Opening Day at the Stadium.
Now, that there is a beautiful sentence.
Never mind the glare—it is sunny out there:
Let’s Go Yank-ees!
Man, bunch of bumps and bruises for Los Yankees this spring, eh?
And Mike Trout—This Is Your Life!
Picture by Bags
If you are a Yankee fan who thinks the team blew it not going for broke by signing either Manny Machado or Bryce Harper let me just say, I understand. Doesn’t matter if I agree or not, I understand. You root for the Yankees. You expect your team to spend on star power. Traditionally, that’s what they do, why stop now?
And for those Yankee fans who think the Yanks were smart not to sign Machado or Paper, I understand that too, though I’m not necessarily more sympathetic to that point of view.
Sure would have liked to see Harper’s sweet lefty swing in the Bronx. And the good folks at MLB would have drooled over the it too. Imagine the first time Harper got tossed from a game at Fenway arguing with an ump—social media would combust. But Harp will bring his fire to Philly and he’ll continue to be more of a problem for Mets fans than anyone rooting for the Yanks.
I talked to a kid last week, a Yankee fan in his twenties, who dreaded Harper going to Philly because half of his friends as jerky Philadelphia fans. And I told him, yeah, but it’s the Phillies—I mean, sure they won a title in 2008, and also one in ’80, but otherwise they’ve so hapless they wouldn’t even register to me—but for him, the Phillies have won as as many titles in his rooting years as the Yanks so I guess for his peers that makes the Phillies fan something to contend with. Go figure that. Kids.
Anyhow, what’s going on with the Yanks, I’m only half paying attention so far. Anything fun?
Or: “Wake Us Up Before You Go-Go”
It’s a hearty time to be a Yankee fan. The team is young and one of the better teams in the game. But holy cow, has this ever been a depressing off-season for the sport. Baseball and the people that run it will never cease to get in their own way—can you imagine marquee stars like Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving languishing like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado have this winter? Hell, in the NBA teams are getting slapped with fines for tampering guys six months before they hit the open market.
Man, it just makes you shake your head.
Spoke to a guy who runs one of the big sports media companies recently and asked him what the most popular American sports are now in terms of their coverage and he said, “NFL, NBA, college football, soccer, baseball.” Said soccer and baseball are pretty close—and not American soccer but worldwide soccer. I’ve been working with Esquire for the past 3 years and I can tell you from a general magazine like that baseball is squaresville these days. I couldn’t imagine one ballplayer who they would profile.
And that’s fine, I suppose, I’ll still watch the games this year, I’m still excited about this Yankee team, but there is a gloom hanging over the sport that just won’t go away.
Picture by Bags
This was, believe it or not, a seminal moment in baseball; a crossroads for everyone involved. From players to owners to fans and the media all, this was the time to decide if the way we honor the people we often consider heroes had merit in itself.
And to be totally frank, I think the answer saved more than just baseball from itself.
Could you imagine the outrage, the utter frustration and perhaps final resignation from the realization that there would always be that one person who, for reasons either predictable or inexplicable, decided to not vote for Mariano Rivera. Anyone reading this, please tell me that you fully believed that the writers entrusted with the task of selecting the new entries to the Baseball Hall of Fame (which by name and by dynamic carries almost a mysticism of grandeur and worldly accomplishment) would actually act in accord with one another to vote for the undisputed greatest reliever of all time to enter this cadre of baseball greatness… unanimously??
Questions, plenty of them if you have the time, but not really. I care not for the arguments this obviously opens; why NOT Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Mike Schmidt, Ken Griffey Jr, et al… why were they not given the honor of total agreement by the fickle and oblique judges of such honors? We know the answer, and by knowing that answer we were hostage to the possibility of what could easily be described by most as recklessness at the least. The worst of human nature flashed curiously through some minds; what would be the excuse, the agenda, the agonizing self-aggrandizement that would crush its employer to earthly oblivion, ironically in a plane dominated by cyberspace?
I don’t care about that. I only care right now that this one man, who was universally loved and/or respected by anyone within earshot of his name, with casual interest or platonic worship, had finally broken through to an entire subset who, whether on pain of personal loss or with genuine gumption, parted for Moses and held the gates wide open.
A couple of years ago, my girlfriend-now-wife were driving through New Rochelle, NY which is actually within walking distance of where I live, and we came to a light at an intersection. In front of us, a man ambled somewhat slowly across the street, looking down along his path as though he was organizing his thoughts about either something he had just done or was about to do. He wore a collared white shirt with one button undone at the top and pleated slacks. He was slightly balding from the back and his gait was a little stiff, as though he had been sitting in a pew for more time than he’d realized. I stared blankly, as he crossed the street in front of us towards the gas station, wondering if this was one of those moments…
“Is that who I think it is?” I said slowly to Lyne, “who does that look like to you?” Lyne was and is a casual baseball fan; I’ve taken her to Yankee games when I was given tickets by friends or people I’ve worked for in the past, and though she was excited by the experiences, her interest remained largely casual beyond beyond certain players. Certain players… “Who is that… I know him… wait, are you sure it’s him?” I pondered for a split second whether to honk my horn and hope that he knew why we were honking, jump out of the car and chase him to the gas station store and thank him profusely for his career or just leave the man alone to his thoughts and respect him as a fellow human being. I chose the latter. The light turned green and I kept driving, thinking about any and everything, and hoping that he was at least having a nice day.
