"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
Category: Chyll Will

Where & When: S.2 Game 2

Greetings, kids and kittens, welcome back to another edition of Where & When. Our season premiere was very solid and we had a pretty good turnout (though I was remiss in declaring a winner since it seemed to be a group effort, so everyone gets a root beer), how about we follow up with some more excitement and discovery?

I’ve somehow stumbled upon some pretty interesting locales and buildings, so I’m rather amped to share them with you this week; provided of course that I have time to set them up like this. So c’mon, let’s get to the game, shall we?


Where & When S2 Game 2

This looks like a rather unique structure for New York, doesn’t it? It sort of reminds me of a beach resort hotel… well, at least one of those thoughts is relative to the location, or close to it.  The region was likely not as developed as it is now, but a place like this would certainly stand out in any era.  As usual, your job is to determine where this picture was taken and when.  There are enough clues in the picture to get a good idea when, but where is going to take some thinking.

There’s a frothing decanter of root beer waiting for the first person to answer both questions correctly, and a bonus scoop of ice cream for the one who can answer the bonus question of what this region looks like now; i.e. what has become of what you see in the photo.

All participants with good guesses or good stories will get a equally frosty glass of cream soda.  Cheers to all involved and I’ll try to get back sometime during the day (but as you can tell, I make no promises).  Enjoy!

photo credit: Library of Congress

Where & When: Season 2!

Greetings ladies and gents and welcome to a new season of Where and When! No, it wasn’t a dream or a passing fancy of some lunatic minds, it was and is a rather fun puzzle game for our readers to utilize their deductive skills in tracking down the answers to life’s important questions… well, trivial maybe, but all games involve a certain amount of seemingly useless knowledge. Back by popular demand (and a moment to spare in a busy work schedule), I’ve brought to you something new to disseminate and ponder.  But before we get down to the nitty-gritty, a little background for the newcomers to Bronx Banter and/or this game we play…

Earlier in the year, Alex posted an interesting picture here from another site of a New York City landscape from the early part of the 20th century (so near, and yet so far) in which the writer asked help in identifying the location depicted in the picture.  After some pondering and sharing of our observations within the picture, several of our loyal readers (myself included) concluded that the picture was an early photo of Manhattan’s West Side along the Hudson River; facing north from the busy piers near Midtown and peering far into the distance where the George Washington Bridge was just under construction.  By this we were also able to determine the probable date the photo was taken.  Riverside Drive was the dominant roadway, but the Henry Hudson Parkway was also under construction at the moment the picture was taken.

It was a fun undertaking, as I later wrote to Alex, and I suggested making a game out of it.  “You’re hired” he responded, and I’ve been the administrator of this effort ever since. I’ve experimented with rules and formats throughout, trying to make it fair and more involving for everyone as our readers are so widely dispersed that some miss out on the game due to the difference in time from here to there part of the globe, but I’ve compensated in creative ways to involve them as well.  In the end, I settled for a free exchange of ideas and suggestions with the stipulation that whoever answers he questions fully explain the process they used to find the answers (the journey can be equally as, if not more entertaining than the destination itself).  The winners (the first person to answer the questions correctly) would receive a theoretical root beer; a Banter tradition that began with the jinxing of anyone who posted an identical comment to the comment prior to his or her own.  The rest of the players were given cream sodas as a consolation prize for playing.  I had something special in mind for the person who tabulated the most wins in a year, but because my work schedule began to interfere with regularly scheduled postings, I tabled that idea for the time being (but it’s still under consideration).

About the scheduling; I tried to adhere to a two or three-a-week schedule of games, but I ran into two big problems: life (big problem, supersedes everything fun) and supply.  I am a bit of a perfectionist, so I try to find interesting challenges for these games and generally avoid stock footage of standard New York City easy-to-identify landmarks. There are many sites with different photos of many places around the city, but even some of those are nondescript and would not provide a fair amount of clues to present as a challenge.  So with those limitations, I’ve often found myself painted into a corner concerning what to present.  Alex and I have discussed this at length and he has encouraged me to open my definition of what I consider interesting challenges as it were, bearing in mind that some people may be seeing these locales for the first time.  With that in mind, I am being more open minded about what to present so that I don’t run out of material and also to allow one of my main goals to come into fruition: to educate and enlighten our readers and players about the history and appreciation of our great city and its region of influence.  The most important thing to remember is that it is a game and was born from and meant for fun.

So let’s have some fun, shall we?

Where & When S2 G1 C

Here we have an aerial photo of a region within the city that you may or may not recognize from certain features within the picture.  I think this is an easy one, but I’m sure that those of you not native to the region will want to look up some of the details in whatever manner you use to research. I can say this much, the features in this picture give a good indication of the time period of this photo, so I don’t have to drop many hints.  If you get it within the correct decade, you’ll get credit for the when answer.  So, if you answer Where this picture dipicts and When it was likely taken, you will win our traditional first prize, a frosty mug of high-quality root beer (which is always up for discussion).  As a bonus, if you can identify at least two major features within this photo with proper names from the time it was taken, you will get a scoop of ice cream to add to your root beer, making it a root beer float of course.  All players who participate in the discussion will receive a cold mug of cream soda for your efforts.  I will try to return during the latter part of the day to reveal the answers and discuss any trivia or history that’s associated.  You are all free to discuss whatever you like about it, but please avoid using the direct link in the photo credit (unless you find it during your research) and also as discussed before, show your math.

So ladies and gents, welcome back and have fun!

photo credit: Wired New York

Park At Your Own Risk

bugs-bunny-baseball-2-o_thumbI’ve never been to Fenway, but I have driven past it a couple of times.  It does seem awfully close to the road, and I can’t really imagine parking my car too close to it, considering the propensity for balls flying out of it is probably higher than the Green Monster itself.  Ask Shane Greene. Mike Napoli hit the crap out of one of his offerings and nearly caught a windshield in the third inning, giving the Sox a 2-0 lead in the second inning, and a third run came in by the end of the inning. I’m guessing this was another one that seemed to have “oh well, let me mow the lawn” written all over it, except that Boston’s pitcher Allen Webster wasn’t really all that good as he promptly gave up the lead the next inning, starting  with three straight walks.  After a visit to the mound to exchange recipes, Jeter dinked a double to right field, pushing in two. Ellsbury followed with a run-soring ground out, and you’d think it was pretty much over after Teix grounded out, but it only got better for the Yanks as Beltran (getting his second wind, no doubt) singled and scored Jeter from third. Two walks later and Mr. Webster took his dictionary to the showers. Such is life in the big leagues.

