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Sundazed

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Back at it again indoors in Tampa this afternoon.

Never mind the haze:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Senior Rod Goes Down Singing

Rod Steiger

[Our old pal Robert Ward has been telling a story about Rod Steiger for years and he's kind enough to drop by and share it with us. For some good ol’ on location movie fun, check this out.—Alex Belth]

By Robert Ward

I was in Durango, Mexico in the 70′s on the set of a movie I had written called Cattle Annie and Little Britches, a comic western starring Amanda Plummer as Cattle Annie and Diane Lane as Little Britches. The male stars were Burt Lancaster as Bill Doolin and Rod Steiger as Bill Tilghman, the sheriff who hunts the gang of outlaws down. The whole tale was pretty much true, about the teen aged girls joined the infamous Doolin Dalton Gang. They were smarter than the boys and ended up planning their robberies.

The shoot was going fine until Rod Steiger showed up. He and Lancaster hated one another because of some financial matter, which had transpired years back when they were going to be in the movie making business together. Apparently, Rod pulled out at the last minute and the whole project nearly fell apart. Lancaster kept it together with other people but there was still bad blood between them. Perhaps that was part of the reason for the ghastly things that transpired that night. That and the fact that Steiger was on the down side of his career and was feeling vulnerable.

In any case we held a first night “welcome to the movie ” dinner party for Rod at a real Mexican restaurant in down town Durango, with real Mexicans in it. Everyone but the movie people and Rolling Stone writer Jack Hicks were local folks. The party started on time but Rod showed about a half hour late. He was seated in the middle of the table next to some of the gang members, cowboys like Kenny Call, who had won every major rodeo award known to man. Rod objected to this seating and demanded to be at the head of the table where the producer Rupert Hitzig was sitting. Under his breath he mentioned his Academy Award for “The Pawnbroker.” Rupert happily gave up his seat to Rod, who was now sitting next to me.

We all started eating, and drinking, trying to forgetthe nasty vibes Rod had laid on the gathering. Things seemed ok, until this young girl got up with her guitar. She was about 14, and sang these earnest love songs in Spanish walking among the tables as she warbled.  She was young, beautiful and her songs were heartfelt. Everyone loved her, the Mexican patrons, and our table applauded fiercely. Everyone but one man, Rod Steiger. He looked at me and said, “Do you see what she’s doing?” I said, “Yes, she’s singing a song and doing it quite well too.” Rod glared at me  and said “No, she is trying to destroy me! I heard you play the guitar today Ward. Get it from her. We have to top her!”

I tried to reason with him. “Rod, you’re a international movie star. You don’t need to compete with a 14 year old girl.” Rod looked at me, said “You obviously know nothing about competition. You must always compete with anyone who tries to top you.”  Reluctantly, I asked the girl if we could borrow her guitar. She was happy to loan it to us. I sat down and started playing some blues licks and Senor Rod got up and began to improvise a blues song which sounded like something Sophie Tucker might have sang.

Hideous would not be too strong a word to describe his singing. He pranced through the tables, sometimes hitting them, and upsetting glasses of wine and beer. Yet, the patrons were kind and clapped for him, some even yelling “Hooray for Senor Rod.” He sat down and smiled in a victorious way and we all began to eat again.

It was then that I noticed these four swarthy Mexican workers staring at us. These guys were muscular and wore grimy shirts. They had obviously just come off some tough job. They didn’t like Senor Rod. They didn’t like me, the guitar player, I was pretty certain. I tried to ignore them. Everything seemed to cool down. That is, until the girl got up and sing again. This time she sang the song of her native town, Durango. Heartfelt sentiments about her home, city of her family, city of her heart. People went crazy whistling, yelling.

Senor Rod looked at me. “Get the guitar, Ward. You don’t understand, we can’t give in!” I looked at Hitzig who whispered that I had to play or Rod might not show up tomorrow to say his lines! So I borrowed the guitar again, feeling like the biggest ass in Mexico. This time Senor Rod got up on the floor and poured Cognac into people’s drinks as he waddled around  singing more of his horrible, show tune blues. This time there was practically no applause and the four tough workers glared at all of us. It was now obvious to everyone in the place that Rod was trying to top the local heroine. And failing miserably.

