"The Yankees get John Olerud and Esteban Loaiza for Jose Contreras.
The Red Sox get Doug Mientkiewicz, Dave Roberts, and Orlando Cabrera for Nomar Garciaparra, Matt Murton, a pile of cash, and Henri Stanley.
Theo's the genius, and Cashman's the idiot, right?"
forgot the pile of cash on the yankees part, but other than that, yep. sosh is just full of smarties. :D
the more i think about the olerud signing the more i like it. there's absolutely nothing to lose there. the only thing i'm really disappointed with is no moves for a decent lefty arm for the pen.
so let me get this straight
the sox dump nomar and get mientkiewicz, roberts and cabrera? they get a little better defensively and lose nomar's bat? the boy wonder got screwed.
nomar, i hope you fare well in chicago too. i always was fond of you.
i was initally shocked, then puzzled, then not thrilled. as it
sinks in, i think that if he can eat up innings, be a decent number 4/5 guy, and show some balls out there, i will be satisfied. he's a free agent at the end of the year: if he fails, make a mission out of pavano in the offseason and grab some nice draft picks for letting loaiza go. actually, what i like best about it is getting rid of jose's terrible horrible no good very bad contract.
good luck, el titan. i hope you fare better in chicago. just not against the yankees.
lol what can brown do for me lol
one run on four hits over six innings, and provide an agita free
evening, that's what.
arod the rbi machine of the game, AND a steve
? what the hell? shouldn't he have been having a setback somewhere? guess the blue moon
is in full effect.
in the "there aren't enough curse words in the UNIVERSE let alone my lexicon" department:
"So why didn't the Yankees come close to getting Johnson? Because the list of players the Diamondbacks wanted started with Javier Vazquez and included minor leaguers Dioner Navarro, Robinson Cano, Andy Phillips, Eric Duncan and Melky Cabrera."
- the post
(i-know-it's-the-post-but) Javy? and god knows how many from that list? and Javy? for what is in effect a salary dump? FOR A 40 YEAR OLD WITH A BAD KNEE? I DONT CARE IF HE'S RANDY JOHNSON. OR GROVER CLEVELAND ALEXANDER OR BOB GIBSON OR CY FUCKING YOUNG. FUCK YOU GUYS.
. "Why he's reacted this way, I really couldn't tell you.'' bitch please. cashman's memorable "addition by subtraction" line wasn't a big enough clue?
meanwhile, across town...
the hell are the mets doing
, shipping off their top two pitching prospects for an underacheiver and a... a devil ray not named tino?
this isn't to say that these guys have no talent. i've certainly seen enough of zambrano to know that he can be nasty. but the control.... maybe mr magic rick peterson sees something fixable. i'm just kind of scratching my head. i mean, it helps them now
. anything has to be better than scott erickson and matt ginter and whoever else they were throwing out there. and they're young enough to be part of the rotation for awhile. but i'm still scratching my head.
the biggest winners in all this, i'm sure, are the mets wives, who will no doubt have their hands full with the, errr, vivacious anna benson
and her giant.... forehead
. yeah, forehead.
i don't even know what to say
i feel terrible for the guy, but like june
, i don't think we're getting all of it. something about this isn't sitting right with me.
"If Johnson is tiring of Randy Choate blowing games, he ought to get a whiff of Felix Heredia."
i love my mother
she was away visiting her sister in maine, and of course over the weekend made her sister's family watch the boston-yankees games. she bought me a boston sunday paper with the brawl technicolor splashed all over the place, and said: "do you know about these yankee hater hats? they're all over the place up there! you go to the beach, there's a yankee hater hat. you go to the store for milk, there's a yankee hater hat. your cousin can't even wear a yankees hat to school because last time the kids took it away and threw it in the garbage. what kind of parents allow their kids to learn that sort of behavior? AND [in hushed tones] there are shirts that say "yankees suck!" and they're not even at a game! can you imagine?!" i teased her, "well, did you bring ME one?" to which she said, wide eyed and indignant, "ARE YOU INSANE? I WOULD NEVER GIVE THEM MY MONEY!"
something like dancing
one of the things i enjoy about watching alex rodriguez play day in and day out: those swings where he reaches out
and pokes at a ball just off the outside corner, and ends up poking it over the right field fence. no effort, no violence. just a restrained easy grace, like the power's an afterthought.
guess it's time for the annual mo gives everyone agita stretch.
what this guy said
"What I like the most about rooting for this Yankee team however, is knowing that they will come out tomorrow playing very hard, wanting to win badly, as if it were a playoff game. I don’t doubt the teams’ intensity one bit. And that does wonders for the digestion. Today’s loss smarts, but I still like the way the team played."
- bronx banter
cool as a cucumber
built around a couple posts i made elsewhere, last night:
now that i'm sitting back and not seething at this game, the sox haven't got as much of a hard won series as perhaps they or their nation'd like to think.
