Wednesday, July 30, 2008


All eyes were on Phil Hughes at "The Joe" in Charleston, S.C. last night. Phil delivered the goods, pitching three scoreless innings and earning the win for the RiverDogs. Only the hardcore fans noticed the kid pitching before the Yankee phenom. Only the astute noticed two dominant innings of shutout baseball with four strikeouts and only one hit allowed. Only the devoted noticed a pitcher named Carl Pavano.

That's right, the only pitcher in pinstripes to have an MRI tube named after him is back in action. I imagine we'll see Carl hurl a few innings in the dog days of August. Anyone care to make any predictions?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Man on Wire

Mizz Mazz and I snuck out on Lee Jr. tonight to see the fantastic film Man on Wire. For those of you that live in a cave, it's a documentary on Philippe Petit's 1974 tightrope performance across the World Trade Center towers. I couldn't help thinking of Andy Pettitte's recent early-inning tightrope performance against the Red Sox, but anyway...

The movie's great. I remember when this happened way back-- I was disappointed that the guy didn't look like a superhero. Turns out he did look like one, and I was just too stupid to get it.

I won't spoil anything, but the couple minutes of footage of Petit doing his lope-on-a-rope (to the tune of Erik Satie) was one of the more intense film experiences I've had in a while (I saw 300 on cable, so let's not count that). It's absolutely unbelievable stuff.

The guy's an artist in every sense. It's easy to understand that Petit risked his neck because he had to, just like I imagine Pete Townshend had to make Psychoderelict (equally as terrifying and dangerous to innocent bystanders). The film-sequence was so emotional for me that I could almost feel a communal energy swell amongst the entire New York City art-house audience. That is, until I realized that the mumbling woman next to me was crawling around on the floor picking up random scraps of garbage.

Go see Man on Wire.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Eat Shit Please, Network!

It's 8:52 pm and I'm still waiting for the damn Yankees-Red Sox game to start. They've officially announced a 9 pm first pitch. "They" being ESPN, of course.
How much more of this do we have to take? ESPN is slowly killing the idea of Sunday afternoon baseball, one game at a time. I stopped buying Sunday tickets years ago, after learning lessons the hard way. The time printed on your purchased ticket doesn't mean a whole lot (ESPecially if it says "tba"), since ESPN can swoop in at any moment and change your plans so your entire night's spoken for. They've caused thousands of well-meaning baseball fans to face their jobs on Mondays with hideous hangovers. It's just not fair.

I mean, fans in Boston tonight have been sitting there staring at a dry, tarpless field since around 8:15!!! All so ESPN can start their programming on the hour? This game will easily go until 1:30 am... this ain't Beckett and Joba pitching.
To make things even worse, they've changed the Yanks' final regular season game to an ESPN game, which means it too will start at 8:05 pm (or later!). What gives them the right? What do Jon Miller and Joe Morgan have to do with Yankee Stadium. As awful as it would be, I'd rather have Michael Kay calling this one.

Yes, I have tickets to this game. Yes, I will probably be desperately gulping bottled water at work the next day. Yes, I will probably get home after 2 am via $45 cab ride. Yes, I hope they (we) rip the Stadium to shreds. No, ESPN won't televise the events following the game-- they will have already switched to SportsCenter.

Hey! It's 10:30 and the game's still on! In fact, we're only in the top of the 5th!

They hit a new low a couple of innings ago ("they" being ESPN). A graphic came up riffing on the whole "MVP? Check! World Series? Check!" thing for Jon Lester. Except this checklist began with "Beat cancer? Check!" I was waiting for A-Rod's checklist in the next inning... "Will owe $500 million in child support? Check! October choker? Check! Fucked Madonna? Check!"

We only had the sound on for the first 10 minutes of what was supposed to be the game tonight. I was just getting around to making fun of Jon Miller when they switched over to an extreme close-up of Orel Hershiser, who looked like a giant rat with a broken nose. What happened to this guy?

What are all the Boston fans gonna do tonight when the T shuts down?,

Jeez, we got whupped tonight. Ponson might be nearing the end of his stay herewith Washburn's imminent arrival and Rasner's recent decent start. I mean, the guy got more run support than Hillary Clinton!

