I know that Balgavy has got the DVR talk monopolized but I've got something to say. And that something is that PBS is incredible! For years, I would check the listings, think something sounded interesting on PBS, and then not tape it or watch it. Through the magic of DVR, I've been watching a lot of amazing documentaries and new shows. In particular, I can't get enough of "American Experience" and "Frontline."
Recently, I have watched amazing shows on these varied topics:
- The Joe Louis- Max Schmeling fights in the 30's - The Stock Market crash of 1929 - Third party candidates in this year's election (thanks Marc for the tip). - Donald Rumsfeld and the Iraq War - A fascinating documentary about Bush and Kerry.
If you didn't see it the first time, you have another chance. The Choice: 2004 is on again tomorrow night (at least in New York) so make sure you watch it. I know that most of you who read this blog haven't decided yet whether to vote for Bush or Kerry so maybe this show will help you decide.
Oh yeah, I also have a 90 minute documentary that I haven't watched yet about the politics of Dr. Seuss. All hail PBS.
On Thursday, I was dismissing my class in front of the school at the end of the school day. I overheard one Park Slope mom telling another Park Slope mom, "Yeah, I'm happy for the Red Sox fans even if they weren't particularly gracious in their victory."
I had to bite my tongue. If this hadn't been a complete stranger and if I wasn't a teacher at the school she sent her child to and if I hadn't been right in the middle of dismissing my class, I would have given her a severe tongue lashing. Not gracious? Not gracious? Who is she kidding? Have the Yankees fans been gracious after each one of their championships? Give me a break. Yankees fans are the most obnoxious in baseball. They are foul-mouthed, arrogant, and act entitled to everything. Yankees fans have displayed their feelings of superiority (especially to Boston) for years. Finally, they get their comeuppance by becoming the biggest chokers in baseball history and they don't know how to deal with it. I'm still stunned at this woman's complete lack of perspective.
Fans at the "hallowed ground" of Yankee Stadium display their gracious side by throwing bottles onto the field at the first sign of trouble. Jeffery Maier wasn't there this year to save their sorry asses.
And now we all know exactly what Johnny Damon would do- kick the Yankees' asses and destroy Tony Larussa's boys.
And can you figure out which one is the Boston paper (besides the huge heading at the top of the paper that gives it away) and which one is the New York paper? I didn't bother checking the St. Louis paper but I can only imagine it involves 55,000 Midwesteners clad in red giving their fallen heroes a standing O.
And if you need some more baseball talk to tide you over for awhile, check out my 2004 baseball writing. Marc has been kind enough to set up a baseball blog on his website. I will add a new game entry a number of times each week until I run out. First up, a frigid Opening Night in Baltimore when Pedro Martinez learned that his daddies on that night wore orange and black.
The optional topic for last week's writing assignment (stolen from "The BFG") was "I have a pet bee who makes rock and roll music when it flies." One student decided to write about his pet dog who can make hip hop music when it barks.
Up yours, Roald Dahl, this kid outdid your dead white ass!
"I have a pet dog that makes hip hop music while it barks! When I walk it it barks too. It is so cool! I wonder if it dreams hip hop music. That would be cool too. Mabye it goes while it sleeps hip hop hippadihophop. Then I won't be able to sleep. But I would dance to the music! And I wouldn't sleep. Then I would pass out at 3:15. That wouldn't be cool. He does things that are weird while i'm away. For instance, He does break danceing, downlading music and stands on two legs. I never see it happen but I have a video camera and cam him. I have a tape and put it into the video camra. I wish I had a dog like that. That would be super cool."
Bark, dog, bark and show your owner what you can do!
"If cats and dogs reunite then we could have some peace. I mean that we could have some, real PEACE. I think that we could have fun. Playing... with cats and dogs. I know the movie Cats and Dogs but ... Come on. Like my cats hate cusdered my dog. But custered likes them. They play for 10 minutes. Then they go do there business. I geuss Im trieing to say is .......... CATS AND DOGS NEED TO LIKE EACH OTHER. If they dont Ill be angry. Very angry. So now I just want them to like each other. Please god please make them like each other. Thanks for listening by."
You clowns can cry out 1918 as often as you'd like, but you are the ones who just suffered the worst postseason collapse ever!
From Can't Stop the Bleeding. "I only hope Alex Rodriguez and his talented agent Mr. Boras can do something to force a trade to a contender. A player this gifted shouldn't have to spend his prime years toiling in a rebuilding situation."
