"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Monthly Archives: May 2014

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About that Time


Tanaka time.

Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter DH
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Alfonso Soriano RF
Yangervis Solarte 2B
Kelly Johnson 3B
Brendan Ryan SS

Yanks play today, they win today.

Never mind the clouds:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

[Photo Credit: Joao Drumond via MPD]



Been thinking a lot about Jeter these days and one thing that came to mind recently is that I don’t recall seeing him make too many mistakes over the course of his career. Mistakes being different from errors. He’s made those. And we can debate whether or not his penchant for sacrifice bunting over the years is an error or a mistake. What I mean by mistake is that you rarely see him make a bad play.

He made one last night. 

In the 5th inning, with Brett Gardner on second base, Jeter hit a line drive to right field for a base hit. It reached the right fielder on one hop, which was not enough time to allow Gardner to score. Gardner was held at third. At the same time, Jeter rounded first and drew a throw, getting himself in a rundown in the hopes that Gardner could score.

I’m not sure Gardner is the right kind of baserunner for that kind of high-wire act. He’s fast but he’s not cagey and doesn’t have great instincts (we’ve seen this played out with him as a base stealer). And so in the middle of Jeter’s rundown, Gardner got in a rundown and didn’t score. By the time Gardner was tagged out, of course, Jeter was on third.

“It’s my job in that situation, if you think there’s a play at the plate, you’ve got to go and try to go to second base to trade an out for a run,” Jeter explained. “Gardy wasn’t going, so it’s not my job to think what’s going to happen. I’ve got to make sure he’s going. Good play by them, but I assumed he was going. I shouldn’t assume.”

Yanks lost, 6-1. 

[Photo Credit: Brad Penner/USA Sports]

Welcome Home


Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann DH
Brian Roberts 2B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Yangervis Solarte 3B
John Ryan Murphy C

It’s Nuno.

F what you heard:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

[Photo Via: BlazePress]

Put the Needle to the Groove


Great rock n roll pictures found here.


Afternoon Art



Beat of the Day


She comes in colors everywhere…

[Picture by Marie-Esther]

Taster’s Cherce



Million Dollar Movie


Get Carter is a movie I’ve been meaning to see for a long time and last week I watched it with a friend.

Nasty and grim, I enjoyed it.

Taster’s Cherce


Strawberry and Rhubarb: a Good Combination.

Scary Monsters


I tried to read The Hobbit when I was a kid but I thought it was boring and I didn’t make it too far. I never read J.R.R. Toilken’s famous Lord of the Rings triology. But I did enjoy Joan Acocella’s review of Toilken’s newly-published translation of Beowulf:

As an adult, Tolkien could read many languages—and he made up more, including Elvish—but the number is not the point. Even in secondary school, Carpenter says, “Tolkien had started to look for the bones, the elements that were common to them all.” Or, in the words of C. S. Lewis, his closest friend, for a time, in adulthood, he had been inside language. Perhaps he couldn’t come back out. By this I don’t mean that he couldn’t talk to his wife or his postman, but that Old English, or at least that of “Beowulf,” was where he was happiest. He knew how it worked, he loved its ways: how the words joined and separated, what came after what. Old English is where he spent most of the day, in his reading, writing, and teaching. He might have come to think that this language was better than our modern one. The sympathy may have gone even deeper. Like Beowulf, Tolkien was an orphan. (He was taken in by his grandparents.) He grew up in the West Midlands, and said that the “Beowulf” poet, too, was probably from there. He did not have difficulty living in a world of images and symbols. (He was a Catholic from childhood.) He liked golden treasure and coiled dragons. Perhaps, in the dark of night, he already knew what would happen: that he would never publish his beautiful “Beowulf,” and that his intimacy with the poem, more beautiful, would remain between him and the poet—a secret love.

[Picture by Jeffrey Alan Love]

Morning Art


[Photo Credit: George Byrne]

Beat of the Day


Dig this badass record:

[Photo Credit: Thomas Zhuang]

Where & When: Game 53

Here we are again with another Where & When! (That dumb rhyme was unintentional; it happens.) Speaking of happens, it just so happens you might get this without looking too hard, but I was inspired by the old and almost equally lost neighborhood play:Where & When Game 53

An interesting, if far from glorious picture, but I will link to some of the glory from this location after you figure out where this location actually is.  I don’t have an actually reference date for this photo, so for the when let’s go with what you know about the location.  For the bonus question, tell us two prominent features near the location that still exist today (you’re either gonna laugh or tsk me this one).

