Friday, February 09, 2007

None For The Thumb

Raissman makes a good point about the Yanks' manager situation, considering George doesn't really want Torre any more, and the NL manager of the year will be in the Hell, No booth:
Girardi is in a difficult spot. If he does not question a failed Torre strategy, he will be ripped for not doing his job. And if Girardi does take issue with Torre, he will be seen as an opportunist looking to become the Yanks' manager. Isn't Mattingly, who will be Torre's bench coach, supposed to be the heir apparent? How long before some reporter goes to him - or Torre - to ask his opinion about a critical piece of Girardi "analysis"?

That's two posts in a row mentioning Mattingly for me. Third time's a charm--or, in Don's case, just another time without a charm. Ouch! Those poor cursed Yankees. You know, it's really their Puritan work ethic and those harsh Westchester County winters--it's almost like they want to lose year after year...

Moniker Mockery

While searching Gedman news, I saw that he was at this coaches' thing last month at Mohegan Sun. But look at the first line of the article. It's not "Donny Ballgame," it's "Donnie Baseball." Terrible job. Making a mistake two words into an article--come on, Norwich sportswriter guy. I like how early 80s Sox catcher Roger LaFrancois gets a mention, as one of the organizers, though. Nice to get an update on R-LaF.

I Get It!

Got a single gray today. More new ticket pics. One closeup of Manny at a home night game in '06 doing a double-point. One b&w of Boomer Scott in a spring training shot. Then it hit me: Current players, plus the '67 outfield, and now George Scott. 1967. 2007. This is all part of the 40th anniversary of the Impossible Dream season. I searched the team site, and saw, buried in an article mainly about Mike Lowell, a blurb about how excited Russ Gibson is about getting to reunite with some of his old teammates this season. So we'll see what they do for those guys and when. We are playing Minnesota on the final weekend, like in '67. You normally put those celebrations in mid-season, though.

If you're a young Sox fan, and your parents clearly haven't done their job, look into the history of the 1967 Red Sox. Tonight, I clicked on the Franchise Timeline on Having studied this team my entire life, reading the same historical facts and stats and boxscores and stories over and over again, I'm still used to the main fact about the Sox being "all those years in a row without winning." It's surreal to click on a Red Sox timeline, and see the main description of the team as "2004 World Champions." Like, here's this team that won in this incredible way, just recently, and, also, the rest of their history. It's an actual example of a dream come true.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith Is Dead

I saw a report that said she collapsed, and my brain immediately said, "She's done." Sure enough, I clicked the link, and it was already changed to say she died. The end of what appeared to be a crazy life, although I'm still trying to figure out exactly why she was famous.

Did you hear about the New York cabbie who returned the diamond rings? Some lady gives a 30 cent tip on a $10.70 fare, leaves a bag of 31 diamond rings in the trunk, the cabbie finds them, tracks her down and returns the rings, saving her, what, tens of thousands of dollars? And she rewards him with...a hundred lousy dollars. Oh, and she conveniently asks that her name not be released to the press. What a horrible person. The guy should've given her a bag of rocks and gone laughing all the way to the pawn shop.

In the world of Red Sox, everyone's talkin' about: NOTHING. (But they're disguising it nicely with "Will Daisuke succeed?," "Will Manny try?," and "Who'll close?" "stories.)

Astronaut-Related Pun Headline

The best coverage of the story I've seen so far.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Things That Don't Look Like They'd Be In Manhattan...

but are. And aren't in Central Park.

More tix came today. Pix on tix: Wakefield pitching at Fenway, closeup of Papi's happy face at a press conference.

Biblical Portions

Freader* Jason writes in with this article about David Jonathan "JD but should clearly be DJ" Drew. Do you get the feeling that lady who runs that video store in the Danbury area who puts the tinfoil pyramids on her head would like this guy?

I wonder if Drew also goes against his moral values to have a huge porn section in the back, too...


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Still In A Room Without A View

Video works again, and contains bonus footage!

Above is a video of me vs. Mike in the basement league at his house, circa 1991-92. We played this Nerf-ball baseball game endlessly. One day I brought the video camera over, and we had his brother Mark tape some game action--as well as do some play-by-play. Hard to believe the kid with the voice you hear on this video is in his twenties now.

