Sunday, June 28, 2015

Matz brings the bats

Lucas Duda, the Mets' primary number three hitter, has four RBI in the last two weeks. Steven Matz had four RBI in his major league debut.

Michael Cuddyer, the Mets' primary cleanup hitter, has one RBI in the last two weeks. Matz doubled that total in his first at bat.

The Mets starting rotation of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Jon Niese, Bartolo Colon and Matz now has 12 RBI in 135 at bats. Ruben Tejada has 12 RBI in 138 at bats. Eric Campbell has 12 RBI in 128 at bats.

Matz had a great debut on the mound (7 2/3 innings, 2 runs, 5 hits, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts), at the plate (3 for 3 with a double and the aforementioned 4 RBI) and on the basepaths (breaking up a double play at second). No other pitcher has driven in four runs in his debut in the last 100 years. But part of what makes Matz such an overnight sensation is the hitting wasteland the Mets have turned into this year.

Sure, injuries have hurt (it's painful to note that Matz now has the same number of RBI this season as David Wright), but you can't expect regular hitting contributions from your pitcher unless you're a Little League team. Great pitching can get you some low-scoring wins (before the Matz game, the Mets had won three straight by scores of 2-0, 2-1 and 2-1) but the winning run in that last game scored in the 13th inning with the help of two errors.  Matz' amazing debut can't hide the fact that the Mets are still in dire need of  bats that can be in the lineup more than every five or six days.

At least the Mets can't be beat when it comes to great senior-citizen fans. Just one day after Noah Syndergaard's 97-year-old great aunt made her own major league debut, attending her first game, Matz' grandfather stole the show.

On the hot mess that is Masahiro Tanaka, and why pitchers can't throw at A-Rod anymore

Ladies and gentlemen: the Tanaka face!

Have you ever been in one of those tumultuous relationships in which your boyfriend or girlfriend is a hot mess? You know, where you have real passion for the other person, and you think you click with them when you go out together, but they constantly let you down? Yet just when you are ready to give up on the relationship, your boyfriend or girlfriend comes sniffing around again, doing something immensely appealing and keeping you hanging on some more, until they let you down again and the cycle continues?

That's kind of what Masahiro Tanaka is like.

Ever since he tore his elbow, he has simply awful starts, then shows flashes of brilliance. Unfortunately, he is in the "awful starts" part of his repertoire now.

In his previous start, Tanaka had tanked in every way — allowing 10 hits, seven runs and three home runs over five innings in a 12-4 loss to the Tigers. The three home runs allowed, one to Victor Martinez and two to J.D. Martinez, marked a career high. Tanaka also tied a career high in runs (7) and earned runs (5) and he has never allowed more hits in a start.


Yesterday, Tanaka was staked to a 6-0 lead, and promptly gave it back over six innings. He gave up six runs, seven hits, and only had three strikeouts. He tied the 3-homer record that he established in his last start, and gave up more earned runs (6) than he ever has before. And when he melted down in the sixth, most notably when Jose Altuve hit a homer off him to tie the game, we got to see the Tanaka Face for the first time!

As Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post puts it:
Of course, the thousand-pound rhinoceros (or, in Alex Rodriguez’s preferred parlance, the pink elephant) in the room is, and will for the foreseeable future be, whatever hidden rat traps lurk within Tanaka’s elbow.

But what if it is not his elbow?

The whole situation reminds me of a joke about the Grateful Dead: A hippie runs out of drugs before a Dead show. After he listens to the concert sober, he says, "Wow, this music really stinks." (Of course, I love the Dead, and listen to them sober, but I still think this is a funny joke!)

What if it is just that Tanaka really stinks, and it is not his elbow causing this? But if it is his elbow, when is he going to get Tommy John surgery?

The Yankees did come back and win the game yesterday, 9-6. But if they are going to make the postseason, they need Tanaka to be a good boyfriend an ace again!


* * *

I missed watching the first half of the game live, although I did later on see the clip (see below) of Astros starter Brett Oberholtzer throwing inside to Alex Rodriguez after Houston hometown hero Chris Young's homer, the pitcher promptly getting ejected for doing so, and then Oberholtzer appearing to blame his glove for the bad pitching, hurling the glove in the dugout. The Houston starter was sent to the minors after the game.

