Yankees blue through and through

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011, 10:56 AM [General]

    On January 16, 2003, the center of my Yankee Universe left the universe. My grandmother. She was 93 and to me she was gone too soon. I know that seems selfish, but if you knew my grandmother, you would have wanted her to live forever. I'm sure you have a family member with you know, or who has passed, that you feel the same way about.

    She was right off the boat from Italy. She was born and spent the early part of her life in Santa Maria a Vico, a small village just northwest of Naples. She used to tell me how she used to pull snails off the walls around her neighborhood and take them home for her mother to cook them. She told me about the sandwiches she used to eat in Italy, which consisted of onions and nothing else.

    She came here in the early 20s with her family, looking for what everyone was looking for when they came to America, a better life. She told me when she got off the boat, it was the first time she had a sandwich with meat on it. She spent two weeks on a boat to get here and she always boasted that she was the only one who didn't get sick. I'm sure you have heard someone utter the phrase, "Strong like bull." That was my grandmother. She only stood about 4'8", and weighed about 110 pounds, but you couldn't let her size fool you, she could move mountains. God could she cook too. There was one reason why I was a chubby kid. Grandmom. 

    I can't believe it’s been eight years. I started thinking about her today. I think about her at the start of every baseball season. This morning though, I had a message in my MYYES account from username cookback. We went back and forth trading stories. Her mom is 92 and a diehard Yankees fan down in the Washington D.C. area.

    Those stories made me smile and instantaneously think of my grandmother. The nucleus, the core of my Yankee fandom. She started me early. Her and my grandfather, who has been gone for 25 years now, and who I also miss dearly, started taking me to games when I was five.

    The way they met was storybook. My grandfather was a carpenter/plumber/contractor/whatever would make him money to put food on the table. He was up fixing a roof. My grandmother passed on the street below. He saw her red hair, climbed down the ladder, caught up to her and the rest was history.

    As I was thinking about her today, I remembered a story from her hospital bed, a funny story that I wanted to share. She just turned 93. It was November 2002. That year her beloved Yankees were bounced out of the playoffs in the first round by the eventual World Series champion Angels. I drove down from Connecticut to visit her.  I will never forget this. I walked into her room. She was propped up with some pillows so she was comfortable. She heard me come in and just turned to me and smiled and said in her broken English, "Chris, eh, what are you do here?" I replied, "I came to see you Grandma!" She laughed, paused for a second, the smile from seeing her grandson starting to leave her face turning to a scowl and she says, "What the hell is a wrong with that a fat guy David Wells? He couldn't throw a strike?" After a burst of laughter emanating from the entire room, and after wiping tears from my eyes from laughing so hard she says, "Well, what the hell is wrong with him?!"

    Here she was, two months away from leaving us, and she was still bleeding Yankees blue through and through.

    I miss her. I miss watching games with her and holding her hand. I miss talking about games with her. I miss how she could make you laugh without even trying to make you laugh. Yes, I miss her cooking too.

    If there is one regret that I have, it’s the fact that the two people who were responsible for making the interlocking N-Y a part of my DNA, never got to see my dream of being on TV come to fruition. Grandmom lived with my parents the last year of her life and saw all the tapes I sent out. She was there for all of the rejection. She saw all the no's I received. I would give anything if she was able to see the one YES.

    Follow Chris Shearn on Twitter: @ChrisShearnYES

    0 (0 Ratings)

    The Right Stuff

    Monday, February 21, 2011, 2:16 PM [General]

    Derek Jeter is entering his 17th season with the New York Yankees. He is hoping 2011 will be a bounce back year from his sub-par 2010. He batted .270 with 10 home runs and 67 RBIs out of the leadoff spot.  It was only a down season, because Yankees fans are used to their Captain hitting near or over .300, for 11 of the 15 full or close to full seasons Jeter has played at the Major League level he has been at .300 or better. The years he missed; 1997 he hit .291, 2002 .297, 2004 .292, and last year he hit .270. Even when he's missed out on .300, he's been awfully close, with the exception of last season.

    Let's face facts, Jeter has spoiled you, plain and simple. He IS still the model of consistency. Not only on the field, but off the field, as well. He has done things right. He has acted like a Captain and has represented the Yankees as only one CAN represent the most recognizable and esteemed franchise in the history of competition; with dignity, honor and respect. He says the right things, he does the right things, and he respects the game and plays it the right way. He's done it night in and night out for 16 years.