Yep, I turned away for 3 seconds and they're already showing SportsCenter. They steal the games and do the absolute minimum with them. Bullshit.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Head Huntin'

That was an absolutely terrific game last night-- right??!

Things almost started to feel normai again: Yanks beat Sox in thriller, Sox players and fans complain like little kids, Yanks actually make a good trade... hell, I think I even drank three beers.

The Joba-Youkilis thing is just too funny. I did give Teddy KGB a lot of credit last night (ask my wife!) for showing considerable restraint after being tarred and feathered by Chamberlain. OK, he looked like a 2nd grader who just figured out that life just isn't fair, but K-Y sort of kept it together. I guess after seeing so many brawls in the last 2 days on ESPN, I couldn't believe things stayed civil. That's probably the difference between a 1-0 game and a 10-7 game.

Predictions for this afternoon:
A-Rod homers off Wakefield (guaranteed), Jeter or A-Rod gets plunked by whoever relieves Wakefield (nearly certain), and Kevin Youkilis explodes Scanners-style after being called out at 2nd trying to stretch out a single (it's possible!).

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Yankees 5, Twins 1

Today was Lee Jr.'s first Yankee game. If you read, you wouldn't have thought the game could possibly be played today. They were wrong.

Mizz Mazz was working today, so either I was taking the tyke myself or I needed to call for backup. Who you gonna call? Heath Bieferman. Heath was good enough to shlep up to my place, help me carry the damn stroller all over Harlem, and "lend a helping hand". Friends, he did just that. [click here for background info on Heath Bieferman: scroll down to "Art Patrons Duped..."]

Thanks to Heath (and Jon Pauley for the tix and Ms.M for, you know, letting me do it...), Lee Jr. got to see the Yankees play in The Final Season. Kinda like Final Destination 3, right? (Funny enough, some lunatic speed-walked into the Stadium in front of us while pointing at the New Yankee Stadium across the street, shouting, "There is no New Yankee Stadium because there will only ever be one Yankee Stadium!!!" Apparently the guy still thinks there's monuments in center field.)

Things went as slick as shit through a tin goose, as my friend Heath might say. LJ slept most of the trip up, and barely made a peep otherwise. We got him in the side entrance of the back gate, thanks to the kind security guard that whisked us in like the rock stars we once were. She even made sure the little guy got his "Final Season" t-shirt. I don't know why this seemed so special-- they were supposed to be for the "first 18,000 fans 14 and under", and LJ easily qualified for both criteria. This is how desperate Yankee fans have become for anything free.

I quickly whipped up a bottle of formula for Lee and fed it to him wedged between a garbage can and a steel girder. He loved it. We tried to take a picture of me holding my son against the majestic backdrop of the field, but ended up with something more like a production still from Close Encounters. This one came out a little bit better, I guess.

We finally made it up to our seats sometime near the top of the 2nd. Actually, I have no idea when it was. We might as well have been playing the Globetrotters for the attention I was paying to the game. I did notice that a jerk and his kid were sitting in our seats, which were right on the aisle. I'm standing there, dripping in sweat, holding LJ like a football in one hand and my ticket in the other, explaining to the moron that seats 5 and 6 are never on the aisle (unless you're paying five or six hundred dollars for your tickets). Seats 5 and 6 ARE THE FIFTH AND SIXTH SEATS YOU CRETIN!!!!!!

Jr. and I lasted until the middle of the third. Here's the boy's-eye view:
Yes, it was probably that blurry for him and No, that's not my head right above my blurry knee that Lee's sitting on.
I decided to take him for a stroll through the corridors of history, which consisted of six ramps, a diaper deck and a folding chair. Thank G_d for the folding chair, which was the second gracious act by a Yankee Stadium employee today. That's exactly two more gracious acts than we received the time I brought the missus when she was biggo pregnant and they wouldn't let her sit in a dry empty seat during a rain delay. Seriously.