You see, that’s the thing about Mariano Rivera. For all I know, he is one of the nicest people I’ve ever seen play pro baseball. Sure, he’s an ordained minister with a church somewhere nearby, and he was revered by millions of fans and respected by millions more. And you better believe he confounded, frustrated and utterly infuriated opposing batters, teams and their fans in game situations that meant do or die for their varied aspirations. But I never heard one person utter a cross word about him as a person, as a human being. Mo was the antithesis of the admonishment by Charles Barkley so many years ago. His victories were ours, his pride in a job well done was our pride. His glare was the glare of many. His focus was legion. The moments of shock, when the fabric of time in space was torn and he did the unthinkable: fail… that was felt and carried by many. The way he shifted minds, moods and destinies with such fluidity and attentiveness; such a solid state of grace and accomplishment was lifeblood and fountainous youth for any Yankee fan. “Exit light… enter night!” was clarion and carrier of emotions; the entitled and the marginalized, the wealthy and the poor, the casual and livid; all came to witness the ninth inning as if it were an address by a world dignitary, an execution or a sermon from some high mount. I could not control myself when it introduced him for the last time as the closer of the New York Yankees.
Unreal, yet Real. That’s the only way anyone can describe this moment in baseball history. It is only proper that it is connected with a player who fits that description. Hyperbole? Sure, why not; don’t we have rare moments that deserve some? I think we can all agree on that.
Yeah, this pretty much had to happen; Yanks sign native Noo Yawka Adam Ottavino to a 3yrs/$27mil. Cool… so…
Tell us how you REALLY feel in regards to the report that the White Sox offered Manny Faces a 7yr/$175 mil contract; not to mention his agent essentially going apeshet over it. Did it happen? Was it gamesmanship or something nefarious? What does it say about the state of baseball today, particularly in regards to the hard and blatant disconnect that exists fans’ expectations and baseball’s actions? Show your math >;)
Man, you gotta hope ol’ David Robertson somehow finds his way back to the Bronx before he hangs ’em up. He’s been a terrific Yankee. But now he’s a Philadelphia Phillie and the Yanks just paid up to secure the services of Zach Britton, he of the hard, money-earnin’ sinker.
Course River Ave Blues has the lowdown.
There’s more to do, of course, but the days are starting to get longer and you can almost smell the first hints of the season to come.
Picture by Bags
If you’re from New York and you know what WPIX means, you know what I’ll be doing after the bell. How are you guys spending your New Year’s? >;)
A little personal news here. Most of you who know me might have seen this posted on one of my various social media accounts but thought it would be worth mentioning in this space as well. In the December issue of Men’s Health, I have an essay about how I help my wife, Emily, navigate chronic illness. Take a look—I’m proud of this one. Then dig these little DIY videos we made (Emily just started an Instagram account—Living Beyond Wellness—you should check out too):
If you like the essay please pass along to anyone you think might get something out of it.
Much obliged and Happy Holidays to you all.
Robbie Cano is a Met and Patrick Corbin has picked the Nats over the Yanks, Phils and every other team.
Hot Stove is heating up.
Picture by Bags
Welp, apologies for the time off. It was all just too disheartening. The Sox running the table and all, from April through October, is just about as bad as it gets, especially with former Yankee scrubbinies turning from pumpkins into 1998 Scott Brosius.
Gardy returns next year. Everyone I talk to would hate to have Manny Machado in pinstripes. You guys feel the same way?
Well, there is life after the Yankee season after all and the true baseball junkies will likely be following their antics at this point, so here’s a thread to get your fix on. I hope that a few of us will come through with individual post-season observations about what the Yanks have done so far and intend to do for next season. I’ll be waiting after the “fun” is over, but in the meantime feel free to scoop or speculate while watching the cream rise to the top. One thing I notice already, the umps aren’t gonna make this easy...
Goodness, what a beating. Funny how the game speeds up in October and it got ahead of Boone last night in the 4th, leaving Severino in too long, replacing him with Lance Lynn, oh, man, was got ugly to the tune of the worst playoff loss in team history, 16-1. Suck on that, Bronx Bummers.
And so the Yanks turn their eyes to the Big Fella, ol’ C.C. to save their season tonight. C’mon guys, nobody likes watching a rival celebrate on your own turn. Find a way to get it done. At least don’t go down easy. Make ’em earn it.
Never mind the inevitable:
Let’s Go Yank-ees!
The Yanks did what they needed to do in Boston and that’s swipe a game. They are back home tonight with their ace, Luis Severino on the hill. He’ll face former Yankee Nathan Eovaldi, who has looked good in his outings vs the Yanks this year. I have high expectations for Severino. Hope he can give them 6 solid innings and keep the team in the game. And I hope the worm turns and the Yanks can touch up Eovaldi—nothing personal, of course.
Porcello is the guy that makes me nervous so it’d be great if the Yanks find a way to win tonight.
Never mind the bromo:
Let’s Go Yank-ees!
Picture by Bags