Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pinky...the Brain...and The Beatles?

I've never seen this. Truly laughing out loud!

Good Day Sunshine

Carrie the Magnificent (you might have heard me mention her name around these parts on occasion) posted "Good Day Sunshine" on her Facebook wall this morning. Not knowing why, I sent her a text complimenting her for quoting a Beatles song. Little did I know, until going to Facebook, that she actually posted a video - from the Beatles' US cartoon series. Well played, then.

Great lyrics, especially when one is in love!

I recall MTV showing these cartoons right around the time that the lads' CD's were released for the first time - around 1987. A look at Wikipedia reveals more.

We need one more - and I love "Day Tripper."

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Old Timer's Day

I don't think we need to debate this one. There is nowhere - in any sport - that has the history of the New York Yankees. And today - for some reason, on a Sunday in June - is Old Timer's Day.

Somewhere along the line this day has gone from being a celebration (and it still is) to a tear-jerker. Man, maybe it's the swelling of memories. It's so great to see the faces and hear the names. I love watching how the new players embrace the past.

I don't even always watch the game closely, but I love the introductions. It was for me as a kid when Frank Messer handled them and so it is today with the duo of John Sterling and Michael Kay.

When I was a kid the Yankees always introduced the widows - Claire Ruth and Eleanor Gehrig. Today those widows are Arlene Howard, Helen Hunter, Jill Martin, Diana Munson and Kay Murcer.

You all know how much we still miss Bobby Ray. We especially miss him on Old Timer's Day.

In the older days, the Yankees hosted players from all teams. I fondly remember seeing Willie Mays in 1985. I'd still like to see some of that. And why is John Flaherty in the YES booth? And where's O'Neill?

Ah, no matter. Everything is always andled with class in The Bronx (such as the farwell they're giving to longtime trainer Gene Monahan). The weather is awesome. It's a great day.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Linky Dinks Returns!

Good (CBS New York).  No need for any long-winded thoughts.  Done.  Moving on.

Nick Charles waged a fierce, dignified battle against bladder cancer.  Nick was a wonderful broadcaster, pairing with Fred Hickman on"Sports Tonight."  He died early today at 64 (CNN).

Joe Posnanski pays tribute to Clarence Clemons.  I'm listening to a lot of Springsteen lately (overrated...bah!) and found a copy of his legendary Passaic, NJ show from 1978.  Just Google it and you'll find it.  Oh, and I found a Beatles Bootleg site in the process.  Scary!

I don't like government interference, but I hate smoking.  Jeff Pearlman has had enough.

Belle Island, Richmond, VA, 1965 (Vintage Richmond).  One of my favorite places to stroll in in R-VA.  It's a park now, with lots of access to the James River.  I've walked its pedestrian bridge many times, and last walked around it in 2009 with Jon and his family.  Special times with my friends and Mr. Sean Adams.

The Mannings have outdone themselves.  Purely aweseome.

The greats are slowly fading away.  Left behind is dreck.  Dick Enberg is working his last Wimbledon (USA Today).  The nostalgic side of me would like to see him call the final on NBC, though that wouldn't be fair to Ted Robinson, who does an outstanding job.  Yet for me, despite my affection for John McEnroe and Mary Carillo, Breakfast at Wimbeldon will always be Dick Enberg and Bud Collins.

Did I mention that there's a lot of dreck out there in broadcasting these days?  That feeling grows in me a little more every day.  Or I just want the kids to get off my lawn.

This is a solid "History Will Be Made" spot to salute the Boston Bruins (Fang's Bites).

Welcome back, Jets of Winnipeg.  Well done.  Enjoy your matchup with the Sharks (Snap! Snap! Snap! Snap!).


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

A self-portrait, June 18, 2011
Just a quick Happy Father's Day to one and all.  I think of the many dads who deserve their special moment.  I think of my friend Tim Parry, who is enjoying his first father's day, and at the same time, dealing with the emotions of loss in and around his family.  I hope he finds the time and strength to be positive.

I of course think of my own dad, and dads lost.