No complaining today, however. I called Heath somewhere near the fifth inning to tell him I was taking the kid home. He seemed fine, although covered in a slimy sheen of sweat and starting to slump in his stroller (I'm talking about Lee Jr., not Heath). Yep, time to go.
Got home pretty easy: two trains (D to uptown 1) and about six or seven set of stairs. Fucking tired!!! Let's just say the old gray mare just ain't what she used to be...ain't what she used to be...ain't what she used to be...
Also got home just in time to watch some schmuck named Hawkins ruin Moose's shutout. I put Jr. in his swing, sat down on the couch and burped loudly. Lee started cracking up, and so did I. It was a good day.

Chopped Liver

How the f&$k did nobody tell me Rush was playing on Colbert??!! I just found out today!! Yeah, I realize that it already happened!! Yeah, I'm pretty pissed that I missed it!!

I'm not gonna blame my intern for this one, 'cause she's been on vacation (unpaid) for the past two weeks or so after her herculean efforts to transcribe the blog entries from MySpace.
Anyway, it was awesome.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Me and My Wine

I know absolutely nothing about wine. I don't really like it and almost never drink it.

Not completely sure why I made one of my summer projects the purchase and consumption of a box of wine (that's a lie-- I did it so I could modify and reuse the box for a project at work this September). My other summer project is to get rid of our cable, which I haven't done yet. I might let it ride through the Sox series this weekend...

Anyhow, I went our local liquor store to buy some wine. I'd been fantasizing about the box for days-- a virtually bottomless supply of wine-cooleresque fruity refreshment for the summer. I marched directly to the back corner of the store, and the boxes of wine were exactly where I thought they should be.

Somehow I came home with Burgundy, which is about as refreshing as chilled blood. It's the reason I don't drink wine. But dammit, I plan to drink it all. Who knows, maybe I'll develop a taste for it.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Yankees 4, Athletics 3

Mizz Mazz and I finally made it to a game together today. Our sitter (let's call her Annabel) was a tad late due to screw-ups on the 1 line, so we didn't get to our seats until the bottom of the 2nd. Fine with us-- it must've been 99 degrees until about 2:20 pm.

So great to be out and drinking beer. Can't say we drank a whole lot, but our cups had beer in'em at all times. Joba looked good, but had what I like to call a "hard luck no-decision" (it would be nice to get at least seven innings out of the kid here and there...).

We decided to bail on the game immediately after the 10th inning. We didn't bail on the Yanks-- just on the fact that we couldn't get any more beer and it was still 2000 degrees in the upper deck. We beat a hasty retreat to the Dugout.

I can't believe I've been to this joint (the Dugout) three times already. Gotta say, it's always been pretty fun. This time we took over the "VIP Room" under the leadership of Jon Pauley (who's probably still there right now). It was a lot like my living room: couches, A/C, and the game on TV. Sweet.

Before long we started behaving exactly like people that don't get to sit in the VIP room. Jon and his friend (let's call him Levon) were having some sort of farting contest, which ended (I guess) with Levon beefing directly on Jon's lap. It's probably all on video somewhere.

Made it home close to six, and got Annabel out of there at a reasonable hour. Lee Jr. was thrashing about and doing the jitterbug for about an hour and a half (especially during his bath a.k.a. "Roaring Rapids"), but he went down without much ado. I'm going to find the Maker's Mark from our vacation last week...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Movin' on up!

Lee's Steez is finally here! MySpace was getting a little too crowded for my taste.

Thanks to all the fans that made this move possible. Big thanks to my intern Michelle, who typed pages and pages of old entries on her own time!

-Lee Mazzola

Monday, July 14, 2008

2008 Home Run Derby

So I was all set to get tickets for the Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium, and TicketMaster locked out my pre-sale password for 15 minutes. Turned out 15 minutes was all I had before I had to go back to work, so I didn't get my tickets. I wrote a nasty letter to the Yankee season ticket department, which I'd rather not revisit.

Probably just as well. My back is killing me-- there's no way I could stand on a bleacher bench for four hours drinking vodka out of a water bottle. No way.

I watched it on TV instead:

8:01 - The band 3 Doors Down kicks things off, featuring one of he least charismatic lead singers I've ever seen. He looks like he just got out of prison.