The play you see there is one of the greatest inside-the-park home runs in basement league history. Although Mike could be awarded three separate errors on the play. Either way, it was hard to make it all the way around the bases without either hitting the white area of the wall (automatic homer--unless it hits the ceiling first), or hooking the ball somehow inside the third base pole, into the side room. Even then, the fielder only has to get the ball and get back to the main room to ensure the other guy stops at third. Oh, and you could also hit one into the open door in center, into the vast, dark boiler room, and sprint around real quick.

In the video, it's a squibber out in front. Jere, age 16, with long hair, rounds first (off screen, see below for full field layout), thinking two all the way. Realizing between first and second that Mike already has the ball and is ready to peg him, Jere watches for the throw and ducks (clearly with only time to guess which way, like a soccer goalie on a penalty kick) down and to the right, avoiding it narrowly. Mike retrieves the ball in the right field corner, while Jere rounds second. Now, keep in mind, third base is so close to second base, you can literally lay down on the ground with your foot on second, and reach out and touch third. Mike, instead of playing it safe and conceding third, tries to peg Jere in that one split second where he's between second and third. The throw misses, flying into the dreaded side room.

Jere settles in at third, assesses the situation, and decides a dash for home is feasible. Again, the third to home decision is rarely even considered, as usually you're stopped at third if you make it that far. And you really only have to make it halfway home to score when the fielder's in that side room, because another wall, just off the left of the screen, protects the home plate area (a pillow on the ground in front of the strike zone chair). (The total distance from third to home was maybe 7 feet.)

Jere makes the move, and there appears to be no throw as he dives into home. From the video, it's almost like I realize the ball went into a cabinet or under a chair, and took off. I score, and I'm psyched, having gotten a homer the hard way. The dancing begins. For some reason, the line "He's jumping of joy" gets a little cut off. [Update: JFJ line fixed. I uploaded from the original video this time.] But after that is the classic line we all know and love. How he knew the name of that dance is even more inexplicable than the fact that I'm doing it in the first place.

I'll again bring up the comparison to the movie Thirteen. Watch that film, then look what I was doing at sixteen.

Here's a diagram that makes the "field" easier to understand:

Here's what it would look like from above:

Happy birthday, mom.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Always On A Steady Course

The most amazing thing happened today. You aren't going to believe this. I hope you're sitting down.

I was watching a football game on TV, and a commercial came on. There were some animals in the commercial. Okay, nothing out of the ordinary. But then, to my disbelief--and my roommate Chan can back me up on this--the animals...started talking.

Now, don't be alarmed. I don't think the animals are ready to start any kind of uprising. I have been in touch with area zoos and animalologists, and they know nothing about the phenomenon, but did say that as long as we all agree to open up a line of civil, rational discussion with the beasts, they'll probably continue to serve humans as they always have. They also suggested that these were highly trained animals, who know not what they say, or that maybe I dreamed it up.

Guess what? As it turns out, they were right. You know how I knew it was all a dream? Because between talking animal commercials, I saw Peyton Manning holding up the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

It was the end of two eras today, as I wore my new hat for the first time. It's the kind with the two socks on the front. The last one served me well, and was on my head for several life-changing moments. Here's what it looked like today, on the floor where I flipped it last night before bed:

Note: I probably wouldn't have thought to take a picture, but I saw the light hitting it and thought it looked cool. I then "posed" it, with the B facing the light, but to pretend it actually looked like that would be cheating, and would be a disservice to this honest piece of tattered headgear. So I'm only posting the "real" photo. The new one looks so blue, compared to the old faded one. I'll get used to it.

The other new era, of course, is the "proven Peyton" era. It wasn't a dream. I have to congratulate the guy. He went from Andy Kaufman's imitation of Jerry Lawlor to world champion. And, hey, this leaves A-Rod alone in the doghouse. That thought can brighten anyone's day. And you know what, screw it, here's the "posed" version of the hat. It at least shows just how big that hole in the back got:

Hey, did anyone notice the Super Bowl commercial that I randomly walked past the filming of? With the shirtless dudes?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Jonathan Richman at Knitting Factory

Jonathan Richman gets the Jere stamp of approval. For having all the qualities of an innocent schoolboy despite being over a half-century old, for not getting caught up in that whole drugs thing despite being, technically, a part of the "music industry," and for writing probably hundreds of songs, each more brilliant than the next.

