Friday, October 05, 2007

Release The Fighting Gnats

YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME! Just got home and turned on the Yankees-Indians game. It was an unusual 5:00pm start and it's now bottom of the 8th. Getting late early. Yankees were leading most of the game 1-0 on an early Melke Cabrera HR, and now just like that it's 1-1. Walk, Wild Pitch, Sacrifice, another Wild Pitch by phenom Joba Chamberlain. Yanks down one game already, so this is a must win if this series isn't gonna turn into a repeat of last year's disastrous first round ouster at the hands of the Detroit Tigers.

John Sterling, that master of overbaked hyperbole, just called it one of the great playoff games of all time. Of course, that was before the Indians tied it. Now Sterling is blaming Chamberlain's misfortune on the swarm of gnats flying around the young pitcher. Man on second. Cleveland 1, Yankees 1, Gnats a whole lot more than 1. Suzyn Waldman just noted that the bugs are still gonna be in there if they bring in Mariano Rivera. Good to hear they don't play favorites. "No one will ever know what will have happened if there were no bugs," intones a disconsolate Sterling. "You don't know," enjoins Waldman, "maybe the bugs are biting Joba." Maybe the gnats will get behind the Yankees next inning, attacking the Indians pitcher with reckless abandon like extras in a Hitchcock movie. This game may be played under protest due to mosquito interference.
I thought we were headed for yet another Red Sox-Yankees clash. The Sox have held up their end of the bargain so far, winning game one behind a dominating Josh Beckett. Yankees blown away in their first game, in danger of trailing the series 2-0. But it's top of the 9th, top of the Yankees order against Cleveland pitcher Fausto Carmona, which sounds like a Spanish explorer.

Damon grounder to first, one out...

Let's jump around here while we wait for something to happen in the game...

I've got a small notebook I'm trying to empty out, so let's see what I got...

Did you catch the part in The War where a soldier from a small town in Connecticut was talking to a German POW who spoke English and seemed to know all about where he lived in the States, down to the name of the small river that ran through his hometown. When pressed on how he knows so much about such a relatively obscure part of America, the German informed him that after the Nazis had won the war, he would have been the administrator of those U.S. territories under Hitler's master plan. Spooky.

I also jotted this down: "What the fuck was it all for?" (referring to the hardships and sacrifice of these soldiers). "Do any of these obnoxious young people in their flip-flops chatting incessantly on cell phones during the few moments they're not plugged into their iPods and BlackBerries & fucking Gameboys even know the first thing about that history?"

A bit of a generalization on my part, but maybe some truth there also...

Yankees, man on second, A-Rod up, 3-2 against the Cleveland starter Carmona, 19-7 on the year. Let's stay with this. 3-2 fouled off, hard sinker in on his hands. Good battle going on. Abreu off 2nd. He struck him out swinging! And now the pressure is on A-Rod, you can bet on that. Still tied at 1, but Cleveland coming up bottom of the 9th.

Another thing about The War. Watching it over the first few nights, one thing struck me about the military strategy on the U.S. side early in the campaign. In Tunisia and later in Anzio, World War I had nothing on this war in terms of mismanagement, sheer unnecessary exposure of troops to suicide missions that were doomed from the start, and the use of troops as what can only be called cannon fodder. In Anzio the troops were hunkered down for months on a beach with no cover whatsoever. The Tunisia debacle perhaps may be excused in retrospect, considering the Tunisia Campaign was very early in the War in terms of American particiation, thus the total lack of experience on the part of both the common foot soldier and his commanding officers. Going against Rommel's seasoned killing machines in North Africa, it took several bloody and costly missteps and ill-conceived risks before the U.S. troops themselves became battle-hardened and inured to killing. It ended with a mind-boggling 275,000 German/Italian POWs.

Great footage shown on the internment of Japanese Americans on the West Coast of America, as well as a less well-known episode -- the brutal internment camps in Filipino cities like Manila where Americans were imprisoned by the conquering Japanese armies.

YANKS-TRIBE STILL TIED 1-1 after 9 full. John Sterling didn't come right out and say it, but you know he thinks the Indians are behind the bugs attacking Chamberlain on the mound. "Woulda been a Yankees win without the bugs. Life is funny sometimes...," he says, and who can argue with him about that salient point.

Battle of the Bulge. 1,600 American men A DAY dying of frostbite during one stretch in the Arden Forest as the Germans tried to mount a counter-offensive near their western border. Amazingly, back home -- and this wasn't covered or even mentioned in the Burns film but I kept thinking about it nonetheless -- George Bush's granddaddy Prescott Bush spent most of the war financing the German war machine from his post on Wall Street. Death, war, arms, money -- like father, like sons of presidents.

