Friday, February 29, 2008

A Song For Johan Santana

To the tune of "Copacabana" by Barry Manilow. Yes, I know, as a Yankee Fan, I shouldn't bring up the Copa, site of a brawl supposedly involving several Yankees in 1957. And, yes, I know, it's Manilow. But then, this makes fun of the Mets, and the Mets are to the Yankees what Manilow is to Billy Joel.

His name was Glavine.
Came from Atlanta.
When he pitched, he was not alone.
Had the umpire's big strike zone.
And so the New York
Mets signed him up
to big free-agency contract
multi-million-dollar pact.
And then he took the hill.
And then he took a spill.
He got booed right off the mound.
Fans moved in for the kill!

But now there's Johan!
Johan Santana!
He's better than Tom from Atlanta!
Now there's Johan!
Johan Santana!
Met fans in Flushing
are overly gushing
over Johan!

This guy they love!

His name was Pedro.
Walked on the diamond.
He hits opponents in the head.
Almost made Don Zimmer dead.
His name's Orlando.
Called him El Duque.
One legend coming from Fenway.
The other took Yanks all the way.
But then the games they blew
and shoulders ripped in two.
There were injuries, recriminations.
Who knew? Who?

But now there's Johan!
Johan Santana!
Not Pedro or Duke of Havana!
Now there's Johan!
Johan Santana!
Met fans in Flushing
are overly gushing
over Johan!

This guy they love!

His name was Seaver!
He was The Franchise!
But that was 40 years ago
when the Mets put on a show!
And then the Doctor!
Dwight Eugene Gooden!
He sent some Pennants up his nose!
Wrecked his arm, that's how it goes!
Viola in a bind!
Pulsipher's elbow grind!
Met fans gush over their pitchers!
Have they lost their minds?

But now there's Johan!
Johan Santana!
He's making them all go bananas!
Now there's Johan!
Johan Santana!
Met fans in Flushing
are overly gushing
over Johan!

This guy they love!

This guy they love!

For... the... moment.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Even If He's Right, Roger Clemens Is Slime

He throws his wife under the bus. He throws his dear friend Andy Pettitte overboard. And even if Brian McNamee is the one lying (and he has lied, about many things), Roger Clemens still associated with that piece of slime long after he knew McNamee was a piece of slime.

To paraphrase George Lucas, "Who is slimier: The slimeball, or the slimeball who keeps him around?"

The last time a Yankee had an abscess on... that area, it was from Mickey Mantle going to the wrong doctor to get a flu shot. The last time before that, Joe DiMaggio noticed a red spot there, and was told, "That's from all those people kissing your ass!"

(Note: This is the first time I used a word that could be considered a profanity in this blog. Why I shied away from it at the beginning of the sentence but used it at the end, I don't remember.)

We can now safely say that if Clemens had an abscess on his ass, that means his entire body was covered with blood, because he is a supreme ass.

But that still doesn't prove his guilt. And even if his guilt is proven, it still doesn't invalidate any of the Yankees' titles. Which is what the Yankee-haters want, and will never get. All they'll get is one Yankee humiliated.

Which, of course, offsets nothing, from the 86 years of Boston drought to the drug use by several 1980s Mets, to the no-hitters Gooden and Cone threw in The Bronx instead of Queens, to the Yankee titles won by Torre, Strawberry, Gooden, Cone, Boggs and... Clemens.

It's also interesting how Andy Pettitte gets to be, in Nyawkese, both a rat and a stand-up guy at the same time. Quite a feat, even more impressive than his Game 5 shutout over the Braves in '96.

But even if you think he is a rat, who would you rather have on your staff: Andy Pettitte as he is right now, or Roger Clemens at his peak? Having Pettitte, as long as he pitches as well as he did last year, won't be a distraction. If he can't pitch that well, then the dropoff can be attributed to age and overuse.

But he'll put this behind him. Clemens can't, and should just go back to Texas and not be seen again. Clemens' only chance now is to sign with someone who doesn't care what sleazy things he may have done. Maybe Isiah Thomas. Maybe Bill Belichick. Maybe George W. Bush -- who also was not born in Texas, but sure learned to lie while professing faith there. The difference, of course, is that Clemens, at the very least, claims to like hard work instead of complaining about it.

Did I say "at the very least?" That reminds me of the argument between the White Sox ghosts in Field of Dreams. One calls another "musclebound." The second one says, "At least I got muscles!" And the first one says, "No, at most you got muscles!" At least in 1919, you couldn't blame it on steroids.

Ultimately, Clemens is in the past, along with some other things Yankee Fans can't be proud of, along with many things Yankee Fans can be proud of.

Now we should focus on the present, when Roger Clemens is no longer our problem. Our problem is how to close the last season of the one and only Yankee Stadium we the Fans ever wanted with Title 27.

Let the solving of said problem begin: 46 days to Opening Day.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Met Fan Jokes

I don't want to say Met fans are dumb, but...

Did it ever occur to them that "Citi Field" might rhyme with something profane? (Edit: This was before I started using profanity in this blog.)

Q: How many Mets does it take to change a light bulb?
A: It doesn't matter. The lights always end up turned out on the Mets anyway, and their management is certainly in the dark.

Q: How many Met fans does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Only one, but it will be a very dim bulb.

Did you hear the Mets signed Michael Jackson? Just what they need: Another guy demanding too much money, another guy too old to play baseball, another guy more interested in a recording career than in playing baseball, and another guy who wears a glove on only one hand for no apparent reason. At least, unlike the rest of the Mets, he admits he's "Bad."

(UPDATE: Jackson was still alive when I wrote this.)


Two soldiers are captured by the enemy in Iraq. One's a Yankee Fan and the other's a Met fan. They are told they will be executed, but that they will have one last request.

The Met fan says, "I want to sing 'Meet the Mets' one last time."

The Yankee Fan says, "If that's his last request, then my last request is that you shoot me first."


Three soldiers are captured by the enemy in Iraq. One's a Yankee Fan, one's a Red Sox fan, and the other's a Met fan. They are told they will be executed at dawn.

So the Yankee Fan comes up with a plan: "These are very superstitious people." And the Red Sox fan says, "So am I. What's your point?" The Yankee Fan says, "When they're about to shoot, I'll yell, 'Earthquake!' And they'll all run for cover, and I'll make a run for it and escape. You guys do the same thing."

So at dawn, the Yankee Fan is led out to the firing squad, and the commandant says, "Ready! Aim!... " And the Yankee Fan yells, "Earthquake!" And everybody runs, and the Yankee Fan makes it to safety.

Now the commandant is mad, but, hey, he's still got two Americans to kill. So the Red Sox fan is led out, and he thinks, "I want to get out of here alive, but I don't want to copy the Yankee Fan, just because Theo Esptein is now copying George Steinbrenner by throwing money at players. I'll have to think of something different to yell."

So the firing squad is ready, and the commandant says, "Ready! Aim!... " And the Red Sox fan yells, "Tornado!" And everybody runs, and the Red Sox fan makes it to safety.

Now the commandant is really mad, but, hey, he's still got one American to kill. So the Met fan is led out, and he thinks, "I want to get out of here alive, but I don't want to copy the Yankee Fan, because the Yankees suck. I'll have to think of something different to yell."

So the firing squad is ready, and the commandant says, "Ready! Aim!... "

And the Met fan yells, "Fire!"


Q: What are the two best things to come out of Shea Stadium?
A: The 2000 New York Yankees and the World Championship Trophy.

Q: Why do the Mets still have Mr. Met as a mascot?
A: They need somebody on the team with a bigger head than Jose Reyes.

Every year, Met fans think their team is going all the way. And, every year, they go all the way down the drain.

Q: Why is the train to Shea Stadium the Number 7 train?
A: To remind Met fans they blew a seven-game lead with 17 to play in 2007.

A boy tells his mother he wants to be a Met fan when he grows up. His mother says, "Son, you can't do both."

A guy wearing a Yankee cap and a Number 2 Derek Jeter jersey walks into a bar, and says, "Hey bartender, did you ever hear the one about the Mets?" Four huge guys stand up and approach the man. One of them says, "We're all Met fans. You still wanna tell that joke?" And the guy says, "Naw, I don't wanna have to explain it four times."

You know, there WAS baseball before 1969... Just because it happened before Tom Seaver doesn't mean it doesn't count. But even if it did work that way, it's still Yankees 6, Mets 2!

Q: What's the difference between the Yankees and the Mets?
A: In October 1999, the Mets thought John Rocker was an ass. In October 1999, the Yankees knocked Rocker on his ass.

In 1979, Pope John Paul II visited both New York ballparks. He came to Yankee Stadium first. Gee, maybe the Pope really is infallible.


A few borrowed (or adapted) from Jeff Foxworthy's "You Might Be a Redneck" routine...

If you refer to the 5th grade as "My senior year"... you might be a Met fan.

If you stare at a container of orange juice because it says "Concentrate"... you might be a Met fan.

If you call yourself a light beer drinker because you drink beer until it gets light... you might be a Met fan.

If you use a gas station bathroom and you wonder why it's so clean and spacious... you might be a Met fan. (The bathrooms at Shea aren't known for their cleanliness or spaciousness.)

If you go to a movie theater in a group of at least 18, because it says, "Under 17 not admitted"... you might be a Met fan.

If Ralph Kiner always made perfect sense to you... you might be a Met fan. (Ralph's a great guy, but he's had some doozies over the years, including calling Darryl Strawberry "Darryl Throneberry" and "George Strawberry," and calling himself "Ralph Korner," and saying, "We'll be right back after this message from Manufacturer's Hangover" instead of calling the bank by its real name, "Manufacturer's Hanover.")

If you think Dom Perignon is a Mob leader... you might be a Met fan. (Hey, what would a Met fan know about champagne?)

(Along the same lines... )

If you think Sonny should've been the Don, and that Fredo was smart... you might be a Met fan. (That's Sonny Corleone, not Bono.)

If you think the four basic food groups are Kahn's hot dogs, peanuts, RC Cola and Dippin Dots... you might be a Met fan.

(Obviously, these aren't Foxworthy jokes.)

If you cried more over the Shea concession stand's switch from RC to Pepsi than you did over the Yadier Molina home run... you might be a Met fan.

If you hear "Dent" and instead of "Bucky" you think of the dent you made in the outside wall of Shea Stadium after one too many ballpark beers... you might be a Met fan.

If you bought Gillette Foamy shaving cream because Ed Kranepool did commercials for it... you might be a Met fan.

If you've ever seen "Network," and instead of yelling, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" you actually do yell, "Let's go Mets!"... you might be a Met fan. (The clip of Howard Beale asking his viewers to yell, "I'm as mad as hell... " is used on the Shea DiamondVision as a way of getting them to chant... you know... )

If you think Mike Lupica is a great writer and Filip Bondy is a blowhard... you might be a Met fan.

If you say Gil Hodges belongs in the Hall of Fame, and someone says, "Yes, after all, he was such a great first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers," and you say, "Wait a minute: You mean the Dodgers used to play in Brooklyn?"... you might be a Met fan.


And my favorite... One I made up all by myself...

A Met fan, a Red Sox fan, and an Orioles fan are drinking together at a bar. The Orioles fan says, "I'm sick of the Yankees winning! I'm really sick of hearing 40,000 Yankee Fans coming into Camden Yards and taking over our ballpark! That's it! I can't take it anymore! I'm going back home to Baltimore, and I'm gonna jump off the Francis Scott Key Bridge!"

The Red Sox fan says, "You think you've got it bad? You weren't tormented by Yankee Fans for 86 years! Even after we finally won two World Series, they tell us we'll never catch up! Bucky Dent! Aaron Boone! Nettles wrecking Lee's shoulder! Boggs and Clemens going to the Yankees for rings! While Yaz and Ted had none! That's it! I can't take it anymore! I'm going back home to Boston, and I'm gonna jump off the Prudential Building!"

The Met fan says, "You think you've got it bad? At least you never lost a World Series to those guys! At least you don't have to live in the same city with them! At least you don't have to hear, every damn day, about 26 World Championships and Ruth and Gehrig and DiMaggio and Mantle and Reggie and Donnie Baseball and Derek Jeter and A-Rod! Monuments! Pennants! Hall-of-Famers! Dwight Gooden and David Cone pitching no-hitters with them! And Joe Torre winning World Series! For them! It never ends! That's it! I can't take it anymore! I'm going back home to New York... and I'm gonna jump off the Lincoln Tunnel!"

Like I said, I don't wanna say Met fans are dumb... Yeah, I do! Met fans are dumb!

Hey, Keith Hernandez: Nice game, pretty boy! Now how about going off the Rusty Staub diet?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Trying to Fill the Super Bowl-to-Opening Day Gap

Somebody once asked Paul Gallico, one of the great sportswriters of all time, who moved on to novels (including The Poseidon Adventure), why he quit writing sports. His answer was "February."

This was in the days when basketball was considered a minor sport, hockey was considered a Canadian sport, horse racing (though much, much bigger then than now) was restricted by weather to Florida and Southern California, and there just weren't enough major prizefights to fill the gap between the end of football season (then on New Year's Day, since the NFL Championship Game was usually around Christmas in those pre-Super Bowl, pre-Sammy Baugh years, and besides the college game was still bigger anyway) and the start of baseball season. There was no "March Madness" at the time.

But as basketball has never been my game, and the hockey season is in a bit of a lull, and pitchers and catchers haven't yet reported, let me get a few thoughts off my chest (there's a mixed metaphor) to fill the Super Bowl-to-Opening Day gap.

* Even if Roger Clemens is guilty, it neither invalidates the 1996-2003 era of Yankee greatness nor "vindicates" Brian McNamee. All it means is that two of them are scum, rather than one. And we still await the proof that McNamee claims to have handed over.

(Update: That "proof" was later found wanting, and Clemens was acquitted.)

* Curt Schilling is hurt. Maybe out for the year. May never even pitch again. Wow, if you bet me that Pedro Martinez would still be pitching after Curt Schilling's last game, I would have taken that bet. But not now.

(Update: Schilling did, indeed, retire. Pedro pitched another 2 seasons.)

* Pedro at a cockfight. In the Dominican Republic, it's legal and, according to Pedro, "part of the culture."

Now, I don't want to cast aspersions on a nation that has given wonderful people to America, including many fantastic baseball players, but... in the Southeastern U.S., dogfighting is often defended as "part of the culture."

Now, we can't say Pedro has been living in a cave since the Michael Vick case hit the airwaves, since the video is apparently from 2004, 3 years before the horrifying Virginia dogfighting case directly involving Vick. Still, it doesn't make the Fenway Punk look all that good.

* I really thought the Devils were gonna have a better season in their first year at the Prudential Center. Certainly, coming into Newark hasn't put the fear of God -- or the fear of any kind of Devil -- into opposing teams. I guess that's the downside -- the only one -- of the city's comeback from 40 years in the urban wilderness.

But then, the Devils got off to a similarly ordinary start in the 1994-95 season, and went on to win the Stanley Cup. Maybe it's time for Lou Lamoriello to pull off a trade like he did around this time of year then with Neal Broten.

Or maybe he'll just fire coach Brent Sutter and find someone else. I might support that, because Sutter just hasn't been doing the job in my opinion.

On Saturday night, they beat the Carolina Hurricanes, 6-1. A good team. The team that beat them in the 2006 Playoffs and then went on to win the Stanley Cup. The team that, if the current standings hold to the end of the regular season, the Devils will play in the first round of the Playoffs. And at the end of what should have been a real confidence booster, Sutter didn't even smile. What's with this guy?

* Mike Teel, a good O-line, and several good receivers are back, but with no Ray Rice (or Brian Leonard for that matter), what kind of offense is Rutgers going to have in 2008? Hopefully, coach Greg Schiano will find a good back to help "Keep Choppin' Away."

(Update: Rutgers lost 5 of its first 6, but won its last 6 to become bowl-eligible, and won their bowl, and finished 8-5. Teel was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in 2009, but never played a down in the NFL. He became an assistant coach at Rutgers after Schiano moved on and was replaced by Kyle Flood.)

* Is it still all right to root for a New Jerseyan the Nets, who have now been a lame-duck franchise for as long as the Montreal Expos were?

* Kudos to those few fans I've seen still wearing Jets stuff since the Giants beat the 18-1 * Patriots in the Super Bowl. You didn't have a very good team this year, but you've got guts, and you've got loyalty. Hopefully, you'll have a healthy team next year, who can put together a good run. As the Giants proved, once you make the Playoffs, anything can happen.

* Johan Santana has never pitched with New York-style pressure. He won't be the answer any more than Tom Glavine was, or Pedro (so far) has, or Carlos Beltran (so far) has, or Carlos Delgado (I think we can now put him in past tense) was.

* Pitchers and catchers report in three days. Hard to believe, especially with that sideways snow that was blown across the sun yesterday. That's the freakiest weather I've ever seen, here in Central Jersey or anywhere. Opening Day in 7 weeks.

* Just 81 more games at the only Yankee Stadium we ever needed. Plus, we hope, postseason games. The only way to close the Stadium out is to win the World Series in the final game.

Anything less than Title 27 as we say goodbye to the greatest sports building ever is unacceptable.

(Update: It didn't happen.)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Cheating Doth Never Prosper: Take THAT, New England!

Cheating doth never prosper.
Why do I give this bleating?
For it to prosper
none dare call it CHEATING!

That game was so intense it literally gave me a headache. But it was worth it. The perfect season * did not happen. Food and drinks to have while watching the game: $15. Bottle of Aleve for the headache: $8. The look on Peyton Manning's face when little brother Eli "cut that meat": Priceless.

No matter what either Manning brother ever does, that near-sack and pass to David Tyree will live forever. A "signature play" not just for one guy (well, two, you gotta count Tyree) but for an entire era of Bigbluedom.

I can imagine the talk at Chez Manning back in New Orleans:

Peyton: "Eli, I won a ring first."

Eli: "Peyton, you won one for Indianapolis. I won one for New York."

Peyton: "Eli, East Rutherford is not in New York."

Eli: "Peyton, It's a lot closer to New York than Indy is to Chicago, or anything else for that matter."

Peyton: "Eli, I had to play in bad weather in the Super Bowl."

Eli: "Peyton, you had to out-quarterback Rex Grossman. I had to beat Tom Brady and the undefeated Patriots."

Peyton: "Uh... Eli, I make more commercials than you do."

Eli: "Peyton, I just won a Super Bowl for a New York team. The commercials are coming."


To the Giants: New York thanks you, New Jersey thanks you, everybody outside New England thanks you, everybody who abhors cheating thanks you.

Too bad ESPN cancelled The Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame... I'd love to see their reasons why we can't blame the Pats for losing to the Giants. Here's my Reason Number 1: "The Giants were better." The Pats won by 3 points at Foxboro -- and home field is traditionally considered a 3-point advantage. The Giants won by 3 at a neutral site.

You know whose birthday it was yesterday? Dr. Henry Heimlich, originator of the anti-choking maneuver that bears his name. He's 88. Oh, if only he were a New Englander, it would explain so much. No such luck: He's from Wilmington, Delaware, Philly-teams territory. (Though plenty of chokes have come from those teams.) And he went to Cornell, in Ithaca, New York, which is theoretically in the realm of New York City teams. But perhaps he can reopen his office at 4 Yawkey Way, Boston, MA 02215. (I'll still think of it as "24 Jersey St.")

Yes, we Yankee Fans can be obnoxious. Winning it all 26 times can do that. But these Patriot fans? Where were they when all they had to their name was a bad Super Bowl loss to the Bears and the sex-harrassment case against Lisa Olson? (Who, wisely, got out of New England and away from Rupert Murdoch's Boston Herald, and now does a fine job writing for the New York Daily News.) When they were stuck in an oversized high school stadium closer to Providence than to Boston? When the most popular football team in town was Boston College, and the second-most popular was Notre Dame? (Which, of course, is nowhere near Boston.)

A lot of these people won't be caught dead in Foxboro in four years when Tom Brady, his floozy of the year, and a cast of cast-offs, has-beens, never-wases and you-paid-six-point-five-million-for-who goes 5-11 for some coach that Bill Belichick, wherever he is at that point, thinks isn't good enough to cheat against.

(UPDATE: It took Belichick and Brady 7 years to win another Super Bowl. And they found a new way to cheat.)

The Patriots of 2001-present are a fad. And since we now know they cheated, and may have been cheating all along (as is now being alleged), we can dismiss the whole era.

After the Pats won their first Super Bowl, they had a rally at Boston's City Hall. And Larry Izzo, a mere special-teamer, held up the Vince Lombardi Trophy and started a "Yankees suck!" chant. This was February 2002, before Aaron Boone, and before anybody outside of Minnesota and the Dominican Republic ever heard of David Ortiz.

I can recall the Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy saying afterwards, "I guarantee you, if the Giants win the Super Bowl, you won't hear anybody chanting, 'Boston sucks!'" Time to see if he's right.

(UPDATE: He was wrong.)

I see that Mayor Bloomberg -- Massachusetts Mike -- is giving the Giants a parade for their Super Bowl win. That's something Ed, uh, Koch wouldn't, uh, do. Remember what he called the Giants before Super Bowl XXI? "This foreign team." Because they played in New Jersey.

Here's an idea: After they leave City Hall in Lower Manhattan, let's restart the motorcade, put 'em through the Holland Tunnel (they should be out the Jersey City end by the time rush hour starts), take 'em onto the Pulaski Skyway over the Turnpike, and take 'em down Newark's Broad Street, and have another celebration at that City Hall. Then get on the McCarter Highway and have one final celebration, the biggest tailgate party the Meadowlands has ever seen. How about it, Mayor Bloomberg? Mayor Booker? Governor Corzine?

That takes care of the Cheatriots. The Bruins aren't going anywhere. The Celtics are next. And where have their fans been since the Hick from French Lick retired? Suddenly, they're talking trash again. It won't be the Knicks who beat them, and almost certainly not the Nets, either, but they will go down hard. Then... Bring on the Fenway Chowdaheads.