The Yankee broadcasters called Oberholtzer "bush league," said the pitch was not the mark of a true competitor and said he should "take it like a man."

A few things I noticed about this:

Remember how Boston Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster threw four times in a row at A-Rod and the umps let him get away with it? Those times are over. Thought it was telling about Rodriguez' current reputation in the game that one inside pitch to him is enough to get the pitcher ejected.


It's clear that CC Sabathia is A-Rod's BFF. When A-Rod hit #3000, one of the players he hugged was CC. Then Sabathia spent big coin on "Ace of Spades" champagne for a postgame toast.  Now the pitcher was the first out of the dugout, ready to rumble after Alex got hit. Big change from the early days of A-Rod on the team! I wish I had CC in my posse! Heck, I wish I had a posse!

Friday, June 26, 2015

My thoughts on the Supreme Court's righteous marriage equality decision

I have never been married, but my "straight privilege" deemed by law would have allowed me to make multiple Mr. Wrong marriage choices, right after each other.  (Fortunately, I never listened to my mother, who wanted me to marry someone, anyone, just so I could say I had been married. Good grief.)

Meanwhile, until a few years ago, my childhood friend Carolyn was not allowed to marry Beth, the love of her life, because they are of the same gender. And it wasn't that long ago that LGBT people were arrested for exercising their sexual preference. So today's Supreme Court decision bringing marriage equality to all 50 states is really something to celebrate.

I am not going to claim I fully understand what Carolyn or any of my other gay or lesbian friends have gone through in life. Because I can't.

I do know what it is like to be a straight woman who has a lot of interests more associated with men, like following sports and music and history and politics and trivia, and how some people have thought my interests were weird (I did an eighth-grade music class report on the Ramones and everybody laughed at me!) and unfeminine (if I had a dollar for every guy who condescended to me about my interest in sports, only for me to prove him wrong, I would be pretty wealthy now!)

But because I am only attracted to men, I still had the freedom to love whom I loved without society deeming me a sinner or bad person or throwing me in jail or the psych ward. Or having to lie to my family and friends about my feelings.

So I am happy that my gay and lesbian friends can now marry whomever they love, no matter what state they are in. But I must warn them of one thing: that means that they may have nagging mothers telling them to get married, too, even when they haven't found the right person yet!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

My day at the Four Seasons covering NBCUniversal's TV shows

Zachary Levi
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending NBCUniversal's New York Summer Press Day at the Four Seasons Hotel in Manhattan. I have covered several NBC-related events this year, including the "Celebrity Apprentice" finale and the "America's Got Talent" pajama party premiere.  But the thing I attended yesterday was a much larger event -- 28 TV shows, with the talent available for roundtable interviews for each show.

The way these interviews worked is that a certain number of journalists/bloggers (usually four or five) are at each round table, and the actors/reality show stars go from table to table to talk about their show. These interviews usually take 10-15 minutes, which sounds like a short period of time, but a lot of topics can be covered in that time frame.

I thought I was going to be nervous, because this was my first time at as big an event as this. But I really wasn't, and I actually enjoyed asking questions in the interviews!

Some of the shows were new programs, while others have been on the air for a while. The shows I met talent from were:

NBC:
"America's Got Talent": Mel B and several acts on the show
"The Carmichael Show": David Alan Grier and Jerrod Carmichael
"Mr. Robinson": Craig Robinson and Peri Gilpin
"The Player": Philip Winchester
"Law & Order SVU": Peter Scanavino
"Aquarius": Grey Damon and Emma Dumont
"Welcome to Sweden": Josephine Bornebusch
"Miss USA": Cheryl Burke, Thomas Roberts, and Nia Sanchez
"I Can Do That": Jeff Dye
"Heroes Reborn": Zachary Levi (he also is host of Syfy's "Geeks Who Drink")

USA:
"Suits:" Meghan Markle, Rick Hoffman, Sarah Rafferty, and Gabriel Macht
"Graceland": Daniel Sunjata, Aaron Tveit
"WWE Tough Enough": Chris Jericho
"Complications": Jessica Szohr

Syfy:
"Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!": Ian Ziering
"Defiance": Jaime Murray

