"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

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Look Sharp


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

Always Be Closing: Flame On! Edition


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


Chris Sale to Boston and the Sox just got tougher.

Picture by Bags

Taster’s Cherce


Yes, thank you, Alexandra.

Beat of the Day


Toast is burnin’ well let it:

Picture by Bags

Let’s Make a Dope Deal


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

What’s Happening?


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


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


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


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

Let’s Go Base-ball!

Picture by Bags 

Don’t Know Much About History


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


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

In the Mix


With the exception of the Big Bad Blue Jays tearing through the Rangers, I approve of pretty much everything that has gone down in the playoffs so far. Sure, I didn’t want the Mets to lose but I’d like to see the Cubs and Indians in the Whirled Serious anyway so that was okay. Seeing the Sox go out in three straight is about as sweet as it gets. Ortiz standing there with the bat on his shoulder in his final home at bat, not even able to get anything worth have a shit to swing at, goodbye forever, please never come back you very much. Good riddance Cookie.

Loved the Cubs beating the Giants and the Dodgers-Nats series has been fun. I thought Kershaw was terrific yesterday. His final line wasn’t sparkling but he showed a lot of smarts and even more guts. Watching him in the seventh, when he broke off an unfair breaking pitch, I thought—this guy is an artist. And yeah, it ended on a down note, but Kershaw vs. Harper was great entertainment and Harper put together an incredibly tough AB.

Game Five tomorrow. Let’s Go Base-ball.

Picture by Bags.

Let’s Go Mets


Yeah, I said it. For one, I’ve liked rooting for this Mets team. Two, I am sick and tired of the Giants. Fug ‘em.

So there it is. A rare occasion around these parts, when I’d really like to see Los Mets win.

Never mind Bumgarner:

Let’s Go Mets! Let’s Go Mets! Let’s Go Mets!

Drawing by Walt Simonson

Next Up


Yeah, so our boys don’t have a role in the postseason production but that’s not gonna keep us from watching.

I prefer the O’s to the Jays. Then again, a Toronto—Texas rematch does sound tasty.

Never mind the waving white towels:

Let’s Go Base-ball!

Picture by Bags

The Last Game of the Season


Tex says goodbye.

Never mind the hankies:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags

Whatcha Got Left?


Gray and rainy in the Bronx as the Yanks season comes to a close.

Only two more games guys.

Never mind the gloom:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags

The Final Weekend


And now, the end is near.

Never mind the playoffs:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags

The Last Gulp


David “Cookie Monster” Ortiz has been kicking Yankee ass almost as long as this blog has been alive. He’s an all-time great Yankee-killer and I will not miss him at all.

C.C.’s on the hill looking for some love from his offense.

Never mind the calendar:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Signifying Nothing (but a Smile)

Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees

A friend of mine who roots for the Sox loves to hate Mark Teixeira. So, this friend was happy last night because the Sox clinched the AL East when he Orioles beat the Blue Jays. But he got a little irritated I’m sure when Teixeira hit a grand slam home run in the 9th inning to give the Yankees the win. I’m sure the annoyance was momentary and then he went to sleep happy.

But for Teixeria, who has only 3 games left in his career, I’m sure it felt good. And we’ll take it where we can get it, right?

What’s funny is that the Yankees celebrated like all teams celebrate a “walk-off” win—as if they’d won the pennant. There is no building up to the big celebration these days, is there? Ha. I’m an old man.

[Photo Credit: EPA/Jason Szenes] 

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