Archive for the NY Times 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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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!!

Law & Order: Los Angeles

Posted in New York City, NY Times, TV with tags , , , , , , , on May 18, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

What is the true definition of the phrase “adding insult to injury”?

I believe I have the answer and it is called…

“Law and Order : Los Angeles”

You have to wonder , with the original “Law & Order” only one season away from becoming the longest running show in the history of television, why they would cancel the show and not at least make some TV history. But just as puzzling is the thought that in the very same season that would have been record-breaking, NBC decides that the franchise is still viable and that it simply needs a new paint job with a spinoff set in Los Angeles. Of course this is coming from the network that thought Leno at 10pm was a bright idea and that they were going to turn the business model of primetime television upside down and be heralded as visionaries.

I don’t think so.

Now if you want to cancel, perhaps the greatest procedural drama of all time, only one short season away from history, that is the prerogative of the network. But what you don’t do is replace the most New York centric show of all time with an LA version. This is not CSI, where they can set up franchises as easily as opening a McDonald’s. No, this is Law & Order, the show was filmed on location all over the entire city literally. If you are a Law & Order fan and you live in NYC, they probably have shot an episode in your very own building where you live.  (They shot an episode in the lobby of two of my childhood apartment buildings. ) And if not that close to home then certainly on your block.

Law & Order lived and breathed New York.

And what about the actors, If you are a working actor in New York City or you even know a working actor in NYC, chances are they have been on Law & Order. Probably more than once!

My sister and I would often speak about different characters who were essentially extras, In one episode they were a murderer , in the next a judge and in the next a beat cop who discovers the body at the start of the episode.  Chances are if you live in the city long enough you probably passed a location shoot of Law & Order, with twenty years of filming on the streets of NY it was kind of hard not to. You can’t say that about any other show ever and most likely never will again.

Since NBC announced the cancellation of the show there have been some great articles about the impact the show had on the economy of New York and the basically devastating financial effects the cancellation of the show will have on actors, caterers , coffee shops and so on.

But my real bone to pick is with the idea that Law & Order will work in any place other than New York, to me it’s just a travesty and I question producer Dick Wolf (the mastermind of all the Law & Order franchises) He of all people should know that cancelling the original Law & Order and in the same breath starting a spin-off in LA is as close to TV blasphemy as one can get.

Law & Order Gavel

There is the saving grace of syndication and anyone who has not been living under a rock for the past 15 years knows that when Dick Wolf created Law & Order, what he created was the ultimate syndication machine. Law & Order, or one of its sister shows is ALWAYS ON TV.  24 HOURS A DAY , 7 DAYS A WEEK turn on your tube and somewhere on your dial an episode of Law & Order is being shown. So as the NY Times put it, “Law & Order might be gone, but it will not soon be forgotten”

That being said , If  NBC was not prepared to re-new the classic show, they simply should have let Lenny Brisco, Lt. Van Buren , Jack McCoy and all the other legendary characters ride off into the sunset of NYC…not LA.

N.B.C……Nothing But Chumps!

This post is dedicated to my mom and my sister, hardcore Law & Order fans forever!!

Enjoy The Music….

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!!!

Junior Varsity Terrorists???

Posted in History, New York City, NY Times, NYC with tags , , , , , , on May 3, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

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Terrorism is defined as the ” Use of Violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes” I certainly do not have to tell anyone that the attacks on 9/11 basically were the Triple Crown of a global terrorist attack. Number one and most  importantly the murder of 3000 innocent people, two ,the fact the attack took place on american soil , and three,..the symbolism involved in not only attacking the symbolic heart of our capitalist spirit but the actually ever-lasting images of the collapse of the Towers. Real life images are powerful things, the images of the Twin Towers falling will be haunting forever. Being a New Yorker, I saw them fall with my very own eyes.

I would like to think that post 9/11, the American efforts to prevent another attack on American soil have been nothing short of perfect.

But then of course we HAVE to be perfect don’t we, anything less than complete perfection is complete failure and the loss of further American lives.  When it comes to fighting terror, the odds are on the sides of the terrorists , in that they can afford to not hit their target, and they might very well live to fight another day or certainly some fundamentalist with their own gripes about the world will be there to take their place.