- yankees surprisingly beat the crap out of their ace. frankly, i still am wounded from the events of 2001 and frankly, i neither expected nor hoped the yankees would beat schilling
friday night. i believe that was the most Important Thing that happened all weekend. i'd make a dig at their closer but he's been a pile of suck lately
so i can't in good conscience gloat about that.
- sox literally beat the crap
out of a career AAAA pitcher, knocking him out early, and take advantage of a tired, abused yankee pen. because of who was starting, i assumed this was going to be a loss as soon as i heard the weekend's rotation. messy game on the whole, and mo with his second blown save of the year, in grand fashion like #1 at texas. for all he's done and will do, i cannot fault him.
- sox beat the crap out of a back end of the rotation guy who historically has trouble with their team - i for one hoped it would be different, but i accept it. cue that old song about a game of inches: jeter's line drive bouncing off foulke, damon's hr meeting the pesky pole. the only thing that really gets my blood boiling was the camera all up in ben affleck's smarmy cretinous grill every two minutes.
the yankees didn't lose a whole lot. they left boston with a still-strong hold on the american league east - even a sweep would not have damaged that. the red sox had to have these games. they go back to baltimore now, and baltimore owns them. in fact, they have the scheduling disadvantage from here on out, and while at said disadvantage, boston will need to struggle and scratch their way to secure the wild card
. the yankees, on the other hand, get to play a drowning toronto team about a hundred times, and when these two teams meet again in september, the yankees will be a different animal. after all, the regular season is only a rehearsal, a fine-tuning for this yankee machine. errr. do i sound like a YES propagandist? probably. do i care? not in the least.
disgusting part 2.
see, i have a whole positive vibes dissertation going but i'm not feeling it right now.
instead, you may read my imaginary yankees-on-the-plane-to-japan diary entry, so thoughtfully brought to my attention by miss alex. i forgot i'd ever written it:
jason giambi, 9:32 pm: just left chicago... me and sheff are gonna to steal tony clark's widescreen laptop later for a pornfest. can't wait to see that lesbian MILF site almonte was talking about at batting practice the other day!
gary sheffield, 9:36 pm: pudge was right, these yanni mp3s are awesome! he's got pretty good taste in music, for a gay dude. not that there's anything wrong with that. i hope clark falls asleep soon.
hideki matsui, 10:03 pm: will someone please tell lofton that just because i'm asian doesn't mean i think jackie chan is funny?
kevin brown, 10:11 pm: no alcohol my ASS. i poured everclear in an empty hand sanitizer bottle and snuck it on the plane.
mike mussina, 10:12 pm: THIS BOOK [the da vinci code] ASFSDGH@^$ING SUCKS
tony clark, 10:12 pm: bubba's letting me use his dell - my brand new apple disappeared! my wife's gonna kill me.
derek jeter, 10:13pm: skip just put a few good men on again. i didnt think he was serious when he said he was going to watch it over and over. this is gonna be like chinese water torture.
alex rodriguez, 10:18 pm: here comes monahan with the gatorade again. he said if i don't drink more he's going to stick an iv in me. he's already got willie randolph hooked up. what a freak.
hideki matsui, 10:50pm: NO KENNY LOFTON I DON'T WANT TO WATCH RUSH HOUR 2
kevin brown, 11:07 pm: shit, i hope that was everclear. oh well. it's all alcohol, right?
just a little comic relief for those of us not keen on tonight's tragicomedy. but what do i know, i turned it off when kevin millar high-fiving john kerry made my stomach turn. this baseball obsession's interfered with most other aspects of my life, i'd like to at least keep my voting conscience unsullied.
"Five Yankees relievers pitched the final 5 1/3 innings, with all but Scott Proctor flopping. Paul Quantrill looks spent, and no one could blame him. Felix Heredia would have been released by now had he not claimed to be lefthanded (still open for debate)."
i can only hope that i've been subjected to felix heredia for the last time. i am not going to say anything about wishing he'd come out of the brawl with a bruised pinky, nope. cause i'm just classy like that. i really don't mind when mo breaks my heart, but i'd rather he didn't do it in such dramatic fashion. but mo's press face is zen as always, and it makes me feel better. also comforting, in its screwy way, is that they capitalized on a closer who had nothing. the sox beat up on a couple of aaa pitchers who, when all is said and done, won't likely be a part of the final picture. the fragile state of the yankees pitching was left exposed yet again, and maybe someone will finally do something about it.
it was by turns satisfying and surreal watching
the veneer crack on the snake-charmer-cool big man on campus. and while violence
generally makes me all squirmy, (cover your ears, boys) i am going to admit the sight of this graceful animal spitting epithets
made my girly parts blush. oh wait, this isn't my diary? pardon me.... i don't think a lot of sox fans realize that arod's been thrown at a lot
this year, once at his head and another very near it. the same goes for sheffield, and jeter's hand is now broken as a result of his 4579th time being hit. there's been no retaliation. tempers were high already. mix in the tensions that exist in this particular series, well... anyway. i'm not going to change anyone's mind. it is what it is. newsday helpfully provides some historical context with a blow-by-blow
of yankee brawls. graig nettles is probably sitting somewhere smiling and saying, "NOW he's a real third baseman."
