Yardbarker Nav Bar

Monday, November 30, 2009

A-Rod is No. 1 at something...

Alex Rodriguez may not have gotten MVP honors this postseason. And he didn't get Sportsman of the Year. But he did beat all his baseball cohorts at one big thing. According to Ask.com, A-Rod is the "most-asked about baseball athlete" on their site this year. Here's the complete list:

1. Alex Rodriguez

2. Tim Lincecum

3. Manny Ramirez

4. Derek Jeter

5. Chase Utley

6. Roy Halladay

7. Cliff Lee

8. Albert Pujols

9. Jacoby Ellsbury

10. Hideki Matsui

Source: Ask.com


I'm not the least bit surprised A-Rod is No. 1. What does surprise me is that Jacoby Ellsbury is on the list, and not, say David Ortiz. And that Joe Mauer didn't make the top 10 searched-for.

One columnist (not me!) thinks A-Rod, not Jeter, should be Sportsman of the Year

As had been rumored, Sports Illustrated named Derek Jeter today as their Sportsman of the Year. I think it was a great choice. Funny thing is, though - New York Post columnist Joel Sherman doesn't. He thinks the award should have gone to Alex Rodriguez.

Sherman wrote this in his blog entry about the Jeter rumors:
Alex Rodriguez should be the Sportsman of the Year. Before you hit me with how that title should go to someone who embodies the best in sports let’s remember that both Pete Rose and Mark McGwire have won the award, and before long we might remember that Tiger Woods has won twice.

Jeter has a brilliant year in which he became the all-time Yankees’ hit leader while remaining a high-level star who wears his pinstripes well on and off the field.

But sports are publicly messier these days, and we should not run away from that.
Heck, the initial broken story on Rodriguez’s steroid use was published by Sports Illustrated. He also touches on the advancement of sports medicine as he came back successfully from significant hip surgery months after undergoing the operation. And he was again a great player, this time finally in the postseason, as well.

In the end, A-Rod offers a story of second chances and redemption. He was a better teammate and was rewarded with the most positive feedback yet as a person while scoring that elusive championship.
Go here to read more of his reasoning, and how he wonders why Jeter is any more of a Sportsman of the Year than Mariano Rivera is.

I didn't even think there was any chance SI would pick A-Rod - the player they outed as a steroids user - as Sportsman of the Year. It seemed incongruous to me with what SI says the award is supposed to be about. So I think the Jeter selection is fine. As SI explains it:
It was that combination of on- and off-field achievement that helped make Jeter this year's Sportsman. Said Sports Illustrated Group Editor Terry McDonell, "Derek Jeter has always presented himself with class; he does numerous good works for the community with his Turn 2 Foundation, which is one of the most efficient, effective foundations of its kind; and he's extremely generous with not just his money but with his time, which in many cases is more valuable. He also had another signature year on the field."

That being said, I see Sherman's point about how "sports in 2009 are no longer just about the games, and Rodriguez touches on so many of those other important elements while remaining a unique athlete." There is something to be said for the flawed hero being a role model in his own way.

A-Rod has gotten more grief than any other active baseball player I can think of. Yes, more than Barry Bonds when he was playing - at least Giants fans didn't boo their own player. Yet Rodriguez, after hitting rock bottom, thoroughly redeemed himself, and had one of the greatest postseasons ever. One of the more moving things in the World Series film is when, after the Yankees won the series, A-Rod hugs Joe Girardi and literally weeps in his arms. Rodriguez may not be Sportsman of the Year material, but his story is inspirational in its own way.

It's why I'm so happy to see Vince Young getting his chance to shine this year with the Titans. He, too, hit rock bottom - getting benched in favor of Kerry Collins must have been hard to swallow, especially when the Collins-led Titans went 0-6 this year. Yet VY, after Tennessee owner Bud Adams finally demanded he get to play, has made the most of his opportunity, going 5-0, capped with a thrilling last-second victory against Rose Bowl nemesis Matt Leinart and the Cardinals yesterday. VY hasn't done everything right over the years, but the fact that he's flawed makes him more accessible. 

In today's sports world, there's room for both the Jeters and the A-Rods, the Bradys and the Youngs.  And that's a good thing.


What do you think? Tell us about it!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Should Derek Jeter be Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year? I say yes

I wrote a piece for The Faster Times pointing out that in the 55 years that Sports Illustrated has given out their Sportsman of the Year award, nobody from the New York Yankees has ever won it. Outrage!

Gawker.com is reporting that a tipster has revealed that Derek Jeter will be getting the award this year. I think that's a great choice. Jeter is well-deserving of such an honor. And it's more than shocking that no Yankee - least of all him - has won it before.

Some Yankee fans thought Jeter deserved AL MVP this year. I thought Joe Mauer had a better season than him, so Mauer was the more worthy choice. That being said, Jeter - as captain of the Yankees, an exemplary role model, and the all-time Yankee hit king - would be a great Sportsman of the Year. The definition of the award says it should go to "the athlete or team whose performance that year most embodies the spirit of sportsmanship and achievement." As somebody who is arguably the most beloved figure in baseball, it makes sense for Jeter to get that award.

Longtime readers know I'm hardly somebody who gives Derek Jeter undeserved praise - I think he is all too often overhyped. That being said, when you think Sportsman of the Year, you think somebody who's not just a great player, but a role model. And who else fits that as well as Jeter does, with his Turn 2 Foundation and the way he conducts his life?

Mariano Rivera would also be a great choice for the award, for what he also means to baseball. And no, I don't think A-Rod should get the honor - as much as he was a huge reason the Yankees won it all this season, you can't give Sportsman of the Year to somebody who admitted earlier that year to using steroids.

But if Jeter and the Yankees are left out in the cold again this year, it will be pretty obvious that the SI anti-Yankee bias is insurmountable. Speaking of that bias, look who they featured as one of their Turkeys of the Year picks - A-Rod:

After his name was leaked from a confidental list of 104 Major Leaguers who failed tests for performance-enhancers in 2003, A-Rod made a painfully awkward confession, as his Yankee teammates looked on, to using Primobolan supplied by a "cousin." He copped to being "young, stupid and naïve" but said he didn't really know if the boli worked. He also made a bizarre claim that he had been stalked by SI writer Selena Roberts, who was working on a book about him.

Is A-Rod's steroid use fair game? Of course. But you would think the Turkey of the Year description might mention him finally shedding his postseason choker label. And while A-Rod isn't Sportsman of the Year caliber, making him "Turkey of the Year" along with Steve Phillips, Eric Mangini, Plaxico Burress, and the New York Mets is just silly.