Make sure to check out the comments section for words of wisdom from Head Apes himself.
I just finished listening to a Curt Schilling interview on WFAN. He said that Rodriguez's Game 6 shenanigans were strictly "bush league" and that Jeter would never have done such a dumb thing. He said that the problem with the Yankees was that they didn't have enough of the classy, clean-playing, champions like they used to. He said that Jeter and Williams personify the old Yankees and that Matsui was an excellent addition to the Yankee tradition. When pressed on who he thinks isn't quite up to the tradition of being a championship type player, Schilling responded, "I think you can figure out who I'm talking about." Zing!
Did you see how funny Pedro looked dancing in the champagne shower? Did you see that punkass bitch Rodriguez glaring at the Red Sox as his season crumbled in front of his eyes? Did you see Billy Crystal looking stunned and old as hell?
Oh, what a glorious night.
I almost felt bad for the sunken eyed Brian Cashman as the game ended. Who will take the fall?
Check out this amazing column from today's Baseball Prospectus. Joe Sheehan is a fantastic writer even if he is a Yankees fan. He has incredible insights and an entertaining writing style. Make sure to read the whole article.
But, if you only have a few moments and still want to know how overrated Derek Jeter is, check this out:
The Yankees deserved to lose, and the Red Sox deserved to win.
What's most interesting about the last two nights is how the events don't fit the storyline. Were it the Red Sox--or the A's or Twins--who had blown two late leads and lost games in extra innings to the Yankees, it would be easy for the media: use the words "clutch," "experience" and "veteran leadership" as many times as possible. After all, it's the Yankees who have the reputation of being the team that wins these types of games, getting there on heart and desire and all the other October clichés.
The fact is, the Yankees have played their worst in the most critical parts of the past two games. After taking a lead in the sixth innings both nights, they haven't scored a run in any of the frames that followed. Last night, they didn't even hit a ball hard after the sixth, save perhaps the Miguel Cairo double in the eighth. Their relievers, not good outside of Mariano Rivera and Tom Gordon anyway, have been shaky, and the defense has been exposed as rangeless. There's been little talk of the Yankees' poor performance, though, and less of the 18 runners they left on base last night.
As it usually does, this is manifested most clearly in the case of Derek Jeter. Jeter has had a terrible series, batting .182/.357/.227 and making a couple of errors in the field. When he booted a ground ball last night, Joe Buck and Tim McCarver nearly hurt themselves in the rush to point out the bad hop that caused the miscue. In every plate appearance, Buck referenced waiting for Jeter "to put his stamp on the series," as if his batting in the .100s wasn't having any impact.
Jeter failed to do anything leading off the first and third innings, and had a poor at-bat with first and second and two outs in the fifth. (Note: the game log doesn't even list this AB; perhaps the whole world is in cahoots to make Jeter look good.) In the sixth inning, the self-fulfilling prophecy came through, as Jeter poked a ball into right field that scored all three runners on the bases, giving the Yankees a 4-2 lead. The previous failures didn't matter, as Captain Clutch had done something.
After that, however, Jeter had many more opportunities to help the Yankees, and didn't. His sacrifice bunt in the eighth with Cairo on second base and no one out was a terrible play, whether called by him or by Joe Torre. Why it’s a good play for the contact hitter who goes to right field a lot to sacrifice there is beyond me; letting Jeter swing is likely to produce the same result with a much better chance of something even better happening.
Jeter then led off the 10th with a strikeout and flied to center in the 12th with the potential winning run on second base, before making the last out of the 14th. His approach in these at-bats, especially the latter two, was terrible.
That Jeter had bad at-bats in important moments doesn't make him a bad person or player. The point is that he's the same player in big situations that he is at other times. He doesn't have the ability to "will" his way into hits; no player in baseball does, because the game isn't designed that way. Were the myth of Jeter a reality, he would have been on base in the 10th, he would have gotten a hit to drive home Miguel Cairo in the 12th. It's not, though; Jeter is a very good baseball player who doesn't possess special October skills, because those skills don't exist.
The way in which Jeter is treated is symptomatic of the entire situation. Put any other team into the story, and the "choking" references would be running hot and heavy.
Maybe not having to make tags to get outs is an actual skill that Jeter possesses, and therefore something we need to add into our defensive metrics.
