Saturday, April 18, 2009

"The House that Ruth Build"

What can I say about this one?! Took my dad to see one of the worst drubbings in Yankee history. Every ball the Indians hit was fucking smoked. This really was batting practice.

Anyway, our new seats aren't bad. The section's really mellow-- like, dorky mellow. Very nice woman sitting next to me with her mother, who was about 85 years old. They'll be my neighbors for the next six months. I was honestly uncomfortable with the idea of raising my voice above normal speaking volume.

Another older woman sat directly in front of me with a bootleg T-shirt from last year's opening day. The back proudly read "The House that Ruth Build" across the top. Maybe I'll make a shirt that says "Babe Ruht #3" or "Jolter Joe DiMaggio"...

I really don't have the energy to evaluate the goddamn stadium again, but I truly like it. I'm not sure how they managed to make a fancy-ass state-of-the-art stadium that still has enough of the old one's look to feel right. Amazing.

They need to fix the fucking mustard dispensers, though. A girl was on French's detail for at least 15 minutes and couldn't get any thing to come out either of the two nozzles. My dad and I were forced to open and squirt at least six packets on our foot-longs, which was a surprisingly difficult and awkward exercise. The condiment stand was so brand new and nice that we couldn't just leave sticky packets and wrappers and napkins all over the place, and the nearest garbage was part of a recycling triple bin at least 30 feet away. Plus, the French's girl was standing right there, squeezing weird foil bags of mustard into the dispensing depots, so we couldn't defile her efforts like a couple of teenagers, right??!! We shuffled over to the nearest pretzel stand, which featured the only flat surfaces for what seemed like miles.

So yeah, I love the new place. Also found a Guinness-on-tap booth mere seconds from our seats. At what appeared to be pints (I'm praying they're "imperial" 20-oz. pints) for $11 a pop, what's not to like?!

I didn't have a Guinness this time, 'cause I had to get home to put LJ to bed. The sitter was staying until about 7:30, and she had just endured a horrific tantrum by the boy when I left at around 3pm. As I dragged him across the floor while he hung onto my leg screaming, I felt about 30% heartwarmed and 70% embarassed while I slipped out the door for a quick cab uptown. "Give him a warm bottle of milk and watch some boring show on TV-- he'll go to sleep..." was my parting advice (which worked, by the way).

I paid the price tonight, with another marathon bedtime affair. I'm completely out of gas at this point, so I'm reduced to bargaining, begging, etc. with the boy for just about anything. Somehow I got him down, even though I probably opened another line of credit with Satan himself to do so.

22 to 4???!!!! This HAS to be the low point. Tomorrow's Burnett vs. Pavano right? Don't laugh, Carl actually beat A.J. last year in a weird one at the stadium.

Don't bury me... I'm not dead!

LJ promptly re-established who's the boss around here when he shot up out of bed at 4am this morning. The terrifying sequence of events was like a scene out of The Serpent and the Rainbow ("Doctah Alan..."). Too tired (or zombified) to think rationally, I dragged the boy into bed and tried to settle him down.

I don't think either of us actually slept from 4am to 6am, but I'm not sure we were awake either. I've been told that victims of "the powder" had similar experiences in Haiti... anyway, it made for a rough morning.

Everything's been fine since. Not great, but fine. He mocked my attempts at facillitating a nap, broke my graphing calculator, and then almost created tomorrow's Post headline: "Tot Choked By Own Diaper" (or "Mr. Mom Murder Massacre"). We had fun.

I'll have a report on today's Tribe game later on. Gonna try to catch The In-Laws on PBS tonight, and maybe even Squid and the Whale (even though I've seen it at least four times-- way too many).

Friday, April 17, 2009

Back in the Saddle

Whole lot better today. Better eating, better napping, better bath, and better bedtime.

Took it as a good sign when he slept in 'til sevenish after his 6:15 sayonara last night. Waking up before your child is strangely empowering. Did some killer Duplo building, wrestled a little bit, bought the paper, straightened up the pad a little bit, and prepared for Frank Rose's visit at 1pm.

I've known Frank since we were around 6 years old. He only saw LJ when he was a few months old, so pretty cool that he's walking and sorta talking and generally hilarious at this point. Our guest brought a swell rubber duck set (yes, a set) and a great-looking board book on sea animals. Everyone got along great.

As much fun as we were having, my focus turned to LJ's bath/book/bed once dinnertime rolled around. Bath was my usual wild ride, although I kept the kid from face-plunging into the drink this time. Still an adventure, to say the least.

After that was smooth as Sade. He even got half his uni-jamas on by himself! I still worry about him being psychologically scarred every time we get to the end of How Big is a Pig? (I just shouldn't read that one), but no biggie. This was one of my better routines tonight. Even the Russian judge gave me a 10.0 on this one.

