Tuesday, October 31, 2006
The Alex Minasian Trio Live At Kitano
Alex will be teamed with a couple of great jazz veterans: Ron McClure on bass, and Dion Parson on drums. I was at Alex's previous gig at the Kitano, and they were really terrific. (Jazz Improv magazine did a review of that show, and you can check it out at: www.jazzimprov.com.) The Kitano Hotel is a very intimate venue, and it is located at Park Avenue and E. 38th Street.
There is no cover charge, so if you want to see some swinging jazz, Alex and his Trio are definitely worth checking out!
And of course, don't forget: Trivia Night at Professor Thom's this evening, starting at 9. I'll be doing a special category tonight: Presidential Trivia...
Patriots 31, Vikings 7
And "Clamapalooza" was a big success at Professor Thom's last night, as the complete inventory of 700 clams sold out in record time. They weren't bad, even though I'm not much of a clams person (but I do like clam sauce on linguini!). I was a Vikings fan among a sea of Patriots fans last night, but I was not alone. I met two guys originally from Minnesota in the bar, and I got to talking to them late in the game. They couldn't believe I was a Vikings fan from Brooklyn.
"That wouldn't be Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, would it?" one of the guys asked me. "No, I'm from Brooklyn, across the river Brooklyn, to be exact," I said. I further explained how I was a big Fran Tarkenton and Purple People Eaters fan back in the 1970s. It was still nice to know I wasn't alone at the bar last night.
It's clear the Vikings need a new QB, and that Brad Johnson's just not a full-time QB anymore. (He's thrown only 4 TDs this entire season, while tossing 7 interceptions, including three last night.) But of course that didn't stop loudmouth analyst Joe Theismann from saying that "the Vikings should reward Johnson with a contract extension."
Who the hell is he trying to kid? The Vikings can't get the ball in the end zone with their current offense (and their only TD was a punt return last night). As soon as they fell behind 17-0 in the second quarter last night I turned to one of my friends and said, "This game's over. The Vikings can't score." And I was right. The Patriots looked very good on both sides of the ball, especially after scoring that first TD. The Vikings rely too much on their defense to bail them out.
(I find this new announcing crew of Theismann, Mike Tirico and Tony Kornheiser rather annoying, and I know I'm not alone. I generally don't like three-man booths. Tirico's better on college football, and Kornheiser's MUCH better on the "PTI" program. And Theismann just NEVER shuts up.)
The Vikings have the number one defense in the NFL against the rush, but need help on their pass defense. I like the strides they've made under new coach Brad Childress, but they really need a new QB. Tarvaris Jackson, just drafted this spring, maybe their future star, but is not ready yet (and is recovering from a knee injury in practice). They also need help in their receiving core as well.
The Patriots were clearly the better team last night, and the future for the Vikings is next season. They do have an easy schedule the next four weeks (San Francisco, Green Bay, Miami and Arizona coming up). They have a shot at the playoffs, being 4-3 right now. I'd be happy with a 9-7 finish, but we'll see what happens.
Last night just proves they still have a long way to go.
Monday, October 30, 2006
Get Ready For "Clamapalooza"
Here's all the info you need to know:
Clams and Football! October 30. We'll be serving freshly shucked clams $5 for 1/2 dozen $10 for a dozen. We'll also be steaming some up. The Pats play the Vikings that night, so have some clams and root against John Quinn and his dirty Vikings. 8 o'clock clams. 9 o'clock football. (Note: Game time is actually 8:30 PM)
Harpoon Bohemian Pilsner and Thom's Olde Ale. We saved a keg of Harpoon Bohemian Pilsner from their 100 Barrell Series to go with the clams. Also, we'll be pouring our own beer Thom's Olde Ale made by the nice folks at Harpoon Brewery. All members of the Friends of Harpoon Club get $3 Harpoons during the event. So, show your card when you order.
Yes, the Patriots play my "dirty" Vikings tonight at the Metrodome, and we'll be having a clam bake at the bar at the same time. Should be lots of fun, but I'll bet I'll be in for some abuse, especially from my pals who are Patriots fans. That will be especially true if the Vikings don't play well.
So, if you're in the neighborhood of 2nd Avenue and E.13th Street, drop by and watch the Vikes run over those blasted Patriots, and enjoy a clam or two...
And it looks like we will be having Trivia Night at PT's tomorrow night, despite it being Halloween Night. I will again be using the Movie Quotes and Music Lyrics categories, and over the next few weeks, I'll be fining tuning the other categories as well. It should make Tuesday Night Trivia even better and better!
Saturday, October 28, 2006
What Yankee Hat?
I saw the film last week, and it's a terrific movie. It got some fabulous reviews and I can understand why. (Although some of the Boston accents are pretty bad, that doesn't take away from the film.) It's very well-written and acted, and "The Departed" should garner more than a few Oscar nominations. Martin Scorsese has added another classic to his growing legacy of quality films.
Nicholson plays a great bad guy, a man of pure evil. But he does NOT wear a Yankee hat in this film. He may have refused to wear a Red Sox cap, but near the end of the film, he's wearing a black baseball hat, but one without any kind of logo on it.
But I did see a framed picture of Keith Foulke and Doug Mientkiewicz jumping for joy after the last out of the Red Sox 2004 championship on the wall of an office of one of the cops in the movie. That was nice to see...
I Guess The Curse Of Keith Hernandez Is Over
The Cardinals simply outplayed the Tigers in every aspect of the game, especially in pitching, clutch hitting and defense. Despite the rather mediocre regular season they had, St. Louis deserved to win the title, as they outpitched their opponents in all three series.
I love those oddball stats they come up with once a team wins a title, like this one:
The Cardinals are the first team to win a World Series in their first year in a new stadium and clinch the title there since the Red Sox opened Fenway Park with a championship in 1912.
I bet you didn't know that...
I guess this also ends the dreaded "Keith Hernandez Curse." Once again, it has been come fashionable (thanks to that imbecile Dan Shaughnessy) to explain any prolonged dry spell a team has had by calling it some kind of "curse."(I haven't heard one yet to explain the San Francisco Giants or Cleveland Indians long drought, but I'm sure someone will make something up for those teams before long. Both teams have now gone more than a half-century without a title.) It really goes into a new form of stupidity, from trading an icon to stupid billy goats.
But last year I heard that all the reasons why the Cardinals have gone over two decades without a title (their previous one was in 1982), and it was due to the ill-advised trade the Cardinals made with the Mets in June 1983 when they sent Hernandez to the Mets for pitchers Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey. It would be one of the biggest moves the Mets would make to put them on the road to their title of three years later.
And the Cardinals won their title tonight on the 20th anniversary of the Mets last championship, the one that featured one Keith Hernandez at first base for the Mets. Hmmm...
I remember Hernandez talking about it during a Mets game last season, and he talked about it in very humorous terms. I did find a web site from a Cardinal fan that goes into detail about this so-called "curse" that has now bitten the dust:
Once the World Series game concluded, I put on my 2004 World Series Game 4 DVD, and enjoyed watching the Red Sox glorious victory on its second anniversary.
Ah, the sweet memories. And it never gets old...
Friday, October 27, 2006
"I've Lived To See It Happen!"
I was in a jam-packed Riviera Cafe and Sports Bar in the West Village. When Keith Foulke flipped the ball to Doug Mientkiewicz to get that final out, the bar simply exploded, with people hugging, jumping around, and a few tears were shed as well. For ten minutes, the bar was sheer pandemonium. I remember yelling out moments after the title was won to no one in particular, "I've lived to see it happen!" and "Whenever God wants me, I'm ready to go!!"
We celebrated long into the night (and I didn't get home until after 5 in the morning). I'll never forget the looks on my friends faces as we were drinking into the night. It seemed like none of us could truly believe what we had seen over the past four games. The Red Sox had swept the Cardinals, and were now the champions.
And NO ONE can ever take that away. Never.
It was two years ago today.
In what will become a yearly tradition for me, I will pull out Game 4 of the 2004 World Series from my DVD box set and enjoy that bottom of the ninth in its entirety later tonight.
It hardly seems like two calendar years have gone by since the Red Sox won it all.
When I finish watching, I'll lift a glass to the 2004 World Champions.
Thank you, Red Sox.
Happy Birthday John Cleese
And "Monty Python and The Holy Grail" is simply my favorite movie of all-time.
I love "Fawlty Towers," his show that followed Monty Python. I haven't seen it in many years, and I wish someone would bring it back on a regular basis. The character of Basil Fawlty is simply a work of genius. It's a shame it lasted only 12 episodes.
From one "Q" to another (he played "Q" in the James Bond film, "Die Another Day"), I hope you have a great birthday. Mr. Cleese!