For the moment though I would like to  think, that we are winning the WAR on Terror as they call it, and by applying pressure to terrorist forces on their soil (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan) Fighting the fight in their backyard simply put, keeps America safer. The downside to this philosophy is that unless there are sweeping changes amongst those factions that hate our way of life, preach that hatred to the younger generations and are willing to sacrifice their own lives to “KILL THE INFIDELS”…then Unfortunately this might be a war that never ends. Because it can’t!

There is something that’s clear though as indicated by recent events, The Terrorists (Domestic or International) are still out there and still trying to take innocent American lives, only problem for them is , We got the real heavy hitters pinned down , hiding in caves, dodging Special Forces units all the while trying to play defense and organize their offense.

And clearly right now the Junior Varsity squad is playing ball for the Terrorists. In December the attempted christmas bombing of Flight 253 from the Netherlands to Michigan was perpetrated by a Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab , Nigerian national that might have trained in Yemen but clearly to did not pass the bomb denotation courses offered by Al Quada, being that Mr. Mutallab could not even detonate his device, but in a sweet twist of irony did manage to burn himself in the “CROTCHAL REGION” ….word to Anchorman.

Then we have the events of this past saturday night, a car bomb, loaded with enough explosive devices to put a nice crater in the middle of Times Square, considered by some to be the literal center of the world. The potential carnage would have this nation shook. Thankfully this wanna be terrorist also never got his IED degree , and the ever vigilante New York Street Vendor saved the day.

Now the obvious and most troubling question is how did these JV Terrorists get so close to making the pros and accomplishing their mission. The truth is we live in the most free and open society in the world and you can’t police it ,The freedoms we have in our society define what is to be American. And whether the terrorists are able to succeed one day in the future and all the odds point in that eventuality, I don’t believe America or Americans will change. I mean I went to Times Square yesterday to hit up CHAMPS and by some Air Jordans…Americans dont cave.

But I guess what gives me a slight glimmer of hope is that the few potential attacks that were , (well we can’t say they were foiled, The idiots just could not get the job done) that have been made public,  were perpetrated by the D-League players and perhaps we actually do have the Osama Bin Ladens of the world so holed up that to even consider a plan as complex and as ruthless as 9/11 is just not in the cards right now. The Terrorist varsity team is benched and the hopefully we can handle the JV players. … But then again..any asshole can blow themselves up….right?

I consider myself a pretty superstitious person, but that applies more to like always sitting in the exact same seat at Yankee Stadium and stepping onto the plane with my right foot, so I pray that by writing this I am not jinxing anything. Our country has gotten lucky twice recently and for that I am grateful.

But if you can put a  positive spin on the two recent attempted terrorist attacks, it’s that we are currently dealing (Thankfully) with  the equivalent of  the Bad News Bears of terrorists, The Nigerian genius tries to blow an airliner out of the sky and instead he burns his hanes boxer briefs……what?

Lets pray that if they continue to send over terrorists or even grow them right here on our soil that they are of the JUNIOR VARSITY Variety!!

Yankees at the White House!!

Posted in Baseball, MLB, New York City, New York Yankees, NY Times, NYC, Politics with tags , , , , , , on April 24, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

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Winning the World Series is the pinnacle of sports achievements , and when you take that crown you get showered with endless praise in the media, if you win in NY you get a ticker tape parade down the canyon of heroes and the keys to the greatest city on the planet. You get huge rings so you can always remember your triumph . And of course you get the unconditional love from the fans.

But perhaps one of the coolest benefits of winning the WORLD SERIES is a trip to the White House, where the President of our great nation greets the best team in the world at the most powerful address in the universe. The New York Times has a great article about the history of this great tradition.

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To put the Yankee greatness in perspective, When Andy Pettitte swings by 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue this monday, he will be meeting his fourth President of The United States. Very few people can say they have ever even had the good fortune to see a sitting President in person, let alone be greeted by one in the Rose Garden.

In 1999, the Yankees met President Bill Clinton at the White House to commemorate their victory the previous season.

As Clinton and George Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ principal owner, entered the South Lawn, the band struck up “Hail to the Chief.” Clinton turned to Steinbrenner and said, “Don’t get any ideas, it’s not for you.”

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I am sure the BOSS did not agree with President Clinton….lol

Membership has its privileges!!