Let's review - Phillips lost his job, Mangini has won one game and is about to lose his job, Burress is in the pokey, the Mets are in oblivion, and Rodriguez is on top of the world after getting his first World Series ring. Remember that little Sesame Street ditty, "One of These Things Is Not Like the Other Things"? Sing it, Cookie Monster!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Are the Boston Red Sox overrated?

Hope all of our readers had a happy Thanksgiving. I enjoyed seeing my Texas Longhorns hold on to beat Texas A & M, and continue their undefeated season.

Not much going on in the baseball world right now, other than the retirement of Yankee announcer Bob Sheppard. And this tidbit: New York Post sports columnist Kevin Kernan stirred up a hornet's nest when he included the Boston Red Sox in his list of the most overrated teams in sports (Hat tip: Baseball Think Factory and Can't Stop the Bleeding for alerting me to this story.) Kernan ranked the Sox at No. 10, writing:
Model franchise for stat geeks, but seems they can’t win a World Series without Manny.
Red Sox Nation wasn't exactly pleased with their team being on this list. So, when called on it, Kernan explained himself further in his "Where's Kernan" blog:
They have only two championships over the last billion years, and both came with Manny on the team. They’ve gone nowhere since he left, yet through the ages, trillions of books and postings and articles and twitters and Bill James’ ravings have been written about the brilliance of the Red Sox. It was a beefed up Manny that made the difference for that team that finally enabled them to win some championships. Without Manny they would have missed out. That's all I'm saying.
Yuck. I'm going to have to defend the Red Sox here, even though it's painful to do so. Somebody pass me some Tums, please. Here I go:

* Boston didn't win "only two championships over the last billion years"; they've won seven championships, which ranks them fourth in MLB after the Yankees, Cardinals, and Athletics. That number is nothing to sneeze at, especially given that they went 86 years without winning it all.

* You can't say that a team that has won two of the last six World Series played, with the last title coming just two years ago, is overrated. Annoying and insufferable, yes. Overrated, no.

* And you can't say that a team that made the playoffs twice since trading Manny Ramirez in July 2008 has "gone nowhere since he left." While they stumbled a lot this year and got swept by the Angels in the playoffs, they still won 95 games in the toughest division in baseball without Ramirez. Calling them "a model franchise for stat geeks" for doing so doesn't even make any sense.

* "Without Manny they would have missed out," Kernan writes. "That's all I'm saying." I agree. Without Ramirez, Boston would never have won in 2004 and 2007. But you could say the same thing about Mickey Mantle with the 1950s Yankees, Reggie Jackson with the 1977-78 Yanks, Mariano Rivera or Derek Jeter with the late '90s Bombers, and Alex Rodriguez with the 2009 Yankees. What's the point, exactly, of noting this?

* If Kernan is implying, with the "beefed up Manny" description, that steroids were the reason the Sox won those years, then he should just come out and say it. It's a fair point. But Kernan ought to be prepared for people to note that the Yankees had nine players from the 2000 Yankees listed in the Mitchell Report.

* The rest of Kernan's list also leaves something to be desired. He did the list twice, moving up Notre Dame and adding the New York Rangers, and ended up with eleven teams:
1. Dallas Cowboys
2. Notre Dame Football
3. New York Knicks
4. New York Mets
5. Cleveland Indians
6. LA Clippers
7. Montreal Canadiens
8. Detroit Lions
9. Oakland Raiders
10. Boston Red Sox
11. New York Rangers
After reading this list, I have to wonder how Kernan defines the word "overrated." Because who the heck is overrating the likes of the LA Clippers and the Detroit Lions, to name just two examples? Or the Knicks? Those are all really bad teams that nobody expects anything out of. They're not overrated; just awful.

Okay, I'm done arguing this. I have to go take some Pepto-Bismol, as I'm sick to my stomach after defending the Red Sox on something.  Then I'm going to lie down and think happy thoughts!

What do you think? Tell us about it!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Extra, extra, read all about it!

I've written up a bunch in other outlets over the past few days. Here's what I've been squawking about:

* I write about what sportswriters did wrong - and right - in the MLB awards season. This piece is for The Faster Times.

* I also have an article about how A-Rod introduced Jay-Z and Alicia Keys at the American Music Awards, and got an F from the Los Angeles Times.

* Why are there no Thanksgiving songs, other than "Alice's Restaurant"? I ponder this question on my personal blog, Swan Squawking.

How I ticked off an entire state with my craven desire for Joe Mauer


Minnesota Twins fans aren't taking too kindly to my column yesterday about how I think Joe Mauer will be a Yankee in 2011. In fact, they're up in arms over my shameless coveting of their team's best player. Imagine that.

Here's the story. In "AL MVP Joe Mauer - A Future Yankee," I wrote, "Why wouldn't he want to be a Yankee? Playing for the Bombers is the stuff dreams are made of!"

For some strange reason, Twins fans weren't exactly pleased over this post. Twin Cities fan Two Seam Fastblog was not amused, writing this in our comments section:
This needs to stop. Because you know what, Yankee fans, Mauer's not coming to you. You can't have him, because the Twins can afford him, and since they CAN afford him, they will retain him. Check back in 7 years, then maybe you can try a 33 year old Mauer. That seems fair. But if the Twins can offer 120M to Santana, they can offer 140M to Mauer. We have a new stadium. We have payroll room. We're not THAT small market, despite what a lot of Twins fans will lead you to believe.
Speaking of that new stadium, what's the over/under for snowouts? Ten?

TwoSeam continues:
Do you realize that every move the Twins' front office makes has to be passively approved by Mauer? He wanted the team to do something in terms of trades this past season. I give you, Carl Pavano, Orlando Cabrera, Jon Rauch, Ron Mahay, JJ Hardy. We locked up his best friend, Justin Morneau. He was asked for input on our new uniforms, for gods sake.
I'm snickering over how much former Yankee Carl Pavano has turned his career around in that he was actually a hot property for a playoff race this year. And yes, he did bring his A-game to the postseason. Too bad A-Rod beat him with his own A-game!
Yeah, you joyless bastards can dream, but I suppose you'll just have to rely on one of the most catching rich farm systems in baseball for 7 more years. Or for Brian McCann. Whatever. I'm just sick of you trivializing breaking the collective hearts of an entire region of the country. Because that's what losing Mauer would do to us. He isn't important to just Minnesota, but parts of Wisconsin, Iowa, the Dakotas. We kept Kirby Puckett on one of the biggest contracts in history (WOW SAME AGENT AS MAUER), and we'll keep Joe. Screw you guys.

