"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

That Name Again is Mr. Plow


We had a decent snow storm in New York last night, so I was up early this morning digging out Emily’s car. Which felt good because I was looking for a way to make up for being a schmuck about countless other things around the house (can you actually say that your wife is a nag if you are a lazy dope who turns her into one?) My neighbor Louie was out there too. His wife’s car looked ready to run a race. “I was out here at five a.m.,” he said.

Louie worked for an insurance company located in the Twin Towers but was at a doctor’s appointment that fateful Tuesday morning. He lost all of his co-workers, more than 500 in all. He says he hasn’t been the same since. He isn’t as lively as before. But he got married to a nurse, a great gal named Bee (half-Mexican, half Puerto Rican, Louie calls her a “Chicarican”). Louie has had a tough time finding work ever since but his pension kicks in starting in February. He wants to have us over to celebrate.

Meanwhile, he’s a great neighbor, always looking for a way to help, looking to keep useful. He gave me some rock salt this morning as I was digging out my wife’s car and then we went over to the cafe to pick up breakfast.


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1 Raf   ~  Dec 20, 2009 11:36 am

That's great, and symbolized perfectly what living in a neighborhood is all about. There's always a guy like Louie around. I never met him, but I wish him the best of luck.

My car is still buried in snow, and it will probably stay there until tuesday or wednesday when I decide to dig it out

2 RIYank   ~  Dec 20, 2009 12:05 pm

We have approximately the same amount of snow here. I have a 90 ft driveway and a couple of largish parking areas, so my neighbor is right now out there with his backhoe clearing it all out. It would have taken me two hours with a shovel -- I could have probably persuaded a son or two to help, but still. So, yeah, I can really appreciate neighborliness!

Those croissants look great. I finally found a cafe (in Providence) that has good croissants. The difference between a ho-hum croissant and a really good one is, man, it's huge. Huge.

This morning I fried up some latkes. One of the very few instances of Jewish cooking that's better than its goyish counterparts.

3 NYYfan22   ~  Dec 20, 2009 12:18 pm

AB - you have a way with words, my friend. Yeah, ol' Louie. We all have one--and in a way, I am one to my immediate neighbors. Life here in suburbia is a little more spread out, and therefore intrinsically more private, I suppose. But just like anybody anywhere--we can choose to reach out, or not. We can choose to be reached, or not. Personally, I won't go without a Louie or two in my life. Essential. Thanks for the story.

BTW, I shoveled my car out at 3am cause I had to come to work today. I get the joy of finishing the driveway when I get home in 5-6 more hours.

Now, Merry Christmas (where applicable) to everyone at The Banter. You guys are awesome. Can't wait to defend in 2010, baby.

4 NoamSane   ~  Dec 20, 2009 12:40 pm

Señor Plow no es macho
Es solamente un borracho

Thanks for the neighborhood update AB. It has a bit of the taste of Todd Drew flavor--greatly appreciated.I hate to admit that I've been having the same "Not Nag" situation lately myself. I had better get used to the extra heap of chores as we have our first child on the way.

btw: I feel a little bad for J Damon if he doesn't get what he wants this offseason. But only the slightest bit bad. IMO, whoever puts his faith in Scott Boras is stating that money is what they want above all else, and money is usually what they get. For example (and I know he ended up with $ too) ARod had to jettison Boras when he realized that being a Yankee was very important to him, not just a massive contract.

5 unmoderated   ~  Dec 20, 2009 12:41 pm

it always strange when the city gets snow and we don't.

6 ms october   ~  Dec 20, 2009 1:08 pm

nice post alex. echo raf's sentiments that i wish louie the best.
having and being a good neighbor is so fundamental to sustaining a solid community.

i am so happy i don't have my car anymore to shovel out.

[4] yeah i share your sentiments about jd. one thing i am always curious about is the dynamic between players represented by the same agent when they are in the same fa class - it is obviously a very individual feeling and circumstance - but if for example, boras gets holliday a good deal with the yanks - well what about damon?

7 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 20, 2009 2:16 pm

[4],[6] I've been thinking the same thing. Might I also add that you do have to wonder at this point if there's not just the slightest resentment from a few Yankee officials at Damon for being the issue that caused them to let Matsui go when he was offered a contract by the Angels. Of course there's a lot of He Said She Said between Cashman and Tellum/Boras concerning their situations, but in the end the players lose if they don't get what they want because it's up to them to tell the agent what is best for them, not the other way around.