Everyone in our party felt that disaster was about to strike us all so we paid the bill and ran out to the cars which waited to take everyone to the safety of the set encampment. A few seconds later everyone was safely whisked away. That is, everyone but Rolling Stone reporter Hicks and yours truly.  We were mere writers after all. Who cared what happened to us? So we were left out in the street outside of a restaurant where inside lay a gang of Mexicans who rightly hated us as the ultimate Ugly Gringos. I prayed a little: “God, don’t let that door open until we can call for a cab.” I put pesos into the pay phone on the corner and waited. And then it happened.

The door to the cafe opened and the four Mexican hardasses who had been eyeing us all night, stepped out, and walked toward us. They walked in lockstep and looked like they were out to kick some serious American butt. As they got closer I whispered to Hicks, “This is it man. I’m hitting the first guy and you get the guy on his left” “What then?”Jack said. You’re your ass off.” Was my clever reply. They came closer, closer still and then the toughest one stopped, only a foot away from me. He stared into my eyes and said: ” Hey man you play Chuck Berry?”

I was so stunned by this friendly request I almost answered with the a hostile reply. Then I heard what he had actually said. Stunned, I smiled and said, “Hell yes, I do.” He smiled and said, “Then come on back in. Let’s have some fun, man!”  And Hicksie and I went back in with our new amigos, and played all night. As we drank and sang “Maybelline,” the toughest one, Julio, looked at me, laughed and said, “You know Bobby, we all knew you hated Senor Rod as much as we did.” They were right, I did.

 

Bomb Popped

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Big Mike got bombed today and though the Yankee offense growled they couldn’t score enough to comeback.

Next.

Summerishiness

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It’s funny—Masahiro Tanaka hasn’t needed that TJ surgery after all. He’s been really solid, huh?

Nice win the Yanks last night and perhaps there’s more where that came from this afternoon.

Never mind the humidity:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Summerish

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Yanks are down in Tampa—at their very own house of horrors—for the weekend. Hey, at least it’s got air-conditioning.

Never mind the bloomin’ onions:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

This Offense Is Lacking… Yep And The Offense Is Missing, Too

05497-732What is there to say? CC, showing obvious signs of being a real pitcher, was let down once again by the lineup (and some would say The Binder, which is steadily taking on more significant (if not welcome or tactful) connotation. Let’s not waste too much time on this: despite feasting on weak teams like any Yankee team should, they have a hard time (as usual of recent seasons) dealing with competitive teams.  Toronto may not necessarily be as competitive as they were last year, but they have more operative pieces than the Yanks do this season, and those came to use for the Jays today, enough for a 3-1 victory.  Meh.  This is what mediocre looks like. If the plan goes the way most hope, we won’t have to look at this for too long (as long as a a couple years is not too long for you).

Some news of note, Chad Jennings also reports that Slade Heathcott has again been released by the team. The popular, but oft-injured outfielder was removed from the 40-man so A-Rod could return from the 15-day DL, also noting that while the team had other options, they chose to release Heathcott.  Being that he’s currently on the DL, is this merely a procedural move in order to sign him to another deal as before, or has he basically run out of time? With Ben Gamel coming off the bench for the big team and a plethora of OF options, it’s hard to tell, but it’s not a good look.  (Update: looks like a big fat Nope) Also, catching über-prospect Gary Sanchez has a displaced thumb fracture on his throwing arm.  While this is a blow to SWB as he was very productive to this point, there is actual (if not exciting) organizational depth to cover his absence for the time being.  All this, plus Greg Bird gone for the season and now Sanchez in limbo, it’s been a very forgettable 2016 overall.  Yet .500 is within reach and at least… well, at least… I dunno, it’s not that cold anymore?

Rock Steady

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The Go-Figure Yanks continued their winning ways last night blanking the Jays.

Do we dare ask for more? (Dare, Dare)

Never mind the warmth:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Uh-Oh, These Guys

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The bad guys. Who are sort of sucking this year.

GIT ‘EM, BOYS.