Even with today's feelgood vibes, I'm leaving the boy home with sitter for tomorrow's Yankee game. I gotta get to know the new Stadium a bit more before I charge in with LJ. He's still a bit under the weather too. I'd also hate for the boy to see Wang stink it up for the third time in a row. My dad will be ruthless with all Yankee pitchers tomorrow, especially the ones not named Bruney or Rivera.

Word up to SpaceJace again for the generous mentions in his blog, which I clearly support and love. J, I'm gonna do my best to cover the Pageant Sunday night. Space has also been heard on That Chick Sports Show on Saturday afternoons. Check it out!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Papa Don't Take No Mess (part 2)

My plan was to post each night of my "home alone" stint, accompanying each of my pieces with a report card-style analysis of my performance. I even had nifty grading fields like "transitions" and "meals/nutrition" ready to roll. After two nights I now see how ridiculous this would've been. You can't grade parenting.

Good thing, 'cause I'd be running about a 1.85 right about now if you could. LJ's days have been pretty smooth around here, but his nights are about as predictable as a Fall concert. Took three separate 45-minute bedtime cycles to get the kid down last night, and tonight he simply passed out during his 6:15 dinner. Crossing my fingers he'll make it through the night (although he's already had one Jacob's Ladder-esque freak-out, which I promptly alleviated and extinguished)...

LJ's been a saint, really. Almost seems like he's listening to me when I tell him not to do shit, and occasionally not doing it. I busted him destroying one of his books today, and he just moved on to another selection. I told him not to hang on my crappy Ikea computer table, and he stopped. I made him stop smacking me in the face after about 20 times, and he didn't do it again. Amazing, really.

Anyway, I just rewarded myself (for what?) with a tasty ham/salami/swiss toasted sandwich. This is one of the first grown-up meals I've had-- most of my food's been LJ's leftovers. I like to think of every sandwich I make being a little better than the last one, and therefore the best sandwich I've ever eaten in my life. This one was just that.

Can we please just put Joba in the goddamn bullpen already??!! Make Hughes #5 and let Joba pitch the 7th/8th with Bruney. Don't argue, just do it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Papa Don't Take No Mess

Tomorrow marks the beginning of my 5-day stretch alone with LJ while the Mz entertains drunk architects in Glasgow.

Highlights will include:
lunch with Grandma & Grandpa Mazzola (Grandma's birthday!)
Saturday Yankee game (three generations of Mazz!)
trip to CMOM (UWS mecca of playtime)
sandbox dig at Totlot 116
daily listening sessions with AC/DC
visit from Frank Rose (LA's last cowboy)

I'll keep you posted...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tiger's in the jungle

Well, looks like Tiger's off to a bad start today-- he hit his ball into the Amazon rainforest...

Saturday KenKen in 15 minutes

Maybe it's because I kick so much butt I kick aaaaassssssssssssss...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Red Sox 9, Mets 3

[originally titled "Atrocity Exhibition"]

The Mets started getting their asses kicked immediately. We hadn't even sat down yet and Perez was in deep trouble with no outs. Pretty sure he walked three guys in a row before he got an out, in fact.

So, it was a little tough to soak in the new field while the Sox were trotting 'round the diamond. The place is nice. Very nice. In fact, I'll go on record saying they did a hell of a job. It looks pretty stupid from the outside, but smart on the inside. Not much in the style department, but that was to be expected.

I guess it looked like a better-than-average new park out in the midwest somewhere. I could've been in Coeur D'Alene for all I knew, except for the occasional jet overhead. Totally great, but kinda plain Jane.

Garbage whisked around on the field for the entire game. Like, a lot of garbage. The white shit you see in the picture is flying cardboard. They had a trash detail out on the field twice an inning running around like ballboys at Wimbledon. Joey quickly dubbed the joint "Tray Stadium" as yellow cardboard Nathan's boxes frittered along the grass. I swear I saw a large box of fries fly into the catcher's mitt at one point. The new Yankee Stadium had a wind issue too, but nothing even close to this.

The scoreboards were pretty awesome. Lots of info, but not imposing-- sort of the opposite of the Yankee behemoth. Otherwise, not a single memorable moment A/V-wise.

Beer was reasonable, but smaaaaallllll cups. I had what seemed like a lousy burger, but ended up being quite tasty. A sprawling food court area out past right field sealed the deal: Citi's got good eats. BBQ, fresh sandwiches, healthy stuff like fruit and cheese... you get the feeling you could raise a family at this place.
I'm sure things'll spice up once the season starts. Until then, bring a flask.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Yankees 7, Cubs 4

I was totally late to the game, missing first pitch and god knows what else by about 5 minutes. I had a dr's appt. on the upper east side at 4pm, coming from Brooklyn at 3:15. Bad math-- I was late to that too (which is why I was then late to the game). Had to take a cab with a crazy Pakistani driver jabbering at me the entire ride about cricket. Something about matches taking 50 hours... I have no idea.

