authority police officers who were trapped in the rubble for hours after one of the tower's collapse.
Both rescued officers cooperated with the film, along with many of their rescuers. I also heard that Nicolas Cage plays one of the rescued officers, and I've always liked his work. I basically decided to reserve judgment until I knew more about it.
Back in April I saw "United 93," about the heroes of that flight that crashed in Pennsylvania. It was a scary film, but definitely worth seeing. I wasn't sure about seeing that film at first, but I was invited to a screening with many 9/11 family and friends, and I was glad I went. The trailer for "World Trade Center" was also a bit unnerving on the night I first saw it.
As time progressed, I have been thinking about seeing it. This week I read that many police and firefighters have seen the Stone movie and it generally got high praise from them for his accuracy in telling the officers' real-life story. A close friend of mine who also suffered terribly due to the 9/11 attacks has said to me that she may want to go see it. I have heard that victims' family members will be invited to a screening before it's released, so I hope perhaps we can go then.
The fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks is now just 52 days away, and as we get closer, the 9/11 specials will be popping up again. The weeks leading up to each anniversary are a difficult time for me to get through each year, as the painful reminders of that terrible day begin to show up everywhere. (Of course it is a good thing we remember what happened, and not forget those brave souls we lost that day.)
I heard today that ABC is showing a six-hour miniseries called "The Path To 9/11," which will be shown over two nights on September 10 and 11. It is based on a number of discoveries made through The 9/11 Commission Report. It being so close to (and on) the anniversary, I will probably pass on it. But I will be seeing the reviews it gets, along with the Oliver Stone film.
As the years and anniversaries pass, there will be more and more stories told about the events of September 11, 2001 through all different types of media. I just hope we never forget first and foremost that nearly 3000 brave and courageous souls we loved were lost forever on that day.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
I was at KeySpan on Wednesday night, and saw the Cyclones lose to the Tigers, 6-0. It would have been something if I had been at this one. I've been to a few extra-inning games there, the longest being 15 innings last season (and the Cyclones won that one).
Here's the rest of the game summary, courtesy of the Cyclones web site:
Oneonta Tigers........ 000 100 000 000 000 000 000 000 05 - 6 20 2
Brooklyn Cyclones... 100 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 00 - 1 14 5
Time of Game: 6:40
Brooklyn and Oneonta played the longest game in league history – 26 innings – on Thursday, with the Cyclones eventually losing 6-1 in six hours and 40 minutes.
The Tigers finally plated runs in the top of the 26th, when, after the Brooklyn pitching staff had been depleted, outfielder Mark Wright was called into duty on the mound. The outfielder tossed a scoreless 25th inning, before finally allowing five runs (three earned) in the final 26th frame.
9,004 fans attended the game, which was a “Kids Camp Day” that started at noon. Nearly seven hours later, almost 200 fans stayed till the very end. Cyclones manager George Greer was forced to watch almost the entire game from the clubhouse, as he was ejected in the bottom of the first inning, after arguing a force play at second base.
Brooklyn starter Eric Brown made his second start of the season for the Cyclones and tossed seven strong innings while allowing only five hits and a run. Earlier this season, Brown started a game for Hagerstown (A) of the South Atlantic League that went 22 innings.
Both bullpens matched the intensity of the starters. After Brown, Joe Smith (2 innings), Jeremy Mizell (2), Jonathan Castillo (5), Rip Warren (4) and Grady Hinchman (2) threw scoreless innings.
Oneonta’s bullpen gave Brooklyn multiple base runners and opportunities, but their eight pitchers all tossed scoreless innings as Randon Bierd (1-0) got the win after throwing the last two innings.
Manny Ramirez hit a homer in the Monster seats (see photo) in the fourth inning, and that's all the offense the Red Sox needed. Beckett was tremendous, allowing just four hits in eight innings. Jonathan Papelbon notched his 29th save to give the Red Sox a sweep over Kansas City.
All the news wasn't good yesterday, as it was revealed that Tim Wakefield has a stress fracture in his ribs, and will likely miss at least 3 weeks. So, this puts Theo Epstein in a tough spot, as it appears to me that the Sox will have to go out and get a starter to eat up some innings. Theo has promised that he will not mortgage the future to pick up a pitcher. We'll see what he does.
David Wells is making good progress, and will join the Red Sox on their West Coast swing starting this weekend. He may still be at least two weeks away. The Red Sox will start AAA pitcher Kason Gabbard against Seattle on Saturday in Wakefield's place.
Don't You Love This?
And of course, the Yankees were screaming bloody murder after the game that they were robbed. Alex Rodriguez said this: "That was the most ridiculous call I've ever seen," Rodriguez said of the time-out. "That's a brutal call, terrible. It changed the whole scenario, all the momentum." (Right A-Rod. The Yankees momentum was totally lost because Phillips was on second and not third with nobody out. Don't bother mentioning your teammates who left couldn't get a clutch hit the rest of the inning.)
So where was A-Rod on Tuesday night, when ump Mike Reilly practically handed the Yankees a half-assed victory on a totally blown call? (Probably out looking for another nice place to sun his bare chest I imagine.)
The universe has a funny way of evening things out sometimes.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
The Quote Of The Century
"...what a hit by the greatest clutch hitter in the history of sports, Derek Jeter."