    Pitchers and catchers reported on Valentine's Day. The Captain reported as well. He is working with Yankees hitting instructor Kevin Long. He is trying to eliminate his stride to compensate for his bat speed which may have slowed a bit because of age. Yes, 37 years of age is no spring chicken. When humans get older, we aren't supposed to improve. We aren't wine. Athletes are just like all of us regular Joe's when it comes to age. They bend, they break, they hurt and things slow down. It's the natural process of life, in what is, an unnatural time in the game of baseball.

    This is what gets me so agitated. When Roger Clemens won the Cy Young at 41 years of age with an 18-4 record, and a 2.98 ERA everyone marveled at his accomplishments. Wherever he went there was a red carpet.

    We all know what has happened over the past couple of years. Allegedly, the Rocket was fueled with a little something "extra" to get him through those advanced age seasons. He will get his day in court. Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and a host of others also fall into that "alleged" category.

    There will be an ongoing debate on whether or not any of these guys will get into the Hall of Fame. You want to know what a former respected player had to say? Last year at Spring Training I had the pleasure of chewing the fat with Gary Matthews Sr. He was doing some radio for the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla., and during our discussion I asked Sarge if he thought these guys should be allowed to enter Cooperstown. His response was, and I'm paraphrasing here, "Yes, if they build a special wing and call it the (expletive) wing." You can fill in the blank. 

    Then you have a guy like Derek Jeter. A guy you can dig straight through the center of the Earth to try to come up with dirt on him, and you can probably dig through to China without finding a morsel. He has one off year out of 15 full seasons by the way, and everyone is all over him. The guy hit .270. He didn't hit .202!

    My point here is, you can't have it both ways. If you want guys to be clean and set examples for our kids. If you want guys to be human and not superhuman, then you have to expect some drop off when players start to get older. Jeter is doing it the right way. Just as his predecessor at Yankees Captain, Don Mattingly. His back problems ended his run of a potential Hall of Fame career. Did Mattingly turn to chemistry to solidify his numbers and dupe us into thinking he made a miraculous recovery? No. Mattingly got older, his back kept getting worse, and his numbers kept descending.

    Listen, I'm 37. When I go to the gym or go out and shovel the driveway, (which I am sick and tired of doing by the way) there are muscles that hurt that I didn't know I had. I get a different kind of sore, and when I do hit the gym, I can't do as much. I didn't feel like that when I was 27. It's natural

    Performance enhancing drugs have allegedly cheated LEGENDS out of their records. The players who allegedly took them, cheated themselves. Fans were duped and cheated as well. FACT: Players approaching 40 should not be having career years.

    I will continue to root for and support the Yankees Captain as I always have, whether he rebounds and hits .300 or better, or hits .270 again. Why? Because he's always done it the right way. He's a true role model.

    You know something, I was always a little envious of my older family members. They saw the likes of DiMaggio, Rizzuto, Berra, Mantle and Ford. However, all of us get to see Jeter. And all of us will be able to pass on his legend for years to come. Not just on the field, but off the field as well.

    Follow Chris Shearn on Twitter: @ChrisShearnYES

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    Spring, Summer, Fall Fling

    Sunday, February 13, 2011, 3:02 PM [General]

    Can you smell that? It's the fresh cut grass. As the blades exit the rotary motor and head into the air, the smell they provide is a familiar one. A diamond is being cut, molded if you will, into the most precious gem of them all: a baseball diamond. Diamonds worn on fingers are said to be forever. Well, you can't say that anymore, with a divorce rate over 50 percent. Let's face it: As long as Hollywood remains on the map, precious stones representing relationships will never be forever. 

    But the diamond made of grass, dirt, clay, chalk and warning track does stand the test of time. You think the ladies that are die-hard Yankees fans are going to go nuts over a little ring? When the diamond made of the aforementioned products of the earth presents itself every afternoon and night for the better part of eight months, that will drive their passion more than a sparkling rock ever will. Go on Twitter right now and read some comments from the lovely ladies that are Yankees fans. 

    Right now, the baseball gods are on bended knee, and tomorrow they will once again present a diamond that will never sour. A diamond that keeps coming back anew every single February. This year, it's landing on the day that means the most to lovely ladies world wide: Valentine's Day, the day Cupid's arrow usually points itself at that special someone and begins a love affair, or helps one continue to flourish. 

    This year though, Cupid will be shoved to the side. Hallmark doesn't stand a chance. Husbands and boyfriends, you don't have a shot. The new men in the life of your women are the same as the ones you see them talking to on Twitter all year long. 

