Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Off The Hook…um…Bench

First and foremost, we must start with a quick Memorial Day thought, even though we’re two days late. God (or Allah, or Elvis or whomever) bless all of you who gave your lives so valiantly in defense of our great, yet flawed country. Whether you served at Gettysburg, Iwo Jima, Baghdad, or anywhere else, you are a hero. I hope the many people who enjoyed a barbecue, TV show, day at the beach, or shopping bargains on the day that we celebrate you took a moment out to remember you.

Incidentally, though they weren’t necessarily soldiers who died in the line of duty, those who perished on September 11, 2001 deserve to be remembered on Memorial Day. They died in an act of war.

Just in case we want to split hairs over such things.

Among the biggest questions always put to me is, “what’s wrong with the Yankees?” It’s quite simple – they suck. That however, is too easy. It’s an old baseball axiom – when you hit, you don’t pitch. When you pitch, you don’t hit. Right now, the latter is the problem. There was a chance that this team would get old fast. It’s happened, and baseball fans are partying like it’s 1965.

Go look it up and you’ll see what I mean.

A-Rod seems to have his family values in order. Going to a strip club with a strange woman, then taking her into the elevator to go to his room? Uh oh. No chance the media is going to pick that up, eh?

Morals aside, you can do that when you play for the Texas Rangers. You can’t do it when you play for the New York Yankees.

I’m not in the “Joe Must Go” camp. I am in the “start dumping players” camp. You can start with Bobby Abreu. Seemed like a good trade at the time, but now we can see what the Phillies saw.

If you like Cajun food (or the kind of things you can eat in N’awlins), then get yourself to The Bayou on Gramatan Ave in Mount Vernon. Now. Have an Abita and enjoy!

On the subject of beer (that’s what Abita is, folks), I was disheartened to discover that Connecticut lives in the dark ages with a blue law that was in effect on Monday. I dined at my sister’s place in Fairfield, and was looking forward to a brew with my hot dog, but alas the Stop and Shop wasn’t allowed to sell.

We’ll get Tim Parry and John Mayer on that ASAP. I also drove by the former market in Fairfield that NIMBY’S (including Mr. Mayer) don’t want turned into a Walgreens. Instead folks would be happy to see the building sit there, empty and falling into disrepair.

NIMBY’S! Gotta love their way of thinking.

I attended the Fairfield Memorial Day parade, which was almost out of small-town America central casting. Then I remembered the Banana Republic, Starbucks, and Border’s Books within walking distance and snapped out of it.

By the way, those vendors with their shopping carts full of junk should be fair game.

I’m not saying for what. I’m just saying they should be fair game.

Hate to say this, but pretension seemed to be at an all-time high at the parade. That takes nothing away from the fine parade, and the efforts of those who organized it. Also congrats to my nephew, Jake, for marching in the parade, as part of a group who quickly assembled a map of the US at various points during the route. He carried Florida, just for the record.

I scored a second interview with a job that I recently mentioned here. Thanks for your best wishes on this subject, both in the comments and via email, etc. I don’t see me getting this job due to a series of factors, and that’s OK. I’m very happy that they wanted to talk to me. It gives me reason to believe.

The other night at Yankee Stadium, Mick told me something that I’ve thought for some time – that we need to write an entry about the Friday night scene in Section 5. He also said that he felt I should be the one to write it.

Then he told me how much he liked me, but if I got so much as one thing wrong, that I would never hear the end of it.

Glad we got that out of the way. I slept so much better.

Anyway, I suspect I will write it when the right mood hits. It could take a while.

The Police played the first show of their tour in Vancouver on Monday night. The set list blew me away. Check it out:

Message in A Bottle
Synchronicity II
Don’t Stand So Close To Me
Voices Inside My Head/When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around
Spirits in the Material World
Driven to Tears
Walking on the Moon
Truth Hits Everybody
Wrapped around Your Finger
The Bed’s Too Big Without You
Murder By Numbers
De Do Do Do De Da Da Da
Invisible Sun
Walking in Your Footsteps
Can’t Stand Losing You
King Of Pain
So Lonely
Every Breath You Take
Next To You

That was the good news. Then I read the first review, courtesy of the Edmonton Sun, and my heart sank just a bit:

...anyone expecting the fierce, punk-tinged reggae rock of The Police at their prime instead got a jazzier, more-mellow version.

That’s what I was afraid of: a little too much Stingo. Oh well, I’m not trading my tickets. I’m going, and it will be a blast. Incidentally reviews in USA Today and Billboard are much kinder.

