"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Monthly Archives: July 2012

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Sundazed Soul

Cos gets deep…

[Photo Via: Worship the Feminine]

Ahh, Nuts

The Red Sox beat the Yanks last night after a decent rain delay, 8-6. They had a 6-1 lead on a count of C.C. Sabathia was off his game but the Yanks tied it up in the bottom of the eighth inning when Mark Teixeira hit a two-run home run off his old pal Vicente Padilla. Tex admired his work too which isn’t like it (unless Padilla is pitching).

The way this season has gone you figured the Yanks would find a way to win but Curtis Granderson played a fly ball into a triple in the ninth, the Sox scored twice and, well, that’s just baseball, Suzyn, you can’t predict it.


[Photo Credit: WebMD; Seth Wenig/AP]

Take the Train, Take the Train

The Big Fella is on the hill for the Yanks today.

1. Jeter SS
2. Granderson CF
3. Teixeira 1B
4. Cano 2B
5. Jones LF
6. Nix 3B
7. Martin DH
8. Suzuki RF
9. Stewart C

Never mind this weak-ass lineup: Let’s Go Yank-ees!

[Photo Via .Mushkies]

Saturdazed Soul

Coolin’ with Pres.

[Photo Credit: Serendipitydear]

Return of the Boom Bap Means Just That

“I fucking love winning. You know what I’m saying? Its like, better than losing.” –Nuke LaLoosh

Phil Hughes gave up a solo home run to Dustin Pedrioa in the first inning. He gave up solo shots in the third and fourth, still by the end of the fourth the Yanks were ahead 6-3. Just another turgid night for the Yanks and Sox, right?

Not really. The game ended before 10 o’clock because Hughes calmed down and pitched well over seven innings. Raul Ibanez and Russell Martin homered for the Yanks (both two-run shots) and Curtis Granderson put the game out of reach in the eighth when he hit a two-out grand slam. It was Grandy’s third hit of the night. Ichiro had a base hit and scored twice as the Yanks sailed to a Score Truck Style Beat Down.

Final Score: Yanks 10, Sox 3.

Oh, hell yes.

You Probably Can’t Spell Boogie Down or Productions

Yanks and Sox, Hughes on the hill for Ichiro’s Bronx debut.

1. Jeter SS
2. Granderson CF
3. Cano 2B
4. Teixeira 1B
5. Ibanez LF
6. Jones DH
7. Chavez 3B
8. Suzuki RF
9. Martin C

Never mind the comfortable lead, sic ’em champ and: Let’s Go Yank-ees!

[Photo Credit: Tony Shi]

Babe Ruth and the Banyan Tree

There’s one thing you should know about the Banter–we spare no expense in the pursuit of a story, and we are never truly on vacation.

So even as my family and I have been enjoying the tropical breezes, idyllic pace, and pristine beaches of Hawaii this week, I’ve kept my nose to the ground the entire time, searching for a story. I found one on Day One.

Directly outside our hotel on the Hilo side of the Big Island, stood an enormous banyan tree marked with a simple sign, “Geo. Herman “Babe” Ruth, Oct. 29, 1933″. After some serious reporting (a five-second conversation with the concierge), I procured a pamphlet which described the evolution of Banyan Drive. Back in 1933 someone decided it might be a fun idea to have celebrities and local luminaries plant banyan trees along a stretch of road that curved around an inlet of the Pacific Ocean. The Babe was on a barnstorming tour, so he was a natural pick, as was Cecil B. DeMille, who was in town filming a movie.

Banyan trees appear as if they’ve been imported directly the planet Dagobah. They begin as a tree with a single trunk, but as they mature, the branches drop long tendrils which twist downward until they find the ground and take root, eventually thickening to the point where it becomes difficult to identify the original trunk. Mature trees have hundreds of separate trunks encompassing hundreds of square feet.

I took my daughter Alison down to the tree on the morning we left to take a few pictures. Before we left I asked her to put her hand next to mine on the outermost root. It was rough and full of history.

“Can you feel it?” I asked. “Babe Ruth planted this tree. Babe Ruth.”

Game Over

Jason Schwartz has a long piece in Boston Magazine on Curt Schilling’s failed gaming company, 38 Studios.

Play it Again (and again and again)

Sometime in the late 1990s I read up on Jazz music. I went through a pile of books and my favorite overview came from Ted Gioia in his book The History of Jazz.

I thought about Gioia today when I read this review of his new book, The Jazz Standards, in The Los Angeles Times:

“The Jazz Standards” is an attempt to offer a kind of one-stop shop overview of the genre, looking not so much at the musicians as at the songs. An alphabetical survey of 252 classic pieces, it is to some extent an extrapolation of “The Real Book” — “the underground collection of jazz lead sheets that began circulating in the 1970s” that itself grew out of a series of “fake books,” bootleg compilations used by jazz players to work their way through the entire tradition. This history is fascinating, a reminder that jazz is at heart a vernacular medium in which the most essential skill for a musician may be the ability to think on his or her feet.

[Photo Credit: William Claxton]

Let the Games Begin

Tonight we’ve got the Yanks and Sox and boy it’s a big series for Boston. Meanwhile, the rest of the sports world will be focused on the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. Any of you guys care about the summer games? I’ll be checking them out for sure though I’m not passionate about any one event.

[Picture Credit: “Three Handstanding Gymnasts” By Mark Beard (1956) via Brazen Swing]

New York Minute

Man, oh, man.

Via Laughing Squid.

Taster’s Cherce

Heirloom tomato and celery salad over at Hungry Ghost. Heck yeah.

Morning Art

“Water of Face” by Daisy

Beat of the Day

I run up on her. She was about seven feet tall. Built like an Amazon. Had Mens climbing the Walls.