And I thought Michael Kay was the worst of the Yankee shills.
The Future On Display
Lester wasn't in trouble the entire night. He threw just 100 pitches in 8 innings and gave most of the bullpen a well-earned rest. Lester is now 5-0. He was in command all night, and the walks were scattered. He didn't go deep into many counts, which had been a big problem for him.
Alex Gonzalez singled in Jason Varitek for the one lone run of the game. Royals starter Brandon Duckworth pitched a good game, and the Sox never really threatened until the fifth.
It was also an historic night for Tek, as he became the Red Sox all-time leader in games caught with 991, passing Carlton Fisk. At the start of the sixth, he received a standing ovation from the Fenway faithful, and he twice acknowledged the cheers.
The future was clearly on display at Fenway Park last night. It indeed looks very bright.
Chaos Reigns On Long Island
This simply boggles the mind. Owner Charles Wang explained that he and Smith had "philosophical differences," as the Islanders now have a board of directors calling the shots, and not a GM, who is usually the final say on hockey decisions in the NHL. When the word of Smith's firing came down, Pat LaFontaine, who was also brought on board when Smith arrived, resigned as advisor to Wang.
I saw Neil Smith on a sports talk show on Sunday night. It was a good interview and he seemed really optimistic and was glad to be back in charge of an NHL franchise. Less than 48 hours later, he's gone. I'm sure there's a really fascinating backstory to everything that went down yesterday.
The first thing I thought of when I heard all this had happened was "George Steinbrenner." This reminds me too much of the chaos he brought down on the Yankees in the 1970s and 80s. At least the Yankees were winning most of the time back then.
The Islanders were a once-proud franchise back in the 1980s, and were a model for other professional franchises to copy. They are now a bad joke and in a state of total chaos. They have turned the franchise's fortunes over to a man in Snow who has no front office experience whatsoever. Snow is very-well thought of in hockey circles, but that won't make a good GM. We'll see what happens.
It sure wasn't a good day to be an Islander fan yesterday.
They Were Robbed
Sure umps make mistakes. But when they happen at such critical times, and in the middle of a pennant race that hands the Yankees a cheap victory, that sticks in my craw.
Johnny Damon hit a fly ball to center that scored the tying run, and it should have been the final out of the game. And to add to the stupidity, Reilly let the game continue in the middle of a downpour as Alex Rodriguez came up. Finally, in the middle of the monsoon, Reilly signalled the game halted, and after a two-hour delay, the game finally continued again.
Let's see if Reilly has the guts to come out and say he blew the call. He of course won't, as most umps are so pig-headed that they won't admit a mistake even when the replays clearly show they've made one. Back in 1996 when that punk kid Maier interfered with Tony Tarasco during the ALCS, at least ump Richie Garcia admitted the next day he blew it.
I've been saying for years that it is time for Major League Baseball to institute a system like the NFL has. Umpires should be reviewed like NFL officials are. The truly bad umpires should be weeded out. The umping, especially behind home plate, has gotten so bad over the last few years. It's time to stop treating umpires like Supreme Court judges, where they only leave when they retire or drop dead. The game will be better off in the long run.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Yesterday I wrote up 10 "general knowledge" questions, and I got a few of them off of an Internet site I found. One of them was, "Who was the creator of the legendary fictional detective Mike Hammer?"
The answer of course was Mickey Spillane (most people did answer that question correctly). I pick up the newspaper this morning and I discover that Mr. Spillane died yesterday at his home in South Carolina at the age of 88.
Godspeed Mr. Spillane.
One Doug Returns, Another Goes Deep
That whole mess over the final-out ball of the 2004 World Series was simply beyond stupid. Dan Shaughnessy (how unusual he being in the middle of controversy) wrote an article in which Doug made a flippant comment about the ball funding his kids' college fund. The average Red Sox fan simply didn't (and still doesn't) care about who had possession of the ball. It seemed like a made-up mess that CHB was probably proud of himself for starting.
Cooler heads finally prevailed and the ball is at the Hall of Fame. Hey, if Doug wanted to keep it for himself, that would be fine. It wouldn't change a damned thing in my life if he still had it.
Doug still harbors bitter feelings toward just one person throughout this whole thing: Larry Lucchino. He's just going to have to get over that. Lots of people are bitter towards Lucchino, and he's just another in a long line of people who'd like a piece of him. Let it go, Doug.
However, Dougie went deep last night. No, not that Doug. Mr. Mirabelli. He connected for a three-run shot to tie the game against Kansas City in the seventh last night, and a Manny Ramirez sac fly won it in the eighth. For six innings last night, the Sox looked lethargic, like it was a late September game and they were 20 games out. It's one thing to lose to Oakland, but to Kansas City?
Tim Wakefield left the game after four innings after his back problems flared up again. (A visit to the DL is a possibility.) The bullpen was superb last night. The win kept the Red Sox in first, as those guys from the Bronx won again, despite Alex Rodriguez' three errors.
Did you see the photo of A-Rod posing in the sun bare-chested in Central Park yesterday in today's New York Post? Made me wonder if the Post just happened to find him there, or did he invite them along for the photo op?
He'll do anything to try and improve his image, I guess.