E!:
"House of DVF": Diane Von Furstenberg
"Hollywood Cycle": Aaron Hines, Nichelle Hines, and Nick Hounslow
"Sex With Brody": Dr. Mike Dow, Stevie Ryan
"The Comment Section": Michael Kosta
"Total Divas": Brie Bella and Nikki Bella

Bravo:
"Odd Mom Out": Jill Kargman and Abby Elliott
"Secrets and Wives": Liza Sandler, Andi Black, and Cori Goldfarb

Esquire:
"Car Matchmaker": Spike Feresten

Hulu/UCP:
"Difficult People": Billy Eichner and Julie Klausner

Oxygen:
"Sisterhood of Hip Hop": Nyemiah Supreme


I am going to write separate articles on the most compelling shows I heard about yesterday, but in the meantime, here are some anecdotes of the highlights of the day:

It was great to talk to Daniel Sunjata and Aaron Tveit of USA's "Graceland" about what difference it makes in portraying a TV role when the actor knows all of the arcs of the season beforehand, such as in HBO's "True Detective," or when the same director works on multiple episodes. Both men are smart and thoughtful.

I remembered hearing about how MLB players and other athletes are huge fans of USA's "Suits," so I asked the cast about that. They got very animated in explaining why this is, and talked about corresponding with some of these famous fans.

If the interview with "The Carmichael Show" stars Jerrod Carmichael and David Alan Grier is any indication, the NBC show is going to be the funniest thing on the air this year. Carmichael had a riff involving "The Golden Girls" and our table that had me laughing so hard I couldn't breathe.

Another show I think is going to be a huge hit: NBC's "The Player," which stars Philip Winchester. The actor explained the high-concept plot to us, which involves rich people gambling on the crime rate in Las Vegas. He even pulled up a trailer of the show on one of the reporter's iPad to show us scenes from the program. Extremely charming man. The show, which is from the producers of "The Blacklist," will be airing right after that program on Thursdays.

Hearing Zachary Levi expound on two projects he is involved in: the 13-episode "Heroes Reborn" series (which Levi made sound interesting, even to a non-sci-fi person like me!) and the "Geeks Who Drink" game show, which evolved from the popular pub game (Squawker Jon and I have played and won at this game in Manhattan!) Very bright, savvy actor.

If you think pro wrestlers are dumb, think again. Chris Jericho of USA's "WWE's Tough Enough" and the Bella twins of E!'s "Total Divas" were intelligent and thoughtful. I asked Jericho about the changes in wrestling over the years, and he explained it in great detail. Brie and Nikki Bella were very smart about branding themselves, and building a future in a tough business.

I am a big fan of "The Soup," so I can't wait to see "The Comment Section," which Joel McHale is producing, and which will air after "The Soup" each week. The idea of the show? Finding the craziest things in comments sections on news websites! (Speaking of which, I got my share of wacky comments this week!)

I ended up watching an episode of "Odd Mom Out" when I got home after meeting Jill Kargman and Abby Elliott. It is a pretty funny show, with a plotline about spinning that I could totally relate to.

Anyhow, I will expound more on the interviews of the day in separate articles. I have a lot of audio recordings to go through!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Is Zack Hample, the guy who caught A-Rod's 3000th hit, a righteous dude or a jerk?

Zack Hample hold's A-Rod's 3000th hit ball.
So, I have been on record advocating over and over that if a fan catches a historic ball at a game, whether it be Derek Jeter's 3000th hit or Alex Rodriguez's 660th homer or 3000th hit,  that he or she should make as much money as possible out of it. Sorry, but if it were me catching such a historic ball, I would want some cold hard cash in return. Getting some trinkets wouldn't cut it.

The only exception is what happened to Frank Burke, the person who caught San Francisco Giant Travis Ishikawa's pennant-winning home run. Burke, as I noted in an article for Guideposts.org, got to throw out the first pitch at Game 3 of the World Series that year. That is something unique you would not be able to buy on your own with the money you would get from selling the ball.

That being said, Zack Hample is really testing my patience. He is the professional ballhawk (or, as I call him, ballhog) who caught A-Rod's 3000th hit, which was a homer. Today, when he was whining online about A-Rod not following him on Twitter, I pointed out what he said earlier in the week, when somebody asked what he would do if he caught #Arod3k.

