Last night’s Angels Mariners extra innings game was the kind I would love to cover as a baseball writer. There were base hits, there was power, there was (some) pitching, a collision, and some great defense. It was, in my opinion, the kind of game that makes the sport great. There were no milestones reached (the quest for which seems to be the only thing anyone is talking about right now), but just a solid game.
And my team lost, so you know it was good.
Everyone was talking about Ichiro’s great throw to get Vladdy out at home. The throw was very strong, and very accurate. But lets face it, Vladdy doesn’t have the "base running" tool. Therein it isn’t THAT hard to throw him out. He shouldn’t have been running because he is clumsy when he does so. And it was ICHIRO.
Gary Mathews Jr. broke out of his mini-slump and is now on fire. I don’t think there is much else to say about that.
As for Figgins, I knew he would get hot. He just had to readjust. It is a little… irking to think that if he had this kind of year in 2006 he could have contended for the American League MVP. This year amongst last years class would have been greatness and mediocority. I still think Jeter should have had it last year…
How can Lebron James and Tiger Woods be the finalists in ESPN’s "Whos Now"? Lebron, while great during the regular season, has never won a title. And while Tiger has plenty of titles the number of viewers for golf are not as high as in other sports. The two men do, however, star in a pleathora of commercials and are some of the best of the best… I guess I just wish Peyton Manning was still in the game. Think about it: who could be more now? Peyton just won the Super Bowl. Peyton stars in just as many if not more commercials, than the two of them. Peyton hosted Saturday Night Live, and produced one of the most memorable skits in years. Peyton has outstanding regular season numbers. Peyton is a leader. Peyton’s sport gets more viewers than Tiger’s. And most importantly- Peyton is my favorite.
Now on to what everyone is really worried about- Barry Bonds. I believe that Barry took steroids. Anyone that tells you they don’t is either lying or extremely naive. Barry has also shown us, time and time again, that he is not a kind or loving man, but rather a pompous and arrogant beast.
But what bothers me, perhaps most of all, is that he does not play on a daily basis. In my opinion that makes his record (for lack of a better word) cheap. Guys like DiMaggio, Gehrig, Williams, played everyday, for better or worse (usually better) through pain. They were classic Hemingway heroes. And when they couldn’t perform to the standard they had previously set for themselves they left the game, gracefully.
That is what I can’t stand about Barry- his complete and total lack of respect for everything that is holy about the game. Did you see the way he treated Willie at the All Star game? I understand that he is his God-Son, and elderly, but please, leave one of the greatest players of all time with a little dignity- don’t hover over him as though he isn’t capable of doing anything for himself. If DiMaggio’s knees were hurting as badly as Barry’s apparently are he would have either played through it (bone spurs) or taken a seat, forever. The stoicism which was once the mark of a true hero is apprently gone, or never there in the case of Barry, and that is my big problem with him going down as "one of the greatest players of all time." Just as I believe Babe Ruth is overrated, I shall forever be under the impression that Barry Bonds is not only overrated, but a whiney cry baby. Did you see the way he threw down his helmet in disgust- AFTER HE DIDN’T RUN THE PLAY OUT- last night? Think about it, the only time DiMaggio ever showed emotion on the field was during the World Series as he kicked the dust around second base after a homer was stolen from him.
And Barry donating only his helmet to the Hall of Fame- to pay for "a childs college tuition". I’m all for capitalism, but this is a little ridiculous.
Whatever, Barry, we don’t want you to break the record, and we don’t want your stuff (or your plaque) in the Hall anyways. It is a privledge and an honor to have your belongings requested by the Hall and if anyone can’t understand that they clearly have a complete disregard for all that the game as a whole stand for, but we already knew that about Mr. Bonds, didn’t we.
If he must break it, which I’m hopelessly hopeful he won’t, I hope he does it tonight. Dodgers’ fans loathe him, and will boo him for 20 minutes. But best of all Bud Selig won’t be there. Two can play your game, Barry.
Last night I was supposed to go to a bonfire. Instead I stayed home and watched the Angels game. Needless to say I am more than happy with my decision.
