Tagged: Yankees

Why Phil Hughes and Chauncey Billups Aren’t That Much Different…

Sure, they might
share a city, but the Knicks and Yankees have more commonalities than you
think. I’m talking specifically about Phil Hughes and Chauncey Billups.

 

Hear me out…

 

Yankees fans
have been pretty disappointed by Phil Hughes and his “dead arm.”  However, I encourage them to look at the
situation from a Chauncey Billups point of view.


A Chauncey Billups point of view?  Like I said, hear me out…

 

Is this post-Hughes Yankees pitching staff a dream
scenario?  Of course not.  Is Chauncey Billups the Knicks’ ideal point
guard? No.

 

Chauncey Billups is essentially a placeholder.  He’s holding fourteen million dollars to get the missing stud the Knicks so desperately need after
the new CBA agreement (and probable NBA lockout) are negotiated.  


Garcia and Colon are more than capable
placeholders until Hughes comes back. 
If he doesn’t come back, then they hold the fort until a sexier ace
hits the block around the trading deadline.


And if there’s one thing the Yankees are fairly decent at, it’s negotiating the trade deadline to their advantage.

 

If Billups can stay healthy and Garcia/Colon can
continue to eat up innings, each respective team has the ability to turn the
corner and cure serious Achilles’ heels.

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A Look Back at *61

As
the weather starts to warm (yes, I promise you it is), our thoughts
turn to all things Spring.   For me,
nothing says spring more than baseball. 
However, if it’s still a bit too cold to hit the batting cage and you
don’t have the cash to go to Arizona or Florida, a baseball movie does             just as well.

 

Today,
we look at *61 (2001).  Directed by Billy Crystal and produced by
HBO, *61 revisits the first serious attempt at breaking Babe Ruth’s
single-season home run record.  It’s the
summer of 1961.  New York Yankees’ Roger
Maris (Barry Pepper) and Mickey Mantle (Thomas Jane) are on pace to do it.  You couldn’t write the storyline better.  The torch is about to be passed from one
heroic Yankee to another.  However,
there’s a problem.

 

America
only has room in its heart for one hero. 
Babe Ruth was a God…a God who played in the age of Segregated Baseball,
but that’s a review for another day. Mantle was America’s Golden Boy.  If he were to take the record that would be
fine, but Maris, American didn’t take so kind too. With Mantle as the hero,
Maris was forced to play the villain. 

 

The sports
writers crucify him, pitting Maris against Mantle.  Wherever Maris goes, he’s booed (even by
Yankees fans). Finally, when Mantle falls off the pace due to injury, the commissioner
announces that Ruth’s record stands unless it’s broken within 154 games. Any
record set after 154 games of the new 162-game schedule will have an asterisk,
thus minimizing Maris’ accomplishments. The film follows Mantle and Maris on as
well as off the field including their undocumented friendship, the stress on
Maris and his frustration with the negative attention.  Maris wrestles with following his dreams or
just giving up and going home for the sake of his sanity.

 

Let’s
not pretend that *61 was not a “Made-For-TV” movie.  (Enjoy watching the balls from batting
practice fall through the third deck, added in post-production.) Nonetheless, *61 is at its core a well-written,
well-acted piece. Sure, Crystal is a Yankees fan from back in the day, so the
film gets a bit schmaltzy and nostalgic at times.  If you can get passed the Barbara Walters
lighting and sweeping music at inappropriate times, you’ve got yourself a movie
that is tragic, almost Shakespearean, in tone. 

 

I
grew up in an age where “the easy way out” became far too common in America’s
Game. It’s hard to imagine someone being villainized for simply wanting to go
to work and do what he actually does best.  
So, if you have baseball on the brain, check out *61. You’ll enjoy Anthony Michael Hall as a pretty charming Whitey
Ford and will be amazed that Thomas Jane can actually carry a film.   (Seriously, are you going to argue that Deep Blue Sea was better?)

 

My name is Trish…and I am a Baseball Fan

My
name is Trish Vignola.  I’m a 32-year-old
freelance writer and standup comedian.  I
am also a giant Baseball fan.  You might
say that Baseball is in my pedigree.  I
was born the same day the New York Yankees clinched the 1978 World Series.  My dad claims that I was out by the 7th
inning, because I never met a celebration pileup I didn’t like.  My mom claims I was almost named after
Catfish Hunter…but then the anesthesia wore off. 

Since
then, I have gone on to visit 30 stadiums (most of them on my own).  I was hit on by two National League mascots
(I’m going on record by saying that American league Mascots are always perfect
gentlemen).  I’ve pull tarp (oh! When
they say, “Let Go”, you should or you’re doing a header down the field).  I’ve published several articles; accidently
got a Yes Network commercial and met “Mike and Mike”.  (If you’re wondering, Mike is the cutest.)  Seriously though, Baseball has always played
a major role in my life.

So,
why Baseball?  Baseball is the illustration
of everything I find great about competition. 
You play to win.  Nonetheless, in
life as in Baseball, you can only have one winner (unless it’s the 2002
All-Star Game).  So, what do you do if
you lose?  You pull yourself together
because tomorrow is another game.   For
someone who grew up to find herself in the highly competitive field of comedy,
it’s the best possible metaphor to live by.