Oh, and remember that long home run Napoli hit in the second? In the fifth, Teix said, “that’s nothing” and smacked one over the wall just a few feet less, but just as impressive as it flew over Lansdowne Street and bounded past parked cars and rolled to a stop, pondering the realities of life in the big leagues; maybe took stock in what just happened and thought about its next step in its career. That and in the seventh switch-teamer Stephen Drew doubled in Beltran to add another insurance run, which was good because the Sox tried hard to mount a comeback after that, but only managed to get one of the runs back on an Ortiz sac fly off of Betances in the bottom of the inning that was charged to Adam Warren.  But other than that, it was a bullpen win as Shawn Kelley ended up with the win and Betances and David Robertson nailed down the last two innings respectively.

So in essence, the Yanks smacked back at the Sox with this one 6-4, and look to claim the series before heading home to deal with the Tigers and their new addition to the rotation (but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, shall we?)

Kids These Days (boy, I tell you…)


AB: I know I should be above it, I know not to expect too much from this team, but when they lose to the Red Sox, I’m 8 years old again, more upset than I really should be. (censored, LOL)

CW: It just seemed inevitable. Between the combination of mediocre and under-performing talent with Girardi’s bemusing insistence on managing by the numbers, I feel almost drained following them this season.

Which is really worse when you put it into the context of professional sports? A bad team in a weak division that commits seppuku at the trade deadline with an eye towards resurrecting itself in the near future or a mediocre team in the same division that makes small moves to keep itself going and hope it can overtake the other weak teams? I can’t help but get philosophical as Alex and I bantered about the effects this rivalry has on fans who have been following two teams that have been slow since last winter (even though one had just won the Whirled Serious a couple of months before).

It was journeyman thirty-something  Chris Capuano for the visiting Yanks facing twenty-something rookie Anthony Renaudo for the home team. That’s right; no Lester, no Lackey, not even a Dubront or anyone we would have heard of this season for Boston (except for Clay Buchholz; who like our own Hiroki Kuroda is the last man standing in the rotation, although for entirely different reasons), and considering how the Yanks have lost four-fifths of it’s starting rotation to injury and replaced it with spit, gristle and a little bit of luck, we’re really in no position to talk. Capuano himself had been purchased from the Colorado Rockies’ farm system; having signed with the organization three days after being dumped from the team he was about to face.  His younger counterpart, born and raised in Freehold, NJ (home of The Boss, Bruce Springsteen) was making his major league debut. You know what that means…

AB: I only get drained when I expect more than is reasonable…like any time they play the Red Sox. But I suppose I really want them to make the second wild card so that Jeter’s final game isn’t at Fenway Park. Then again, would that be worse than flying to Anaheim and getting trounced in a one game playoff game? At least the Sox fans will appreciate DJ properly.

CW:Exactly; it’s more discouraging to me when they make the playoffs and get wiped out because it prevents them from getting a better pick (crucial when you consider how close they were to getting Mike Trout) and gives them the false impression that they are better than they are constructed.

Though a valiant second wind from the likes of Brett Gardner, having a career year with heretofore unrealized and hopefully unplugged power, not to mention a surprise appearance of contribution from Carlos Beltran and a big pop from The Captain, the Yanks were simply not capable of overcoming their Achilles Heel: The Unheralded Rookie Pitcher.  Couple that with some mishaps from Ichiro in right that turned a single into a double and let runners get into scoring position, cashed in by the actual hitters in the Sox lineup, and you had the makings of a frustrating night.  It did get somewhat interesting when Junichi Tazawa gave up a booming shot to Jeter over the Monster to bring the game close, but Ellsbury’s shot to deep center was grabbed by the fleet-footed Mookie Betts, a converted second baseman playing center who made an awkward leaping catch that will inevitably be played over and over again in yearly highlights. It was an important grab because Tazawa was hit hard that inning, and had Ellsbury been on base he would have scored and tied the game. Such is the luck of the Yanks this season. Sox closer Koji Uehara relieved the otherwise ineffective Tazawa and shut down the Yanks.

AB: Right. Whom do you prefer, the A’s or Tigers? No who do you think will win but who’d you root for? Or would you pull for the O’s to upset them?

 CW: I think the Tigers would win, but I’d be rooting for the A’s. I can’t root for the Peter AngelO’s.  Plus Buck has gotten to be more of an ass as he ages. If you don’t mind, I’m going to incorporate this conversation into the recap :)

 AB:  Sure thing. Just don’t mention that (redacted, blah blah blah, none of your business)

CW: Copy that.

Yanks lose 4-3


The Rubber Duck - Convoy

Apparently there was an early Score Truck sighting (a rare breed this season) as the team decided to do a few things done early today; of import to the game was scoring nine runs off of surprisingly happless starter Ricky Nolasco and his understudy in the first four innings with contributions from just about everyone in the lineup (except Beltran, who might want to reconsider surgery to remove those bone chips in his elbow at this point).  Of note, the Captain got hit number 3,400 for his career with a single in the ninth; the eighth player in baseball history to do so. That’s rather significant when you stop to take that in.  Hiroki Kuroda pitched into the sixth and gave up four runs; he was fairly cruising in the early innings when the Yanks were scoring, but he started getting pretty iffy near the end. The tired bullpen (which has been a source of mostly inspiration for the Yanks this season) gave up a few more runs to turn a laugher into a near picklement, but managed to hold off a disastrous wave of bad karma (that seems to be the notion of the weekend), with Tha Hamma saving it once again for a 9-7 win. If this continues, the Yanks might convince themselves they can make a run at the playoffs (uh-oh…) and make some moves to help them in their endeavor. Let’s not hold our breaths on that just yet, though clearing some current roster flotsam might be in order.

