Category Archives: World Series

Y is for Yankees

The New York Yankees won their 27th World Series in 2009. Twenty-seven, which, coincidentally, is the number of outs each team gets in a standard nine-inning baseball game.

It’s interesting to me how people become fans of sports teams. Sometimes it’s based on geography, but it can also be a matter of particular players. My father-in-law still roots for the Minnesota Twins because he liked a player named Harmon Killebrew back in the 1960s. My father was a Los Angeles Dodgers fan because the Brooklyn Dodgers, before they moved to the West Coast, had signed Jackie Robinson in 1947.

For me, in baseball, it was both players AND geography.

Mickey Mantle, 1958

I remember well the 1962 World Series, whereas I have absolutely no recollection of the previous Fall Classics. It was the New York Yankees versus the San Francisco Giants, my favorite teams. Why I preferred the Yankees was easy; the minor league team in my hometown of Binghamton, NY had been a farm team (minor league affiliate) of the team from the Bronx. Then there was that New York State pride. The Giants USED to be a New York team and had my favorite player, Willie Mays. The Yankees, lead by Mickey Mantle, would win that Series, 4 games to 3, but would lose in 1963 and 1964, and then not even get back into the Series for over a decade.

But let’s start at the beginning. The team now known as the New York Yankees was an original team in the fledgling American League in 1901 – as the Baltimore Orioles. They became the New York Highlanders in 1903 and never got to the World Series.

Babe Ruth, 1920

The team’s fortunes were about to change when they acquired outfielder George Herman “Babe” Ruth from the Boston Red Sox after the 1919 season. Ruth lead the league in home runs with 11 in 1918, and an incredible 29 in 1919. But in his first two years with the Yankees, he hit 54 and 59 homers, respectively, eventually reaching 60 in 1927. Ruth’s presence also made the team first in attendance from 1920 on. And in 1923, in the Yankees’ first season in Yankee Stadium – they had been playing in the Polo Grounds – they won their first World Series against the crosstown Giants, 4 games to 2.

By the time they won their 2nd and 3rd titles in 1927 and 1928, they had a “Murderer’s Row” of sluggers that included first basemen Lou Gehrig. He’s known mostly for his Iron Man streak of over 2000 games played in a row, and the disease, ALS, which eventually claimed his life.

Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio watching batting practice, April 1939

I think Yankee hatred started when the team, led by outfielder Joe DiMaggio, got to seven World Series between 1936 and 1943, winning six of them. Worse, the Yankees, now featuring catcher/outfielder Yogi Berra, won in 1947, and every year between 1949 and 1953. The team, which by then also starred Mickey Mantle got into every Series from 1955 to 1958, winning two.

Reggie Jackson

After they were swept by the Reds in 1976, the Yankees won back-to-back titles in 1977 and 1978. This was the Bronx Zoo group that featured the self-described “straw that stirs the drink”, Reggie Jackson.

Derek Jeter, 1998

But after a World Series loss in 1982, another drought ensued until 1996, when some young players, led by Derek Jeter, won the title in 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000. But they lost the Series in 2001 and 2003, and didn’t even get into the playoffs in 2008.

So yes, I was rooting for the hated Yankees, in their controversial new stadium, in 2009. I mean the archrival Boston Red Sox had won more World Series rings in the 21st Century (two) than the Yankees had before 2009 (zero).

So congrats to the Yankees; doesn’t mean I’ll root for them in 2010. One oughtn’t to be greedy about these things.
ROG

Roger Answers Your Questions, Scott

Mr. Scooter Chronicles himself, Scott asks:

Have you ever seen a baseball game at Yankee Stadium? If yes, what are your thoughts on such a hallowed baseball ground seeing its last game?

Actually, not in a long time. The first time, I was a kid, and the Yankees beat the Washington Senators, The last time was probably in 1977 when I lived in Queens. Tearing down the stadium annoys me, because I don’t know why the current facility was inadequate. Oh, it doesn’t have those luxury seats, but after this week, who can afford to buy them anyway. Moreover, the funding is more corporate welfare foolishness.

