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Feduciary (yawwwwn!)

Nick SwisherToo tired to put up a real post and not wanting to spoil the tribute post to a recently passed well-known and respected contemporary jazz singer/entertainer, I’m tossing this up for discussions on various things baseball and Yanks related. Among those things:

Nick Swisher retired. Well, at least he didn’t drag it out too long. But he was one of those guys who always seemed to let the kid inside come out and play. I’ll miss that.

Both Tyler Austin and Mason Williams have injuries that, although not career-threatening, will certainly alter their destinations after Spring Training (unless they have super powers).

Front office is sounding quite jerky yet again. I mean, you can be right and correct, but you can also control the impulse to gloat about it, and Randy Levine continues to make the team (and its fanbase by proxy) look like complete [insert favorite expletive here]s. Which, maybe they are, but we don’t seem to want anyone else to say it. What it means down the road is almost obvious though, and it would be really disheartening to lose great talent because the person or people in charge are loose-lipped sociopaths, which is certainly a New York sports-related specialty of late.

Okay, never mind with the vague grinding of axes, let’s get on with the show already!

Walking in the Moonlight

Al_Jarreau_MoldeRise in Power, Mr. Al Jarreau.  Thank you for the excellent adventures.

Morning Art

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Sketch by my uncle, the late Fred Garbers (1977)

Bye Bye Balboni, Where Have Ya Been?

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The Yanks have signed Steve Balboni, no Rob Deer, no Tom Brunansky, no Glenallen Hill, scratch all that—Chris Carter to a one-year deal so that he can wear the pinstripes, hit a few homers and strikeout more than somewhat.

Well, okay, then.

Picture by Bags

Innervisions

Black Umbrellas Adger Cowans

So, are we done with football? Got that out of our system have we? Bueno.

Onward. Pitchers and catchers report soon and that can only be a good thing, am I right?

Meanwhile, and completely unrelated, check out this interview I did with Adger Cowans over at The Daily Beast:

Faye Dunaway in The Puzzle of a Downfall Child, 1970 (1)

Taking pictures on a movie set is such a specialized kind of photography. How were you able to get crucial shots while staying out of everyone’s way?

When a shot is going down, the director is standing there, so you have to think of little games to get your picture. Because the director was always watching me to see where I was standing for a good vantage. And then he’d stand in front of me and I’d duck to the side, which is where I really wanted to shoot in the first place. Little games. Always positioning yourself. Dealing with the camera crew too, not bumping into them. You had to be stealth.

Did you approach the job by staying quiet or being more out-going?

Both. Depended. But it started with how you got along with the people on the set. The director, the camera people, the actors. You had to make friends. You had to put yourself out there in a way that people trusted you.

Actor and Director Bill Duke

Which directors did you liked working with most?

Alan Pakula was a hell of a nice man and a very good director. But my models for great directors would be Francis Ford Coppola (The Cotton Club), Sidney Lumet (Night Falls on Manhattan), and Bill Duke (The Cemetery Club). Lumet was the master. He knew what he wanted and never went past three takes. He did two weeks of rehearsals and then shot quickly. Duke and Lumet were so humble with the actors. They never yelled at an actor in front of the crew. They’d pull them aside and talk quietly but confidently to them. It was beautiful to watch.

[Pictures from: Personal Vision by Adger Cowans, copyright © 2017, published by Glitterati Incorporated www.GlitteratiIncorporated.com]

Once More Unto the Breach

a3f1336199fc0c11e39e682f3c3584acTim Raines, Jeff Bagwell and Ivan Rodriguez are all In With The In Crowd, fair meanies >;)

Look Sharp

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Hey, is it baseball season yet? I try to watch the NFL, really I do, but I find it so dull. Boring, which sounds funny, coming from a baseball fan, right, but there you have it.

In the meantime, check out this piece in the Guardian on the late John Berger who recently passed away:

“The way I observe comes naturally to me as a curious person – I’m like la vigie – the lookout guy on a boat who does small jobs, maybe such as shovelling stuff into a boiler, but I’m no navigator – absolutely the opposite. I wander around the boat, find odd places – the masts, the gunwale – and then simply look out at the ocean. Being aware of travelling has nothing to do with being a navigator.”