it would have been a nice win, because of the fight. but what a long brutal messy game it was. i might be irritated at the loss, if it weren't also so amusing watching the sox grasp at the wild card.
what kind of pussy goes after a guy, mask-on, flailing around like it's a middle school girlfight? terrible. i hope pudge fisk gets on the phone to varitek and tears him a new asshole on the art of the baseball brawl.
oh cap'n my cap'n
"Never have those old 'No-mah's bet-tuh' chants seemed more ridiculous, more preposterous, more utterly, embarrassingly idiotic than about an hour and 15 minutes before last night's first pitch at Fenway Park.
That's when Derek Jeter argued his way into Joe Torre's lineup with a broken hand!
That's when Jeter finished drilling about 17 straight balls over the Green Monster with a broken hand!
That's when Jeter, who had made long practice throws from deep in the shortstop hole with a broken hand, satisfied his manager that he could tolerate the pain in his broken hand enough to play a game that couldn't mean much less to the Yankees in the standings but couldn't mean more in the cosmic sense to the Red Sox, and one of their players in particular.
Jeter couldn't have figuratively slapped Nomar Garciaparra, and the entirety of Red Sox Nation, across the face any harder at that precise moment if he actually did so with enough force to break his other hand.
...When Jeter's Hall of Fame plaque is engraved, the first line should read, 'Played in more World Series than he could count on his broken hand!'"
- newark star ledger
that kieth foulke pitch jeets crushed barely foul landed on the moon, just now.
of course, not getting a home run there, that was just my old stripper friends mystique and aura's sage crafty way of setting up a-rod's Yankee Moment. my girls go on the road, too:
"Around the Yankees clubhouse, the moment was duly noted. Nobody ever questioned Rodriguez' numbers which, despite a .278 batting average, were right up where they were expected to be. He'd already hit 24 home runs, already driven in 61 runs, already turned himself into one of the best defensive third basemen in all of baseball.
He just hadn't had his Moment yet. He hadn't dived into the stands the way Derek Jeter had earlier this month. He hadn't hit the ball into the upper deck off Pedro Martinez, as Posada had done, or won a 10-pitch war with Mike Timlin to hit a game-winning double, the way Gary Sheffield had. Hell, even John Flaherty, who plays once a week, had beaten Boston with a game-winning ground-rule double. Those were Moments sure to be etched forever in the Yankees' spiritual scrapbooks, because they'd helped win games, and they'd come against the Red Sox."
- ny post
and this *before* the game...
"These Sox are a Fortune .500 company. They make a fortune and play .500."
- boston herald
for all my blase posturing, i think tonight's victory was important twofold:
1) quickly establishing the tone for the series, and by extension the rest of the season
2) reminding the sox, the league, the fans, and curt himself of curt schilling's fallibility
OMG A-ROD EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!
i love the sound of yankee rbi's pinging off the monster.
"The Yankees could hardly stop themselves from laughing when asked yesterday about this weekend's "big" series. They said all the right things about the race not being over, the Red Sox being a great team, and more. But if you looked closely you could see some eyes rolling.
Mariano Rivera said outright what many hinted at. 'I don't care about the Red Sox,' he said. 'They can do whatever they want.'
Rodriguez is more polished with his answers - he uttered the phrase 'one game at a time' four times during a pregame interview, earning him an 'A' in boringspeak - and he has caught on that the regular season is often just a preview of the more important one for the Yankees.
'Every series we play, without a doubt, is a big, big series for the other team,' he said. 'So we get everyone's best foot forward, we get everyone's 'A' game. All that is great preparation for our team.'
If that sounds a bit haughty, well, that's the Yankees."
"'We're not in the best situation for me to miss five games,' said Ortiz, who is batting .305 and ranks among the American League leaders in home runs (26), RBIs (87), doubles (33), total bases (232), and extra-base hits (62). 'I have to face my punishment for what happened, but I wasn't expecting that many games.'
...'I should have never thrown my bats out there, but it's not like I meant to hit anyone,' Ortiz said. 'I think I did the right thing apologizing to them, and they thought it was the nicest thing I did the whole series I was there. It was over right there.'"
- boston globe
good job, tizzle. admitting you're wrong is the first step.
1) being able to appeal and have any semblance of control over what games are missed is asinine. what's the point of having rules, then?
2) the hell is going on over in that there clubhouse, exactly, that even mild-mannered goofy ortiz is busting shit up?
kittens and rainbows:
"Sierra, long past the surliness of his youth, entertains teammates with his outrageous humor, including a wacky rendition of Torre's trudge to the mound for pitching changes. His flashy suits turn heads when he walks into the clubhouse, and, almost always, there is a matching chapeau."
