Friday, August 24, 2007

Baseball Quarterly: 2 NY 3rd Basemen as MVP? Holy Cow!!

Welcome back foks... its our first column since August 2nd!!!!,.. Hope you didnt miss NWOW too much... we were on vacation plus I am doing something new and exciting with the Mortgage Podcast, (hint video podcasts + You Tube). Also if anyone knows of a good hosting site let me know because I am dumping the amazingly unreliable Media Max and looking for another home for my hosted files so my podcasts actually work when you hit the play button. The only thing Media Max is good at is taking my money out of Pay Pal every month, and then shutting down my service for non payment! I also have a new song I have been working on that will make the Ballad of Melanie McGuire look like a Mother Goose poem.... so the August postings have not been as frequent as usual! We should be back to normal in September.

Gosh there has been a lot going on!! And let's be heard... 78 year old Bob Grant is back on WABC... and not a single gray hair nor receding line to be found in his toupee!

So how do we start the column? With a story about Merv Griffin, who was a truly incredible guy? Or Phil Rizzuto, the onetime Money Store commercial pitchman whose death coincides with death bells for certain sectors of the mortgage industry? Speaking of which... kudos to CT Senator Christopher Dodd whose Presidential popularity points will shoot through the roof now that he has come up with the only idea that will get us out of this rut.... having the government bail out the subprime borrowers. The banks are not making these loans because their investors don't want to put money into risky loan portfolios and where there is no money.... there is nothing to lend. This leaves borrowers with adjustable rates in a tough bind because once their rates adjust (or adjust a 2nd or 3rd time), they can't afford it, and the last thing we need are more foreclosures. Hopefully Dodd's idea to expand an existing federal program to allow reasonable refinances for these people will come to fruition, because that might be the only solution to this problem.

Actually, I'll start with a tale about my mom's 97 year old aunt who died earlier in the week. Up until a few years ago, she was in pretty good shape - she had her own apt in NYC into her 90s and I believe was driving a car well into her late 80's. Ten years ago when she was a young and sprightly 87, I went to the city to participate in a panel discussion on a cable TV show that was being produced by a friend of mine. It was the night of The State of the Union Address and after the speech, our panel was going to talk about the speech. I really didnt say much during the live broadcast, but my mom told her aunt that I would be on. I asked the producer what channel I would be on on the cable systems in that part of Manhattan, and somewhere along the line the numbers got transposed, because it turned out the channel number we gave her was uh "other" programming.. that definitely didnt feature me.

We paid a shiva call to my mom's cousin and while there we discovered that this aunt's grandson had married the niece of one of Trophy Wife's close friends!! Talk about a small world... And since we were in Brooklyn, we capped off our visit with a trip to the Kosher Subway in Bklyn, Regular readers of this blog will recall I wrote a whole column back on January 11th about my love affair with the sub. That article featured a bizarre coincidence involving sub sandwich locations and the alleged murder spree of Robert Zarinsky... he's the guy who was acquitted for killing a cop, but lost his civil suit because he is serving time for another crime and didn't have the resources to hire a lawyer so he ended up representing himself. After turning over his money to the cop's widow an appeals court overturned the result and ordered the widow to repay the money after it had all been spent. Now the Star Ledger has been running a multi part series that reads more like a Truman Capote novel. If you read that January 11 column, you will see that while he is definitely no saint, some of the crimes Zarinsky is accused of, are direct results of accusations made by his sister who has already shown her true colors as a liar and a thief.

When it comes to Merv - oooooooooooo.. what a cool guy... He had it all... a legendary talk show in the 70s.. plus he created Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune plus the legendary Dance Fever. He wrote the Jeopardy theme and created the rules in such a way that his think music would play long enough for him to get a royalty check! Then he "retired" and started investing in hotels and casinos which he sold for millions of dollars causing a huge rift with that blabber mouth Donald Trump who despite all his bluster definitely does not have the financial back bone nor acumen nor success that Merv did. (Also Merv Griffin's daddy never bought millions of dollars worth of chips to keep his casino afloat!)

As for Scooter... I went to high school with a girl who lived right across the street from the Rizuttos in Hillside. The night of The 1983 All Star Game, a friend of ours had a party, and after spending the evening watching the game, I somehow ended up driving this girl back to her house. As we pulled up to her house at approximately 1 in the morning, like the silly boy that I was back in those days, I looked towards Casa Rizzuto and bellowed out...."HOLY COW YOU HUCKLEBERRY!!" My classmate ran back to her house in total embarrasment, and since it was the night of the All Star Game, Scooter was home because lights started going on in the house. I hopped into my Gold Duster and headed off into the sunset!!

The Baseball Report coming up in a second.. but first let me tell you about our vacation!

Trophy Wife and I were hanging out at the Jersey Shore back in July and stumbled into what we thought was a quaint little town, so we decided we would spend a few days there at a hoity toity B and B in August. We looked at this one hotel and they had this incredibly gorgeous room and a hot tub but it would cost a fortune. We decided we would stay there for a few days just for fun... not realizing that the whole town consistend of religious Methodists mixed in with homosexuals whose civil unions are being banned by the church run boardwalk!! Between all the religious Methodists and our trip to the Sussex County Fair earlier in the week, we were the only Jews for miles and miles. There were more Gentiles there than a K Mart on Yom Kippur. One exception was the yamulke wearing Steven Goldstein who participated in a protest about the gay union ceremonies being banned from the boardwalk. He eloquently made his point with this line: "The gay community has been the economic engine in this town for decades, and for them to say 'We'll take your money but not give you respect' is an outrage".