Among the other things the Yanks did early was trading a sort-of young lefty starter in Vidal Nuño (who’s pitching had grown old a whole lot quicker) for righthander Brandon McCarthy from the Arizona Diamondbacks. If the name strikes a bell, he’s the same pitcher who was on the almost tragic end of a line drive through the mound a few years ago with the Oakland A’s and has since bounced around a couple of places and was having as much luck with the Diamondbacks as Nuño was with the Yanks. What the Yanks hope McCarthy brings, besides a veteran presence (he’ll be 31 on Monday, helluva birthday present) is a consistent ability to miss bats, a low walk ratio and a high propensity for ground balls; something the 26-year old Nuño was sorely lacking in a hitter-friendly park (and will likely continue to haunt him in a new hitter-friendly park). Both pitchers were having a rough time to the tune of plus-5 ERAs, though with McCarthy it seemed more a product of a porous defense. He still has to deal with the same issue of pitching in a hitters park, but the defense will be somewhat more of a help (more often than not, you hope). McCarthy will take Chase Whitley’s spot in the rotation, with Whitley moving to the bullpen and Shane Greene for now taking Nuño’s spot.

The other early move, which had become as much of an unfortunate necessity as sending down Port Jervis a few days ago was, was to DFA Alphonso Soriano. Sori had become a virtual black hole in the lineup, and this was coming like a Pinto stuck on a train track with a diesel engine bearing down on it, but it’s sad considering the trade for him brought about some positivity in a frustrating season last year when he made an immediate impact with several key homers and extra base hits (he finished with 17 HR for the Yanks, 34 for the season with 101 RBI in total with nearly identical numbers in each league) and nearly helped push the team over the hump and into the playoffs. Also, as thelarmis noted, Sori needed 11 stolen bases in order to join the exclusive 300-300 club (300 HR/300 SB). Sori is said to be considering retirement at this point, so it’s likely he’ll never reach the door for that club. And all nostalgia aside, it was the right thing for the Yanks to do as they were getting practically nothing from him in any part of the lineup and looking very bad in the process.  For all the complaining and such we’ve done about Jeter’s visible decline this season, the decline and fall of Soriano, who was also a perennial All-Star at one point in his career, has been far more pronounced from last season to this.

I think in the balance he will be fondly remembered mainly for his early career when he was a young phenom international free agent signing who played in Japan and spoke Japanese as fluently as he spoke his native Spanish, wore his socks up to his knees and swung the bat like he was trying to smack the opposing team clear out of the old Yankee Stadium in one fell swoop. One can only think of what may have happened if Cashman had not answered the phone that February ten years ago…

I’m Just Going To Watch Soccer Because My Karma Is All Wrong For This Game

Dalai Lama

Boy you said a mouthful, RI.

I’ll skip all the gory details and just note that when Francisco Cervelli, filling in for Brian McCann who had a sore foot before the game, tossed the salad in the bottom of the eleventh with the bases loaded and the score tied at one, soccer suddenly became a really interesting sport. All things considered, the Yanks would probably do well to switch to MLS at this point, wouldn’t you agree?

If you still care to know (and I can’t possibly imagine why you wouldn’t), Yanks lost 2-1.

[photo credit: AP/Peter Dejong]


kirk-facepalmWarning: watch the highlights of this one at your own risk (and with soft gloves on). Bad Phelps showed up to get smacked by former Yankee farmhand Dioner Navarro (remember when he was the next coming of Jorge?) and then TheOldMan@short.com added a bedeviling touch when a ground ball was hit to him and… and… ah, forget it. The Captain can still do things mere mortals can’t, like make up for his apparent mental lapse by leading off the very next inning by pounding the ball over the wall in left.  I have no idea what his expression was like after that; if he was sheepish in his turn of luck, if he was professional and drew a straight line across his face (as would be his default) or if he punched the air like he was beating a heavy bag over his head and screaming F@#$ Yeah! kinda like Kirk Gibson did that one time. I was stuck listening to the game on the radio as Ma & Pa and their latest sportswriter guest were carving up the turkey about the Yankees’ problems as a whole.  And it’s not as though some of us (me-me-me!) weren’t having a heaping plate of WTF ourselves, but you Just. Get. Tired of hearing it over and over again, just as you get equally tired of watching the team fail with runners on or just play kick-the-can at the most inopportune moments.  Bad luck only goes so far with a team with this much “experience” on the field.

At any rate, the Jays did try to pull a fast one on the Yanks by giving the game back to them when Dustin McGowan, relieving the main attraction Mark (High Wire) Buehrle in the seventh, put on an act of his own with music (borrowing a suggestion from our own Weeping for Brunnhilde) and frills and spills and hey how about that, tie game.  Had me going for a minute, you naughty Jaybirds; you brought in a hard thrower who swooped in like a masked fire inspector and shut down the carnival.  Then to top it off, because of the ringing in our ears from how loud that out was in the top of the ninth when the Yanks once again failed to score when the opportunity was there, and the fact that Dellin The Dancing Bear was already gone with two innings of work to hold you Jaybirds off for a while, Joe had to bring in Adam Warren to try and keep it going in the ninth.  Only Jose Reyes said no, I’m getting on base and winning this sumbeach, smacking a double to right.  Then guess who comes up to do due diligence and move him nicely to third but mu(beeeeeeeep!) Melky Cabrera with a sacrifice bunt to third, which Good Ol’ Charlie Brown Solarte picks up and–

**** Due to the graphic and sensitive nature of this commentary, this post has been truncated for the betterment of society as a whole.  We now return you to your regularly scheduled morning letdown. ****

A Rickety Staircase

School-stairsA lot of strange things to see around this team these days.  Low scoring affairs that are more often lost than won, the bullpen struggling to hold leads, the Hall of Fame-bound captain losing his focus either while fielding or running the bases, and strangest of all a slightly-better than .500 team only four games back in the loss column from first place (a place they’ve held more often than not while enduring such strange conditions).

Granted, injuries to the pitching corps with middling replacements has had a lot to do with this situation, but then when those pitchers hold the opposing team to a low score, the offense doesn’t show up. The Scuffle of Kansas City was definitely on the minds of many as the Yanks shuffled west to battle a former teammate who is slowly, yet steadily revealing how important he actually was to his former team, Robbie Cano and his (yes, his) Seattle Mariners.

The Mariners threw righty Hisashi Iwakuma; a former senior teammate of current Yankee ace/stopper/rookie/everything M. Tanaka, who led off the first by striking out Gardner, then giving up a hard single to Jeter. He eventually moved to second on a Teixiera single, then scored on a Beltran double. Brian McCann followed that with an infield single that scored Teixiera and sent Beltran to third. But, as has happened far too often, the team left those two on base when Solarte grounded out.