    Instead of reading sappy cards of love, these lovely ladies will be drooling over a copy of the New York Post, begging Joel Sherman for more. They will crash the Daily News website, just to read Mark Feinsand and Anthony McCarron over and over and over again. Marc Carig will have to quintuple his blog output. Bryan Hoch will have to once again paint a glorious picture of Tampa for all who can't make it down to the spring home of their beloved Bombers. Ben Shpigel of The New York Times, Pete Caldera of the Record, and Sweeny Murti, of course, of WFAN fame: These are the men that will take care of your women for the next eight months. The focus will be all on them. 

    Guys, all the arrow tips in Cupid's satchel this season will be adorned with the interlocking N-Y. Ladies, the diamond that lasts forever is back once again, and it all gets underway tomorrow. 

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Giant Disappointment

    Monday, January 3, 2011, 8:46 PM [General]

    Phil Collins felt it coming in the air tonight, and I felt it in the pre-season. If you don't believe me, listen to this edition of "Off the Wall Podcast." I didn't feel good about the Giants this season. I get it, they won 10 games, it wasn't an awful season, or was it?. Are they in the playoffs? No. Should they be in the playoffs? Yes.

    The general manager, Jerry Reese, told us repeatedley that this team had more talent on it than the team that won the Super Bowl after the 2007 season. Meanwhile, all of this talent is cleaning out their lockers today and tomorrow and for the rest of the week, instead of preparing for a game in Philadelphia this Sunday.

    So was it an awful season? In my eyes, absolutely. I don't see how you can call it successful. My thought process points to one game and you know what game I'm talking about. The game against the Eagles will be replayed every year for the rest of our lives. Every time the Eagles are down late in the game, we won't just see Herm Edwards, we'll see Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson. Forever. Book it. It will always be there. I can't see an Eagles hat, shirt, jersey, or pretty much anything green without thinking about it. I'm half Irish. Yup. St. Patrick's day is ruined.

    Tom Coughlin is coming back. He must still have the locker room. If he didn't he would have been Mangini'd today. Remember the movie "Kingpin?" When something bad happened to someone they called it Munsoned? Maybe Donald Trump could change his trademark, "You're Fired," to, "You're Mangini'd." I like the sound of that. This guy wins 10 games with the Jets, gets a chance to be on "The Sopranos," then gets fired from two teams.

    George Washington Duke, your thoughts, "Only in America." You said a mouthful brother.

    Okay where was I? Oh yeah, Coughlin is back. I have to be honest. The last couple weeks of the season. I wanted Michael Corleone to walk into the locker room, stare him down, and say, "You're out Tom." However, I have had a change of heart, and I am glad the Giants, a classy organization, are giving him another shot. He is 65-47 in the regular season, 4-3 in the playoffs, including the Super Bowl title after the 2007 season. In seven years, he is averaging 9.2 wins per season. Ownership likes him, the players seem to be fond of him, so why change the culture if no one wants the culture to be changed. It will also be nice to see him maybe get a shot with a mostly healthy team for the entire season.

    By the way, I will own up to my prediction. I said in the podcast before the season started that they would win six games. Yes, six games. They won 10, but they weren't a kick in the rear end away from six. The question is, can I take four wins and nitpick them into potential losses? Sure can. Here goes. Week 6 against the Lions they escaped by the hair of their chinny chin chins. The following week in Dallas they went into my favorite defense. Prevent. Which as we all know, say it with me, "Prevents you from winning." They held on, but barely. Okay I need two more. Week 12 against Jacksonville was a near loss and this past week against the Redskins was a nailbiter. If you were confident in the fourth quarter after Antrel Rolle was beaten for a 65-yard touchdown, you're a liar.

    In summation ladies and gentleman of the jury. This team, which boasted to be better than their Super Bowl team from three years ago, should have played to their very nickname, but instead subtracted the G and the I and walked directly into the path of a magnifying glass.

    Follow Chris Shearn on Twitter.

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Woe is Lee

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 1:36 PM [General]

    It's time to untangle your underwear Yankees fans. Get them out of that collective bunch you have tied them into with news of Cliff Lee heading to the Phillies.

    I know what you're saying, "Surely you can't be serious." Yes. Yes I am, and stop calling be Shirley. After Lee, the starting pitcher free agent class is sketchy. It's a class of guys who would probably have to stay back and not advance to their next grade. Do you want to take a chance on Erik Bedard? Jeff Francis? Freddy Garcia? Jeff Suppan? Brandon Webb? Chien-Ming Wang? Get the picture? Or do you want to convince Andy Pettitte to come back? I'd go with the latter. Take care of the lefty as he has been taking care of this organization with that left arm over the years.