Picture by Bags

So This Is Christmas

charlie-brown-snoopy-w-treeWhether you feel it or not,

whatever part of the spectrum your light falls in,

from us to each,

look out for each other,

from me to you,

and you to me.

Be safe. See you on the next calendar.

Always Be Closing: Flame On! Edition

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The Yanks might not be contenders for another few years but they are banking on Aroldis Chapman being in top form when they are ready for Prime  Time. The deal is reportedly worth $86 million over 5 years. (Gasp.) Chapman gets a full no-trade clause for the first three years and a limited-no-trade for the final two;  has the ability to opt out after 3 seasons.

Ton of dough for a closer, even a formidable one. Ton of dough for a guy who is an alleged woman beater. But there it is, Chapman and his 100 mph heater is here for the foreseeable future.

Caps for Sale

everything-is-ok-bags

Chris Sale to Boston and the Sox just got tougher.

Picture by Bags

Taster’s Cherce

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Yes, thank you, Alexandra.

Beat of the Day

rainy-monday

Toast is burnin’ well let it:

Picture by Bags

Let’s Make a Dope Deal

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I used to work for a guy who said real Yankees unbutton the top button of their jersey cause that’s what the Mick did. Always think of that when I see Matt Holliday who often has the top few buttons of his jersey undone. As the Winter Meetings kick off news is the Yanks have signed the big fella. He’ll look good in pinstripes. Now, here is hoping the Yanks steer clear of Encarnacion.

Picture by Bags

Go Fish, Gin Rummy, Five Card Stud & Other Games The Yanks Apparently Aren’t Playing This Offseason

peanuts-5So far, there’s been relatively little of seriousness to discuss this off-season, which is par for the course these days around this portion of the year (unless you consider cashing in Brian McCann and his post-trade thoughts for a couple of futures worthy of going ballistic in the comments section). As I (meaning me) have suggested recently, it would be surprising if the Yanks made any tectonic-scale moves to bolster (replenish?) their starters in either the batting lineup or the pitching staff, but don’t be surprised if they swap out some guys for bullpen help or to shore up their bench. In fact, considering how well 2009 went regardless of our initial beliefs, anything’s still possible, so save that thought.

According to Mark Polishuk at MLB Trade Rumors (who apply their own accord on this to George A. King III), Yanks are in on our old pal Aroldis Chapman, though they are considerably wary of going five years with him. Similarly, but to a lesser extent, they are also interested in the hard-hitting Edwin Encarnacion, but are equally uninterested in a five-year deal with him. Both would represent considerably improvements in their area of expertise, though their need for Chapman outweighs their need for Encarnacion based on the presence of Gary Sanchez and (again) to a lesser extent the expectations placed on both Greg Bird and Aaron Judge. To this, we also add the possibility of the Yanks bringing back Carlos Beltran, though they might not get that chance either if they are trying to stay within their given budget parameters.

I would think that considerable attention should be paid to third base, where Chase Headley has been somewhat of a letdown and where the Yanks are considerably thin in their system having traded their former Trenton Thunder 3B Eric Jaigalo (their first pick overall in 2013 and by all accounts their closest-to-ready 3B prospect for the majors, even if he wasn’t really that close) and three others to bring in Chapman last off-season. Among their top ten prospects, none are slated to play third, which along with second has been a perennially overlooked issue with the Yanks of late. Maybe Cashman believes one of their infield prospects will take to the hot corner well enough to cover this seeming oversight, maybe he thinks Starlin Castro or Lil’ Ronnie Torreyes or a player to be discovered later will be good enough, or maybe he even thinks Headley can only go up from here. Perhaps, even, the Yanks can’t afford to go deep on any more starting infielders without trading for one that would ultimately upset the balance he’s creating with all of the prospects he’s stacking in the system at the moment (or because of, you know, the budget). Who really knows? As fans, all we can do is react and speculate, and I’m all out of Big League Chew

So here we are, waiting to see if Cashman can figure out a way to bring back the best closer currently playing in the majors (who you still might be a little wary of considering how he was used by manager Joe Torr–err, Maddon during the post-season) without breaking the bank or the system or future plans in the process, and also hope that while you know in the back of your mind there’s not much hope for contention in the coming year, they can at least make it interesting for far longer than they did this past season.