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Memories of Tower Greenwich Village Part 4
I was named the pop/rock/soul CD buyer at Tower right after Christmas in 1985. At the time, the CD was still relatively new, and very few people had compact disc players. But as 1986 began, the CD industry just exploded, and more and more record companies began turning them out. When I first started as buyer, I was secondary to the LP buyer in terms of overall importance. But that changed by the end of '86.
Companies rushed to get their artists' back catalogue out, as the demand for older LPs on CDs was enormous. But the one group everybody wanted, and I must have been asked about a million times when they were going to come out, was the Beatles. Capitol finally announced in early 1987 that they would be releasing them that March. They would release the first four LPs by the Beatles, and their British LPs and not the American ones. (The earliest Beatles LPs were always different. The American LPs always had fewer tracks than the UK one, because Capitol would take the tracks not used on the US one and make new LPs out of them. That all stopped with Sgt. Pepper.)
I remember vividly the day the first Beatles CDs came out. It was a real media event. Since Tower was the big boys on the block, the reporters came down to 4th and Broadway. I remember being interviewed by Channel 5 News here in New York, MTV News, and I had my picture taken with the main CD rack in front of the store filled with Beatles CDs by a news photographer. (A friend later told me the picture turned up in a paper in Massachusetts the next day.) I was also interviewed by phone by a morning radio show in San Diego, and I gave an interview to a Associated Press reporter by phone as well.
Everyone wanted to talk to the Mighty Quinn that day. I guess you might say the Beatles were directly responsible for my first 15 minutes of fame.
Capitol continued to release the Beatles CDs in spurts, and in order of the original UK LPs release. When it came time to release Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, they decided to release it on the 20th anniversary of the original LPs release: June 1, 1987.
We always got the shipment of CDs for big releases about a day in advance. So we had boxes and boxes of Sgt. Pepper CDs in basement. Capitol said we could not under any circumstances sell any of them before June 1. So Tower decided to have one of those "Midnight Sale" things, where at exactly 12 midnight on June 1 we would begin selling the CD.
We put out a lot of publicity surrounding the sale. (We weren't the only ones doing it as well, because I don't recall any reporters at the store that night. I suppose we were "old hat" by then.) I can recall having my clerks shortly after 11:30 PM bring up boxes of CDs to the main floor, and the crowd in the store got larger as it got closer to midnight. At 11:55 I went up to the mezzanine floor, which overlooked the main floor. There were three or four clerks holding boxes with customers surrounding them, waiting to get the CDs from them. One even called up to me, "John, can we give them out now?" I looked at my watch, smiled and said, "No, not until it turns 12."
I'll never forget the looks I was getting from a few customers, some of which were of the dirty variety. I did my best not to smile back at them, as I didn't want to cause a riot on the floor. When my watch hit midnight, I gave them the signal to start passing out the discs. I stayed upstairs while most of the customers got their CDs and paid for them. We sold over 100 CDs that midnight hour, and a few hundred more later that day.
But I'll never forget that feeling of power I had when I had everyone looking at me wondering when they could get their CDs. I only wish the press had been there to record that.
Tuesday Night Trivia Q&A
1. Jeffrey Skilling, a former CEO from this disgraced company, was sentenced to 24 years in prison for orchestrating this company's bankruptcy. Enron
2. This internet web giant is being sued by IBM for infringing on a number of their patents. Amazon
3. This car company dropped an amazing $5.8 billion over the last quarter due to planned job cuts and declining sales. Ford Motors
4. An explosion in a coal mine in this state killed one person on Monday. Pennsylvania
5. This film, that premiered this past Friday, was number one at the box office this past weekend. "The Prestige"
6. A river in this Asian country mysteriously turned red, possibly due to an unknown chemical coming from a sewage pipe. China
7. This rap star was caught at a California airport last month with a weapon and charges against him are currently being considered. Snoop Dogg
8. This country singer and husband of Nicole Kidman checked into rehab for alcohol abuse this past weekend. Keith Urban
9. This hurricane is currently heading for the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula and should reach it on Wednesday. Paul
10. Nelson de la Rosa, the world's smallest actor and the 2004 champion Red Sox good luck charm, died on Sunday. Within six inches, how tall was he? 2'4"
1. "As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster." (1990) Goodfellas
2. "What we have here is a failure to communicate." (1966) Cool Hand Luke
3. "Come with me if you want to live." (1991) Terminator 2: Judgment Day
4. "My advice to you is to start drinking heavily." (1978) Animal House
5. "Leave the gun, take the cannolis." (1972) The Godfather
6. "It's 106 miles to Chicago. We've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses." (1980) The Blues Brothers
7. "I didn't want this to happen, to die like this. I was building a house." (1992) Unforgiven
8. "I guess I picked the wrong week to quit drinking." (1980) Airplane!
9. "Is this heaven? No, it's Iowa." (1989) Field of Dreams
10. "I'm having an old friend for dinner." (1991) Silence of the Lambs
World Series Trivia
1. Within three, how many times have the St. Louis Cardinals appeared in the World Series? 17
2. Name 3 of the 4 years that the New York Mets have appeared in the World Series. 1969, 1973, 1986, 2000
3. How many times did Cubs Hall of Famer Ernie Banks play in the World Series? none
4. Of the Texas Rangers, Houston Astros, LA Angels and Toronto Blue Jays, which has never appeared in a World Series? Texas Rangers
5. Which one of the following teams has never defeated the New York Yankees in a World Series: Arizona Diamondbacks, Florida Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies or Pittsburgh Pirates? Philadelphia Phillies
6. Which Hall of Fame slugger is the only player to hit 5 homers in one series? Reggie Jackson (1977)
7. Which team won the first World Series in 1903? Boston Pilgrims (Red Sox)
8. In which year did the Brooklyn Dodgers win their only World Series? 1955
9. What team did Jim Leyland lead to the World Series title back in the 1990s? Florida Marlins
10. Which AL team won 3 straight World Series in the early 1970s? Oakland A's
1. Who was the first female Supreme Court justice, sworn in in 1981? Sandra Day O'Connor
2. In which American city did Martin Luther King, in 1963, deliver his "I Have A Dream" speech? Washington DC
3. Who was the first US president to ride in an automobile? Teddy Roosevelt
4. Which famous painting was stolen from the Louvre in Paris in 1911 and returned there two years later? Mona Lisa
5. In the film "The Wizard of Oz," Judy Garland portrayed Dorothy. What was her last name in the film? Gale
6. In 1804, which US vice-president shot another man to death in a duel? Aaron Burr
7. The US has more tornadoes than any other nation on earth. Who is second? Australia
8. In 1754, Kings College opened in New York City with eight students and one professor. Under what name is the college better known as today? Columbia University
9. Which war was called "The War to end all wars?" World War I
10. What was the first European city in the world to reach 0ne million in population? Rome
1. "The Rangers had a homecoming/In Harlem late last night." Bruce Springsteen, "Jungleland"
2. "She told me to come/But I was already there." AC/DC, "You Shook Me All Night Long"
3. "We were the first band to vomit in the bar/And find the distance to the stage too far." The Who, "Long Live Rock"
4. "I heard the news today, oh boy/ About a lucky man who made the grade." The Beatles, "A Day in the Life"
5. "We're just two lost souls swimmin' in a fishbowl/Year after year." Pink Floyd, "Wish You Were Here"
6. "We were just another band out of Boston/On the road tryin' to make ends meet." Boston, "Rock and Roll Band"
7. "Life is a mystery/Everyone must stand alone." Madonna, "Like a Prayer"
8. "The warden threw a party in the county jail/The prison band was there and they began to wail." Elvis Presley, "Jailhouse Rock"
9. "I shot a man in Reno/Just to watch him die." Johnny Cash, "Folsom Prison Blues"
10. "Keep a clean nose/Watch the plain clothes/You don't need a weather man/To know which way the wind blows." Bob Dylan, "Subterranean Homesick Blues"
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Mike Vaccaro Responds To The Q
I not only answered him back here, but I wrote him an email right after. It wasn't angry email, just one explaining to him that he got it all wrong in the paragraph he wrote about the Yankees. I really didn't expect a response back from him, as I knew he was probably covering the World Series for the Post. But to my surprise, there was a response from him. (And he wrote it an hour before the start of Game 3 in St. Louis.)
It was a nice response from Mike, and he was very gracious.
It seems you weren't alone, and that I may have erred in assuming empathy where there was none. It seems a lot of non-Yankees fans couldn't have possibly enjoyed seeing that collapse more, and, like you, still enjoy the memory completely.
I stand corrected.