    Let me try and guess what you are saying now, "Yes, but Chris that's fine. Bring Pettitte back, but we needed Lee." True, the Yankees could have solidified the top half of their rotation by bringing in the Arkansas native, but seven years and the yacht load of money they were offering was a bit much for a guy that will be turning 40 at the end of the deal.

    Plus chew on this, are you ready for this? If Pettitte comes back, and I know its two years later and Pettitte is two years older, the Yankees pretty much have the same rotation intact that won them the 2009 World Series. CC Sabathia is the top dog. Why can't A.J. Burnett have a bounce back year? Pettitte is a crafty veteran lefty who knows how to pitch and knows how to get guys out. Phil Hughes established himself last year as a viable starter, he's your four. Ivan Nova, Sergio Mitre, and a no- roster invitee to be named later could battle out for the fifth spot in Spring Training.

    I am not ignoring the obvious either. The Red Sox did get better. Exponentially better. However, last time I checked their pitching staff is the same staff they had last year. The same staff the Yankees lineup handled. Is Carl Crawford pitching? Is Adrian Gonzalez pitching? You know, I remember last year as Spring Training broke, the Twitter-verse was booming with bold predictions of a World Series title in the Pacific Northwest. How did that work out for the Mariners? You can't judge anything until the teams get onto the diamond and all 162 games are played.

    One more thing, check out the Yankees farm system. It is blossoming with young and talented arms. Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, and Graham Stoneburner are just a few of the names you will be hearing of on the rise this year in the minors. It's true you can't rush these guys along. They need time to develop. The Yankees have that time. They can still compete for a World Series title with the guys they have in place. Hell the team they had got to the ALCS for crying out loud. They didn't need to go on a spending spree.

    According to the buzz on Twitter every other team should just do what Lou Brown thought Indians fans wanted his fictional Tribe team to do in the movie "Major League." Go outside and shoot themselves. It's the Phillies and their monster rotation that will get them back to being a World Series champion. How did that Phillies rotation do against the Giants? Oh yeah. That's right. They lost. Don't go handing anything to Philadelphia yet.  By the way, The Giants beat Halladay and Oswalt in the NLCS and beat Lee twice in the World Series handing him his first two post season defeats ever.  I just love how everyone is annointing the Phillies in the NL and ignoring the defending champs.

    Let me also bring up a shocking reality. The Yankees can't win the World Series every year! I know they would like too, but they can't! I always have to remember though, patience does not exist in this dojo, does it? No Sensei!

    I am probably the only one that was glad to see Lee go to Philly. It means maybe, just maybe, the Yankees will go the route of the Giants and develop their arms from within.
    Follow Chris Shearn on Twitter.

    2.8 (2 Ratings)

    Mr. Lee

    Saturday, December 11, 2010, 11:14 AM [General]

    Ladies and Gentleman...

    The Bobbettes!!!!!!

    Strike one, strike two, strike three, look at Mr. Lee
    Strike four, strike five, strike six, our rotation you'll fix
    Mr. Lee, Mr. Lee
    Oh, Mr. Lee
    Mr. Lee, Mr. Lee
    Oh, Mr. Lee
    Mr. Lee

    I met a pitcher
    His name is Mr. Lee
    I met a pitcher
    His name is Mr. Lee
    He's the very best pitcher
    That you ever did see

    Our rotation's achin' for you Mr. Lee
    7,8,9,10 years for you Mr. Lee
    We'll love you so
    cause you'll get it right to Mo...

    Mr. Lee, Mr. Lee
    Oh, Mr. Lee
    Mr. Lee, Mr. Lee
    Oh, Mr. Lee
    Mr. Lee, Mr. Lee
    Oh, Mr. Lee
    Mr. Lee

    Here comes Mr. Lee
    Buckling batters knees
    Here comes Mr. Lee
    You'll be CY or MVP
    In our stomach there's a pit
    We're sorry for the alleged spit

    Come on Mr. Lee be our 1-2 with CC
    Come on Mr. Lee be our 1-2 with CC
    If it's here you'll come and play
    In our hearts you will always stay

    Strike one, strike two, strike three, look at Mr. Lee
    Strike four, strike five, strike six, our rotation you'll fix
    Mr. Lee, Mr. Lee
    Oh, Mr. Lee
    Mr. Lee, Mr. Lee
    Oh, Mr. Lee
    Mr. Lee

    Mr. Lee, Mr. Lee
    Oh, Mr. Lee
    Mr. Lee, Mr. Lee
    Oh, Mr. Lee
    Mr. Lee, Mr. Lee
    Oh, Mr. Lee
    Mr. Lee


    0 (0 Ratings)

    You know what grinds my gears?