I think the best example of that, from the accounts I've seen, is Cliff Lee. He's been saying he expected to stay in Philly for the rest of his career, but if that were the case then why would you make a counteroffer and then go off on a hunting trip in the middle of negotiations? He's not the only one to do this too, and it always amazes me that they are convinced that someone else, who often has an agenda of his own, can handle their business alone without input or guidance.

I believe pro athletes, especially the stars, are finding out the hard way that the current economic climate is as real for them as anyone else, and that they have to pay more attention to things that affect them directly than they used to, or else they'll be left holding the bag or the isht end of the stick. That's not to absolve some clubs who have also dropped the ball because they made the wrong guess or are just unwilling to participate, but in these cases we've talked about, I don't see where the player was not at least halfway responsible for the fate they weren't publicly counting on.

I also echo Raf's sentiments. It's hard to imagine how the man feels losing so many coworkers to such a fate, but I do imagine there's some survivor's guilt involved. He's a tough man to stay on his feet this long, and I commend him for making it through; all the best to him.

8 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 20, 2009 2:26 pm

[7] Okay, I'm being a bit harsh. Maybe these guys did have the last word and just lost their game, but if they lost while they were leading the charge, I have more sympathy for where they end up. Matsui might be in a better situation for his desires, and Lee might be better off than he realizes, but I'm convinced Damon slept on Boras and got caught out. If he takes charge at this point, it's only because he really does want to stay with the Yanks, regardless of what he has to give up to do so.

9 lordbyron   ~  Dec 20, 2009 2:44 pm

A little off the beaten path here - but I would love to see you folks support the Baseball Assistance Team (BAT) program which provides financial assistance to former ballplayers and their families. It's a great program that really helps those players from the late 50's and 60's who helped to promote and shape the game but weren't benefactors of the big salaries or generous MLB pension program.

I believe BAT has a big event scheduled in January in NYC.

10 Raf   ~  Dec 20, 2009 3:56 pm

[8] I don't think you're being harsh at all. I don't begrudge a player trying to grab a fat sack of cash, but if a player finds themself in a great position, why mess things up?

11 thelarmis   ~  Dec 20, 2009 4:17 pm

very nice writing, alex! yes, it totally reminded me of todd drew, as stated in [4]

[4] congrats on the baby!

[0] i'm sure it's tough on louie everyday, but at least he has the opportunity to shovel snow and has a great wife. i'd give anything for the latter...

i also miss snow. i've always loved it. plus, i'm a december baby. we barely get any snow here in atlanta. the driving part sucks, but snow is soooo cool! well, except for last night, when i had a gig canceled in the NC mountains due to freezing rain/snow.

these players are entitled, but also greedy as hell. i mean 5 mil, 8 mil...who cares? it's all waaaay too much money. it's ego. if i had an awesome gig, but there was the potential for another, where pretty much the ONLY difference, was a little more money - fuggit, stay where you are!!!

[2] have you actually ever had a croissant? really? you have? i have!!!! and, man, i LOVE latkes. they're hard to cook!!!

as far as neighbors go, i left behind some really crappy ones at my old apt complex. i'm still really new at this place and haven't spoken to one person. haven't really seen anybody and i get really shy in those situations. who knows, perhaps once i'm here awhile, i'll meet and talk to someone...

i do think good relationships w/ neighbors are of paramount importance.

12 thelarmis   ~  Dec 20, 2009 4:27 pm

wow, the fish are 'targeting' jose veras as a bullpen candidate.


i know, i know, he throws fast...

13 thelarmis   ~  Dec 20, 2009 4:33 pm

'Cafardo also mentions that, while plenty of teams are interested in Chien-Ming Wang, the Yankees hope to match any final offer the right-hander receives.'

14 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Dec 20, 2009 5:45 pm

[0] Bright and sunny here, it's gotten a bit "cold" (40F, cool for Tokyo). No snow in sight. West Coast of Japan is known as the "snow country", with several feet on average every winter, but Pacific coast get zilch.

Someone earlier commented about agents working for players and not the other way around..don't most ball players just want the highest possible payday and don't really give a crapola where they play? Sure there are some exceptions but...

15 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 20, 2009 6:37 pm

[14] Sure, Raf said it first in the last thread and I mentioned the same thing here. I can't get into a person's head, but I can sense from a certain, oft-repeated pattern of behavior what their intent was or is, and in these cases they were more concerned about money than anything else. Now if they were on a middle-class or below level, I'd identify with that thinking, since it's generally two-steps-from-disaster in our state of affairs now. But these are guys making millions of dollars a year, and you have to be a special kind of eff-up to mess up that personal income so badly that you are two-steps from disaster. These guys have basically no reason to cry, and if they aren't where they want to be then it's their own fault.