Vidal Nuño; you just want to give him your faith when you see him pitch well, but seems to fall through the bad step in a rickety staircase when you do. After getting the first two outs of the inning, old buddy Robbie let everyone see what a hitter he actually is by doubling to left. Robbie, for what it’s worth, has built his average back up since his slow April and his averaging above .300, though his power has yet to return to expectations. Cole Gillespie followed with a single that scored Cano and I’m willing to bet most of you began to think “oh here we go” again. But Gillespie was subsequently caught stealing, momentarily short circuiting any potential rally, which for all intents and purposes is a good thing.

While Iwakuma cruised through the next several innings with little intrigue, Nuño continued to climb the stairs carefully through the next innings. Kyle Seager sent a pea to right field, but Ichiro channeled his inner Mighty Mouse with a leaping, tumbling grab of a certified double; you could only just shake your head and clap for the man. Later in the fourth, crumble! With two outs, Michael Saunders launched a high fly to center that was either going to nail the top of the wall or sneak over. Jacoby Ellsbury was on his horse though, cruising back to the wall, leaping and snagging the delinquent sphere that would have instigated much weeping and gnashing of virtual teeth. A fine catch on radio, I can assure you; let me know what you think about what you may have seen on TV. Nuño without a doubt was pleased that the staircase held his weight; I imagine there will be a steak dinner in the future for those two.

In the sixth, however, Robbie once again took advantage of the situation and singled to center, prompting Girardi to bring in the burgeoning star righty Dellin Dancin’ Bentances, who finished off the inning by inducing a ground ball from pinch hitter Endy Chavez. But in the seventh, Betances’s dance managed to stomp a hole through the step as he lost the plate and hit catcher Mike Zunino with a breaking ball, then uncorked a wild pitch that sent Zunino into scoring position; a chip that was cashed in two batters later by Dustin Ackley. Nuño, who had one of his good days that we always hope for, was suddenly out of the picture and Betances was staring cockeyed at a western omelet. Well, there was nothing for it at this point, so he wiped off the mess and squelched the impending rally two batters later by striking out Willy Bloomquist to end the inning and leave the game tied. For what it’s worth, Betances is growing; not quite what you would expect to say about a guy 6’8″ at 26 years old, but he’s steadily becoming a pitcher’s pitcher.

The following inning was a sine wave of philosophical impulses; do you believe in luck and if you do, is this a sign the Yanks’ bottle of good stuff has turned to vinegar? John Sterling had this to say in Gardner’s subsequent turn at bat:


It inched too far to the right of the foul pole, apparently. Bad luck? Then what did you think of the next pitch, which Gardner had the nerve to hit high and far to center, only for it to be caught at the warning track? Sucks to be him, I guess. But it didn’t suck to be Derek Jeter, who followed that drama with a big, big double to left center that also chased Iwakuma (up to this inning still cruising) from the game, and the Mariners gambled on their bullpen to hold it for the remainder to give their big hitters a chance to break the tie in the bottom.  Only that didn’t happen; what did I say about luck? Ellsbury singled to the other alley and Jeter raced in with the go ahead run. All you needed now was for Adam Warren to hold the lead into the ninth so that The Hamma’ could nail it down and get a sorely needed win. Could he do it? Sure, though Cano once again punched a hole in the theory that he was not going to be badly missed with yet another single.

So all that was left was to root for Robertson to save the game. Zunino struck out. Saunders struck out. Ackley walked, and Lloyd McClendon pinch hit John Buck for Brad Miller. Buck is that guy who strikes out a lot and has a scary low average, but when gets a hold of one, he beats it like it owes him money. The Hamma’ was having none of that. Swing! Swing! Oops… Swing! Good night (morning?) from the far reaches of the north west corner of the nation, see you again tomorrow. Hopefully, the Yanks will finally bring some more scoring with them.

But hey, they at least won, 3-2.

[photo: Positive Exposures]

Where & When: Game 54

Well I guess it’s about time for another Where & When.  The last couple of games have been pretty interesting if I do say so myself, here’s hoping I can keep that ball rolling (as opposed to what the Yanks defense did last night) with his, as it turns out, rather dour entry to the canon.  I dedicate this one to our rather illustrious Gloomy Guses of the Banter:

Where & When Game 54I’m going to spare you a whole lot of drama on this one, because unless you’ve got a real eye for details you’re likely not going to get a clue within this picture of where this can be.  It’s in New York, in a place that would become very well known and lit up with activity starting a few years after this picture was taken (in fact, it was sort of already lit up at this point, but not nearly as much as it would be in the ensuing years).  In the direct center of this picture, a person who would become world renown and whose works would become synonymous with the neighborhood was born in a room in the building to the left of the lamp post. The picture was taken about nine years after his birth. Also, relative to what yesterday’s game ultimately was, the region would change it’s name in a few years and in time begin a tradition that endures to this day.

I’m tasking you with naming this region and the year this picture was taken.  I know it’s a long shot, but if you consider the clues I’ve given you, you won’t suffer as much.  Bonuses to whomever determines (my logic for one) the name of the person I refer to being born in the building I pointed out, the name of that building in particular and how this is relative to the people I dedicated the game to today (in jest, naturally).  It’s a long season as we fairly predicted it would be, so we gotta keep each other up until reinforcements arrive (and hopefully not by postponing the future yet again).  Root beers, cream sodas, floats and brownies, all that.  You know the routine, let’s do this like Leeroy Jenkins.

PEACE!!! >;)

[photo credit: MCNY Blog]

Where & When: Game 53

Here we are again with another Where & When! (That dumb rhyme was unintentional; it happens.) Speaking of happens, it just so happens you might get this without looking too hard, but I was inspired by the old and almost equally lost neighborhood play:Where & When Game 53

An interesting, if far from glorious picture, but I will link to some of the glory from this location after you figure out where this location actually is.  I don’t have an actually reference date for this photo, so for the when let’s go with what you know about the location.  For the bonus question, tell us two prominent features near the location that still exist today (you’re either gonna laugh or tsk me this one).

