Sunday, August 27, 2006

Damn Yankees - Baseball '06 Quarterly Report

This just in… Disney has just announced that Pluto will no longer be considered a dog! All references to Pluto as a dog will now be removed from all Disney movies.. Which means we no longer have to wonder about why Goofy speaks but Pluto doesn’t!

This column had already been written early in the week and would have been timelier had it been posted as scheduled on Thursday.. However, I delayed it due to Thursday’s fire… (See Diary of a Crummy Day in the archives.) Just to update you, the blaze started due to electrical wiring in the area between the ceiling of the basement and the floor above it. The synagogue is set up in such a way that there is a sanctuary and immediately behind that is a social hall. Due to the synagogue’s popularity, they have overflow crowds each week so a divider is opened up and chairs are placed out in the social hall making it one huge room. According to an eyewitness, there is now a 25 foot hole in the floor of the social hall, and extensive smoke and water damage to the sanctuary. The rest of the ground floor and the second floor have lesser damage.

As for the baseball column…. we start with a note to the Red Sox fans…. those annoying Yankee fans may be celebrating all they want after their five game sweep last weekend in Fenway Park... but no matter how you slice it.. a five game sweep in August is nowhere as bad as losing 4 in a row after leading 3-0 in the best of 7 LCS like the Yankees did in 2004.

Greetings folks.. from Red Sox country.. The central point of baseball last wknd.. (although the Mets ‘86 reunion at Shea was also kind of exciting)... Boston, MA is the site where today’s column was conceived.. along with the baby by the couple in the next room in our hotel with the wafer thin walls! . Boston baseball has been the hub of all excitement since last week when thousands of people started downloading the You Tube video of Denis Leary in the Red Sox TV booth totally ripping into Mel Gibson as Jewish ballplayer Kevin Youkilis, made some sparkling defensive plays. Now, the Mets have traded for Youkilis’ fellow Yid…. OF Shawn Green. The marketing tie-ins are endless… there aren’t any games scheduled for Yom Kippur (its the day after the regular season ends) so I’m sure local synagogues will clamor to get Green to attend as was the case for Sandy Koufax when he pitched for the Dodgers. He can even attend synagogue with me.. I’m still not sure where our services will be held... but I’ll happily buy him a seat even though I may have to have a talk with him about his 2004 season long slump which totally messed up my rotisserie team! The Florida Marlins even scheduled a Jewish day in honor of first baseman Mike Jacobs only to later find out that Jacobs isn’t Jewish… they just assumed it..

Trophy Wife and I ventured off to Beantown last wknd for a very quick 24 hour trip to attend a party for one of her friends.  By the way if you have a Tom Tom GPS device… it doesn’t work in Boston… It appears to be reading maps that were drawn before the massive Big Dig that moved the highway system underground. After spending a lot of time lost, we left there Sunday evening just before the ESPN Game 4 began.. but not before a quick stop at Ruben’s Kosher Deli in Brookline for an artery clogging deli sandwich... We also ran into my friend Jeff there, which is funny because he lives in Hillside, NJ! I snuck up on him and asked him how to get to Union County and when he turned around to see where this bizarre question was coming from... he was quite stunned to see me!

We also spent some time at Faneuil Hall on Sunday... we got a nice free parking spot outside a bar filled with Yankee fans that was right in front of the Holocaust Memorial.  At Faneuil Hall there was this silent woman who paints herself red and does some kind of act, and then expects you to leave a tip.  I like those wacky "silent performance artists" because its an opportunity to rip off a funny joke to see if they will laugh or maybe chortle.  Instead I pulled Trophy Wife over and bellowed to the Silent Red Woman.. "This is my wife and she told me it was ok if you would be my celebrity affair!"...  Silent Red Woman looked at me and then retorted.. "Yeah but the silver guy might kick your ass!"... at which point she blew me a good natured kiss.. and made me realize that I would have something funny for the 6th paragraph of today's column as long as something interesting would happen later that day at Ruben's Deli to give me an amusing 5th paragraph.

I dislike the Yankees more and more each day.  In the old days, I never had an issue with them.. I even liked listening to their games on WABC with Phil Rizzuto, Frank Messer and Bill White… and I was happy for them when they won the World Series in 96, 98 and 99.  But after 2000 when they had the audacity to beat the Mets and party at Shea like it was 1999.. .I started to dislike them, and the sheer enjoyment of watching them lose in '01 to Arizona made me realize that 2001 could not get any better.  Of course I later met Trophy Wife on 12-29-01 at The Highland Park Conservative Temple and Center while I was talking to my pal Carrie, and in my love at first sight moment I bellowed "Wow... and I thought the Yankees losing the World Series was the highlight of my year".. What a great pickup line. Unfortunately she is a Yankee fan.. And I’m not sure how much Shalom in the Home we’ll have if there is a Subway Series this year!

As we head to the final quarter of the '06 campaign, the Evil Empire in Yankeeland is gearing up for a matchup with the Mets in what looks to be a replay of that 2000 Series.. a big media event in the NY Metropolitan Area.. but a yawner for fans in the rest of the country… It’s also an opportunity for Fox Sports On Air Hog Joe Buck to try to squeeze in a Sunday Giants Stadium game… AND an 8pm World Series game for a Deion Sanders type marathon day. That could happen October 22nd because Fox will broadcast the 1pm Jets-Lions in NJ, and then it could also take place on October 29th if there is a Game 7 and if he calls the Giants-Tampa 1pm game at Giants Stadium. The Yankees theft of Bobby Abreu and the pick up of Cory Lidle as the 5th starter has them on their way.  Nifty move on the Yankees part sneaking Lidle on the bereavement list so they could add a reliever for the 4 games in 3 days at Fenway.. Lidle wasn’t gonna miss a start anyway but the Yanks took full advantage of a loophole in the rule that should be changed to "the family leave" rule since it also allowed Richie Sexson to leave his team last wk while his wife had a baby. I also must eat crow and admit I was wrong at the All Star break for picking the Yankees not to make the wild card because they were too far back in the standings.