Still, I have a son of my own and as you can see from that picture above, we're pretty fond of each other.  I took that at the Carmel Sports Association picnic on Saturday.

I'm not Father of the Year.  I never will be.  I don't intend to be.  That's a fairly lame concept anyway.  Some question my parenting style.  Bully for them.  I'm not going to sit here (yes, I'm sitting) and defend myself.  No need.  Sean and I have a great relationship, and I think he is an amazing kid.
One of these days Sean and I will spend Father's Day on the golf course, or he'll shock me by wanting to have a catch (it's just not his thing).  It doesn't matter.  We'll spend this day together.  Is it arbitrary?  Sure, but that's a "Hallmark Holiday" for you.

Happy Father's Day to all of you.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Saddest Night on E Street

We lost The Big Man tonight (CBS News).  Those of us in E Street Nation don't have to say his name.  He was just that - The Big Man, and it was said in "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out."
When the change was made uptown
And the big man joined the band
From the coastline to the city
All the little pretties raise their hands
Im gonna sit back right easy and laugh
When scooter and the big man bust this city in half
With a tenth avenue freeze-out, tenth avenue freeze-out
Bruce Springsteens' website has released a statement:
It is with overwhelming sadness that we inform our friends and fans that at 7:00 tonight, Saturday, June 18, our beloved friend and bandmate, Clarence Clemons passed away. The cause was complications from his stroke of last Sunday, June 12th.

Bruce Springsteen said of Clarence: Clarence lived a wonderful life. He carried within him a love of people that made them love him. He created a wondrous and extended family. He loved the saxophone, loved our fans and gave everything he had every night he stepped on stage. His loss is immeasurable and we are honored and thankful to have known him and had the opportunity to stand beside him for nearly forty years. He was my great friend, my partner, and with Clarence at my side, my band and I were able to tell a story far deeper than those simply contained in our music. His life, his memory, and his love will live on in that story and in our band.
This is not the first member of the E Street Band to pass away. Danny Federici died in 2008, and tonight by no means minimizes that.  "Phantom" Dan stayed behind his keyboard and played with an artistry that was molded to his style.  A brilliant musician, but not flashy.

Clarence Clemons (aka "The Big Man" and no, I don't need to say his name) was always right there - normally at the front of the stage, to Bruce's right.  He played his saxophone with such passion - listen to "Jungleland" tonight and try not to feel emotional - and provided a presence on stage that seemed like a body guard was there for The Boss, when in reality he was just a big ol' teddy bear who would have played football for the Browns had he not been hurt in a car crash.  Think of "Badlands" tonight, and how that sax solo could lift an audience - I saw it myself in '99 at the Meadowlands Arena.  I'm not sure I will ever see another a show with more energy than that one.

We could go back to that one little pop nugget that he brought us, in his duet with Jackson Browne (with backing vocals from Brownes' then-girlfriend Daryl Hannah), "You're a Friend of Mine."  Those moments are when The Big Man would give us his voice.  On occasions when he did sing to us, the crowd would simply go nuts.  See the moment in "Out in the Street" when various members took turns singing that one line "Meet me out in the street, baby" (by the way, that is a song that just makes me smile for so many reasons).  It was at that precise moment when a roar would come up from the throats of E Street.

Anytime he played that sax, the crowd would just wail away.  Most of all, our collective love was saved for the precise time in which the Right Reverend Springsteen would climb to the pulpit to introduce each band member.  The process would alter slightly and get more dramatic over the years, but one thing remained the same: The Big Man was always introduced last.

It could be from the early days, when Bruce would say, "And last but not least.  Do I have to say his name?  Do I have to speak his name?  Do I have to say his name?  In this corner: the king of the world, master of the Universe, weighing in at 260 pounds...The Big Man, Clarence Clemons!"  That's how he did it on during "Rosalita" from the Live 1975-1985 set.  Or on the Live in New York City CD where he was known as the "Minster of Soul" and "Secretary of the Brotherhood." All this during "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out" and great god of Rock and Roll was Madison Square Garden in a whole different orbit.

Such joy. 

