Saturday, August 30, 2008

Ode To Yankee Stadium


I guess my arm will be twisted into upgrading to a complete season rather than "just" 61 games. Hey, Vincent!!! You can add Saturdays to your games!LOL...actually, since I am in South Florida most of the time I will be going through these shenanigans for just a handful of games. And to think the judge would not accept my insanity plea!!?? The nerve!

I have to say as bad as the baseball has been most of this season and I surely do not miss watching A-Rod choke with men on base, but I do miss hanging out with you guys. I mean....what's better than, Vincent "The Diva" Davis showing up in the 5th inning and complaining about the candy wrapper on his seat or seeing him and "Officer" Williams locked in an amorous embrace? Or Mike "The Volunteer Usher" Glitz guiding wayward (and sometimes inebriated) patrons to their seats (ummm...dude I'm in row H...why is HH before H???doh!) Or Colin "The Weekender" Brown getting his new A-Rod jersey imprinted with my son, JoJo's sneaker prints right between the 1 and the 3. Last but not least.....I miss Aunt Nannette relieving me of my parental responsibilities so I can watch a few innings of baseball in peace without being nagged for soda, chips, ice cream, lemonnn iiiccce, or worse yet, those $20 foam fingers!! Yes, Marlins baseball and its 5,000 fans in a 75,000 seat football stadium will never come close to parking at Concourse Village, the beer at The Bowling Alley, the long lines on River Ave, the hard ass metal bleachers, the brain dead morons who think sitting in section 39 is an excuse to act retarded, and everything else that goes into Yankee baseball. I fear that I have made my last venture in the great Cathedral of Baseball, as media types like to call it and as corny as it sounds, I am choked up imagining that the place where my Dad, rest his soul, took me to see my first ballgame is going to be rubble. I fell in love with not only a silly game there but with an atmosphere, an aura, and a place where all of my troubles seemed to be gone the second I walked through those turnstiles. Maybe I am waxing poetic just a tad here, but Section 39, Row HH, seat 3 (sorry Davis!)is more than just an overpriced ticket to a ballgame for me. It is a place where I felt happy, at home, where I shared moments with my kids when I was young and so were they. It is a place where I forged real friendships with real people and where I could come after a hard day to unwind and relax. No matter what palace they build across E161st Street and I do believe that the time had come for a better facility; nothing will ever replace the "REAL" Yankee Stadium and all the idiosyncrasies that came with it. When September 21 comes and goes and the doors are closed one last time things will change forever. Surely, from a baseball standpoint things will change and perhaps be better (hopefully...but, I have my doubts) but even more importantly, at least for me, life will change, a piece of my history will be gone, and life will never be the same. I do not know about any of you but that makes me sad, very sad.

No matter what next season brings, I want to thank all of you for adding a lot to the lives of not only Mookie, but Ari, Joey, and me as well. I will never forget you guys or any of the great moments we shared together as the "other" side of section 39. Maybe, we were not the commercial "Bleacher Creatures" with their novelties or their media exposure but we were there every night, cheering just as hard, bleeding Yankee pinstripes just as navy, and caring just as much. I hope that you guys stay in touch, although in all likelihood that will not happen. Even so, I wish all of you lots and lots of happiness, good health and good luck. May all your dreams come true and may the Yank's win another World Series before I lose my prostate and while Vincent still has hair! Go Yank's!


Man that was deep. And really got me thinking. I sure hope the rest of us are still able to keep the seats together. Vincent, are you gonna get a package for yourself? Neil we'll miss having you around yelling at people sitting in your seats and watching your kids wear their ice cream and ask about going home in the third inning (Jojo), listening to Mookie real off stats I didn't even know about. Whenever you come up for games make sure you catch a Sunday game so I can join in the reunion. And who knows I might be around full time in a year....

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Moral Dilemma #73

OK, the Yankees are basically out of it. But not mathematically out of it. And who wants to admit the season is over, even when the season is over? But what about the post-season package? The Yankees have never waited this late to send out the order form to season ticket holders. Any day now we'll receive in the mail an offer to buy the entire post-season package in advance. We'll have about three days to decide or our tickets for the post-season will be up for grabs. Of course, any money we spend on tickets that aren't used will automatically roll over and be used as credit towards the money we'll need to spend in December for NEXT season's package. And for the past 13 seasons, we've always gone to the post-season. But this year we won't. As Pete points out, beyond the cost of tickets is about $144 in ticket handling and shipping charges that will NOT be refunded. In other words, we'll be paying more than $100 for the privilege of paying early for next season's tickets. So what do we do? Refuse to fork over the $100 non-refundable charges and admit the season is over? Or pay up and laugh when the Yankees make the most improbable of comebacks, make it to the post-season and our friends find themselves watching the games on TV?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Stadium Sneak Peek

Joseph Verillo passed on a link to some stats of the new stadium. He doesn't like the increase in foul territory but thinks the giant scoreboard will be impressive. My feeling is -- Finally! A martini bar. Actually the only comparison I'd like to see is distance from front row seat to field (or pitching mound) for every part of the stadium. I know the bleachers distance has grown dramatically. That and the massive hike in tickets do NOT bode well for the new stadium. It'll look fine, but they've taken all the fan enthusiasm and joy out of the game and made it so expensive most people will only come once a year.