Monday, July 17, 2006
A picture of me was included in it, the one you see above in this post. I'm wearing the cheesy Hawaiian shirt, fake wig and glasses. Hey, don't I look cool??
I'll let you all know the next time "Kayreoke" returns to Professor Thom's. It's a lot of fun to do.
It was a pleasure to be a part of the article, and it's a nice endorsement for the bar. My thanks to C.J. Hughes, who did a nice job with it. If you'd like to read the whole article, please check out this link:
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Thanks, We Needed That
Schilling allowed just two hits, a walk and a hit batter. The hit batter raised eyebrows in the Oakland dugout, as Nick Swisher was hit by Schilling, one inning after Jason Varitek was hit in the leg by Dan Haren. Both benches were warned afterwards, and it was over.
Or is it? Today is the finale of the four-game series, and it will be interesting to see if anything happens. The Fenway crowd was also giving it good to loose-cannon Oakland outfielder Milton Bradley, and he was to say the least upset about it in the dugout. Fenway security moved to the dugout to make sure nothing else happened.
Can't stand the heat? Get out of Fenway then.
Kyle Snyder goes for the Red Sox today, as Tim Wakefield's start has been pushed back another day due to some back flare-ups.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
It's Varitek's Fault?
Under their update for Josh Beckett and his disasterous performance last night, they wrote this:
Not to let Beckett off the hook here, but it's past time that the media starts questioning Jason Varitek's game-calling abilities. A remarkable number of pitchers the Red Sox have brought in from outside the organization have been disappointments, yet Varitek is almost universally praised for his handling of the staff. Instead of being one of baseball's best defensive catchers, it's entirely possible that he's among the worst.
Who the hell are these guys kidding? If you want assess blame for the pitchers who the Red Sox brought in who have been disappointments, look to the front office for some questionable decisions. Also, I don't see any mention of Al Nipper here, the interim pitching coach. The loss of Dave Wallace is rarely talked about, and I don't know for sure if that's the main reason for the struggles of some Red Sox pitchers.
But I thought this was a real cheap shot at Varitek. Yes, he is universally praised for his handling of the pitching staff and rightly so. No catcher in the majors better prepares for a game in terms of going over the opposition hitters than Tek. Ultimately, it's up to the pitchers to get the job done. To the credit of pitchers like Beckett and Matt Clement, the buck stops with them. When the game is on the line, I want Jason Varitek behind the plate.
I find this Rotoworld site to be a bit too much on the smartalecky side with their rather wiseass comments about some players. And many times they are just plain wrong.
Well, you know what they say about opinions.....
Pick An Adjective
Pick the adjective of your choice to describe the Red Sox play on Friday night. The final score was 15-3, but the game felt like it was lost when it was 4-0. The only good thing about it was that I didn't waste my time going into Manhattan to watch this debacle.
It was the worst display of baseball I've seen the Red Sox make all year. It reminded me of the brutal 15-2 loss in Cleveland and the 13-4 hammering they took in the Bronx earlier this year. Do you know what all three dismal affairs have in common?
Josh Beckett started all three games.
He's been an unqualified disappointment. Forget his eleven wins. The Sox have bailed him out on a few occasions when he's given up four or more runs and gotten wins. This is clearly not the pitcher they thought they were getting. He surrendered yet another home run (number 27) to Mark Ellis of all people, and it was just his fourth of the season.
Beckett's got to get his ass into high gear and give the bullpen a rest when he starts. The innings the bullpen has gone lately will take it's toll, that's for sure. I don't know if Beckett's hiding an injury or just hasn't adjusted to pitching in the AL. If he continues like this, the Red Sox have no shot whatsoever to win a championship.
The rest of this game? Another night of leaving runners everywhere and blowing scoring opportunities. Maybe an ass-kicking and a thoroughly embarrassing defeat at home is what this team needed to wake them out of the lethargy they are in.
Now they really need a big time start out of Curt Schilling on Saturday night.
And score some damn runs when there are men on base.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Oh Those Missed Opportunities
As costly as Loretta's error and Tavarez' 11th inning were, it was the many lost opportunities early in the game that really ended up costing the Sox the game. The Sox had a chance to blow the game open early, but they were leaving two men on it seemed almost every inning. They were leaving runners everywhere, as were the A's early on, but Oakland finally cashed in.
Jon Lester pitched another solid five innings, and should have gotten the win. But he continues to live very dangerously, as he was in trouble almost every inning. He has incredible poise for a young pitcher, and nothing seems to faze him. He got a couple of key double plays to get out of jams. But he threw 103 pitches in just the five innings, as he was going to deep counts on almost every hitter. He wound up walking five (the walk total MUST come down).
Lester has an incredibly bright future, but his pitch counts also have to come down. He has to work deeper into games, as Terry Francona doesn't want to use the bullpen for four innings (or more) every time he pitches. High pitch counts aren't good for a rookie, and I know the Red Sox are careful about their prized lefthander.
I Like This Guy
"I grew up in a family of Mets fans," said Breslow, 5-1 with a 3.40 ERA at Pawtucket and 50 strikeouts in 45 innings. "But with that came a deeply rooted hatred for the Yankees. I guess that crosses over."