John Lackey pitched a beautiful complete game shut out. Ok, so it wasn’t flawless- he allowed a few singles- but he maintained his composure throughout the contest, and when it comes to Lackey that is key. During the first inning he had the bases loaded, but managed to come out of it unscathed by popping up Richie Sexson (who has a career .375 batting average with the bases loaded, and 14 grand slams- not too shabby!). There was one other point in the game when I thought we were in trouble, the eigth inning. There were runners on first and third with only one out. The biggest issue I had with this was Ichiro was "the runner" on third. But luckily Lackey benefited from a double play. Spier "loosened up" in the ‘pen, but didn’t come out.
Here is one observation- John Lackey clearly does not like Jose Guillen. Given, few people do, but Lackey made this obvious many times last night as he went up and in on him four times. Yes, Guillen has been known to crowd the plate, this is evident by the 12 times he has been hit this season. Or is it? I personally think that it is because of how many enemies he has formed throughout the league. Lackey has hit 10 batters this season, but that number is a little skewed, as he has contacted Jeter more than once. I’d like to think that Lackey has pretty good control, and Guillen seemed irritated (then again, when is he not) by Lackey’s head hunting tactics. My Dad amounted it to "well, John and Brendon really got along." I’m going with that.
After the game I watched this weeks episode of "The Bronx Is Burning"- which never ceases to impress me. I really liked the All Star game scene, especially when they blended the actual footage of Billy Martin being announced with what they had filmed. And, of course, I was thrilled to see "the greatest player to ever wear pin stripes," be quasi-featured. I had been wondering when this would happen- Ford and Mantle were in the first or second episode. I do, however, have a few qualms with the DiMaggio "character" (he didn’t have any speaking lines, so I don’t know if you can even call him that). The man they cast had a slight resemblence to DiMaggio- the DiMaggio of the 1990’s. The man they cast had the wrong facial proportions for a DiMag of 1977, I thought I may have been over critical so I looked at a few pictures from the different eras, and it is true. Though I doubt anyone else had problems with this it kind of bothered me. Also he seemed a little too friendly on the field. Maybe friendly isn’t the word- talkative or inviting are probably better adjectives. Of course I never saw the 1977 All Star game (pieces of it on ESPN, but not the whole thing). Just to date everyone reading this blog, and myself, I wasn’t born until 11 years after the 1977 season. My Dad was 15 at the time of the ’77 All Star game. So maybe DiMaggio did act like that, but from what I’ve read it would have been one of very few occasions. I also didn’t like that Thurman threw Billy under the bus by saying that "no one" would "quit if Billy" was "fired," but that probably did happen, so much for that. I was a huge fan of the Martin and Berra conversation about Williams in the clubhouse. The few line dialect seemed to wrap up what the majority of people seem to have thought about Williams (though I am in the decenting opinion on this one).
My Dad has watched a few episodes of "Bronx" with me, but not all of them. Of course he saw this all play out in real time when he was just a few years younger than me, so it is probably a lot less interesting. I finally admitted to him that I have two new obsessions- and they are both classic Yankees. You guessed it, Thurman Munson and Billy Martin. I expected a look of disapproval, but he seemed to encourage it- he once said he would rather have both the Angels and Yanks miss the playoffs than both make it, now that is loving the game above your team. He told me about how much fun he used to have watching Billy and George fight in the dugout- the demise of the Yankees brought him great joy. And he told me about how great Thurman was, as a player. Now I have to say, this is truly rare. My Dad acknowledges when players are great and on another team- Ichiro as a modern example, Brooks Robinson as a classic- except when they are Yankees. The one exception seems to have been DiMaggio, and he still doesn’t like him as a person (I realize that is in present tense, and it is meant to be so, The Clipper is an entity who transcends such things). But this Munson claim came unprompted by me. I was honestly expecting an "oh Munson, I hated that guy". So while I knew that Munson was great, I didn’t know he was that great, great enough to earn my Dad’s respect as a ballplayer though he was a Yankee.
So here is my question- does anyone have any reading recommendations for either Billy Martin or Thurman Munson? I would really appreciate it. I don’t have any books that focus primarily on 1950’s or 1970’s baseball- they have never been my area of study, but I’d like to change that. I suppose an obvious place to start would be "The Bronx is Burning," but I’m thinking something more along the lines of an actual biography. If it is about Martin preferably something chronicaling both his player and managerial careers, not just one or the other. I know there have to be SOME Yankee fans who have read a book about this. Please help.
I almost forgot, I loved the scenes with Lou Piniella. My knowledge of him during this period comes from Jim Bouton’s "Ball Four," so it is interesting to contrast that with this documentation. I’ve never been a huge fan of Lou’s, but the scenes in George’s hotel room with Thurman were (for lack of a better word) classic.