- hartford courant
and duque! wily elegant el duque! the line says it better than any newspaper ever could: 7IP 4H 0R 0ER 1BB 10K. it's like a lullaby.
maybe i was a little hard on k-lo
after all, he's no man-ram.
"In the seventh, with a runner on third, David Newhan hit a ball that clanged off the center field wall. Damon chased it down and threw it somewhere in the direction of second and third base. Ramirez, however, inexplicably intercepted the throw from just 30 or so feet away, stretching wide to snare a ball that needed no snaring. By the time he got up and threw the ball in, Newhan was well on his way to touching them all.
'That was kind of a defense mechanism (from Ramirez),' said Damon. 'He jumps and makes a highlight catch. Unfortunately, it was an embarrassing one for me and for him.'"
it makes me cringe.
gary sheffield, quote machine.
"Sheffield said that pregame stretching and batting practice wasn't the same without Jeter around. 'It was pretty flat,' Sheffield said. 'I told Derek I didn't know how the game was going to go.
'We're not the Yankees without Jeter,' Sheffield added. 'But when the game started, the offense seemed to click.'"
- daily news
the only thing soap opera-ish about this clubhouse seems to be jason giambi's neverending battle with his own body:
"The buzz was not even about the small fracture in shortstop Derek Jeter's right hand that kept him out of the game and might keep him out of the series finale this afternoon.
Instead, the word everyone heard was cancer because it was spoken several times by a visibly troubled Jason Giambi, the slugging first baseman, who sat out the game."
- ny times
DUN DUN DUN:
""Today was just checking to make sure I had no cancer or anything else,' Giambi said. 'Tomorrow is going back to the infectious disease doctor and see - hopefully get all the results and everybody sit down and concur and just have an answer.'"
the infectious disease doctor? is that some kinda specialist? and "anything else," i love what anything else
could mean. malaria? bubonic plague? gout? cholera? creutzfeldt-jakob? in all seriousness, i'd be terrified.
[a source wrote] "Pretend you are a graphics producer for a baseball broadcast. The network's lead announcer mentions on the air that the Angels are particularly proficient at scoring two-out runs. Your job is to make this announcer look as good as possible. You immediately look up how many runs the Angels have scored in that situation and get it on the air, not to get in the announcer's ear and patiently explain that this stat has no context.
"If you're a rookie producer, say, working a baseball game, and the network's lead announcer -- the top on-air guy -- says something on the air that you don't agree with, is it likely that you'd present your theory to the audience at the risk of offending him? Or would you put up the statistic that appears to mean something and be satisfied that at least 80 percent of your viewing public will be satisfied with it?"
Here was my epiphany."Your job is to make this announcer look as good as possible." There's the problem. And here's a bigger one: "You put up the statistic that appears to mean something and be satisfied that at least 80 percent of your viewing public will be satisfied with it." Holy cow.
... I guess I already knew that it's a major priority in television to make the talent look good. What I hadn't realized was that the truth is not too big a thing to sacrifice in that pursuit. So I've had to amend my list of who is being served by the networks that broadcast sports in what order. It now goes like this:
1. The on-air talent
2. Non-sports fans
3. Sports fans
i pity the fool whose job it is to make tim mccarver look good. insert joke about whoever gets paid to spray his hair orange here.
what a clubhouse cancer!
"Gary Sheffield and Tony Clark, experienced players who know how it is, were talking before the game Tuesday.
Sheffield was talking about the pain in his left shoulder and how many more cortisone shots he may need to get through the season.
'I was asking him, What am I doing this for? What am I trying to prove?' Sheffield said.
Clark, known as a good listener, nodded and agreed that a lot of players wouldn't be playing.
Then I said, 'You got a lot of guys in here fighting for a ring,' Sheffield said. 'That's what I'm doing it for.' "
- hartford courant
oh that Bill Madden
"As for the Red Sox, Johnson's disinclination to reunite with Curt Schilling has been well-documented, and you can be sure that the entire Fenway nuthouse of pampered stars and disgruntled free agents-to-be has little appeal for him. The more things change, the more they remain the same in Beantown where Red Sox manager Terry (The Enabler) Francona elected last week to give Pedro Martinez an extra day of his annual week long midseason vacation to the Dominican Republic by pitching Derek Lowe (who got bombed by the Angels) in the first game back. Francona insisted that was always the plan, but suspicions abounded that the Red Sox were concerned Pedro wouldn't make it back in time to pitch the second-half opener. In any case, his delayed start will now preclude him from facing the Yankees next weekend."
edit for clarification: the johnson mention was of less interest to me than the jab at the sox team chemistry.
kittens and rainbows.
``If they have a lead in the seventh inning, you pretty much just wish for the best,'' Tampa Bay's Aubrey Huff said. ``They've got Gordon and Rivera. That's about as automatic as you can get.''
i want to do terrible things to kenny lofton.
and i don't mean that in a devastatingly sexy way.
on the july 17th game:
Did Quantrill think the score would be tied?
