"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

2009 Baseball Resolutions

So here’s my personal list of baseball-related goals for 2009:

1. Stop reading stories about A-Rod and Madonna

It’s either that or stop drinking – I simply can’t afford to keep losing this many brain cells. And every time I click through to Page Six and read about how, say, there may be some tension in the relationship because Alex has been skipping Kabbalah classes (no, really), I lose another chunk of my ever-dwindling self-respect.

This resolution also applies to whoever A-Rod dates after Madonna, and all of Derek Jeter’s myriad starlet flings. Though if Joba starts dating Britney Spears I cannot make any promises.

2. Decide whether or not I believe Pete Rose should be in the Hall

I’ve been waffling on this one for years and years; I intend to get off the fence with a well-supported argument by Spring Training at the latest.

3. Find something interesting about Mark Teixeira

I mean aside from his prodigious on-field skills, of course. There must be something… but I sure haven’t discovered it yet. Dude’s Wikipedia page appears to have been written by Scott Boras.

Also, I only just now realized I’ve been misspelling “Teixeira” for years.

3a. Stop misspelling “Teixeira”

After Mientkiewicz this will be a piece of cake.

4. Sell or pawn whatever is necessary to buy tickets to at least one game at the new Stadium this year

and, related,

4a. Continue complaining incessently about the cost of everything at the new Stadium

Seriously, nobody should have to chose between a Loge seat to a game against the Orioles plus a beer and a hot dog, or their child’s college education. I’m not getting past this.

5. Watch (even) more Mets

Just because their broadcasting trio of Gary, Keith & Ron is so awesome, and a significant step up from the YES Network’s revolving door of Michael Kay plus the Vaguely Ill-At-Ease Ex-Player of the Day. It’s nothing against Kay, and Ken Singleton is silky smooth, and of course I will always love Paul O’Neill just as deeply as I did when I was 13 (which is to say very, very deeply) — but the Yankees’ booth just doesn’t have  the rapport of the Mets’, in part I suspect because it changes so often.

(And yes, Hernandez did make those rather unfortunate remarks a few years back about how women have no place anywhere near a baseball field in a professional capacity — the exact words being, as I recall, “I won’t say that women belong in the kitchen, but they don’t belong in the dugout” — but you know what they say: you are what you love, not what loves you back).

6. Refuse to watch any speech or announcement by Bud Selig lasting more than 90 seconds.

Life is too short. It’s not even what he says, though I have my share of issues with that; it’s the sucking void where his charisma should be. I’ve felt more engaged watching mold grow on broccoli.

Finally, the resolution I’ve been making for years now without discernable success:

7. Learn how to throw a knuckleball.

I practice sometimes when I’m throwing the ball for my dog, but unfortunately my knuckleball still looks remarkably like my changeup.  (Even more unfortunately, my curve, slider, and fastball also all look remarkably like my changeup).

Anyone else have any?

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1 Raf   ~  Jan 2, 2009 10:23 am

My goals this year;

If I decide to play this year, I'd like to stay healthy and have a decent season. Of course, I'm working towards this goal by being behind in my conditioning.

I'd like to attend more MLB games.

I'd like to attend more MiLB games.

I'd like to cross another ballpark off my list (The new NY stadiums count, but don't count).

I'd like to attend the WBC

I'd like to finally attend a ST game

I'd like to attend a winter league game

I'd like to attend the 2009 edition of Futures @ Fenway

I'd like to attend the induction ceremonies

I'd like to digitize my VHS tape collection.

As for your list
1. Never cared, never read about it

2. I think he should, but as long as he's on the ineligible list, it's pointless to argue for his enshrinement. IIRC, even if he got the required number of votes, he cannot go in, because he's on that list.

3. I thought it was cool that he started a scholarship in his friends name. Having said that, I'm not really concerned with players off the field lives, though some of them have done some pretty cool things (Clemente, Dennis Martinez, Jaimie Moyer, among others)

4. I should be able to get in. Dunno how much that's going to set me back, but I figure over the course of a season a ticket should fall in my lap.