Hey, @AROD, I'm the guy who snagged your 3,000th hit. Any chance for a follow back? It would mean a lot to me.
— Zack Hample (@zack_hample) June 23, 2015

Folks, what is problematic for me is that Hample is, pardon my French, a world-class douche bag. Seriously, if you type his name into Twitter, the first search terrn that comes up is "Zack Hample douche." (Sorry, I try to keep the Squawks G-rated, but sometimes the truth must be told here!)
I have heard too many stories from various people about how Hample knocks down children to snag balls before games to disbelieve them.

Not to mention the way he conducts himself. Squawker Jon pointed out Friday that the spotlight would not be kind to Mister Hample, and he was right. And I really have an issue with a 37-year-old man trolling for balls like this. Leave the glove at home, dude.

Anyhow, Hample, who apparently comes from a wealthy family, is now talking with Yankee front office bigwigs Randy Levine and Lonn Trost about what he might want for the ball. Talk about a meeting of the minds -- or, more to the point, of the d-bags! Sorry, pardon my French again, but the truth must be told here! (Squawker Jon said that me using this term burned a bridge to Yankeeland here. I said that bridge was napalmed long ago!)

At any rate, how ironic is it that the team that won't pay A-Rod for the 660-homer milestone is negotiating on his behalf for another milestone! Jon said that Hal Steinbrenner authorized the front office's pursuit of the ball. Hilarious!

In his negotiations, Hample brought up a "wish list," including donations to charity, to try to make it seem as if he isn't a jerk. Won't work, dude! You pretty much emanate jerkitude. You wear an umpire's cap to games, for goodness sake! But own it! I say go for that cold hard cash, and forget pretending that this is about charity or any such other high-minded pretense. They need to show you the money.

However, that also means giving the Yankees a simple price, and not doing these drama queen negotiations. If Hample doesn't want to negotiate with the Yankees, then sell the ball at an auction house and be done with it. But please, put an end to this drawn-out saga already. Good grief.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

On my running club, role models, and my fifteen minutes of fame in the Washington Post

It was pretty miserable and muggy weather this morning. Nonetheless, I did a 5K run on Staten Island, as part of Anthony's Run -- click the link to find out about a very good cause! Just when I was lined up at the back of the pack to start the race, Squawker Jon sent me this picture, which shows the article I wrote, complete with my byline, after he bought the only two Washington Post issues available in his neighborhood on the Upper West Side:


Amazing how much a genuine smile can take years off one's age!
My article takes up 3/4 of the page!

Talk about a motivation to do well! I cheered, and then got teary-eyed, when I saw my name in the subhead, and my words in print. I wept later when I thanked my best friend Jon for sending that to me at just the right time. It was amazing to see this article in the paper!

Yes, that is not a misprint. Yours truly is actually on Page B3 of the Washington Bleeping Post, in the Outlook (editorial) section, along with all of the important things people in DC are talking about. Yes, I still can't quite believe it, either! Go figure. (Click here for a link to my article!)

They gave me 1475 words to crack jokes about Madonna and defend A-Rod. Wait, what? How did this happen?

I would like to imagine President Obama or Speaker Boehner reading the WaPo this morning to see what's what in Washington, and having their jaws drop after reading my article. Dare to dream!

For those of you who may be rolling their eyes at my solipsism, cut me some slack. I never thought in a million years that this would happen!  (Believe me, I hope there is a day when making the Washington Post is no big deal in my career. Until then, please let me be excited and squeal like a little girl! Thanks!)

Yes, I am a tease. Literally!
Anyhow, back to my race today. You may remember me recently talking about a fellow running club member named Ryan, who lost 90 pounds in his own fitness journey. (I referenced him in this Squawk here.) I want to be Ryan one day -- he is a real inspiration!

So, the race I did today was an out-and-back one, with the last part of it up a driveway. Ryan, who had finished his own race, decided to join me as my running buddy for the rest of my own race. What a nice thing to do!

I don't think it is an accident that, despite the miserable weather (I do not like heat or humidity, and we had both!), between Squawker Jon's and Ryan's kind gestures, I had my second-best time ever in a 5K. Very cool!