"Yeah, or else Giambi was dead," he said. "One of the two, or both."
Jason Giambi lived to tell about it. He leaped and pounced to his left, spearing the ball behind him for an out, then flopping into the dirt.
"There wasn't a whole lot of think time," Giambi said. "I just dove and laid myself out. It was hooking. There wasn't much left to keep it in my webbing. It was right in the tip of my webbing and ended up sticking."
After a strikeout, Omar Infante rifled a ball toward the third-base line. Rodriguez left his feet and reached high, grabbing the liner to end the inning. The lead was intact, somehow.
I was just making sure my cornermen weren't sleeping," Quantrill said. "I figured if I wasn't getting them out when they were hitting it soft, I might as well let them hit rockets - as long as they weren't at me."
i am ecstatic this tigers series is over:
1. i don't have to see omar infante's batting stance for a VERY VERY VERY long time. omar is newly a member of that elite group of players whose batting stances make me want to gouge out my eyeballs with a rusty fork. the others: johnny damon, jim leyritz, craig counsell.
2. detroit's lineup announcer guy. jesus fucking christ. he sounded like he was doing a monster truck rally
, not a baseball game. i kept expecting to hear "SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAAAAY!"
peter gammons exists on some other planet.
from his latest disjointed mess
"Randy's also the face of the team that won a World Series in an astounding four seasons."
astounding? that team was built to win, as those 97 marlins were built to win. there was NOTHING astounding about it.
from a 2001 article
...and the Arizona Diamondbacks , brought together rotisserie style from the prizes of the free agent market to win a National League pennant in their fourth year.
...The Diamondbacks are, at once, a very new and a very old baseball club. They came to us in 1998, after Phoenix sports impresario Jerry Colangelo contributed $130 million to an expansion fund for the benefit of existing Major League club owners. Soon enough after their first pitch, the Diamondbacks had assembled the best club money could buy, leading to a playoff in their second season and financial difficulties in their third.
At the trading deadline last year, the Diamondbacks dealt for right-hander Curt Schilling, one of the game's very best pitchers. In tandem with lefty Randy Johnson, another of the game's very best, Schilling has led a group of 11 players in their thirties to their first World Series. Among them are ex-Reds Reggie Sanders, Greg Swindell and Mike Morgan, none of whom is younger than 33.
Though the Diamondbacks were no more than pretty good during the regular season, they've been deadly during the postseason simply because no one can top Schilling and Johnson in the front two slots of the pitching rotation. But the Diamondbacks will bring little pitching behind Schilling and Johnson, and they don't carry a lot of offense beyond Sanders and their hitting star, Luis Gonzalez.
assembled assembled assembled assembled assembled. non-astounding.
more in line with the best interests of baseball would be something like, oh, peter gammons gets a fucking editor.
stupid page 2
get out of my brain, you herbs.
the randy johnson question.
i'm nothing but conflicted over it.
dominant. then there's the mullet, then there's that knee. but i don't want anyone else to have him, even though i know he can be got to. then again this rotation as is has the potential to be incredible, still, all it is is potential, unfulfilled potential. if they get healthy, he undoubtedly joins the winners he wants to be among. but if they don't? if they continue to be inconsistent and injury plagued, he goes from being the only sure thing on one team to the only sure thing on another. but i don't want anyone else to have him. his age bothers me. if only this team could get younger. whatever prospects they'd fork over, are they legit or products of the hype factory? what if he comes east and struggles? if he comes east and gets hurt? if he comes east, and they don't win the world series, again
, or if they don't even make the playoffs? i'm numb to the high payroll/buying championships/evil empire garbage, still, will some part of me finally think, enough is enough [snort. alright, so that one's a stretch] ? but i don't want anyone else to have him.
that all star circus reminded me that, while a-rod can make a girl swoon a hundred different ways, i miss watching sori.
"Alfonso Soriano is like a Weeble on the juice in there. Everything's wiggling: his bat, his butt, his knees, and his teeth working the gum. The guy's numbers are impressive, the way he gets 'em -- somehow quieting this riot of a body down as it comes through the zone -- is freakin' miraculous." - Eric Neel
"Before the game, Soriano remembered the warm reception Tino Martinez received from fans when he came to Yankee Stadium after signing with St. Louis. He coveted a similar reception. `I hope they love me,' he said
it is beautiful.
i cheated and stole this from an entry i made elsewhere, but i just reread it and thought it appropriate for this venue:
half-hearing baseball on the couch as i drift in and out. speaking of, a trillion articles
and still there are no right words
for what transpired
the other night
. this comes close
; just ignore the weird undercurrent of political allegiance.
because it was everything i love about this game that, as old barty said
, is designed to break your heart.
how does one team manage to thrill me down to my toes one night
, and the next
make me feel like i've vomited up my intestines a la some Fulci film?
what it feels like for a girl.
