Archive for the New York Yankees 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!!!

The Walk Off!!!

Posted in Baseball, MLB, New York City, New York Yankees with tags , , , , , , , on April 15, 2011 by mattyfresh697400

Pie In The Face

Baseball is a game of patience. All too often people complain that baseball games are painfully slow and that the sport does not deliver the same  fast paced , constant action that you might find in the NFL or the NBA. Now I certainly agree that baseball games can seemingly go on forever and without the benefit of being on a clock, you never know what time you might make it home. But as I stated above baseball is a game of patience and last night if you were fortunate enough to be in the BX at Yankee Stadium and you stayed till the end, well then your patience certainly paid off!!

The Yankees got their first walk off win last night in a game that seemed like a total wash for the Yanks being down 5 -0 , and when your team is losing and putting up no runs, well that 3 hour game can feel like chinese water torture. But this was true Yankee scratch and claw baseball, a run in the 5th , 2 in the 6th , 1 in the 7th and before you know it its 5-4 going into the bottom of the 9th and guess what..we have ourselves a ball game!!

And this is where your patience as a dedicated fans pays off and this is also where baseball separates itself from all other sports. Nothing is more dramatic than a late inning come back and Jorge Posada leading off the 9th crushed a Home Run to right field sending what was left of the crowd into a total frenzy. Game Tied.

And in the 10th Nicky Swish drove a ball to deep right and Tex tagged from third and slid safely into home…The Yankees Win and got themselves their first walk off victory of the young season , a pie in the face for Swisher , and sheer joy for me and my dad!

Patience Pays Off.

#Yankeesin2011

Steroids : The Hall Of Fame Era

Posted in Baseball, ESPN, MLB, New York Yankees with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2011 by mattyfresh697400

GUILTY!

The Steroid era in Major League Baseball is long since over. No more 70 home run seasons, no more 50 home run seasons by 10 guys who never even came close to knocking 40 out of the park. No more ballooning biceps and comic book like cap sizes.

No , once the Federal government got involved with Congressional hearings Major League Baseball was forced to clean up its act and for the most part it did.

So a few years have passed and with the exception of the A-Rod revelation, all has been quiet on the roids front. You do get the occasional idiot offender but it is safe to say that the Steroid Era is over.

But at the Baseball Hall of Fame..the steroid era is really just getting started!

BIG MAC!

The first test case was Big Mac , All American hero Mark McGwire. Statistically McGwire was a non brainer 1st ballot hall of famer. He has 583 Career Home Runs and captivated the entire country in 1998 when he broke the single season home run record held by Roger Maris for over 35 years. And of course battled Sammy Sosa homer for homer for the entire month of september. It was Maris and Mantle all over again and the nation was hooked.

So needless to say Big Mac knocks 70 dingers and he is a national hero, fast forward a few years and McGwire is sitting before a congressional committee and basically sunk his own ship by refusing to discuss the subject of steroids. GUILTY!

Fast forward another two years and Mark McGwire is up for introduction in the hall and it’s not even close. He has now been eligible for three years and despite the fact that he is back in baseball as the cardinals hitting instructor , his votes keep going down.

Palmeiro.Guilty!

In the latest voting that came out this past week, it was Rafael Palmeiro who got the shaft. This guy was a 1000 percent lock to get into the hall first ballot. 500 home runs and 3000 hits…the only other guys in history with those numbers are named Mays and Aaron…. But of course this idiot also testified in front of Congress.. and in what would become a pretty historical soundbite, Palmeiro indignantly points his finger at the Senators and states “I Have never used steroids”

5 months later Rafael Palmeiro tested positive for PEDs while still an active player. GUILTY!

So the trend has started, Players with Hall Of Fame stats will not be getting into the Hall if they have been suspected of using steroids.  This is a slippery slope for the entire game of baseball…fans, players, journalists, all of us.

The Hall

If you are a true baseball fan then you truly must have the utmost respect for the Hall Of Fame. Cooperstown New York is hallowed ground for all baseball purists and I am comfortable saying that of all the professional sports leagues in our country , it is Baseball who has the most respected and most important Hall of Fame. The National Pastimes best of the best!!

Palmeiro and Big Mac might be able to fly somewhat under the radar in terms of popular debate regarding whether or not they should be in the Hall… but what will happen in two years when the names on the ballots are Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa?

Well forget Sosa because without steroids he hits 450 dingers tops.

Rocket Man

But Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were guaranteed Hall Of Famers way before they ever hit the juice, see 3 Cy Youngs and 3 MVPs…..but then they started using steroids and they ended up with 7 Cy Young Awards and 6 MVPs….6 MVPs??? Are you kidding??

73 Home Runs in a Season, 300 wins, 4000 strikeouts…the numbers are earth shattering!

The Baseball writers association of america are the body that casts the HOF votes..  They are in the un-enviable position of deciding how to handle this dilemma. But it seems like most of the writers have drawn a line in the sand with Mac and Palmeiro, one can only assume that Bonds and Clemens are certainly not going to get in on the first ballot and perhaps never at all.

The world knows these guys cheated but by excluding them from the hall, the writers are in some ways attempting to erase an entire period of time, something that despite their best intentions is just not possible.

Hmm...

 

If I was a voter, for starters I would put Don Mattingly in the Hall immediately ..but that’s another story..if I was a voter I would put them all in. I hate Barry Bonds and he certainly used PEDS (as evidenced by his massive dome..the guy wears a size 14 1/8……HAT!!!) but it’s not like someone else was hitting those home runs, stealing those bases and scoring those runs. Roger Clemens is far from the most likeable Yankee, but he was certainly the most feared and most dominant pitcher for almost two decades. And Palmerio, you just cant ignore the numbers.

I say the games have been played, the records have been set, the stats are in the books.

Home Run King

If the history can’t be changed I am not sure ignoring it and in turn ignoring the players that made that history is really the right move for the game of baseball.

Yankees in 2011!

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!