Archive for the History Category

American Pride , Revenge and Baseball!!

Posted in Baseball, ESPN, History, MLB, New York City, New York Yankees, NY Times, NYC, Politics, YouTube Classics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2011 by mattyfresh697400

Long Live The World Trade

Where were you at 10:30pm on Sunday May 1, 2011??

I suspect that as time marches on most people will remember where they were when they heard the incredible news that the worlds most wanted man, Osama Bin Laden was dead!

Have Fun In Hell

Now without question you can ask anyone and I mean literally anyone where they were the morning of Tuesday September 11th 2001 and each person knows exactly where they were and what they were doing, and if you are talking to New Yorkers as I so often have, every person has a unique and fascinating story about that morning and the hours that followed. I myself was living on Christopher Street, barely a mile away from the World Trade Center. I unfortunately had a front row seat to the devastation as I watched both Towers fall with my very own eyes from the roof of my building. I along with 15 very scared neighbors watched for hours as the black smoke billowed against the crystal blue sky and eventually  the black smoke got thicker and thicker and then the towers fell.


One of my first thoughts that morning as I made my way up to the roof was ” I wonder if the Yankee game will be cancelled tonight” of course I had zero indication this was a terrorist attack and no sense whatsoever at the magnitude of what I was witnessing, but something told me it was serious but really I was clueless , as we all were at first.

Well not only was the Yankee game not going to be played that night but in truth the entire world stopped that day and we were changed as a country forever!!

The days and weeks that followed were incredibly challenging for all Americans but for New Yorkers it was a whole other level. Within hours of the towers falling pictures of missing loved ones covered light posts and street signs, make shift memorials were everywhere, candle light vigils were a common occurrence for weeks. I recall the incredible somber mood during the Jewish High Holidays where at my synagogue there was not a dry eye in the house.

But America and our citizens are defined by their courage and resilience in the face of unfathomable challenges, and in the days that followed the attacks there was a patriotic unity that I had certainly never seen or felt in my lifetime and nothing the country had experienced since perhaps when John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.


So of course on the night of September 11th there was no Yankee game and in fact there were no Major League  Baseball games whatsoever for 8 days. What did Baseball really mean at a time of such unparalleled tragedy?

But 8 days later baseball did return and the national anthem that is played at the start of every game took on a new and profound meaning.  On September 25th Baseball finally returned to New York and the Police Officers that patrol the stadium were finally being treated as the heroes they were, American flags were visible everywhere at the Stadium.

God Bless America

And as the month of September marched on and the baseball season slowly crept towards the post season, The defending World Series Champion New York Yankees were giving their fans and more importantly their wounded city, something to cheer about. If only for a few hours every night, the Yankees gave hope and distraction to 8 million grieving neighbors. And as the Yankees always do, they just kept winning and winning and before anyone knew it, it was mid October and the Yankees were on their way to the World Series, playing not just for their fans but for all New Yorkers (yes even you Met fans out there)

Now New York and the Yankees in particular often take plenty of flack from every other city out there (most likely because we are bigger and better) but that is a whole other post entirely. But for 10 days at the end of October and the start of November, the Yankees were truly Americas team!

The first two games of the 2001 World Series were in Arizona, (Arizona won both) so Game three was the first in New York and once again the eyes of the entire world were on New York. I have an uncanny ability to remember baseball games but the real historic highlight of this game came before the first batter even stepped in the box.  On this night, The President of the United States would be throwing out the first pitch, this moment encapsulated all the things that make this country what it is in one symbolic moment; Strength, Pride, Resilience and Hope. George W. Bush might have a had a very tumultuous presidency but in October of 2001 , he was our leader and the entire country was unified in our support of him, nowhere was that more evident than in Yankee Stadium on that legendary evening.


As the President marched out to the mound , chest out, shoulders back, head held high ,  55,000 screaming fans began to chant “USA, USA, USA” !!! I have never and will never see or feel anything like that again, but through our National Pastime, Baseball… it was clear that America can never be held down!

The next three nights the Yankee magic continued, Derek Jeter became Mr. November and Scott Brosius and Tino Martinez achieved the impossible (2 run HRs with two outs down by 2 on back to back nights) Now the Yankees might not have won the 2001 World Series but they did captivate a nation and helped lift up a city that desperately needed some Yankee Magic and the boys certainly delivered.


Fast Forward almost 10 years to this past Sunday night, when I saw the breaking news alert on CNN I could not believe my eyes! We actually got him! President Barack Obama authorized what seems to be one of the riskiest covert missions in our countries history and Osama Bin Laden was finally dead, pierced by the bullet of a brave American soldier. Just as it should be . America Never forgets!!