Tonight, that joy is mixed with tears as we listen to the music and celebrate a life lost too soon at 69.

Rest well, Big Man.  We never needed to say your name.

But we need some music.  "Jungleland" is just way too emotional tonight.  I can't find a suitable "Tenth Ave."  There are several "Out in the Streets" but I don't love any of them.  No.  "Badlands" will do nicely.  Ladies and gents, from 1999 at Madison Square Garden - the house rockin', pants droppin', earth shockin', hard rockin', booty shakin', love makin', heart breakin', soul cryin' death defyin' legendary E Street Band.  Watch this and love it - no effects, no nothing.  Lights, crowd, rock and roll.  Bruce and Big Man with pure admiration following the sax solo.  Smiles.  The place is jumping.  Perfect.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Few Hours Later...

Nathan Horton carries the Cup (Anne-Marie Sorvin/US Presswire)
I'm up early on this Thursday morning to head out to work, but a few things crossed my mind.

- Awesome job by the injured Nathan Horton to bring a bottle of water from the TD Garden (should just be the Boston Garden, but that's splitting hairs).  Horton opened the bottle and dumped it on the ice in Vancouver.

- Stay classy, Vancouver.  You rioted during and after the 1994 Cup Finals.  Why should last night and this morning be any different?

- Wow.

- Boston also had a few minor problems, but nothing as bad as what went on in Canada.  Again, New York is so big and bad, but we've never rioted after a championship - win or loss.

- Tim Thomas is the oldest winner of the Conn Smythe Award, and the second American.  Who was the first?  Surely you jest!  He's the guy who got the assist in this nice goal by Alexei Kovalev in the 1994 Cup Finals (which concluded 17 years ago on Tuesday).  Phil Soto-Ortiz asked me to find this goal - done.  Ladies and gentleman, Brian Leetch to Kovalev, past Kirk McLean (of Vancouver), Game 3, 1994 Finals...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Is This Real? The Boston Bruins Have Won the Stanley Cup

Somehow I thought this day would happen.  The Boston Bruins, an original six franchise, would one day get their hands on Lord Stanley's Cup.

Tonight, 39 years after they last won it, defeating the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, they have taken it back, in the most impressive way: winning Game 7 on the road in Vancouver.  A 4-0 victory just added the explanation point.

What a wonderful feeling for the fans in the Hub.  What devastation for the fans on the Pacific coast of Canada.

Yet tonight - this evening - is about a dear friend.  My friend Harold has waited - sometimes beyond impatiently - for this most special moment.  He is to the B's what I believe I am to the Yankees.  Loyal, frustrated, loving of history, and so on.  He was among the first to contact me following the Yankees' 1996 World Series title, despite his lack of love for the Bronx Bombers.  He knew what it meant to me.

I know what tonight means to him.  I'd call him - I want to - but no.  It's late.  Let him celebrate.

It is now - at 10:45 PM Eastern, 7:45 in Canada - real.

For my fellow broadcaster Sean Ford, I also extend congratulations.  I am also thrilled for him.  Tomorrow morning, on a radio station in Missouri, he gets to tell his listeners that his boyhood team has won the most coveted trophy in sports.

I'm not supposed to like anything from Boston.  It's supposed to be in my blood to hate them.  Yet I don't deslike them.  Not the Bruins.  I have too much respect for them.  Tim Thomas played as fine a goal as I have ever seen a postseason goalie play.  It is because of that he has won the Conn Smythe Trophy, recognizing the playoff MVP.

Congratulations, Boston.  Congratulations to my good friends.  It's a wonderful night for hockey.  Too bad the Canucks couldn't have helped give us all a better show and a little drama.

The only sad part? No more Doc Emrick until October.

The Boston Bruins have won the Stanley Cup.  Yes, it has happened.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Best Thing About the Anthony Weiner Scandal

I don't think I need to tell you who the man is in the picture above.  Anthony Weiner has become more famous than he ever wished to be.  Or infamous.  Your choice.  He has brought shame to himself (and his wife).  Foolish, foolish, foolish.