I have always respected his take on New York sports. He wrote some sympathetic articles about the Red Sox as they were charging towards the 2004 World Series championship. Earlier this year I read his book, "Emperors and Idiots," about the Red Sox and Yankees rivalry, it is a terrific read. And I really appreciate him taking the time to write to me in what was probably a very busy time for him the last few days.
Thank you Mike.
And speaking of Trivia Night, the new categories went down rather well last night. Movie quotes got the best response. I heard the groans I expected when I announced that World Series trivia would be a special category (from those people who aren't baseball fans), and music lyrics went over fine, but the feedback I got from some people was that some of my choices were rather difficult.
I plan on bringing back both movie quotes and music lyrics next time, but I will fine tune them a bit. And at this moment, I don't know when or if Trivia Night will be held next week, as next Tuesday is Halloween. A decision on that will be coming soon, and I'll let you all know what we decide to do.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
The Trivia Maven's New Logo
Chris took the drawing and put it on the trivia sheets that the contestants use on Trivia Night, and he made it look really professional. (BTW, that's a pen I'm holding in my hand. Originally I thought it was a cigarette.)
Today, he sent me an email of the drawing, and I was able to get a code for it, and it will now appear on my site. Right now it will be located below the clock and above the Google ads. (I'll decide a better place for it soon.)
Tonight is Trivia Night, as well as the third game of the World Series. Tonight's trivia will have three special categories: World Series trivia, movie quotes, and music lyrics, to go along with current events and general knowledge. I'm hoping to make movie quotes and music lyrics a regular feature for a while. We'll see how it goes.
An Eye-Opening Poll
I was really surprised to see that 64% of those polled are not a fan of professional baseball. If I were running the game, that would worry me very much. More and more, baseball is losing the younger fan, and years from now, they maybe pining for the days when the number was just 64%. The hype over the story was the fact that nearly half of all baseball fans are NOT rooting for Barry Bonds to break Hank Aaron's all-time home run record. Oh, I wonder why? I found his agent, Jeff Borris, and his take on it to be almost comical:
"It saddens me," said Bonds' agent, Jeff Borris. "I think true baseball fans who know and understand everything Barry has done to get to this point should be pulling for him.
"They should feel fortunate that they'll have the opportunity to see him break probably the most hallowed record in sports," he said.
Maybe it's because of all the steroid allegations, and just maybe the "true baseball fans" have never embraced this obnoxious jerk who treats the media and fans with such contempt? The public knows a complete asshole, as well as a cheater, when they see one, Mr. Borris.
It truly makes me feel sad for Hank Aaron, a man who played baseball for 22 years with class and dignity, not to mention under things like death threats when he was attempting to break Babe Ruth's home run record in 1973. He's caught in the middle of this controversy, and doesn't deserve it. Even if Bonds breaks his record, most fans will look upon Hammerin' Hank's record as the REAL one.
The rest of the poll was quite interesting as well. Fans were asked who their favorite team is, and the team they dislike the most. You can guess who won in both categories. The Yankees took it in both. They narrowly won the favorite category (with 14%, over the Braves 10% and the Red Sox 9%), but when it comes to being disliked, they are on their own planet (or should I say "universe?"). The Red Sox were second with 7%, but a full 40% in the poll said the New York Yankees were the team they hated the most. Hardly a surprise, as Yankee-hating sure hasn't gone out of style.
I was also surprised to see that 75% of all fans think that postseason games are scheduled just right. I can only imagine that most of those polled don't live in the Eastern US time zone.
There are more questions there, especially about steroids and baseball.
Once again, it's worth checking out.
Monday, October 23, 2006
A Weekend Wrapup
Notre Dame won 20-17 over UCLA at South Bend on Saturday, with a thrilling comeback in the final seconds, as Brady Quinn hit Jeff Samardzija with a 54-yard TD pass. ND had been down since the second quarter, as UCLA was poised for the upset win. The Irish were a 13-point favorite, and a BCS bowl berth was in serious jeopardy.
But once again, Notre Dame finds a way to win. Many times the victories haven't been pretty this year, but now they are 6-1. They have a relatively easy schedule before their late November showdown with USC in LA.
The Vikings pulled off a shocker yesterday, beating the home Seattle Seahawks, 31-13. Chester Taylor rushed for 167 yeards, including a 95-yard TD run, which set a new Vikings record for longest run from scrimmage. Brad Johnson did just enough for the Vikings to win, and Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck hurt his knee in the second half and did not return. The defense of the Vikings continues to look strong, allowing Seattle just one TD, in the first quarter. The Vikings are now 4-2 and in second in the NFC North.
The Jets beat the Detroit Lions, 31-24 at the Meadowlands, while the Giants play Dallas tonight. The Jets are now 4-3, and have surpassed their win total for 2005. The Patriots beat Buffalo, 28-6 yesterday, to go to 5-1, and that sets up a showdown with the Vikings at the Metrodome next Monday night. It will be a festive night at Professor Thom's then, as it will be "Clamapolooza." And all of my Red Sox friends, who are also Patriots fans, will be on the other side of the fence that night. Me and my "Dirty Vikings" are looking forward to a good one next Monday night! (More on the "Clamapolooza" later this week.)
The World Series is now tied 1-1, as the series shifts to St. Louis tomorrow night. The Tigers evened it last night, 3-1, behind eight shutout innings by Kenny (There's Nothing On My Left Hand) Rogers.
I still like the boys from Motown, in six games.
And on the other side of The Pond, Liverpool was beaten yesterday at Old Trafford By Manchester United, who is on top of the Premiership at the moment. Liverpool continues to struggle, as they are now in 11th place. But, in my fantasy EPL league, I am still in second place, in a nine-person league. God bless Gareth Barry of Aston Villa for scoring in a second straight match...
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Fenway Far East
According to the article, one of the few English phrases Mr. Ohta knows is, "Yankees Suck."
He's truly a member of Red Sox Nation.
But my favorite part of the article was the fact that they often show the 2004 World Series video, especially now as the World Series is currently going on. As many of you know, me and my friends make a few appearances in that very video. I thought it's such a cool thing to realize that over 10,000 miles from Greenwich Village, there are Red Sox fans in that bar, many of them Japanese and probably some Americans, watching me and my buddies ("The Embedded Red Sox Fans") celebrating the immortal 2004 Red Sox championship on their video screens.
That will always make me smile.
Here is the complete article. It's worth a read: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=thompson_wright&id=2633625
No Sympathy From Me, Ever
Yankees fans emerged as proud as a group as ever two years ago when, collectively, they went through the atrocity of a blown three-games-to-none lead against the Red Sox. No matter what you might have thought about Yankees fans before that, no matter how "easy" it may have seemed to have followed the pinstripes, you had to acknowledge this: going through that, living through those four straight losses that grew louder and lousier by the moment, is something for which even the most ardent Yankee hater had to have quiet sympathy pains. You make it through the other side of that with your fandom intact, you never have to apologize for anything ever again.
Uh, no Mike. Those arrogant, obnoxious Yankee fans got EXACTLY what they deserved on the night of October 20, 2004. It was their comeuppance for decades and decades of their feeling so superior to everyone else, that winning the World Series was somehow "their birthright" as Yankee fans. They REVELED in all of that "1918" and "Curse of the Bambino" BS, and enjoyed pouring salt into the open wounds of Red Sox fans at every opportunity. On that fateful night, Red Sox fans, as well as Yankee haters worldwide, had absolutely ZERO sympathy for what those fans were going through. Our attitude was more "it's about time for them."
Sympathy pains? You've got to be kidding. I ENJOYED EVERY MOMENT of their historic collapse. And I still do. Their fans can talk all about their 26 championships (and you know they always will). But this monumental choke also goes on their resume. And it will always be there.
Vaccaro is one of the few New York writers I have respect for, but he was way off base with that paragraph. For us Red Sox fans, the historic comeback was a gift for all of us who stayed with them through all the tough times. We all enjoyed that Game 7 night immensely, and we always will.
(While I have known a few good Yankee fans in my lifetime, I am of course, speaking about them as a group. It has always been my policy that I don't dump on good Yankee fans I know, and I never will. Those are the Yankee fans who left me alone during the Sox most horrific moments. I think of that famous line: "Those who show mercy will also know mercy", and it applies here.)
It was such a pleasure also just to see the long faces and the shocked looks on the faces of the Evil Empire denizens that night. The tables had finally turned, and a new era in baseball history had just dawned.
Sorry. No sympathy from me to them. Ever.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Leave The Trades To The GMs
But the ones I really don't like are the ones who come up with these really screwy ideas for trades. It's that time of the year again when the regular season is over, and the really goofy ideas come forward by so-called experts on how to improve the teams they cover. Granted everyone has an opinion on things like trades and are free to offer them, but the ones I see invented by sportswriters can at times leave me speechless.