Richman played the third of four shows last night at the Knitting Factory to an attentive, appreciative, and less-Williamsburgy-than-I-expected (woohoo!) crowd. You'd never have known he'd done the exact same thing at the same place the previous two nights. The man loves to play and loves to entertain people. And loves to love us, as he pointed to us while singing his tune "Not So Much to be Loved as To Love." When we applauded, he said, "Don't applaud me, applaud St. Francis of Assisi, because that's where I stole that from."

You know how at some shows, everyone just stands there, maybe slightly moving their heads to the beat, and then politely claps? Especially in New York? Well, if you want the opposite of that, go see Jon Richman. While he plays his acoustic guitar--accompanied by drummer Tommy Larkins--he's really interacting with you, talking to you between and even during songs. He tells jokes, he breaks out other instruments, he dances and does little guitar flips. He'll sing off-mic, and not like Darby Crash--he'll actually purposely step away from the mic to sing to you almost he's breaking the wall between performer and audience. And he does all this with a big smile on face as if nothing could ever be better than this moment. Even during the sad numbers, he'll talk to you between lines to let you know that everything's gonna be okay. A really unique dude.

"Springtime in New York" got plenty of cheers, as he'd insert a city place name and then change it to somewhere else if it didn't sound right.

He pulled out the classic "Pablo Picasso," the guy who never "got called an asshole." That's gotta be one of the best rhymes in music history. And he really tries to rhyme it live: "Pablo Picasso never got called ass'ho'."

He did a funny tune about love and hate. And sometimes you get one, sometimes you get the other, and sometimes you get them "side by side." There was a great line on that same theme which something about how you get something good, or you get shite, or you get them both on the same plate.

At one point he told us how he grew up around Boston (HUGE cheers for the Boston and New England mentions--if there's one thing I've learned about New Yorkers, it's that they're all from Boston), and he moved to New York when he was 19, and was a Wall Street delivery boy, before working at Max's Kansas City, before heading back up to Boston. He also talked about how he tried country life, but it was all satellite dishes and SUVs. The guy really needs to be around people, doing things. Althoug he has written a song in the past about how he likes the city and the country. Like me, he's a dude who appreciates all kinds of things, many of which a lot of people wouldn't give a second thought to, like weather and insects and cities and towns and stuff.

Other tunes I can remember were "I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar," "Give Paris One More Chance," "My Baby Love Love Loves Me," some Spanish songs, and one about a slightly older girl he fell for as an awkward teen. He also did some songs with the two guys from Spain who opened the show, Kiko Veneno and Raul Rodriguez, who were both great as well.

The highlight among highlights, though, was "Let Her Go into the Darkness." It's about a guy whose girlfriend goes back to her ex, and he tries to tell her that the dude's on drugs. And Jonathan himself is trying to tell the guy to just let her go. Then he breaks into his impression of the girl in a high-pitched voice: "Leave me alone, I don't need you, I can do what I want, I don't care if he pushes drugs, he's better in bed than you..." Then Richman says, "Let's see how a French guy would handle it, they're usually more suave then we Americans." And he proceeds to do the same conversation between the guy and the girl in French, complete with squealing girl impression. Then the crowd started shouting out countries, and Jonathan would repeat the conversation in each language. It was amazing. He did Italian, Spanish, even Hebrew. It was great recognizing the word "drugs" in each language.

Of course, you had some dumber audience members saying "What's he saying?", not realizing it was the same conversation over and over. I'm talking about the two girls in front of me, who were full of "Woo!"s, and did that shoulder dance, which they probably do to the more upbeat Dave Matthews tunes.

This last part is for my mom, whose recent attempt to give Jon Stewart her book as a gift was thwarted. As Richman left the stage to thunderous applause from the fairly tiny but packed room, someone in the front handed him a book. Like Stewart, this Jonathan, also asked, "Did you write this?" Only Richman, upon realizing he was getting a gift from the author, got this look on his face like "Oh my god...for me?" And he profusely thanked the person, thanked the crowd, who was still going nuts and then looked down at the author for one more "thank you."

I dragged Chan to this show, and I think he came out a new man. As we walked back to the 6, I heard a fellow concert-goer saying to his buddy, "Yeah, but what was he saying in French?" Oy.

photo courtesy Google images search, page 3. Uh, I mean,


Jonathan Richman rules. A review of tonight's show to follow. In the meantime, another clue has been added to Quiz XIV. Now I'll drift of to the Voice of God.

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