However, all is not all sunshine and lollipops. I have gotten a lot of angry comments over my Washington Post article on A-Rod. I knew this was coming! Bring. It. On.

Two of the things I have been accused of are 1) being a Yankee fan and 2) a blogger. Yes, guilty as charged on both counts!

My "favorite" criticism so far was this email from a guy in Frederick, Md, who wrote me this:

Alex R. a role model??? Reallly??? A serial liar and cheater...If you need someone with those credentials to be your inspiration to get off your fat can, you have bigger issues...Why write this crap??? Oh, I understand. You're a blogger.. Shame on any respectable publication for putting it in print....
To which I responded:
Yet you read it! Have a great day!
I was going to point out that while I am still overweight, I do NOT have a fat can. I am the opposite of the Jennifer Lopezes of the world when it comes to the tuchis! P.S. Speaking of my overuse in this blog of the word "tuchis," I made a Derek Jeter tuchis-kissing joke in my article, but it was edited out. Oh well.

Thoughts on A-Rod vs. Jeter, the music at Yankee Stadium, and the ballhog dude

Team-first captain Derek Jeter (r.) with Christian Lopez
I had a few other thoughts about Friday night's game, in which I got to see Alex Rodriguez hit #3000.

Here is a link to Alex's post-game presser. He really seems as relaxed as I can ever remember him. But he is wearing a simple light blue button-down shirt. Doesn't he know that when you hit 3000, you are supposed to wear a hat and shirt with a logo featuring an image of yourself and your achievement? That is what a team-first guy like Derek Jeter did after getting his 3000th hit!

Jeter, of course, had Christian (Sap) Lopez willing to give up the HR ball for a few trinkets. On the other hand, A-Rod is being shaken down by D-lister and professional ball hog Zack Hample, who said earlier this week that he would give Alex a dummy ball back if he happened to catch #3000. What class, what integrity!

Look, I think that if you catch such a momentous ball, you ought to be fairly compensated for it, with real money. That being said, Hample sounds like a real jerk. It was charming when he was a teenager going around catching balls. But he is 37 now, and I find it a little sad. (Then again, I am 48 and got so excited when I met Mr. Met that I gave him a hug!)  IMHO, you need to leave the glove at home when attending games once you graduate high school.

Hample brags about having snagged 8,000 balls. Reportedly, he has also knocked down little kids to do so. He denies it, but there are way too many witnesses who saw him do such things to believe him.

Anyhow, I also noticed that Michael Kay made a big deal about how the Detroit players did not go on the field to celebrate A-Rod, the way Tampa Bay players did with Jeter. I think this is much ado about nothing. But I don't remember Yankee players doing this post-game tribute to their captain that CC Sabathia arranged for Rodriguez:
Upon arriving in the clubhouse after the game, Rodriguez found a few dozen champagne glasses set up for a toast, courtesy of a six-liter bottle of Armand de Brignac “Ace of Spades” purchased by CC Sabathia to celebrate A-Rod’s milestone. “I completely broke down,” A-Rod told the Daily News before he left the ballpark. “I was not expecting that at all. It was amazing; overwhelming.”

That stuff is pretty pricey -- I think it's at least $6,500 for one bottle, if not more! I will be lucky if somebody opens up a bottle of Ripple (Fred Sanford's favorite drink!) to toast my being in the Washington Post!



* * *

I noticed that the music played Friday when the Yankees came on the field was "Pour Some Sugar on Me," by Def Leppard. But where is the stripper pole? That is what I associate that song with! That and getting ready to go out to college parties. "Pour Some Sugar on Me" was the primping and preening song we used to play. At any rate, I don't associate it with baseball!

Also, I noticed that after A-Rod hit #3000, the Stadium played Eminem's "Lose Yourself." I kvelled over this! My Facebook friends know that I was very angsty after getting the opportunity to write for the Washington Post. That song was pretty much how I felt, with lyrics like this:

Look, if you had, one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted.
In one moment
Would you capture it, or just let it slip? 

So to hear it played after AROD3K was just too much! Amazing!





