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Festivities in the Vicinity


Happy 4th, you guys.

It’s Big Mike and the Gang this afternoon on a grey, overcast 4th in New York.

Brett Gardner CF

Chase Headley 3B

Alex Rodriguez DH

Mark Teixeira 1B

Garrett Jones RF

Ramon Flores LF

John Ryan Murphy C

Didi Gregorius SS

Stephen Drew 2B

Never mind the firecrackers:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

[Photo Via This Isn’t Happiness]


Update: Yanks with the nifty 3-2 win yesterday and looking for more this afternoon. Carry on with this thread and:

Let’s Go Yank-eyes!





Now, that was the way the start of the Fourth of July weekend.

Masahiro Tanaka got out-pitched by Chris Archer but the Yanks were able to chase Tampa’s ace from the game with two men out in the 7th. Trailing 3-0, Mark Teixeira had the big knock in the 8th, hitting a 3-run home home run.

Just felt like the Yanks were going to win the game, never mind the double plays they hit into to end the 8th and 9th innings. When Evan Longoria was called out at second after a replay review in the 11th, the good vibes continued. Longoria slid into second and for a fraction of a moment came off the bag. Nice catch by the Yankees to even review it. Strangely, for my glass-half-empty-ass-self, I still felt hopeful even after the Rays scored a couple of runs in the top of the 12th.

The bottom of the inning went like this: Brett Gardner walked–oh, those lead-off walks–and after Chase Headley whiffed, Alex Rodriguez hit an excuse-me single to right. It was a slow ground ball, squibbed off the end of his bat, but since the Rays were positioned for him to pull, a sure fire double play turned into a single, with Gardner taking third. Rodriguez smiled on his way to first, and could have been singing “With a little bit of luck” if he was a musical theater kind of guy.

Gardner scored when Mark Teixeira singled hard to right field. It was a relief too because Teix took the first pitch of the at bat, a fastball right down the middle, and I figured that’d be the best pitch he’d see. The one he singled on wasn’t as good, but fat enough.

So, Yanks down 5-4, first and second for Brian McCann. Oh, a double play loomed in our minds but McCann golfed a fastball over the fence in right field for a 3-run, game-ending home run instead.

Smiles, cheers, high-fives, first place. After the game, Brett Gardner called it “the biggest win of the year for us, by far.”

Yanks 7, Rays 5.

Illustration by Michael Sloan.



The Yanks are back home this weekend to face the Rays.

While management makes nice with Alex Rodriguez, our boy Masahiro looks to get on the good foot once again. Only trouble is he’s going against the formidable Chris Archer.

Brett Gardner CF
Chase Headley 3B
Alex Rodriguez DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Garrett Jones RF
Chris Young LF
Didi Gregorius SS
Stephen Drew 2B

Never mind sweet charity:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

[Photo Credit: Charles Harbutt via This Isn’t Happiness]

The Long Weekend


Welcome to the long holiday weekend.

Hope everyone’s got cooled-out plans ahead.

High fives all round.

Photo via Kateoplis.

Morning Art


“Cover Girl” by Helena Hauss (via This Isn’t Happiness)

Beat of the Day


You can say I’m sort of the boss so get lost.

American Splendor


Ah, now this looks like it’s worth your time. Nicholas Dawidoff’s New York Times Magazine profile of the great Robert Frank:

Sixty years ago, at the height of his powers, Frank left New York in a secondhand Ford and began the epic yearlong road trip that would become ‘‘The Americans,’’ a photographic survey of the inner life of the country that Peter Schjeldahl, art critic at The New Yorker, considers ‘‘one of the basic American masterpieces of any medium.’’ Frank hoped to express the emotional rhythms of the United States, to portray underlying realities and misgivings — how it felt to be wealthy, to be poor, to be in love, to be alone, to be young or old, to be black or white, to live along a country road or to walk a crowded sidewalk, to be overworked or sleeping in parks, to be a swaggering Southern couple or to be young and gay in New York, to be politicking or at prayer.

The book begins with a white woman at her window hidden behind a flag. That announcement — here are the American unseen — the Harvard photography historian Robin Kelsey likens to the splash of snare drum at the beginning of Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”: ‘‘It flaps you right away.’’ The images that follow — a smoking industrial landscape in Butte, Mont.; a black nurse holding a porcelain-white baby or an unwatched black infant rolling off its blanket on the floor of a bar in South Carolina — were all different jolts of the same current. That is the miracle of great socially committed art: It addresses our sources of deepest unease, helps us to confront what we cannot organize or explain by making all of it unforgettable. ‘‘I think people like the book because it shows what people think about but don’t discuss,’’ Frank says. ‘‘It shows what’s on the edge of their mind.’’

…When Frank began his expedition upriver into the heart of American ambivalence, photography remained, as Walker Evans said, ‘‘a disdained medium.’’ Only a few American art museums collected photographs. Most of the published images portrayed figures of status. One notable exception was the work of Dorothea Lange. Frank respected her compassion but considered her Dust Bowl pictures maudlin — triumphalist takes on adversity. ‘‘I photographed people who were held back, who never could step over a certain line,’’ he says. ‘‘My mother asked me, ‘Why do you always take pictures of poor people?’ It wasn’t true, but my sympathies were with people who struggled. There was also my mistrust of people who made the rules.’’ That impulse seems particularly potent today, during our charged national moment — our time of belated reckoning with how violent, enraged, unbalanced and unjust the United States often still is. To look again at the photographs Frank made before Selma, Vietnam and Stonewall, before income inequality, iPhones and ‘‘I can’t breathe,’’ is to realize he recognized us before we recognized ourselves.