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010, 1:08 PM [General]

    I don't have a radio show where I can spout off on things that get under my skin on a daily basis. I do have the "Off the Wall" podcast, but that's only once a week. I need more of a sounding board and until someone wises up and gives me some air time to spout my venom, the podcast and my Off the Wall blog will have to do.

    In the car the other day, I am listening to XM; I can't do terrestrial radio anymore. The back announcing, the eight-minute commercial breaks and the awful auto tone music that we have to endure today has me stuck in the satellite world of the 1980s and Mad Dog Radio. Back in the day if your voice stunk you didn't have auto tune to save it. This stuff makes me want to Van Gogh both my ears and fill my canals with cement.

    Boomer and Carton are great, don't get me wrong, but there are some commutes that take 30 minutes for me and 10-12 minutes of said commute is listening to commercials. I get it you have to pay the bills, but you should be able to enjoy more of the product before Craig starts reading a live commercial to throw to break every five seconds.

    Sorry, sometimes I go off on tangents. This has been one of those times.

    So I am in the car listening to XM and I hear this promo for the NBA station on Sirius. I am paraphrasing here: "This season Kobe and the Lakers are looking to three-peat, but the three Kings in Miami are out to de-throne them."

    Really? So if I am any other fan in the league I guess I should just pack it in right now. The NBA, where boring happens. The NBA, where predetermined outcomes are a guarantee. The NBA where there are eight great teams and then a mish-mosh of mediocrity. Okay, you get it.

    After losing their first game to the Celtics by the way, the Heat have won four straight by an average of nearly 24 points. I won't mention any names, but people were saying Miami was in trouble and looked like they couldn't play together - after one ... freaking ... game. But again, I don't have to watch the regular season because I already know who will be in the Finals.

    I was with the Brett Favre comeback to the Jets. I got that. I was with Favre last season with the Vikings. I got that too. This season, though, the guy is getting on my last damn nerve. Steve Carell was the 40-year-old virgin, this guy is the 41-year-old baby, publicly complaining about his coach that has basically taken him in the past two seasons and let the guy run the joint. He played last week with two fractures in his ankle and I am convinced it was just to keep his stupid streak alive. He took a vicious shot to the jaw in the loss to the Patriots and said he will be good to go this Sunday.

    Enough already. As Susan Powter says, "STOP THE INSANITY." Favre once called Chris Elliott a dumb ass in the movie "There's Something About Mary." Favre is a couple losses away this season from having that moniker being tattooed directly across his forehead.

    Note to T.O. and Chad 85: You guys are unbelievably gifted athletes. I can only dream about doing the things you do on a football field (that's even a stretch). Yet you waste your time with Twitter, a talk show, and countless amounts of other nonsense off the field. This is why you will never be held in the same respect as Jerry Rice. You let the attention off the field outweigh your contributions on it. Stop worrying about how you have to come up with new touchdown celebrations and concentrate on helping your team win. These guys definitely fall under the category of the fictional wide receiver from those old Bud Light spots. There is no "I" in team. Yeah well there ain't no "we" either. How cute and how sad at the same time.

    Follow Chris Shearn on Twitter.

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Offense wasn't Offensive in Game 5

    Wednesday, October 20, 2010, 7:21 PM [General]

    The Yankees obviously needed a game like this. Down three games to one, staring golf courses and early vacation directly in their faces. Let's face it, this is the first game the Bombers dominated from first pitch until the final out, and two factors were front and center. One was CC Sabathia, and the other was the offense finally coming to life.

    One of the best offenses in the league this year, eighth in average, first in homers, and RBIs, was put into a medically induced coma by Texas Rangers pitching. Can you believe I just typed that? Texas Rangers pitching has dominated the Yankees offense in a postseason series. This is not your older brother's Texas Rangers. For the test of time in baseball, the only thing worth celebrating with a Texas Ranger name attatched to it was Chuck Norris' popular show and character, Walker, Texas Ranger.

    Well Mr. Norris, the spotlight is no longer on you, Cliff Lee wears the badge now.