5. I watch them a lot as is, though Yanks have priority :)

6. Sometimes you have to take the good with the bad :D

7. Someday I will be able to throw one consistently. I can throw one on the side, more of them bad than good. And just when I think I have a handle on it, I lose it. I've used 2-4 finger grips with varying results.

2 unmoderated   ~  Jan 2, 2009 10:27 am

Emma, this is awesome. I've been practicing my knuckler in my office using a Nerf basketball, the little kind. So far, no good, but I did get a few bits of advice from one of Roger Angell's books recently, it is either Season Ticket or Extra Innings, or one of those... it is the one about the 1985 season... he talks about a young Tom Candiotti getting some pointers from Joe Niekro. Anyway...

...my point was about the ticket prices. A bunch of the LoHud blog readers went to a SWB game last summer, myself included. Got the discount rate. Certainly we can all save a few bucks by buying a group package - whaddya say Banterers? The First Annual Bronx Banter Meetup And Oh Yeah There's A Ballgame-Con 09?

3 Rich   ~  Jan 2, 2009 10:35 am

3. Find something interesting about Mark Teixeira.

He turned down the Sox twice.

4 unmoderated   ~  Jan 2, 2009 10:52 am

Mark Teixeira Facts

Mark Teixeira uses his glove as an oven mitt. His iced sugar cookies won third place at the 1999 Maryland State Fair.

Mark Teixeira has never seen a dentist. His teeth are made of polished soapstone.

Mark Teixeira doesn't believe in the Bermuda Triangle.

Mark Teixeira broke the Large Hadron Collider with a foul ball.

Mark Teixeira prefers to write in cursive.

Mark Teixeira spends two weeks each winter in Africa observing klipspringers and aardvarks.

Mark Teixeira first love is ice trucking.

Mark Teixeira doesn't use RSS. Websites subscribe to him.

Mark Teixeira used to have a beard, but he shaved it in 1997 and it has never grown back. This may explain the six inches of hair on his kneecaps.

Mark Teixeira will not wear shorts. (see above)

5 williamnyy23   ~  Jan 2, 2009 11:06 am

Teixeira's nickname should be Old McDonald: "eiei" - oh!

6 williamnyy23   ~  Jan 2, 2009 11:08 am

The key to learning a knuckleball is to start out at close distances and work your way back. I can throw a mean 30 foot knuckler, but need 16 more feet for softball distance.

7 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jan 2, 2009 11:32 am

I actually think the Yankee announcers do a great job in general. The problem, and the reason the ex-ballplayers are vaguely ill-at-ease, is Kay. But I really enjoy Singleton, Flaherty, Cone, and O'Neill (in roughly that order), and Leiter has great insight even though he's so nervous and self-conscious that it puts me ill at ease, particularly when he's rushing/stumbling through the pitcher's scouting report at the beginning of each broadcast.

8 williamnyy23   ~  Jan 2, 2009 11:39 am

[7] Couldn't agree more...the problem isn't the players, but Kay. He treats the broadcasts as an extension of the Michael Kay show, which is kind of ironic because he did his best work trying to keep the radio broadcasts from becoming the John Sterling show. I can't imagine how both egos fit in one booth.

I also agree on Leiter...he is very insightful and candid, but does impart a certain nervousness, although I detect that less and less.

9 Diane Firstman   ~  Jan 2, 2009 12:11 pm


Great writing as always Emma ...

Might I suggest a 4b. ?
"Write a summation of the alleged fraudulent land valuation and sweetheart tax-exempt bonds offered to the Yankees for the construction of their new palace."