Good luck to you, Craig.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
The Special Ring Photos
Well, here they are. My friend FiNY took these photos of me back on July 4th with one of the most incredible rings I have ever seen. It is a genuine 2004 Red Sox World Series ring. A friend of mine has a sister who worked for the Sox back then and got a ring. It was amazing to see up close. Many thanks to him for allowing me to model it.
It was so small it could only fit on my pinky, though.
I'd seen World Series rings up close before. I remember when Gil Hodges died in 1972, and my dad took my family to his wake at a church in my neighborhood in Brooklyn. I was just 10 at the time. (Mr. Hodges only lived 11 blocks away from me.) He was wearing a World Series ring as he lay in his casket. I'll never forget how big it was.
I've also had the pleasure of meeting Willie Randolph on two occasions. The first time I met him was in 1997 at the re-opening of the Tower Records store in Lincoln Center. He was wearing his 1977 championship ring, and I asked him if I could see it. He was a very gracious and did so. It was another huge rock, with an enormous Yankee logo in the middle. Willie told me the first ring was always the most special for him, and always wore that one.
Well, now I've finally gotten a chance to wear one, if only for a very brief few moments. And it was one from a very special year, and a very special team.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
A Sure Kiss Of Death
"YOU BET-- METS WILL WIN SERIES."
Actually, the article is about the Glantz-Culver betting line in Las Vegas making the Mets the odds on favorite, at 5-1, to win the 2006 World Series. (They have both the Red Sox and Yankees at 6-1.)
I find that making pronouncements like that headline to be wildly premature, and outright silly. The Mets have a lot to prove, especially come October. They have no one chasing them in the NL East, so even if they go .500 the rest of the way, it would take a herculean effort from the Phillies or Braves to catch them. (I don't see that at all possible.)
But come playoff time, anything can happen. I'm not saying the Mets can't win the World Series, it's just that seeing headlines like that have a way of coming back to haunt you. (Remember Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe writing an article last June about how the Red Sox had the AL East all wrapped up?)
And if that wasn't enough bad karma, one of the guys in the Post writing about the Las Vegas odds story today is none other than Steve Serby, who wrote a column during the NFL season called "Mr. Loser," about his terrible picks during the season.
I wish the Mets all the best. I have a feeling they may need it.
AL Wins The All-Star Game, Yet Again
David Wright hit a homer for the NL and Carlos Beltran scored on a wild pitch by Roy Halladay, and it looked like that would hold up. The AL's run was on a homer by Vladimir Guerrero. It was a very well pitched game, and Beltran looked like he'd be MVP. So now the AL gets the home-field advantage in the World Series.
A few odds and ends about this All-Star Game:
Manny Ramirez missed the All-Star Game. To Bud Selig and everyone else who made such a big deal over his absence: get over it.
I know that the Home Run Derby and other festivities are for the fans enjoyment, and that's fine. But I'm not a huge fan of HRD. (I've always just been a fan of the actual game.) ESPN has to shove it down our throats night and day before it happens, and then during the actual event, they insist on putting loudmouth/showoff Chris Berman on to call it. I can do without him calling ANY sporting event. His mistakes, plus those inane "nicknames"he makes up, are a total and complete turn off for me. One media critic once called him a "a national treasure." Fine, can we bury him some place then?
I thought it was fine that MLB honored Roberto Clemente in the town where he made his name and gave his widow an award. Nicely done (and it brought Ozzie Guillen to tears). I don't want to sound insensitive, but all that can be done BEFORE the game starts. I'm not in favor of interrupting baseball games in the middle (the ceremony was held before the bottom of the fifth), unless some great event has occurred DURING the game. Examples include Hank Aaron's 715th home run, Cal Ripken's breaking Lou Gehrig's consecutive game streak, and Mark McGwire's 62nd home run. They all stopped games to honor them, and that's fine.
But Fox insists on starting the All-Star Game late (first pitch last night was thrown at 8:44 ET), so having mid-game ceremonies just makes games longer. (Last night was an exception as it was a rare fast-moving game.) One year I remember the game ending close to midnight, and it was a nine-inning game. I don't understand why the pregame ceremonies can't begin at 7:30, and the first pitch thrown by 8 PM. (Yeah, yeah, I know. West Coast.) And the bigwigs wonder why the ratings are in the toilet. Starting games earlier just might get more people watching, no?
Did any of you catch the first word out of Tim McCarver's mouth when Bronson Arroyo came in to pitch for the NL in the fifth?
Well, I guess some things never change. You may recall he kept calling Arroyo "Brandon" during the 2004 ALCS. He also goofed in the ninth as well. He said that Troy Glaus' ground rule double with a man on first was a break for "the AL." I'd like that explained to me. Ol' Timmy didn't even bother to correct himself after that goof.
Did you also see Joe Buck after he got the mic after the award ceremonies on the field ended in the fifth? He yelled to the crowd, "Are you having a good time?" Very lame, and he came off sounding like a carnival barker.
And this morning I read that MLB has extended their contract with Fox through the 2013. So these boys aren't going away any time soon. But TBS has acquired the rights to Sunday Night Baseball, and that will start next year. That is good news (or is it?) to the boys at the Fire Joe Morgan blog site. Makes me wonder if Joe will pull up stakes and head over to TBS. Stay tuned.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Why Would Someone Do This?
