Sunday, September 28, 2008


Congratulations on finally nailing down that 20th win, Mike. Now I can go wash the smelly shirt I wore out of superstition for your last 3 victories.

Seriously, it smells.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Some day we'll find it...

This article about Disney's latest attempt to re-popularize the Muppets was in the New York Times this past Sunday, but it went under the radar thanks to that whole Yankee Stadium closing thing. I've always loved the work of Jim Henson and long considered him an inspiration. My elementary school library had a biography of Jim Henson, which I borrowed so frequently that I can vividly remember the book's opening, a description of Henson's memorial service in New York City attended by Muppet-tie-wearing businessmen and Big Bird himself.

I know that the Muppets have attempted a few comebacks in the past that never really took off (which, disappointing), and I thought the article was interesting, even if I was somewhat put off by the amount of corporate-speak it contained. But the really alarming thing? 

And because the Muppets have been without a regular television gig for more than a decade, many children and younger teenagers don't know them. 
Ms. Breier said recent focus groups indicated that some children could not even identify Kermit and Miss Piggy, much less ancillary characters like Fozzie Bear and Gonzo the Great.

Ugh, really? This makes me sad. I blame Disney's new puppets, Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers. 

Monday, September 22, 2008

Johnny Damon and his penchant for breaking bats

If you've listened to Yankees broadcasts this season, you know that Michael Kay is fascinated by the number of bats that Johnny Damon breaks. Such fascination has caused him to utter such bon mots as "I wonder what would happen if Johnny Damon faced Mariano Rivera? You know, they both break so many bats..." (Uh, Michael? You may want to peruse this page.)

Anyway, in one of the many articles I read about what the Hall of Fame was taking from last night's game, Damon said he was donating the bat he used to smack what I'm sure he hoped would be the last home run hit in Yankee Stadium. Alas, that honor would go to Jose Molina - who's donating his spikes - and with regard to the bat Damon used?

[Johnny Damon] borrowed one from outfielder Xavier Nady because, as Damon told [Hall of Fame President Jeff] Idelson, "mine are all broken." 

Damon has been breaking bats at a record clip this year, so the bat on display from the home run will bear the name of another player.

"Xavier got a chuckle over that," Idelson said.

Heh heh. So did I.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

And THAT'S why you always wear a fitted hat

The day has come - and I agree with those who say it was too soon - for Yankee Stadium to hold its last game.

So much has been made about saying goodbye to the Stadium and all the memorable moments that have occurred within its walls, and of course I feel obligated to add my own most memorable moment, having seen my share of games there. Ultimately, it won't be seeing everyone's favorite mid-season callup Shelley Duncan hit two home runs*, or the Yanks-Sox game started by Joba and ended by Brett Gardner with a walk-off single, or sitting in the Stadium with a seemingly never-ending rain delay in effect the night before I took the SATs**. Admittedly, it's a bit more mundane than those.

It was September 2000, and I had arrived home from my first day of school to see my dad's car in the driveway. As far as I knew, he hadn't planned on taking a half day, and I was worried something might be wrong. Imagine my surprise when my sister greeted me at the door with Yankees tickets - we were going to the game that night. I quickly got changed and we headed out, keeping our fingers crossed for minimal traffic on our trek from North Jersey to the Bronx. On our previous trip to the Stadium, we sat on the George Washington Bridge for an hour and were hoping for a better result this time.

We remarkably arrived at the Stadium before game time, and made our way to the seats behind the Yankees dugout, where an usher diligently checked tickets and a waiter gave us the opportunity to overpay for chicken fingers delivered to our seats. Said seats were a far cry from the upper tier we found ourselves in the past few times we visited the stadium. My sister leaned over to me, barely able to control herself.

"Look who's sitting in front of us, two rows up."

The backs of the heads that I was staring at didn't immediately look familiar. But then it hit me.

"Oh my god," I whisper-shrieked to my sister. "Derek Jeter's parents. That's so cool!"

Perhaps this is not that exciting to you. But at 12 and 15 years old, my sister and I were, to steal a line from Bruce Springsteen, so young and in love with Derek, decorating our lockers at school with pictures of the Yankee shortstop (along with a few of his teammates) and swooning every time he came to bat. 