Monday morning I ran out to buy the paper because I wanted to save what in many ways is the bookend to the greatest tragedy in American History. The evil face of Osama Bin Laden covered the front page with the bold text reading : “WE GOT HIM”

I turned the paper over and was surprised that there was not another image of Bin Laden where the sports section would normally be, but instead of Osama there was an image from the Mets vs. Phillies game from Sunday night. As it turns out the Mets and Phillies were tied at 1-1 and the game went into extra innings and late into Sunday night and as thes rest of the country was glued to their TV sets trying to digest the incredible news, the fans at the Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philly were getting text message and facebook updates from friends and family. And then just like in 2001 the entire stadium erupted in chants of “USA, USA, USA”

Once again Baseball somehow has weaved itself into the fabric of American History!!

Justice

and on this night there were no Philly Fans and there were no Mets Fans…There were just Americans.

Justice is Served!!!

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AROD # 600 and The Hall Of Fame Debate.

Posted in Baseball, ESPN, History, MLB, New York City, New York Yankees, NYC with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

AROD # 600!!

I have a new love in my life and her name is TWITTER.  Fine ,  I might very well be a little late to the tweet party , but that is all good! At some point this summer I figured out the amazing beauty of twitter and I dove in headfirst. But rather than detail the workings of the super-social network that is twitter, I would prefer to talk about Baseball , and the milestone that occurred when Alex Rodriquez of my beloved New York Yankees finally clubbed career home run # 600.

In typical Arod fashion he hit # 600 during a day game (of which I could not attend) , He hit it in the first inning when there were zero dramatic implications (although the 2 run shot did turn out to be all the Yankees needed for the W) and in very typical Arod fashion, it took him a while to hit it. He might be one of the greatest to ever play the game but  the dude is just not great with milestones.

The Real HR King

But as sure as the sun rises each day Arod was going to blast # 600 and he did! And just as soon as the ball landed in monument park , the great sports debate of our time jumped right back to the front page of every paper, the top of every blog and of course to the greatest sounding board of all…TWITTER.

Baseball is all about history and stats, plain and simple. The game is defined by its history and the numbers that make up that history. Any real baseball fan is at heart a statistics person, perhaps not in the sense that you like to sit around and bang out ill computations like Matt Damon in “Good Will Hunting” , but you know the single season HR record , you know that Rickey Henderson is the all time stolen base king and you know the mother of all statistics….you know who the all time Baseball Home Run King is….or do you?

# 600 for Arod has quickly resurrected the Steroid era debate or what is now cutely known as the PED debate (Performance Enhancing Drugs). Do those admitted and or accused ROID users belong in the Hall Of Fame, Do the Home Runs actually count, should all the numbers be tossed?

Alex Rodriquez is only the 7th player in Baseball history to knock 600 career bombs, the club he joins is beyond exclusive and some members beyond reproach. The Babe , Hank Aaron , Willie Mays and even Ken Griffey JR. are all safely and cleanly in the record books..no asterisk required, they are all in the Hall of Fame (with the exception of Jr. , and he is a first ballot shoe in with out question. Its the other two members who make things interesting.

Always a KING!!!!

Sammy Sosa, who along with Mark McGwire captivated the nation in 1998 with the great single season home run chase as they both smashed the record of Roger Maris (61 dingers) Sosa has 610 career home runs and before the PED debate would have been a no brainer for the HOF. In fact pre -2003 when the house of cards started to unfold, the rule of thumb was, if you hit 500 career home runs you basically get into the Hall Of Fame automatically.

Thats about right!

Well when it became terribly obvious that Barry Bonds was a freak of nature whose cap size grew like 10 sizes in two seasons and at the age of 38 started banging out 50 plus homers a year and then in 2002 broke the already obscene single season record of 70 held by McGwire , the jig was up. Major League Baseball could no longer look the other way and before you knew it  a slew of incredible home run hitters and perhaps the games greatest pitcher were lying before congress and labeled , well , cheaters.

Back to yesterday , again Arod goes yard and Twitter is burning up.  “Does Arod belong in the HOF?”  “Bonds and Clemens will never get in” “Sosa and McGwire stand no shot ever” “Rafael Palmeiro is a doucher” (Agreed..what up coop)

The Future King?