So if Mauer becomes a Yankee, we'll have broken the hearts of not just a state, but a whole region of the U.S.? Cool!

C'mon, TwoSeam. Do you think this shameless play to my emotions will sway me? Remember, I'm a Yankee fan. I have no heart!

The commenter continued this argument at the blog Two Seam Fastblog.  Go there to read more of the case against this Squawker, in a post entitled "Thy Heartless New Yorkers shalt no longer Covet our Dear Mauer." I love it!


The Over The Baggy Twins fan site linked to my column as well; they were also not thrilled with Yankee fans drooling over Mauer.

And other Minnesota fans wrote into Subway Squawkers to give me grief. Myjah said:
Mauer isn't going to become a Yankee. Want to know why?
"I've had a chance to go up in the deer stand a few times, and everyone here knows that when you're up in the deer stand you think about a lot of different things," Mauer quipped. "Just about the type of year we had as a team, the run that we had. I think coming into the season, my goal personally was just to stay on the field. To be here sitting today and being the MVP is more than I could have ever imagined."
Yeah--up in his DEER STAND, probably by his log cabin in the middle of nowhere where he does things like mow his own lawn.

Do you really think Joe is aching to live/play in New York City so he can make even more millions of dollars?

The Twins will offer him the biggest contract in Twins history. With their new stadium, they can afford Joe. He'll stay in Minnesota by his grandparents (who come to every Twins game) and his deer stand. That's just the type of guy he is.
I used to live in Texas, where the opening day of deer season is as highly anticipated an event among hunters as the opening of the new "Twilight" movie is among teenagers. And this deer-hunting event happens everywhere in November. So Mauer could be a Yankee, and still come home to Minnesota and shoot to his heart's content in the offseason. Come to think of it, we have deer-hunting in the tri-state area as well. And with all the money Mauer could make as a Yankee, he could build the most souped-up deer stand ever, and wear an NY camouflage hat to boot!


John from Minneapolis did not think the possibility of endorsement money would not be what might sway Mauer to become a Yankee. He suggested a different reason:
I think that the lure of the pinstripes, in the sense of being part of a historic, championship organization, will be more of an enticement for Mauer than money. I think he really does want to play on a World Series team, and that will decide whether he stays in Minny or not.

I'm just waiting for when Mauer claims he grew up idolizing Don Mattingly, the way Mark Teixeira claimed in his first Yankee press conference.

By the way, Minnesota fans, I despise Brett Favre. My hatred for the Minnesota Vikings quarterback is long-standing and deep. I look forward to when he turns into a pumpkin again, the way Roger Clemens did in the 2007 ALDS. So there!


Photo by Keith Allison

What do you think? Vote in our Joe Mauer poll at the top of the page, and leave us a comment!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mets solution to baserunning woes: Razor Shines?

At the start of the offseason, the Mets addressed their disatrous baserunning by removing Razor Shines as third-base coach and Luis Alicea as first-base coach. Here was Jerry Manuel's take at the time:

[Manuel] said, 'The traffic on the base paths was not what we wanted it to be,' when speaking of Shines and Luis Alicea, who was let go from the staff entirely.

So how will the Mets upgrade their coaching situation on the bases? From Metsblog:

According to an on air report from WFAN, Razor Shines will move to coach first base, Chip Hale (previously with the D-Backs) has been hired to coach third, and Dave Jauss (previously with the O's) will be Jerry Manuel's bench coach.

So Shines, who helped run the Mets out of numerous scoring chances while coaching at third, now gets to work his magic at first?

Last year, the problem was that Met runners kept getting thrown out at home by 15 feet. This year, the Mets won't have that problem - the runners won't be in a position to score from third base because they will have been thrown out at second trying to stretch singles into doubles.

Moving Razor Shines from third-base coach to first-base coach is like removing the trainers because of all the injuries - and making them strength and conditioning coaches.

The 70-win Mets need to make a lot of changes. Is it too much to ask to keep baserunners away from Razor Shines?

AL MVP Joe Mauer - A future Yankee?

Even this Yankee fan can concede that Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer deserved the AL MVP award over Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter. In fact, I wrote back in September the reasons why Mauer was worthy of the honor. So yes, Mauer earned that award. He didn't just have one of the greatest years by a catcher ever, but he got his team into the playoffs - the one thing critics held against him earlier in the year.

And Mauer deserved to win it unanimously; the only award Miguel Cabrera, who got one first-place vote, deserved this year was for highest blood alcohol level at 6 a.m. (Speaking of which, I was in a defensive driving class last week to get my 10% car insurance discount, and I asked the instructor if, with that level, Cabrera would still be drunk during that night's game. The answer was yes. Yeah, that's an MVP performance, alright!)

At any rate, Mauer winning MVP, and Zack Greinke winning AL Cy Young over CC Sabathia, doesn't bother me. Look, I'd rather the Yankees have the World Series championship than the MVP any day of the week. Remember how joyless it was when A-Rod won MVP in 2005 and 2007, after those disappointing postseasons?

Besides, at the risk of sounding like an arrogant Yankee fan, Mauer will be in pinstripes soon enough. Yes, I'm calling it - Joe Mauer will be a New York Yankee in 2011, when he is a free agent. There will be one year left on Jorge Posada's contract then, but my guess is that he will be the DH, as Mauer takes over behind the plate.

Yeah, yeah, I know how Mauer is a local guy who wants to stay close to home. And that the Twins, with their new stadium, will want to keep him. I still say he will be a Yankee. How often has it happened in recent years that the Yanks targeted a free agent they wanted, only to have him reject the Yankees? Unless you count Andy Pettitte running off to Houston, which is a bit more complicated than that, the last time I can remember free agents dissing the Yanks for elsewhere were John Smoltz and Roger Clemens turning the Yanks down in 1996. And the Rocket had a change of heart two years later.

Remember, CC Sabathia supposedly wanted to go to the West Coast. Johnny Damon was never going to betray the Red Sox to be a Yankee. Mark Teixeira was going to go to Boston. Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens were going to stay in their Houston hometowns forever. Carl Pavano (okay, bad example!) could have gone to Detroit or Boston. And guess what? They all became Yankees. The siren call of pinstripes - not to mention the money - was too much to resist.