It was originally sent by the Red Sox front office to my friend Chris Wertz, who had all of us sign it, and we presented it to Jim back in January 2005. Jim was really touched by the gesture.
When Professor Thom's opened last December, Jim had it framed and it was put on one of the back walls, along with some other wonderful framed Red Sox mementoes and keepsakes. Jim didn't want to put it behind the bar because the patrons couldn't read it, so he put it where they could read all the words. It was a wonderful item that he figured all Red Sox fans would really enjoy seeing.
And just yesterday, Jim discovered it was missing, and presumed stolen. Both Jim and I are stumped as to why anyone would take it. It was really personal to him, and he's really hurt that it's gone.
More than anything, all of us, especially Jim, want it back. I'm really angry that anyone would take it. If the thief is reading this, I would hope you would have a heart and just bring it back.
Otherwise, Red Sox Nation and the Embedded Sox Fans will find you, and make you regret what you did. And that's a promise.
A Warning To All Cell Phone Users
It is very easy to do, and takes about a minute. Just call 1-888-382-1222, or go to the web site at www.donotcall.gov. You will be registered on the list for five years.
It's worth it to keep these pests away.
Monday, July 10, 2006
Long Day's Journey Into Night
I just love those guys from the White Sox. Their feed was on TV yesterday, and their TV scoreboard reads: BOS vs. SOX. And those blithering idiots on their broadcast always refer to the White Sox as "the Sox,"even when there is another team called the Sox in the opposition dugout. Boy, they are really cute.
The Red Sox scored two in the eleventh, but the bullpen couldn't keep the White Sox down, and they tied it up on a double play the Red Sox couldn't turn to end it. So, the game continued to the 12th. Then the 13th, then the 14th...
I left in the 12th to play softball with some friends over on Hudson Street in the West Village. I had a blast, as I haven't played softball in a few years. I had played softball on the same field about 20 years ago with some buddies from Tower Records, so it brought back a lot of memories.
My pal Matt had a Blackberry, so we got constant updates of the game action. We had been playing for over an hour and fifteen minutes when finally the White Sox won in the 19th inning on a Tadahito Iguchi single. (We knew the jig was up when Rudy Seanez was brought in, as the last man out of the pen.) It was a disappointing loss, but not a devastating one, as the Yankees blew a five-run at Tampa Bay and lost, so the Red Sox remain 3 games ahead at the All-Star break. A sweep over the White Sox would have been really sweet, but I'll take the two out of three.
My team lost our first softball game, so we got in a short second contest. That was tied after four innings, so in the spirit of the World Cup, we decided to break the tie on "penalties." There was a soccer goal off to the side of the field, as it is also used for soccer. We moved the goal on to the field, and set up a competition. We had five guys from each team try to throw a softball passed a player from the opposition from a good distance away. After five tries, my team won, 1-0.
At least the night wasn't a total loss.
The Headbutt Heard 'Round The World
Sadly for France, it was not to be.
I saw the match at Professor Thom's, and I got there 45 minutes before the match started. The bar was already jammed, and the crowd at the beginning was decidely pro-French, but many Italian supporters also came in, and it was about 50-50 throught the match.
It all started out well for France, as Zidane scored a 6th minute penalty (a questionable call though). He nearly blew it as the shot hit the inside of the crossbar and barely crossed the goal line. Italy eventually came back to tie it midway through the first half. Late in the match, Zidane narrowly missed scoring on a header that would have given France the lead, but Italian keeper Gianluigi Buffon made a spectacular save.
The game went to overtime, and in the 110th minute, Zidane had a complete meltdown, and headbutted Italian player Marco Materazzi after what appear to be some trash talk between the two. The referee had no option but to red card Zidane, and France was down to 10 men.
The match went to penalty kicks, and Italy prevailed, 5-3, to win their fourth World Cup championship. Italy's title was overshadowed by Zidane's exit. He now has billions of people talking about his inglorious departure. Zidane is generally known as one of Europe's legendary players, as he led France to the 1998 World Cup title, and the 2000 European championship. Now as he calls it a career, he will be remembered for just one complete breakdown on the field at the worst possible time for his team, in the biggest match in the world seen by over a billion people.
He may want to rethink retirement right now.
Or go hide in a cave someplace.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
I Guess It's An American Thing
I also found that some of the announcers seem to be found of saying"v" instead of "versus." Especially John Harkes, and during yesterday's Third Place game between Germany and Portugal. Over and over again, he kept saying "one 'v' one", instead of what normal people would say one "on" one, or one "against" one, or one "versus" one. I have noticed this increased use of "v" instead of "versus." I know it's probably a little thing, but more and more I hear it from political pundits in taking about the landmark abortion case, Roe VERSUS Wade. They seem to like to take the "easy" route and say "v." I find it annoying and very lazy. Heck, have you ever heard anyone say "The Red Sox 'v' the Yankees?" Of course not.
I've never heard an English football announcer use the "v" word, so I guess it's an American (soccer) thing.
Anyway, I like France to win the World Cup today, 1-0. It'll be a tough match, and I really hope the title isn't decided on penalty kicks. The French team reminds me of the 2004 Red Sox team, as they were about to eliminated in the opening round, found a way to win, and now they are just 90 minutes away from the championship.