I had a scheduled steroid IV, which can take anywhere from 45 minutes to several hours, depending on the drip setting. My last one took the minimum-- I tap danced out of the office like a speed freak. Maybe that's why he set this one super-slow. I didn't get out of there until 6:30, but got up to the Stadium as fast as humanly possible. Still five minutes late.

This might be a good time to talk about 'roids. The common belief is that steroids help you hit lots of home runs, cause your head swell like a balloon, and make you listen to Metallica. This hasn't been my experience at all: steroid megadoses cause me obsessively devour Times crosswords, eat everything in sight, and listen to old Police records. My iTunes Play Count had me at 29 listens of "J'aurais Toujours Faim De Toi" during my last infusion cycle, and I finished (tomorrow's) Saturday puzzle in 24 minutes on the 7 train.

I don't need drugs to tell you that the new Yankee Stadium is amazing. Aside from being corralled across the street by cops like 2nd graders, entry was uneventful. Hilarious overheard snippets: "Holy shit!", "This place is a fucking palace!", or "Everything with the fucking productions!!! Let us walk across the damn street for chrissakes!" Actual gate entry was slick and easy. I was barely frisked, although we had to scan our own tickets (which didn't even beep--suspicious...)

Kinda weird at first walking around. The surrounding halls outside the inner stadium have an airport kind of feel, almost like the Rogers Centre. For a second I was afraid we were going to have to drink our beers with straws and get yelled at for dropping a napkin on the floor. Also as in an airport, people were aimlessly drifting around and bumping into each other, except here it was beer that was spilling instead of coffee. No one knew where the hell they were going.

Me and Mz Mazz sat in great field boxes right behind home plate, but quickly emigrated to the grandstand when it started raining. When you become a parent, you do lame shit like that, even without the kid. Or I guess you start bringing umbrellas to places. Anyway, we met up with our old friends Heath and Karl in the upper deck. Had a few beers, compared notes, you know... we all seemed to agree that the place was top notch.

Here's some quick notes:

Beer was around $6 for a small (12 oz.) and $10ish for bigger (didn't seem like 24 oz., maybe 20?). Heath was bitching about the "souvenir" beers being in blue plastic cups, which surely were releasing all sorts of harmful chemicals into our beerstreams. I dismissed that one until my second souvie, when the bottom of my Miller started tasting like a frisbee.

Food was not yet fully operational, I hope. I think we went to the weaker of the food areas, as our choices were mainly dogs, fries, and "sliders". Mind you, these aren't delicious little White Castle-style burgers-- they're not burgers at all. They were completely out of the "beef sliders" but had chicken, which were basically chicken strips. Very strange. This was an example of a fundamental commerce failure: neither the consumer nor the seller had any idea what the product was called, looked like, or cost. Oh yeah, the number of calories contained in each item (terrifying!) are listed right next to the price, so it's kinda tough to tell them apart. I knew I wanted the chicken sliders, but I wasn't quite sure if they cost 1050 or 9.75.

Bathrooms were extraordinary. I don't hesitate to call the urinals beautiful, works of art. Certainly more works of art than the Peter Max Yankee Gallery, which has to be seen to be believed. The sinks worked, the soap shot out of the dispensers on command (usually onto the floor, but at least it existed), paper towels actually came out when you pulled the levers, and things were generally cheery and bright. An enjoyable experience.

Scoreboard is monolithic. Pretty confusing, as at least nine different fonts are used on the same giant screen. We went long stretches without having basic information: score, inning, count, etc. Seemed like a work in progress.
Sound is incredible. Only the "Hey fans..." spoken stuff between innings was ear-splitting; the music was gut-thumping. I can't wait to hear "Black Betty" on this system.
We didn't really explore a whole lot. That'll come two Saturdays from now, when Lee Jr., my dad and I bring three generations of Mazzolas up to the Bronx. More on that when it happens.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

What recession?

Big weekend...
I'll be reporting from each of New York's new baseball stadia this weekend: Yanks-Cubs Friday night and Mets-Sox Saturday afternoon.

We've all heard about Saturday's first pitch being thrown out by Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, who will be competing with our other avian hero "Challenger" for top billing before the game. Early insider reports have either Mike Mussina or David Patterson hurling ceremonial honors on Friday night.

Looks like Dice-K on Saturday. Eeesshh.