Baseball is the sexiest sport
Manhood is not about muscles, penis size or aggression, but about those softer things: Silence, anticipation, humility and loyalty.
By Harriet Archer
- - - - - - - - - -
October 23, 2000 | NEW YORK -- It's World Series time here, and the reality of a Subway Series has transformed the city and its citizens. The city is no longer about Downtown or Uptown, West Side or East Side, outer boroughs or suburbs, Beekman Places or Adam Clayton Powell Boulevards. Because when the Yankees won the American League Championship Series on Tuesday, a day after the Mets clinched the National League Championship Series, New York was reduced to two distinct points, an axis buttressed by Yankee Stadium on one side and Shea Stadium on the other. Everyone has, quite simply, gone batty.
But despite the hoopla, or perhaps because of it, there is a distinct atmosphere of melancholia and loss in the city, particularly among its female baseball fans. Subway Series or no Subway Series, mid-to-late October means the end of baseball season, when Derek and Tino and Mike and Robin pack up their stuff and head back to Florida or California or Texas or whatever warm place it is that they live during the off-season. These men -- hardworking, loyal, humble -- provide the sort of excitement during the months of April to October that the women of this city find hard to come by in the males who saunter down its streets. And so, as the season ends and the baseball boys step off and ship out, many a woman's heart finds itself alone again.
I fell in love with the New York Yankees in 1996, after watching a playoff game at a friend's house over beer and chips. As the daughter of a football fanatic and girlfriend to a hockey nut, I was aware of the existence of the game but completely ignorant of its reality and the men who play it. The Yankees changed all that.
There was Chuck Knoblauch, the softspoken infielder and leadoff hitter blessed with a handsome, open face and gentle, long-lashed eyes. He was followed, of course, by Derek Jeter: 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds of sinewy muscle wrapped in smooth cappuccino skin and finished off by a pair of ripe buttocks like a voluptuous bow on a Christmas present. There was Paul O'Neill, the square-jawed, curly-haired Irish lad with the never-ending legs and a penchant for tantrums and the physical abuse of water bottles. And who could forget Tino Martinez, the smoldering, dark-eyed Cuban with the sort of sturdy lower body that makes a woman like myself want to fall to her knees and pray?
All of these fine young men still play for the Yankees, but I speak about them in the past tense as a way to distance myself from them during these last few days of the season. They have wives and girlfriends and children to attend to and I, like other New York baseball gals, have learned to repress my desires on cue, at least until the next season rolls around and the guys -- conditioned, well-fed and well-rested -- are back in town. The winter will be lonely for us. There will be barren, cold nights characterized by too many glasses of wine for too much money when, just months earlier, we shrugged off the same drink dates and after-work parties in order to be home in front of the TV with our boys. It will be -- as it always is -- a difficult winter without them.
When women speak of baseball players, we tend to talk of tight pants, of bats and balls, of butts and backs and biceps. We marvel at the curves of their Achilles tendons, the slope of their calves, the tautness of their hamstrings and the swell of their forearms. We giggle when the guys rearrange their testicles, dirty their uniforms or lean bat handles up against their groins while they readjust their gloves. We salivate and fantasize, even fetishize. When announcers like Bob Costas or Tim McCarver or Joe Buck speak of "slapping it to center field," or "a fastball high, tight and inside," or "barehanding" or "getting a piece of it," we bat our eyelashes and blush. But for all the preening, posturing and sexual innuendo that accompany the game of baseball, women, I believe, have come to love the sport because it is about men and their manhood. And manhood is not about muscles or penis size or aggression, but about those softer things: silence, anticipation, humility and loyalty.
This is the secret: For all our crowing over Derek's derriere or Andy's eyes, we are more attracted to the game of baseball and the men who play it because of what it says about their values. Unlike football, hockey or boxing, baseball says nothing about the primal, untamed, innate beastliness of man. Women are made aware of such things not only in organized sport but in such things as rape and murder, the lyrics of Eminem and the propensity for civilization's leaders to engage in war. Baseball shows, instead, that men are as capable of control as they are of creating chaos. For baseball players are required to sublimate the sort of primitive desires encouraged in other male athletes -- aggression, rage, dominance -- in favor of something approaching grace: a grace that can be found in the lift of a long, well-hit home run, or the efficiency of a perfectly executed double play, or the determination of a batter who fouls off one nasty slider after another. Or the grace in not throwing a bat after being struck out, of not challenging an umpire's call. A true baseball hero sucks it up and thinks about his next chance to contribute.
And baseball players come to play. A month ago, my new boyfriend and I -- both Yankees fans -- planned to watch a division playoff game together on my 27-inch television. He was scheduled to arrive at 8 o'clock, so at 7 p.m. I set about cleaning my apartment and shuffled down the street to the store, where I bought a six-pack of beer, two bags of chips, salsa and a box of Tastykakes. By 8:30, he hadn't arrived and the Yankees were in the midst of a second-inning rally. Nine-thirty came and went; still no sign of my boyfriend. Yankees up 4-2. By 10 I began to worry. By 11, I was livid, and I called his apartment to see where the hell he was. There was no answer and, as I slammed the phone down in disgust, Tino Martinez hit a double to right field and drove in a run. I sighed and settled back onto the couch, smiling. At least there were some guys in the world a girl could count on.