Or sometimes laughing.
I heard that earlier this week, the sportswriter Red Sox fans love to hate, Dan Shaughnessy, was on a Boston TV station and floated the idea of the Sox trading Manny Ramirez to the Yankees for "the man known as Slappy," one Alex Rodriguez.
When I heard that Shaughnessy had suggested that this trade happen, my first thought was "Was he sober when he said it?"
Trust me loyal readers, a Manny-for-Slappy trade will never, ever happen.
You will never see Alex Rodriguez in a Red Sox uniform. It might make sense now in some ways because he would fit in at shortstop (as Alex Gonzalez is a free agent), and the Red Sox would actually save close to $4 million dollars by swapping those contracts. But what he did in the eighth inning of Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS will never be forgotten, or forgiven, by Red Sox fans. Or the fact that he went to the Evil Empire instead of the Red Sox in the winter of 2004 (even if it benefitted the Red Sox in the long run). A-Rod maybe one of the best players in baseball, but he'll never be embraced in Boston, and if you think he had his troubles with the New York fans, he will be brutalized in Boston.
And it makes even less sense for the Yankees to get Manny Ramirez. If they were to make this trade, exactly where would he play for the Yankees next season? They already have a full outfield (Matsui, Judas and Abreu) and are committed to all of them (none can or will be traded), and another good outfielder they don't have a place for (Melky Cabrera). Manny can't play first, and the Yankees already have a full-time DH they can't trade (Jason Giambi).
Plus, and most obviously, the Red Sox and Yankees will NOT make any kind of trade, no matter how mutually beneficial it might be. And they certainly won't pull off any kind of "blockbuster" deal of this magnitude. There are hard feelings on both sides. Manny and A-Rod may have different addresses next year, but if they both leave, it won't be either "Boston" or "New York." (Yankees, that is.)
It makes me wonder why Shaughnessy would waste people's time with such nonsense like this. As we all know, he loves to be the center of controversy, and I guess he'll say anything to get the fans attention.
Even if it is such ridiculous nonsense like this.
I also saw another really ridiculous trade idea involving Alex Rodriguez this week (courtesy of my friend Michael). A sportswriter named Tom Keegan, a real nitwit who used to write for the New York Post (I had almost no respect for him back when he was there), and is now writing for a newspaper in Lawrence, Kansas (talk about being exiled), looked deep into his mind and came up with a real beauty.
His idea is to send Rodriguez to Kansas City for 1B-DH Mike Sweeney, SS Angel Berroa and prospect 3B Alex Gordon.
I guess the Yankees would want to punish him and send him to baseball's version of Siberia with this deal.
Now that you've stopped laughing, I'll tell you why this will never happen. The Yankees have no need for another 1B-DH type, or a second-rate middle infielder. Sweeney is a good hitter, but is very injury-prone, and can't really play the field any more. Berroa had a good year at the plate a few years back, but has been unable to duplicate it, and is not a good fielding shortstop. Keegan seems to think that because the trade will balance in terms of money, it would be beneficial to both clubs.
Does this dimwit really believe the Yankees will deal A-Rod and get no stud pitcher back in return? Did Keegan even see the ALDS and see the reason the Yankees were knocked out early was because of their lousy starting pitching? And does he REALLY think A-Rod, who can veto any deal, would accept basically being run out of New York so he can play in virtual anonymity in Kansas City?
He thinks that Gordon is the type of player who will have a huge impact in the future. How many "can't-miss" prospects have "missed" in history? I've heard good things about Gordon, but he hasn't played one game in the majors yet (the Royals maybe set to bring him up in 2007). If he had two or three years in the majors (like the Mets' David Wright) and was making a big splash in Kansas City, then you can make the argument. But New York GM Brian Cashman would be burned in effigy by the Yankee fans if he ever considered this deal.
For your comedic enjoyment, here's a link to Keegan's article: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/oct/11/keegan_rod_perfect_kc/?sports
When I see things like these trade "ideas," it makes me wonder what sportswriters like this are using for brains. But I guess some of them have deadlines to make, and will write almost anything.
Hey guys, leave the real trades to the general managers. They have a tough enough job, without backseat drivers like these "experts" staying up late-nights trying to do their jobs for them.
Friday, October 20, 2006
The Neverending Tragedy Of Ground Zero
No explanation could be given as to how this could have happened.
When news like this comes out, it just goes right through me. It makes me wonder if my lost friend, who was never found or identified, was part of that find. And it affects and re-opens wounds for all other family members of WTC victims who weren't found when news like this breaks.
Family groups have been rightly demanding that their be an investigation into the failure to not collect all the remains at the site. A meeting was held today, and the city promised to more closely examine and re-examine many areas where the human remains turned up in.
I also heard a short while ago that even more remains were discovered today, and even one reportedly was found in a dumpster on the site.
It's been five long years, and these stories keep coming up. It's a tragedy that just doesn't seem to end. With rescue workers and other first responders turning up sick and dying for their service to help in the worst tragedy in American history, we will continue to hear more and more about this as the years go on.
I also read in today's NY Daily News that the CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald, Howard Lutnick, said he would donate $25 million to help build the World Trade Center Memorial under one condition: that the victims' names are grouped the way the families want them, by the companies they worked for, their office location and ages.
The current plan has the memorial listing the names in random order, to reflect the "haphazard brutality" of September 11. I certainly understand memorial architect Michael Arad's thinking, and I respect it. He's a good and honorable man, but in my own opinion, I am with the families and Howard Lutnick on this.
Many of the victims worked together, and died together, and I believe they should be remembered for all eternity together as well. I also favor the FDNY, NYPD and PAPD personnel being put together and their badges and insignias put on the memorial list as well. This has become a sharp point of contention with the 9/11 victims' families. Mr. Lutnick said he has spoke to hundreds of family members and they said they will support the memorial when all the issues surrounding it have been settled.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. It will take the wisdom of Solomon to get all of these issues resolved, and please everyone involved. The tragedy that is Ground Zero seems like it will just go on and on into the future. That 16-acre hole in the heart of Lower Manhattan continues to be an open wound for all New Yorkers, and especially for those people who suffered such a tragic loss on that terrible Tuesday morning.
Remembering The Greatest Comeback/Choke Ever
I was in a packed Riviera Cafe and Sports Bar the night of October 20, 2004. I was confident on the outside, but nervous as hell on the inside. The Red Sox were poised to make baseball history, and against the team that had caused them and their fans such misery time and time again.
Two people offered me tickets to the game the night before, and I turned them both down. I HAD to be at the Riv that night. I was there just one year earlier, when a sure win Game 7 turned into another chapter in the Red Sox book of heartbreak. Besides, I didn't want to be a live witness if the Red Sox were to go down in another Game 7, and be around that pack of heathen swine in the Bronx.
It would be one of the most memorable nights of my life. I talked to a Daily News reporter before the game, and he turned out to be a Red Sox fan from New Jersey. The bar was buzzing from the moment I got there, about three hours before the first pitch. Every pitch seemed to get either cheers or boos.
The bar groaned when Johnny Damon was thrown out at the plate in the top of the first, but it exploded in cheers when David Ortiz hit the very next pitch over the right field wall to put the Sox up, 2-0. When Damon went deep the next inning with the bases loaded to extend the lead to 6-0, I thought it was a dream. And then I started getting really nervous, thinking to myself, "Why can't it be the eighth or ninth inning now?" The grand slam set off a wild celebration in the bar that my friend Matt wound up breaking his glasses in the crush. (He was a trooper, taking out scotch tape and putting them back together.)
I knew the Yankees were dangerous, but Derek Lowe pitched the best game of his life that night, allowing only one run on one hit through six innings. Damon continued his one-man assault against New York by blasting another homer with a man aboard to put the Sox up, 8-1, in the fourth.
It stayed that way until the seventh, when, for some unknown reason, Terry Francona brought in Pedro Martinez. It put the crowd back in the game, especially when the scored two quick runs as I and the rest of the bar was nervous and grumbling. But Pedro restored order, and Mark Bellhorn crushed a solo shot off the right field foul pole to make it 9-3. Inside, I finally started to think to myself: "AL Champions!"
The Red Sox would add another in the ninth, and when Ruben Sierra grounded out, the single greatest comeback in the history of American sports was finally complete. The Red Sox won the AL flag, and the Yankees earned a choker tag. The Riviera absolutely exploded in delirium, and it went on for a good solid 10 minutes. I will never forget seeing Red Sox fans, yes, Red Sox fans, celebrating behind the third base dugout after the win, especially when the players came out with champagne to celebrate with them.