I said ‘Hello, Baby.”

She said, “Hello, little fella.”

I said, “I likes that.”

[Photo Credit: oio]

Color By Numbers: Yankee, Go West

It was almost the West Coast trip from hell. After dropping five of six in Oakland and Seattle, not to mention losing Alex Rodriguez to a broken hand, the Yankees were poised for another defeat on Wednesday afternoon. However, Jayson Nix’ bases clearing double in the eighth inning wiped away a 2-1 deficit, and with it, some of the sting of a difficult road trip.

If not for Nix’ heroics, the Yankees would have recorded their second lowest winning percentage on any West Coast trip of at least six games. By squeaking out a win, the Bronx Bombers also nudged their all-time record in the Pacific timezone to just over .500 at 385-384.  Although Yankees’ fans are seldom satisfied with mediocrity, that record might come as a pleasant surprise because trips out West have always seemed to have more than their share of misadventures.

Winning Percentage Distribution of Yankees’ West Coast Trips, 1968 to 2012

Note: Includes trips involving two or more cities.
Source: Baseball-reference.com

The Yankees’ first regular season game on the West Coast took place on May 5, 1961, when the Bronx Bombers traveled across the country to face the expansion Los Angeles Angels. Media accounts expected the Yankees to romp over the Angels, especially considering the friendly confines of Wrigley Field (there was one in Los Angeles too). Although the AP compared the mighty Yankees’ visit to “letting a channel swimmer work out in bath tub”, Casey’s crew wound up losing two of three in the series and six of nine against the Angels in Los Angeles overall.

Since the Angels joined the American League, the Yankees have played 769 games in the Pacific Time Zone as part of 126 distinct trips. Until the Athletics moved to Oakland in 1968, visits to the West Coast were basically three game stopovers amid longer road trips that included cities like Cleveland, Minnesota, and Kansas City. Then, when the Pilots landed in Seattle for the 1969 season, the jaunt became a lengthy swings up or down the coast. In 1970, East Coast teams were given a bit of a reprieve when the Pilots relocated to Milwaukee, but the three-city circuit became a staple when the Mariners joined the A.L. in 1977.

With Seattle back in business, the three-city trip along the Pacific became a rite of passage for A.L. teams until the next round of expansion in 1998. Since that time, the Yankees have only made one trip covering all three cities. In fact, with the exception of the nine-game jaunt in May 2011, last week’s seven-game trip out West was as long as any other from the past 14 seasons.

Yankees’ Winning Percentage on the West Coast, by Decade, 1961 to 2012

Note: Includes all games played in the Pacific timezone.
Source: Baseball-reference.com

So, if this most recent West Coast swing almost qualified as the second worst in Yankees’ history, what was the worst? On May 23, 1995, the Yankees, who trailed the Red Sox by 1.5 games at the time, lost the first game of a three-city tour in a 10-0 blowout at the hands of Chuck Finley and the Angels. However, there was a silver lining, albeit one that wouldn’t pay off until the following year. In need of a spot starter, the Yankees promoted a skinny Panamanian kid named Mariano Rivera. Although the loss presaged the kind of trip the Yankees would have, Rivera’s debut turned out to be the more important omen.

The Yankees wound up losing the first five games of the trip before finally getting a win in Oakland behind, you guessed it, Rivera, who, this time, allowed only one run over 5 1/3 innings (the losing pitcher was present day Yankees’ bullpen coach Mike Harkey). Unfortunately, the losing resumed as the Yankees were swept in three games at the Kingdome. By the time the Bronx Bombers limped onto the plane to head back home, the team had dropped seven games behind the Red Sox.

Incredibly, the Yankees followed up the disastrous trip to the West Coast with another epic failure when the team returned in August. This time, the Yankees eked out one more victory to finish the 10-game trip at 2-8. Combined with the three losses the team suffered to the Mariners in the ALDS, the Yankees ended 1995 with 3 wins against 19 defeats on the banks of the Pacific.

Yankees’ Worst West Coast Trip: May 23-31, 1995

Note: Based on winning percentage; minimum six games.
Source: Baseball-reference.com

One season before the Yankees’ nightmarish Western experience in 1995, the team compiled its most glorious visit to Anaheim, Oakland and Seattle. Following the All Star Break in 1994, the Yankees opened up the second half in the Kingdome, and, for eight innings, looked headed for defeat. Trailing 8-6 in the ninth, the Yankees’ rallied for seven runs and then seemingly never stopped scoring after that. In total, the Bronx Bombers scored 90 runs on the 10-game trip, culminating in Don Mattingly’s first and only pinch hit home run, which helped the Yankees erase another ninth inning deficit in the final game of the trip. The 9-1 stretch allowed the Yankees to build a 5 1/2 game lead in the A.L. East, putting the team in line for its first full season division title since 1980. However, it was all for naught. Less than three weeks later, the players went on strike and the season never resumed.

Yankees’ Best West Coast Trip: July 14-24, 1994

Note: Based on winning percentage; minimum six games.
Source: Baseball-reference.com

Heppy Birfdaze

Mick Jagger is sixty-nine.

Here’s a cool bit from Keif over at Letters of Note (complete with a Goon Show reference in the opening paragraph).

New York Minute

Sometimes I’d just rather be at the MET. Hanging out here.

Or maybe looking at this:

[Photo Credit: Retro New York]

Million Dollar Movie

From the wonderful Scouting NY site, here’s Annie Hall (part one).

It lacks a cohesive structure…

Morning Art

Picture by Erwin Blumenfeld, 1943 [Via Hollyhocksandtulips]

Beat of the Day

Bet I wet cha like hurricanes and typhoons/Got buffoons eatin my pussy while I watch cartoons…

Well, you don’t say? This one’s a head-nodder.

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