I'll be watching today, along with about 2 billion other people. But I will also be keeping a sharp eye on the Red Sox and Curt Schilling going for the sweep in Chicago today, the final day before the All-Star break.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
"Once In A Lifetime"
Yesterday, a documentary opened here in New York at the Angelika Theater in Greenwich Village called "Once In A Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos." I saw it, and it is absolutely one of the best sports documentaries I've ever seen.
I became a soccer fan right around the time that Pele was lured to play for the Cosmos from Brazil in 1975. I became a huge Cosmos fan, and stayed one until the NASL folded in 1984. So I was very curious to see this film. It was certainly well worth it.
The documentary brings back the era when soccer exploded on the American scene in the mid-1970s, and there's a great soundtrack of that time. The film begins with soccer's roots in America, going up to the US' shocking World Cup victory over England in 1950 and the start of two professional soccer leagues in America in 1967. Their are interviews with many of those who were part of the start-up, like Clive Toye. Unfortunately, the godfather of American soccer, Steve Ross, who was the Cosmos principal owner and head of Warner Communications, died in 1992. It was his vision that soccer could make it in the US that got the ball rolling.
The early history of the Cosmos is fascinating, as told by their former flashy goalkeeper, Shep Messing. Their beginnings were rough, playing before few fans at Downing Stadium on Randall's Island (I was there once, in 1974, for a football game, and it was a dump). The Cosmos were on the verge of failure when the Cosmos owners approached the immortal Pele, who had just retired from Brazilian soccer as the greatest player in history. The film goes into all the particulars of getting Pele to New York, but suspiciously leaves out the real reason he came here. (He needed the money, as he was going broke due to bad investments.)
The interest in soccer booms with Pele's arrival, but the film shows the man who was soccer's "villain" in New York: sportswriter Dick Young, who had a vendetta against the sport (as well as Tom Seaver, but that's another story), and even interrupted Pele's introductory press conference. The film even shows Pele at Shea Stadium, being warmly greeted by Mets fans during a 1975 game. (And there's even a shot of the 1975 World Series in the film. We all know who played in that one.)
The Cosmos' owners, after Pele's arrival, realized they needed to bring in more stars, so they imported Giorgio Chinaglia from Italy.
This maybe the best part of the film. Chinaglia had always been a lightning rod for controversy, and apparently still is. Interviews with many of the Cosmos' front office from that time doesn't paint a pretty picture of Giorgio, and he still has the big ego that made him famous. But the Cosmos began to take off, and they moved to Yankee Stadium in 1976 and attendance continued to grow. The next season they brought in more stars, led by "The Kaiser," Franz Beckenbauer. The Cosmos then moved into Giants Stadium, and they just took off in popularity, drawing over 76,000 on a few occasions. It was also Pele's last season, and they won the NASL title over Seattle that August. The Cosmos were kings, and the film shows a few of the excesses that went on at that time.
The Cosmos won the title again in 1978, and set even more attendance records. But here is where they peaked. Chinaglia is painted as a control-freak, and had the ear of Steve Ross and began calling the shots. The NASL also expanded to 24 teams from 18, which was a big mistake, as many cities couldn't support a team and many folded soon after. In 1979, the league got a TV deal with ABC, but the ratings were never good and it ended after one year.
The Cosmos won two more titles, but the league was foundering. The Cosmos were the big fish in a shrinking pond, with teams dying every year. Finally by 1984, the NASL went out of business, and soccer in America had no professional league until MLS was formed a dozen years later.
It was great to relive the soccer boom of the late 1970s, as it brought back many fond memories of my youth. It was a shame that it burned out so quickly, as for a time it looked like soccer was going challenge the other major American sports in nationwide popularity. (Howard Cosell is shown predicting that it would.) "Once In A Lifetime" is a fascinating look back at an era of excess and egos. Many of the principals involved were part of the film, like many former Cosmos players like Bobby Smith, Steve Hunt and Dennis Tueart. But there was one notable absence: Pele. At the end of the film, he is shown to have declined to be interviewed, and when the graphic is shown on the screen, the sound of a cash register is heard (so you can guess why he didn't cooperate).
The film has a lot of great humor, and is definitely worth checking out, even if you aren't a soccer fan or don't remember that time. The movie opens nationwide on July 14th, and to learn more, check out the film's web site: http://onceinalifetime-movie.com.
Friday, July 07, 2006
Getting Some Dignity Back
Now the Red Sox head into Chicago for a three game series with the White Sox. The Sox (sorry Ken Harrelson, the boys from Boston are THE SOX on this blog!) will throw Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Curt Schilling at Chicago, while they will counter with Mark Buehrle, Freddy Garcia and Jose Contreras. (I have all six pitchers in my fantasy teams except Contreras, so I'll be hoping for some low scoring games this weekend.) The Yankees are in Tampa for three games, so we all become Devil Rays fans this weekend.
I saw an interesting piece in the Rush & Malloy column in today's New York Daily News about Judas and his past marijuana use. Johnny Damon was/is a pot head? That just couldn't be true! For more of the juicy details:
A Year Ago Today and Few Remember
In this age of terrorism, it's sad how quickly people forget.
Please say a prayer for those innocents lost in London last year.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
A Special Pilgrimage
It is one of the awe-inspiring places I have ever been to. It is incredible beyond all words. I had been there before, last year. It was set up on the same floor as the LMDC offices, for those family members who wished to see the WTC site and remember their loved ones. Looking out the window, you see all of Ground Zero. It is simply heartbreaking.