The Yankee fans would now have to burn all of their "Curse of the Bambino" and "1918" garbage. Sure, they can point to their 26 championships, and the fact that no one in my lifetime will ever come close to reaching that. Fine, and it will always be a part of their resume. But whether they like it or not, the games of October 17-20, 2004, will also long be a part of that resume as well.
It was the greatest comeback of all-time. It was the greatest choke of all-time. Take your pick.
For Red Sox fans, it was a deliverance, a gift to all of us who suffered through all the bad times and terrible losses. It was two years ago today that it was completed.
I'll celebrate by opening up a cold one tonight and putting on my Game 7 DVD from the 2004 box set. (And hopefully make me forget what happened just last night.)
May God bless "The 25."
Paul Brings Traffic My Way
It's funny the way things work sometimes. Over the past week, I've noticed more traffic coming into my site. Through Site Meter, I saw that a bunch of people had come here because of a photo I put up of Paul McCartney last June on his birthday (the same one featured here).
Most of the people had come here through Google Images, but I also discovered that a web site, I believe in Spain, had a group of pictures of Paul on their site, and one linked back to my site. I certainly thank them for that.
Most of the people who found my site through the picture were from Europe, from places like Sweden, Switzerland, and even Slovenia. (I wonder if that was my old friend Nika...)
I've also be getting some traffic to my site from people doing web image searches regarding the Ground Zero Cross as well, and they have generally been from all parts of the United States.
I would guess that Paul's divorce from Heather Mills, which has made big headlines, is the reason people are looking for pics and more info about him. Kind of funny that Paul's troubles are bringing more folks over to The Mighty Quinn Media Machine. For that I thank him.
But I've always been a big fan of Paul's and I wish him all the best that his marital troubles work out best for everyone involved.
A Pennant That Got Away
I was certain that the fly ball that Yadier Molina hit in the top of the ninth was a simple fly to leftfield when it left his bat.
And of all the Mets you'd want up in a bases loaded situation in the bottom of the ninth with the tying and winning runs on base, it surely was Carlos Beltran, who seemed to own the Cardinals in the postseason. A storybook finish loomed on the horizon. But it was an incredible curveball by Adam Wainwright on 0-2 that caught him looking to end the Mets season.
Oliver Perez sure did Derek Lowe proud last night, and gave the Mets six solid innings. Like D-Lowe in 2004, he gave up just one run in his Game 7 appearance. He deserved a win.
And Endy Chavez' catch was one of the greatest catches I've ever seen and he turned it into a double play. I thought for sure after Scott Rolen threw away Carlos Delgado's grounder in the bottom of the inning that the Cardinals were snakebit (especially Rolen), and the Mets were on the way to the pennant. Even Chavez coming up with two outs and the bases full was too much like a Hollywood script, and I thought Chavez would clear the bases.
Jeff Suppan pitched brilliantly and deserved the MVP. The Mets wasted those two golden opportunities, in the sixth and ninth. I agree with bringing Aaron Heilman back for the ninth inning. And I don't want to hear ANYONE second-guess Willie Randolph not bringing in Billy Wagner for the ninth. His numbers are far worse in non-save situations (see Games 2 and 6), and Heilman looked strong in the eighth. You just have to tip your cap to Molina.
The Mets lose the NLCS to a team that was 14 games worse than they were in the 2006 regular season. And St. Louis was 3 games worse than the Red Sox were.
And on those depressing notes, I think I'll try to go to bed.
Tigers in 5.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
October 19: A Memorable Day Throughout My Life
1984: It was 22 years ago today that I started at Tower Records in Greenwich Village. I was a nervous wreck that day, trying to get accustomed to this huge record store with big crowds of people coming in, and trying to get a handle on how to run a cash register, which I had never done before. By the end of the day, it left my head spinning. I was put on a probationary period, and I figured I'd be there at least 6 months. I moved up in the store, reaching CD buyer, supervisor and rock floor manager, and I stayed until December 1990.
1993: On this day I got the word that I was promoted to a full sales rep in a music distribution company I worked for called Bayside. They were owned by many of the same people who owned Tower. I had been an assistant to begin with, but since there was only rep for the New York area, they needed someone else to take part of the territory, so I go the call. I would remain a rep for them for nearly seven years. I lost my job back in 2000 because of a backroom deal they made with another company Bayside merged with, so they aren't a part of Christmas list any more.
2001: Five years ago today, I finished writing a memorial for my late friend Joyce, who died in the World Trade Center. I spent the better part of three nights writing it. I knew in my heart I had to write something to honor her memory. It was an amazing three nights, as the words just flowed out of me, and I never once crossed out a word and tore up a piece of paper and started again. I went down to Ground Zero for the first time the next day, which was a life-altering experience. I read my words to three friends I went down there with aftrerwards, and they were moved to tears by it. I didn't realize it at the time, but the memorial set in motion my long-standing desire to write. It is one of the proudest things I have ever done in my entire life.
2004: Every Red Sox fan knows this date by heart. It was Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS at Yankee Stadium, and Curt Schilling took the mound with what appeared to be a red mark on his right sock, and it was in fact blood seeping through a surgical procedure that took place the previous night to allow him to pitch on a damaged ankle that would require surgery after the season. What happened was one of the most courageous and memorable pitching performances of all time, and the Red Sox won, 4-2, and forced a Game 7 the next night, the first team to do that in postseason baseball history. (Just wait until tomorrow's post!!) I saw that game at a packed Riviera Cafe in the West Village and it was one of the most memorable nights of my life, and in more ways than you would think.
Now if the Mets can win tonight, I can add another chapter to my "October 19 Wall of Memories."
Could This Be Derek Lowe All Over Again?
But naturally, Billy Wagner had to make it interesting, allowing two runs on three hits in the ninth. He went to his slider way too much in that inning, and the Cardinals hit him hard, as they did in Game 2. He should stick with his trademark, the blazing fastball, more in those clutch situations. For instance, he was blowing it by Scott Rolen for two strikes, but went back to the slider and Rolen doubled to left.
All Mets fans everywhere are praying that Wagner won't be needed for Game 7.
I guess a few lit candles and novenas couldn't hurt right now.
Willie Randolph said after Game 6 that Oliver Perez will get the ball for Game 7, going up against ex-Red Sox pitcher Jeff Suppan. This choice of Perez made me think of the amazing 2004 Red Sox ALCS comeback. Like Perez, Derek Lowe pitched Game 4, and both were unexpected starters. Both Perez and Lowe did admirable work in those games, and their teams both won critical games.
And like Lowe, Perez will get the ball for the deciding Game 7, and also like Lowe, on short rest (Lowe's was actually shorter, only two days to Perez' three). You will remember that D-Lowe was virtually unhittable that night against the Yankees, allowing just one run and one hit in six incredible innings. The Mets will hope to get five good innings out of Perez, and turn it over to the bullpen. Everyone except John Maine will be available.
Let's hope Perez will make Derek Lowe proud.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
No Room For Error Now
The Mets had a golden opportunity to tie the game in the eighth, as they had runners at second and third with one out. A short fly couldn't get anyone home, and Jose Valentin was caught looking at a rather questionable third strike call.
The next loss ends the 2006 season for the Mets.
Tonight is Game 6 at Shea Stadium. John Maine gets the ball for the Mets, and Chris Carpenter goes for St. Louis. The last time the Mets were down 3-2 in a seven-game series at home was on October 25, 1986.
I think we all know what happened then. It's not over yet, but the Mets have a lot of work to do.
And once again, Albert Pujols continues to cement his reputation as a complete asshole. I didn't see the top of the ninth last night (as I was in the middle of Trivia Night at PT's), but I heard that he fielded a grounder off the bat of Cliff Floyd deep in the hole at first. Pitcher Adam Wainwright was there at the bag waiting for his throw, but Pujols decided to practically walk to the bag and make Floyd, who's got that gimpy Achilles and can hardly run, go all the way to the bag instead of getting the sure out by flipping the ball to Wainwright. Jackass.
My respect for Pujols has gone right down the crapper in this series.
Let's Go Mets!!
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Memories of Tower Greenwich Village, Part 3
I always hated when we had in-store appearances by musical acts. Not seeing the celebrities themselves, but it always interrupted my routine. I became the rock floor CD buyer in December 1985. It was at a time when CDs when just exploding in popularity, and quickly started to overcome LPs as the favored way for most people to listen to music.
The in-stores always seemed to occur at a time when I had a ton of work to do. I was basically in charge of getting the CDs up from the basement to the rock floor. In the beginning I did just about all the pricing and bringing the product upstairs. (It was murder getting them up there when the elevators went out, and they did often.) We had the appearances right in the middle of the rock floor, and we had to move the middle racks into the aisles at the back of the floor. It made it almost impossible to move around and put any product away around the places the in-store was going on at. So I had to shut down work until it was all over, and on occasion that meant staying later until everything got done.
