Archive for the ‘New York Yankees’ Category

The New York Yankees won their 27th World Series in 2009. Twenty-seven, which, coincidentally, is the number of outs each team gets in a standard nine-inning baseball game.

It’s interesting to me how people become fans of sports teams. Sometimes it’s based on geography, but it can also be a matter of particular players. My father-in-law still roots for the Minnesota Twins because he liked a player named Harmon Killebrew back in the 1960s. My father was a Los Angeles Dodgers fan because the Brooklyn Dodgers, before they moved to the West Coast, had signed Jackie Robinson in 1947.

For me, in baseball, it was both players AND geography.

Mickey Mantle, 1958

I remember well the 1962 World Series, whereas I have absolutely no recollection of the previous Fall Classics. It was the New York Yankees versus the San Francisco Giants, my favorite teams. Why I preferred the Yankees was easy; the minor league team in my hometown of Binghamton, NY had been a farm team (minor league affiliate) of the team from the Bronx. Then there was that New York State pride. The Giants USED to be a New York team and had my favorite player, Willie Mays. The Yankees, lead by Mickey Mantle, would win that Series, 4 games to 3, but would lose in 1963 and 1964, and then not even get back into the Series for over a decade.

But let’s start at the beginning. The team now known as the New York Yankees was an original team in the fledgling American League in 1901 – as the Baltimore Orioles. They became the New York Highlanders in 1903 and never got to the World Series.

Babe Ruth, 1920

The team’s fortunes were about to change when they acquired outfielder George Herman “Babe” Ruth from the Boston Red Sox after the 1919 season. Ruth lead the league in home runs with 11 in 1918, and an incredible 29 in 1919. But in his first two years with the Yankees, he hit 54 and 59 homers, respectively, eventually reaching 60 in 1927. Ruth’s presence also made the team first in attendance from 1920 on. And in 1923, in the Yankees’ first season in Yankee Stadium – they had been playing in the Polo Grounds – they won their first World Series against the crosstown Giants, 4 games to 2.

By the time they won their 2nd and 3rd titles in 1927 and 1928, they had a “Murderer’s Row” of sluggers that included first basemen Lou Gehrig. He’s known mostly for his Iron Man streak of over 2000 games played in a row, and the disease, ALS, which eventually claimed his life.

Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio watching batting practice, April 1939

I think Yankee hatred started when the team, led by outfielder Joe DiMaggio, got to seven World Series between 1936 and 1943, winning six of them. Worse, the Yankees, now featuring catcher/outfielder Yogi Berra, won in 1947, and every year between 1949 and 1953. The team, which by then also starred Mickey Mantle got into every Series from 1955 to 1958, winning two.

Reggie Jackson

After they were swept by the Reds in 1976, the Yankees won back-to-back titles in 1977 and 1978. This was the Bronx Zoo group that featured the self-described “straw that stirs the drink”, Reggie Jackson.

Derek Jeter, 1998

But after a World Series loss in 1982, another drought ensued until 1996, when some young players, led by Derek Jeter, won the title in 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000. But they lost the Series in 2001 and 2003, and didn’t even get into the playoffs in 2008.

So yes, I was rooting for the hated Yankees, in their controversial new stadium, in 2009. I mean the archrival Boston Red Sox had won more World Series rings in the 21st Century (two) than the Yankees had before 2009 (zero).

So congrats to the Yankees; doesn’t mean I’ll root for them in 2010. One oughtn’t to be greedy about these things.
ROG


My friend Dan really cracked me up, when, in his comment to my NaBloPoMo post, he described my blog as one of the “Breakfast Blogs. That what I call blogs like yours, Roger. ‘For today’s post I’m going to tell you what I had for breakfast this morning! I had exactly what I told you I had for breakfast in yesterday’s post, but today I also had a big glass of orange juice! Let me tell you how that came about!’ etc.”

For the record, I can recall noting my breakfast habits five times in four and a half years, twice in my dedication to cold cereal, especially mixed; one about maple syrup; and a couple times in response to a meme question. OK, and once in answer to this question. That’s about once every nine months.

