Monday, September 22, 2008

 

Goodbye

As a lifelong baseball fan, even I had to feel bad about Yankee Stadium's demise this weekend. It is sad to see a perfectly adequate ball park go down simply for profit. But, that is the way of the world, and while Wall Street slides into the Hudson River, the Bronx Bombers are seeing a new home erected.

As some of you know, my Dad and I made it there last July, and it is a place rich with baseball history. As a ball park, it didn't have the quirk and character of Wrigley or Fenway, but it did have a palpable sense of history which will be missed. And even though I have spent the last 8 years rooting against them (since that fateful toss of the bat by Roger "Juiced" Clemens), to see clips yesterday of Jeter and Rivera on the field one last time were indeed evocative.

You see, for those of us who are not Yankee fans, we still have to admit that the game would be so different without them. While my team will always be proud of being the first to fully integrate with the arrival of Jackie Robinson, the Yankees have always been the standard bearers of baseball. They have managed to maintain an impressive tradition of winning. The Dodgers have the most NL Pennants in history (21), but the Yankees have won 39 pennants and 26 championships. And, contrary to belief, they won because they were smart, not rich. Wealth helps, but you can ask the Tigers and Dodgers where it has gotten them recently. No, the Yankees were at their best when they sought out and invested in great talent that would build their franchise. Ruth, Gherig, DiMaggio, Berra, Mantle, Mattingly, Jeter, Rivera...these are great names. But they all had people behind them who management was smart enough to hire: Pipgrass, Lazzari, Reynolds, Richardson, Nettles, O'Neill and Brosius. These teams were the best, they were not just lucky. Until another team can come along to challenge this impressive resume, the Yankees will be the standard bearers, and it seems sad that they have left the "factory" where that standard was built. These photos are from our trip there last July (the first photo is of the impressive facade of New Yankee Stadium)






When dad and I made our way there, it did seem that we had, as baseball fans, visited something of a home for us, though we grew up 3000 miles away. That is because as a baseball fan, Yankee Stadium is a familiar place, though I only visited it twice. And so, as we all say goodbye to this magical place, here's my own personal signoff :) :




video

Sunday, September 07, 2008

 

This One's for you, EO

It's happening again folks. Only this time, the beneficiaries of it may be my life long team, the LA Dodgers. I mention my dear friend Eric because we had a debate over this matter last season. I felt a need to post one last time on this subject, because this year, my team may very well be in a position in which they have no business being. Right now, the Dodgers have won a whopping 73 games, but sit one and a half games ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks in first place. No matter who wins the NL West, they will not deserve to be in the playoffs unless they run the table in September. Though I acknowledge that the NL West winner will be legitimate, I simply wish the rules were different. Right now, the Dodgers have the 7th best record in the NL, but under the current rules (in a game that should reward goodness over a long season), they would be one of the four teams to have a shot at the World Series. If the baseball gods are really smiling on the situation, somehow this lackluster Dodgers or Diamondback team will end up taking out the Cubs, who haven't been in the Series in 63 years, haven't won it in 100 years, but have the best record in the NL this year.

Last year, my friend Eric and I debated the matter on this blog, and while I was a total wet blanket, I offered no alternative, making me wholly negative. This year, I think I have an idea. If I were commisioner, I would do this. First, I would eliminate the divisions. Second, I would reformulate the schedule so that all teams had the same schedule. Every team in the NL and AL would play all the other teams the same amount of times (the admitted drawback here is fewer games between classic division rivals like Cubs/Cards, Yanks/Sox and Giants/Dodgers, but it's a sacrifice worth making). This would also involve needing to eliminate interleague play for fairness' sake. Third, in order to not take away much needed playoff gate receipts from the owners (I hope you can detect my sarcasm), I would reward the four teams with the best record in each league with playoff spots. I have not yet thought of a way to give the better teams a greater advantage (more home field advantage perhaps, or possibly making one team play without their shortstop :) ), but I think this would reward the best teams. If the Dodgers make it to the World Series, I will root for them, but it will be another piece of injustice done by MLB. Fortunately, it doesn't matter enough for me to not want to at least pull for the ol' Dodgers.

Right now, I'm hoping for a true World Series, and that would be the Cubs and the Angels. I can only hope Bud Selig is reading this.

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