Yet there is something good that has come out of it.  Something Manu Raju, writing for NBC New York also noted.

Senator Charles (Microphone) Schumer hasn't been heard from.

See, this clown would speak about moon rocks if given the chance.  I've called for news agencies to step up and boycott going to him for quotes.  He actually inspired me grab the remote the other day and turn the TV to something else - ANYTHING else.  It was as if something had jumped into my body and filled me with contempt.

And this was at Carrie's place.  I quickly apologized, but I probably still looked like an over-emotional, out-of-control embarrassment.

I don't get it.  Just as I never got how Bay State constituents continued to elect Ted Kennedy (ummm...Mary Jo Kopechne, anyone?), I don't get how Schumer keeps getting votes in the beloved Empire State.  I'd vote for a toaster first.  Maybe even for Sarah Palin (oooh...maybe not...gotta think about that).  It isn't solely that I dislike his appearance on every news show (radio, TV, Smartphone) but I don't really think he's a very good politician either.

Coincidentally, my remote snagging, out of body experience happened as Schumer was making a statement...of support...for his friend...Anthony Weiner.

He hasn't been heard from since.

Oh, happy day.

As for Weiner, he did bad, right?  We all agree there.  Yet is he good at his job?  I don't live in his area, so I don't really know.  Did Bill Clinton step down after Monica?  Uh...no.

The right answer to what Weiner should do isn't so cut and dried.

The only answer is that he is a fool.

A Hockey Article Worth Reading

 Michael Ryder celebrates in Game 4 as Tanner Glass skates away.  Elise Amendola, AP
Any good attention for hockey is, well, good.  Bill Simmons, writing for his new site, Grantland (via ESPN) is a very polarizing figure (See Riley, Rick) and yet I really don't have a strong opinion about him.  His writing is fine and he can be quite funny, but he's also a Boston suck-up.

Yet that works to his advantage in this column, as he has rediscovered his hockey mojo.  He makes several salient points (not the least being his brief aside about Bruce Springsteen - "Born in the USA" is perhaps my least favorite album of his). 

I don't like the idea of being a front-runner, so Simmons loses me there.  Once you're a fan, you should stay a fan, and I've hit this topic before.  If you have had the nerve - oh, the humanity! - of becoming a Yankees fan say since 1996 (or 2009), at least stay loyal.  Or if you, say, became a Steelers fan after watching them win Super Bowl XIII when you were 10...

Still loyal.

But whatever - bygones.  Simmons hits on most of the things that we hockey fans already knew.  Yes to me the sport is still flawed but those flaws aren't going away.  That's what made 1994 so oh-so-extra special (as Simmons points out).  Casual fans were watching.  New York was the epicenter.  There was no shootout, just a crazy penalty shot showdown between Pavel Bure and Mike Richter (SAVE BY RICHTER!).

As Simmons also notes, 1994 was before the Devils began to lull us to sleep and before the Europeans really took the game over.  There was less glitz; hockey players weren't fashion models.

Times change, and these items aren't going away.  Yet those of us watching these playoffs (and this Finals series) know that we've seen the things that brought us to the sport.  The speed.  The intensity.  The hitting.  The justice (who didn't love Thomas swiping at Burrows?).  The heartbreak or euphoria (Games 1 and 2 were just nuts).  The controversy (Burrows - the bite of Game 1 and the performance of Game 2 and shame on the NHL for allowing it).

That and so much more.  It's been brilliant.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Greenwich Mountain Lion Wants Its Share of the Fun

Here kitty, kitty, kitty...

On the heels of the Bronx Zoo's Cobra and PeaHEN Twitter pages comes a new entry: the Greenwich Mountain Lion's Facebook page.

Paul Silverfarb (oh writing legend of the Greenwich Post) suggested that the GML and I become friends, and I couldn't resist saying yes.

So you never know.  The Lion and I could join forces for some Brunswick sports broadcasts, or maybe shoot a round together at The Griff.  Then again, knowing how things work, just wait for the debut of the Mountain Lion Sports Hour on WGCH.

It could happen.