Saturday, June 20, 2015

Reclaiming Mets milestones

Last night, when the Yankees actually acknowledged an Alex Rodriguez milestone (and didn't even edit it out in the YES rebroadcast!), I couldn't help but think of the sad fate of most recent Mets milestones.  Jose Reyes winning the only batting title in Mets history is remembered for how he left the final game in the first inning.  Johan Santana pitching the long-awaited first Mets' no-hitter can't be mentioned without noting how it basically ended Santana's career. Met fans don't have much to celebrate, so it's time for us to reclaim our milestones. 

Sure, Reyes was no Ted Williams, who famously played a doubleheader on the final day of the 1941 season when he could have sat out and seen his .3996 batting average rounded up to .400. But remembering Reyes as a villain also makes the failure to re-sign him more palatable. Why should the Mets pay top dollar for an oft-injured, me-first player?

Here's why - with a real shortstop and leadoff hitter, the Mets would have a much stronger shot at the postseason. Think the Mets couldn't use the leadoff hitter for the team that's leading MLB in runs by a wide margin? Yes, Reyes has missed a lot of time this season as is often the case with him, but Toronto is 25-14 in games he's started and 12-18 when he has not played.

Last night, Wilmer Flores made yet another mistake at shortstop, taking so long to look the runner back at third that he failed to get the runner at first. Flores' bat may belong somewhere in the lineup,  but does anyone besides Sandy Alderson see him as the longterm shortstop on a winning team built on pitching?

After Flores' miscue, Terry Collins pulled Jacob deGrom, though he was pitching a shutout and had thrown just 97 pitches. Sean Gilmartin allowed both runners to score on a double that gave the Braves a 2-1 win and deGrom an undeserved loss.

Collins still regrets allowing Santana to throw 134 pitches during his no-hitter, but even though he's only won three games since, Santana is glad to have his no-hitter and says that Collins has nothing to feel bad about:

"You can't say it was the right decision or the wrong decision," he added. "Because you don't know. No doctor ever told me, 'Oh, if you didn't throw so many pitches in this game or that game, your shoulder would not have been hurt again.'"

If Santana can enjoy his no-hitter without regrets, I want to be able to as well.

Sometimes the Mets go too far when celebrating a milestone. Squawker Lisa and I were at Citi Field when Mariano Rivera got his 500th save in 2009, but I was too irritated by Francisco Rodriguez walking Mariano with the bases loaded to even mention the achievement in my blog entry.  At the end of the season, the Mets sent Mariano the pitching rubber from that game along with a congratulatory letter from Omar Minaya and Jeff Wilpon.

As long as the Mets engage in shameless Yankee honoring, I hope they honor A-Rod's milestones, especially the ones the Yankees skip over,  when the Yankees come to Citi Field in September.

It's interesting how A-Rod's homer milestones stopped being valuable when the Yankees decided that was the case. Steiner Sports is selling a framed autographed photo of A-Rod hitting number 600 for $554.99.

By comparison, if you want a framed photo of Bucky Dent's famed 1978 homer signed by both Dent and pitcher Mike Torrez, that will cost $169.99.

On seeing A-Rod's 3000th hit live, and how it ties in to "The Godfather," running, and my Washington Post column




For once, I took a semi-decent photo!

Today was a great day for me for a variety of reasons. My Washington Post piece on A-Rod was published (and I got really touching notes from friends, relatives, and bosses praising it!), and best-selling business writer Jon Acuff tweeted out to his 257k+ followers something I wrote! And it was capped by me being present for #AROD3K! Yay!



I wrote earlier today that I thought Alex Rodriguez was going to get his 3000th hit tonight. I said: "Alex will have to reach 3000 since I will be in the house, won't he?"And whaddaya know? He did it!



What a game! When A-Rod hit the shot off Justin Verlander, somebody he has had very good succcess off in the past, the ball just kept on rising and rising and then it was a home run. I am not ashamed to admit that I squealed like a little girl! And then I cried! It was such a joyous moment. I would like to thank Alex read my Washington Post op-ed piece on "The Redemption of A-Rod" and was inspired! (Hey, you never know!)



I just watched the YES Network replay. What I wasn't able to see from the cheap seat I was in is how happy Rodriguez looks. He was actually giggling when he got up to the plate. I don't remember him ever being that relaxed and that confident. As somebody who wears her heart on her sleeve -- you can literally know what kind of mood I am by looking at me, no matter how much I may attempt to hide it --I appreciate that. And when you are in the kind of mood Alex was in tonight, nobody is going to stop you! I also noticed how much his teammates respect and genuinely like him.