There was a lot to cheer about during that game. A strong performance from El Duque and offense entirely provided by home runs from the heart of the order - Paul O'Neill, Bernie Williams, and Tino Martinez. Eventual domination by Mariano Rivera. But first...

About halfway through the game, a player on the Twins fouled a ball back, a pop up that was coming right towards us. The crowd surged around us, people literally coming out of the woodwork, hands reached up to the sky, hips ready to box out anyone who might come between them and their little horsehide treasure. My dad held out his baseball cap and we watched the ball fall into the hat...

...with such force that it caused the adjustable plastic band in the back to open up and let the ball bounce out and roll under the seats in front of us. Despite a last ditch effort on my sister's part, the ball was grabbed by someone in the row in front of us as we all stared at the hat in disbelief. As did Dr. Jeter.

"What happened?" he asked my dad. My sister and I gave each other OH MY GOD looks.

"Geez," said my dad. "You know, I had it! It just..." and he gestured to the back of the hat. He was still in shock.

"That's too bad. Think you need a new hat," Dr. Jeter said with a kind smile, and turned around and returned to the game.

"Wow," said my dad to no one in particular.

A month later for his birthday, dad got a nice fitted Yankees cap. The foul ball, however, remains elusive, no matter how many games we attend...

*I know he didn't even hit .200 this season, but what can I say, I've got a soft spot for the big lug.
**Maybe if the Yankees actually won that game. Although I did ace the verbal section of the test anyway. And yes, I suppose in a way that these footnotes are a tribute to the late David Foster Wallace.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Pick a Ticket

My friends are counting on me to use my ticket mojo to grab some good seats for the Phillies game this weekend. And I know that Comcast Tickets has drops day of game (which I proved earlier by pulling up a pair of primo seats for tonight's game against the Marlins), but do I risk getting completely shut out of the game by waiting until Friday? Or should I go ahead and buy some less good, but slightly overpriced tickets off StubHub?

Dilemmas, dilemmas...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Matt Garza reacts after giving up a monster home run to Xavier Nady in last night's Yankees-Rays game.

Monday, September 01, 2008


Above: It is physically impossible to get Dippin' Dots at the stadium sans helmet.

On my way into Yankee Stadium yesterday, I tripped, fell, and stubbed my toe badly. The ticket-taker - or ticket-scanner, I suppose - immediately helped me up and asked if I was okay, which, other than my pride, I was. A scraped hand, a bruised knee, a slightly bloody toe - all minor injuries, and I enjoyed the game well enough after I limped to my seat. Heavy handedness aside, what a metaphor for the Yankees' season. Stumbling, stumbling, stumbling, and limping across the finish line. Another pitching prospect unable to get a win. Stranding runners in scoring position like it's going out of style. Our opening day starting pitcher, DH and catcher all spending significant time on the DL.

All that being said, barring a miracle comeback, this season seems to have been about the little victories. Watching Moose be surprisingly dominant after a horrid season and seeing him win on my birthday. Seeing Giambi sport the epitome of a "so bad it's good" mustache. Being there for a walk-off win against the Red Sox. Watching Joba's - albeit brief - starting career. Despite the fact that the Yanks lost today (and the fact that my undefeated streak this year went bye bye), it was a gorgeous day and an enjoyable game. Some of the highlights:
  • A guy sitting two rows in front of me wore a Carl Pavano t-shirt. This made my dad and I laugh uncontrollably and I compared it to seeing a unicorn. 
  • For the first time I can remember in all of my baseball-seeing days, I heard "Rosalita" played over the stadium PA. This made me practically giddy. The little things, people. The little things.
  • The 'Stache went yard! There were few offensive highlights, but this was a big one. I kind of want to write a fan letter to his mustache. He strikes me as the type of guy who'd be amused by it. 
  • When Xavier Nady gets a hit, they put up a cool comic-book style X-MAN graphic. He wields baseball bats and sports superhero-style muscles. Because I am nothing if not 11 years old inside, I find this AWESOME. I didn't think to snap a picture of this and now I'm on the lookout for one.