    The Yankees' "O" has been as offensive as someone taking long drags off of unfiltered Chesterfields and blowing the smoke directly into your face until the pack runs out. (Did I mention you were tied to a chair and couldn't turn your face?) Case in point, through Games 2, 3 and 4 the Yankees scored a total of five runs. In Game 5, the Yankees outscored that three-game stretch by the fifth inning with their sixth run.

    The bad anaolgies continue. Besides Game 5 you can liken the Yankees offense to extras from the movie "Awakenings," the one with Robert DeNiro and Robin Williams, loosely based on a true story involving a doctor who came across a drug (L-Dopa) that awakened patients stricken with encephalitis lethargica. Sadly, it didn't last, but in the Yankees' case all they needed was a glimmer of hope. A dose of good old fashioned confidence. A game like this to remember they are indeed the Yankees and the defending World Series Champions.

    Now the series shifts back to Texas, and all that stands between the Yankees and extending this series to a Game 7 is Colby Lewis. Yes, he is 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA this postseason, but if you are a numbers person and that scares you, he does have an ERA near 7.00 against the Yankees in his career. Near seven you say? Game 7 perhaps? Will the Yankees get another shot at Cliff Lee, Texas Ranger? Only time will tell. Don't call it a comeback just yet. Don't count the Yankees out just yet, either.  

    Follow Chris Shearn on Twitter.

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    101 Years of Agony

    Saturday, August 14, 2010, 11:59 AM [General]

    Hello Yankee fans.  My Name is Harvey Pulawski.  I am an avid listener of the Off the Wall Podcast with Chris Shearn and Joe Auriemma and I had to share my thoughts with you.  I brought my son over to help me with this on-line stuff because I was around when morse code was how you "texted" someone.  I reached out to Chris after I heard his recent podcast with Joe and they mentioned that a Cubs fan born in 1909, and still alive, has never tasted sweet success with their beloved North Siders.  I am that guy.  I was born in 1909.  The year after the Cubs won their last World Series.  Since then, your Yankees have won 27 championships, five in the last 14 years.  My father always used to tell me about that magical '08 season.  For you whippersnappers thats 1908 not 2008.  Tinker to Evers to Chance.  That was our last World Series double play combination.  A very famous one at that, one of the best of all time in fact.  Our shortstop Joe Tinker led the team with a whopping 6 home runs.  He also had the most RBI as well, 68.  It was a different game back then.  Mordecai Brown led our pitching staff.  He made 31 starts.  27 of them were complete games.  He was 29-9 with a 1.47 ERA and threw 312.1 innings.  Mordecai Brown was a man's man.  In his first eight years, he didn't throw any less than 201 innings and topped out in 1909, the year of my birth, with 342.1 innings.  Mordecai is enshrined in the Hall of Fame and his right arm should be bronzed and in there as well.

    Now that you have a little background on the last time the Cubbies won it all let me give you a little lesson in how lucky you all are.  In 101 years I have not seen one championship.  Many of my friends are long gone and they never saw one championship. 

    I listen to Chris all the time and he is constantly commenting on this 'Twitter' thing where people 'Tweet.'  The only tweeting in my day was handled by birds.  I am so lost when it comes to all of these new fangled thingamabobs that all you kids are on these days.  With the Mybook and the Facespace or whatever they are called.  Don't get me started on internet dating sites.  Whatever happened to meeting a special gal at the local pharmacy, buying her an egg cream and spending the rest of your life with her?  My son, the one who is helping me with this blog is in his 70's, (he hasn't seen a championship either) and he barely gets the technology.  Sorry, sometimes I go on tangents, I am 101 you know, let's get back to how Yankee fans are lucky.

    If you were born in 1990, the year I turned 81, by the time you turned 6, you had something that I had been waiting 87 years to celebrate.  In 1998 when you were eight, you had two championships.  In 1999, when you were nine you had three, and in 2000 you had four.  By the time you were 10, and I was 91 you had four more titles to experience in your decade on the planet while I had been here for nine long championship-less decades.  Think about that the next time you want to get all stressed out about a loss in May to the Orioles, or an inning in which the Yankees go down by a run, or oh my goodness two runs.  You people don't know how well you have it. 

    Think about the team in your backyard in Queens.  It's been 24 years for them.  25 years for the Royals.  56 years for the Giants.  It was 86 years for the Red Sox and the hated South Siding White Sox broke their long 88 year drought.  Each and every day I ask the baseball Gods, "Why not us?" 

    Your drought always seems to get a monsoon of championships.  Nine years had your tightie whitey's in a bunch?  I can do that standing on my head. 