So you know the rules; show your work and complete answers, first one to he finish line gets the frosty mug of root beer and the bonus gets you a scoop of ice cream; all others get a cold mug of cream soda for the effort.  Stick around for a little history lesson (feel free to enlighten us and you might get a brownie) and we’ll see each other on the game thre… wait, are the Yanks playing tonight? No? Oh… well, stick around and chat!

[photo credit: Dyre Avenue Line Memories]




Putting in Work


And so the Yanks keep plugging away. They aren’t a great team but they aren’t a bad one either. They are pretty good. Like so many other teams, they’ve had a lot of injuries.

In the meantime, they are fun to watch and fun to root for, don’t you think?

They outlasted the Cards last night, 7-4, got Hiroki a win, and ended their 9-game road trip, 5-4.

All told…Not bad.

[Photo Credit: Jason Larkin via MPD]

Our Man in St. Louie


That’d be our man Hiroki. Who is still our man even though he hasn’t had much success this year.

Sorry I haven’t been around much since last week. I was in L.A. for the long weekend and didn’t do the smoothest job of leaving instructions for the rest of the Banter-posting crew. Anyhow, my apologies for the inconsistent posting and thanks to Hank, Will and Jon for holding things down.

I’m back now, tired but happy after a great trip, pleased to be back home with The Wife, eager to watch the game tonight.

Here’s the lineup–minus Tex:

Brett Gardner LF
Brian Roberts 2B
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brian McCann 1B
John Ryan Murphy C
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Brendan Ryan SS
Kelly Johnson 3B
Hiroki Kuroda P

[Photo Credit: Picture I took of El Segundo high school’s baseball field. George Brett went to school there.]

What’s In a Name?


Slide on over to SB Nation Longform and check out Joe DePaolo’s profile of Mariano Rivera III:

The father is here to cheer on his 20-year-old son — a redshirt sophomore for the Gaels. Listed on the Iona roster as Mariano Rivera, the son’s legal name is actually Mariano Rivera III (although most everybody, including dad, refers to him as “Jr.”). Beyond the name and the fact that they both pitch, there are other similarities between the two. There are also many differences, one of which is that the son is a starter — at least while he is in college. “He’s too good to be a reliever at this level,” says Iona head coach Pat Carey.

That’s an assessment the scouts seem to agree with. After Rivera records the third out, the men put down their radar guns and dutifully record the pitch in their notebooks. They offer no expression, but can’t help but to have been impressed by what they’ve seen so far. This is a good lineup that Rivera has set aside in the first, all via strikeout. Seton Hall’s high-powered offense entered the contest averaging 7.8 runs per game. That offense has helped propel them to a 16-4 record and the No. 19 spot in ESPN’s unofficial power rankings going into today’s game. Iona, which plays in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, seldom plays a team of this caliber. It is a rare chance for the scouts to see what Rivera can do against a lineup with some punch.

As he makes his way back to the dugout, he avoids eye contact with the scouts, but he is fully aware of their presence.

“Twenty something scouts,” he says. “Most scouts ever in my life. Obviously, it’s in the back of my mind.”

Rivera takes a seat and grabs as much solitude as he can in the cramped Iona dugout. This is hardly out of character for him. Rivera is well liked among this group, and treated like just one of the guys. He is close friends with some teammates, but he tends to set himself apart, and sits alone between innings.

[Photo Credit: Holly Tonini]

Switching Channels


Here’s what you need to know about the dreadful, fateful third inning. Matt Carpenter’s harmless grounder to shortstop bounced all the way to Brett Gardner because the Yankees were shifted around like he’s the second coming of Ted Williams. Joe Girardi ordered David Phelps to send Yadier Molina to first base, on purpose, even though Phelps had done nothing to inspire confidence that he was going to escape the bases loaded jam. The faux-baseman dropped the ball mis-applying a tag from an errant throw from the increasingly impaired shortstop. And the second baseman whiffed on an easy, inning-ending double play, and look who’s come around to score the fourth run, Yadier Molina.

So yeah, maybe the shift wasn’t uncalled for; I can’t say I know Carpenter’s spray charts all that well. And, yeah the intentional walk would have been a non-factor had the Yankees made routine plays. But man, that was systemic failure. From strategy to execution, it was an elementary school science class while the teacher is in the can. Acid, base, BOOM. Four runs.

Considering the 2013 throw-back lineup was on call tonight, four runs was way too much. The final tally was 6-zip. I would get over it quickly if I never saw Alfonso Soriano face a right handed pitcher again.

And this was a bad night to put on such a lousy show. The Rangers and Habs almost netted a dozen goals as the Rangers skated for a chance at the Stanley Cup. The Thunder reminded everybody that no, the Western Conference Finals are not best of three. And really, shame on us – this exact same thing happened two years ago. Has any team in the history of sports received such ridiculous praise for winning the first two games of a series? At home? The Mets and the Pirates were playing a game without the stench of incompetence hanging over the infield, well anymore than usual at Citi Field.