8:10 - Hilarious graphic of the dimensions of the Stadium against a red backdrop, making the bleachers and upper deck look like Hell.

8:11 - (sound of puking) Damn... I was hoping Joe Morgan wasn't going to show up. If Joe says a guy's gonna win, that's a guarantee he won't make it to the next round. In fact, if Joe says anything, that's a guarantee it's not true. Especially if he says it two or three times in a row, which he usually does.

8:14 - Reggie just threw out the first pitch to Derek Jeter. That's the last time anyone having to do with the Yankees will touch a ball tonight. Erin Andrews interviews Jeter in a business-casual-meets-milkmaid kind of outfit (Erin is wearing the outfit).

8:20 - Joe Morgan is explaining the importance of the batter and pitcher developing a "rhythm" in order to be successful.

8:23 - Requisite boring shots of All-Star players sitting on the sides with little video cameras. Why do they have to film it? Doesn't somebody else get paid to do that?

8:25 - Somebody just got dissed on a high-five by Dan Uggla's toddler son. That's rough.

8:27 - This is already bullshit. I think they need a little star power here... how many little kids (beside Uggla's little kid) do you really think are screaming for Dan Uggla to hit one out of the park?

8:29 - Now I really appreciate the 2005 HR Derby when they had 8 guys from 8 different countries. This year we have, um, seven white guys born in America and another white guy born in Canada. What the hell happened? I thought MLB went global!

8:32 - I can barely understand anything David Ortiz is saying.

8:33 - For a second there I thought Sal Fasano was behind the plate. Fasano missed the whole Yankees "stash" mania by a couple of years.

8:36 - Here's a serious suggestion:
1) Make the Derby one round only. Then no one complains about getting tired.
2) If you're selected to be in the contest, you can't say no or else you don't make the All-Star Team.

8:40 - I keep wanting to call him "Evan Fangoria".

8:48 - Chase Utley almost got beaned by his own BP pitcher.

9:13 - Morneau just clubbed the shit out of, um, the balls.

9:15 - This is officially boring. Ryan Braun is up next, which makes this officially really boring.

9:18 - I'm rooting for Josh Hamilton, who is a recovering drug addict. This is by far the best human story we have in this year's Derby.

9:28 - J-Ham just blasted one off the back wall of the RF bleachers. Totally nuts.

9:31 - I think everyone's gonna use BP pitchers that are 71 years old next time.

9:35 - "You see Josh Hamilton's tattoos, which he's not ashamed of, even though he got them while he was high on drugs..." (one of the ESPN morons)

9:42 - Ortiz just waddled across the batter's box in the middle of Hamilton's HR exhibition to a chorus of boos and "Boston sucks" chants. Very nice.

9:45 - Chris Berman is just yelling out random locations around New York for each of Hamilton's dongs - "Staten Island! Pelham! Gravesend!"

9:57 - Reggie's being interviewed by the ESPN idiots. Berkman's entire 2nd round performance was completely ignored.

10:02 - Reggie's still talking. Morneau's in the middle of his 2nd round with nobody watching.

10:05 - Reggie's talked about more of his own home runs than Berkman and Morneau have actually hit.

10:07 - Morneau's hitting some bombs. If it's Morneau and Hamilton in the 3rd round, Morneau will be the bad guy... because he's a clean cut, honest-looking guy that doesn't do drugs.

10:15 - Now I really wish Giambi was in this thing. Coulda been battle of the tattooed former drug abusers in the 3rd round.

10:22 - I love how everyone acts so amazed when a guy hits a ton of home runs in the Home Run Derby. Isn't that exactly what they're supposed to do??!! Would anyone be going nuts if someone caught a shitload of fish in the State Farm Fishing Derby?!

10:32 - The "Call Your Shot" thing is pretty stupid. Some rube in a red State Farm shirt makes an idiot out of himself pointing out into the bleachers. He looks kinda like George Pataki.

10:40 - I miss Mike Piazza's HR Derby commentary.

10:47 - My TV's on mute, but I think Justin Morneau just told Erin Andrews about his former addiction to cinnamon Freshen-Up gum.