    I don't know how much longer I have in this God forsaken World Series-less existance of mine.  My only hope is that my great-great grandchildren keep up with the struggle.  We won't be making the playoffs this year, so the counter moves up to 102 years without a title.  When was your last one?  Oh yeah, last year.  Stop stressing Yankee fans over the LITTLE things, your team always seems to make up for them in BIG ways.  


    Harvey Pulawski

    Cubs fan for 101 years and counting...I hope

    P.S.  I lived through the Great Depression...my entire life when it comes to the Cubs.  Have a nice day.

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Living legend

    Tuesday, August 10, 2010, 12:48 PM [General]

    How many times have you heard this or said it yourself? I wish I was around to see Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, or Mickey Mantle play. What we would give to be able to get in Doc Brown's DeLorean and head back in time to see one of Ruth's mammoth blasts, Gehrig's sweet swing, DiMaggio's effortless fielding and 56-game hitting streak, or the sheer power of Mickey Mantle from both sides of the plate? These guys were legendary. The only connection I have to past legends is my father. He tells me stories all the time about Mantle and how he used to go to Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia and have conversations with Jackie Robinson at third base. I envy my dad like you can't believe.

    I obviously never had the chance to see any of them play. However, I have had the opportunity every day to watch a living, breathing, do-everything-the-right-way Yankee grow into a legend for the past 15-plus years. That legend, of course, is "Num-bah 2, Derek Je-tuh."

    You can disagree with me if you want. It's your right. You have your opinion, I have mine. I understand first and foremost Babe Ruth, and the rest of these guys were bigger than the game. If you get a chance look at Lou Gehrig's numbers on Baseball-Reference.com, enlighten yourself.

    Derek Jeter is not bigger than the game, and he would never think he was either. That's the great thing about the Captain. Whatever he does lack (which isn't much) that these other guys had on the field, he more than makes up for it with how he handles himself off the field.

    I've been waiting to write this all season. Every year in Spring Training, for the past three years, the buzz around the clubhouse is, "Is Jeter losing a step or two? He doesn't have the range anymore." And every year, on cue, Jeter goes in the hole, fields and fires a jump throw to get a runner out at first. Yup, he lost his range.

    There was even some talk at the outset of the season in May, from a peer of mine that I respect dearly, but I took umbrage with him then, and I take umbrage with him now. Yes, Jeter had a 2-for-25 stretch in May. He had a 5-for-32 stretch in June and just batted .245 in July. However, the Captain's first eight games in August have been tremendous. He's batting .344 and his on-base percentage is .417.

    Derek Jeter is a legend. He's also the kind of athlete you would want your child to admire and emulate. The ghost of the Babe said it the best in the movie The Sandlot, "Remember kid, heroes get remembered, legends never die." Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle will live on forever. So too will Derek Jeter.

    3.7 (2 Ratings)

    Thoughts on Vacation

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010, 8:53 AM [General]

    As I sit here in the condo on vacation, I stay up to date on everything Yankees through the on-line. Thank you Al Gore for your wondrous invention of the information superhighway.

    So what's happened while I've been away so far? Hmmm. Anything big? Oh yeah, there's that Andy Pettitte injury. And Phil Hughes had a bad outing against the Angels. That's the All-Star Phil Hughes. That's the Phil Hughes that had 11 wins before the break. It's the Phil Hughes now that he's had one bad start in the second half, it's time for the Yankees to start shopping for another pitcher.

    Why is it when the Yankees try to get Cliff Lee they are trying to corner the market on pitching and its not fair to the other teams, then when a pitcher goes down, the same people who thought the former are thinking the Yankees need insurance to make another World Series run? Just because Hughes second half didn't get off to a sparkling start, doesn't mean he can't win another 11 games in the second half. Why can't he?
    In his first eight starts this season, Hughes was 5-1 with a 2.72 ERA and a BAA of .202. The strikeout-to walk-ratio: 49 K's and 18 BB's. His last nine starts he is 6-2 with an inflated 5.11 ERA and the BAA went up considerably to .286. The strikeout-to walk-ratio is still good though: 44 strikeouts and just 13 walks.

    So he's 11-3 with an ERA under 4. Hughes only problem? Spoiling us early on with the low ERA and being unhittable. What does that mean in New York? Elevated expectations. Win every time you step on the mound. Don't let the other team score. I don't know how many times I have to say this, but here we go again. "The baseball season is full of peaks and valleys. It's 162 games. Pitchers get anywhere from 30-35 starts if healthy. They are not machines. They are humans. If you get queasy, don't get on the roller coaster ride that is the baseball season."