So you know the rules; show your work and complete answers, first one to he finish line gets the frosty mug of root beer and the bonus gets you a scoop of ice cream; all others get a cold mug of cream soda for the effort.  Stick around for a little history lesson (feel free to enlighten us and you might get a brownie) and we’ll see each other on the game thre… wait, are the Yanks playing tonight? No? Oh… well, stick around and chat!

[photo credit: Dyre Avenue Line Memories]




Where & When: Game 52

Greetings, welcome back to another exciting episode of Where & When.  It’s a slow day today, so I took a moment to fill in the doldrums with a “challenging” excerpt from the five boroughs:

Where & When Game 52This picture was taken a year after the subject of this picture was opened for service.  So, I task you to find out where and when this picture was taken, not to mention what it is.  You know the rules; show your work, share your ideas and stories, utilize whatever you prefer to find the answers and the first one with the complete answer will get the icy cold root beer award, while the rest of us who participate get to drink to that person’s health with a frosty cream soda.

Oh, and the bonus ice cream scoop goes to the person who can describe the style of the object or objects in question.

So have at it and we’ll see each other on the game thread.

[photo credit: NYC Bridges]

Where & When: Game 51

Welcome back to what has become perhaps a needed distraction, Where & When.  Hopefully the team won’t fall underneath .500 tonight, and if they do let’s hope they can float long enough until reinforcements arrive.  In the meantime, let’s ponder the past yet again and find out what this is all about:

Where & When Game 51There is an important distinction about this building, so tell us what building this is, where it’s located, when it was built and as a bonus, how long it lasted and what the distinction actually is. Show your math as well. A frosty mug of your favorite root beer if you have the where and when practical answers with notes, and I’ll upgrade it to a root beer float if you get the bonus question.  The rest of us will get cold cream sodas in a can. So you know the drill; have fun and I’ll see you in the game thread (maybe)!

[photo credit: Detroit Photographic Company (Wikipedia)]

Where & When: Game 50

Lo and Behold, we are back with another Where & When. I’ve missed doing these for a while, so let me take advantage of a little time I have to present to you another little challenge with a little history attached to it: Where & When Game 50

This one has a bit of irony attached to it, considering what it is.  If you can tell us what this building is and when this building existed, you will win a box of Thin Mints (because the Girl Scout cookies we ordered months ago have arrived and I feel inordinately generous in my imagination).  You will get a quart of milk to wash them down if you can tell us the ironic stories with this structure as well. A bonus box will be thrown in if you can tell us the name of the building beside it in the background.

Most of you know the rules of this game, but for those who don’t or need a refresher: to win, you should be the first person to answer all of the questions above in one post, plus you must show your process of finding the answer.  You can utilize any methods you find feasible to find the answer, but you must not peek at the photo credit link because that’s cheating.  If, however, you happen to find the link on your own in the course of research, then you will be excused. Everyone else who answers after the winner will receive a cold cream soda of choice.  Usually we award a cold root beer for the winner unless there’s a special or seasonal occasion for something more apropos to the occasion.

You are encouraged also to share your research or memories about the site in the picture, in the spirit of cooperation and fostering education.  Above all, have a good time and I hope you learn something new.

Have fun and we’ll discuss later!

[Photo credit: Wiki Commons]

A Hallmark Moment Of Sorts


Yeah, that happened.  A-gain. That moment that has happened more often than not lately, where defeat was snatched from the open arms of victory.  On Mother’s Day, too.  Oh, it’s fine if you’re a Brewers fan, you probably enjoyed a nice pick-me-up while enjoying the company or memory of your Mom on her special day (why are you watching a ball game on Mother’s Day by the way?), but if you’re a Yankee fan, it’s not as if C.C.’s injury wasn’t bad enough to make you realize that the season is in deep stink-stinkle unless the lineup reinserts Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in some way, shape or form while Cash works his Pokemaster skills on the MLB scrap heap for some starting pitching help. You had to endure yet another bubble monster who actually played for the team for a minute last season do them in at the last minute, and all you can do is just stare and say, “Really?”  A-gain.  How old is this? Too old.

You’re Bad, Mr. Sabathia

moldEverybody thinks they know what’s wrong.  Everybody thinks they have an answer to why C.C. gave up his usual 4 or 5 runs, this time in 3-2/3 innings, a continuing downward trend from last season that has sparked outrage and debate about what to do with him and the only thing that is outsized about him these days (his contract). Neither Girardi nor pitching coach Larry Rothchild are worried about him or Kuroda, who is also struggling for “obvious reasons” (heh).

Hey, you have to admire Girardi for not getting nervous or flying off the handle at the relentless questions or speculation; he’s juggling a lot of issues this season and entering May in first place is certainly a relief. You could also say that it’s only May, and the Yanks are in first in a division that resembles the NBA Atlantic Division with a host of weaknesses and injuries, but to a fan like me, that ignores the larger issue of what to do while having one or possibly two reliable starters for your five man rotation, not to mention a lineup that more often than not lately has shown a propensity for leaving a lot of men on base.  Is it too soon? Yes and no; too soon to look for reliable support via trade or down in the minors… well, except for our old friend, the Friendly Neighborhood Aceves, who swooped in around the fourth inning and stopped the bleeding the rest of the way, saving the bullpen from collapsing from exhaustion. He’ll do.

But the lineup as written needs attention. Once again the Yanks had ample opportunity to score and failed.  Does it seem like when the bases are loaded, that’s when the batters decide to be aggressive and swing at the first, second and third pitch (if it gets that far), often resulting in swinging strikeouts, routine grounders or infield pop-ups? Outside of Teix, are they pressing or are they pressing? Again, too early to tell, yet in the meantime the cracks are showing in the field as well, where a fly ball to center turns into an inside-the-park three run homer.  I tell you, I could not follow this game any further than I did; as a fan it disappoints me to have to look at or listen to it.

I did tune in later to hear Ace still throwing zeroes at the Rays in the eighth and through the rest of the game, but as usual, the bats threatened and then wimped out.  I guess I’m not much of a fan if I can’t follow these games all the way through and then expect to recap them in a serious way, huh?

Well, at least Montrose (a village in the town of Cortlandt next to Peekskill, NY) has a state park with a fine hiking trail, who knew?

