Daaaaa G-Men Win!

// February 9th, 2008

18-1: New England Patriots

Super Bowl Champs: New York Giants!!!

Big Blue completed their amazing season of determination tonight by suffocating Tom Brady & New England’s offense to win a hard-fought, exciting Super Bowl 17-14.

As they say, offense can win games, but defense wins championships.

Eli’s career defining moment has finally arrived and despite all his shakiness & anxiety under pressure, he will forever be remembered for leading the Giants marching down the field with under 3:00 in the biggest game of the year & his career to beat the team that everyone thought was unbeatable.

Plaxico’s guarantee of a Giants’ 23-17 win, which Tom Brady shirked off by asking for some respect and at least a prediction of 45-42, held up. Turns out the Pats scored even less than the 17 points Plax gave those cocky bastards.

It was about time that a team from Boston/New England lost this past year. They’ve been winning too much. And it’s only fitting that a team from NY was the one to do it. This’ll shut some of those obnoxious fans up for a while ;)

I wish I was back home raging in the streets of NYC, but at least me & some of the east coast west coast crew got to watch & celebrate…

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My Last Visit to The House That Ruth Built?

// October 9th, 2007

Last night, I had the great misfortune or fortune of being in attendance at the Yankees’ ALDS Game 4 loss to the Cleveland Indians. It was the end of the series, and possibly the end of the Yankees dynasty of the last 12 years. It was also quite likely my last game at The House That Ruth Built.

I am moving to LA very soon & had to go to one more Yankees game up at The Stadium. I was hoping I might get to go to more, like another Yankees-BoSox ALCS, but alas, thanks to insect swarms, a lack of clutch hitting & weak pitching from the Yanks (Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes, a bit of Joba & Mariano being the exceptions) & strong pitching from the Tribe, it was not meant to be. Hopefully, I’ll be back in NYC next summer to at least catch a game in Yankee Stadium before the new one opens in 2009, but if not, it was a symbolic send-off for me. It wasn’t the victorious send-off that I imagined, but it was significant nonetheless. This very well might have been the last game for some of our heroes over these years: Joe Torre, Roger Clemens, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, A-Rod even?

More than anyone, the axe hangs over Joe Torre - our calm leader, a former All-Star, the only player with 2,000 hits & 2,000 wins as manager, and the 8th winningest manager in MLB history. The Boss has said that Torre would pretty much be fired if the Yanks didn’t win the championship this year - as he does almost every year - but this time, it looks like it will happen. Despite all my criticisms of Torre this post-season - his not pushing for a delay of game while Joba was being swarmed by bugs, his not playing small ball & bunting to advance runners (ahem, Jeter) & his seeming lack of fire when the team needed a good jolt - I consider myself extremely fortunate to have bore witness to this man’s amazingly successful work over the years in leading this Yankees dynasty, which ended an 18 year championship drought & rivaled the Yankees of the ’50s in its dominance.

If Mr. T does indeed lose his job, I was honored to be in attendance to pay my respect for our manager during his 2 visits to the mound in the 8th inning, chanting “Joe-oh Tor-ee, Joe-oh Tor-ee” with the Yankee faithful, just as I did for our warrior Paul O’Neill back in Game 5 of the 2001 World Series (perhaps my greatest baseball experience).

As always, Torre showed nothing but class in the post-game press conference:

I’m not going there. You know, this has been a great 12 years. Whatever the hell happens from here on out, I mean, I’ll look back on these 12 years with, you know, great, great pleasure based on the fact that, you know, I’m a kid that had never been to the World Series other than watching my brother play in the 50s and paying for tickets otherwise, and to have been in six World Series and going to post-season - I can tell you one thing, it never gets old.
The 12 years just felt like they were 10 minutes long, to be honest with you. You know, I bury myself in my players, and I just finished telling them how proud I am of what they did. I mean they dug themselves out of a hole. They learned how to be a team.

You certainly can’t ignore it. These fans are very special. They’re certainly very special. I mean, you can feel their heartbeat. Not hear it. You can feel their heartbeat. They know their stuff and they never quit on you.

Jorge Posada, who is a free agent after this season (don’t let him go!), had this to say:

Joe Torre is the best manager in baseball. It’s not his fault. He used the same lineup from April till now, the same guys. He doesn’t throw or hit or do anything on the field. He does everything possible to keep us positive and get us to win.

Potential names for new managers being thrown about are former Yankees Don Mattingly aka Donnie Baseball, Joe Girardi, former Yanks’ manager Buck Showalter, Bobby Valentine (really?), and even Tony LaRussa. I’d love to see Jorge as a player/manager, but that’s a bit of a stretch. It’s looking like Donnie or Girardi will get the ball.