And it’s fine that he has a more “slow cooking” blog. Frankly, if I wrote as infrequently as he does, I’m afraid I wouldn’t write anything at all. I have so many ideas, or at least pieces of ideas floating around in my head at any given time.
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What I will tell you is that I went to a comic book show on Sunday, well described by Fred Hembeck here (November 3). Had a grand old time talking with Fred, his wife Lynn Moss, John Hebert and his wife and mother, Bill Anderson, Joe Staton and especially Rocco Nigro. But what Fred and Rocco and I all said at different points was, “Where’s Alan David Doane?” He plugged the event in his blog and then no one saw him there. Maybe he was incognito in one of those Watchman or Star Wars costumes; one really can’t tell much about a person in a Darth Vader outfit.
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I’ve been at a State Data Center Affiliates meeting Wednesday, Thursday and will be today, learning a lot about the 2010 Census, the American Community Survey. and other Census products. I know the Census people really can’t say this, but I can: if you don’t want some intrusive government person coming to your house, fill out the form and return it right away. The decennial form next year is 10 questions, 10 minutes. Expect me to bore you with this regularly until at least mid-April.
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I TOLD you the Yankees would beat the…Cardinals I TOLD you the Yankees would win the World Series. Didn’t see an inning of it live; mostly caught the highlights.
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I’m really pleased to announce that I received an acceptance letter this week for the proposal I submitted for Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region, Inc. 9th annual conference in February. I’ll talk more about it as it gets closer, but I’ve been a big fan of Paul and Mary Liz Stewart’s work on this for years.

ROG

The wife and daughter left to visit parents/grandparents Sunday afternoon until Monday afternoon. I had this impressive list of things to do. Not the least of which is to remove clothes from the armoire I have and put them in the new dresser I bought from my in-laws the day before. I always disliked the armoire I have currently. I didn’t ask for it, I didn’t buy it, and I felt it was imposed on me. But my clothes had to go SOMEWHERE when Lydia took over the room which had a massive closet where my clothes used to reside, especially for socks and underwear.

One time. one of my sisters rearranged my armoire, so that all of my T-shirts were in one large section. I realized early on that I HATED this. Moreover, my T-shirts hated it. I may have mentioned this before: Karen Sammler, a character on one of my favorite shows of all time, Once and Again, would organize her underwear and socks in such a way that they would each get used approximately the same number of times. In the armoire, the most recently-washed T-shirts tended to get washed, put away and be the only ones I could easily get to. I suppose I could have rearranged them back, but that wasn’t optimal either.

So when I put my T-shirts in the dresser drawer – ah! There were T-shirts in there I hadn’t even SEEN in two years. It takes SO little to make me, and the T-shirts, happy.

I should have emptied the rest of the armoire, but I discovered this device in my living room that discovered I could watch anytime I wanted, without negotiation, called the television. Since I was over two weeks behind on everything, save for The Office, I decided to actually watch some of the new and old shows I had recorded.

The Office (NBC): watched with the wife the Pam and Jim wedding show. My, Dwight seems even nastier this year than before, with real potential to create actual harm.

Modern Family (ABC): I’ve seen only seen the first episode and I failed to record the second. It didn’t really come together for me until the family actually came together at the end. Look forward to seeing again.

Glee (FOX): I missed that premiere episode in the spring. When my wife and I saw it rebroadcast this fall, we weren’t sure it was worth seeing again; it seemed a bit facile. But the second show sealed the deal. It featured my adoptee Victor Garber as the father of the lead character. Jane Lynch’s character seemed less shrill and more devious.

The Good Wife (CBS): I decided to watch this because it features actors from other shows I’ve watched. Not only Julianna Margulies from E/R, but also Josh Charles from Sports Night, Christine Baranski from Cybil (and a lot of other stuff). Also, Matt Czuchry, Rory Gilmore’s obnoxiously pompous boyfriend in Gilmore Girls, who plays the same pompous jerk here, and Chris Noth, doing some cross between his characters on Law & Order and Sex in the City. I thought the premise – woman stands by her man after sex scandal a la Silda Wall Spitzer with Eliot, then needs a job – was pretty thin, enough for a one-off movie but hardly a series. But after two episodes, I am looking forward to see what happens, how it plays. The secondary story about her home life (two kids and her mother-in-law) has potential.

Brothers and Sisters (ABC): The tease of the first episode suggested trouble for one of Nora’s (Sally Field) children, and intentionally make you think it’s one rather than another. I was irritated. But I’m two eps behind, so i haven’t seen the resolution.

Grey’s Anatomy (ABC): Yes, I’m still watching it. I thought the premiere was a rather good example of how people grieve, in this case, the death of George; it’s not all at once, and you can postpone the pain, but not really avoid it. the second show was about cutbacks and a whole other type of pain and grief. Izzy (Katherine Heigl) hasn’t irritated me as much as she has in previous seasons, but I’m not unhappy that the actress will be taking off time to make a movie.