Who do you think will win the World Series this year?

I picked the Cubs to lose the WS to Cleveland at the beginning of the season. About midseason, I switched to the Cubs over Tampa Bay, so I’ll stick with that. How annoying that my trip to the game was when the Cubs had hit a bad patch.

What do you think would be considered more historic: Obama being elected President, or Palin being elected Vice President?

Well, someone being elected President. If Palin were running for Prez and Obama were running for VP, it’d be Palin, but as it is, Obama. Besides, a woman had at least been NOMINATED before by a major party.

Do you think that the bailouts of financial companies will help the economy in the long run, destroy the idea of creating tax breaks for most of middle America, or see no real lasting effects on anyone?

Well, first off, I’m really ticked off about it. I listened to Henry Paulson, not once but twice on Sunday – Tom on NBC asked better questions than George did on ABC – and I got nothing but “Psst, it’s really bad. Do this or we’re doomed, trust me” without any real information.
I looked at the original language of the bill here and I was gobsmacked by Section 8: “Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.” Pardon my French, but WTF? Decisions non-reviewable? Gimme a BREAK!
I’m glad to see Democrats and republicans in Congress find some cojones, apparently because their constituents are hopping mad about this. Arthur at AmeriNZ found this example.
In answer to the question, the devil’s in the details. if there’s help for homeowners who are in their houses, limits on executive compensation and other measures, MAYBE things will turn around some.
And speaking of compensation, from Salon. “Regarding executive pay, Rep. Frank’s draft would mandate that any company selling assets into the program ‘meet appropriate standards for executive compensation,’ including limits on what could be deemed excessive or inappropriate, according to a copy seen by The Wall Street Journal. The government would also have the ability to ‘claw back’ incentive pay that was based on ‘earnings, gains, or other criteria that are later proven to be inaccurate.’ Mr. Paulson is resisting those efforts.
Astoundingly, Paulson plans to fight any efforts to limit executive pay because ‘he fears that provision would render the program moot, since many firms might choose not to participate.’
They might choose not to participate in a $700 billion plan designed to save them from a mess they were primarily responsible for causing? I don’t think I’m alone in finding that prospect irritating.”

On the other hand, someone at Pat Buchanan’s site posted this recently: “It is impossible for capitalism to survive, primarily because the system of capitalism needs some blood to suck. Capitalism used to be like an eagle, but now it’s more like a vulture. It used to be strong enough to go and suck anybody’s blood whether they were strong or not. But now it has become more cowardly, like the vulture, and it can only suck the blood of the helpless. As the nations of the world free themselves, the capitalism has less victims, less to suck, and it becomes weaker and weaker. It’s only a matter of time in my opinion before it will collapse completely.” – Malcolm X
As the letter writer noted, “Sounds pretty damn close to me.”

When was the last time you felt good about voting for a political candidate (on any level of government) feeling that they truly were the right person for the job?

I worked for Tom Keefe for city court judge a few years back. I’d known him for years and he seems to be doing a good job.

What is your favorite “healthy” thing to snack on?

apples and cottage cheese.

What is your favorite “evil” thing to snack on?

Muffins – fruit muffins (blueberry, preferably).

What is your favorite movie comedy of all time?

It’s tricky, because Annie Hall is, but it’s not all that ha-ha funny. On a pure laugh meter it’d be either Airplane! or Young Frankenstein.

Other then Jeopardy!, what is your favorite game show?

I’m partial to the various forms of Pyramid and Password,
ROG

Roger Answers Your Questions, Gay Prof and Scott

Gay Prof offers:
My question: Do you have any theories about the best way to keep John McCain out of the White House?