If you're woefully lost with this post, please have a look at Lisa Chamoff's article in the Greenwich Time.

I'm "Next"

A few moments ago, I rather nervously pressed "publish" on my first post over at "All Things Next."  So you can go there to read and comment (or of course, use the usual avenues, like commenting here or on Facebook).

I wrote about David Ortiz and the foolish controversy surrounding his bat flip.  Of course, Ortiz makes it more foolish when he curses the media out.  Jagov (I like that word).

Just as when I first posted for the FCIAC Football Blog, the Greenwich Post, or anywhere else I can think of (there may have been others), I still feel pangs of uncertainty.  Comes with the territory, I guess.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Atlantic Yards - the "Battle for Brooklyn"

One of these people is the Mayor of New York City.  The other one is Michael Bloomberg, politician.
A new arena is going up in "the BK."  The Atlantic Yards project will become the Barclays Center, and will be the home of the New York whatevers (or the Brooklyn whatevers...the former New Jersey Nets).  Arena Digest has some of the details on the new digs.

They compare and contrast just a touch to how the Nets will handle things, as opposed to the Knicks.  Don't.  Get.  Me.  Started.  On. Them.

(Be positive, Rob...that's what everyone seems to be telling you...be positive...Kumbya, my Lord...)

Anyway, of course building anything in an urban setting means the potential for eminent domain, and this project is no different.  Michael O'Keefe, writing in the New York Daily News, highlights a new documentary that profiles the whole mess.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Should the Mets Retire Gary Carter's Number?

Yes, that's an Expos jersey.

I was going to stay away from this one, until I saw a post written by Paul Lukas, who runs the site Uni Watch.  Paul is a big Mets fan (one of just a few - sorry, couldn't resist).  I wanted Mets fans to have their say, but Paul's post was wonderfully honest, and it got me to me keyboard.

Over at Mike Silva's New York Baseball Digest, the author gives his takeMike Vaccaro of the New York Post also chimes in.

Of course, this isn't my team, but so far, Lukas is the only one saying "no."  Tyler Kepner of the Times weighed in via Lukas' column to also say yes.

My take?  No.

Look, for those who want to offer the "Reggie only played five years for the Yankees" debate, I've been crystal clear on that.  Reggie Jackson's number - under NO circumstances - should ever be retired by the Yankees.  Ever.  I've also been clear that the Yankees (and the Celtics and Canadiens and perhaps even the Bruins) have gotten uttterly out of control when it comes to this topic.

Mike Silva says that the Mets should retire the numbers of Carter, Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Keith Hernandez, John Franco, and Mike Piazza.  I will gladly offer a reason why EACH of them should NOT have the numbers set aside.  Paul Lukas has already done the dirty work for me regarding Carter.  Gooden and Strawberry are both obvious (ummm...shall we recall the rap sheets?).  Hernandez doesn't even have number retired in St. Louis, where he won an MVP and a World Series.  Franco?  Come on.  REALLY?  And then there's Piazza, perhaps the most obvious choice.  I've got my own simple reason...think of the era.  That's all I'm saying.

Plus in the case of many of those players, there really isn't a long body of work, which returns us to the argument that Paul Lukas made about Carter.

But again, this is my take.  I'm more curious what the Mets fan thinks.

I'll repeat my stance on the Yankees.  One: Billy Martin's number should have never been retired (or it should be shared by Bobby Murcer and perhaps Bobby Richardson and Earl Combs - based on lower standards that others seem to have and "players that defined the uniform").  Two: Obvious.  Jeter (it will be retired very soon).  Three: Duh.  Ruth - should be retired across the sport.  Four: Gehrig.  Five: DiMaggio.  Seven: Mantle.  Eight: the catchers, Yogi and Bill Dickey.  Nine: Roger Maris...honestly, as much I like Rog, this one is highly suspect.  Ten: Scooter and I wouldn't retire it.  Sorry.  It was only retired when he wasn't making the Hall of Fame.  Fifteen: Thurman Munson.  Let's be honest...August 2, 1979.  That's it.  Sixteen: White Ford.  Fine.  Twenty-three: Don Mattingly.  No argument from me, but I understand if you disagree.  Thirty-two: Elston Howard.  See Robinson, Jackie and come back to me.  Thirty-seven: Casey Stengel.  Sure, we could debate that one.  Forty-two is for Mo and Robinson.  Forty-four: Reggie.  No.  Big No.  Forty-nine: Ron Guidry.  Again...no.