So just being at Cooperstown two weeks ago , and  having a pretty solid handle on what it means to be in Cooperstown from a fans perspective.. I chimed in on twitter…. “If The Hall is willing to recognize Bonds  statistically as the all time HR King and displays his record breaking home run ball as well, why should he not get his plaque too” ( I want to note that I despise Barry Bonds , but he was going to the Hall prior to his cheating so… go fish)

Well this turned out to be a great question ,  because before I knew what was happening I was being retweeted by espn bloggers and well-known sports columnists and I am thinking , damn this twitter thing is pretty freakin cool.

And for the next few hours, the debate raged and I came to a few conclusions.

1. There is a consensus that Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds are dirt bags and are never getting into the Hall of Fame.

2. The Jury is still out on Arod as far as the public is concerned although my money is on him getting into the Hall because time is on his side.

3. and finally….That twitter might be the single greatest blow to worker productivity modern man has ever seen.

Congrats AROD…looking forward to # 700 and eventually # 763 and looking forward to continuing the great STEROID debate….on TWITTER of course!

LEBRON..BE JETER..NOT AROD!!!

Posted in Air Jordan, Baseball, Basketball, ESPN, History, New York City, New York Yankees, Nike, NY Times with tags , , , , on July 8, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

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Without kissing a single trophy or feeling one drop of ticker tape fall on his comic book arms, LeBron James has changed the conversation in sports. How do I know this?

I don’t believe I’d ever uttered the expression “global icon” until the past two weeks.

No matter which rabbit James pulls out of his hat Thursday night on ESPN — Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, New York Knicks or Fort Wayne Mad Ants — he should understand something about becoming a global icon, whatever that means.

LeBron James
LeBron always looks good. He will look even better with a championship.

You don’t find it. It finds you.

Maybe we’ve unearthed the reason James hasn’t claimed an NBA championship, other than the fact that his Cleveland roster wasn’t built to win one. He’s poured way too much blood, sweat and tears into his pursuit of an entirely different title.

Lord and Master of the Free Agent Universe.

LeBron is chasing the kind of fame and stature attained by no American athlete before him, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali included. It reminds of another breathless free-agent drama nearly a decade ago, when Alex Rodriguez entered the marketplace fixing to conquer the world, not the World Series.

Somehow A-Rod persuaded Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks to give him $252 million over 10 years. Not $250 million over 10 for a nice and tidy quarter-billion-dollar layout. That wasn’t going to cut it. A-Rod and agent Scott Boras needed the extra 2 million bucks for this absurd reason:

They wanted to double Kevin Garnett‘s record $126 million deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Now you know why Rodriguez won his first championship 15 years deep into his career, and only after the New York Yankees paid nearly a half-billion dollars in one offseason to help him. A-Rod had spent too much time and energy on being A-Rod. He needed to be humiliated by his steroids confession — left a shattered Humpty Dumpty, in the words of Yankees general manager Brian Cashman — before remembering why he chose baseball as a profession in the first place.

LeBron James has suffered no such public emasculation. He was widely criticized for his performance in Cleveland’s second-round loss to the Boston Celtics, but his career has gone untouched by scandal. James remains a made-for-Madison Avenue pitchman, a likable and approachable figure with superhero skill.

Only on the day Kevin Durant quietly revealed that he had agreed to a five-year extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder, almost whispering it as if he were sitting in the back pew of a packed church, James did himself no favors by confirming a report from ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard that he’s going to pull a Geraldo and reopen Al Capone’s vault.

No, ESPN isn’t to blame here. The network is in the business of providing programming that sports fans want to watch  and nobody doubts that sports fans sure as hell want to watch this programming.

If James had planned to make a large donation to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the cause booked to receive sponsorship proceeds from the hourlong ESPN show, he would’ve been better off writing that organization a check.

It’s too late to turn back now. James announced on his website that the show will be called “The Decision,” and he’s doing his best to keep the Cavaliers, Heat, Knicks, Chicago Bulls and New Jersey Nets in the dark.

Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are lobbying James to join them in Miami, and Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony — scheduled to be a free agent next summer — are selling James on the possibilities in New York, according to a source close to the situation.

James should follow his heart, wherever it takes him, then schedule his next meeting with the man in his bathroom glass. LeBron doesn’t need another sitdown with desperate owners, executives and coaches trying to fulfill their own dreams. He needs a face-to-face with himself.

The Chosen One should choose a different path than the one he’s on and use his favorite ballclub, the Yankees, as a road map. Instead of being basketball’s A-Rod, it’s much better to be basketball’s Jeter.

Don’t chase attention and stature as though it’s a loose ball in the fourth quarter of a big game. Let the attention and stature chase you.

