"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Monthly Archives: March 2010

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Phiguring It Out

Solo homers by Alex Rodriguez and Juan Miranda weren’t enough for the Yankees to beat the Twins as they fell 4-2. After the game, the Yankees announced their plans for how Phil Hughes will open the season. More below.


R – Derek Jeter (SS)
R – Marcus Thames (DH)
S – Jorge Posada (C)
R – Alex Rodriguez (3B)
S – Nick Swisher (RF)
L – Curtis Granderson (CF)
L – Brett Gardner (LF)
S – Ramiro Peña (2B)
L – Juan Miranda (1B)

Subs: Jose Pirela (SS), Brandon Laird (3B), P.J. Pilittere (C), Edwar Gonzalez (RF), Reid Gorecki (CF), Randy Winn (DH), Reegie Corona (PR)

Pitchers (IP): Phil Hughes (4 2/3), Boone Logan (1/3), David Robertson (1), Joba Chamberlain (1), Chan Ho Park (1), Royce Ring (1)

Big Hits: A solo homer and a double by Juan Miranda, who batted ninth and got a hit in all three of his at-bats accounting for half of the team’s safeties in the game. Among the other three was a solo homer by Alex Rodriguez (1-for-3). Those two solo homers were the total of the Yankees’ scoring in this game.

Who Pitched Well: Chan Ho Park struck out two in a perfect eighth inning. Joba Chamberlain worked a perfect seventh, though he struck out no one. Boone Logan struck out lefty Jason Kubel, the only man he faced. Royce Ring worked around a walk for a scoreless ninth.

Who Didn’t: Phil Hughes struck out five against one walk in 4 2/3 innings, but he also briefly lost the feel for his curve ball and gave up three runs on six hits including a double and a triple. David Robertson gave up two hits in his inning of work, including a solo homer by Brock Peterson.

Nice Plays: Minor league camper Edwar Gonzalez threw out at Peterson third from right field.

Oopsies: A-baller Jose Pirela made a throwing error.

Ouchies: Francisco Cervelli felt some tightness in his left hamstring and had an MRI, but the Yankees don’t think it’s anything serious and are only worried about his running, not his hitting or catching. Mark Teixeira swung a bat on Wednesday and is expected to play in Thursday’s game wearing protection on his bruised elbow. Alfredo Aceves threw off a mound on Wednesday and is expected to pitch in Friday’s game.

Other: The Yankees have decided that Phil Hughes will be on the Opening Day roster, but will stay behind to make two starts in extended spring training before making his regular season debut on April 15 (the Yankees don’t actually need a fifth starter until April 17). The Yankees play a three-game series in Tampa during Hughes’ time in extended spring training, and he will be available as an emergency reliever or spot-starter (in the event of a rain-out) during that series. He will then travel north with the team for the home opening series against the Angels, which will conclude with his first start, so he’ll really only be away from the team only for the season-opening series in Boston. That means there won’t be an extra bullpen slot available on the Opening Day roster unless Aceves’s back forces him to open the season on the disabled list. More importantly, Hughes’ two extended spring training starts won’t count toward his regular season innings limit because they’ll be low-stress innings in a controlled environment, though in reality he’ll only be skipping one regular season start, so he’ll only be saving about six innings off that total, believed to be around 170 innings.

One-upping Chuck Knoblauch, Denard Span fouled a ball into the stands in the first inning and hit his own mother, who was wearing his jersey, in the chest. He immediately ran into the stands to check on her. Fortunately, she was fine.

Art of the Night

Untitled (Albuquerque), By Richard Diebenkorn, 1952. Oil on canvas, 68 x 60 inches (174.6 x 152.4 cm).