We were an economic engine too... We arrived at our verrrrry expensive hotel room and as we entered it.. hey it looks smaller.. and there was no hot tub! The girl at the hotel sweetly told us that the hot tub room was booked already but this hot tubless room costs the same! Boy were we bummed... and of course the hotel in its attempt to be hospitable offered us... free beach passes for one day! Whoopdy dam do...

The hotel is part of the resnazzified part of Monmouth County that is trying to re-establish itself as the land of the Hoity Toity. The room had a big glossy Glamour type magazine that with much bragaddicio spoke of all the exciting things going on in that part of NJ. Page after page of the August issue contained pictures of all these big society parties.. Then midway through the August issue, I came across an ad for the Count Basie Theater announcing a big appearance forthcoming in October by comedian Richard Jeni!! Wow.. thats an updated magazine considering Jeni died in March!!

I wasnt too thrilled with Ocean Grove, but the rest of the week was filled with fun.

So as we approach the homestretch of the 2007 season its time to look at who we will see in the post season, plus we will take a sneak peek at the post season awards.. Post Season awards are hard to predict because unless a player has a remarkable season from Day 1, most of these awards are won by September performaces. So lets go on a limb with my picks...

MVP - Could this be the year for the two NY 3rd sackers - ARod and David Wright? Both are having great seasons, although I am not so sure the Yankees will make it to the post season.. But the only other guy worthy is Magglio Ordonez and I think the Tigers will miss it too. Wright might be a sentimental pick, but other than Prince Fielder of the Brewers, who else is really having that big a season? And Wright is hitting .300 and has a shot at a 30-30 season with approx, 100 ribbys... and aside from the very under rated Brandon Phillips... is anyone else going to hit 30 homers and steal 30 bases this season?? Possibly Grady Sizemore? On the other hand, Matt Holliday is looking very strong too,... and the reason why he must be considered will be explained later in this column.

CY YOUNG - How about Jake Peavy in the NL and here's a pick going out on a limb.. JJ Putz the Seattle stopper. Brandon Webb might give Peavy a run for his money, but what AL pitcher is more wothy than the oh so reliable Putz?

ROOKIE - Ryan Braun of the Brewers... and how about Dice K of the Bosox??

As for the rest of the season... the playoff picture is turning into another wild and crazy race... I'll save my wild card picks for the end,. because those races usually take an odd turn. In the American League, my preseason sleeper team The Mariners are still having a remarkable season, They look like the have a shot at the division, as they lead the Wild card race... just as much as the other 2nd place teams. It looks like the Indians, Angels and Red Sox will be the division winners In my preseason picks I had LA winning the West, and Cleveland as The Wild Card, My other 2 wrong division picks were The Yankees and The White Sox.

Over in the National League, the Mets continue to hold off the Braves and Phillies as they go for their 2nd straight division title. In the West, The D-backs have carved out a nice lead in the division.... which leaves 2 more spots and a bunch of .500ish teams in the battle to secure those invitations to the Post Season. I think the Cubs are better than Milwaukee so I would give them one of those 2 spots. I think it will be the Mets, Cubs (my '07 Surprise Team) and D-Backs wining their divisions...which is a far cry from my original pick of The Phillies, Astros and Dodgers.

AL Wild Card - I think it's going to be Seattle. Those of us out here on the East Coast don't realize how good they are.. and the Putz led pen has been remarkable. They even have a relief pitcher whose last name is Roland Smith - just like the Channel 2 anchorman. The Reds have a reliever named Coutlangus who is a misspelling away from a sex act.

NL Wild Card - Tougher call here.. I have noticed in recent years that the NL has gotten so mediocre that a team that gets hot in the 2nd wk of September gets a clear path to The Wild Card. The question is who has the schedule that will give them a road to the Playoffs... The East has 2 lame teams... the West has only 1 and the Central has the Reds, Pirates, Astros and Cardinals. One would think it should be the Brewers, but take a look at Colorado... with Garrett Atkins, Matt Holliday, Brad Hawpe and Todd Helton they have the best hitting among the 4 NL West contenders and even though their pitching is not as good as the other teams.. those teams rotations have been hit by injuries,... Could it be that a Rocky hot streak catapults 'em to the Post Season... You heard it here first... the Rockies as the Wild Card.

Your influence counts... Use it... Get Kadaffy!!

Here is the first Clip of the Week - one of the funniest things I have ever seen when that Mike Wallace-esque "tough guy" reporters confronted a guy at his house. After the shock of seeing this first time.. watch the woman's reaction to this bizarre encounter!!

Here is our regular clip of the Week... The song that made Scooter a Rock and Roll Legend... a video of Paradise by the Dashboard Lights... which is the song I sang to Trophy Wife as I proposed to her!! (Will You love me forever - will you make me your wife?? As a matter of fact I will!!!)

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