If you stuck with the Yankees after the third, you are a true fan. Or had to write a recap.


Image from Watchmen, DC Comics by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons


Phelps in Phlux


Getting the first game of this series with the Cardinals to pop up in the win column is a pleasant surprise as the Whitley/Wacha match-up was on the scary-side for Yankee fans. More fun tonight as David Phelps seeks to pad his bonafieds for a permanent spot in the starting rotation.

Phelps is 27 years old, which is something of a shock to me every time I see his age. He’s proven to be a Major League pitcher over 27 starts and a season in the bullpen, but we’ve yet to attach a more definitive adjective to that phrase. Serviceable? Dependable? League-average? Dare I suggest, Good?

Let’s see what the warm weather has in store for him, starting tonight.

Where & When: Game 52

Greetings, welcome back to another exciting episode of Where & When.  It’s a slow day today, so I took a moment to fill in the doldrums with a “challenging” excerpt from the five boroughs:

Where & When Game 52This picture was taken a year after the subject of this picture was opened for service.  So, I task you to find out where and when this picture was taken, not to mention what it is.  You know the rules; show your work, share your ideas and stories, utilize whatever you prefer to find the answers and the first one with the complete answer will get the icy cold root beer award, while the rest of us who participate get to drink to that person’s health with a frosty cream soda.

Oh, and the bonus ice cream scoop goes to the person who can describe the style of the object or objects in question.

So have at it and we’ll see each other on the game thread.

[photo credit: NYC Bridges]

Close to the Vest


When the Yankees and the Cardinals met in the World Series in 1964, it marked the end of a Yankee dynasty that had stretched back 25 years. Though most favored the Yankees at the time, it wasn’t because they were the superior team, it was just because, well, they were the Yankees. (If you’re looking for a good summer read, by the way, you can’t go wrong with David Halberstam’s October 1964, which chronicles that matchup between the Yanks and the Redbirds. (If you want something with a happier ending, try Summer of ’49, also by Halberstam.))

When the two teams got together again on Monday afternoon in St. Louis is marked the 50th anniversary of that Fall Classic. After an hour-long rain delay, the Yankee hitters came out swinging as Brett Gardner walked, Derek Jeter singled to center, and Jacoby Ellsbury singled to drive in Grdner with the game’s first run.

The Cardinals responded quickly, getting the tying run when Matt Carpenter led off with a triple and then scored on Kolten Wong’s double.

Tied at one, the pitchers took advantage and then took control of the game for a stretch. Michael Wacha coasted through the early innings, retiring all nine men he faced in the second through fourth innings, and the Yankees’ Chase Whitley was almost as good over that same stretch, giving up just a harmless single in the third and two more singles in the fourth. I’ve no idea if this kid has a future with the Yankees, but it’s been fun watching him this month.

The Yankee hitters went to work again in the fifth. Ichiro walked and Brian Roberts singled to right, then Kelly Johnson singled up the middle to score Ichiro. Two batters later Gardner hit a sacrifice fly to score Roberts, and the Yankees had a 3-1 lead.

But that lead didn’t last long. Whitley faltered in the bottom of the sixth. He faced only three batters, and they all reached (Matt Holliday double, Michael Adams single, and a hit by pitch for Yadier Molina). Manager Joe Girardi had no choice but to make a move, and in strolled Preston Claiborne. Bases loaded, nobody out. No pressure at all.

Claiborne did give up two runs to allow the Cardinals to tie the score at three, but the damage was minimal. He had kept the Yankees in the game.

From there the respective bullpens took over, and the hitters went to sleep. The one highlight of those late innings from the Yankee point of view was Dellin Betances. He continues to dominate, but on Monday he was throwing harder than ever, touching 100 MPH on the radar a couple of times. With Bettances, Adam Warren, and David Robertson manning the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings, the back end of the Yankee bullpen is as good as it’s ever been.

Ellsbury drew a walk to lead off the top of the twelfth, then challenged Molina and came up with a huge stolen base to put the go-ahead run on second base. Brian McCann was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second, and Yangervis Solarte dutifully bunted them along to second and third. Ichiro was walked intentionally to load the bases, putting the game in the hands of Roberts.

Roberts fouled off a pitch, then smoked the next one through the left side of the infield to score the go-ahead run. Soriano followed that with a sacrifice fly, Brendan Ryan singled in another run, and the Yankees were suddenly up 6-3.

Robertson allowed a run in the bottom half, but only his ERA cares about that. Yankees 6, Cardinals 4.

[Photo Credit: Dillip Vishwanat/Getty Images]

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