Beat of the Day

Prince Charming

It’s no secret that I’m a big P. Kael fan. Imagine how stoaked I was when I found one of her most famous pieces, on-line–an appreciation of Cary Grant, The Man From Dream City:

“You can be had,” Mae Wet said to Cary Grant in “She Done Him Wrong,” which opened in January, 1933, and that was what the women stars of most of his greatest hits were saying to him for thirty years, as he backed away – but not too far. One after another, the great ladies courted him – Irene Dunne in “The Awful Truth” and “My Favorite Wife,” Katherine Hepburn in “Bringing Up Baby” and “Holiday,” Jean Arthur and Rita Hayworth in “Only Angels Have Wings,” Ingrid Bergman in “Notorious,” Grace Kelly in “To Catch a Thief,” Eva Marie Saint in “North by Northwest,” Audrey Hepburn in “Charade.” Willing but not forward, Cary Grant must be the most publicly seduced male the world has known, yet he has never become a public joke – not even when Tony Curtis parodied him in “Some Like It Hot,” encouraging Marilyn Monroe to rape. The little bit of shyness and reserve in Grant is pure box-office gold, and being the pursued doesn’t make him seem weak or passively soft. It makes him glamorous – and, since he is not as available as other men, far more desirable.

Cary Grant is the male love object. Men want to be as lucky and enviable as he is – they want to be like him. And women imagine landing him. Like Robert Redford, he’s sexiest in pictures in which the woman is the aggressor and all the film’s erotic energy is concentrated on him, as it was in “Notorious”: Ingrid Bergman practically ravished him while he was trying to conduct a phone conversation.

…Everyone likes the idea of Cary Grant. Everyone thinks of him affectionately, because he embodies what seems a happier time – a time when we had a simpler relationship to a performer. We could admire him for his timing and nonchalance; we didn’t expect emotional revelations from Cary Grant. We were used to his keeping his distance – which, if we cared to, we could close in idle fantasy. He appeared before us in radiantly shallow perfection, and that was all we wanted of him. He was the dufy of acting – shallow, but in a good way, shallow without trying to be deep. We didn’t want depth from him; we asked only that he be handsome and silky and make us laugh.

Cary Grant’s bravado – his wonderful sense of pleasure in performance, which we respond to and share in – is a pride in craft. His confident timing is linked to a sense of movies as a popular entertainment: he wants to please the public. He became a “polished,” “finished” performer in a tradition that has long since atrophied.

He was the illest.

Taster's Cherce

Some words (and recipes) from the master, Jacques Pepin, in a long interview at Powells.com:

We had to go to school at that time until age fourteen to finish primary school. Certificate étude. I was doing fine in school. I’m saying that only in that I didn’t have to leave school. My brother didn’t, and he became an engineer. But I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to go into the kitchen and cook.

I liked the hustle, bustle, excitement, the sweating and yelling of the kitchen. I liked it very much; my brother didn’t. The other choice I would have had maybe was to become a cabinetmaker because my father was a cabinetmaker, doing fancy furniture, which we call ébéniste in France. And I still like to work wood. I was in Claudine’s house yesterday, looking at a table I did a few years ago. Pretty rough, but it’s still there.

I like to work with my hands, and I feel that anyone involved in food has to become a craftsman first. A technician. That doesn’t mean you have talent. It just means that you are able to move very fast and do things properly in an orderly manner, in a miserly manner. Certainly if you’re a jeweler or a carpenter or a surgeon, you first and foremost have to become a technician, to have the manual dexterity to dominate that trade. If you happen to have talent, now you have the know-how in your hand; you have the means to express this and bring it to a higher level.

If you look at the reverse: I know young chefs who have a lot of talent, but they’re technically very bad. The food doesn’t come out the way it should. I can do an analogy with my painting. I’ve been painting for thirty years. I do illustrations in my books. But I have never spent, like a professional painter, five hours every day in a studio, working, working, working, so I don’t really have much technique. I start a painting and sometimes it comes out halfway good, and I’m the first one astonished. Often I get disgusted because whatever I have in my head, my hand is not able to express it the way I want. I’m not good enough technically.

Be Afraid

The third and final installment of our Bronx Banter Breakdown season previews:

Make Like A Banana

The Yankees split their final split-squad action of the spring, losing CC Sabathia’s road start against the Braves and winning Sergio Mitre’s home start against the Blue Jays. Also, two more non-roster outfielders were cut, leaving Marcus Thames as the last man standing for the final bench spot.