Some of the most memorable in-store appearances happened before I became CD buyer(and I was usually put on security detail for them back then). The most famous was the Tina Turner one, which happened just days before I was hired as an employee. It is famous because she was in the middle of the in-store when her manager told her that she had the number one record in America (which she mentions in her book, "I Tina.") Two of the wildest ones I was at were in 1985 by Tears For Fears and the pop singer Paul Young. They both had crowds going down East 4th Street, and around and on to Lafayette Street. The Paul Young in-store may have been the craziest one I ever saw. We put up barracades along the route to keep everyone in line, and they were constantly being knocked over. And the crowd was overwhelmingly a large group of Asian teenage girls, for whatever reason.
I remember the Frankie Goes To Hollywood appearance (remember them?). All of us employees were given an extremely oversized "FRANKIE SAY" t-shirt to wear (they were all the rage back then), and I had people on the line offering me money for the shirt, which for some reason I turned them all down. I ended up tossing the shirt out years later.
I did get a chance to meet a few of the artists who appeared. The nicest guy was Tommy James, who I talked to at length about his music career, and got an autographed CD and picture with him. Bananarama were a bunch of stuck-up twits, and when 10,000 Maniacs made an appearance, their lead singer (whose name I forget) basically ignored me when I was introduced to her. I felt badly for the country singer Ricky Skaggs when he was there. He was a really nice guy but almost no one showed up for his appearance. (It was before country music boomed in the US in the 1990s.)
I always enjoyed telling my friends and family that some famous person was in the store, be it in an in-store, or at some other function. In the late '80s, I remember three occasions that I was invited to two listening parties to check out new records. The first was for Simply Red's new CD, and I got the chance to meet Mick Hucknall, their lead singer. Nice guy, with a strange red hairdo.
The second was the new CD by George Harrison, "Cloud Nine." A friend from Tower and I got the invite, and on it was that some guy with a strange name would be at the party. I always remembered that George liked using pseudonyms for different things, and we both thought it might be George himself appearing at it, without telling anyone directly. I recall going there in the cab talking excitedly to my friend that we might actually meet a Beatle. When we got there, the guy with the strange name was in fact, only a guy with a strange name and not George. I was really bummed, but the CD was really good.
But the next year, 1988, I met the biggest celebrity I have ever met in my life. I was invited to a party to hear Elton John's "Reg Strikes Back" CD. And the man himself was there. Elton was always a big Tower Records supporter, and wanted to meet some people from the store. I met him and got a picture taken with him and another friend of mine, taken by his record company. Elton was just a sweet guy, and I still have the picture, put away on one of my shelves at home.
Hobnobbing with the celebs. It was a great fringe benefit from my days working at Tower.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Reliving "The Clemens Massacre"
It was Saturday, October 16, 1999, and the Red Sox and Yankees were about to meet in Game 3 of the ALCS. My pal Greg called me early that morning to tell me that he had just gotten 3 tickets to that day's game at Fenway, and was I interested in going. I sure as hell was, and we met up in Manhattan and we drove up to Boston with his son that afternoon.
Greg had gotten the tickets through a connection in the Yankees. We got to our seats, and as soon as the game started, I noticed a number of things. We were in a section in the back just to the left of home plate, a fantastic seat. I also saw a Boston police officer by our section from the start of the game, and I also saw no one else around me wearing any Red Sox paraphernalia at all. I discovered that we were in a reserved section for the Yankees players and their families, and I was about the only Sox fan in it. (The police officer was there at the request of the Yankees, just to be safe. There was no trouble at all.)
The game was a "classic matchup" between Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens. The press was hyping this game to no end. Pedro had just had his best year ever, winning 23 games. (But that asshole from the New York Daily News, George King, denied Pedro his deserved AL MVP award because he left him completely off his ballot.) The Red Sox had lost the first two games, and they needed this game to get back in the series.
The Sox came out firing, scoring two runs in the first and second innings. John Valentin hit a homer off Clemens in the first, and the Fenway crowd of 33, 190 really let him have it. Chants of "Ro-ger" "Ro-ger" cascaded across the ballpark, along with some other things I won't write (as I want to keep this in good taste).
In the third, Clemens got into more trouble, and finally Joe Torre pulled him, and the Fenway faithful was merciless in their use of colorful language at their former-hero-now-turncoat star pitcher. (It was later revealed the torrent of abuse directed at him left his wife in tears, as she was in the stands.) His final pitching line for the game was:
2+ innings, 6 hits, 5 earned runs, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts, 1 home run allowed.
Clemens was relieved by Hideki Irabu (remember "The Fat Toad," who Rudy Giuliani once gave the Key to the City to?), and he took a pounding, giving up 7 runs in nearly five innings of work, including home runs to Brian Daubach and Nomar Garciaparra.
I was the only one in my section cheering all day. It was amazing seeing all those Yankee fans I was sitting with having to sit on their hands all afternoon.
However, Pedro Martinez was nothing short of superb. He allowed only two hits over 7 innings, struck out 12 and walked 2, allowing no runs. It was an extraordinary performance, and the Red Sox went on to an easy 13-1 win. As the game ended, the Fenway crowd was in a raucous mood, and sensed a great comeback in the series by the home side.
It was not meant to be, as the Yankees won the next two games and the ALCS in five games. We'd have to wait for another five years for the ALCS Miracle Comeback.
October 16, 1999 was one of my most fun days ever in any ballpark. It was worth anything just to see Roger The Carpetbagger get his head handed to him in the place he once called home.
It's Now A Best-of-Three
The series will now return to New York on Wednesday night, no matter what happens in Game 5.
Tom Glavine goes tonight, weather permitting. The forecast for St. Louis tonight is for rain, and a rainout tonight might not be the worst thing in the world for the Mets. It would give Glavine another day of rest, but it would also eliminate the Tuesday travel day for both teams.
Today is also a special day in Mets history, as it was 37 years ago today that the Miracle Mets won their first World Series, a 5-3 win over the powerhouse Baltimore Orioles at Shea Stadium (pictured above). It was one of the biggest upsets in sports history, as the Mets took out the Orioles in five games with some superb pitching and defense, and just enough offense to win.
The 1969 Mets will always be the most beloved team in franchise history.
I was 7 years old and I remember it oh so well.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
One of My Better Days: October 15, 1986
On October 15, 1986, the Red Sox and the California Angels were tied in the ALCS, 3-3, and the Mets led the Houston Astros, 3-2 in their series. I was an absolute nervous wreck when the day started. The Mets game was on first, in the afternoon. Houston jumped out to quick lead and led 3-0 until the ninth, when the Mets rallied to tie it. The game would go on for 16 innings, when the Mets scored three, and Houston scored two in the bottom of the 16th, and left the tying run at second when Jesse Orosco struck out Kevin Bass to end it.
It was one of the most exciting baseball games I had ever seen. I was literally on the edge of my seat for all of extra innings. I was incredibly relieved when the Mets finally put it away.
Minutes after the Mets won the pennant, the Red Sox went about the business of dismantling the California Angels. Roger Clemens pitched well (something he didn't do often in his postseason history) and the Sox bashed California, 8-1. It was one of the greatest comebacks in postseason baseball history, as the Red Sox were down to their last out in Game 5 and down 3 games to 1, and 5-4 in the game. Dave Henderson's amazing home run put the Sox in the lead, they would win it in 11 innings (on Hendu's sac fly). The Sox came home and routed the Angels and won their first AL pennant since 1975.
It was one of baseball's greatest comebacks, and it is literally forgotten, because of the events of the very next series. It's a shame, really.
Both of my teams won pennants on the same night. It was quite a day. One of the better days of my life.
So, who did I root for in the 1986 World Series? Well, that's a story for another day.
Motor City Madmen
The Mets played a lifeless game against the Cardinals after the Detroit game concluded, and lost 5-0. Steve Trachsel was terrible, and the offense was non-existent against Jeff Suppan. (Jeff Suppan?) The only saving grace for the Mets was that Darren Oliver, who came in after Trachsel's bomb out, saved the bullpen with six very good shutout innings to rest the pen. The Mets are now down 2-1, and Oliver Perez takes the ball tonight against Anthony Reyes. I expect a REALLY high score tonight, and the Mets HAVE to find a way to get the series tied.
I watched the game yesterday at Professor Thom's, which is the unofficial home for Michigan Wolverines football fans in New York. So that means a lot of Tigers fans were in the bar watching the conclusion of the game. They went bananas after the win, and it brought back memories to me of the Red Sox World Series win in 2004. The bar wasn't as crowded as the Riviera was that night, but the Tiger fans surely enjoyed it.