10:51 - Oops! "The Island of Justin Morneau"... Morneau wins!!!
Postscript- OK, can we now say that the HR Derby needs to be "fixed", just like the All-Star Game itself was fixed?
We had little to no star value whatsoever, and the one guy the crowd actually cheered for hit dozens of balls 450+ feet and lost the contest.
Like I already suggested:
1) One round, most HR's wins. Expand the field to 12 if you want.
2) Participation is mandatory, or else you lose your All-Star Status.
That's not so hard, is it?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Miss Universe 2008

You can't make this stuff up...

Jerry Springer hosts Miss Universe 2008 live from Ho Chi Minh City. The stage is-- whoa!! They're already announcing the winner!!! No big surprises here... the 70-pound waif with big knockers from Venezuela and the one from D.R. wearing the outfit from Wang Chung's "Dance Hall Days" video are finalists. Yep, Miss Venezuela won.

I didn't even have a chance to give you the highlights. Miss USA fell right on her ass during what looked like the most important part of the show. Miss Russia was terrifying, and every one of the contestants was at least 2M in height.

Here's a direct quote from Miss Italy's Q & A portion:
What is something unique that has happened to you; some interesting thing about you?
"I love all pets and I have always desired to have one of them in my house but unfortunately I'm allergic to their hair."

Venezuela (the winning "delegate") came up with something a bit better for the same question:
"I was once kidnapped, in what in my country is known as an express kidnapping. It was a very hard experience. I learned to remain calm in a very stressful situation and to try to reach to the human part of our abductors."

Mizz Albania had the best response, even if she didn't win:
"I am delighted to admit that this is my very first amazing and unique experience."

Friday, July 11, 2008

Cold-Cock #1

Welcome to our first "Cold-Cock", where an unsuspecting listener is forced to respond in writing to a song he or she may have never heard. The listener's response must be composed and completed before the song ends.

ROUND 1 (Lee's listening & responding, Hiawatha's spinning)
Song - "Watchmaker"
Artist - Excuse 17
Length - 3:08
Response -
Sounds a lot like the Replacements at first, but then some awful singing starts! Whoa! The vocals are WAY too high in the mix!...
Now I'm starting to think it's pretty good, but just not for me. I mean, this chick can definitely sing, but not always the way I like. Almost sounds like a fucked up broadway play put on by performance students up at LaGuardia HS. I'd have to say the band is Bikini Kill.

ROUND 2 (same thing: Lee's listening & responding, Hiawatha's spinning)
Song - "Modern Romance"
Artist - The Rapture
Length - 2:33
Response - All I'm hearing is guitar and drums. OK now it sounds like a Gang of Four kinda slashfest, with Public Image-style vocals and clumsy textural drum stuff. The song just goes right by, unless you're lucky enough to keep up. Either way, I can't remember a damn thing from it. Gimme something to grab onto man! I actually know this one, it's the Rapture.

ROUND 3 (this time Hiawatha's listening & responding, Lee's spinning)
Song - "Got a Hold on Me"
Artist - Christine McVie
Length - 3:52
Response -
Fleetwood Mac. Chrystie McVie. second female singer. Cheery 80's pop - but a little better than some. husky voice. cheesy keybaords. drums sound fake or canned. crazy sound in back some kind of cheap sound effect. super 80's percussion. yea, that drum sound sounds like a rototom. is lindsay on this?

Don't hit, don't field... what do you do?

Boy, we couldn't hit the side of the CN Tower with a half-slab of bacon tonight. Joba looked fine, but mainly got screwed by crappy fielding. Joba's gonna be 7 IP 2 ER on a consistent basis REAL soon. Watch.

I'm starting to love Hank. You know how George always tried to say exactly what the fans deserved to hear, but he just did it in such a weird way that it freaked us out?
Well, Hank gives us the raw uncut every time. Check it:

“This is New York, and the fans deserve a team of marquee players,” he said. “We all understand that. I think where we want to end up is a tremendous mix of young talent and veterans, and the veteran free agents cost money, and we realize that. We are going to have a lot of money coming off the payroll, and that gives us some options. But believe me, we’re going to use a good portion of it to get this city the team it deserves and to try to improve in the areas we need to.”