Whoever the new manager is, the Yanks need to return to what won them those 4 championships starting in 1996 - small ball, advancing runners, skilled home-grown talent & role players & a scrappy team unit. I’m so glad that hey held on to young talent like Robinson Cano, Melky Cabrera, Joba Chamberlain & Phil Hughes this year & resisted the urge to pay more mid-30s veterans millions of dollars to contribute not much to the cause. If we’ve got to rebuild, so be it, but at least it’s for the future & not living through our past.

As always, I’ll be eagerly watching, though from the west coast (do they have YES out there?), and no longer from the Bronx. Like Joe Torre, I’m ready to leave NY, albeit with a heavy heart. I will miss real Yankees fans. I will miss the real Yankee Stadium. I’ve had many great memories there (some not so much), met many fine people (some not so much), been thrown out of it & assorted other hijinks. I can’t think of a better place to be for a game (well, maybe Wrigley Field).

Thanks for the memories, House That Ruth Built, and thanks for the memories, Joe.

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God Is A Yankee Fan???

// October 6th, 2007

We Yankee fans like to say that god is a Yankees fan too. It makes all the sense in the world - the legends, the mystique, the championships. Yet last night, the Lord showed that he/she/it might actually not be a Yankee fan at all - that is, unless he/she/it is trying to wake us up or something.

You couldn’t even make up what occurred during last night’s ALDS Game 2 between our beloved Yankees and the Cleveland Indians. A pitching gem between Andy Pettitte and Fausto Carmona yielded only 1 run through 7 innings, that one coming from Melky Cabrera’s solo home run. Never mind the fact that the Yanks’ heart of the lineup has been absolutely atrocious, with A-Rod, Hideki, and Jorge all hitless, Jeter & Damon with not much more.

In relief of Pettitte came our wunderkind Joba Chamberlain, who has been lights out all season. But at the same time, a swarm of midges or Canadian Soldiers or whatever you call these gnats, descended upon Jacobs Field and all over Joba’s neck, face, and uniform. Joba was clearly distracted & lost his control, walking one batter, throwing 2 wild pitches, hitting one batter & almost hitting another. And so, by the grace of god, the Indians were able to tie the game, which ended in the 11th when Luis Vizcaino gave up a bases loaded single to Travis Hafner aka Pronk.

Where was Joe Torre to ask the umps to stop the game for the swarm to pass? Why did he leave Joba hung out to dry out there? Had Joba been able to pitch under normal conditions, he most likely would’ve shut down the Indians in the inning and set up the game for Mariano Rivera to save, giving the Yankees a hard-fought 1-0 win. Instead, we’re heading back to the Bronx down 0-2 and wondering yet again what’s gone wrong with our team in the postseason.

For what it’s worth, Joba refused to blame the insect swarm:

Bugs are bugs. It’s not the first time I had a bug near me. You just keep your mouth closed. No excuses. I let my guys down. Disappointed is an understatement.

Apparently, Torre did go out in the 8th inning to umpire chief Bruce Froemming to ask for a game delay, but in Froemming’s opinion, “It was just a little irritation. We’ve had bugs before. I’ve seen bugs and mosquitoes since I started umpiring.” However, that didn’t stop a game between the Indians and Angels in September 2004 from being stopped several times for the same reason. And this is the playoffs!

From Y! Sports:

Perhaps, after all these years and all these Cleveland losses, God decided to become an Indians fan. He certainly couldn’t have picked a better time or the better Old Testament vengeance for fouling up the Yankees.Drought, mildew and famine would have lacked the immediate impact. Pestilence would have been too mean; fire mixed with blood too messy; grasshoppers, probably too obvious.

The midges were just enough.

Of course, neither divine intervention nor the fly patterns of gnat-like insects are responsible for the pathetic Yankees offense.

Biblical, Hitchcockian, bizarre - call it what you may - but I’ve never seen a thing like this before. Maybe it’s a sign from god. Canadian soldiers invaded the field of Jacob to bring the pestilence of an insect swarm over the Yankees, the symbol for America. Is our country on the brink? If god’s no longer a Yankee fan, I fear it may be so…

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RIP Scooter Rizzuto

// August 14th, 2007

It’s a sad day in Yankee land. Phil “Scooter” Rizzuto, the New York Yankees‘ Hall of Fame shortstop, retired #10 & broadcast announcer, passed away at the age 89 today.