But inside is far more moving. The entire room, about 20' x 30', is covered with literally thousands of memorials, of every conceivable type imaginable. Flags, hats, mementoes, written remembrances, and especially, photos. There are pictures of the victims, those incredibly brave souls we lost that terrible morning. Pictures every place. It is simply impossible to be in this room and not get emotional about it. I ended up spending about one hour alone in the room.
I left a photo of my friend Joyce, along with two poems, one that I wrote for her in January 2002, on one of the windows. Another friend of mine also has left remembrances there previously for Joyce too. Tragically, she is one of those souls who was never recovered, so this is one of the only spots we have to remember her. I am proud beyond words that she is remembered there.
Here is the poem I wrote for her, "There's an Angel Watching Over Us," for those of you who may never have read it before:
It is one of the proudest accomplishments of my life.
After the sun went down, we all went up to his rooftop to check on the fireworks that we going off on the river by 34th Street. The view of the city, north and south, was tremendous. I saw dozens of people on other roofs checking out the fireworks as well.It was really cool despite the overcast (at least it didn't rain). There must have been about 200 people on the roof, and everyone was having a great time.
Afterwards, we returned to the BBQ, and later on we were joined by one of my friends from Boston, and he had something special to show us. It was an actual 2004 World Series ring, like the one shown above. His sister had worked for the Red Sox and he was taking care of the ring.
It was a thing of beauty. Red rubies in the form of a "B" in the middle, with "The Greatest Comeback In History" on the side. It was a small ring so I could only fit it on my pinky. I was totally in awe. One of my friends got a picture of me wearing it, so when I get it from her I will post it here on my blog.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Let's hope we've seen the last of him. That is, in a Red Sox uniform.
It seemed like EVERYTHING the Devil Rays hit against Johnson, even the outs and foul balls, were rockets. It was a score that could have and should have been worse. Carl Crawford's steal of home was inexcusable, as Johnson never looked at Crawford while he was standing at third base. The Red Sox took a flyer on Johnson and it didn't work. Admit your mistake, DFA him and move on. Perhaps give Kyle Snyder another shot.
The Yankees bounced back from the huge loss on Tuesday to beat the Indians and cut the Sox lead to three games. It was a weird night in Tampa in that when the Sox fell behind, 5-2 in the fourth, it seemed like they were finished for the night. And in TAMPA! When was the last time you could say that? Granted the D-Rays are no pushover anymore, and they got quality starts from Casey Fossum and Tim Corcoran. (Who?)
It seemed like the Red Sox were mailing it in, and that they were waiting for the All-Star break to come. They still have an important three game series with the White Sox (who just happen to be the defending champions) in Chicago before the three-day vacation begins.
We better see a quality effort in the Tampa finale, otherwise, second place could be beckoning.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Happy Fourth Of July
It was on at least 10 times last night. And every time I saw it I thought to myself, "Why is NESN doing this?" It is one of those "let's replay a bad moment in Red Sox history and see how it comes out different." This one is a replay of Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, and I am guessing that in this "do over" Grady Little takes Pedro Martinez out either before the eighth inning begins, or when Pedro first ran into trouble (instead of leaving him in). And I would guess that the game ending will be totally different.
I have no interest in watching a TV show that's only purpose is to show that things would have been different if such-and-such a move had not been made. Of course things would have turned out different if Mike Timlin had started the eighth instead of Pedro. Would the Sox have won the pennant? I, of course, can't tell you that, and no one can. Who's to say that Timlin wouldn't have had a bad outing and the Yankees would have tied or even won against him?
And WHY is NESN doing this, to torture Red Sox fans? I thought we lost all that baggage on the ball Keith Foulke stabbed on October 27, 2004. As far as I am concerned, 2003 is as much in the past as any other Red Sox season. They didn't win the title that year. MOVE ON. I don't need some computer or whatever telling me that if Grady Little had done that eighth inning differently, the Red Sox would have gone to the World Series.
Sorry guys, I won't be watching. And I guess we'll have to endure these commercials until July 20.
Monday, July 03, 2006
We Go Through This Every Year
Both Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett were passed over for the AL pitching staff. It would have been nice to see them on the team, but I am not bothered in the least. Let them stay home and rest and get ready for the second half. I've heard in some circles that Bobby Jenks was a controversial choice for the team, and he was picked because Ozzie Guillen is his manager. How can a guy who's tied for the major league lead in saves (with Jonathan Papelbon) with a 2.41 ERA be a difficult choice? I don't get it. And I don't want to hear ONE WORD from any Yankee fans about Mike Mussina, Jason Giambi or Judas getting passed over. Joe Torre loaded up his All-Star rosters with Yankees in those years he managed the teams. If Guillen wants to add some of his guys to the roster who he thinks deserve to go, so be it.