It takes purpose to play a game like baseball, and the type of man who plays the game is the type of man a woman wants both in her home and her bed. These are men who pay attention to how details fit into the larger picture, men capable of anticipation, men who move with swiftness and economy, men who appreciate the beauty of routine. If we are to believe the cultural anthropologists of both present and past, the human female wants a hunter, a provider -- and such men can appear in everything from bearskin to Jil Sander to athletic cups. The best hunters, like the best ballplayers, are those who know how to wait and when to make their move.
There are female fans of those "other" sports, to be sure, women who roar in the bleachers of Giants Stadium or throw towels and obscenities from the shaking seats of Madison Square Garden. But the athletes they root for are caricatures for the most part: padded, helmeted and masked beyond recognition, as unable to connect with their audience as they are with their own physical pain. Do these fans recognize the grimace that accompanies a miscalculated throw, or the humiliation in the eyes of a man who has missed yet another opportunity to score for his team? No. All they see are bodies tumbling, crashing, contorting, merging; all they hear are yells and grunts, obscenities and yelps; directions given, directions taken.
Baseball players do speak, although not in the classic definition of the word. Rather than speech, they communicate through actions, movements and gestures, through glances exchanged and avoided. Some, like O'Neill, aforementioned water-bottle thrower, wear their emotions on their sleeves; others, such as Knoblauch, transfer theirs to seemingly neurotic adjustments in gear; still others, like David Cone or Martinez, exhibit theirs in slumps and strikes, in balls dropped and misthrown.
Nowhere is pure baseball personality more on display than in the batter's box. It's been said that sport is like the theater, in that there are stars and bit players and, off to the sidelines, the watchful eyes of the directors, designers and architects of what we see onstage. The batter's box is baseball's stage, and it is in this box that we come to know the participants of baseball as individuals and not as the bit players or the members of a cleanup crew. Some players enter the box tentatively, with shuffles and awkward glances between the third-base coach and the pitcher looming before them on the mound 60 feet away. Some come charging in, chewing the scenery with a few well-placed practice swings and glares thrown from under the brim of their batting helmet. Some avoid acknowledging anybody altogether, seemingly more entranced with the details of glove-tightening and foot placement than the thousands of pairs of eyes following their every move, or the fact that a ball will soon come hurtling toward them at 90-plus mph. When we get to know a player's idiosyncrasies, we feel we've made a friend.
I'm losing my friends soon. It's the beginning of the end of the season for the Yankees and I'll be watching each player closely, soaking in their faces and their bodies; all those details will be memorized and memorialized in an effort to keep me company during the long winter months ahead, when life will be characterized by cold nights, too many carbohydrates and dysfunctional family get-togethers. During those times when a date goes horribly wrong, when the nightly news reports that another war has broken out in the Middle East or when the 300-thread count of my sheets is not enough to compensate for the lack of another warm body in my bed, I will think of Tino and Derek, of Chuck and Paul, of Bernie and Clay, and dream of spring training.
Labels: quote of, what it feels like for a girl
more jane leavy.
"It is beautiful. Baseball is man's closest approximation to timelessness. It is the best we can do."
Labels: quote of
john kruk is terrible. TERRIBLE.
snapshots of 7/9
- sweet lou arguing, flashbulbs going and "LOOoooOOOOOoooooooOOUUUUUUuuuu!" reverberating all around.
- my brother's friend chucking a quarter from the upper deck at carl crawford. i was up when he did it, when i got back my brother says, "see that shiny thing six inches to his left?" good aim, kid, but i was mortified.
- no guy-behind-me, we are not from ohio. the fact that i was saying "bawk" instead of "balk" might have tipped you off.
- jess and i got lost in the stadium, post-june-meet and searching for a salted pretzel. i don't know how many times we walked up and down and around and around, missing the comeback in the meantime. of course, we maintain the theory that the comeback was possible precisely because
we weren't there to see it.
- seeing my all-american-pretty cousin, ordinarily this amazonian fashionista, morph into a foaming-at-the-mouth fan before my very eyes. picture malibu barbie cupping her hands round her mouth screaming VAZQUEZ YOU'RE KILLING ME. i love it.
these vagabond shoes
"Baseball fell into the category of things so much a part of me that they were completely dependent on me for their existence. Ballparks could not exist in the absence of my consciousness of them. Fenway, Candlestick, the Stadium, they weren't structures, though I could tell you their dimensions, right, left, and center, and the number of obstructed seats in each. They were places of the soul, located within; constructs of imagination and will, not iron and molded plastic. Looking back, I guess that's because for me baseball was always an interior monologue."