And good for them. The Tiger fans deserved it. They've been through a lot since their last title in 1984, especially when the Tigers lost 119 games in 2003. Detroit has always been a good baseball town, even through all the down years.
After the Tigers game ended, the bar got really packed with Michigan fans, for the Penn State game. One of my friends who owns PT's went to Michigan, so he put up a huge Michigan flag at the back of the bar, and the word got out that it was a friendly place to watch their games (like the Red Sox games are during the rest of the year). As the game got going, it was as crowded as I've ever seen it before.
And the Michigan fans had plenty to cheer for. Their boys beat Penn State, 17-10, to complete "the doubleheader sweep." There was plenty of chanting for Michigan throughout the game, with one guy banging on some glass object with a knife leading the crowd, "Go Blue!"
Makes me very glad I wasn't there for the Notre Dame game last month, where ND got routed by Michigan. I sure didn't let anyone there know my allegiance to the Fighting Irish yesterday.
Discretion is always the better part of valor.
Albert Pujols Is A Big Fat Idiot
He's been compared to and has been called "the new Barry Bonds." Well, as it turns out, he's more like Bonds than I had originally thought (and it has nothing to do with steroids).
Albert Pujols is a jerk.
Not that baseball has never had it share of idiots. A long list can be written, from Ty Cobb and John McGraw to Bonds and Roger Clemens. The sport has always been chock full of them.
But Albert Pujols really did a nice hatchet job on a future Hall Of Famer the other night. Tom Glavine pitched an absolutely splendid game in Game 1 of the NLCS against St. Louis. Seven shutout innings, and he allowed just three hits. It gave the Mets a huge boost in trying to make it to their first World Series in 20 years. (They've run into big trouble since Thursday night, but that's another story.)
Apparently, King Albert didn't think Glavine pitched well at all, and he may have been one of the very few people who thought that. "He wasn't good, he wasn't good at all," said Pujols of Glavine. The next day, a writer approached him about the previous night's comments, and Pujols wouldn't back down. He stayed by what he said, and was just as combative as he was the night before. Generally, when players have a bad night against a good pitcher, they will compliment him and move on, especially if its in a postseason series. What this imbecile did is give the Mets' bulletin board some new material.
Pujols might have taken a better look at himself that night, as he lined out twice and made an absoutely stupid baserunning blunder that led to him getting picked off first and killing a Cardinal rally.
John Harper of the New York Daily News wrote an interesting article on Pujols and this whole dustup in Saturday's edition, and its worth reading: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/mets/story/461626p-388420c.html
Apparently, the writers in St. Louis are getting tired of his act as well. I can't help but think of that line about "$10 million dollars worth of talent in a 10 cent head."
OK, he may not be "fat," but he is an idiot. He's got a ton of talent, but it sure as hell not in the department of public relations.
We may have another Barry Bonds on our hands, and not just in the batter's box.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
The Everlasting Legacy of October 2004
It made me smile when I saw video of Oakland manager Ken Macha being interviewed after yesterday's loss. He's was asked the predictable questions about being in an 0-3 hole, and one of his responses was classic. It began with: "My buddy Francona in Boston was in this same situation two years ago..."
I absolutely love it. Since October 2004, whenever a team (in not just baseball, but basketball and hockey as well) is an 0-3 hole and all looks bleak, will invoke the memory of events that occurred from October 17-20, 2004. It is the enduring legacy of the 2004 Red Sox that will live forever. I even remember last year during the NBA playoffs, a player on the Washington Wizards, who were down 0-2 to the Chicago Bulls in their series, said after the Wizards won Game 3: "We had to win this game, otherwise we'd have to pull out the Red Sox tapes." (The Wizards won the next three straight and the series in six games.)
So even when a team is down 0-2, they invoke the 2004 Sox. Simply beautiful.
This is what the Oakland A's are up against:
In 103 years of MLB postseason baseball, 28 teams have been down 0-3 (not including the 2006 A's). 22 lost Game 4 and the series. Six teams won Game 4. But three of them lost Game 5, and two others lost Game 6. And one came all the way back to win it all.
It took 101 years for it to happen. And it may never happen again.
God bless Dave Roberts and the 2004 Red Sox.
Their legacy will forever endure.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Memories Of Tower Greenwich Village, Part 2
When I first began as a rock floor clerk at Tower Records, one of the first things I had to learn was how to operate a cash register. I was terrified at the thought of it. I had worked in another retail store previously, but I had never run the register. On my first day, I was paired with another rock floor employee named Matt. He was a really nice guy, and he was one of the employees who was moving to the new store at Lincoln Center in a few weeks. I was part of a group of new employees who were taking their place.
I must have asked Matt a million questions about how to do it, but I got the hang of doing credit card purchases, selling gift certificates and such. Fortunately, I got pretty good at it, and I became one of the more reliable people to run one. In my years of being on the main floor registers, I rang up such celebrities as Karen Allen, Edward Herrmann, Martha Quinn (big MTV VJ at the time, and no relation to me) and Iggy Pop. And as soon as I started working at Tower, there always seemed like someone famous was in the store. The store was not just a magnet for tourists, but it was one for celebrities. It was definitely one of the "fringe benefits" of working there. Whenever someone of some note was in the store, the word would pass around among the employees like wildfire.
Most celebrities I encountered were actually fairly nice and accomodating. I remember what a nice guy Robert Plant was, how sweet Raquel Welch was, and Simon LeBon signed autographs and took pictures with some of the employees. The late Gregory Hines asked me to help find a number of CDs around the rock floor, and he seemed like a good guy. The legendary New York DJ "Cousin" Bruce Morrow came in a few times and I had some interesting discussions about music with him. But I remember when one guy who worked in the store went up to Sting and called him "Mr. Sumner" (his real name). Sting wouldn't look at him and just walked right by him and out of the store. I remember trying to help Paul Shaffer find an out-of-print Grateful Dead song, called "One Lost Lonely Eagle." (For some reason I never forgot that.) I remember telling him it was no longer in print and we didn't carry it, and how disappointed he was when I told him.
I began at Tower in late 1984, an interesting time in pop music. There were a lot of big LPs out at that time, including Madonna's "Like a Virgin," Dire Straits, "Brothers In Arms," Sade's debut album, Bruce Springsteen's "Born In The USA," and the two African relief compliation singles, "Do They Know Its Christmas" and "We Are The World." It was like a cavalry charge when they both came out, and we couldn't keep either single in stock long enough.
This was also the time that a new way to listen to music was slowly gaining a foothold in record stores. The CD had just been invented a few years earlier, and I remember on the day I started the section for CDs was just a couple of small racks amid the LP racks. I remember getting the tour of the floor by one of the supervisors and she asked me if I knew about CDs. I had never heard of them before.
But by the end of 1985, I knew all about them.
And they would even bring me 15 minutes of fame.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
An HBO Miniseries Coming?
It's an interesting idea, and I will be very curious to see who writes it and from which source they get their information from.
I don't know who wrote the article in today's Post, but they sure don't have their facts straight. (It was credited to "Post staff writer.") The anonymous person wrote:
No matter, the "Idiots" story is filled with plenty of drama - starting with the long, 89-year drought Boston suffered between championships. Baseball legend has it that the Sox were being punished for trading away Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1917.
Talk about sloppy reporting. As everyone knows, the Red Sox ended an 86-year drought, and Babe Ruth was sold to the Yankees in 1920, not 1917.
I just hope whoever wrote today's column has nothing to do with the production of the miniseries. Here is the complete article from today's paper:
His Murderers Let Him Down
I even wrote into the Daily News two years ago and in the letter I wrote said he was on "Steinbrenner's payroll." And the News, to their credit, printed my letter word-for-word. So earlier today, I was going through some newpapers from last week, I came across last Wednesday's News edition, the one where all the writers were fawning all over Derek Jeter and the Yankees win over the Tigers (their only one of the postseason). Madden wrote a column called "Bumble is the key to stumble." It was a column of Madden basically genuflecting at the Yankees' altar, but the last line of his piece made me bust out laughing. It was too good not to share:
"It doesn't appear as if Leyland's Tigers have the kind of pitching it's going to take to stop this modern-day Murderers' Row."
I love when jackasses like Madden are made to look like fools and have to eat a "nice big shitburger" (in the immortal words of Lou Brown, the Indians manager in the film "Major League").
So how did it taste, Billy?
Lidle Killed In Manhattan Plane Crash
Of that terrible Tuesday morning in September of 2001. Especially when it was reported that there were people trapped in the apartment building above the fire.
Miraculously, everyone who was in that 72nd Street and York Avenue apartment building escaped. Several firemen were hurt, but fortunately, none seriously.