I watched most of The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus on TV last night, and read up a bit on the event. The Stones had shelved the project for years, thinking that their performance wasn’t very good. I would say their performance was just fine, but rumors persist that the Stones were especially jealous of The Who, who (no pun intended) kicked some arse on “A Quick One While He’s Away.” I also especially enjoyed The Dirty Mac, a supergroup made up of Mitch Mitchell from the Jimi Hendrix Experience on drums , and guitarists Eric Clapton (fresh from breaking up with Cream), Keith Richards, and some bloke named Lennon (first name might have been John). I think the Lennon guy was in a band also. They played The Beatles track “Yer Blues” from the legendary “White Album.”

Yes, Yoko was there. Yes, she did weird things. Yes, she sang. If that’s what you want to call it.

Most interesting to me was that Led Zeppelin (still a new band at the time) was initially thought to be invited to play, but were instead replaced by Jethro Tull. No offense, but the trade wasn’t quite up to par. Not quite Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas, but you get the idea.

Oh well, you can’t always get what you want.

Overall this isn’t essential Rock 101, but if you spot it on TV, check it out. It’s kitschy and fun.

So Kobe Bryant says the Lakers are a mess and that he would welcome a trade? That might answer those who can’t understand why Kobe is so disliked. I think he’s a great player, but when it came right down to it, who were you going to choose between Shaq-Fu and Mr. I Didn’t-Do-Anything-Wrong-In-Colorado? Kobe is emblematic of the problematic (take that, Clyde Frazier) NBA star.

Then again, rumor has it that the NBA is still playing.

Next thing you know, somebody will try to tell me that the WNBA season has started.

Surprise time! It seems that our guy Barry Bonds has been kind of, shall we say, distant towards reps from the Hall of Fame. He hasn’t exactly been warm to the idea of giving them stuff like bats, balls, uniforms and so on as he pursues perhaps the most cherished of sports records (Hank Aaron’s lifetime mark of 755 home runs). Tracy Ringolsby, a Spink Award Winner for writing excellence (as recognized by the very same Hall of Fame), writes that the Hall has every right to get the booty, saying:

It's time that the teams took charge. Who says that if a ball from one of Bonds' home runs is retrieved the ball has to be given to him? It's not his ball. It belongs to the home team, which pays for the baseballs. Ditto on the jerseys that he is hoarding. The Giants pay for his jerseys. Same with his bats. The team pays for a player's bats. If Bonds doesn't have any compassion for the history of the game then the Giants need to make sure that they don't shun the folks in Cooperstown.

Well here’s the shocking part: I’m with Bonds on this. I understand that the team pays for the stuff, but come on – it’s Bonds who is accomplishing the feat (with a little help from his friends). If he wants to keep it, then he has that right. If he wants to donate it to charity, put it up on Ebay, or give it away, then that’s up to him. That said, one would like to see it on display, but then again, why? Do you want to see a monument to this flawed record?

Bonds should be more forgiving and donate some items to the Hall, but he doesn’t specifically owe them. I can pick him for a lot of things, but sometimes it seems like we’re criticizing just because we don’t like him.

Mike North was the latest to try the Imus chair. Let's just say he made Chris Russo sound intelligent. Now don't get me wrong, I wouldn't pick Benigno and Roberts over this guy, but for a legendary time slot, he brought it way down. His bit on the Bookie Priest (or whatever it was called) made me ill. Plus his Chicago accent was brutal to listen to.

I switched to the iPod, where I listened to Ben Folds' album Supersunnyspeedgraphic. To be sure, this effort is not for the kiddies, especially his remake of Dr. Dre's "B*tches Ain't Sh*t" but I think it's hysterical to listen to a rap song translated into a pop beat with harmonies and piano. Two other covers exist as well, The Cure's "In Between Days," and The Darkness' "Get Your Hands off of My Woman." The collection of songs are the highlights from three "EP's" that Folds put out over the past several years, Super D, Sunny 16, and Speed Graphic. The original songs are equally good, if not better than the cover songs, and the wit of Folds shines through on each lyric. It's snarky sarcasm, parody, and commentary, but the parody isn't as shameful as Weird Al Yankovic.

It's all in good fun, taste and music.


Sean G. Kilkelly said...

Do you think the Yankees will turn it around this year and even make the playoffs?


Rob Adams said...

Sean, Yet I've learned to not doubt them (as in 2000, when I swore the Mets would beat them). This team just seems so confused and so buried right now that I can't imagine them making it. To win the division would mean an epic breakdown by the Red Sox, along with an epic comeback by the Yankees - both of which I don't think are possible.

These aren't the teams of '78.

I suppose the Wild Card is possible, and honestly what's the harm, considering how many teams have won it all from that spot? Like the '04 Sox, for instance.

Still I'm worried, as all Yankee fans should be.

Mick said...

Section 5 BABY! Better get it right or else...well we'll see about that....LOL!