Derek Jeter became Derek Jeter by racking up championships. He won four in his first five years before signing a 10-year, $189 million contract, a deal announced in a 15-minute conference call on a slow Friday afternoon.

All these years later, LeBron wanted the prime-time sizzle, and the prime-time sizzle he’ll get. Lights, camera, action for the King and his court.

Given James’ title-free run in Cleveland, this can’t be called a three-ring circus — a no-ring circus is more to the point. Either way, when it’s all over and LeBron replaces his team of business advisers with, you know, a team of actual basketball players, he needs to rearrange his priorities.

He’s a tremendous athlete, a wonder to watch. But in the end, the victor’s spoils go to only the on-the-court victor.

Let’s face it: Nobody’s ever sprayed champagne on a global icon.

A Rolling Stone in Afghanistan!!

Posted in History, NY Times, Politics with tags , , , , on June 22, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

Just when you think it can’t possibly get any worse for our President , it does.. and in spectacularly embarrassing fashion no less. Unless you have been living under a rock or simply choose to ignore the news and current events , I am sure you have heard that our top military leader in the Afghanistan War, General Stanley McChrystal gave an interview to Rolling Stone magazine where he basically throws the entire administration including President Obama and particularly Vice President Biden under the proverbial… “BUS”

Just to give everyone a sense of the depth of the generals comments (and some subordinates of his) the article is entitled “The Runaway General” The general goes so far as to call those in the White House “Wimps” and literally on the record disses Biden when the General receives an email from the VP in the presence of the journalist that wrote the piece.

Now I think of this as not only the ultimate slap in the face to the White House and the President, but what kind of message is this General sending to the troops his is commanding and who at the end of the day are the ones who are making the real life and death sacrifices on the battlefield. I will go a step further and say what message does this send to the rest of the world, that the leaders in our military are mocking our commander-in-chief.

But the real  question I have is, how on earth does this dipshit have the time to do an interview for ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE while he is commanding 100,000 US Troops in a War Zone, does he really have that much time on his hands? Is the war going that well, that he has time to give interviews to all sorts of periodicals? I mean if this was Newsweek or even the Wall Street Journal this would still be a terrible and unacceptable turn of events, but Rolling Stone Magazine???

When is the General Stanley McChrystal XXL Cover story dropping? And better yet exactly what important national leader is on the cover of the Rolling Stone issue that the article appears in?? ….Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, on no I am sorry its gotta be Drake or Eminem.

Anyway my point on this rant is that this guy HAS TO GO!!

If Obama does not have the stones to dismiss this fool then my already diminishing confidence in our President is all but lost and that is just a sad state of affairs , but then again so is the general state of our nation. ….SAD!

Step up Mr. President!!

Who in the hell is ALVIN GREENE?

Posted in History, Politics with tags , , , on June 14, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

VOTE GREENE!

It is quite possible that American politics has reached a new low , and given the state of our political system and the general mess that is America in 2010, this is no easy achievement.

Enter Mr. Alvin Greene, who is Alvin Greene you ask?

Well me , you and the entire Democratic party is asking the very same question and guess what Mr. Greene somehow is the Democratic Parties nominee for Senate in the state of South Carolina. Now South Carolina politics is notorious for scandal and bottom of the barrel tactics etc, but this candidacy might take the cake.

Alvin Greene is a 32 year old un-employed veteran with ZERO political experience, how he defeated former state legislator Vic Rawl in the primary last week with 60% of the vote is almost as big a mystery as how this unemployed gentleman came up with the $10,000.oo fee a candidate is required to pay the state to get listed on the ballot.

Oh and one more thing, Mr. Greene has some outstanding legal troubles as well regarding disseminating pornography..sounds like South Carolina Senate material to me.

As if the Obama and the Democratic party did not have enough trouble to deal with, now they have some wack job one step away from being a Senator. State Democratic party officials are already lining up and asking Mr. Greene to step down , including senior white house adviser David Axelrod who on “Meet The Press” yesterday described Greene as “not being a legitimate candidate”

Now I wish Mr. Greene was more like Eddie Murphy in the classic yet under-rated film “The Distinguished Gentleman” , where Murphy a talented con-artist gets elected to the house of representatives , but after hearing this genius speak on CNN last night, I would be surprised if he could spell his own name.

But you know what , I say let the guy run. Maybe this is exactly what the country and the state of South Carolina needs, an inexperienced unemployed guy who lives with his dad and likes porn…he cant be any worse that the crew of geniuses running the Congress now!

This story probably has some legs to it and if nothing else will add some much-needed comedy to the scary political landscape this is the USA in 2010.