- Jane Leavy, Squeeze Play
the last time i clearly remember going to yankee stadium, rickey henderson was still playing for the a's. i'm going to guess it was 89 or 90, because i couldn't figure out why this guy i knew only as a yankee was now playing for a different team. i was maybe 10, still young enough to think guys stayed with one team forever. by the time i was old enough to understand that baseball's a business, the frequent stadium trips of my childhood were long gone; during my teenage years i still followed the yankees in the papers and on tv, but as they blossomed into a dynasty, tickets got more expensive and harder to come by, and we stopped going altogether.
anyway, my mom must have noticed how excited i am about this year's team, because she somehow scored 6 very good seats to the july 6th game as a gift to me. i'd mentioned to some friends that pictures would be hard to take, because we'd be sitting in nosebleed seats. that's what she let me think, right up until the moment we were standing at the gate and i looked at my ticket and yelled, "woman, these are some EXPENSIVE nosebleed seats!" my whole family started cracking up and i was like "WHY THE HELL DID YOU PEOPLE LET ME DRAG AROUND THESE STUPID BINOCULARS THEN!?" and they pointed and laughed at me some more, because my family is a bunch of hooligans.
there's really nothing like the feeling you get when you walk into the stadium for the first time, or in my case, the first time in forever. you're walking through the drab little tunnel to get to your seats and suddenly you step into a barrage of color and light and motion, and for a split second you forget that there's anything wrong in the world, or anything else in the world, for that matter.
but enough hyperbole, let me talk about the game.
we sat on the first base side, section 15, box 259, row c. we had a great view, but i have three complaints:
- one fatass security nazi for the REALLY good seats kept standing up and obscuring my perfect view of home plate.
- a group of four guys sitting near aforementioned security nazi had on tall chefs hats and contributed to my partially obstructed view. they stood up for most of BP til my dad yelled "HEY PASTRY CHEFS! PARK IT!" which made them look around sheepishly and sit down.
- THE FOUR FUCKING TIGER FANS AND LONE METS FAN (?!?!!?!?!?) IN THE ENTIRE GODDAMN PLACE WERE SITTING DIRECTLY BEHIND US, which made the loss all the more brutal. but heckling them was part of why we had such a good time. johnson, i admit, did a good job strangling the pitiful yankee offense, but they kept rubbing it in by cheering "let's go johnson! [clap-clap clap-clap-clap]" to which we'd yell "what's his first name! [clap-clap clap-clap-clap]" or "who IS johnson? [clap-clap clap-clap-clap]" and my favorite, "ENJOY .500!" which actually is quite generous, but "ENJOY .463!" doesn't have quite the same ring to it.
in the first inning, the yankees pulled that let's hack at the first pitch bullshit, and i had that familiar nasty feeling the offense was going to take a nap. and nap it did. all goddamn night. there were some hard hit balls, and some near misses that either went foul or dropped at the warning track, but that's not gonna win any games.
i did my best to think happy fluffy thoughts, and for awhile, moose did well enough to make me think things would go right. for half the game, moose was the sharpest i've seen him all year. REALLY sharp. making-the-tigers-look-silly sharp. he struck out the side in the first and i kicked my still-full 8 dollar watered down beer all over the place, i was so excited. for four more innings, until 2 outs in the 5th, i felt like an idiot for ever doubting him. even when higginson hit that home run, i figured he crushed a mistake pitch and moose would return to his bad self. the score was 2-0, so what? nothing insurmountable. but then in the 6th [the most brutal inning of the night, which started off with just about everyone in the stadium but me doing the wave, after which the game fell apart. i hope everyone who did it feels terrible because THE WAVE=YANKEES LOSE] , moose was taking an uncomfortably long time on the mound and then the tigers started to scatter hits. even before rondell white hit that fucking BOMB and put the game out of reach, it was painfully obvious that moose was running out of gas, and i started to fidget in my seat, wondering why joe wasn't pulling him while things were still relatively close. no sooner do i start to stare out toward the bullpen does rondell white crush the ball, and along with it my hopes of a happy birthday win. then tanyon sturtze takes the mound in the 7th and i yelled TANYON FUCKING STURTZE? WHY DON'T YOU JUST FORFEIT (sorry tanyon).
my brother: who is this guy?
me: tanyon sturtze.
brother: WHOEVER HE IS HE'S A FUCKING BUM.
so, tanyon sturtze, everybody's favorite whipping boy. i guess he did okay - til he hit pudge. much as i think retaliation is sometimes called for, i highly doubt it was intentional since Worcester's Own doesn't exactly have pinpoint control. so there was poor pudge, lying on the ground for what felt like forever, and everybody masochistic enough to still be bearing witness to this shitfest started merrily booing tanyon (sorry tanyon). then ugueth urbina threw at sheff and the bloodthirsty, beleaguered crowd went nuts, hoping for a fight, something, anything, to make things worthwhile. the benches were warned and the game plodded along its sad way.