Braves 9, Yankees 6


L – Brett Gardner (LF)
S – Nick Swisher (RF)
S – Jorge Posada (C)
L – Robinson Cano (2B)
L – Curtis Granderson (CF)
L – Juan Miranda (1B)
R – Kevin Russo (SS)
R – Brandon Laird (3B)
L – CC Sabathia (P)

Subs: Walter Ibarra (2B), P.J. Pilittere (C), David Winfree (RF), Austin Krum (CF), Ray Kruml (LF)

Pitchers (IP): CC Sabathia (4 2/3), Pat Venditte (1 1/3), Zach Segovia (2)

Big Hits: Home runs by Jorge Posada (2-for-3, BB), who hit a two-run shot off former battery-mate Scott Proctor with two out in the seventh, and Nick Swisher (1-for-4 with a solo shot). Doubles by Robinson Cano (2-for-4) and Juan Miranda (1-for-4).

Who Pitched Well: No one.

Who Didn’t: CC Sabathia gave up five runs on a walk, a wild pitch, and eight hits including a two-run homer by Clint Sammons in the Braves’ three-run fourth inning and four doubles (two by Troy Glaus, one of which hit the top of the outfield wall and was initially ruled a home run, and one each by Chipper Jones and old buddy Melky Cabrera). Zach Segovia, who has been clinging to major league camp like Bernie Williams to the possibility of a comeback, gave up three runs in the eighth allowing three hits and a walk while striking out just one in two total innings of work. Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte, brought on this road trip at Joe Girardi’s request, gave up a run in the sixth on two singles and a walk in his first taste of the competition above High-A, where he was dominant last year.

For those fascinated by Venditte, here’s how his outing went:

Pitching righty: retired Yunel Escobar for the last out of the fifth, then gave up a single to Matt Diaz to start the sixth. Switch to lefty: Nate McLouth bunted Dias to second. Switch to righty: Walked Clint Sammons. Switch to lefty: gave up a single to Erik Hinske to load the bases and a sac fly to Matt Young that scored Diaz. With switch-hitter Brooks Conrad coming up, had to declare which hand he’d throw with (right) before Conrad got in the opposite box. Conrad grounded out to end the sixth.

Yankees 5, Blue Jays 3


R – Derek Jeter (SS)
L – Nick Johnson (1B)
R – Marcus Thames (LF)
R – Alex Rodriguez (3B)
S – Randy Winn (RF)
S – Ramiro Peña (2B)
L – Jon Weber (DH)
R – Francisco Cervelli (C)
R – Greg Golson (CF)

Subs: Jorge Vazquez (1B), Reegie Corona (2B), Eduardo Nuñez (SS), Ramiro Peña (3B), Austin Romine (C), Colin Curtis (LF)

Pitchers (IP): Sergio Mitre (6), Damaso Marte (1), Mariano Rivera (1), Boone Logan (1)

Big Hits: A triple by Derek Jeter (2-for-3, BB). Doubles by Ramiro Peña, Marcus Thames (both 1-for-4), and Francisco Cervelli (1-for-3). Alex Rodriguez went 2-for-3 with a walk.

Who Pitched Well: Sergio Mitre retired the first nine men he faced before giving up a groundball single to the left of second base, a home run to Aaron Hill, and a double to Adam Lind. Those three hits were the only baserunners Mitre allowed as he walked no one against five strikeouts in six innings. Mariano Rivera struck out one in a perfect eighth. Boone Logan worked around a walk for a scoreless ninth.

Who Didn’t: Relatively speaking, Damaso Marte, who gave up an unearned run in the seventh on an error, a single, a walk, and a sac fly. Also, the first out he recorded traveled about 405 feet to straight-away center, but was tracked down by Greg Golson.

Nice Plays: Golson.

Oopsies: Alex Rodriguez cut Derek Jeter off  on a Vernon Wells bounder then dropped the ball when transferring it to his throwing hand to allow Wells to reach with what would ultimately become the Jays’ third run.