Nor would I add 51 (Bernie), 24 (Tino), 46 (Pettitte), 20 (Posada) and I might not even add 21 (O'Neill).  It's just too much.  This is what Monument Park is for and I think the Yankees come up empty when it comes to adding new names out there.  They instead used the space to create a HUGE memorial to King George.

But this is a Mets issue.  I don't think the team has been as bad as others think at retiring numbers.  To be sure, I credit them (note this date, folks) for being prudent.  Not every team retires them like Tom Seaver did (nice, right?).  Look at the New York Rangers: for years it was only Rod Gilbert and Eddie Giacomin.  Since then they've added Messier, Leetch, and Richter, and Graves before dipping into their past to honor Harry Howell and Andy Bathgate. 

Make the honor be fit for the true legends - those who did the uniform proud.  It doesn't have to be a gold-standard Hall of Famer (like Mattingly, who is purely a fan-favorite).  But overall, it should be the icons of the franchise.

So Mets fans (and others), have your say.  I'm curious.

We've Said This Before: Doc Emrick is the Best

Deadspin picked up this story from Richard Dietsch in Sports Illustrated.  I love the part about the grace of the great Ernie Harwell.

We've sung Mike Emrick's praise around these parts for a long time.  He's the best American voice of hockey, and he's arguably the best ever (yes, I know my friends in Canada and those who love Dan Kelly are cringing).

Let's see Doc in a moment of silliness, from the Easter Epic of 1987.  That's the late Tom Mees introducing them.

It's Doc's play-by-play that we love him for, and we need some of that. He was beyond brilliant the other night (when is he not?) but this was among some of his finest work - Game 7 from 2009, when the Penguins won Lord Stanley's Cup.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Happy Birthday, Sgt. Pepper

It's merely the single most influential album ever.  Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was released on June 1, 1967.  It still resonates today.

It's not perfect.  It's not The Beatles best album.  Yet so many bands cite it as being an inspiration. 

While doing a Google search, I came across this documentary of the making of the album.  Great stuff.

Damn...Vancouver Takes Game One

If you didn't watch it, you missed brilliance.  Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo put on a clinic that every other goalie could only wish for.  In the end, Raffi Torres beat Thomas off a borderline offside no-call with under a minute to go, and Vancouver picked up a 1-0 win in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Massachusetts could have used some happy news - certainly in the Springfield area, where they are recovering from a tornado (from The Weather Channel).  NBC Connecticut is reporting at least four people are dead.  The video is stunning.

Best wishes to all in Springfield, a place I normally visit at least once a year to go to The Big E.

While we're here, can Kareem Abdul-Jabbar get a clue?  I always knew he was kind of a pompous clown, and certainly not a beloved player like Magic or Bird or others.  Yet he was awesome in Airplane.  Jeez Kareem (I don't dare call him "Lew"), people like me know you're among the best ever, but come on.  Don't be so trite.

For geeks like me, can't ABC (and ESPN, for that matter) use simple, basic microphone flags (those blocks that you see on a micorphone with the station/network logo)?  They went all high-tech on us (Fang's Bites).  Hell, we use flags at WGCH that date back roughly 20 years.

Oh yeah, WGCH.  I'll be back on there tomorrow night, calling a charity basketball game.  I should be on sometime between six and eight, for some pregame chat.  Chris Erway and I will have the game call around 8:00.

From the worthless file, it appears Major League Baseball has stepped into 2011 and is s-l-o-w-l-y beginning to allow folks to embed video (Fang's Bites...again).  Still, no highlights and such.  Fail.

Lastly, Atlanta has lost hockey for the second time.  Winnipeg's gain is Atlanta's loss.  Just call them the Jets.  Please.