What's Worse? The Loss Or Fans Booing A-Rod?

So, one season after A-Rod is MVP (and rightly so, stats wise), and during a year when everyone is struggling and Jeter is having one of the worst seasons of his career, who are the fans booing? A-Rod, of course. First and foremost, I don't understand fans who boo their own team. (Whenever a pitcher is pulled and fans boo, I think, 'Do you really want to harass your own team?") Second, I just feel sorry for the guy. I feel like he's made the wrong decision at almost every point in his career (going to Texas at a price so crippling the team could never compete instead of a big market team) and that when he finally made he the RIGHT decision for himself and his career -- going to Boston for a reduced price -- MLB wouldn't let him take a "loss" on his contract (surely a case of idiotic interference since the rules were not intended to keep a mega-millionaire from playing where he wants but to protect small players from being taken advantage of). Here's a brutal quote from the NYTimes: "This may be the closest the Yankees get to the postseason, and Alex Rodriguez is in October form." And here's an A-Rod quote where he STILL doesn't seem to have the attitude I'd prefer: “It’s terrible,” he said. “There’s absolutely no excuse. My team expects me to get big hits and make big plays, and tonight, I didn’t do it.” For the love of God, no. When the bases are loaded, a big play can be a walk. A single. A double. When you always feel like you're supposed to make BIG plays you don't make the little plays that keep rallies going. I guess Jeter is lucky he can't hit for power because he never seems to be trying for the 3 run home run. Just get on base, keep it going. I honestly don't think A-Rod is EVER going to be happy in New York and clearly the fans are never going to make it easy for him and I feel just as bad for him as I do for the team.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Our Goal: Get Mussina 20 Wins

Hey if we want to salvage something from this season, how's this for a goal? Get Mussina his 20 wins. God knows he's pitching well enough.

Hank Steinbrenner Is Reasonable; Pigs Fly

You could have knocked me over with a stick. The season is slipping away and Hank Steinbrenner is sober and reasoned? Hank actually acknowledges Joe Girardi has done a good job, realistically says our chances were exceptionally weak with a rash of injuries that decimated our starting lineup, didn't lambaste Girardi and Cashman for sticking with the tanking kids Kennedy and Hughes, said we could still make the post-season, but what the heck. And we'll be fierce next year. All this with 41 games left to play? I am gobsmacked.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Bunting, Batting and Other Questions

Another fine performance by a starting pitcher wasted by the Yankees. (Maybe if Ponson had received SOME run support his two runs given up wouldn't have crept towards four runs.) Some questions.

1. Why as the season slips away do I find myself watching more games on TV than usual? I can't seem to stop watching. Is this like craning your neck to check out an accident while driving by on the highway?

2. Bottom of the 6th. The Twins are up 2-0 in a tight game with good pitching (and the Yankees almost incapable of moving a runner from first to second) so every run looms large. The Twins get a lead off double, no outs. Then they lay down a nice bunt to move him over. Runner on third with one out. Then they hit a ball deep into left field, scoring the run. Twins up 3-0. Was that a dumb move in your book(s)? To me, it's great baseball and very frustrating when you have to face it.

3. Bottom of the 9th. Abreu and A-Rod and Nady fail to get to first base. Twins up 4-0. In that situation, I was rooting for one of them to of course get on base. A double or even a triple would be even better. Naturally I'd prefer a solo home run to striking or grounding out. But in that situation, isn't a double or a triple FAR preferable to a home run? My thinking obviously is that the pitcher can shrug off a home run since the Yankees are starting from scratch. A runner on second or third or even first is a distraction and an annoyance and the Yankees can feed off a base runner, maybe getting a walk because of the open base and then a home run has us within one or a double has us within two and a runner on second -- all of which I see as much better than a solo shot. What say you?

4. Derek Jeter had a miserable night at the plate. He batted four times and saw a total of 10 pitches, I believe. Awful. Just when he starts to look good, he slumps again. A permanent decline or will he bounce back next season? I know we don't expect him to be this bad, but will he bounce back seriously or just do not as bad on his way to being a so-so player? Me, naturally, expect full bounce back.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Will The Yankees Make The Post-Season?

Not only do I not think the Yankees will make the post-season (heck, we've only been tied for the wild card for about a day this entire season), more controversially I don't think it would be GOOD for the Yankees to stagger into the post-season and get kicked out of the first round again. Is there anything to be said for the wake-up call of ending the streak of post-season appearances so the Yanks can dump Abreu and Giambi and bring in lots of kids (like Texeria (sic) on first) and do a real re-building. Don't yell at me -- I'd love to be wrong and see the Yankees make the post-season. But I haven't believed they were going to win the World Series any season since 1999 (I know, I was happily wrong in 2000) and nothing has happened to change my mind this year. What say you?

Joba Out For Year?

No one I've spoken to believes Joba will pitch any more the rest of the year -- not the way the Yankees rushed him to Alabama for a minor, no-tear bit of tendinitis. Please. What say you?