Ouchies: Mark Teixeira‘s elbow was sore on Tuesday, but he had no swelling. Alfredo Aceves (back) could play catch on Wednesday. Blue Jays catcher Kyle Phillips hit Ramiro Peña in the helmet with his return throw to the pitcher in the eighth. Peña was more surprised and amused than hurt.

Cuts: Marcus Thames has hit .152 this spring. Jon Weber has hit .483, but it was Weber who got send to minor league camp on Tuesday. The reasons are plentiful. Chief among them, the Yankees want a right-handed outfield bat on their bench and Weber hits lefty. Also the 33-year-old Thames has a .491 career slugging percentage in 1,709 career plate appearances, while the 32-year-old Weber has a .473 career slugging percentage in the minors and has never appeared in a major league game. Weber also failed to walk or homer this spring, while Thames has two of each, though it’s easy and not inappropriate to argue that Weber was too busy getting hits to worry about taking ball four and his four extra-base hits (all doubles) were one more than Thames’ total of three.

Weber has earned a starting job in Scranton and put himself on the short list for outfield call-ups, though he remains hindered by being a non-roster player. That means the Yankees could find themselves with a 32-year-old rookie on the bench at some point this season. It would be a great story if it happened, but one the local media will beat to death and a bad sign for the team.

The actual right-handed batter competing with Thames, David Winfree, was also farmed out on Tuesday. He hit .269 with one walk and one homer (his only extra-base hit) in camp. Winfree, Greg Golson, and Weber will be the starting outfiend in Scranton. Golson is the only one of the three on the 40-man roster.

Art of the Night

Still Life (Natural Morta), By Giorgio Morandi, 1953

Beat of the Day: Deuce

‘Cause that’s how they roll in Texas…

Brucha, baby.

Taster's Cherce

My favorite part of the Passover seder is when you get to eat the bitter herbs—horseradish on a piece on Matzoh. Sure to clear any congestion, if you do it right. Here’s two of my cousins and me last night, loading up:

And paying the price (notice me pouding the table):

Whoa, boy.

The (Dirty Stinkin' Cheatin') Savior Returns

In case you missed it, Jonathan Mahler had a good, long profile in the Sunday Magazine on the return of Tiger Woods and what it means for the PGA:

As far as professional golf is concerned, Woods cannot come back fast enough. The PGA Tour is at a critical juncture. Next year it will begin negotiating new TV contracts with CBS and NBC. In the meantime, the tour is trying to secure sponsors for 10 events in 2011 while economic conditions are not exactly favorable. Two of the hardest-hit industries, financial services and car manufacturing, are responsible for underwriting a third of the PGA Tour’s sponsored events. More to the point, the entire economic model of a golf tournament is looking a bit suspect. At the moment, the value of a company’s flying clients and employees to a sunny locale to drink Grey Goose cocktails and get tips on their short games from professional golfers is most likely to be lost on many of its shareholders. In other words, drumming up new sponsors and increasing — or just maintaining, really — the worth of its TV deals would have been hard enough for the tour even if the world’s greatest golfer and most recognizable athlete had not become enmeshed in the biggest tabloid story in years.

“Maybe I shouldn’t say this, but in the last couple of years the tour has been aware of the fact that the negotiations of TV contracts and sponsorships are coming up, and in advising us on what to do, the one thing they’ve said is that we need the superstars to play more and no scandals, no controversies,” Harrison Frazar, a veteran of the PGA Tour, told me a couple months ago. “Well, it’s unfortunate that what’s happened right now is the ultimate scandal in the history of professional golf, and it’s happened to the absolute wrong person.”

I don’t play golf and I never watched it before Woods came along. If he’s in it come the final day at the Masters, or any of the Majors this year, and I’m around, yeah, I’ll tune in, and yeah, I’ll be pulling for him to win.

Beat of the Day

The King:

The Hit Squad

Oh, Whadda Beautiful Mornin'

It’s always surreal when it is this dark in the morning, the bright lights of the city reflecting off the slick concrete.