Ahem, take your time processing all that, it looks like it’s gonna be a long winter at any rate.

What’s Happening?

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The baseball season came and went with the Banter largely asleep at the wheel. I’ve been so busy doing other things I’m afraid the posting has been sporadic at best. That said, I am still so honored that you folks continue to drop by—it means a ton. And I have no plans of shutting anything down around here no matter how quiet it’s been.

Over at Esquire Classic, check out Q&A’s with John Edgar Wideman, Robert Benton, and Edward Sorel. I really like how they came out. Such interesting guys. Also, check out Sally Kempton’s 1970 profile of Dustin Hoffman, Garry Wills’s 1969 portrait of Richard Nixon, and Federico Fellini’s 1963 remembrance of Vita Veneto, Rome, and La Dolce Vita. Fun, fun, funski.

In the meantime, hope you all are doing well.

Picture by Bags

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Dyin’ Time’s Here

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Tonight gives Game 7 and it’s like this: If you are an Indians fan you know, you just know, deep in your bones, that no matter how likable your team is, it would be just your luck to have them blow a 3-1 Whirled Serious lead to the…Cubs! of all teams. That would be just your luck. Because that is what it means to be an Indians fan.

If you are a Cubs fan you’ve got to be thinking that no matter how great your team is, how much fun this year has been, and how promising the future looks, you know they are going to lose. Who else would come back all the way from down 3-1 only to blow it in Game 7 and rip everyone’s heart out? Because that’s what it means to be a Cubs fan.

The loser’s loser persona gets calcified either way. Fortunately, at least one long-suffering fan base will be happy tonight.

Never mind the gloom:

Let’s Go Base-ball!

No Pressure

hudson-river-bags

The Whirled Serious moves back to Cleveland. Indians can win it all tonight, while the Cubs try to force a deciding game.

What we live for.

Never mind the nerves:

Let’s Go Base-ball!

Picture by Bags.

The Whirled Serious

shadow-on-building-bags

Cubs vs. Indians. Dream match-up. Hope it goes seven.

Let’s Go Base-ball!

Picture by Bags 

Don’t Know Much About History

yellow-window

So here we are. The Chicago Cubs are on the verge of going to the Whirled Serious for the first time since 1945. The Dodgers have their ace Clayton Kershaw on the hill. I’m pulling for Kershaw to have a great game. If the Cubs comeback against the bullpen, okay, fine., but I’d like to see the Dodgers win tonight and then the Cubbies take it in Game 7.

Worse case, Cubs win tonight and go to the Serious. I can’t be mad at that. There’s Alex Ciepley, our old All-Baseball/Toaster pal, to think of, as well as a whole bunch of other Cub fans I know and love. Then again, there’s Dodger Thoughts’ Jon Weisman—who now works for the team—to consider. And my pal John Schulian. We’re talking about two of the all-time great mensches—Dodger guys.

I’ll be thrilled for someone, bummed for someone else. So it goes.

Let’s Base-ball!

Picture by Bags

Where We Stand

girl-crossing-street-bags

Continuing a season-long tradition of napping on the job, the playoffs are cruising along with or without comment from these quarters.

Doesn’t mean we haven’t been watching…

So far so good in the AL as the Indians are up 3-0 against Toronto, proving again that nobody knows nuthin’ about nuthin’. Injuries? Bah. And the Dodgers would agree. The National League Championship Series is more exciting and I hope it is a long series (I’m pulling for the Cubs but I would be far from displeased should Los Doyers win).

So long as the Red Sox and Blue Jays go home unhappy, we happy. And that’s how it goes when you are a sore loser.

Picture by Bags

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