Besides, the thing is about being a Yankee is that it puts you in a whole other level of superstardom. Joe Mauer has arguably been the best all-around player in the league for years, but he will only get the attention he deserves if he puts on the pinstripes. Will Mauer get the ads Derek Jeter does if he stays in Minnesota? No. Will Mauer host SNL or get to introduce artists at the American Music Awards as a Twin? Doubtful. Even a Minnesota paper speculates about the endorsements wooing Mauer to the East Coast:
Million-dollar endorsement deals, from Nike to Gatorade to automobiles to razors — as New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has — could be worth double and even triple what they would be playing in Minnesota.

I could be wrong on this - wouldn't be the first time! - but I think Mauer will become a free agent next year, get swept off his feet by the pinstripes, and be catching CC Sabathia's first pitch in 2011. Why wouldn't he want to be a Yankee? Playing for the Bombers is the stuff dreams are made of! (That sound you just heard is Squawker Jon's slow burn over my proclamation!)


What do you think? Leave us a comment!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Kate Hudson giggles to Oprah about A-Rod

I wrote a mini-recap the other day on Facebook about Kate Hudson's appearance on Oprah last week, where O asked her about her relationship with Alex Rodriguez. Basically, Kate said pretty much nothing about A-Rod, but she did smile and giggle a lot!

I had to sit through, like 50 minutes about the new movie "Nine" before Oprah finally got to Kate, the person I wanted to see. After a few minutes of chit-chat about the movie, O finally broached the subject I tuned in to hear about.

"New Yorkers are thanking you," Oprah asked Kate, as she shows her that picture from the ticker tape parade, where a fan holds a sign thanking Kate Hudson for A-Rod. Kate's response? Lots of blushing, giggling, and sputtering!

Kate did a good job dodging Oprah's questions - she wouldn't even answer how she and A-Rod met, other than to say that they first met a few years ago. She gave no other details, although she did cop to being "happy" and "joyful" these days. Hudson seems like such a light-hearted, fun person. Big change from the ex-wife, she of the "wearing t-shirts with obscenities on them in front of children" fame.

Anyhow, here's a clip of Hudson from the show:

Friday, November 20, 2009

This Squawker steps into the "Twilight Zone"

Heads up - I recently started up another blog, Swan Squawking, as a place for all my non-sports-related musings. Coming soon - my thoughts on the new TV show "Glee," which I just started watching.

You also may remember that Squawker Jon and I are big fans of "The Twilight Zone" and Jon has made "Twilight Zone"-related comparisons this year about Derek Jeter and the Mets' season. So in honor of the show's 50th anniversary, I wrote something for my own amusement about my favorite overlooked episodes.

Everybody remembers "To Serve Man" or "It's a Good Life." Those are two of my favorites, as are "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?," and "A Stop at Willoughby." But there are also many very good episodes which aren't as well-remembered, but are still worth watching. Check out To serve readers: Ten forgotten "Twilight Zone" episodes you need to see.You can watch some of these episodes online at CBS.com

Squawker-related note - my late father and show creator Rod Serling both were World War II paratroopers in the 11th Airborne, 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in the South Pacific. But they were in separate companies, so they never met.

What do you think? Tell us about it!

How the 2009 Yankees remind me of a "Conan the Barbarian" line


I've been trying to be a good sport about the Yankees winning the World Series, focusing more on my team winning, rather than the fact that Yankee-haters are so miserable right now. But I have to admit that there is a little (Squawker Jon would say more than a little!) "sports hate" in me, as Bill Simmons would say.

After all, one of my favorite movie quotes is from "Conan the Barbarian." When Conan is asked "what is best in life?" Conan, aka Arnold Schwarzenegger, responds:

"To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women!"



So yeah, even though I have a lot of friends on "the other side," I have to admit to enjoying this edge over the Yankee-haters of the world, particularly those in Red Sox Nation and Metsland. And I'm sure they would feel the same way if the situation were reversed.

But the thing is, at least we're all passionate about our teams. I always say that there are good fans and bad fans in every fanbase, but the East Coast baseball fans have a special breed of intensity.

I wrote earlier in the week about how Bill Simmons' sports hate had faded for A-Rod, Peyton Manning, and Kobe Bryant. Squawker reader/Red Sox fan Joe from Connecticut sharply criticized Simmons:
Simmons has lost his edge from living in So-Cal. You can't keep a good hate going when every day is 75 and sunny. There are no passionate sports fans past Chicago in this country- do you think there's anyone discussing spring training in So-Cal right now? But I can find a dozen bars tonight that I could walk into and start a passionate discussion about who's going to be the #5 starter for the Sox this year or whether Joba should start or be in the pen.
And I'm in Connecticut - if I was in NYC or Boston...fugeddaboutit. East Coast puts the hot in hot stove because we care - Simmons sold out with the move west. Maybe the Belichick boner will bring him back.
Joe's got a point. There really isn't an offseason for baseball in the Northeast. I remember listening to sports radio in Texas in 1996, literally the day after the Yankees won the World Series. And the host said he was done talking about baseball until the spring! Good grief.

Fortunately, in New York, the Yankee talk never stops. On that note, I'm going to the Ziegfeld Theater Monday night to see the red-carpet premiere of the Yankees' World Series movie. (If any of our readers are going, let me know, and maybe we can meet up and say hello.)

Sadly, Squawker Jon isn't attending. I somehow managed to talk him into watching the simulcast of World Series Game 4 at Yankee Stadium, where he had to deal with being around all those happy Yankee fans. He also was with me at the Subway Series at Yankee Stadium this spring, where we saw the Castillo dropped play in person. If Jon went to this movie premiere, I do believe his head would explode.

And Jon also turned down helping me with my latest scheme. I'm still so gleeful over the Yankees beating Philadelphia in the World Series that I wanted to reenact the "Rocky" run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, while wearing 2009 World Championship gear. And I asked my blogging partner to film me doing this.

Squawker Jon barked at me over the idea the way trainer Mickey barked at Rocky in the movie. So I guess I'm not gonna fly now. Bummer.


Gonna Fly Now -



What do you think? Tell us about it!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Preview: World Series, The Movie!

Below is a clip from MLB's 2009 World Series video. It is all about the Yankees, of course! I got excited all over again watching this:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Remembering the 2000 AL Manager of the Year race

The Managers of the Year were announced earlier today and Squawker Lisa and I just competed in a trivia contest, so here's a trivia question:

Who won the American League Manager of the Year in 2000 and who finished second?

And who did they beat out?

Before I give the answers, Lisa and I had a great time at the trivia contest, which was run by our fellow blogger The Omnipotent Q of the Mighty Quinn Media Machine. The best thing was seeing Lisa trying to keep her cool in a Red Sox bar decorated with various pro-Red Sox and anti-Yankee memorabilia! It was also fun to hear how the three Red Sox players Lisa dislikes the most - Jonathan Papelbon, Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia - are Q's favorite Bosox.

As for the 2000 AL Manager of the Year race, here are the runners-up:

3. Lou Piniella, Mariners
4. Mike Scioscia, Angels
5. Joe Torre, Yankees

So who beat out this impressive group?

The AL Manager of the Year in 2000 was White Sox skipper Jerry Manuel.

Second place went to A's skipper Art Howe.

In the NL that year, Bobby Valentine finished fourth, behind winner Dusty Baker of the Giants, the Cardinals' Tony LaRussa and the Braves' Bobby Cox.

Subway Squawkers have a night out - at a Red Sox bar!


Squawker Jon and I were out and about in the big city last night. So we thought we'd pay a visit to our blogging friend The Omnipotent Q of the Mighty Quinn Media Machine. You may remember Q is the guy who's appearing in the same movie as Derek Jeter. He's also a Red Sox fan who runs a weekly trivia contest at Professor Thom's in the East Village.

The bar is a Red Sox fan hangout that features all sorts of Boston memorabilia. I felt like I needed to wear a Yankee shirt, just to ward off all that evil Red Sox stuff (like wearing a crucifix and garlic to stop Dracula from going after your neck!) But Squawker Jon said he would deny he knew me if I showed up in Yankee gear. Bummer.

Anyhow, we met our friend Q in person for the first time - he's a great guy, even if he is misguided in his choices of teams  - and participated in the trivia extravaganza. Winner gets a gift certificate for Professor Thom's. I had visions of sugarplums dancing in my head - or, more exactly, visions of me winning a prize from a Red Sox bar and crying out, "Count the rings, baby" or something like that.

Unfortunately, it was not to be. After being as close as second place at one point, we tumbled in the last two rounds and lost (check out the questions from the evening.) We still had a lot of fun, though, playing the game and then talking to Q the trivia host afterwards. Two Squawker thumbs up!


What do you think? Tell us about it!

Tom Seaver turns 65

Mets pitcher Tom Seaver - aka The Franchise - turned 65 yesterday. I wrote a piece on the Faster Times about him. Although I was too young to remember Seaver's greatest moments as a Met, I do remember what a big deal it was in New York when he got traded. My brothers even wrote a sardonic banner about the trade for the Mets' Banner Day.

In addition, I remember how Seaver's 300th victory was overshadowed by a cow. Read my article for further details.

What do you think? Tell us about it!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Red Sox fan Bill Simmons praises A-Rod and the Yankees!

I still can't quite believe it. ESPN Sports Guy Bill Simmons, known for his "sports hate" for Alex Rodriguez, Peyton Manning, and Kobe Bryant, praised all three in a recent column, saying that they have all won  his respect. Here's what he wrote about A-Rod:
Alex Rodriguez carried the Yankees to the 2009 title. He was their biggest bat, he had the most clutch moments and he finished with one of the better statistical postseasons in a while. If that's not enough, he dumped the Crossover Superstar quest and just concentrated on playing baseball, hanging out with his girlfriend and that's it. Even his teammates seem to like him this year. Damn it all.
Wow! It's always shocking when a sportswriter does such a 180. But for Red Sox fan Simmons to do so is pretty stunning, given all the anti-A-Rod stuff he's written over the years. Simmons even described the Yankees as having "good chemistry"!

That's not all. Nearly three years after Peyton Manning won the Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts - and Simmons, who was covering Super Bowl Week for ESPN.com, somehow never got around to writing a post-Super Bowl column about the game - he finally acknowledges that Manning isn't the choker he thought he was:
Peyton Manning is clutch. He's a champion. He's the heart of the Colts, and for all we know he's coaching them, too. You cannot wager against him, especially in night games. He's the most important player in football. Take Manning off the Colts and they disintegrate into dust. If that's not enough, he has proved to be a likable, engaging guy with a sense of humor. Damn it all.
A little - make that a lot - late, but still a huge concession for somebody who wrote a hundred "Peyton Manning Face" columns over the years.

And finally, Simmons praised Kobe Bryant, writing:
Kobe Bryant won a title his way -- by establishing a Kobe and the Kobettes dynamic that actually worked -- becoming one of the ten best NBA players ever and proving he could prevail without Shaq. If that wasn't jarring enough, Shaq's exit from Phoenix marked the fourth time he left a team on bad terms, making everyone re-evaluate the whole "Was Kobe really the bad guy in the Shaqobe Divorce?" saga that had been buried years ago.
I'm still trying to figure out why Simmons made such huge concessions. Is it to get people to buy his new tome The Book of Basketball? Who knows? It's all very strange. Never expected him to write any of this, especially not on A-Rod.

What do you think? Tell us about it!

Shocker! A Squawker gets featured in Huffington Post

Big news - I've been given the chance to write for the Huffington Post's new sports section. I'm going to write on a variety of topics, not just baseball. Here's my first piece, on Tennessee Titans star Vince Young, and why Bud Adams was right - and Jeff Fisher wrong - about him. Check it out!

What do you think? Leave us a comment.

Joe Torre compares George Steinbrenner to his abusive father

Joe Torre may be telling the media how happy he is that the Yankees won the World Series, but he bashed George Steinbrenner - again - in the Los Angeles Times, comparing The Boss to Torre's abusive father.

I thought he went way too far with this. Check out my Faster Times piece on it. While Torre has done admirable work with his Safe at Home foundation to prevent domestic violence, he should know better than to trivialize the issue with such a comparison.


What do you think? Leave us a comment!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Scandal! A Red Sox fan is in the same movie as Derek Jeter

There's been a whole-to do today about how Derek Jeter is playing a (not-very-convincing-looking) homeless man in a new movie called "The Other Guys." I wrote a Faster Times piece on it.

But the best part of the story came after I posted my article on Facebook. Turns out that my fellow Facebook friend The Omnipotent Q of the Mighty Quinn Media Machine blog is also in the movie - he's a background actor in the film. Q, of course, is a die-hard Red Sox fan - he's the Lieutenant Governor of Red Sox Nation-NY. But don't hold that against him - he's a good guy, and you should check out his blog. Here's what he has to say about being in the same film as Jeter:
Can't wait to see how much face time I got in "The Other Guys." I think I got a few seconds worth, but I'll know when the movie is released. And I guess I can tell the grandkids one day that I was in a movie with Derek Jeter. (Not right next to him, of course, but you understand.)

But really, would I want to do that?
Yikes! And people say I'm too tough on the captain!

* * *

In other news, as Mighty Quinn also notes in his blog, today is the 40th anniversary of the day Felix Unger's wife asked him to remove himself from the premises on "The Odd Couple." In honor of this great date, WPIX is running an 11-episode "Odd Couple" marathon starting tonight at 11. Here are the episodes:

11:00 p.m. Password
11:30 p.m. You Saved My Life
12:00 a.m. Sleepwalker
12:30 a.m. The Flying Felix
01:00 a.m. The Odd Monks
01:30 a.m. Felix, The Calypso Singer
02:00 a.m. Let's Make A Deal
02:30 a.m. The Subway Story
03:00 a.m. The New Car
03:30 a.m. A Grave For Felix
04:30 a.m. I Gotta Be Me

Here's my favorite "Odd Couple" moment:



Speaking of odd couples, there is no truth to the rumor that Squawker Jon and I are getting married. Squawker reader Ryan O saw this tidbit in the news about Game 6:
A television blimp circled above the stadium during the entire game, and at one point the electronic lettering on the side beamed "Lisa, will you marry me? Love John."

The blimp circled the stadium again, and on the next round it brought the answer: She said "yes."
Um, no. Not gonna happen. But Jon and I could be roommates in a new version of the "Odd Couple." Can two Subway Squawkers share an apartment without driving each other crazy? Now there's a reality show for you!


What do you think? Tell us about it!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembering Veterans' Day

As some of you may remember, my Yankee fan brother is serving our country in Iraq right now, for his third tour over there. He followed the Yankees' championship run, of course, over there. During his first time in Iraq, the Yankees lost to the Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS. Needless to say, this year's Yankee playoff games were a bit more exciting.

And my late father was a paratrooper in World War II. Here's a story about his life. You may remember that it was my dad who took me out of school for the 1978 tickertape parade.

Anyhow, I just thought our readers might be interested in this. Thanks.

What do you think? Tell us about it!

Yankees' ten most pivotal postseason performers - and two Gold Glove winners

Here's my monthly piece for BaseballReflections.com about the Yankees. The theme? Which 10 players were the most important for the Yankees in the playoffs.

In other news, I don't get why some are bent out of shape over Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira getting Gold Gloves. The awards seem pretty well-deserved to me. There have been years where Jeter got a Gold Glove without really having a terrific year defensively. This was not the case this season. Not only was he great with the glove, but he did it at the age of 35 - ancient for a shortstop.

As for Teixeira, while he certainly wasn't a top 10 hitter in the postseason this year, he was great defensively, both in the playoffs, as well as the regular season. Too bad for the Red Sox that they passed on signing him.

What do you think? Tell us about it!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ralph Kiner recalls being a pilot during World War II

In honor of Veterans Day, ESPN is running several stories by and about athletes who have served in the military. Ralph Kiner joined the Navy after World War II and became a pilot. He tells his story here.

It's a nice remembrance by a member of the "Greatest Generation." Kiner enlisted at age 19 and was on active duty for 3 1/2 years. He made his major-league debut at 23 in 1946, after the war had ended. Kiner writes:
"But luckily, I was young enough to handle my time in the service and then come right back and play. I always get a kick out of young guys these days missing a small amount of time and then talking about having to get back in shape. When you are young, you can get back in shape in a week, tops!"
One can only imagine what Kiner really thought of the 2009 Mets.

Thoughts on the Yankees parade, and the aftermath of 2009

I wrote a piece for The Faster Times about what I saw at the parade. Check out the article - and great photos, courtesy of William Helms, a fellow Yankee fan, here.

It's strange not having Yankee games to watch! Still can't quite believe the season is over, and that it ended so successfully? After all the misery of the past few years, it's pretty joyous. Have lots of Yankee-related stuff I want as gifts.

Speaking of which, I do have to laugh at all the Yankee-related marketing SI is doing to Yankee fans. Sorry, buying a magazine that features Tom Verducci and Selena Roberts as columnists isn't exactly on my to-do list. (Speaking of Selena, is she is in some secure undisclosed location these days? A-Rod has this amazing year, and not a peep out of her? What's up with that?)

I watched Letterman to see Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Andy Pettitte. Missed Joba Chamberlain on Jimmy Fallon. And then I watched Saturday Night Live hoping that a Yankee would be on. After all, producer Lorne Michaels is a huge Yankee fan. No such luck. I sat through that unfunny nonsense for nothing. Taylor Swift was the host/musical guest. In case you don't know who she is, she's the country artist so bland that she makes Carrie Underwood look like Amy Winehouse.

So, I'm wondering if we'll see Yankees on TV this winter. Will more Yanks make random appearances, like A-Rod on Oprah? Guess we'll see soon enough.

What do you think? Tell us about it!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Still basking in afterglow of WS win

I was at the parade yesterday. What a wonderful day, albeit one jam-packed with people. Fortunately, I stayed in the city to have lunch with Squawker Jon, so I missed the whole to-do with the jam-packed ferry terminal.

I wrote something for The Faster Times about my World Series winners and losers. And I'm writing something right now for that site about the parade.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Congratulations, Yankee fans

As I posted on Squawker Lisa's Facebook page last night, I want to congratulate her and all of our Yankee fan readers on championship #27. The better team won, and, as I also wrote on Facebook, at least Shane Victorino made the final out.

My side hasn't won very much lately, but I did beat Lisa in one area - predictions. Lisa had Yankees in seven, while I had Yankees in six. She was willing to give the Phillies more credit than I was!

Many of my other predictions also panned out:
  • A-Rod will have a great Series, but will not win MVP.
  • Johnny Damon will do well enough that the Yankees will want to bring him back next year.
  • Nick Swisher will be benched for at least one game.
  • Jayson Werth will be much better known by the end of the Series.
  • Cliff Lee will have a better Series than CC Sabathia.
I got this one half right:
  • Pedro Martinez will pitch well, but I agree with Squawker Lisa that Brad Lidge will blow the game.
Pedro did pitch well in Game 2 without winning, but he was charged with all three Yankee runs. There was no lead for Lidge to blow - he did not even pitch.

These two I would like to have back:
  • If Joe Girardi goes to a three-man rotation, he will regret it. Start Sabathia on three days rest if you want, but have Chad Gaudin start Game 5.
  • Jimmy Rollins will do well because he loves sticking it to New York.
*

Squawker Lisa has the last laugh - she will be there bright and early for her first ticker-tape parade since the days of Sister Claire. If you are planning to go to the parade, let us know.

Yankees win No. 27 - time to stand up and cheer!

Maybe I'll finally get to see a Yankee ticker tape parade again. Let me explain.

I was born and raised in New Jersey, and when the Yankees won it all in 1978, my father took my sister and me out of school that day to go see the ticker tape parade in person. Sister Claire, my Catholic school's principal, agreed to let my father do this, but said it was a one-time thing; he couldn't take us out of class for the next year's parade.

You know what happened next, of course. There were no ticker tape parades from that year until 1996. I was at the last playoff game the Yankees won then - Game 2 of the 1981 World Series - but nobody then thought it would be 14 long years before they made the playoffs again, and 15 until another title.

And by that time, I was living in Texas, so I missed being in the city from 1996 until 1999. But I moved back to the New York area in October 2000, just in time to see the Yankees beat the Mets in the World Series. However, I didn't get to see the parade then, either. I tried to go to the ticker tape parade with some family members, but we didn't get there early enough - the parade route was so packed, we never got to see anything. But I thought to myself, I'll get to see it next time.

Little did I know that it would be another nine long years before the Yankees won again. Lots of pain in those seasons. The Yankees really should have won a title or two, but it was not to be.

That's why this year feels as good as 1996. After all the misery and disappointments after 2000, it's a thrill to see the Yankees finally vanquish their October (or is that November?) demons and win it all.

So now the Yankees are on top again. I will break down my thoughts on last night's game - and celebration - later today. But in the meantime, I just wanted to say that I will be waiting for that tickertape parade bright and early Friday morning.

What do you think? Tell us about it!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A few thoughts while getting ready for Game 6

* Pedro Martinez may be the enemy, but I do think he's a fascinating guy. Read my Faster Times piece, which talks about why he's threatening - again - to strip to prove himself.

* And count me as against any "Chase Utley for MVP" boomlet. I don't think anybody deserves that award if his team loses.

* Let's hope the crowd is louder tonight. At any rate, it will be more expensive - FanSnap.com said it's the hottest event of the year, with tickets averaging over $1000 on the secondary market!

Starting Andy Pettitte on three days' rest is risky

(from Squawker Jon) Is Joe Girardi making a mistake by going with a three-man rotation? I think he is. Game 5 is hindsight now, but going into Game 6, I think the Yankees would be better off having used Chad Gaudin in Game 5 and having A.J. Burnett available on full rest for Game 6.

I wrote about it for The Faster Times. You can read the article here.

I still expect the Yankees to win the World Series. While I am skeptical of Andy Pettitte pitching well on three days' rest in Game 6, I also expect the Yankees to get to Pedro Martinez the second time around. This game looks like it could be decided in the bullpens, and that will be a bad thing for the Phillies.

If the Yankees lose Game 6, they are still likely to win Game 7 with CC Sabathia likely face a pitcher who cannot wait for the season to end.

Do you agree with Joe Girardi using all three of his top starters on three days' rest? Tell us what you think.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Game 5: Burnett spits the bit; Captain Clutch and Teix don't come through

As I wrote earlier, I really didn't expect the Yankees to win tonight. I just didn't see the Phillies going out with a fight. I also expected Cliff Lee to be great. He wasn't but unfortunately, the bad A.J. Burnett was back. Was it because of the three days rest? Perhaps. But sometimes, A.J. can just be just really bad.

On the other hand, the Yankee bullpen kept the damage at six runs - until Phil Coke torched the game, giving up homers to Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez. Utley is getting on my last nerve. The Cycle blog sez Utley is bringing Pat Riley's hairstyle back. Ha! He's no Mr. October, though - three of the homers are in November!

As for Coke not being it, I'm sure glad the Yankees took the lead Sunday night - and didn't have to use him to pitch then.

The only thing Burnett did that I liked was him hitting Shane Victorino with a pitch. Yes, I'm mean-spirited that way.

The good news, of course, is that thanks in no small part to Alex Rodriguez, who drove in three runs, and scored on Robinson Cano's shallow sac fly, the Yankees had actually battled back. And in the ninth, thanks to Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui, they actually brought the tying run to the plate. But Derek Jeter shockingly grounded into a double play. Johnny Damon got on base again, but Mark Teixeira had another bad at-bat (he's only had two hits this WS) and struck out. And A-Rod never made it back into the game, even though it sure seemed like the game was going to end in his hands.

Anyhow, I'm glad the Yankees battled back, wish they could have won, but they will beat Pedro Martinez to win Wednesday. That is all.

What do you think? Leave us a comment!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Why I don't think the Yankees will win tonight

I know we're all eager to see the Yankees win No. 27 tonight, but I don't think it will happen just yet. I think they're going to end up clinching at home. Here are my reasons why:

* Cliff Lee on regular rest vs. A.J. Burnett on short rest: I know A.J.'s numbers (small sample size, of course - even smaller than originally thought) are very good in such situations. But even workhorse Sabathia was laboring last night on short rest. Could the same happen to A.J.?

* Weaker lineup: With Burnett batting, Jose Molina hitting, and a hurting Melky Cabrera out of the lineup, the lineup is even weaker than the one the Yankees used in Game 1 against Lee.

* Phillies pfight: I just don't see the Phillies going down that easy. Even the Angels battled the Yanks to six games. I will be very surprised if Philly doesn't.

* Reverse jinx: Never misunderestimate the power of the reverse jinx!

What do you think? Leave us a comment!

More thoughts on Game 4

Here's my article for The Faster Times about Game 4 - from Damon's Dash, to A-Rod's Double, to Lidge's meltdown. Check it out.

A Met fan is good luck charm at Yankee game broadcast

What a night! Squawker Jon and I joined Barbra, one of our readers and 10,000 or so of my Yankee fan brethren to watch Game 4 at Yankee Stadium. And, yet again, Jon somehow brought the Yanks good luck, even if they weren't in the building

I nearly lost my voice screaming while watching the ninth inning. The crowd was very loud all game, but we all - except for Squawker Jon, of course - went nuts watching Damon's dash and A-Rod and Posada's big hit. I was so excited when the Yanks went ahead for good that I thought I tore up my vocal cords there!

Anyhow, I'm writing a piece for The Faster Times about the game itself, so I'll have more observations there. But just wanted to talk a little about the watching experience:

* Pretty much all the field level sections from foul pole to foul pole were filled up. And the crowd looked to have a lot of regular working-class people, and tons of families, as opposed to the suits you usually see in those seats.

* That enthusiasm translated into a raucous atmosphere, yet it wasn't beer making people get excited. The crowd seemed louder than most games I've been to this year. Could have done without doing the wave, but other than that, the crowd was really passionate and fun.

* Food, unfortunately, was very limited options - no Lobels or sushi or BBQ this time. Jon was very unhappy over this.

* So, how did it feel to finally get to sit in front of the moat? Well, the seats are cushiony and comfy. But the drink holders in the armrests are a disaster. They did not hold the plastic soda cups well - both our reader and myself separately had the cups flop out and splash soda water everywhere. I'm guessing that they must use some fancy-schmancy glasses in this seats or something, when they have the waitress service going.

* Did I mention the crowd was loud? The subway car on the way back was about the loudest I've ever heard it - people chanting and getting excited. What struck me about the whole night was how this was the best of Yankee fans - lots of enthusiasm for everybody, and everything about the game. No jaded rich people harshing the moment.

What do you think? Tell us about it!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Some of my favorite - and least favorite - moments of Game 3

Last night's win was a great game, of course, providing some pretty compelling World Series drama. I wrote a few thoughts for The Faster Times on the game. Here are some other ones:

* For some reason, seeing Andy Pettitte at bat cracks me up. But I was cheering - not laughing - when he got the game-tying hit against Cole Hamels. I also loved seeing Derek Jeter nearly pass him when they both scored on Johnny Damon's game-winning hit, and hearing Jeter joke about it afterwards. Great stuff.

* The Philly crowd - at least at the beginning - was much more lively and loud than the ones at Yankee Stadium so far. If this series goes to a Game 6, the Yanks need to do something to get more regular fans in.

* Joe Girardi did the right move in benching Nick Swisher for Game 2. He looked so much better in Game 3 - and provided two key hits - and a hilarious postgame interview.

* I also agreed with Joe going to Mo when he did, after Phil Hughes gave up a homer. Squawker Jon - and some people in the media - thought Girardi should have waited, given it was still a three-run lead. But I think it was absolutely the right move, because it didn't allow the Phillies to get off the mat. Five pitches, two outs, game over.

* Remember all of Jimmy Rollins talk about seeing something in Mariano's pitching? I think Rollins saw himself popping up to end the game! Oh, and so much for J-Roll's Phillies in five prediction!

* Joba looked very good out there. And Damaso Marte is an unsung hero of this postseason - he reminds me of Graeme Lloyd in the 1996 World Series.

* It's funny. When Alex Rodriguez had six strikeouts in his first two games - the same that Ryan Howard did - we saw all sorts of hysterical media accounts about how A-Rod was pressing/choking. I guess Alex made a miraculous recovery in one game, thanks to that instant replay homer! If the Yankees win the series, that homer will be the turning point.

*And will we now hear "what's wrong with Ryan Howard," now that he has nine strikeouts in three games? Hmmm.

* Two notes on the media's coverage of A-Rod:

- I was appalled last night over how many journalists covering the game last night tried to outdo each other on Twitter with all sorts of tasteless frat house jokes about A-Rod and that centaur picture tabloid report. How unobjective. How unprofessional.

- On the other hand, ESPN.com columnist - and noted Yankee hater - Jim Caple (he once wrote a book called "The Devil Wears Pinstripes") actually had the fairest take I've seen on A-Rod's World Series so far.
Please check it out.

What do you think? Leave us a comment!

Come out to Yankee Stadium with the Squawkers

Squawker Jon and I - as well as at least one of our readers - are going to meet up tonight at Yankee Stadium to watch Game 4 on the big screen. If you'd like to meet up with us and say hey, and/or watch the game with Jon and me, please email subwaysquawkers@gmail.com .

Also, here's my Faster Times article about Game 3. I will also have a squawk coming about the game as well.

What do you think? Tell us a about it! 

Cole Hamels sums up feelings of Met fans

After his loss in Game 3, beleaguered Philly ex-ace Cole Hamels said of the 2009 season, "I can't wait for it to end." (See video here.)

Welcome to the club, Cole! I've done my best to enjoy this series, alternately rooting for and against both teams, but it's just not working out.

Started out on the Yankee side, but Squawker Lisa noticed I was enjoying Cliff Lee's Game 1 performance a little too much.

Rooted for Pedro Martinez in Game 2, but began to have nightmare visions of Pedro being an integral part in a Phillies title.

I've grudgingly come to accept that the Phillies also have claim to Tug McGraw, an integral part of the 1980 champions (though the Philly wordsmiths need to come up with their own catchphrase and not steal Tug's 1973 Mets' "Ya Gotta Believe"). But, unlike Tug in 1969, Pedro does not already have a ring with the Mets. So if he gets one with the Phillies, his three months in Philadelphia take on a lot more weight than his four years with the Mets.

Then in Game 3, Hamels is breezing along until he gives up a walk to Mark Teixeira in the fourth. The walk came on a 3-2 pitch that could have been called either way, and it seemed to rattle Hamels. Reminded me of when John Lackey seemed to lose focus after a similar call gave Jorge Posada a walk in Game 5 of the ALCS. Lackey went on to walk Derek Jeter and Mike Scioscia decided to pull him a batter later.

Then Alex Rodriguez hit what would be ruled a home run. It was great to see instant replay quickly revolving a controversy. Not everyone was happy with the ruling, but it is a lot better than no replay at all. Instant replay's use should be limited, but it is a positive thing.

But just when I could finally take pleasure in the Yankees' success because it was dooming the pitcher who called the Mets "choke artists" and denigrated Tampa Bay as "not being a World-Series type city," A-Rod starts making silly faces and hand gestures, telling the umps that it is a homer before they have made their decision. (After the game, A-Rod would appear to tell different stories on different networks as to whether or not he saw the ball hit the camera.)

But A-Rod did end up coming through while Ryan Howard continue to pile up the strikeouts. This time around, Hamels, the choke's on you.

Now the magic number is two, as in the World Series could end in two games, and Hamels and Met fans can begin looking forward to a "fresh start" next year.