VOTE GREENE!!!!!!!!!

Grand Slam Weekend!!

Posted in Baseball, History, New York Yankees with tags , , , , , on June 14, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

Grand Weekend!

This past weekend I made a feeble attempt to celebrate my birthday, only to realize that as you get older your best bet in celebrating your birthday is staying home alone and watching sports or a classic episode of Seinfeld. I will not get into the details of my horrible birthday weekend so as not to embarrass my two best friends , lets just say my crew was in poor form and leave it at that.

But rather than wallow in my own personal post birthday misery, I choose to focus on the positive and the positive this weekend came in the form of Jorge Posada and The New York Yankees.

First things first, the Yankees are in first place for the first time since April 21, granted they have taken full advantage of a soft patch in the schedule that will end tomorrow as interleague plays brings the defending National League champions the Philadelphia Phillies to the Bronx. This series is followed by part two of the Subway Series where the seemingly hot METS should be brought back down to earth by the bombers.

Speaking of bombs, it seems that the stories of the demise of Jorge Posada have been greatly exaggerated!

Saturday Jorge came up with the bases juiced, fresh of the DL, the Yanks would have been happy with a base on balls or simple bloop single. But Jorge is on a mission to say to the Yankee Universe that he is healthy!  Playing as the DH on Saturdays game Jorge blasted a monster GRANNY that made that stadium erupt!

For just coming of the DL, this blast alone would have made everyone in the Yankee world breathe easy that our aging catcher had not lost a step in his time off.

How do you top a day with a Grand Slam, well in baseball you can’t top a Granny, but you sure can repeat it and that is exactly what Jorge did on Sunday. Skipper Joe Girardi rewarded Jorge on Sunday by finally playing him at catcher and Posada repayed the favor by hitting his second Grand Slam in as many days.

Once again a bit of history was being made in the boogie down!

Bill Dickey

The last time a Yankee player hit Grand Slams in back to back games was 73 years ago and only the fourth time in the history of the franchise. Another wonderful Yankee catcher Bill Dickey accomplished the feat in 1937, prior to that , the Sultan of Swat Babe Ruth did it in both 1927 and 1929. Now both those legends have their numbers retired in monument park and I assume one day Hip-Hip Jorge will get the same treatment and maybe, just maybe ,  a nice plaque in Cooperstown.

The Babe

Jorge..I am glad one of us a had a great weekend!!

Enjoy!!

The Supreme Court!! “New York City Represent-Represent”

Posted in History, New York City, New York Yankees, NY Times, Politics with tags , , , , , on May 12, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

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NEW YORK CITY REPRESENT!!!

Manhattan, Brooklyn , Queens and The Bronx

Great article in the NY Times about a funny little potential  factoid that will become an actual fact assuming President Obama’s’ Supreme Court Justice Nominee Elena Kagan gets confirmed by the Senate. Check this out…

Four out of the nine seats on our lands highest court will be occupied by home-grown New Yorkers, 4 of the 5 boroughs will be repped.  Elena Kagan is from the UPPER WEST SIDE..she must be confirmed.

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We really do run shit don’t we?  Only Staten Island will be not repped on the court, but I am sure Meth , The RZA , Raekwon , and the rest of the WU TANG CLAN will continue to hold down that borough.

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Justice Sonia Sotomayor has described herself as a Nuyorican who grew up in the Bronxdale Houses and later in Co-op City, where the talk of the neighborhood was that her mother had bought an Encyclopaedia Britannica. She was the valedictorian of the class of 1972 at Cardinal Spellman High School and became a prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office after attending Princeton and law school at Yale.

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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn; her father owned small clothing stores, and she was an editor of the newspaper at James Madison High School.

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Justice Scalia grew up in Elmhurst, in what he once called “a really mishmash sort of New York,” with Germans, Irish and Puerto Ricans. He went to Public School 13, where he got straight A’s, and Xavier, the Jesuit school in Manhattan, where he was first in his class and was in the military program.

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UPPER WEST SIDE!!!!!

And then there is Ms. Kagan, whose father was a community board leader on the Upper West Side and who attended the prestigious Hunter College High School, Princeton and Harvard Law, later becoming its dean.

From the looks of it Ms. Kagan has a very  decent shot of going through the grueling confirmation process and coming out the other side a member of The Supreme Court…you know us New Yorkers rise to the occasion.

I mean I know we talk about Jay Z, Biggie, Jeter, The Yankees…but wow…the Supreme Court!

Upper West Side Baby!!!