    I am banking on Hughes being fine. I am not worried about this Yankees team. I also think A.J. Burnett will have some big starts down the stretch too. I don't think the Yankees need to bring the baseball world to its knees with a BIG trade for a BIG arm. They can utilize their farm system. See Mike Axisa's column for River Ave. Blues. Good job out of him.

    They still have the best record in baseball. They are still in first place. You know the funniest thing? The Yankees are the only first place team, with the best record in the game, that if you were to paint a picture of their fan base, it would be a bunch of people ripping their hair out, running towards a giant red panic button.  I would not be in that picture. A) I have no hair to pull out. B) I'm not about to panic.

    Okay back to vacation.

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    Yankees lost their heart and soul

    Thursday, July 15, 2010, 12:02 PM [General]

    If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? In this case, the answer would be a resounding yes. In the vast landscape of baseball, Mr. Steinbrenner was the ultimate redwood tree. His rings, however, had nothing to do with telling people how old he was, they told a much different story. His rings told people of how successful he was as an owner in the game of baseball.

    January 3, 1973 is the day Mr. Steinbrenner took over a Yankees team that couldn't get out of its own way. Yes, the New York Yankees one of the most successful franchises in the history of the game, were a shell of their former dominant selves. The team that ruled the 1920's, 30's, 40's, 50's, and early 60's was almost completely erased from the pages of the game. And it was a twist of fate to get Mr. Steinbrenner to the table with CBS to buy the Yankees. A twist of fate that his hometown will never forget.

    As a child, his father Henry used to take him to see the Indians play the Yankees in his native Ohio. He was always taught to root for the hometown team, but respect and revere the Yankees organization. Before he made his pitch to the buy the Bombers, Steinbrenner had a deal in place to buy his hometown Indians. Imagine that, "The Boss" running the show in Cleveland and the Tribe having all of those championships instead of the Yankees. Well, it almost happened. Thanks to an 11th-hour decision by then Indians owner Vernon Stouffer to back out of the deal, the nuptials between Mr. Steinbrenner and New York City were able to commence.

    Think about that the next time you walk by Stouffer's French Bread Pizza in the frozen food section of your local grocery store. Yankees fans owe Mr. Stouffer a debt of gratitude. I think we should all go out and buy a Stouffer's frozen meal and toast the late owner of the Tribe to say thank you. Your loss, sir, was most certainly our collective gain. Thank you.

    Mr. Steinbrenner's two most important things in life were breathing, and winning. On August 9, 1973 yours truly started doing the former. So as a fan, and I never hide that fact, I have known nothing but the Steinbrenner era for my almost 37 years on this planet. Were there some rough times? Absolutely. But the good times most certainly outweigh the bad. I saw a quote in the Angels dugout during a Yankees game one night that pretty much sums up life: “If you travel down a path without any obstacles, chances are it doesn't lead anywhere.” There were plenty of obstacles in the tenure of Mr. Steinbrenner, but the payoff as a fan made hitting the obstacles all worthwhile.

    The day he passed away, I went down to the stadium to get fan reaction to his passing. One fan stood out from the rest. I wasn't able to share it with you on the air, so I would like to share it with you here.

    The fans’ name, Ruben Santiago, is 67 years old and hails from the Bronx. He is stricken with cancer, talks with the aid of a voice box, and he had to come pay his respects. Ruben told me, "It is a great loss. He was a good man." Mr. Santiago went onto say, "He helped a lot of kids, he helped the Bronx, and he will always be in my heart." Tears filled his eyes and started rolling down his cheeks when he showed me the candle and note he left for the man he never met, but definitely knew.

    Mr. Santiago wasn't the only fan there. People left flowers and signs all day long. But it was his heartfelt feelings, through his own pain and suffering, which hit me the hardest. That's how you know when you are larger than life, when people who never met Mr. Steinbrenner are driven to tears by his loss.

    This has been a tough couple of days for the Yankees as a family, as an organization and for fans across the globe. Sunday the Yankees lost their voice, Mr. Bob Sheppard, Tuesday the Yankees lost their heart and soul, Mr. Steinbrenner. One thing is for sure though, just as Mr. Sheppard's voice reverberated throughout the stadium for years, their memories will reverberate in the hearts and minds of Yankees fans for lifetimes to come. 

    4.1 (2 Ratings)

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