Monday, August 31, 2020
Saturday, August 29, 2020
But the metropolitan area has just 1.27 million people, making it the smallest metro area in the NFL, ahead of only Buffalo (if Green Bay is included with Milwaukee and Niagara Falls is included with Buffalo). And the poverty issue, so pervasive before the hurricane, is worse. And crime is definitely an issue.
In 1940, the city was 70 percent white. As late as 1970, 51 percent. By 1990, it was 62 percent black, and the proportions are roughly the same today: 61 percent black, 31 percent white, 5 percent Hispanic and 3 percent Asian. The further east you go, the greater the black percentage; the further west, the more white.
Friday, August 28, 2020
A week ago, the Yankees and their fans were on an emotional high after sweeping the Boston Red Sox 4 straight.
Then they dropped 3 straight at home to the Tampa Bay Rays, making it 6 losses in our last 7 games against them. Then we had to postpone the interleague Citi Series/Subway Derby with the Mets, due to COVID-19 restrictions. Then we lost 2 games against the Atlanta Braves, including Gerrit Cole's 20-game winning streak coming to an end, scoring just 2 runs in the process.
Now, we have to face the Mets 5 times in the next 3 days, without sending either Cole or Masahiro Tanaka out there. Or any other good starting pitcher, for that matter, because of our injuries and suspensions.
We were in 1st place in the American League Eastern Division. Now, we're 2 1/2 games behind the Rays, although we're dead even with them in the all-important loss column.
There are 28 games left in this most irregular of regular seasons, assuming we play at all, between the restrictions and the boycotts due to racist white cops shooting unarmed black suspects.
The Yankees aren't physically ready to play these games, given all their injuries. I don't know if they're mentally ready to play these games, given that, thanks to the acquisitions and other maneuvers of Brian Cashman, Yankees don't seem to have what former Arsenal manager manager Arsène Wenger called "the mental strength."
Plus, for the last 4 days, we've had to listen to Donald Trump and his lackeys tell lie after bigoted lie on national television. That's enough to sap anybody's mental strength.
Anybody really ready for baseball at this point?
Lute Olson died yesterday, from complications of a series of strokes, at the age of 85. Born on September 22, 1934 in Mayville, North Dakota as Robert Luther Olson, he was only the 2nd-greatest basketball coach to come from North Dakota, behind Phil Jackson. But he was the best one at the college level.
A graduate of Augsburg College, an NCAA Division III school in Minneapolis, the closest big city to the Dakotas, he wasn't drafted by an NBA team. So he went right into coaching, at high schools, from 1956 to 1969.
In 1969, he became the head coach at Long Beach City College outside Los Angeles. In 1973, he was hired by nearby California State University, Long Beach (usually listed as "Long Beach State" for sports purposes). After just 1 season there, winning the 1974 Pacific Coast Athletic Association title, he was hired by the University of Iowa. He took the Hawkeyes to the 1979 Big Ten Conference regular-season title, and to the NCAA Final Four in 1980. He remains the best basketball coach the school has ever had.
Which is saying something about his abilities, because that's not the school he's best remembered for. In 1983, he was hired by the University of Arizona. He led them to the Pacific-10 (now Pacific-12) Conference regular-season title in 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2005. He won the Pac-10 Tournament in 1988, 1989, 1990 and 2002 -- meaning he won both, what English soccer fans would call "The Double," in 1988, 1989 and 1990, 3 straight seasons.
He got the school to its 1st Final Four in 1988, marking the 1st time any school from the State of Arizona had made it. He did it again in 1994, and again in 1997, winning the National Championship. His Wildcats defeated the Kentucky Wildcats in the Final, stopping them from winning 3 straight National Championships. He got Arizona to another Final Four in 2001. He also coached the U.S. national team, still all-amateur back then, to the 1986 FIBA World Championship.
He retired due to health issues after the 2008 season, with a career record of 781-280. Overall, he won 13 Conference Championships, 4 Conference Tournaments, and 8 league and 2 national Coach of the Year awards. He was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame. In 2001, his wife Bobbi, formerly Roberta Russell, died of cancer, and the playing surface at Arizona's arena, the McKale Center, is named the Lute and Bobbi Olson Court. A statue of Lute stands outside the arena.
Lute and Bobbi had 5 children. After she died, Lute married twice more. His daughter Jody Brase is a high school principal. Her son Matt Brase played for his grandfather at Arizona, then became an assistant coach at the school, and is now an assistant with the Houston Rockets. Jody's daughter Julie Hairgrove played for the Arizona women's team, and is now an assistant with the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury.