"Let's not talk politics today, I feel too good, lemme have my way, high in the city..." -- Lou Reed

Sorry, Lou, can't resist. Bush and Cheney want to use one war to start another. Not content to tell another nation what kind of energy it can use, the Bush administration sought to demonize Iran by connecting it to arming the insurgency in Iraq with IEDs, missiles, training. It goes from ludicrous to laughable when you consider the far greater role played by states like Saudi Arabia, which recently was shown to be the predominant actor fueling the chaos in Iraq. And of course we all know their prominent role in 9/11 and in financing Islamic extremism in general -- facts which have been routinely underplayed in the public discourse.

In 1957 when Jack Kerouac's On the Road was finally published after 10 years of rejection, it was met with scorn and derision by many reviewers who misread the narrator's soul-searching adventures for degeneracy and debauchery. None was more cruel and reactionary than those penned by one Norman Podhoretz, whose comments displayed a rare vitriol even in the cutthroat world of book reviewing at the time. With the 50-year anniversary of Kerouac's upon us, it's worth noting that critics like Podhoretz let personal vendetta and professional envy cloud their judgment, and that hatchet jobs like those authored half a century ago say more about the writer than the subject.
Kerouac is long dead, having passed away a bitter alcoholic in the late '60s. But as the recent resurgence has proven, his literary star and reputation have never been higher or more appreciated. Ironically, Podhoretz is still making news as a neocon's neocon -- bullheaded, stubborn, delusional, closed-minded, smugly self-assured and, most telling, unrelentingly unfazed by repeated proof of their mistakes and miscalculations. His latest screed, World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism, outlines the case for war with Iran. Despite immersing myself in The War, I'm hardly an expert on WWII, but to use a word like "fascist" to describe a stateless band of terrorists is the height of idiocy.

Podhoretz is also presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani's foreign policy advisor. He emerged from a recent meeting with Bush confident that the White House is onboard with a military offensive against Iran. Podhoretz's daughter is married to Elliott Abrams, a convicted Iran-Contra operative and now a State Department policymaker. Heaven help us all.

TOP OF THE 11th inning, still tied up. Oops, make that bottom of the 11th. Yanks go quietly, 1-2-3. Only have 3 hits all night. Not looking good.

As a Dallas Cowboy fan, I've grown to hate the guy, but you can't deny that Giants WR Plaxico Burress is playing at an All-Pro level this year. And because of his height, he also might be one of the two or three hardest covers in the league for any cornerback, along with names like Randy Moss and Terrell Owens.

Here's why I was rooting for the Eagles the other night. Not because I don't think Philly is still Dallas's biggest threat in the NFC East. But I don't want the Giants getting on any kind of roll: the upcoming schedule has them taking on weak sisters like the Jets, 49ers, Dolphins and Falcons. Barring a slip-up, they're gonna be 6-2 for the rematch against Dallas. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have the Patriots coming up after the Monday Nighter at Buffalo.

Speaking of New England, people are starting to employ the 'U' word when talking about the Pats: Undefeated. They do have games against the Cowboys and Colts coming up, so hopefully someone can derail the Belicheat Boys.

And the Patriots were a little off the other night against the Bengals. Only 34 points put up instead of the usual 38, and Tom Brady was all over the place, going only 25-32 with 3 TDs, his 78% completion rate for the game a notch under his season average. His passer rating for the season is an off-the-charts 134.1. Next comes Kurt Warner at just over 125, then Tony Romo at 112.9.

The whole key to the New England offense is the consistency of the offensive line. Brady has been sacked only 3 times in 4 games, and there just haven't been a whole lot of times when he hasn't been free to survey the whole field unscathed.
Yankees just lost 2-1. Kenny Lofton in the middle of it all for the Indians. Always had a soft spot for Cleveland sports. Always gravitate to the underdog, and Cleveland is the underdog of cities.

What is LeBron James thinking rocking the Yankees cap with the interlocking N/Y deal in his home city's ballpark? That's a real 'look at me' moment. I don't think it's over the top to say that will come back to haunt James at some point. If you're a Yankees fan and you don't want to wear an Indian cap, that's cool, just don't wear any cap at all.

I find it kinda funny that Herm Edwards, all but run out of town by Jets fans, has his K.C. Chiefs at 2-2, while the coach who replaced him, Eric Mangini, is struggling along with a 1-3 record. Last week the Chiefs, boasting one of the least talented rosters in football, took it to the "loaded" San Diego Chargers 30-16. Can you say "genius"?

So Yankees down 2-0 heading back to Yankee Stadium. Just like '96 against the Braves in the Series? Just like '97 when the Manny Ramirez, Juan Gonzalez, Sandy Alomar-led Indians bounced us out of the playoffs? Or just like last year when the Tigers unceremoniously bounced us out in the divisional round? In Sports, as in War, History is yet to be written.

1 comment:

Wardens World said...

Hello? Is this mike on?