Tag Archives: new york yankees

Lame Adventure 102: Baseball Madness

Ow!  My aching bat!

Plunk!

Do you need a doctor? No, I'll take first base.

Last Wednesday, the sports world had its knickers in a twist when New York Yankee living legend Derek Jeter fooled an umpire into thinking that he was struck by a pitch when the ball only hit his bat’s head.  When I saw the video, it did not sound like the ball hit any Jeterian body part — unless his elbow is made out of titanium.  Since he was quick thinking, Jeter milked his “injury” to the hilt.  His Academy Award-worthy acting duped the umpire, Lance Barksdale (a name straight out of screwball comedy central casting), into rewarding him with a free pass to first base.  Tampa Bay Rays’ manager, Joe Maddon, erupted at Barksdale rightfully insisting that the ump blew the call.  Jeter should have been called out.  Barksdale ejected Maddon from the game.  The following Yankee batter, Curtis Granderson, then hit a home run.  For all Yankee haters, this story has a happy ending.  The Yankees ultimately lost 4-3.

It is no secret that the Yankees, possibly the most glorified sports franchise in history is also reviled by legions.  Illustrating the poles of emotion that this team incites are my close personal friends Milton and Martini Max.  Milton despises the Yankees as much as Max worships them.  All I have to do is utter “the Y word” to Milton and his knee-jerk response is a deep monosyllabic groan of contempt, but he does find Alex Rodriguez physically attractive.

Hi Milton.

If I say, “the 2000 World Series” to Max, his eyes mist.  This was the subway series between the Mets and Yankees that Max had waited all of his life to see.  We spent game one, Saturday, October 21st, together, missing that game in its entirety.

I was with Max, offering moron support.

Six months earlier Max had scheduled a movie event in New Jersey appropriately called “Horror on the Cliffs” since only three people showed, and they did not include Max’s wife or his mother.  They stayed home to tune in the game.   One attendee was the town idiot, a guy that liked to wear flower print frocks that he borrowed from his mother when she wasn’t looking.  I referred to him as Norman Bates.

Souvenir tee shirt.

Fittingly on a night when nothing was destined to go well, there was a power outage so there were not any lights illuminating the parking lot.  As Max and I were standing atop the Palisades in the dead of night, waiting for the lights to be restored, we were both looking longingly towards the Bronx.  Here is a transcript of our conversation:

Me:  Max, are we safe standing out here?  No one knows we’re here.  This is the perfect spot for a crazy killer to beat us to death with a bat.

Max (woefully):  Did you have to say “bat” to me tonight of all nights?

Me:  Maybe he’ll off us with an ax.  Standing in the dark in the woods is inviting a bad ending for us.

Max:  Who the hell is gonna kill us?  No one’s here but us!

Me:  Now that you mention it, it does kinda look that way.

Max:  See that out there.

Max is pointing at Yankee Stadium glowing in the distance.

Me:  Don’t think about it.

Max (screaming):  It’s all I can think about!  I’m standing on a fuckin’ cliff as my baseball team is playing the first game of the subway series I’ve longed to see my entire life!  Why did this have to happen to me tonight of all nights?

Me:  Take it up with the scheduler.  Get him a new Magic 8 ball.

For Yankee fans with deep pockets, old Yankee Stadium Monument Park bricks are now on sale for $179.99 from the Store on The New York Times web site.

The sort of object that leads to divorce.

For Yankee fans hit harder by the recession (that allegedly ended in July 2009 — who knew?) but prefer a more affordable piece of the old ballpark, Steiner Sports is selling key chains filled with used dirt for $19.99 on Amazon.

The sort of object that leads to humiliation.

Or, for fans that prefer to fake like the pros, just grab an old brick from a construction site or a fist full of dirt from your nearest playground and argue vociferously that it’s the real deal.

Lame Adventure 72: In Death You’re (temporarily) Jesus

I was at work sitting at my desk doing the unlikely, concentrating on something work-related although I now have zero recollection about what that was, when Greg, my sidekick said:

Greg:  The Boss is dead.

