Thursday, October 04, 2007

Memory Serves, Gravity Fails

"Preventive war was an invention of Hitler. Frankly, I would not even listen to anyone seriously that came and talked about such a thing." ~Dwight D. Eisenhower

Raw & Unvarnished...
Randomly scattered thought modules...
Part 2 but who's keeping score?

Well, Major League Baseball for one. And unfortunately, right now the Yankees trail Cleveland 4-1. Good news, it's early. Bad news, they're facing Indian ace C.C. Sabathia.

But wait a minute! More good news: Robinson Cano just went deep. 4-2 Indians. Man, Cano can just plain hit, ending up with 97 RBIs after a very slow start. A lefty going deep against this guy Sabathia, that's showing me something right there.

Here's the number I was waiting to hear last night while watching more of Ken Burns' War: the staggering death toll. From 1939 to 1945, estimates range from 50 million up to 60 million. Most of the damage occurred outside the U.S. of course, leaving aside Pearl Harbor. And most of the loss of human life also took place across oceans.

This was one conflict where it was fortunate not to have home field "advantage" ... Russia lost 20 million+ ... their American allies? 405,000 soldiers.

Through all the fighting, you wonder to yourself how you would have held up in battle at the same age as these guys were when they were doing the heavy fighting.

Listening to the Yankee game on radio. We have no cable here at Warden's World headquarters. That's just the way it is. We have Internet, we don't have cable. We deal.

They put the first round of the division playoffs on TBS. Greedy scumbags who run baseball. The NL Championship is also exclusively on cable, but the ALCS and World Series on free TV. Baseball on the radio is just as good, sometimes better depending on where you are.

I remember where I was when the Yankees began their playoff run, the 1996 series against Baltimore, the second year of a 13-year stretch where they have made the postseason each and every season. We were camping in upstate New York listening to the games by the fire ... those were the Yankees of Bernie Williams, Darryl Strawberry, Tino Martinez, Paul O'Neil, a young Derek Jeter, Charlie Hayes ... John Sterling and Michael Kay doing the games and painting the word picture on WABC ... Remember it like it was yesterday.

That same year they made their first World Series in a long while ... 1981, it had to be ... I actually attended the first Series game that year at The Stadium, a Yankees win courtesy of a Bob Watson 3-run blast in Inning One ... Peal Bailey sang the national anthem ... Me and my friend Roger paid 15 bucks a ticket, true dat ... got some better seats because Roger, who I worked with at the long-since-gone Book Branch East on 8th Street in the Village, was on crutches and someone felt sorry for him and let us sit in the front row of our section ... Wonder whatever happened to old Roger ... I remember he would recommend J.D. Salinger to everyone who walked in the store ... believed in the potential redemptive power of good literature like few people I've ever known ... The owner, a real putz of the first order, and his Marlo Thomas looking wife, a shopaholic and prototype for the emerging yuppie class who would soon be taking over the city, forbade us from playing rock & roll as background music while we worked in the small shop ... so we had to make do with playing selected stuff from the owner's collection that didn't suck too much, Sounds Of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel for instance, at least until Laurence left the premises for the night and we truly took over, supplementing the sounds with choice selections from our own collections, playing Soft Cell's Tainted Love to excess is a strong memory, as well as albums by Squeeze, Rockpile, etc. ... We had a scheme where on Saturday nights we wouldn't ring up the 100 or so copies of the Sunday New York Times, instead splitting the proceeds and in that way exacting our revenge for his penurious ways in regard to our niggling salaries ... We were both sacked on the same night after that summer, Halloween night in fact, and we hit a movie to commiserate and such ... I remember the flick ... The Woman Next Door, by Truffault ... and who we do espy in the theater audience? None other than the former Mrs. JFK and current Mrs. Onassis ... True dat too.

Cut back to 1996. The Yankees are going to the Series, taking on the loaded Atlanta Braves, stocked with arms like Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz ... all in their future Hall of Fame prime ... and with hitters like Chipper Jones and a young Andruw Jones, they were a formidable bunch.