A Nice Way to Spend Your Sundays

A Pleasant Way to Spend Your Sundays

[Photo Credits: Examiner.com, William D. Jackson]

“Sold Out” Crowd


It was a dark and dreary night. Suddenly, the bottom fell out…

And that’s as far as I could go with this game before lapsing into headache-inducing ennui as we watched the home team; already missing Jacoby Ellsbury due to a sore hand, bore the peanut gallery with mediocre at-bats and mainly apathetic play.  Oh sure, Teix hit his second homer in two games and was on base more often than not, and sure Solarte continues to be a solid Everywhere Man while leading the team in RBI, and there seemed to be a bit of rally left in them from yesterday in the ninth from what I’ve read, but there just wasn’t overcoming another night where C.C. Sabathia didn’t even break 90 mph with his fastball, making his 80-83 mph change rather hittable and his other pitches treated with indifference by the Mariner bats.  It wasn’t so bad, he struck out 6 given that he was facing one of the weakest lineups in the AL, but that didn’t stop him from giving up four runs and nine hits in five innings, also brushing two.  For the second time in a row, the Yanks’ starting pitcher didn’t have much control., but this time he couldn’t gut it out (and it’s becoming debatable whether or not his missing gut is to blame). Hopefully it will warm up enough so we can see whether it’s just the inconsistent weather messing with everyone’s mechanics or if it’s decidedly the far side of C.C.’s career as an elite pitcher.

But that’s not what most people were concerned with; no, many wanted to know how Robbie was going to be received in his first return home.  I couldn’t really tell; I was listening on the radio (which didn’t help with the headache one bit), but when Robbie came up the first time, I thought I heard more booing than cheering.  Predictably, John and Suzyn thought they heard more cheering, while everyone else in the media thought the whole city of New York was booing.  Regardless, Robbie didn’t get the kind of welcome he was anticipating, striking out on three pitches.  His was a nervous energy that threatened to sabotage him all night, but after he and the Mariners gouged out four runs in the fifth against C.C., he came back in the seventh with an infield single, a stolen base (!) and a run scored on a Dustin Ackley single.  I think it was about this time that I (and apparently a number of others) decided to find something else to do. I tried to hang on, but the combination of Yankees empty at-bats and John & Suzyn on the radio beat me into submission and I popped in a DVD of cartoons.

All-in-all, this was just one of those games I wish I’d skipped; it was not demoralizing, but it was draining.  Like the lineup, I can’t bring myself to exaggerate the finer points of this game; it just left me with a headache and a lot of unanswered questions.

Is on/off what we can expect from C.C. for the rest of this season, never mind his contract? Is the rest of the starting pitching going to be able to hold up to the All-Star break without being decimated with injuries or fatigue/old age? Is carrying three position players on your bench (with one back-up catcher) really the best thing to do, even with the fact that your designated number five pitcher basically screwed your rotation and bullpen and now may have screwed it some more with an injury? Are Ichiro and Solarte really your best hitters right now? Is there a way that this team can break the funk they have against pitchers nobody really gives two spits about? Why can’t the stadium fans understand the word “irony”? And why, why does Yankee pitching seem to be the ambrosia for weak or badly slumping hitters on every team they’ve faced?

Tune in, turn on, drop out. I’m going back to bed…

[Photo Credit: Days of Our Trailer]






How To Make Anything Taste Like Chicken


People.com http://greatideas.people.com/2014/03/31/crazy-baseball-stadium-concession-snacks/

I don’t know about you, but I was getting tired of alternating beat-downs with the other team; teams like the Red Sox and then the Angels beating and then being beaten by football scores, it just makes for bad Feng Shui.  So for the second and third game of this series, the Angels and Yankees agreed to rehearse a couple of taught dramas for the Broadway crowd, hijacking the fricken Rally Monkey with some fancy organ grinding of their own.  And grinding would be an apropos description of what The Notorious Tanaka did during the game; it was strange, yet gratifying how he managed to do his thing for 6-1/3 innings while the Yanks continued to struggle against unheralded pitchers.

Don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t bad. In the first inning all his outs were by strikeouts, all swinging; an impressive feat considering whom he was facing.  Sure, Trout continued to show his Professional Hitter side with a first pitch single after the leadoff strikeout, but then Pujols struck out behind him, and following a Howie Kendricks walk, Aybar struck out.  But the Yanks for their part decided to make Garret Richards almost equally intriguing by striking out or otherwise doing practically nothing against him.  Richards, who was averaging five walks per nine innings was giving nothing away to Tanaka, who by the second time through the lineup was now starting to get hit. When he wasn’t getting hit, he was doing something that by now could be considered very odd: he was giving up walks. Seriously, up until tonight he’d only given up two walks in total. The fourth inning was especially troublesome because he loaded the bases after a leadoff double with a HBP and a walk before the Angels pushed a run across with a fielder’s choice. Tanaka was still striking people out, but it seemed different; a lot of pitches and a lot of foul balls added to the feeling that he wasn’t dominating. Nervous business, what with G. Richards looking more like vintage J.R. Richards.

But then we learned something else about Tanaka in the process: he really doesn’t give up.  He must have realized that his other stuff wasn’t working as well as we’ve quickly grown accustomed to, so he did something subtle that I can’t get my finger on, but whatever he did, he was getting outs.  He was still striking batters out, but those seemed like an afterthought to the fact that he was getting batters out at the right time. The defense came to back him up too, turning in routine ground-outs and fly-outs (or at least making them look routine). If he gave up a triple, he struck out the next batter to end the inning. Tanaka’s control was kinda iffy, he threw a lot more in fewer innings, but he somehow got the outs when he needed them. The lineup managed to push across a run with a walk to Teixiera, who came around to score after a Brian Roberts double and a Ichiro ground-out.

Then he gave up a homer to David Freese, the hero of the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals Champeenchip, who was until then mired in an ugly slump with intermittent playing time. The way the Yanks were not hitting at that moment, you may have gotten the sense that this might be the moment Tanaka experiences his first loss in more or less two years.  Yes, it has to happen, but why against Mike Scioscia and the Angels? Ugh.. after Tanaka retired the side, the Yanks failed to score, leaving Tanaka set up for a loss. Perhaps Girardi felt bad and wanted to give Tanaka another chance to win by sending him out for the seventh, but by this time he was already hovering near 100 pitches, so after Collin Cowgill struck out, Joe took him right back out in favor of Adam Warren. Masahiro Tanaka: 6.1 innings, 5 hits (though it seemed like more), 4 walks (hmm…), 2 earned runs (huh…), and 11 strikeouts (how about that), leaving down one run.