Bend it like Betances


The Yanks didn’t score but 3 runs by Nathan Eovaldi pitched well, the bullpen was even better, and even though Dellin Betances walked a couple of batters in the 9th, struggling to locate his curve ball, eventually he got it to bend the way he wanted to, got a strike out to end the game and sent the Yankees home, 3-1 winners.

[Photo Credit: Jing Huang via MPD]

Orange You Glad We’re Going Home?


One last game for the Yanks in suburban L.A. Let’s hope they avoid getting swept but I’m not so sure about ol’ Nathan Eovaldi being good two starts in a row yet, you know? Either way, it’s a late afternoon game in Southern California in the beginning of July–I’m sure the light will be beautiful, so there’s always that to look forward to.

Also, Carlos is achin’ and they’ve brought a new kid up and his name is Taylor Dugas. C’mon, is that right? Taylor Dugas? What a name. It’s gonna fun to see what he’s about.

Brett Gardner CF
Chase Headley 3B
Alex Rodriguez DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Garrett Jones RF
Chris Young LF
Didi Gregorius SS
Stephen Drew 2B

Never mind the red eye:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

[Photo Credit: Cameron Gardner]

Afternoon Art


Oh, Claudia. 

Taster’s Cherce



Big Sexy


Happy 70th birthday Debbie.  Hey now. 


Walking in the Spiderwebs


A little over four years ago I wrote a piece here imagining a world in which Ivan Nova had developed into the Yankees’ ace while CC Sabathia had become the team’s fifth starter and even been sent to the bullpen for the postseason. The year I was imagining was 2015, which seems kind of hard to believe, but that future is now.

Has Nova become the ace I once imagined? Prior to his elbow surgery he had had his moments of brilliance, but he never looked like a consistent frontline starter. Now, however, he’s been cast as the savior for a rotation that’s been consistent only in its unpredictability. (In fact, the most dependable starter, Adam Warren, was shipped out to the bullpen on Tuesday, but more on that later.)

Nova sent hopes soaring with his debut outing last week, posting seven scoreless innings with stuff just as electric as we remembered, but things were different on Tuesday night in Anaheim. He found trouble early, giving up two singles in the first inning before getting a strikeout from Albert Pujols and a ground out from Erick Aybar to escape that jam, then loading the bases in the second before wriggling free from that one.

The Yankee offense got started in the top of the second when Mark Teixeira launched a towering fly to left center field for his 19th homer of the season, which seemed like a promising start. After that, however, the bats on both sides started to collect spiderwebs.

The Yankees were facing Andrew Heaney, who was making just his second major league start. If you’ve been following the Yankees closely over the past fifteen years — and I know you have — you know that rookie pitchers are their Kryptonite. I don’t have the stats to support this, and it may very well be that the stats don’t support this, but my memory tells me that the Yankees always seem to go down meekly when facing pitchers they’ve never seen before. And so it was with Heaney.

He retired the Yankees in order in the first, gave up Teixeira’s homer in the second, yielded a single to Brett Gardner in the third, walked Chase Headley in the fifth, and walked Teixeira in the seventh. And that was it. Thanks to a couple of double plays, Heaney faced only 24 batters in seven innings. He was the one who looked like the future ace.

After Nova’s early struggles, however, he was matching Heaney pitch for pitch. He cruised through the third, fourth, and fifth innings, giving up just a single and a walk and never really breaking a sweat. In the sixth, however, the bubble burst. Pujols turned on Nova’s first pitch of the inning and produced a majestic home run deep into the trees that grow beyond the centerfield fence; two pitches later Erick Aybar followed suit with a shot of his own to center, and suddenly the Angels had a 2-1 lead. Nova would get one out in the inning before Matt Joyce hit a ringing double down the right field line and sent our future ace to the showers.

Adam Warren came in to make his first relief appearance of the season, and guess what? He was good. He skated through the final two innings and change, allowing just a hit and a walk and perhaps a regret or two from Joe Girardi. But we’ll never know about that last part.

For their parts, the Yankee hitters didn’t do much the rest of the way. Didi Gregorius reached on an error with one out in the eighth, but he was quickly erased by a Stephen Drew double play ball, and the top three hitters went down quietly in the ninth. Final score: Angels 2, Yankees 1.

There is good news, however. While the Yankees have forgotten how to win, the rest of the American League East has been sputtering as well, and the Pinstripes have lost no ground in the standings. So that’s something. Nova didn’t get the win, but he pitched well, something most of us probably weren’t counting on this year. He might not be the ace yet, but he’s pitching.

Oh, and here’s one more thing. My son and I will be in the stands instead of on the couch tomorrow afternoon, so things are already looking up!

[Photo Credit: Jae C. Hong/AP Photo]

Orange You Glad to See Me?


Ivan Nova’s second start comes against some bona fide hitters.

Brett Gardner CF
Chris Young LF
Alex Rodriguez DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Carlos Beltran RF
Chase Headley 3B
Didi Gregorius SS
Stephen Drew 2B

Adam Warren shows he’s a real pro.

Never mind the California Highway Patrol:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

[Photo Via: Convinces]

Afternoon Art


Selina by Dave Seguin.

New York Minute

Empire Diner, Chelsea, New York, NY, 2015

The City That Never Sleeps. Dig this coolness by Frank Bohbot that I found at the always-dope site, This Isn’t Happiness. 

Give Me a Fly Beat, and I’m All In It



Taster’s Cherce


Flourishing Foodie gives triple berry crumble on the grill. Why the hell now?

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