I do, but unfortunately it’s illegal and probably immoral. Wait, there’s probably some ageist crack I could make, but I won’t.
Look, I don’t know why people vote against their own interests, except that they naively by into a bill of goods. The economic boom that we used to be in was helping the John McCains of the country a lot more than you and me. Literally, the rich get richer, with golden parachutes for CEOs of failing companies. I thought Charlie Gibson on ABC News asked George Stephanopoulos an odd question last week: with Barack backing out of public financing, was it “fair” for Barack to have so much more money vs. McCain. I laughed so hard I almost hurt myself again. The GOP has had a lot more $$ at its disposal for decades, and Obama’s money is coming mostly from the common people. Is it fair that the government tut-tut homeowners for getting into financial situations that government policies encouraged? I know this doesn’t answer the question, but I’m stumped to find out how is John McCain the ANSWER to any of our current woes.

Generous Scott adds: I don’t care if you don’t answer any of mine, but I certainly hope you can answer Gayprof’s and it be something that we can truly do to make it happen.
Well, I did answer GP’s, FWIW. And now I’ll answer yours:

1. Who do you think will play in the World Series this year, and who will win it?

One team will be a new team, i.e., one we haven’t seen much of before. I think before the season I picked the Cubs, so I’ll stick with them. Not so incidentally, I’m hoping to see them play in Wrigley for the very first time in September. I thought that Cleveland and Detroit would do better, but alas. So, I’m going with Tampa; it’ll probably be Boston, but I’ve bored with Boston sports teams (except the Celtics, who I picked to win in seven.) It’s been 100 years. don’t the Cubs get to win every CENTURY?

2. What do you think has been the best (so far) movie adaptation based on a comic book?

Superman. No, Spider-Man. Wait, I liked Spider-Man 2 more than the first one. I didn’t see the last Batman or the upcoming one, but saw several others – not those. I did like Iron Man, but not the first Fantastic Four.

3. What are you top five movies?

Always impossible. Annie Hall’s on there, and probably Groundhog Day. The others are so fluid, like my favorite songs list or even favorite album. It might include Casablanca, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Field of Dreams, The Iron Giant, Rear Window, the original Star Wars (“episode 4” – feh), Toy Story 2, West Side Story (which isn’t a great movie, but the music and choreography hold), The Wizard of Oz, Young Frankenstein, and about a dozen movies I’ve either forgotten or are of the genres named (Empire Strikes Back, Toy Story); it could be any of the Pixar films I’ve seen, e.g.

4. If Obama loses the Presidential election, do you think it will hurt race relations and the fight against racism, or do you think that his nomination was already a move in the right direction and that a loss won’t set it back?

Yes.

Oh, you want more.

One of those ongoing myths was that Barack Obama was embraced nationally by black folks out of the shoot. Look at any poll that came out in December 2007, and Obama’s losing big time to Hillary Clinton with black voters. Part of it, ironically was that he wasn’t considered black enough. (And Hillary Clinton was?) But when he won Iowa, black voters gave him another look, and he’s been winning the black vote handily ever since, starting in South Carolina. (Which is why Bill Clinton’s correct observation that Jesse Jackson won South Carolina irritated so many people; it wasn’t just that he was black, it was that he was a black that, since the white folks in Iowa liked him, actually had a chance to win.) All the things he’s endured since from what I think is a media obsession with Rev. Wright to the sniping at Michelle Obama to the Muslim thing – regularly, at least 7% of the electorate believes that Barack HUSSEIN Obama is Muslim (not that should matter if he were) has made him more attractive to many blacks, and probably to white liberals as well. Here’s what often happens in with black folks when one of their own is put upon; they become more loyal, recognizing the institutional racism involved.

So, if he loses, most older blacks will see it as the same-o same-o. I’m not sure the paradigm holds for younger blacks, especially those who identify as biracial. It’s not that they don’t see racism, it’s that they may see Barack’s nomination, to use a football metaphor, as field position. Maybe Barack doesn’t score the touchdown this time, but it makes someone else’s chances better the next time. Maybe.

5. What album in your collection would probably most surprise your friends?

That would almost certainly be my one Toby Keith album. Not crazy about his politics, but I got it it for free at a convention in Nashville, and I rather liked a couple songs, especially “Let’s Talk About Me.”
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Someone, I wish I could remember who, said about Robert Mugabe: If Zimbabwe had oil, we would have invaded by now.

ROG