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Simon Says


Yanks are in Detroit to start the week. Tonight, they’ll face the tough Alfredo Simon.

Jacoby Ellsbury CF

Brett Gardner LF

Alex Rodriguez DH

Mark Teixeira 1B

Carlos Beltran RF

Brian McCann C

Chase Headley 3B

Stephen Drew 2B

Didi Gregorius SS

Never mind .500:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags

BGS: Darkness Visible


Over at the Daily Beast, check out Philip Caputo’s excellent Esquire profile of William Styron:

A private man when compared to professional celebrities, say, Mailer, he did not wish to pursue the subject any further. Prying into a living writer’s personal life, he said, was “trivial, a degrading pastime that is best left to gossip columnists. What’s important is a writer’s work.”

And how, at sixty, did he assess his work, I asked, mentioning that writer Richard Yates had described him as “probably the finest living novelist we have.”

Styron’s self-appraisal was more modest. “I have created and, I hope, will continue to create a few people whom readers will want to read about after I’m gone,” he said. “I still feel that I have years ahead of me to be able to say more with the same talent that I have been endowed with.”

A few months after he said that, Styron very nearly lost those years, and the talent that had produced Lie Down in Darkness and Sophie’s Choice collapsed to the point that he could not read and comprehend a simple newspaper article, let alone write anything. The disease that struck him used to be called melancholia. Its current name is clinical depression—a cloak of despair that falls over a man or woman and makes every waking moment so painful that the victim loses all desire to live.

I was made aware of his breakdown last fall, when Styron called me at my home in Key West and told me he was suffering from a profound depression, which, he then thought, had been caused by tranquilizers prescribed to ease his withdrawal from alcohol. He was, he’d said, considering committing himself to a psychiatric hospital.

The news shocked me because I had formed an image of him as a contented man—contented, that is, compared to other novelists I knew, including myself. Naively, I had persuaded myself that his stable marriage, affluence, and “literary gentleman” style of life had insulated him from the grave misfortunes that seem to befall most American writers.

l heard nothing from or about him for weeks; then, in the winter, I learned from a New York magazine editor that Styron had been committed to the psychiatric ward of Yale-New Haven hospital.

There was no other word until this spring, when the same editor telephoned with what might be called the good news and the bad news. Good news first: Styron had been released. The bad news was, he’d been so ravaged by his bout with depression that he had abandoned The Way of the Warrior. Worse, the editor implied, Styron’s career might be at an end. This information was more than distressing; I refused to accept the idea that Styron’s voice could be silenced by anything short of death. I wrote him a letter, a somewhat embarrassing letter, for it was full of tough-guy, gung-ho attempts at reinspiring him, the sort of thing a corner-man might say to an exhausted fighter, but inappropriate when addressed to a sixty-year-old author recovering from a nervous breakdown. The gist of it was that writers sometimes need as much courage as warriors, courage of a different kind. If he was abandoning his book for artistic reasons; that was one thing, I said; but if he was doing so because he no longer felt up to it, he had to force himself to keep going. I then invoked the “never retreat, never surrender” spirit of the Marine Corps. It would not have surprised me if Styron had not bothered to reply to such rah-rah, but I received an encouraging answer in early April.

“Let me say again how grateful I am to you for your letter,” he wrote. “Corny as it may appear, it seems that only a Marine can be truly aware of another Marine’s suffering; you gave me a nice jolt of good cheer. Thanks from the depths. I’m pleased and proud of your friendship.”

And I was pleased that I had done some good after all. Still more pleasing was the news that he had not given up on The Way of the Warrior.

“It’s not so much abandonment,” he’d said in his letter, “as extreme alteration….I’ve completely restructured the novel.”

Over the phone, we agreed to discuss the book’s radical transformation when I visited New York later in the month.

[Photo Credit: Brigitte Lacombe]

Taster’s Cherce


Sous-Vide Glazed Carrots.

Afternoon Art


Picture by Cyrille Druart via This Isn’t Happiness. 

New York Minute

hello, I mus

Hello, I must be going…

Beat of the Day


Music for Tu Monday.

[Photo Credit: Rebecca Reeve via Kateoplis]

Keep it Movin’


First series win, check; first series sweep, check.

A 5-3 win yesterday afternoon in Tampa puts the Yanks at .500 as they head to Detroit for four games.

Getting Even


Yanks going for the sweep this afternoon in Tampa, trying to to reach .500.

Pineda’s on the mound.

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Alex Rodriguez DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Chase Headley 3B
Stephen Drew 2B
Garrett Jones RF
John Ryan Murphy C
Didi Gregorius SS

Never mind the blossoms:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Sundazed Soul



Return of the Score Truck


A low-scoring game turning into a blow out thanks to a 7-run 7th inning, highlighted by Chris Young’s grand slam (and off a 3-2 pitch no less). Brian McCann had a big night, a good sign if there ever was one.