10 Dimelo   ~  Jan 2, 2009 12:13 pm

[0] Maybe I should adopt your #1 - Stop reading stories about A-Rod and Madonna. Nothing drives me more to insanity than reading about ARod and Madonna, however, nothing makes me happier than reading about Jeter's revolving door of "starlet flings". You win some and lose some.

I really like your list, other than 2 & 7 because I never gave either a 2nd thought, I think all those other things you list have run through my head at some point or another. I love the Mets broadcasts because of everything thing you state.

11 jen   ~  Jan 2, 2009 12:42 pm

Emma, if you don't mind sitting in the bleachers you can cross #4 off the list. They bumped me up to a full season so I will be looking to unload quite a few tickets this year.

12 rbj   ~  Jan 2, 2009 12:44 pm

I guess there's one benefit to not living in the greater NY area, other newspapers don't run A-Rod & Madonna stories. I don't give a hoot about his or Jeter's off-field extracurricular activities. Just perform on the diamond.

As for #2. No. Does not belong as he broke the most fundamental rule: betting on games in which he had a duty to perform. He's on the permanently ineligible list, and why should the Hall bring in someone on that list?

13 Mattpat11   ~  Jan 2, 2009 12:49 pm

I actually think Singleton is the best announcer in New York. That game he called by himself a few years back was a pleasure.

As for Rose, my position is sort of nuanced, I guess. As long as they can only prove that he bet on his team to win, I'd let him in. If they can ever prove that he threw games, no way.

14 Emma Span   ~  Jan 2, 2009 12:54 pm

[2] Good idea, unmoderated... we should look into group rates. Maybe that way I'd only have to sell my camera and not, say, my kidney!

[7] I don't dislike any of the Yankees' many announcers (though Flaherty, while obviously bright, could stand to show a little more personality) -- they just don't make up the same kind of coherent unit that SNY has. Listening to Hernandez and Cohen and Darling riff off each other is a pleasure even when the game stinks; the YES guys do a solid job, but there's just not the same kind of joie de vivre...

15 zack   ~  Jan 2, 2009 12:57 pm

I'd really like to get to a game this season. Last season, ironically, was the first in, oh, 20 years where I have missed a whole season, and it certainly wasn't a good feeling. The easy solution to that, of course, would be to move back east. Details, details.

16 Diane Firstman   ~  Jan 2, 2009 1:02 pm


there's always the Staten Island Yankees .... a nice ferry ride from Manhattan ... Stadium right on the water .... family fun all night long.

(Yes, I'm serious .... I've been to a few games there)

17 The Hawk   ~  Jan 2, 2009 1:05 pm

[4] good stuff

18 Shaun P.   ~  Jan 2, 2009 1:30 pm

[13] Not to turn this into an insane Charlie Hustle discussion, but IIRC, Rob Neyer wrote an excellent article a couple of years ago showing that even if Rose just bet on the Reds to win, he still ought to be banned. (Or maybe it was someone else, cuz if Neyer wrote it, I can't find it at espn.com)

Emma, re your #6, if you have TiVo, its really easy to do. For example, I watched all of MLB Hot Stove's debut last night, except for Seligula's opening remarks, which I "30-second skipped" a couple of times so as to miss it entirely. (Thanks, TiVo!)

Happy New Year to all! How long until pitchers and catchers again?

19 moismycopilot   ~  Jan 2, 2009 1:47 pm

[16] [2] I second the SI Yankees suggestion, since their park is a nice place to catch a game. It's also a lot more accessible to those of us without cars than Scranton is.

I'm also hoping to catch games at both the new Yankee Stadium and the new Shea, and to add a ballpark or two to my total.

20 Chyll Will   ~  Jan 2, 2009 1:49 pm

[5] I'm very proud of you, worthy of the ignoring that it has inspired! >;)

I'll try out "Teixeico" to support your thesis, though at least "Brian Cashman (hasn't!) sold the farm... "

Emma, re: No. 7 - Fling it or push it at the plate. I kinda think the knuckleball is the only way in the world where it's okay to "throw like a girl" >;)

21 Will Weiss   ~  Jan 2, 2009 1:58 pm

[0] Good to have you back, Emma. I thought you were going on the Will Weiss Plan for deadline efficiency.