Jeter dreams of even more accolades if he can just raise his batting average over .200.
The last time I went to Yankee Stadium for a Game 6, I enjoyed myself immensely.
2003 World Series
And thanks to my boy Mitch, I'll be perched yet once again in the left field bleachers rooting on the visiting squad. So while I'm at the game tomorrow, all of you damn Yankees' rooters can watch at home and track Sheffield's and Matsui's batting averages plummet with each successive at-bat!
Mondale and I will be heading to the Bronx for Game 6! And if we're feeling really adventurous, maybe we'll finally set that Jeter shirt aflame in front of 55,000 jackasses!
Everyone's favorite Los Angeles transplant Dave Nelson radios in with his fun experience over the past weekend before and during Lima Time! at Chavez Ravine.
"A few hours before the game, we went to the Century City Mall to return a wedding gift where I saw Roger Cedeno and Albert Pujols shopping w/ their wives. I was tempted to go up to Cedeno and thank him for leaving NY to go suck somewhere else, but I didn't have the chance.
The game was great. Lucky breaks for the Dodgers, a truly inspiring performance from Lima, two dingers by our mensch Green....excellent. The seats were poor--last section of the upper deck in right field. But b/c the seats were crummy, we were sitting w/ a lot of the "real" (in other words, drunk and violent) fans. There were a couple of Cardinals fans fully decked out in red kit. They were treated.......inhospitably. First peanuts came raining down, then empty beer bottles, then full beers, and lastly entire hot dogs. Boy these guys took shit--it was just like the bleachers at the Yankee Stadium. One guy was wearing some kind of Cardinals mardi gras beads and had a red feather sticking out of his STL cap......he was instantly dubbed "Punkahontas" by a wordsmith two rows behind me."
And speaking of everyone's favorite part-time Jew (Shawn Green, not Dave Nelson- he's all Jew), how did I miss this news item about broadcaster Steve Lyons until today?
From today's NY Times:
Lyons was suspended without pay after insensitive remarks he made about the Dodgers' Shawn Green, who is Jewish and chose not to play against the Giants in San Francisco on Yom Kippur.
On that telecast, he said that Green had "probably" taken the day off "for the heritage and not the religion. He's not a practicing Jew," Lyons said. "He didn't marry a Jewish girl." Lyons should have stopped there, but he continued, saying, "And from what I understand, he never had a bar mitzvah, which is unfortunate because he didn't get the money."
Lyons was suspended without pay for the Giants-Dodgers game on Oct. 2 (Eric Karros sat in for him), but he was allowed by Fox to return for the playoffs without making an on-air apology, which he should do tomorrow night during Game 1 of the N.L.C.S. in St Louis.
In a statement, Fox apologized to those viewers who were offended and conceded that Lyons had "exercised poor judgment." The network said he "had expressed extreme remorse." A Dodgers spokesman, John Olguin, said in an e-mail message that Green had not been offended by Lyons's comments.
I have no idea who this kid is, but it damn sure isn't Shawn Green!
Last year I was out of town for the first "Open House New York." This year, I made sure that I was around for it. And through the magic of DVR, I was able to spend my Sunday out on the town and still was able to not miss a pitch of the Braves/ Astros playoff game!
Terrapin Art Gallery/ Private Residence
Yes, that is a miniature waterfall leading to a replica of the Yangtze River with real fish in it.
Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch at Grand Army Plaza
Sometimes as a teacher, you decide to try to challenge your students. On a recent assignment on the book "L*ser", I asked my third grade students to answer this fairly difficult question:
On page 20, J*rry Sp*n*lli writes, "He expected recess to be something different, something new. It turns out to be simply free time. Recess turns out to be just another name for life as he has always known it. Only shorter. His first recess lasted six years. This one is only fifeen minutes." What do you think Sp*n*lli means?
I was surprised by the amount of kids that answered the question in the same way. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that all of the kids who answered in this manner happen to sit near each other. Hmmmm.....
Here are the unedited answers in question:
-I think sp*n*lli is a last name. Because it says Je*rry Sp*n*lli in the Book.
-I think Sp*n*lli is a last name.
-I think sp*n*lli is a last name because J*rry Sp*n*lli, sp*n*lli is after J*rry and that is mosly with ever last name.
-The arters last name?
-I think Sp*n*lly is a last name. I thnk Sp*n*lly is a last name becaus is ses in the book.