But I also watched football. Not a whole game, mind you. Overtime of the Broncos over the Patriots; are the Broncos for real? Interesting how the Red Sox and the Patriots seem to be on the same arc – ultimate success to also-rans. I also watched a little baseball, primarily Game 3 of the Yankees over the Twins. Caught the baserunning blunder on the Twins’ part and homers by A-Rod and Posada. But I just couldn’t stay up another half inning to see if the Yankees would hold the lead. (They did.)

People often ask me if I saw “last night’s JEOPARDY!”; the answer, almost invariably, is “no”. So they often tell me what the Final JEOPARDY! answer is, testing me to see if I would have correctly gotten it, but almost always, some major element of the answer is missing.

Well, back to sharing the set with the wife and child; it was fun while it lasted.

ROG

2008 was only the second time in ten attempts I’ve voted for a successful Presidential candidate – any guesses to the other time?

I also voted for Obama in the New York state primary. My, that was SO long ago, back in early February. Like many people, I suffered from election fatigue. So silliness such as the Barack the Magic Negro song kerfluffle, played on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show, doesn’t even register.

But here’s a terrible thought: perhaps the Republicans were (gulp) right in in their winner-take-all primaries. In the same vein, I have also finally figured out what’s so very RIGHT with the Electoral College. People say, correctly, that it’s undemocratic. EXACTLY! It wasn’t designed to be democratic, it was meant to be definitive. Obama won with about a 53-47% vote. BUT he also won with a landslide ELECTORAL vote. The results of the election were not in question. And the system works most of the time. OK, not in 2000. Or 1888. Or 1876. Or 1824. But most of the time.

Imagine a close election, say 1968. Nixon and Humphrey were virtually tied in the popular vote. But Nixon’s Electoral College victory codified the race. Let’s say there were no Electoral College. There would have been canvassing of votes all over the country. Or even 2000, where the canvassing was limited to Florida.

There’s some merit, though, in doing what Maine and Nebraska have done; allocate electoral votes by Congressional district, with two votes going to the winner statewide. This would put more conservative parts of “blue” states and more liberal parts of “red” states in play, and that we in upstate New York would be barraged with the same campaign of ads that the folks in Ohio and Florida get. Wait, I said there was merit to this? Well, for the local media bottom line, for sure.

Caroline Kennedy for Senate? Don’t much care. Whoever is elected would have to run in both 2010 AND 2012. But she’s getting killed in the “vetting” process. There’s also the more parochial issue that upstaters in New York want an upstate Senator, since there hasn’t been one since Charles Goodall finished the term of Bobby Kennedy. An AP story this week suggested that some “caretaker” take the seat now, someone with no desire to run in 2010, like Bill Clinton, or Mario Cuomo, or Eliot Spitzer. OK, not Eliot Spitzer; seeing if you were paying attention. But Governor David Paterson does not want a caretaker candidate; he wants whoever he appoints in 2009 to be on the ballot in 2010, possibly, one could speculate, to enhance his own chances for being elected governor in hios own right.

I’ve been pretty obsessed with the Constitution this year. Do you know which Amendment took 203 years to be passed?

BASEBALL

Congrats to the Phillies and the Devil Rays. What a difference a season, and a name change, makes.

I started reading a Bob Costas book from 2000, which I seemed to have misplaced. Regardless, the points he made helped me realize that interleague play, as it’s currently constructed, is fatally flawed. Where in the NFL, all the teams in a division play common opponents (the NFL East playing the AFC North in 2008, e.g.), Major League Baseball has this romanticized notion of Yankees-Mets, White Sox-Cubs, etc. Nice, but When getting into the playoffs is determined by this, it’s not particularly workable. Let’s say the White Sox had a weak team, and the Yankees a strong one. This is advantageous to the Cubs and problematic for the Mets.

Also, how is it that the AL West has only four teams, while the NL Central has six? This is competitively unfair. Short of expanding MLB to 32 (four 4-team divisions in each league a la the NFL) or contracting two teams to 28 (two 7-team divisions, maybe with two wild cards, in each league), I don’t know how to make the system more equitable.

I’m also distressed that the Yankees can afford to get two front-line pitchers in the offseason (LHP CC Sabathia’s seven-year contract; RHP A.J. Burnett’s five-year contract). They are playing by the rules; it’s the rules that have to be fixed, with a greater amount of profit-sharing than the “luxury tax” has created. (Oh, and why isn’t the Mark Teixeira deal showing up on the MLB transaction list?

Will Francisco Rodriguez (K-Rod) be the end of late-season collapses for the Mets?