Days until Rutgers University plays football again: Unknown. They were supposed to kick off the 2020 season on September 5. Then the Big Ten Conference canceled all nonconference games, pushing the season opener ahead to September 26. Then they canceled all Fall sports, with the hope of playing the 2020 football season in the Spring. Who knows.
Days until the next Rutgers-Penn State football game: Unknown. It was supposed to be the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, November 28.
Days until East Brunswick High School plays football again: Unknown. They were supposed to kick off the 2020 season on September 3. Then it got pushed back to October 2. Now, nobody knows.
Days until the next East Brunswick-Old Bridge football game: See the previous answer. The Big Green's season opener was supposed to be against the Purple Bastards.
Days until the next U.S. national soccer team game: Unknown. Currently, neither the men's nor the women's team has any matches scheduled.
Days until Arsenal play again: 1, tomorrow, at 11:30 AM New York time, in the Community Shield, English soccer's annual season-opening exhibition game at the national stadium, the new Wembley Stadium in West London, between the winners of the previous season's FA Cup, in this case Arsenal; and the winners of the previous season's Premier League title, in this case Liverpool.
Days until the New York Red Bulls play again: 1, tomorrow night at 8:00, against the New England Revolution, at the MLS "bubble" outside Orlando.
Days until the Red Bulls play another "derby" game: See the previous answer.
Days until the next Yankees-Red Sox series begins: 3, this Monday night, at Fenway Park.
Days until the 1st Presidential Debate: 32, on Tuesday night, September 29, in Cleveland. Joe Biden and Donald Trump will also debate on Thursday night, October 15, in Miami; and on Thursday night, October 22, in Nashville. If, that is, the cowardly Trump shows up.
Days until the 2020 Presidential election: 67, on Tuesday, November 3. Under 10 weeks. As the old saying goes, and it really is true this time, "This time, vote like your life depended on it."
Days until the New Jersey Devils play again: Unknown, as the NHL hasn't yet made out its 2020-21 season schedule. That's understandable, given all the uncertainty with trying to wrap up the 2019-20 season. Last I heard, the League was talking about starting next season on or around December 1. If that is the date, then it's 95 days, or a little over 3 months.
Days until the Devils play another local rival: Unknown, although it's unlikely that their 1st game of the season, or even their 1st home game, will be against a traditional rival.
Days until the next North London Derby: 99, on Saturday, December 5, at 10:00 AM New York time, at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in North London. This game will likely be moved, either to another time that day, or to the next day, or maybe to the Monday night, for TV and ratings purposes.
Days until a new Congress convenes, hopefully fully Democratic: 129, on Monday, January 4, 2021. A little over 4 months. Ordinarily, it would be January 3, but that's a Sunday next year.
Days until the next Presidential Inauguration: 145, on Wednesday, January 20, 2021. Under 5 months. Liberation Day.
Days until the COVID-delayed Euro 2020 opens in Paris: 287, on June 11, 2021. Under 10 months.
Days until the COVID-delayed 2020 Olympics open in Tokyo, Japan: 310, on July 4, 2021. A little over 10 months.
Days until Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz become eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame: 501, on January 11, 2022. Under 17 months until we find out whether lying about having been caught taking steroids, as Big Papi did, is better than telling the truth about it, as A-Rod did.
Days until the next Winter Olympics open in Beijing, China: 525, on February 4, 2022. A little over 17 months.
Days until the next World Cup opens in Qatar: 815, on November 21, 2022. Under 27 months.
Days until the next Women's World Cup opens, a joint hosting by Australia and New Zealand: 1,046, on July 10, 2023. A little over 34 months.
I have a dream that, one day, even the state of Mississippi, a State sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
August 25, 1944: The Allies liberate Paris, the capital of France, ending the Nazi occupation after 4 years and 2 months. It is no longer a question of if the Nazis will lose World War II, but when.
Major League Baseball scores on this historic day, a Friday:
* The New York Yankees beat the Washington Senators, 4-2 in 11 innings at Griffith Stadium in Washington.
* The New York Giants beat the Brooklyn Dodgers, 10-2 at the Polo Grounds in Manhattan.
* A doubleheader was played at Shibe Park (later renamed Connie Mack Stadium) in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Athletics swept the Boston Red Sox, winning the 1st game 6-1, and the 2nd game 9-4.
* A doubleheader was played at Braves Field in Boston. The Philadelphia Phillies won the 1st game, 9-7. The Boston Braves won the 2nd game, 4-3.
* The Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago White Sox, 10-2 at Cleveland Municipal Stadium.
* The Detroit Tigers beat the St. Louis Browns, 1-0 at Briggs Stadium (later renamed Tiger Stadium) in Detroit.
* The Cincinnati Reds beat the Chicago Cubs, 2-0 at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
* And the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 4-0 at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis.
Sunday, August 23, 2020
To paraphrase Billy Joel, himself a Yankee Fan:
In the space of less than 3 full days, the Yankees went from the Mountains of Faith to the Valley of Fear, the Jungle of Doubt, and, especially (given comments by alleged Yankee Fans on social media) the Desert of Truth.
We were on such a high after sweeping the Boston Red Sox 4 straight. Then we lost 3 straight to the Tampa Bay Rays, a team that shouldn't even exist.
I'll spare you the details of things like losing pitchers, blown leads, failed comebacks, et al. Suffice it to say that none of these losses should have happened.
Injuries is no excuse. I don't care if we're down to the Scranton lineup: The New York Yankees should be able to win at least 1 game of a home series against the Tampa Bay Rays.
This as followed by the next series, against the Mets, being postponed because Met players had tested positive for COVID-19. For once, it looks like the Yankees and their fans who benefited more from the postponement.
Officially, the Yankees are still in 1st place in the American League Eastern Division -- tied with the Rays, but, having played fewer games, a game ahead of them in the all-important loss column.
But this makes 6 out of 7 recent games against them lost.
Because general manager Brian Cashman has assembled a roster incapable of beating the Rays.
I saw some Yankee Fans blaming field manager Aaron Boone for it. I saw one Twitterer write, "It's over. The Boone love affair from "savages in the box" is over. Fun while it lasted."
We will always love Boone, because of one swing of the bat in 2003.
But it has become obvious that he is not the actual manager of the New York Yankees. He is merely the press secretary for the real manager, Cashman. Boone is there to take the hard questions as to why the Yankees aren't winning, so Cashman doesn't have to.
Cashman gets to take the praise from making the transactions that look like they will build a World Champion. Boone has to take the bullets for when they don't.
Joe Girardi got tired of being treated like this, and when his contract ran out, he wasn't given a new one. Now, he is the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, and is probably the one man for whom facing the Philadelphia media must feel like a piece of cake.
It seems like every player on the Yankees is either injured, or a gutless wonder, or both.
Brian Cashman built this team, but he didn't build this team on rock and roll.
Meanwhile, Didi Gregorius is batting .299.
Until the Yankees fire Cashman from all roles within the organization, they will not win a Pennant.
He is to the Yankees what Jeff Wilpon is to the Mets, and what James Dolan is to the Knicks and the Rangers. You know the old saying, "The (Name of Team) is just one man away from a title"? For the Yankees, that one man is Brian Cashman.
There are idiots on Facebook pages who tell me Cashman is the best GM in baseball; that, if the Yankees fired him, any other team would hire him immediately.
Based on what? His record? Not his recent record. 10 years of failure. He has won nothing without George Steinbrenner's money and Gene Michael's players. He gets no credit for the World Series wins of 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009; and the Pennants won, but World Series lost, of 2001 and 2003.
They tell me he's built a team that puts the Yankees in position to win every year. But they don't win, any year. This is the New York Yankees. This is not the New York Mets, who infamously had owner Fred Wilpon say the goal was "playing meaningful games in September." This is not the Atlanta Braves, for whom winning the Division is enough -- and there's only been 3 Division titles in those 10 years.
Here's his record since George Steinbrenner died on July 10, 2010:
* Lost the AL Championship Series in 2010, 2012, 2017 and 2019.
* Lost the AL Division Series in 2011 and 2018.
* Lost the AL Wild Card Game in 2015.
* Missed the Playoffs completely in 2013, 2014 and 2016.
* The Houston Astros won 2 Pennants, including their 1st-ever World Championship, thanks to a trade Cashman made (and some cheating).
* The Chicago Cubs won their 1st World Series in 108 years, and their 1st Pennant in 71 years, thanks to a trade Cashman made.
* The Cleveland Indians won a Pennant, only the 6th in their 116-year history, thanks to a trade Cashman made.
* The Texas Rangers won their 1st 2 Pennants, partly due to beating the Yankees thanks to Cashman's obsession with bringing in a "lefty one out guy"; and won another Division title thanks to a trade Cashman made.
* The San Francisco Giants won 3 World Series, including their 1st in 46 years, their 1st since moving from New York.
* The Kansas City Royals won their 1st Pennant in 29 years, and the next year, their 1st World Series in 30 years.
* The Los Angeles Dodgers won their 1st Pennant in 29 years, and then another.
* The Washington Nationals won the 1st Pennant and World Series in the franchise's 51-year history, the 1st Pennant for a Washington team in 86 years, and the 1st World Championship for a Washington team in 95 years.
* The Boston Red Sox have cheated their way to 2 more World Championships. Since 2000, they are 4-0 in the World Series; the Yankees, 1-2.
* And even the New York Mets have won a Pennant more recently.
How does Cashman's record look now?
Here's another question the Cashman fanboys refuse to answer:
How many more years of failure are you willing to accept? How many more years of not winning the Pennant is acceptable to you?
One more year?
Twenty years? Are you still going to be on social media in 2040, telling Yankee Fans not yet born, "Give Cashman a chance, he knows what he's doing" when he hasn't won so much as a Pennant since 2009?
Today is August 23, 2020. At this point, supporting Brian Cashman is like supporting Donald Trump: We have to ask you the question, "What the hell is wrong with you?"
Friday, August 21, 2020
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
Last night, I saw some Yankee Fans online saying that it's not as much fun beating the Boston Red Sox when they're a bad team.
They're so wrong. (How wrong are they?) It's always good to beat the Red Sox. The Scum will always be The Scum.
Jordan Montgomery started for the Yankees, and took a no-hitter into the 4th inning. He was boosted by a 2-out rally in the 2nd. Martin Perez, the Boston starter, hit Tyler Wade with a pitch. This was not the usual Red Sox "Let's hit the Yankees on purpose and try to injure them, because we know we can get away with it" maneuver. Aaron Hicks doubled Wade home, and then Luke Voit crushed a home run.
The Sox pulled a run back in the top of the 4th, but Thairo Estrada canceled that out by leading off the bottom of the 4th with a home run. Voit led off the bottom of the 5th with another homer. The Sox scored again in the 6th, but the Yanks got another leadoff homer in the 7th, from Hicks.
Aroldis Chapman, fully recovered from COVID-19, and wearing short sleeves that showed he'd really been working out, made his season debut, and it was a typical Chapman inning: Impressive in some moments, shaky in others. He got Alex Verdugo to line out, ut allows a triple to Jose Peraza, and an RBI double to Jonathan Arauz. Then he bore down, and struck Kevin Pillar and Rafael Devers out to end it.
Yankees 6, Red Sox 3. WP: Mike King (1-1, his 1st major league win). No save, because Chapman came in with a 4-run lead. LP: Perez (2-3).
So we swept the Red Sox. That's always good. Especially when it's 4 straight, instead of the usual 3. In fact, it's our 10th straight win against them, going back to last season. The team record is 12 straight wins over the Red Sox, which happened in 1952 and '53.
Tonight, the Yankees begin a home series against the Tampa Bay Rays. Masahiro Tanaka starts against Blake Snell.
Monday, August 17, 2020
In the 1st 2 games of this home series against the Auld Enemy, the Yankee bats unloaded on the Boston Red Sox. In last night's game, the Yankees didn't score big.
And, with J.A. Happ on the mound to start, that was not encouraging.
Fortunately, Happ pitched like the pitcher we thought we were getting.in 2018. He pitched 5 2/3rds innings, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits and 2 walks, striking out 3. The 1 run he allowed was a home run in the top of the 3rd, by Kevin Pillar, not to be confused with former Red Sock pain in the ass Kevin Millar.
In the bottom of the 1st inning, the Yankees got singles by Gio Urshela, Mike Tauchman and Mike Ford to go up 1-0. Cliche Alert: Walks can kill you, especially the leadoff variety. And Brett Gardner led off the 2nd inning with a walk, and was doubled home by Aaron Hicks.
Pillar's homer made it 2-1 Yankees, but the Yankees struck back in the bottom of the inning, on singles by Tauchman and Gleyber Torres, and a home run by Ford.
Adam Ottavino pitched decently in relief, and Chad Green lowered his ERA to 0.77, proving that he's a middle reliever, not an "opener," as he was used last year. More Brian Cashman stupidity exposed. Zack Britton was shaky in the 9th, allowing a run thanks to a double, a wild pitch and an error, but he finished the Sox off.
Yankees 4, Red Sox 2. WP: Happ (1-1). SV: Britton (8). LP: Chris Mazza (0-1).
Today, the Yankees reinstated Aroldis Chapman, fully recovered from COVID-19, from the Injured List, and designated David Hale for assignment.
The series concludes tonight. Jordan Montgomery pitches to help us get the sweep, and Martin Perez will try to give the Boston bats the chance to avoid it. Come on you Pinstripes!
Sunday, August 16, 2020