There is a girl in my class who is becoming a fast favorite of mine. She is sweet, funny, and occasionally completetly clueless. Today, she came in to school and told that she wanted me to call her by her Hebrew name of Naomi all day because she has Hebrew school this afternoon. Before I could reply, she said, "It's easy. It's like Wyoming but with an N instead of a W!" She didn't quite know how to respond when I asked her if that meant her name was Naomi or Naoming.
Fifteen minutes later, I was leading a class discussion about the electoral college. I asked the class to look in their current issue of "Time For Kids" at a map of the U.S. with the amount of electoral votes that each state has. I asked if anyone knew anything about the electoral college. Her hand shot up. She had a huge enthusiastic grin on her face because she was sure that she knew the answer. So I called on her. Her response? "The Electoral College is where the president went to college! Or maybe it is where the president worked and did important things... like being class president or something!"
Later in the day, A.B. told me about his discussion/ math activity in class today on the same topic. Like any good teacher, I'll be ripping off his idea tomorrow. Thanks, Mondale!
I've had enough of young Red Sox fans bemoaning how hard it is to be part of Red Sox Nation. In particular, I'm talking about people my age (31) or younger. These folks are too young to have any real memory of 1978. My first baseball memories are 1979 and the Orioles blowing a three games to one lead over the Pirates in the World Series. But I was six years old and I got over it. A five year old can survive Bucky Dent.
Since 1986, the Red Sox have played in eight postseasons (1986, 1988, 1990, 1995, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004) and have been regularly competitive over the last twenty years. In the same time frame the Yankees have played in only two more postseasons. Granted, these have been in the last ten years and they've won four championships and played in six World Series, but you get my point. The Orioles have played in only two postseasons during this time.
Yes, the Red Sox had horrible losses in 1986 and 2003, but they also had amazing comebacks in 1986 and 1999. Of course, it isn't as simple as this. Boston fans carry the weight of many generations. Boston fans are fatalistic. Boston fans assume the worst. Boston fans can't just appreciate the beautiful tension of postseason baseball, win or lose, for the gift that it is. Every mention of a big game brings a cry for the heart medicine and a box of Kleenex. What is wrong with these people?
I don't mean to sound harsh. I am fascinated by the Red Sox Nation collective psyche. Honestly, I am. This is not a diatribe against everyone's favorite Red Sox ape. He actually agrees with me on most of my thoughts on this New England phenomenen. I'm quite interested to hear his take on this.
Hooray for Ichiro! Hooray for Ichiro! He broke the all time single season hits record of 257 hits held by George Sisler for 84 years on Friday night. It was an emotional scene in Seattle. His teammates mobbed him at first base, the PA played the theme to "The Natural" and eventually Ichiro made his way to the first row where he honored George Sisler's family. They were very grateful. It was a fairly standard baseball celebration. But fairly standard is all it takes to get my honey crying. That's right, Ichiro's celebration led to tears for Youthlarge. What? Really? For Ichiro? I mean, I can understand my dad crying (he still denies this but I trust my sister's word over his) when Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig's record because he had been watching him for years, but Sujan doesn't have any ties to Ichiro. I would have understood if Jae Seo or Hee Seop Choi had done something heroic, but Ichiro?
Sujan just loves Ichiro so so much!
I should have known- there is something about baseball and my lovely wife that leads to tears. When I proposed to her in Cooperstown last July at Eddie Murray's Hall of Fame introduction, she cried during each of the four speeches. I admit that I teared up during Hal McCoy's speech . But his speech was incredible! He lost his eyesight before a recent season and many Reds players (including the soon to be hated Aaron Boone) convinced him to come back. It was one of the most touching speeches I've ever heard. But how do you cry during Bob Uecker's speech? Or at Gary "The only thing I love talking about more than God is me" Carter's horrendous speech? I'll also give her a pass on Eddie. By the time I got around to proposing (shortly after the last Ed-die, Ed-die-, Ed-die chant died down) she had already cried four times!
Recently, I caught her crying during Mr. 3000! Mr. 3000? I'm afraid to watch "Field of Dreams" with her, a movie that I saw in the theaters with my dad and had to put up with his weeping only to hear him deny that he had cried as soon as the lights went up.
Stone Groove delivering a great speech at the wedding. A speech that did not end in him crying, (if you listen to him) damnit!