And leave it to John Kruk on Baseball Tonight to say something stupid. I was watching the selection show last night, and he questioned David Ortiz being elected at first base because he doesn't play the position often and it wasn't fair to "full time" first basemen like Paul Konerko. What the hell does this guy use for brains? There is NO DH position on the All-Star ballot, so any full-time DHs are listed at the best regular position for All-Star ballot purposes. Big Papi is having yet another amazing year, and the fans elected him at the first base position. Case closed. Kruk is just one reason why I've stopped watching Baseball Tonight on a regular basis. Too often my intelligence is insulted watching shows with so-called "experts" like him on it.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Errors Happen Sometimes
Tim Wakefield pitched 5 2/3 innings in picking up his sixth win before the largest crowd of the year, 38,014 at Dolphins Stadium, the majority of which were no doubt Red Sox fans. The win moved the Red Sox back to a four game lead, as the Mets pummeled Randy Johnson for eight earned runs in six innings 8-3, in a game that was capped by Alex Rodriguez' 17th home run of the season in the eighth, another of his "pad the stats" blasts. The Blue Jays' win in Toronto over the Phillies means the Yankees are now tied for second with the Jays.
Good matchup this afternoon in Miami of two good young arms: Jon Lester vs. Josh Johnson. I'll be watching today at home on the MLB package as we celebrate my dad's birthday.
Saturday, July 01, 2006
An Open Letter To Red Sox Fans
Please check out www.sheabaseball.com, as it's a good Mets fan site.
An Open Letter to Red Sox Fans
by Adam Salazar
June 28, 2006 -- Hey Red Sox fans! Despite this interleague series between us, I want you to know that all Mets fans root for your Red Sox. Everyone knows the history between our teams but twenty years, and a Red Sox Championship later, we hope there are no hard feelings from Boston to Queens.
The truth of the matter is Met fans consider those of you in Red Sox Nation as our brothers, bonded by a common hatred of the Yankees. Admittedly, we don’t have it nearly as bad as you guys do, facing the Evil Empire nineteen times a season, plus playoffs. But in addition to six subway series games, we’re forced to live in the same city as these wretched Yankee fans.
While you guys are insulated by the two-hundred miles between New York and Boston, we’re forced to rub shoulders with them on a daily basis. At work, on the subways, and all too often our very own dinner tables are infiltrated by these horrendously spoiled Yankee fans. Mets fans have been doing a slow burn for years as the Bronx Bombers continually grab the back pages of our local papers. The New York Daily News is the absolute worst Yankee homer paper you could ever imagine. It would damn near take the first no-hitter in Met history for the Mets to wrestle away a Daily News back page over a Yankee win.
Sox fans, believe me when I tell you that we’ve suffered with you guys for as long as we can remember. We’d never claim it’s as personal or painful to us when the Yankees beat you, but rest assured every single loss is felt by the Mets fanbase. Red Sox Nation, take solace in the fact that you have two legions of fans behind your cause. The Shea Faithful consider ourselves Red Sox Nation-backers 110%. We hate the Yankees with as much passion as anyone can muster. I’ll give Boston the nod of indeed hating the Yankees slightly more, but it’s hard to imagine hatred running deeper than it does in true Met fans.
In stark contrast to the Yankees, Mets and Red Sox supporters are diehard and loyal to their teams. Not to say that there aren’t genuine Yankee fans, of course there are, but let’s be honest, a huge percentage of the Bronx Bombers fan base have leapt aboard the bandwagon post-1996. These “new” fans were either casual sports fans or even worse they newly relocated to NY during the Yankees rise to prominence in the 90’s.
Many people are drawn to a city like New York to start afresh and there’s no shame in that, but I am disgusted by the amount bandwagon jumpers whose motivation is simply the fact that their own home teams don’t win enough. It’s an all too common phenomenon and the drill goes something like this: The bandwagon jumpers arrive from San Diego or Pittsburgh or wherever and immediately buy a Yankee hat. They’ve never rooted for the Yankees before but they’ve seen Jay-Z rocking a Yankee hat on MTV so they figure it’s a rite of passage. They go to Yankee stadium and are impressed because they know most of the names on the latest rotisserie style Steinbrenner team. Next they’ll concoct some excuse such as, their great aunt used to live in New York, so deep down they’ve always been a Yankee fan. Often within 8-12 weeks these newbie fans have become the loudest, most obnoxious yankee fans going. Makes me wanna puke!
They may be fooling themselves with this lame charade but I’m here to expose the Yankee fanbase as the true posers that they are!But don’t think I am not understanding and compassionate. I understand why these people root for the Yankees, the same reason the average Brit roots for Manchester United. These teams represent money and winning. Everyone likes to win and everyone likes money. This is why the phrase “Rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for IBM” rings so true. But buying a ticket and a hat doesn’t make you a real fan and don’t think we Met and Red Sox fans can’t smell you a mile away.
These johnny-come-latelys have no idea what being a true fan is. Without failure you can’t possibly appreciate the spoils of victory. You can’t be a genuine fan until you’ve been through the lean times, and no, an early playoff exit is not considered a lean time. As a matter of fact, it’s impossible to have a lean time when your payroll soars well above the $200M threshold.
Am I a bitter Mets fan? Absolutely. Am I angry about being second fiddle to the Yankees in NY - a rightful National League town? Damn right! Do I relish every single Yankee loss especially at the hands of the Mets or Red Sox? Yes I do!! Mets fans have your back Red Sox fans. We hope to see you in the World Series come October.
And we hope to see you again in October too, Adam. Let's Go Mets!