The death of Cory Lidle also brings back those terrible memories of Thurman Munson's tragic death in a plane crash in Ohio in 1979. For myself personally, I don't know what people see in those light planes. They scare the pants off of me. Give me a jumbo jet any day.
Lidle was with his flight instructor, and he was also killed. Of course, the first knee-jerk reaction when this happened was a possible terrorist attack. That was fortunately proven groundless.
Lidle created a bit of a mess over the weekend when he made comments after the Yankees ALDS loss on Saturday when he more or less said that the Yankees were not "ready" to face the Tigers last week, and basically pointed fingers at the coaching staff. He called the Mike and the Mad Dog show on Monday afternoon and tried to defend himself from the criticism. But Russo and Francesa unloaded on him and read him back his comments from the newspaper, which he claimed was taken out of context. Lidle came off sounding really bad on Monday.
Today, Russo sounded very guilty for having treated Lidle the way he did. Francesa said he shouldn't feel that way, that the crash had nothing to with what happened Monday.
I offer my sympathies and condolences to all the friends and loved ones of Cory Lidle. He left a wife and young son.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
The Denial Continues
Here's another beauty:
Massapequa, L.I.: To Voicer Mike Colasanti: When your Metsies win 10 straight division titles, make the playoffs 10 straight years and win four World Series in those 10 years, you will grab the headlines from that other team. Until then, the Metsies will always be second place in New York.
Yet another Yankee fan with his head in the sand. If the Mets win the World Series this year, this town will absolutely explode with delight. The Mets first title in 20 years would be special, and it also would pour more salt into the wounds of Yankee fans. The fine former Daily News sportswriter Phil Pepe always said that New York is and was a National League baseball town, and he's right. The Mets don't need to win "four World Series in ten years" to not be the second team in town. (And get your facts straight too, pal. The Yankees have actually won nine division titles in a row, not ten.)
Wake up Mr. Ascher. The Yankees are well on their way to second status in this city. (It runs in cycles here in New York, and another cycle is about to happen, if it hasn't occurred already.) They are an old team on the way down, and the Mets are on their way up. A World Series championship will solidify that. Even if the Mets don't win this year, the Yankees time on top in New York is over.
Get used to it.
Fox Ruins Baseball
To me, there are two more logical routes to go:
1. Show the ALCS starting at 4 PM ET, and the NLCS at 8:20 PM (Hey, day baseball. What a concept);
2. Start the NLCS earlier, at 7 PM, while beginning the ALCS at 10 PM ET. (That would be hardship on the Tiger fans, but the true fans will stay up.)
I just don't get showing both games simultaneously. And as usual, the 8:20 start time for the East Coast is too late, as these postseason games normally go on for at least 3 1/2 hours, as Fox has to bomb us with 10,000 commercials for their fall lineup. (MLB actually allows Fox longer breaks in-between innings for more ads. Criminal.) Fox seems paranoid about the games not beginning before 5 PM on the West Coast, but yet they don't give a toss about games ending at midnight ET. (And the World Series night games will begin around 8:40 ET.)
And they wonder why their ratings for the postseason has been in the crapper for years.
As my friend Steve says, "Fox ruins baseball."
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Memories Of Tower Greenwich Village, Part 1
Over the course of the next few weeks, I'll be writing different installments of my days at Tower in Greenwich Village. The first will be about how I landed at the store, nearly 22 years ago.
I remember the first time I ever walked into the store. It was early October of 1984 and I was job hunting in the Village. I had applied for a job at a place up the block and when I came out I saw the neon lights of the store on the corner of East 4th Street and Broadway. I walked in and I was blown away by what I saw. Loud music, TVs playing videos, neon lights everywhere. At the store's front desk, I saw a sign that said that they were hiring new personnel (because many of them were going to the new store opening at Lincoln Center). I filled out an application and I was interviewed right away.
I walked into the office of the man who was the assistant manager, a guy named Steve. He had all kinds of baseball stuff on his office walls, and I'll never forget the first words he said to me, "So, you're a Boston fan?" (I was wearing my Red Sox jacket.) "Yep, I sure am," I said. Steve was a big Cardinals fan, and I'll never forget his next line. "It will be good to work with someone who knows something about baseball." Right then I knew I had a fighting chance at a position. (I would also later discover that very few people who worked at Tower were sports fans. They mostly obsessed with music, and other things unrelated to baseball.)
The interview went well, but after a week, I heard nothing back from Tower. I had just about given up on them, when one day, I was out, and my dad came up to me late one afternoon and said, "Did you find a job today?" I said no, and then he told me that Steve had tried to reach me earlier, offering me the job. Steve had to leave for a long vacation, and I was going to be his last hire before he left. My father then assured him, "John will take the job!" And I was in. I'll never forget my dad saying to me, "Now you've got one!!" On Friday, October 19, 1984, I walked into the store for the very first time as an employee. And I was scared to death.
To this day, I've always believed that my dad's quick thinking, along with me wearing my Red Sox jacket on the day of the interview, were instrumental in me getting the job at Tower.
It would go on to change my entire life.
Two Out Of Four Ain't Bad
New York Mets vs. St. Louis Cardinals: The Mets so far have survived the losses of Pedro Martinez and Orlando Hernandez, as Willie Randolph has relied more on his bullpen when John Maine and Steve Trachsel faltered earlier. How long this philosophy will work is, of course, a great unknown. The Mets had an excellent NLDS from their hitters, but now it looks like Cliff Floyd maybe done for the season. Lastings Milledge may wind up being his replacement. The Cardinals got some terrific pitching in the NLDS, but had to use Chris Carpenter twice. They are without Jason Isringhausen for the year, but Adam Wainwright has filled in admirably. I think the Mets are heavy favorites to go the World Series for a good reason, but the Cardinals won't go down without a fight.
Mets in 6.
Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland A's: Those were three absolutely amazing wins by the Detroit Tigers this past weekend. The Tiger pitching, the starters and the bullpen, completely shut down the so-called best offense in baseball, and at times made the Yankees look totally foolish. The games pitched by Kenny Rogers and Jeremy Bonderman reminded me of the games Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe pitched in the 2004 World Series. The Detroit offense was more than potent beating the Yankees. The A's took Minnesota out in straight sets, with timely hitting and tremendous pitching. They will be without Mark Ellis for the rest of the postseason, as he broke a finger in Minnesota. This has the possibility to be one of the best ALCS series ever. I like the Tigers, as they maybe on one of those rolls that takes them to a title. (Do the 2004 Red Sox ring a bell?)
Tigers in 7.
A Mets-Tigers World Series would be a great matchup, but in September I predicted a Mets-A's series, a rematch from 1973. I think either would be fun.
We'll see what happens.
An Amazing Day Yesterday: 222 Hits!
A music web site called Idolator found my article, and was nice enough to put up a link to my article on their site, as they wrote a piece about the end of Tower. As soon as it went up, my Site Meter numbers started going through the roof. I was getting nearly 50 hits an hour by mid-afternoon, and that is what I usually get on a good day. Yesterday's numbers totally obliterated the previous record of hits for one day, which was 73. And so far this morning, I have recorded 54 hits already (as of 10:45 AM), so this will be at least the second best day ever.
The folks who checked in were coming in from all over the country, especially California, where Tower started and was very popular for many years. I also saw people from foreign countries like England, Australia, Germany, Switzerland and even Ethiopia. I noticed viewers from places like HBO and Newsweek, and colleges like Columbia, Rutgers and Northwestern. I even saw someone log on from Tower's main office in Sacramento. I thank them all for stopping by.
Many thanks to the good folks at Idolator for the link. They have a cool site worth checking out: www.idolator.com. I reciprocated the love by putting a link up for them in my "music links" section.
Your Typical Yankee Fan
Attention, all you Yankee-haters, this is a reminder: The Yankees have 26 World Championship titles. What do you have?
Catch up to us, and then you can talk.
The attitude this Yankee fan exhibits is exactly the reason why the Yankees as a franchise is so hated, not just by Red Sox and Mets fans, but around the country. It reminds me of what I call "The Yankee Fan Mantra":
"When all else fails, remind the world how many championships we've won."
There's only one thing I can say to you and your letter Ms. Marsibilio:
Monday, October 09, 2006
Trivia Night Returns Tuesday
The Mets next game is Wednesday. And the Yankees? Their next game is in 2007.
So, to all my fans out there in New York area, it's on and I hope to see you then!!
Happy Birthday John
John will be fondly remembered throughout the world today, with radio stations playing his music and his friends sharing their memories of him.
He was always one of my idols, and forever will be.
I'm sure he'll be having a happy birthday, wherever he is now.