And I realize that the title of this post comes from a Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons song. Thats from well before the 1977 season.
"Shhh"- Billy Martin
"Did you just ‘shh’ me?"- Girl
"Shhh"- Billy Martin
"Don’t you like girls?"- Girl
"Baseball is better than girls. Leave, I don’t like you anyways."- Billy Martin
Sorry for the lack of updates, especially the past few days. My wisdom teeth hurt much more Wednesday than they did on Tuesday. But lucky for me there has been a lot of winning going on since then.
Conversely I can’t believe that Mike Napoli is back on the disabled list, especially since we just sent Jose Molina to the Yanks. I don’t think that Jeff Mathis is mature enough to catch everyday at this level, but here is to hoping.
I think that having Saunders and Moseley in the rotation will be beneficial. If I could take back one opinion I had in the offseason it would be "keep Ervin." But I suppose that is why I’m not the General Manager… though he made that same choice. And as for Bartolo? 5-0 was great… his record now, not so much.
I was re-reading some baseball history and I found that in 1919 McGraw and the Giants wanted Rogers Hornsby, so the deal that sent him to New York wasn’t a recent develop. And of course everyone reading this is saying "who wouldn’t have wanted him," but they REALLY wanted him. They offered five players and 250,000 to the Cardinals and Branch Rickey for Hornsby. So it wasn’t just Frankie Frisch’s behavior, it was how much the club had wanted Hornsby previously that caused that blockbuster deal.
A brief congrats to both Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr.
And as for Barry. I don’t care that he is breaking this record. It is possibly the least interesting "big record" of all time. I think that A-Rod’s 500th home run is more important (and will be considered so historically) than numbers 755 and 756. And I don’t even like A-Rod.
As Billy Martin wisely stated on The Bronx is Burning:
"the times have changed, Billy."
"But the game doesn’t."
Or so we would hope… or so we would hope.
I’m in love. I mean it.
It’s just that it is with the Bronx, or more specifically the new ESPN mini-series "The Bronx is Burning".
I have never read the book that this is based on, or to be honest really studied the 1977 baseball season, but classic Yankees, well, classic baseball, means that I am interested.
I’m inclined to take the Billy Martain side of the story, and the writers set it up for one to be naturally drawn to do so. That, and I was raised to hate, or perhaps more accurately loathe, Reggie Jackson. Yes, I know all about his postseason heroics, but my Dad always disliked Mr. October. Maybe it is because he was a Yankee turned Angel, thats the only answer I ever really got for it, but for whatever reason the number 44 is associated with disdain in my house. So because of the history my Dad has with Reggie, I wanted to hate him, the show made it easy to hate him, but at the same time I felt myself feeling a little remorseful for the way Martin (a manager I have always wanted to research in greater detail) treated him. In one of the opening scenes there was a comparison to the way DiMaggio was treated by Stengel, so that could be why, and from what I saw (though an hour can give me little insight to an entire career, or even a season) that is most likely an accurate comnparison- though DiMag was with the club before Stengel so it is almost an inverse relationship- but I still cannot help but feel a connection to Jackson.
I find myself asking "who’s the boss"? I’m really not a fan of the actor’s portrail of Steinnbrenner, though I havn’t pin pointed why that is yet. I was, however, pleased by Jason Giambi’s cameo as a taxi driver. It isn’t that Giambi had to use any acting skill for this "role," but it was funny. I’m hoping that there are more current, or former, Yankees through out the series.
I was also very impressed by the Ford scene, which I would prefer to think of as "the Mantle scene". It was my impression that this was played very well, and true to the Mick’s form. As for Yogi, perfect, mumble-y, but outspoken.
As of right now I cannot wait for the next installment, but am saddened because I know it will only last for 10 weeks. I guess that means I’ll have to look forward to "My Boys".
In other news Vladdy won the Home Run Derby just before the premire of "The Bronx". While two homers may not be a lot to beat, a win is a win. This is our second winner in four years (see Garret Anderson in 2003). So it seems we really do have home run potential, if only we could utilize it in game situations… I jest, I love small ball.
I’m kind of bummed that Lackey isn’t starting, but I also forsaw it. Either way an All-Star bid is an All-Star bid, so I am happy.