(Bobby Abreu just doubled in a run, it's now 4-3 Indians...)

It so happens that I had tickets for an October game of my own in '96, but these were coveted ducats for my beloved Dallas Cowboys, hosting the Atlanta Falcons in storied Texas Stadium. So me and my bud Tom were off with our standby airline tickets ... 90 bucks round trip, but we're the first ones booted off on any flight that needs the room. Long story short, leaving from LaGuardia at 6:30am, it took us 3 separate flights to get to Dallas -- New York to Cleveland, Cleveland to St. Louis, St. Louis to Dallas ... something like that -- and many hours zonked out in airports and airplanes later, we hit our hotel rooms just before Midnight. That was only the first of many pitfalls that defined that cursed trip, the only saving grace being a Troy Aikman to Kelvin Martin pass in the waning seconds to secure a come-from-behind victory from the jaws of defeat.

Here's where it all comes together. We get ripped off in our crappy little hotel, so we blow off the second night in that dump after getting our money back, and crash at the house of one of Tom's friends in Dallas. And the Sunday night after the Cowboy game is the first game of the Series -- the one where Andy Pettitte was resoundingly annihilated by the Atlanta Nine by a lopsided 12-1. Future star Andruw Jones clubs two mammoth homers, and there had to be little to no joy that night in the Bronx. After all, the Braves had won 96 games that year, and were coming off a World Series championship. Making matters worse, the Braves also won Game 2 that year, 4-0 behind a baffling Maddux, and now were heading home for Games 3-4-5 with a commanding 2-game Series lead. How could anyone like the Yankees' chances?
But Game 3 features David Cone against Tom Glavine, and a close 5-2 Yankees win, and New York went on to win three more in a row -- capturing their first champeenship since the '70s. And you were there!

Base hit and an RBI for Kenny Lofton, and now it's fucking 7-3 Indians. A Yankee announcer reminds us that Lofton has no love for Joe Torre, and we're thinking that in no way can be a bad thing. Mental image and all...

It's now 8:50pm and that means a new hour-long episode of The Office is mere moments away, upon which time I will abandon this here blog entry and put a pin in the whole post. One thing first ... here in my notebook it says:

Steve Carrell -- Hollywood doesn't know what to do with him. They're putting him in Chevy Chase type vehicles, when his talent is actually much greater -- and much subtler. In The Office, he's unself-consciously channeling Bush -- the early garrulous likable charmer version of Bush before he turned into the clueless sanctimonious prick presently occupying the White House.

Watching reruns of King Of Queens and flipping back to Seinfeld, it's obvious that as Frank Costanza and Arthur Spooner, no one in sitcom history ever got more onscreen LPM's -- Laughs Per Minute -- than Jerry Stiller. Take a minute to think about it ... Yeah, I know.


Serge A. Storms said...

I remember my first Yankees game. I was thrilled to see Mr. October take the field, the crowd chanting his name as he took the plate, and the half melted "Dixie Cup" ice cream. One of the few good moments I had with my dad before he became a prick of epic proportions.

Jerry Stiller is pure comedic genius. He can pull off both subtle and in-your-face...usually within seconds of each other...without missing a beat.

And Steve Carrell is brilliant. He's one of those guys that can just stand there and say anything, regardless of the situation, and just the way he says it is hilarious. I remember back in the earlier days of the Daily Show when he and Colbert would have their "Even Stevens" arguments. He would interview people with the most ridiculous questions and manage to do so with the sincerity of a seasoned journalist.

Wardens World said...

Ya know, I associate early Yankee games with my dad too. When we started going to Yankees games they had a really bad team in the mid to late '60s. I remember a doubleheader to the Orioles where Yanks first game 13-0. No matter what, me and my dad could always bond over sports, as long as we stayed away from politics, where we were always at odds.

I forgot that Carrell came from the Daily Show. That was some talent there on one show. Were Colbert and Carrell on at the same time?

Serge A. Storms said...

Yeah, Colbert and Carrell were on at the same time, though Carrell started and left earlier.