Scooter, a Brooklyn native standing at 5′6″, was a key Yankee during the championship years of the 1940s & 1950s. He played in 9 World Series with the Yanks, winning 7 of them, including 5 in a row from 1949 - 1953. In 1950, Scooter won the AL MVP batting leadoff for the Yanks. Scooter was known for his strong defense, small ball, clutch hitting, and excellent bunting ability.

He became even better known for his broadcasting Yankees games. I grew up listening to him call Yankees games & he was one of my favorites by far. Originator of the “Holy Cow!” call, Scooter was among the most beloved sports announcers out there, musing at times in the middle of the game about having dinner with his wife or other random streams of consciousness. He might not have been the best, but he was always endearing, a great teammate & a great Yankee.

RIP Scooter. You’re in the big Money Store in the sky now…

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HR & HGH King

// August 8th, 2007


Barry Lamar Bonds (they keep saying his name like that right now on Sportscenter) finally broke Hammerin’ Hank Aaron’s career HR record of 755 tonight out in SF by belting his 756th HR deep into right-center field.

A lot of these deep home run balls that Barry has hit in the past 6 years or so of his career might have been doubles instead of HRs if he wasn’t juiced up on the clear aka THG or the cream or HGH or using that special elbow armor like Michael Witte, a baseball mechanics consultant says. Yet even if he is a roidhead or HGHead or whatever, Barry is ridiculous. As in ridiculously good. The fact remains that dude can still hit, and at that, better than just about anyone else out there. Even if his head has actually grown in its size over the years, he still inspires awe when you watch a reel of him clobbering the ball like this:

He might have been cheating, but yet they hardly said a word when Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa both broke Roger Maris‘ single season HR record that crazy year in 1998. People love seeing HRs, fans were coming out to games, so it was good for the game overall as a business. The integrity of the game, well that’s an entirely different thing. Either way, as king of the steroid era, the HGH king Barry Bonds is now the all-time HR king too.

Or is he? As one Japanese reporter at the post-game press conference mentioned, Sadaharu Oh’s 868 career HRs is the real career HR record.

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Iraq Wins It All

// July 29th, 2007


Wrapping up my Iraqi football coverage for the year:

The fairytale became complete today as the Lions of the Two Rivers, the Iraqi national football team, defeated Saudi Arabia 1-0 to win its first ever Asian Cup championship. The team’s success in the tournament has been billed “a beacon of hope for a nation divided by war.”

Captain Younis Mahmoud put away the only goal of the match in a 71st minute header on a corner kick to the far post from Hawar Mulla Mohammed. The Iraqi team dominated the Saudis, who were held back to their side of the pitch for most of the match as the Iraqis fired away at the Saudi goal.

Due to violence, lack of security, and long-lasting UN sanctions, the Iraqi squad’s players don’t even live in Iraq. They play for clubs in the Middle East and train & practice outside of Iraq. They have not played a home game in 17 years.

Today, however, their home erupted in elation. The team has been a great unifier among these sectarian & religious sects that you hear about on the news that are about to embark upon a civil war to claim their piece of Iraq. Although in defiance of government orders, celebratory gunfire was common in cities all over Iraq. This time at least, there were no car bombings like after the team’s semi-final victory over Korea - which resulted in the death of over 50 people. Today, only 4 people died. Still bad, but not AS bad thankfully…

Following the game, Younis Mahmoud put into words what many people are probably thinking:

“I want America to go out,” he said. “Today, tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, but out. I wish the American people didn’t invade Iraq and, hopefully, it will be over soon.”

But it’s not about politics. It’s about football. And like a sign at the stadium said, war can’t kill football…

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Iraq Wins Again & 50 People Die

// July 25th, 2007


The Iraqi national team pulled off yet another victory over South Korea in the Asian Cup today to advance to the final for the first time in team history.

The thrilling semifinal went scoreless for 120 minutes of play and ended 4-3 in a penalty shootout.

Iraq will square off on Sunday against Saudi Arabia, which beat Japan 3-2.

This time around, Iraq’s victory was marred by 2 car bombs going off within an hour in Baghdad, killing at least 50 people & wounding almost 150.

If they win the whole cup, what the hell is going to happen next???

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Iraq Wins & 5 People Die

// July 22nd, 2007


The Asian Cup is currently underway in host countries Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Iraq advanced out of the quarter-finals yesterday on the shoulders of Younis Mahmoud, Iraq’s captain & star striker, who scored 2 gols to put them past the Vietnamese side.

Team Melli of Iran ended up losing 4-2 in a penalty shootout with South Korea (playing without several key players), which would have set up an anticipated match-up between them & their neighbor & sometime enemy, the Iraqis.