LET’S GO AMERICAN LEAGUE! BRING IT HOME AGAIN!
My summer is less than a week and a half old, but I am already worn out from all of the activities. I’ve been working at my regular job, doing paralegal and reception work, when I have time. It is nice to have the added structure to my life that a job provides, but since I havn’t been home much it hasn’t really set in.
Last Sunday I watched the Dodgers vs Angels game with my Dad on Father’s Day, only to take a train ride up to LA later in the afternoon to meet up with my Best Friend. After some time in the jacuzzi and attempting to stay up all night while watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off we woke up to fly to Chicago for a day trip.
Chicago is quite the city. I have always wanted to experience the windy city, so when the opportuinty was offered to me there was no way I was going to turn it down. In about six hours my best friend (Ali) and I were able to: See Wrigley, U.S. Cellular, and Soldier Field, explore the Field Museum, see Millenium Park and the Bean, go to Little Italy and find the Joe DiMaggio statue, walk and shop on Navy Pier and take a speedboat tour of the city, go to the top of the Sears Tower, and finally go on an hour long excursion of the city to find a slice of pizza. You would be surprised at how difficult it is to find a slice there, they seem to only sell whole pizzas…
Wrigley was, obviously, amazing, but I will post more on that as a whole later. U.S. Cellular is probably the most gorgeous modern park I have seen. And the Field Museum has a better collection of dinosaurs than the Smithsonian. Overall I have to admit that Chicago is definately in my favorite cities, it is very unique, I don’t know that I can compare it to any city I have been to before.
New York plans to be quite the trip. I love the city of New York, and can’t wait to get in another dose of it. It seems that once you go there you never really leave, at least not in spirit. The Yankees won’t be in town when I’m there, but the Mets will. I’m hoping to catch a game over at Shea, but they are all night games, and night means theater so I’m not sure that will work out. I’m most looking forward to visiting the Natural History Museum, because I love dinosaurs. Odd, I know, what is a 19 year old girl doing loving dinosaurs? But I really like looking at fossils. My favorite is the velociraptor, I even own a roboraptor. I’m really anticipating the release of Pleo… Google it to see how awesome it is going to be. Anyways…
I’m going to post about Wrigley later, just thought I would update everyone on the scoop.
Sorry for the lack of updates over the past few days, things have been really hectic.
For those of you who didn’t know John Lackey became the first pitcher in MLB this season to reach 8 wins. That was great in itself, but then you have to factor in that it came against the Yankees, so good. The Mussina vs Lackey pitching matchup was enough to make that game. Moose probably could have outdueled Big John, until Torre made the fatal mistake of pulling him.
I’m going to the Angels game tonight. Bartolo Colon vs Miguel Batista. I’m actually really excited for this because I havn’t seen the Mariners in person yet this season. I went Opening Week (which I think is a dumb phrase, it should be Opening Day printed on the fields) and saw both the Rangers and the A’s, but I’ve yet to see Seattle.
Not understanding all of the hype around last nights Sunday Night game… The Tigers and the Indians? Yes, they are division rivals, but this is of little interest to me. The Mussina vs Lackey matchup was much better. Or if you were going to televise this game, make it work out to where you show the Verlander vs Sabathia contest.
The more and more I think about it the more I realize I’d much rather see a well pitched game than a shoot out. Maybe that is just another reason I’m not a Yankees fan…
Lackey threw about 100 pitches in 5 innings today, allowing 1 run (a homer). In the words of the ever wise Adam Sandler "not too shabby."
The Angels currently have a comfortable 6-1 lead (thanks to 3 homers, oddly enough). My poli sci paper is done. I have to memorize a text in Russian, but that shouldn’t be too difficult.
And so my greatest concern at this particular moment is the Ducks game. The game starts in 15 minutes, and I’m still trying to figure out what I’m going to do about it.
Maybe it is because I’m not a big basketball fan, but doesn’t a deciding game 6 seem more interesting than a lottery?
Does anyone else have that player that, regardless of their last start, you always think has a chance of throwing a perfect game when they take the mound. Maybe its just blind faith or some sort of loyalty, but I always think that about Lackey. Perhaps you could attribute it to that start during last summer where the first batter got a double, and then he retired 27 straight… I don’t know, but I never want to jinx him. I never want to jinx any of my favorite players or teams, but I’m especially cautious with Lackey and the Colts.