Gone With The Wind

With the wind blowing out, the Orioles and Yankees combined for 18 runs on 22 hits including 13 for extra bases and six home runs (four by the Yankees). When the dust cleared, the Yankees had won 11-7.


R – Derek Jeter (SS)
L – Nick Johnson (DH)
S – Mark Teixeira (1B)
R – Alex Rodriguez (3B)
L – Robinson Cano (2B)
R – Marcus Thames (LF)
S – Randy Winn (RF)
R – Francisco Cervelli (C)
R – Greg Golson (CF)

Subs: David Winfree (1B), Justin Snyder (2B), Ramiro Peña (SS), Marcos Vechionacci (3B), P.J. Pilittere (C), Jon Weber (RF), Ray Kruml (LF)

Pitchers (IP): Javier Vazquez (5 1/3), Joba Chamberlain (2/3), Chan Ho Park (1), David Robertson (1), Royce Ring (1)

Big Hits: Home runs by Robinson Cano (1-for-3, a three-run shot), David Winfree (1-for-3, another three-run shot) Marcus Thames (1-for-4, a solo shot), and P.J. Pilittere (1-for-1, another solo shot). A double by Randy Winn (1-for-3, BB). Nick Johnson walked three times in five at-bats and scored twice.

Who Pitched Well: Chan Ho Park worked around a single, striking out two in a scoreless inning. Joba Chamberlain gave up a single and struck a man out over the course of three batters, finishing the sixth for Javier Vazquez.

Who Didn’t: Royce Ring issued a walk and gave up a two-run homer to Luke Scott, then gave up a double before finally finishing the ninth inning. Javier Vazquez, who said the wind made it difficult for him to throw his breaking pitches, gave up four runs on three walks and seven hits, including five doubles and a home run while striking out only three in 5 1/3 innings. David Robertson gave up a run on a walk and two hits in the eighth.

Oopsies: Ramiro Peña made a fielding error. Francisco Cervelli had a passed ball.

Ouchies: Mark Teixeira was hit directly on the right elbow by a Jeremy Guthrie pitch and immediately left the game. It looked (and sounded) bad, but the Orioles’ team orthopedist didn’t feel the need for an x-ray, diagnosing him with just a bruise. He’s day-to-day. Alfredo Aceves has a tight lower back. His scheduled appearance on Tuesday will be skipped, but the Yankees expect him to be ready for Opening Day. And for those who are still tracking him (stop), 27-year-old fleeting pitching prospect Alan Horne is going to have surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. Horne’s only good season as a pro was 2007 and that came at pitching-friendly Trenton. He hasn’t been healthy since.

Other: For you velocity hunters, Joba’s fastball topped out around 93 mph. Also, switch-pitcher Pat Venditte is on the travel roster for tomorrow’s day game per Joe Girardi’s request/curiosity. Unfortunately, that’s not the game that is being televised.

The Chosen Beverage

Happy Passover.

Art of the Night

Green Landscape, By Marc Chagall (1945)

Beat of the Day


Break it Down like…This

Taster's Cherce: Why on this Night Are We Served the Most Heinous Thing Known to Man?

Those in the know understand that I’m talking about gefilte fish. And no, I’m not even going to post an image of the brownish grey lump of mashed whatever, cause I’ve got a heart. What I love is how gefilte fish  is traditionally served with a piece of carrot on top, as if that would salvage it–never mind the gelatin (shudder).

As kids, my brother, sister and I were expected to eat what was on our plate. Jewish side of the family, Catholic side of the family: same rules. At home, but especially when we were guests. I became a master at putting a spoonful of creamed spinach, or in Belgium, steak tartare, in my mouth and then gulping it down with a big swig of water. Fun, it was not.

There were two things that we were spared, however: lobster and gefilte fish. The former because it was too expensive and too good to be wasted on the likes of us who didn’t care for it, and the latter because, well, I guess because our elders had compassion.

But hey, that’s just me. I know some perfectly reasonable people who love gefilte fish. As for me, bring on the matzoh ball soup.

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