At least I have Halladay for IP in the pool...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Yankees 2, Red Sox 1

My second game in three days, which is a lot for a family man such as myself. Starting to feel pretty old…

Took a co-worker of mine (she happens to be a Boston fan) to this one, under the agreement that we’d both wear neutral garb. Somehow that translated into an Australian beer hat for me. Either way, we blended right in. Some punk kid actually asked me if I was a Red Sox fan.

Speaking of which, we got to our seats to find two women and a child in our way. One had a red Yaz shirt (above right), the other had a pink Varitek shirt, and the kid had some kind of weird homemade Sox sign. It was immediately clear that these were decent folk (they just looked that way) and from out of town (they just looked that way). Also immediately clear was the fact that they were sitting in my season seats.

We could have easily moved over two seats and let the trio sit together, except for the fact that I’ve never moved out of these seats for anyone. Ever. I wasn’t about to start for a bunch of straggler Sox fans. So they had to sit on either side of me and my friend, which made for a funny dynamic (one of the gals knew almost nothing about baseball, and relied on her pal for just about everything) across our row. It ended up being fine.

The game was great. Also great (or at least promising) was the “new Yankee bar” part 2. Turns out the joint’s called “The Dugout” or something close to that. It’s sorta cheap and as spacious as the Trop on a Tuesday night.

1) Patrons are encouraged to freestyle rap in the main space; video of the whole affair is simultaneously projected on the wall. Jon Pauley and I almost blessed the mic a couple of times (I was drawing blanks except for a couple of Public Enemy fragments and most of “Jump Around”)…

2) Beer pong activity was evident in the corner of the room.
3) Hilarious blue metallic 16 oz bottles of Bud Lite were being sold for $6 a pop, complete with Yankee logo.

I think the Dugout just might work out for everyone.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Red Sox 7, Yankees 0

Wow, almost three months since I last posted. Guess I've been kinda busy.

Jon Pauley had what I consider to be great seats to this game. Right behind home plate, not too far up, right on the aisle. Yes, upper deck you moron! He has the "Midweek Plan"-- one of the few good deals left up there (along with the $10.50 Fosters drafts on the first floor, 3 Heinekens for $12 up the hill and the giant popcorns). The Thursday night Boston game is your reward for sitting through crappy games like Baltimore and Toronto.

Anyway, I sat down at 6:50 and said, "Oh shit. They're playing Boston tonight." I honestly forgot we were at a Red Sox game. Understandable, considering that the only Boston fans around were women and children. Seriously, it was weird. None of the drunk, goateed inbreeds we normally associate with Sox games at the Stadium. Still not sure why the crowd was different.

That's where the peculiarities ended, 'cause the Yanks got whupped like they usually do when I go to Boston games. Horrific. I think I got excited when Ellsbury whiffed, and that was it. I almost wished there was a drunk, goateed inbreed sitting behind us (although some might nominate the idiotic father-son team one row down), screaming "Fuck yeah, Tek!! Fuckin' A, Youk!!"

Jon took me to the new "Yankee bar" after the game. Does the new Stadium look cheesy? Uh, yes it does. How could it not??!!! I'm referring to it as "Epcot Presents: Yankee Stadium" from now on. It almost looks like a new Bed, Bath & Beyond somewhere in Iowa. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

The new bar was pretty silly. It's kinda like when you're on tour and the itinerary says "Rock Street" or some weird new place you've never heard of, and the guarantee's ridiculously high. You know it can't possibly last like this, so you milk it for all it's worth. The new bar (I have no idea what it's called-- hopefully "Rock Street") was practically empty and absolutely enormous. They played decent music, and had reasonably priced draft beer. OK, shots were $10, but that seems to be true everywhere these days.

The new bar will probably suck next season. There wasn't anything "cool" about it, except that we could sit down and drink beer. I'm trying to be of the "more is good" school about the new Stadium-- more spigots, more urinals, more food, more more more!!! The more shit they throw at us, the better the chance that we'll find something else that's good. Maybe the bowling alley will re-emerge as the good place to go, or maybe Twin sausages will make a comeback... maybe even Stan's will be fun again.

More. It's the Yankee way, right?!