Never mind the chirpin’:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Go On

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…with your impressive selves. The Yanks have had a good couple of weeks. Won again yesterday to complete a four-game sweep in Oakland. They are sniffing .500.

For this we are pleased, we truly are because you got to take what’s there to be had. Every little bit counts, as they say on the telethons.

 

One At a Time

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Dag, what do you know? The Yanks are out there on the west coast winning ballgames, y’all. I have to say I’m thrilled that C.C. pitched so well on Friday night. Sober, pitching well at home, man, it must have been a special moment for him.

In the meantime, the Yanks won again yesterday and have a shot at a sweep this afternoon.

Never mind the afternoon shadows:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Golden State Weekend

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Second of four tonight in Oakland.

Never mind the sunsets:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Green and Gold

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You know, I watched about 95% of the games in 1998 but one that I missed was the comeback where Straw hit the grand slam. I might have even started watching it but I missed the comeback, one of their best of the season. I just remember waking up like it had been a happy dream, which is what that whole season was anyway.

Point is, it’s hard to stay up for games in Oakland. Least it’s always been for me. At least on a school night.

That said, I like that I have a choice and sometimes I’ll just hang on and watch a game until it’s over just because.

Never mind the peppermint tea:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Two-Lane Highway

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I’m happy when Nathan Eovaldi does well. Happy for him, beyond the usual reasons I mean. The guy just seems to ride that fine line between clever and stupid and I always feel like he’s just going to implode, like Big Mike Pineda seems to be doing these days. And yet Eovaldi hangs in there, he tries. He’s got a big cumbersome body and he is soft-spoken—seemingly withdrawn—with the press. He’s like Bernie Williams as a big galoot pitcher from Texas. His stuff is amazing but he is not an amazing pitcher. It’s hard for him and he lacks that certain something that comes to other great pitchers so readily. He doesn’t trust himself. He’s not a killer. Yet.

But hope is the thing with a 99 mph heater and behind another solid outing from Eovaldi, with the usual showing from Three Times Dope (even though Miller gave up a dinger), the Yanks manage to get out of Arizona with a 4-2 win.

Rock Springs

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Good Gosh, I’m remiss. Really lagging behind events these days. The Yanks lost last night cause Sluggo Pineda can’t get his lumbering ass in gear; they’ll need to grab a “W” tonight in order to avoid being swept in Arizona of all places.

We’ll be up late root-root-rooting them on—at least some of us will.

Never mind the warm milk:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Ok, Let’s Try That Again

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Well, okay, so things didn’t go so well for young Chad Green last night. He took a thumping but he’s not the first and won’t be the last.

Back at it again tonight in the desert:

Never mind the ghosts:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Chad Green, This Is Your Life

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Welcome to the big leagues, Hoss.

Never mind the memories:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Break Up the Yanks

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Carlos Beltran hit his 400th career home run and Dellin Betances worked out of a jam. Brian McCann went deep as well and Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman were tough as the Yanks won another game and another series—7-5 was the final. A 7-3 homestand against the Red Sox, Royals and White Sox ain’t nothing to sniff at.

Of course, the moment of the day came in Texas when a little guy slugged Jose Bautista right in the face. I caught some of the talking heads on ESPN and the MLB Network. They were all fired up, talking big and loud. Amazing what violence does to excite us, even when we say it’s uncivilized and not good for the game and all that reasonable stuff.

Winds Light to Variable


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Kinda sorta overcast. And cooler today. Ah, spring.

More baseball as the Yanks look to win their third straight series (and against good teams too, no foolin’). Yesterday, their dynamic bullpen trio of Betances, Miller and Chapman (already dubbed, “No Run-DMC”), worked for the first time together and they were as good as advertised as the Yanks won, 2-1.

Never mind the showers:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

So Fresh (So Fresh)


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Last night was Chris Sale and bad luck for Luis Severino.

Drag.

Back at it this afternoon.

Never mind the sunblock:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

 

Go Figure

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Yanks go out and take 3 of 4 against the World Champs. Not bad.

It’s rainy and supposed to stay that way all weekend. A winning White Sox team is in town. Let’s see how many they get in.

Never mind the puddles:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

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