The Yankees really made their big move in the off season when they signed former Red Sox CF Johnny Damon as a free agent.  That started a chain reaction where the Red Sox traded for Indians CF Coco Crisp and neither team has been the same ever since.  The Indians got Guilermo Mota for their hideous bullpen and they just traded him to the Mets for a bag of baseballs, some cracker jacks and a copy of the dvd of the William Shatner Comedy Central Roast.  I guess nothing beats sex jokes tossed at good ol’ Betty White!

The A’s look like they’re gonna take the West.. but the Angels and Rangers are hanging tough, and the Angels have a deep Bartolo Colon-less rotation with young rookie superstuds Jered Weaver and John Saunders trying to lead them to the top of the division.. Colon’s total of 1 win not only hurt the Angels in ’06 but totally killed my rotisserie team! Is Colon Jewish? I may have to have a Yom Kippur chat with him also! The offense is a bit lacking though.. and they haven’t done anything to improve it.. while the Rangers pitching is quite mediocre.. but they improved their offense by trading for Carlos Lee who once again is showing that he can’t maintain his first half pace after the All Star Break. Did anyone realize how good Mark DeRosa would be? Was he actually drafted by any rotisserie teams?

The wild card is either going to be the Red Sox or the 2nd place team in the Central.  Are the Red Sox finished after last weekend’s total destruction? More than likely the Central holds the wild card team.  The Tigers have faded a bit and the pitching has dropped a notch but if they can keep from plummeting to 3rd, a playoff spot will be theirs for the taking.  I was not really sure if the Twins had enough to beat out Chicago, .. especially after the injury to Fransisco Liriano, but they are now the Wild Card leaders........ but between those 3 central teams and the Red Sox.. 2 of 'em are headed home in October and when all is said and done I think it’s going to be the Twins and Red Sox...just because Chicago has a deeper more experienced offense and starting rotation.  I think the Twins have some fantastic young players such as M and M boys Justin Morneau and catcher Joe Mauer whose batting average has slipped into the 350s… Maybe those Red Sox fans should rethink the idea that trading Bronson Arroyo for Willy Mo Pena was a good idea?

In the National League the teams there are lining up for a chance to lose to the Mets.  The question is which Wild Card loses in the 1st round and which division winner will make it just to lose in the 2nd round to the Mets? Although if the Phillies are the wild card.. they will get a break and probably face St. Louis instead. The Mets took a brilliant strategic approach during the off season by making their bullpen the priority, and building up an insurmountable lead in April and May and then cruising to the finish line while all the other mediocre teams beat each other up. Ultimately if the Mets face the Cards in the post season.. lets hope John Maine just walks Albert Pujols each time,… but then again even if he gives up a bunch of Pujols round trippers… you know the Cardinal bullpen will just cough up the lead…Don’t be surprised if Oliver Perez turns out to be a valuable situational lefty coming out of the bullpen during the post season.

The Cards and Reds look to be the Central Winner and Wild Card respectively... The Cards have had 2 8 game losing streaks, but thanks to the Reds (and Astros) incompetence, the Cards still maintain a slim lead.  All the Central bullpens are just awful and the Reds have been trying every possible reliever they can find to help them stumble into a first round loss to the Mets.  Over in the West each month a different team takes the lead.. The Dodgers had been hot the last few weeks before being swept by the Padres, but aside from Jeff Kent and Nomar Garciaparra, they have no steady bats, although Wilson Betemit and Andre Ethier have the potential to become solid young ballplayers. They already have traded away Dennys Baez and Duaner Sanchez and their best reliever Eric Gagne is again out with an injury so who knows how long the starters can survive their lengthy 100+ pitch outings.. not to mention Greg Maddux pitching like he is 10 years younger. If they clinch the division, they will probably go down meekly to the Cards in the first round.. but strangely enough, on paper The Padres and Rockies still appear to have more talent, but they all look like pretenders as evidenced by their sweeps at the hands of the Mets these past couple of wks.. and Mike Piazza went 0-28 and has had just 2 hits in the 2 and a half weeks wks since the game he hit those 2 hrs off Pedro Martinez! Not that Pedro has done much since then, but he will be back for some tune-ups in September before the playoffs.

As for the Mets, kudos to Omar Minaya to building a winner.. but lets hope we don’t have to witness another Yankee celebration at Shea where Games 3, 4 and 5 will be held because of that ridiculous rule that awards home field to the league that wins the All Star game.  Now if the Red Sox could only get their act together and face the Yankees in the playoffs.. we know the Yankees can beat them in the regular season.. but we also know that in the post season the Boys in Beantown can win 4 in a row! Actually, I don’t know if the Mets really want to face the Red Sox, or the Tigers, or the White Sox, or the Angels nor any of those teams in the American League! Have the Royals been mathematically eliminated from the Wild Card yet?

Enjoy the rest of the summer.. Coming Soon: Another movie club column with The Godfather II and our NFL weekly picks!!


Anonymous said...

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Planet Pump said...

All references to Pluto as a dog will now be removed from all Disney movies..

You jest, but at least it's not as ridiculous as removing scenes of a cat smoking a cigarette in a cartoon --