FOOTBALL
There’s a bowl game today at noon on ESPN2 that I never even heard of, the International Bowl, played in Toronto, ON CANADA, but I have a rooting interest: the Buffalo Bulks, which had been a terrible team, but won some incredible games down the stretch this season. Not only is it an upstate team, it’s a SUNY school (as is U Albany and SUC New Paltz, my alma maters), the school declined its only other chance to go to a bowl game 50 years ago.

On the pro level – Go, Big Blue! (That’s the defending Super Bowl champs, the New York Giants, to the uninitiated.)

ROG

Mr. Scooter Chronicles himself, Scott asks:

Have you ever seen a baseball game at Yankee Stadium? If yes, what are your thoughts on such a hallowed baseball ground seeing its last game?

Actually, not in a long time. The first time, I was a kid, and the Yankees beat the Washington Senators, The last time was probably in 1977 when I lived in Queens. Tearing down the stadium annoys me, because I don’t know why the current facility was inadequate. Oh, it doesn’t have those luxury seats, but after this week, who can afford to buy them anyway. Moreover, the funding is more corporate welfare foolishness.

Who do you think will win the World Series this year?

I picked the Cubs to lose the WS to Cleveland at the beginning of the season. About midseason, I switched to the Cubs over Tampa Bay, so I’ll stick with that. How annoying that my trip to the game was when the Cubs had hit a bad patch.

What do you think would be considered more historic: Obama being elected President, or Palin being elected Vice President?

Well, someone being elected President. If Palin were running for Prez and Obama were running for VP, it’d be Palin, but as it is, Obama. Besides, a woman had at least been NOMINATED before by a major party.

Do you think that the bailouts of financial companies will help the economy in the long run, destroy the idea of creating tax breaks for most of middle America, or see no real lasting effects on anyone?

Well, first off, I’m really ticked off about it. I listened to Henry Paulson, not once but twice on Sunday – Tom on NBC asked better questions than George did on ABC – and I got nothing but “Psst, it’s really bad. Do this or we’re doomed, trust me” without any real information.
I looked at the original language of the bill here and I was gobsmacked by Section 8: “Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.” Pardon my French, but WTF? Decisions non-reviewable? Gimme a BREAK!
I’m glad to see Democrats and republicans in Congress find some cojones, apparently because their constituents are hopping mad about this. Arthur at AmeriNZ found this example.
In answer to the question, the devil’s in the details. if there’s help for homeowners who are in their houses, limits on executive compensation and other measures, MAYBE things will turn around some.
And speaking of compensation, from Salon. “Regarding executive pay, Rep. Frank’s draft would mandate that any company selling assets into the program ‘meet appropriate standards for executive compensation,’ including limits on what could be deemed excessive or inappropriate, according to a copy seen by The Wall Street Journal. The government would also have the ability to ‘claw back’ incentive pay that was based on ‘earnings, gains, or other criteria that are later proven to be inaccurate.’ Mr. Paulson is resisting those efforts.
Astoundingly, Paulson plans to fight any efforts to limit executive pay because ‘he fears that provision would render the program moot, since many firms might choose not to participate.’
They might choose not to participate in a $700 billion plan designed to save them from a mess they were primarily responsible for causing? I don’t think I’m alone in finding that prospect irritating.”

On the other hand, someone at Pat Buchanan’s site posted this recently: “It is impossible for capitalism to survive, primarily because the system of capitalism needs some blood to suck. Capitalism used to be like an eagle, but now it’s more like a vulture. It used to be strong enough to go and suck anybody’s blood whether they were strong or not. But now it has become more cowardly, like the vulture, and it can only suck the blood of the helpless. As the nations of the world free themselves, the capitalism has less victims, less to suck, and it becomes weaker and weaker. It’s only a matter of time in my opinion before it will collapse completely.” – Malcolm X
As the letter writer noted, “Sounds pretty damn close to me.”

When was the last time you felt good about voting for a political candidate (on any level of government) feeling that they truly were the right person for the job?

I worked for Tom Keefe for city court judge a few years back. I’d known him for years and he seems to be doing a good job.

What is your favorite “healthy” thing to snack on?

apples and cottage cheese.

What is your favorite “evil” thing to snack on?

Muffins – fruit muffins (blueberry, preferably).

What is your favorite movie comedy of all time?

It’s tricky, because Annie Hall is, but it’s not all that ha-ha funny. On a pure laugh meter it’d be either Airplane! or Young Frankenstein.

Other then Jeopardy!, what is your favorite game show?

I’m partial to the various forms of Pyramid and Password,
ROG

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