[7] [8] The book on Leiter is that he's overprepared and very much into Red Bull. It's not so much self-consciousness, it's that he has papers strewn everywhere and he can't locate the information fast enough. I agree with you, though, Cliff. I think the YES analytics team is solid, but I'm with Emma on the continuity factor. For me, knowing I'd be sitting down and having two of the best, Jim Kaat and Ken Singleton, on the mics when the Yankees were on MSG made those telecasts appointment TV.

[16] With you on that. We also have the Long Island Ducks. Carl Everett! Edgardo Alfonzo! For $10, you can see every has-been that's ever played for the Mets and Yankees looking like Crash Davis.

[18] MLB Network has some major potential, Shaun. Not sure about the Hazel Mae hire, given the Boston ties, but we'll see. ... I DVR'd the Don Larsen perfect game and plan on doing a bit on it for next week's Yankee Panky. Anyone else watch it? Thoughts?

22 Chyll Will   ~  Jan 2, 2009 2:13 pm

[21] I liked how it ended...

23 chazzyyy   ~  Jan 2, 2009 2:18 pm

It took me years of warming up with the knuckle to really nail it, but the biggest key to mastering that I've found (and this may seem unhelpful) is to practice it with quick throws, something similar to a "get rid of the ball" infielders drill. This forces you into creating a mental memory of the grip and 'sprung' action of the fingers to counter the spin. This helped me get over the hump--and don't let people tell you the 2 finger is inadequate -- it does the trick.

24 chazzyyy   ~  Jan 2, 2009 2:21 pm

In short the quick throws allow you to gain muscle memory quickly, and after years of doing this you may find yourself able to a knuckle from over 100ft, albeit with mixed results. The long tossing of the knuckle is more advanced but will really solidify proper throwing mechanics and deter the classic 'pushing' of the pitch that is the fallback too improper gripping / improper finger spring.

25 Bama Yankee   ~  Jan 2, 2009 2:49 pm

Nice job, Emma. To help you with number 3, here's a little Teixeira tribute video from a couple of years ago:


I'm sure those two dudes are singing a different tune these days... (I wonder if they've worked up a song about Javier Vazquez? I'm sure we could help them... it could have something in there about "first pitch Grand Slammies") Also, I'm quite sure I saw that red Braves shirt with Teixeira on the back on the discount rack at the mall the other day... ;-)

26 Bama Yankee   ~  Jan 2, 2009 2:56 pm

Also, for 3a just remember:
"I before E except after T (and X)"

27 Bobtaco   ~  Jan 2, 2009 5:53 pm

I have one goal this year... and that is to get my grandfather to the new stadium for one game.

He was a concessioner in 1928. He loves the Yankees.

He just turned 97 a few weeks ago.

Last year we went on a road trip to New Orleans because his other passion is Jazz.

He's very excited about seeing the new place and for the season to start.

Hopefully we'll be driving up from DC sometime before it gets too hot, and after the possibility of rain/snow has mostly passed.

28 Diane Firstman   ~  Jan 2, 2009 6:31 pm


Now THAT would make for a GREAT Yankee Stadium Memory write-up ....

29 Rich   ~  Jan 2, 2009 8:31 pm

Kay and Sterling: decent together, unlistenable apart.

30 sfiedler726   ~  Jan 2, 2009 8:55 pm

It's Teixeira? Mark freakin' Teixeira? Oh man, I've been misspelling that name for years!

31 thelarmis   ~  Jan 3, 2009 3:51 am

[26] ooh, i really hope you get your grandfather to a game this season!!!! i'm in NY visiting my ailing grandpa right now. my goal is for him to still be here in June, when he himself will turn...97 !!!!

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