Me:  Don’t be ridiculous.  She’s in her office right now with nothing more than a mild red wine hangover.

Greg:  George Steinbrenner.

Since I am a Yankees fan, I did feel a twinge of sadness, but I was also aware that he was elderly and ill, so I was neither surprised nor prostrate with grief.  I did find the timing symbolic that he bought his rainbow on the day of the All-Star game.  Yankee-haters must have been delighted to hear broadcaster Joe Buck announce at the All-Star game’s conclusion that it was dedicated to Steinbrenner, considering that it was coached by Yankee skipper Joe Girardi and the losing pitcher was Yankee Phil Hughes, giving the National League their first All-Star game win since 1996.  Had Hughes been the winning pitcher, the media spotlight would have burned even brighter considering the significance of this victory on this day distorting it into yet another Hallmark card-style tribute to The Boss.

I knew that Steinbrenner’s death would be a major news story since he was a colorful larger than life personality.  Jeopardy! was pre-empted for a half hour tribute special to him on WABC TV.  The New York Daily News published a special evening edition, something they last did when President Obama was inaugurated.  The New York Times will keep his obituary available on line for months.  Steinbrenner has already been praised all out of proportion to an exhausting degree.  Countless times I have heard about what a business genius he was for buying the Yankees for $8.7 million in 1973, but what’s $8.7 million worth in 2010 dollars?  According to the inflation calculator, that figure would be $44,206,030.59 in today’s dollars.  Not exactly chump change.  All-Star Game color commentator Tim McCarver claims that Steinbrenner invested $168,000 of his own money in the deal.  According to that same inflation calculator, that would be $853,633.69 in 2010 dollars.  Obviously Steinbrenner was in the right place at the right time when he made that investment.  The team’s estimated worth today is $1.5 billion.  To avert Steinbrenner’s threats to move the team, my tax dollars helped pay the billion dollars for the new Yankee Stadium, a sports palace with ticket prices so out of reach I have yet to attend a game.

Although it is considered impolite to speak ill of the dead, in death, Steinbrenner is walking on water with the media today.  His contribution to the Yankees was remarkable, and the franchise is extraordinary.  He restored this legendary sports team to the envy of the league, and the ire to the legions of Yankee-haters.   In response to this team’s winning, Steinbrenner got very, very rich.  He might have been good for the Yankees, but they returned the favor.  The buckets of money Steinbrenner made are between the lines in every story declaring him a terrific New Yorker, a wonderful Floridian, charitable beyond belief; basically a near-perfect human being, possibly God’s other son.  I am waiting for someone to suggest that Alexander Hamilton be given the boot so that Steinbrenner’s face can adorn the ten dollar bill.  This was what Ronald Reagan’s fans were hoping for while his corpse was still warm when he died in 2004.  Five days after Reagan bought his rainbow, Ray Charles followed his lead.  Appropriately, in response to the media frenzy following Reagan checking out, The New Yorker acknowledged the fortieth president’s passing with this inspired cover:

My dear friend and consummate Yankee-hater, Milton, finds the Steinbrenner love-fest stomach turning.  He thinks what is being worshipped is not a person at all but what this person represents, the great American dream i.e. phenomenal, unimaginable, unattainable (for almost all of us) wealth.  I think Milton has a very good point, and as for all of Steinbrenner’s charitable contributions?  He made zillions, why not give some of it away?  He turns on the TV, sees someone suffering, feels sorry for them and sends a check.  That’s the way it should be.  When people regain their senses about Steinbrenner Milton and I doubt that he’s going to be remembered as a great philanthropist.  He’ll be remembered as what he was in his heyday, the tyrannical Yankee owner with very deep pockets and a very short fuse, a guy that was obsessed with winning — not baseball’s Gandhi.

If we outlive Donald Trump, Milton is certain that the media will glorify his life story beyond belief, too.  That will be another good day to have a supply of Rolaids at the ready.