Japan, who also won in a penalty shootout against the Socceroos of Australia, will face Saudi Arabia, who defeated Uzbekistan, in the other semi-final.

The Iraqi national team’s success so far in the Asian Cup has helped to unify & bring joy to Iraqis as the war-torn country (good lookin’ out USA!) teeters on the verge of an all-out civil war. Much like their advancement to the semi-final stage of the 2004 Olympics, the Iraqi national team has again been the main character in a great story of hope. However, like almost all of the news concerning Iraq these days, some people had to die. Celebratory automatic gunfire into the air resulted in the death of at least 2 people and several more wounded.

It’s like no matter what happens, good or bad, at least some people have to die over in Iraq.

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Brasil Campeao da Copa America!

// July 15th, 2007

3 years ago, Brasil & l’Argentina squared off in the Copa America final in Peru with el Selec?o edging out los albicelestes 4-2 in a penalty shootout.

I vividly remember that Sunday afternoon, watching the match on the projector & downing pitchers of sangria at Le Souk. I ended up spending about 8 hours there partying the afternoon & night away….

Well, this year, in Venezuela, Brasil came out on top yet again, but in less dramatic fashion, as was my celebration. I’m older & wiser, y’all ;)

In the 3rd minute, Brasil got off to a fast start w/ Julio Baptista scoring a beautiful goal on a long pass from Elano. That was followed up in the 42nd minute by an own goal by Ayala trying to slide & kick away Daniel Alves‘ cross to Robinho or Vagner Love (the coolest name of any footballer in the tournament!). Alves then got his chance on a beautiful pass to the right from Robinho, leaving Abondonzieri helpless from the low drive across to the far post. Argentina tried to at least put one gol on the board, but was stifled every step of the way.

Argentina was not without its chances. Juan Rrrrroman Riquelme, who was in top form during the tournament, as well as in leading Boca Juniors through the Copa Libertadores, blasted a shot at the left goal post in the 8th minute, which was oh so close. Later in the 33rd minute, he fired another close shot, which was saved by a diving Doni. Just about all of his free kicks were headed out of the box in the match. Brazil’s defense was all over Messi, Tevez & Riquelme. They buckled down in the middle & stifled Argentina’s chances on free kicks & passing inside.

Argentina, who entered this tournament with most of their stars - Riquelme, Messi, Tevez, Crespo, Veron, Mascherano, Cambiasso, Heinze, and Aimar - were the favorites throughout the Copa, handily beating every team they faced until the final. They just didn’t show up in force & were outclassed by the Brasilians, who stepped up their game in a major way after a somewhat disappointing showing - which still ended up putting them in the final no less. Without the help of Ronaldinho, Kaka, or Adriano, Brasil, led by Robinho, showed why they’re still the best in Sudamerica.

Viva Brasil, campe?o da Copa America 2007!!!

Viva el jogo bonito!!!

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Tony Parker Should Keep His Day Job

// July 12th, 2007

Perez found out today what we already knew: Tony Parker is a horrible rapper…. if you can even call him that.

You can call me a hater.
It’s all good b/c my rhyme skills are greater.
My verse is diverse & perverse like a night nurse callin’.
I know I’m a rhymer, but Tony should just stick to ballin’.

Here’s the title track to his new album Balance-toi, which mes amis francaises tell me means to sort of dance rocking back & forth.

Don’t get me wrong. Tony is a champion & an excellent basketball player - one of the best point guards in the NBA. As a rapper, though, he just completely sucks. He should stick to passing to Tim Duncan, scoring layups & banging Eva Longoria.

It doesn’t even matter if I can’t understand most of the lyrics. I actually dig some French rap, especially IAM from Marseille, but Tony just ain’t cuttin’ it.

Here’s real French rap: IAM’s Noble Art ft Method Man & Redman:

Tony’s not the first athlete to grab the mic & he won’t be the last. I got to thinking about the others that came before him. Some were equally horrible, some actually not so bad. Among them are:

- Shaq aka Shaq-Fu (wasn’t so bad w/ the Fu-Schnickens)
- Kobe
- AI aka Jewelz (I love him getting all gangsta on 40 Bars)
- Roy Jones Jr.
- CWebb
- Ron Artest
- Gary Payton
- Lebron (coming soon!)

Street Census has a good list featuring songs here: Top 10 Worst/Best Athlete-Rappers”

ESPN Page 3: Athletes Who Can Make Your Ears Bleed

100% Injury Rate: Don’t Quit Your Day Job

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