Yet, all was apparently not lost and Warren picked up a little magic from somewhere, because after giving up another single to Trout, he got Pujols to ground into a double play and hold the line.  Next thing you know, bang, zoom! Teix hit one out and the score was tied.  Yay Tanaka wasn’t gonna lose! if nothing else, you had to feel good about that. Back in the game, now let’s get some more uhp, fergeddit, fly-outs and a pop-out and no more runs.  But you did get the sense that Richards was returning to norm, so strikeouts could soon turn into striking a hot iron.  Warren, now tasked with holding the line and perhaps getting a win, did his part in retiring the side in order, so the Yanks tried again in the eighth…

Then the funniest thing happened: Scioscia trotted out a reliever. Soon he trotted out another. Then another.  Then another and another… no, not really, but it was bad enough. See, what Scioscia already knew and hoped wouldn’t happen, and what we came to realize was that his bullpen was not very good at holding leads. Not very good at all, which was another oddity with the pitching tonight.  I’m not used to seeing a bad Angels bullpen, so I was surprised when the first reliever Michael Kohn walked Ellsbury , because yunnow, he’s Ellsbury and walking him is like giving up a double.  Kohn might’ve thought the same thing, because he spent more time stepping off and/or throwing to first than he did pitching to Jeter, who eventually struck out. But then he walked Beltran, which made Scioscia nervous and he brought in Nick Morande, who managed to throw the ball to everyone sitting behind home plate except catcher Chris Iannetta (though one was called a passed ball and Iannetta really wasn’t having a good game anyway); first Ellsbury and Beltran moved up, then Ellsbury scored, giving the Yanks the lead.  Brian McCann then gave a nifty solo scene with a HBP that was more by than hit; so convincing that the umps took a whole intermission to review the play and ultimately put him on first. Welp, time to send in the understudy, and that was Kevin Jepsen, who managed to secure a double play from our Soriano with an ug… well, sub-optimal at bat.

That brought us to what was potentially the last act, and the our new divo David The Hamma’ Roberston came to close out the show. Down went Stewart, in keeping with the theme of the night with the ubiquitous strikeout. But Iannetta walked, and his understudy John McDonald replaced him at first. J.B. Shuck managed to jive him over to second, and then… duh-duh-duhhhh our old friend Raul Ibañez came up for Cowgill.  Raul, though his average was quite low, was certainly capable of driving in a run or two as he had done 15 times beforehand.  This was indeed a scary moment, because if you lost him, you had to face the Deadly Duo, starring Mike Trout and Albert Pujols.  Robertson threw and Raul looked at strike one.  Another pitch and it was called a ball??? WTF BLUE!!!  You might also be thinking at this point, “nail him down… please!” The pitch, and Raul fouled it off.  Do it for Warren, he held it down and deserved to win it.  Do it Tanaka, he wasn’t himself tonight or what we’ve already come to expect of him, but dammit he deserved something for it. Do it because you can’t stand the Angels and particularly you can’t stand Mike Scioscia. And do it for the ones who stuck it out this long to see the win.  The Yanks haven’t had a lot of luck with close games like this over the past few years, so yeah… nail it down. The pitch… a half-swing. Did he go?

It wasn’t pretty. It didn’t look right, didn’t feel right, just didn’t seem right. But yunnow what? It tasted like chicken. Yanks win 3-2.

Where & When: Game 49 (Double-Header!)

Let’s play two! Welcome again to another round of Where & When. Because the last game was so easy and solved so early, I decided to throw in an extra game today; first time we’ve done that and perhaps not the  last. We’re still out of town, but not far from home, so let’s skip over to this part of town:

Where & When Game 48c

Back to our usual throwbacks. The date this picture was taken is the same year the building under construction was completed.  Out of all the buildings you see, three of them still exist. Which ones are they, what were they known as when they were built and what purpose do they currently serve? As a bonus, one of these buildings has a special designation; do you know which and what it is?

There you have it, so if you get a chance, try to figure them all out and you get to brag about the other barrel of root beer you win for being so smart, not to mention the double scoop of ice cream with a cherry on top for the bonus.  The rest of us will have the usual cream soda, but in Big Gulp cups this time.

So, complete answers, show your math and feel free to share memories and facts about the region.  I’m going out tonight, so have fun with everything tonight and hope the Yanks have something left in the tank for the Angels tonight. Peace!

(Oh, I’ll reveal the photo credit after the game is over, because it’s a dead giveaway >;)

Where & When: Game 48

Oh boy, welcome back to yet another round of Where & When! You may have been thinking, “Where’s Chyll and when is he putting up another interesting post of old buildings that probably don’t exist anymore?” Or maybe not, life is strange.  But I’m sure you’re champing at the bit to solve another mystery with me, so let us not waste time with idle chit-chat:

Ah-ha. We’re taking a little trip; not far, but not so obscure that I have to give you a clue about where or what it is.  This place is rather unique, in fact, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find.  If you can figure out where this place is; i.e. name, who built it and when, then you’ll win a kleig barrel of the finest root beer in the land (if you can imagine what that is).  I’ll throw in a scoop of ice cream if you know the significance of this building as well. The rest of us who follow with answers or stories will have to settle as usual with a cold mug of cream soda, not that it’s such a bad thing (I could drink cold cream soda all day). so, get back to us before the game begins and  lets have fun.

For newcomers who want to try their hands at this, the rules are simple: you can post your answers in the comments, but you must provide a full answer to the questions above in order to get credit; the first person with the correct answers wins first prize and all who come after get an honorary prize.  You may use the internet for research, but you can’t peek at the photo credit (that would be like smearing pine tar all over your neck for everyone on Mars to see).  You may also talk about anything relative to the region you may want to share, like personal memories or trivia about the neighborhood, that kind of stuff. The regulars will help you out if you have any more questions, I’m sure.

Have fun everyone, and I’ll see you back at the game!

[Photo Credit: Joseph Pellombardi]

The Electric Spanking of Core Babies


A day removed from the honor and hoopla of another Home Opener for the Yankees, which they happened to win , the Yankees returned for a second dose of Orioles baseball, courtesy of past manager and present raconteur Buck Showalter and company.  Ivan Nova, the imminent leader of the new school (if you will) facing Wei-Yin Chen; second in career major league wins to fellow countryman and former Yankee meteor Chien-Ming Wang. An intriguing matchup, no?