As a
woman, I never have role models to encourage my competitive instincts.  Sadly I still find it hard to find strong
competitive women to emulate.  The role
models I did find I could look up, I found through Baseball.  Men like Cal Ripken Jr., Ken Griffey Jr. and
Don Mattingly showed me that you could be a fierce competitor but still leave
the field with your head held high.  These men showed me that you can play tough,
but you don’t have to play dirty.

In a
bigger sense, I love the democratic ideal behind Baseball.  Again, as a comedian, I always live life with
the odds stacked against me. There will always be someone stronger than me,
with more experience than me, lurking around the corner. In Baseball however,
there is a romantic (but pretty accurate) sense of equality.  Every team plays within the same rules, gets
the same amount of at bats, etc. Sure, you’re always going to have a dominant
team.  Nonetheless, every spring the
clock resets and everyone starts at the same starting line.  What happened yesterday doesn’t matter today.  Yes, there’s no reason that the Pittsburgh
Pirates can’t beat the St. Louis Cardinals on a given day.  It’s that believe in the everyman, underdog
that makes me love baseball and drives me in my everyday life. 

Happy….

“Pitchers and Catchers Report for Duty” Day!  Seriously, did you think this was gonna be a post about Valentine’s Day?

 

Well, maybe it is.

 

There might be snow on the ground, but starting tomorrow, the Port Authority’s going to smell a little less like pee and a bit more like spring.  


Pitchers and Catchers report for duty!  Their first workout is scheduled for Tuesday.  Oh, and the rest of the guys?  They show up on the 19th.

 

Mark your calendars, get out your tiny pencils and start scoring. If you need me, I’ll be holding vigil outside of Modell’s until the new Eric Chavez Yankees shirt comes out.

Why Brian Cashman Needs To Shut His Trap…

Of all the GMs doing nothing this
off-season, the one who has made the most noise has definitely been -Brian
Cashman.

 

What worries me the most is that this off-season isn’t even over.  He’s got another two weeks to create one (if
not several) more public relations nightmares.


To quote fellow blog, “TheSportsJury.com”,
is Brian Cashman trying to get fired?!

 

Listen… Billy Beane might be getting his own
movie but that’s usually not the next
career step for a crazy Baseball GM.

 

If Cashman’s butt actually ever hits the
pavement, he’s got something far worse than the sharks of Hollywood to deal
with…

 

Angry Yankees fans.

 

In one hugely disappointing off-season (an
entire year removed from a championship), the Yankees have stood still while
everyone around them has gotten better. 
In the age of SABR, throwing money around willy-nilly is just an
antiquated business philosophy. 

 

I know he ultimately must deal with the
Steinbrenner family (speaking of antiquated business philosophies) but the
following are snafus that Cashman can proudly claim as his own.

 

1.     1. He’s
basically alienated Derek Jeter and possibly Rafael Soriano.  Yeah, he had a point at times but why
couldn’t he just shut his trap?  Way to
give fodder to folks like…me?


2.      2. He’s
gotten nothing accomplished.  How do you
go into the off-season without a “Plan B”.  Sure, getting Bartolo Colon was the next best
option but in reality, Colon is a “Plan D” at best. Signing Colon is like electing
John McCain president.  At his age, it
just doesn’t seem like a long-term investment.


3.   
3.You
can’t say your biggest rival in your division is better than you.  Even if it’s kinda true.

Today in Yankees Baseball – January 3rd

On
January 3rd, 1920, the Red Sox publicly announce a deal made on
December 26 to sell Babe Ruth to New York for $125,000.  This was twice the amount ever paid
previously for a player.  By today’s standards,
that’s an intern’s salary. Harry Frazee, the cash-strapped owner of the Red
Sox, also secures a $300,000 loan from the Yankees as part of the deal.  That’s right folks…the Yankees at some
point owned part of the Red Sox (and that’s a full 58 years before the Boston
Massacre)!

Today in Yankees History – Christmas Edition

Today
in 2001, Hideki Matsui signs a one-year $4.7 million contract to play for the
Yomiuri Giants. Hideki Matsui became the highest-paid player in Japanese
baseball history.   The Yomiuri Giants
see a long prosperous history with Matsui. 
Hey if it worked for the Rangers with A-Rod, why can’t it work for them?

 

Today
in 1989, Billy Martin passes away at the age of 61.   He died in a Christmas automobile accident
as a passenger near his home in Binghamton, New York.  St. Peter is a well-know lightweight and
pain-in-the-*** Cardinals fan.  (Get
it?  St. Peter…Cardinals fan?) God is psyched
to finally have a shots buddy.

 

Today
in 1958, the base path got a whole lot more dangerous. All-time career stolen base leader outfielder Rickey Henderson was
born in Chicago. The ‘Man of Steal’ will end his 25-year Hall of Fame career
with 1406 thefts and a whole lot of statements spoken in third person.