Now, before you stop me and say "steroids," I will say this -- I cannot get bent out of shape on the issue anymore. Not when Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony LaRussa are in the Hall of Fame when they managed PED-using players. Not when Mark McGwire and Manny Ramirez are hitting coaches. Not when Bartolo Colon and Nelson Cruz and Ryan Braun are top players. Not when Andy Pettitte is getting honored in Monument Park.  Etc, etc



And when I hear people say, regarding Rodriguez and PEDs, "Well, such and such was clean," I can't help but think of this "Godfather" scene. Clip and transcript below:









MICHAEL: My father’s no different from any other powerful man. Any man who’s responsible for other people. Like a senator or president.



KAY: You know how naïve you sound? Senators and presidents don’t have men killed. 




MICHAEL: Oh. Who’s being naïve, Kay?




I think I'm going to start saying that when it comes to PEDs -- who's being naive! So, does this make me Michael Corleone? I do say I love the way he rocks that hat!



Anyhow, my article for the Washington Post talks about role models. The way Rodriguez has crawled back out of the hole he dug for himself is really inspiring. I don't get why people want perfection our of role models. For example, somebody in my running club told me about a fellow member who had lost 90 pounds and was now making great times. I don't think it is a coincidence that when I finally met this person and talked to him, I had my best time ever! His story -- and his advice -- resonated with me in a way for my own fitness journey that hearing about a runner who never had a weight problem might not have.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Bouncing back: On A-Rod and Urban Rebounding

I had dinner plans in Brooklyn Thursday night, so I missed seeing Alex Rodriguez get to 2998 and 2999 on the all-time hits list. (Incidentally, he got the hits against pitcher Mat Latos, who has a cat named...wait for it...Cat Latos! No joke.)

But I was listening to the Yankees radio broadcast, so I heard John Sterling call it, and I heard the crowd boo and chant a certain epithet when Sam Dyson refused to throw anything that A-Rod could hit. Pretty funny.

I was glad he didn't get to hit, though. After all, I have tickets for tonight's game. And Alex will have to reach 3000 since I will be in the house, won't he?

Anyhow, I am totally fascinated by the way A-Rod has bounced back this year. It wasn't that long ago when a certain segment of fans (and sportswriters!) said that the team should just cut him. Remember that? Now he is arguably the Yankees' MVP, and definitely the team's most popular player!

Anyhow, as Squawker Jon pointed out earlier today, I wrote an article for the Washington Post called "The Redemption of A-Rod." I initially hoped to be on the paper's online PostEverything area. Somehow, not only did I end up in the Outlook (op-ed) section, which is where their big-name columnists write, but my article will be in the Sunday Washington Post, which has the most circulation of any of their editions. I feel blessed and honored and all that good stuff. Unbelievable.

So people in DC who are reading the Sunday WaPost to see the important things that are going on in the world will also see 1300 words or so of me squawking about A-Rod and cracking jokes. How funny is that? My degree in Arodology is finally coming in handy!


* * *

In my continued efforts at not just my fitness journey, but at personal growth, I have been putting myself out there, trying to conquer my fears and hopefully becoming a thinner, braver and more confident person out of this. Part of that is trying things I have never done before.

So the other night, I jumped on a trampoline for 45 minutes last night and survived! Heck, I thrived! I had so much fun it should be illegal.

Now, it wasn't the type of trampoline Joba Chamberlain broke his ankle on -- and I gave him so much grief for! Instead, I took the Urban Rebounding class at the New York Health and Racquet Club, my gym (you can see a video of of the class works here.) You get a small, round personal "rebounder" trampoline that is only about a foot or so off the ground. And you bounce around on it. So much fun!

I have wanted to do this class for a long time. But I wasn't about to do it when I was at my heaviest -- I was afraid of disaster!

However, I have lost 40 pounds, so I figured it was time to give the class a try. It was fabulous.

I am not done facing my fears. I still have plenty of things that terrify me. But I am a work in progress, and I am doing better than I was. Kind of like A-Rod!