Uhh, nope.

In the first, Nova, who from what I was told had some issues in his previous start, but managed to work through them somehow, seemed perfectly content to pitch to contact; these were the Orioles after all, who seemed incapable of doing much of anything when they did make contact, or not so much that it mattered.  But then Old Man Jeter decided to go pastadiving on a windy, but indeterminate Tuesday afternoon and gave the Orioles some unexpected momentum.  The first run would score on a somewhat close play at the plate; Ellsbury showing a pretty good arm in CF threw home on a sac fly from Chris (Crush) Davis that hopped once kinda high before McCann, showing perfect form in allowing a clear alley for the runner to reach home plate, caught it and swipe-tagged in one motion, but too late to catch the sliding Markakis. Then Nova, still pitching to contact, hung something for Adam Jones whose eyes got really big and said “Hulk Smash!” and tanked it over the center field wall for a two-run job.  After some some quick words with himself, Nova decided to strike out Weiters and Cruz to end the bleeding. Already it was 3-0.

Yanks showed a little bit of initiative in the bottom, though it took them two outs to do it; Ellsbury managed to dump a single into shallow right, and Beltran doubled him in to get a run back. Soriano, who looks like he’s starting to catch up to the rest of the season skied out to end the inning and Nova came out to work again.  And labor he did; his pitches didn’t seem to want to listen to him too much as he gave up a single to second baseman Steve Lombardozzi (Jr.) and a well-executed drag bunt to Ryan (Hi Uncle Flash!) Flaherty, he of a 1-17 start to his season.  But Nova did flash some quick wit as Roberts gave him the cue; pirouetting nicely to catch  Lombardozzi off second.  Buck almost challenged the call, but maybe the pirouette looked too good to sully with doubt and instead settled for gnashing his teeth and shaking his head in disbelief as is his wont.  Nova was dealing now, his confidence seemed to falling back into place, but aww Schoop! He doubled down the third base line serving pasta in Port Jervis, and the score was now 4-1.

And nothing really happened until the fourth, when we all realized at the same time that the car battery was dead and Nova had nothing.  After Cruz flied out, the basement trio of Lombardozzi, Flaherty and Schoop each singled so that Markakis and Delmon Young each took a turn driving one of them in with a sac fly and a single.  That was it for Nova, and Cesar Cabral made his season debut while Nova left to a smattering of indifference. But since he cared, Roberts’ throw managed to pull Cervelli off first as Chris Davis beat his shift to first and they all gifted Nova with another one for the road. Cabral, for his part, walked the bases loaded before inducing a pop fly to left that almost caused more chaos, had not Gritner slid for second to avoid crashing into Jeter, who bogarted shallow left for the catch. 7-1.

But the Yanks showed some spunk. Soriano, he of the “he’s gonna be sooo bad this year” bat cannonballed one over left, and styled properly as a true home run hitter should. Why not? It was his 407th career HR, tying him at 50th with one Duke Snider who used to play somewhere on the opposite side of the universe (maybe we can talk about where in another post).  Cervelli followed with a sharp single to left. running hard like a hard single hitter should.  Roberts gave Chen, who was not spectacular but had a lot to work with, a hard time before singling on  3-2 to left (see a pattern developing here?) And then there’s this kid, this what’s his name? Yangervis Port Jervis? My friend, who I was watching the game with, couldn’t get his name straight no matter what I told him, As Kay, Cone and Singleton gabbed about his doubles power, he immediately powers a double to, yes, left, and my friend jumped up and said, “That boy’s name is ‘Doubles’!” (which immediately had me thinking of the possibility of a tie-in promotion with McDonald’s McDouble burger; worth a try if you’re high as some people would say).  Gardner followed with a RBI groundout and Jeter also grounded out, but the score was  now 7-4.

Vidal Nuño came on in place of Cabral in the fifth and retired the side on a Poughkeepsie Shuffle (4-6-3 double play) and a strike out of the suddenly hot Flaherty.  On the flipside, Ellsbury, becoming rather indispensable early on, hit a booming double and later stole third standing up before Chen had a chance to notice the sudden draft from second.  Nothing came of it though, and we all moved onto the sixth, where a familiar phrase floated in to haunt our man Nuño. It started out innocently enough with Schoop striking out, but then Markakis just had to single and then blammo! Delmon Young looped one over everyone’s heads and into the seats in left. The hits just kept coming after that, and the game shifted into a slow motion montage of carnage as Nuño was ripped apart from every angle. As he sighed and peered into the bullpen, the YES cameras showed us what he already knew: emptiness. No one was coming to the rescue. He was… taking one for the team.  11-4.

At this point I stopped taking notes and started thinking about what went well. Soriano’s showing some pop again. Jeter can still get a hit now and again.  Ellsbury is on a roll. I must take a trip to Port Jervis before it becomes de rigueur; hopefully find a nice hamburger or pizza joint. Roberts is still alive. Gritner still has his appendages. Betances, now there’s something else to cheer about; the kid looks like a Real Deal™ type that you hope the Yanks won’t destroy like the others they had recently. Good things can happen in bad places if you look hard enough for them; look at diamonds.  But since we’re looking at what is without a doubt a blood diamond at this point of the game, I have to inform or remind you that although Nuño managed to staunch the bleeding from that point and held his own for a couple more innings, there was no coming back from this.  No fight left em, save for one or two more McDouble by Doubles McJervis and the first homer of the season from Kelly Johnson (well, he had been fighting for that).  But between the time Girardi pulled the starters in the seventh and idiots were being gang-tackled by security to the vast amusement/relief of the paying leftover majority and up until that sidewinder Darren O’Day struck out Austin Romine, the rest of us had already pulled out of the parking lots and hit the Major Deegan or the New England Thruway, had flipped the channel or the flatscreen and took up horseback riding, mowing the lawn, paying the bills or returned to mundanity at work as the Yankees pulled their own pants back up and went quietly to their rooms to contemplate the spanking they had just received.

Deserve’s got nothing to do with this; see you in Hell, William Nathaniel Showalter III.  Yeah.

Final Score: 14-5.

[Photo Credit: Andrew Mills/The Star-Ledger]

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