"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice


It is absolutely gorgeous in New York today. Emily and I woke up around eight, and when we rolled around the corner to pick up the papers and some breakfast, it was downright chilly. Em loves the fall so she’s all happy. The sun is out too. If there was a Platonic Ideal of a New York day on Labor Day weekend, this would be it. You can feel that summer is over and that fall is right around the corner. You know this is a great day for food. Especially local produce like corn and tomatoes, which will only be in season for another two, three weeks. And barbeque. Mmmm, ribsaque.

This is my last Sunday in my apartment here on 232nd street, up the block from the IHOP. I’m moving up the hill to Riverdale. I’m going from a working class Spanish and Irish neighborhood, to a upper middle class Jewish neighborhood. We’ll see how that works out. For now, I’m having neighborhood-seperation-anxiety.

Today will be the last Yankee game I watch in this apartment too. I moved in here three years ago, a week and a half before the Mets played the Yanks in the World Serious. I broke this apartment in with the 2000 Serious, how cool is that? It was the first apartment I ever had to myself and I’ve had a great time here.

I’m really looking forward to living with Emily. It’s the first time I’ve ever lived with a woman, so fug it, I’m taking the Nestea Plunge. Besides, she loves baseball, and puts up with all the nonsense I put myself through during the course of the year, so how can I complain? Still, I’m having some sadness about leaving this joint.

The subway is just half a block away, and above ground. I’m accustom to the sound of the passing trains; it is a soothing, predicatble rukus. I don’t hear it anymore. But this past week, I’ve paid attention plenty. I feel like I’ve been counting down the times I’ll hear the subway again for days. So each time I hear it whoosh by, I stop what I’m doing and take a deep breath. And just let it all in.

Ihop wafting in through the window, Spanish music played from an upstairs apartment. The Broadway traffic and passing trains down the block.

Rocket Clemens is pitching his last game at Fenway Park this afternoon (that is unless the Sox and Yanks meet up in the playoffs, and even in that case, I bet Torre would avoid using Rocket in Boston if he could get away with it). Emotional day for the Big Texan. He’s usally terrible when he’s all worked up, and you know that the crowd will be all over him. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go out and pitch a good game.

It’ll make for a memorable day. I know my emotions are heightened and all out of wack as it is; unless the game is a total stinker, I’m sure it will be one that I remember for a long time, no matter who wins.

Saturday’s game was probably the best game I didn’t see all season. OK, I checked the score cowardly at one point, and I did listen to the ninth on the radio, but I didn’t watch the game. If I had, I would have sat through one of the most exhausting—dare I say operatic?—games of the year.

After the game, Johnny Damon wasn’t fazed: “We’re a great team.”

Tyler Kepner’s beat coverage of the game in the Times today is outstanding. It’s simple, clear and succint: a lean piece of reporting:

BOSTON, Aug. 30 – So here were the Red Sox, with a three-run lead in the first inning and their best pitcher on the mound. In the last 10 days, they had chewed four games off the Yankees’ division lead. They were the hunter, and the Yankees were fleeing in fright.

The Red Sox fought to the end at Fenway Park this afternoon, but they could not stop the Yankees from punching back. When 222 minutes of battle finally expired, it was Mariano Rivera who held the ball in his glove, stepping on first for the final putout of a heart-pounding 10-7 Yankees victory.

It was pure exhaustion, said Joe Torre, the Yankees’ manager. But it was exhilarating, too. The Yankees had come back off Pedro Mart”nez, then survived a scare in the eighth inning when three runs scored while Rivera was on the mound. They regained their four-and-a-half-game lead in the American League East on the strength of Andy Pettitte’s pitching and big hits from Jorge Posada, Nick Johnson and Enrique Wilson. There was no shame in saying the game was huge.

Joe Torre had the sauce:

“This could be the biggest game of the year, basically, because we fell behind Pedro, and then what happened in the eighth inning,” Torre said. “I know there’s going to be a lot of talk about Rivera and what he gave up. But the fact that he struck out the last hitter in the eighth speaks volumes of him, more so than the other stuff.”

Jack Curry adds a good appreciation of Andy Pettitte, while John Harper takes issue with Prince Pedro.

I hope today’s game is worth writing about. But hell, I’ll be writing about it “irregardless” as they say here in the Bronx.

And remember: You can’t spell hip hop without IHop.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver