Wednesday, August 22, 2007

TV Tips

Looking for something good to watch? All of the following are excellent (and available "on demand" from all reputable cable providers):

Mad Men (AMC), Thursday 10pm
Another quality product from Team Sopranos. Easily the most cigarette smoking ever seen on television (in bed, at work, during meals, you name it!), and a nice performance by John Hamm as Don Draper. Oh yeah, one of the main characters is named Pete Campbell.

Hard Knocks (HBO), Wednesday 10pm
I love this show. Behind the scenes at the K.C. Chiefs training camp?!! How could it possibly go wrong?! Herm's always hilarious, and Tank Tyler could become HBO's next Bobby Bacala if he plays his cards right. I'm rooting like hell for the Priest Holmes comeback.

Intervention (A&E), Friday 10pm
I think I'm addicted to this show. You haven't walked the earth until you've seen the "Laney" episode-- a former millionaire who squanders her fortune on gallons and gallons of Malibu rum and $18,000 car services across the country. Often truly uplifting and utterly devastating in the same episode.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Yankees 5, Tigers 2

Clemens was a lot of fun today. He gave up a ton of hits, but he seemed to be giving that extra 10%. You know, that 10% that Mussina has been leaving off?! I had the feeling that Rog was ready to do just about anything to keep the Tigers down. I was sorta hoping he might hit Sheffield in the back, but that never happened (Sheff scalded the ball all three times off him)...

Farnsworth had a certain tenacity to him as well. Almost thought he might get a curtain call-- unbelievable! I've said it a million times: there has to be some way this guy can help us, and I don't mean on his hands and knees with a scrub brush in the locker room. Dunno.

Back to Sheffield, who was brutally booed by the Saturday afternoon crowd. It was that weird kind of booing reserved for the "former fan favorites that leave for the team that just knocked us out of the playoffs and then bad-mouth our manager and other players as well" type of players (David Wells, etc.). The "SHEFFIELD SUCKS!!!" chant was absolutely hilarious.

Before I forget, last Wednesday's lineup was another joke in the "Facing Lefty Aces" series. We did the same thing against Johan Santana earlier this summer (Cairo, Phillips, Thompson, Nieves, etc.), and it was just as embarassing. It's not like Santana or Bedard even beat us by much-- a few runs make a difference! Let good hitters hit against good pitchers.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Orioles 6, Yankees 3

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Orioles 6, Yankees 3 (postscript)

I woke up on the couch wearing a "BOSTON SUCKS" shirt the evening after this game...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Yankees 7, Orioles 6

Got off the 4 at around 6:30 tonight. There was something special in the air as Yankee fans crept down River Ave for the turnstiles-- a surprise A-Rod promotional item commemorating his 500th career HR was in effect!!! The only question on our collective mind was, "Just how shitty are the Yankees willing to go with this?"

Pretty shitty. We were handed a bizarre 9" by 6" flimsy piece of cardboard with two side-by-side Peter Max paintings of A.E.R. himself. The paintings are... interesting. My date immediately tried to throw hers in the trash just inside the stadium. I grabbed it from her hand as if she were chucking out a Mantle '51 baseball card and tucked it under my arm.

Far more interesting was the pre-game ceremony. Two easels covered with Yankee tarps stood to the left of home plate; a third, shorter easel stood on the right. Randy Levine, Cash, some guy and some lady were introduced by Shep, and finally A-Rod was paraded out. After A-Rod's ass was kissed for a couple of minutes, Peter Max came out! (hilariously intro'd as "the most popular artist in the worrrllldddd...") The ragtag group awkwardly interacted, and quickly settled in for the unveiling.

Were they presenting A-Rod with three bonus checks??!! No, it was the paintings. A-Rod gasped as the works were bared; my date and I laughed uncontrollably. We had no idea that the atrocity exhibition was just beginning.

Bob delivered an incoherent intro to the third piece, something about bats and zeroes. As you may have already seen on tonight's reels, Max and co. wrestled with the tarp cover and knocked the damn thing right over on the ground. I say "thing" because that's just what it is. A weird monstrosity made of balls, bats and a "500" in the style of the paintings. It's utterly awful. I asked my date to grade the paintings and the "piece" from 1 to 5: she gave the paintings reluctant "1"'s and the sculpture-thing a firm "zero". I sheepishly put my promotional replicas under the seat.

Wang was busy stinking up the joint when one of the strangest things I've ever seen at Yankee Stadium happened (and I've seen some weird shit). So fast I missed most of it. Ingredients: sudden commotion, lots of noise, people jumping out of their seats, soda/beer flying everywhere, something shooting past us, and me nearly running for my life. My immediate theories: (1) a drunken dwarf just fell from the top row of the upper deck (we were row R), or (2) the woman behind us was just assassinated by a rogue sniper on top of the stadium diagonal from us.

Turned out it was an insane SQUIRREL darting through the tier reserved. It seemed to just drop out of the fucking sky. People were saying something afterwards about it darting out of a popcorn tub, which may be true since there was popcorn flying everywhere. Anyway, my date got doused with soda. My A-Rod portraits were completely soaked (I still took one home like a complete idiot). The squirrel scratched up the arm of the little girl behind us (allowing me to hang on to my "assassination" theory for just a little bit longer) and bounced around off the legs of the guys right in front of us. Not really sure where the little bugger ran off to. Hopefully not the River Avenue Grill.

Oh yeah, the game was pretty good. Great to see Mo bounce back after the blow, Joba, the walk off... OK, I'm lying. We actually left early. In fact, maybe the earliest I've ever left (in hours & minutes) a game I wasn't thrown out of. I know this is thin ice, but we felt like it was the right thing to do. I was hooked up to a damn IV for most of the afternoon, my date was kinda tired, and that fucking squirrel scared the dickens outta me. Sue me.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Yankees 5, Blue Jays 4

Rogers Centre is pretty weird. We went through the turnstiles and entered what appeared to be a parking garage. Then it looked more like an airport. Just when I was sure we were completely lost-- "We stand on guard for thee!!!" floods the grey cement entryway. Take me out to the ballgame!

We were fifth row in what I would call the left field bleachers. They call it "139-5-108". Unfortunately, our seats were smack dab in the middle of a long, long row. Even more unfortunate was the fact that they were the size of toddler carseats. Seriously. We tried to sit down, and I said to my date, "We must be doing something wrong here."

The guy next to me had a complete Blue Jays Cliff Politte uniform on (complete with pants). That's really weird. He also had his legs spread apart like Yosemite Sam, which didn't help. Not to mention, Toronto fans never leave their seats. Oh yeah, it was totally silent. Somewhere in between "library" and "funeral" on the noise scale. We got water and soda in the fourth inning, and didn't return to our seats until the eighth.

We decided to take a stroll around the stadium instead. The Rogers Centre makes a complete oval, so we just kept on going. The seats behind centre (you like that?) field are behind a giant tarp, so nobody sits there. We tried to just for kicks, and were told to return to our assigned seats. I've already been thrown out of one Canadian baseball stadium, so we hightailed it out of there.

My heart was racing, so I thought I'd have a beer. As the gentleman poured my Labatt's Blue, I asked him when beer is cut off at the Rog. He says, "Bottom of the 8th inning, two outs." Then he puts a plastic top on my paper beer cup! Not wanting to make waves, I promptly inserted a straw and started sipping away. I spilled Labatt's all over my shorts.

Some other weird stuff:

Everything at the Rogers Centre appears in the form of cartoons. Maybe this is how they justify the size of the seats-- they're going for the 6-and-under crowd. A truly bizarre segment at the end of the 2nd inning featured "Rocky the Mudhen" doing I'm not sure what. They also had a convoluted take-off on the Seinfeld Steinbrenner view-from-behind-the-desk thing, which made absolutely no sense.

The house organist was using keyboard sounds directly from Martin Hannett's Joy Division sessions. Not just because we just listened to the CD-- it really sounded like "Isolation" meets "Charge!!!!"

The Blue Jays don't have retired numbers. They have a "Level of Excellence". When I went to the men's room, I expected a sign to read "Hall of Relief".

By the way, the restrooms were completely empty. Apparently nobody was drinking any liquid and staying in their seat for nine innings.

The floors in the stadium were the cleanest floors I've even seen. I told my date I'd gladly eat a hot dog if I dropped it on the floor, since the floor was cleaner than any plate I've ever used.

Toronto fans love to take their shirts off. Here's, some evidence (David Beckham was just to the left of this shot).

What about the game? As soon as we made it away from our awful section, the Yanks piled on four runs in the sixth. To be fair, the Toronto fans were a lot better once we got closer to the area behind home plate. They were yelling, cursing at A-Rod, and having a generally good time. I was surprised nobody made fun of my Pavano shirt. Several Yankee fans asked me where I got it, though.

One more thing. If you've ever been to Toronto, you know that Rush is sewn into the fabric of the city. Maybe not in obvious ways, but it's there. They managed to save "Limelight" until the Jays' rally in the eighth inning, which I admired. We had dinner at the Hemispheres restaurant at our hotel after the game (this was nice, except for the drunk, loud, obnoxious Red Sox fan at the bar. This was the one time I got kinda dressed up, and he was wearing a ratty Sox visor, a Schilling jersey tee and flip flops). We stayed in room 2117, which was eerily close to...