Masahiro Tanaka had his best start of the year and the Yanks won, 9-0.

[Photo Via: Street Art NYC]

Saturday Night Baseball in April


New York in is in bloom at long last. Yesterday and today are the first ridiculously nice days of the year: warm, sunny, lots of energy, lots of color. I strolled through Central Park last night after work and saw a few ball games.

Tonight, Masahiro looks to give the Yankees their first series win of the year.

Jacoby Ellsbury CF

Brett Gardner LF

Alex Rodriguez DH

Mark Teixeira 1B

Brian McCann C

Chris Young RF

Chase Headley 3B

Stephen Drew SS

Gregorio Petit 2B

Never mind the pollen:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Here and Now


Alex Rodriguez had a good spring which seemed like a minor miracle to me. He’s 39, missed a full year, he’s had surgeries on both hips. I just didn’t think he’d be able to hack it, didn’t think he’d make the team out of spring training. But he carried good at bats into the season. Even when he wasn’t driving the ball he wasn’t chasing those tempting breaking balls out of the strike zone. Last night was his best game in a long time as he hit the ball on the nose three times for run-scoring plays.

Rodriguez hit a long home run in his first at bat, off a fastball, giving him three for the season (two of them real shots). Imagine being a has-been and hitting a ball that far? Dag.

Later, he hit another homer, this one a two-run job that tied the game. This one was more like a Mike Piazza home run, a line drive that was hit so hard it didn’t have a chance to curve foul. The pitch was a fastball, inside on the hands, but Rodriguez beat the ball to the spot. Now, I understand if he still has the power to crush a mistake but I did not anticipate him ever turning around a good fastball.

The game stayed tied until the 8th when Rodriguez came through again, this time laying off some good pitches and then smacking a line drive to center for a base hit that drove home Brett Gardner with the go-ahead (and winning) run.

The bullpen was back to its stellar self and the Yanks won, 5-4.

I got an email from a friend after the game. He said, “I don’t want to sound naive, but do really think he’d be stupid enough to take anything after last year. (I know he’d be arrogant enough, just not sure of the stupidity part).” Well, arrogance always trumps intelligence in my book, and of course it’s natural to be suspicious of Rodriguez. But that hasn’t spoiled my enjoyment and watching him locked-in has been one of the few pleasures of this young season for the Yanks. I don’t expect it’ll last. Hot streaks never do. And I seriously doubt that Rodriguez’s body will hold up. All the more reason to enjoy the moment–here and then…gone. 

[Photo Credit: Kim Klement/Rueters]

The Warren Report


Yanks are in Tampa this weekend. Adam Warren goes tonight.

Jacoby Ellsbury CF

Chase Headley 3B

Carlos Beltran RF

Mark Teixeira 1B

Brian McCann C

Alex Rodriguez DH

Stephen Drew 2B

Chris Young LF

Didi Gregorius SS

Never mind the dome:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

[Photo Credit: Sherif Elhage via MPD]

Beat of the Day


Friday Funski.

Afternoon Art


Picture by Tono Stano.

Beat of the Day


This goes out to our neo-BK chum, Dimelo.


Taster’s Cherce


Yeah, it’s Thursday. I know that. Still, Alexandra’s Lemon Ricotta Pancakes look awfully good.

Afternoon Art


Drawing by Barry Windsor Smith.

The Art of Fiction


Over at Fairfeld Writer’s Blog, Alex McNab does a nice job of curating some cherce quotes from Richard Price:

“Part of the jam that I was in as a novelist [after his fourth novel, The Breaks], was that I kept going back to my autobiography for material. . . .Life is hard enough without it having to be perpetual material, too. I felt like a cannibal eating his own foot. Once I became a hired pen out there [in Hollywood], for the first time in my life I was forced to leave my own autobiography to research my characters’ lives, and I learned, with great gratification, that talent travels. If you have enough imagination and empathy, you can write about anybody. That was probably the only good thing, tangible good thing, that came to my writing through screenwriting; knowing that I could go anywhere and learn and bring it back home and turn it into art.”


Our Love is Like Our Music, It’s Here, And Then It’s Gone


Can you be angry at a team when you’ve got no expectations? The Yanks lost again last night. Had a 3-1 lead, and Eovaldi pitched pretty well but not long enough, and the bullpen blew it. The offense rallied but came up short.

Final Score: Orioles 7, Yanks 5.

I wish I could feel outrage, despair, something other than resignation. But there it is.

It was nice to see Alex Rodriguez’s home run. Man, that was a bomb. I don’t imagine he’ll stay healthy this year but pretty wild to watch a guy well past his prime do something like that.

Picture by Bags. 

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