I heard Cashman on ESPN Radio yesterday saying that they have had interest in some other players in the past, but the timing of their free agency prevented them by circumstance from making an offer. I took that to mean that although they may have wanted to invest in, say, Matt Holliday, because they don't have the kind of payroll flexibility as they did in 2008 off-season they can't make a competitive offer without blowing their intended cap.

I understood that to mean that with the moves they've made, it would be hard to justify to ownership how 5-8 years of Holliday this year would be better than maybe at best 3-4 years of Carl Crawford next year for less, especially when you also have to keep the purse strings open for Jeter and Mo next year. Oh, and try explaining that to a player who wants 2-3 years at $13 million when the market would barely yield a year+ at $9 mil, if that.

BTW, I hope neither Mo nor Jeter prove to be motivated more by the endless flow of cash they see coming through River Ave, but I would not be surprised if they did. This ain't about the fans, after all...

16 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 20, 2009 7:08 pm

Would you guys want JD back at 1/$8m?

"...also have to keep the purse strings open for Jeter and Mo next year"
Jeter is making $22m this year. Am I nuts to think that a 3/$45m contract would be very generous for a 37 yr old shortstop?

They should save $5m - $7m on Jeter.
If Mo was worth $15m at 37, what is he worth at 40?
He ain't going anywhere else. I would say $12.5m would be fair.

Players should know now that the Yankees do have a budget, and saving a few million on each signing could be the difference between getting a Holliday of not.

Here's how I see 2011:
Jeter: save $5 - $7m
Mo or new closer: save $2.5 - $15m (internal solution)
NJ: save $5.5m (DH by Posada, Montero, Miranda and the elderly)

2102: Montero for Posada: save $12.5m
Other then that, there is not much big money coming off the books, is there?

17 Start Spreading the News   ~  Dec 20, 2009 7:39 pm

[16] OYF, I think you are printing out the team's wish list but I doubt it will happen.

Look at the last time Mo's contract expired in 2007. If he was worth $10.5 mill at 33, what is he worth at 38? He had just posted the worst ERA of his career as a closer and was a 37 year old. His WHIP was the 2nd highest ever as a closer. He showed a downward trend in saves (53, 43, 34, 30).

What did the Yankees do? He got a pay raise of $4.5 million a year!!! And a three year contract.

So imagine if he puts up numbers like he did last year, why would he get less money? At this pace, he could be the first $20 million dollar closer but maybe only for two years.

While Mo seems ageless and effective as ever (despite the supposed loss of velocity), an everyday position player like Jeter is someone who one worries about. Still Jeter is an icon, I can't see him getting a pay cut but obviously a much smaller length contract.

18 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 20, 2009 7:57 pm

Yes, this did have a Todd Drew quality to it.

By the way, this Tuesday marks one year since his final Banter post. :-(

19 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 20, 2009 10:11 pm

[17] Question. Just for shits and giggles, lets say the Yanks lets Jeter walk away after this year Now Jeter is a FA, looking at year 37. What's the best he can do on the open market?

20 thelarmis   ~  Dec 20, 2009 10:39 pm

[18] oh no. really? it's been a year already? that's crazy. i remember that last post - when he replied to me, super early in the morning, before going to the hospital. never did i think that was gonna be his last post... : (

21 Start Spreading the News   ~  Dec 20, 2009 10:55 pm

[19] It depends on a few factors.

1. If he puts up another 132 OPS+ year or even matches his career OPS+ of 121, then I can't see him getting a paycut.
2. Do the Yanks win another World Series? If so, then Jeter gets some credit for that, I assume.
3. How's the economy looking then?
4. Are other teams able to get into a bidding war? Remember how Bernie used the Red Sox to get extra money from Steinbrenner? Would the Mets be willing to pay a premium to steal Captain Intangible from the Yankees? Mets would allow Jeter to stay in NY and Citi Field would have a some more people in the seats with Jeter in the lineup.
5. Even with 200 hits next year, he doesn't get to 3000 hits in 2010. So he will especially pack in the fans in his bid for 3000 in 2011. Some team will pay more for that privilege.

So I do think Jeter would get a lot of interest from other teams. I think there are many GMs who would see Jeter's star power as worth paying more. I think many GMs believe in his "leadership" and other intangible factors that make him a winner.

I think that for all the reasons outlined above, I can't see Jeter taking a pay cut unless the economy is really in the toilet. If I had to guess, he gets the Mets to pay $25 mil/year for 4 years.

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