Archive for the ‘Yankees’ Category

Home is where the baseball is

September 18, 2007

(From The Spin)

It was just about a year ago that I started to feel homesick.

I was studying abroad in London, a whopping 3,500 miles from New York. But it wasn’t the distance that made me long for home. It wasn’t England’s funny currency, or the funny way English people talked. It wasn’t even their funny way of driving on the wrong side of the street.

It was baseball.

See, the UK follows baseball like we follow Buzkashi. People just didn’t care.

Sure, there were some options. I could Skype a friend and have him give me a play-by-play, but my friend was no John Sterling. I could go to the one sports bar that claimed to show baseball games, but thanks to the time difference it closed before most games even started.

So I settled for my only other option: I bought MLB.tv, baseball’s expensive and buggy online service.

In theory, MLB.tv gave my laptop live access to all games. But in practice, it only gave me access to a frozen image of A-Rod striking out and a never-changing caption that read “Buffering… 5%.” Trying to get MLB.tv to work was the nadir of my study-abroad experience, and probably my life. I still have nightmares.

So it’s kind of a downer that now, only about 100 miles from Yankees Stadium, I’m having the same frustrating experience. Baseball fans know that these two weeks are the most important in the entire season – whether your team makes it to the playoffs or not gets decided in the next dozen or so games. And baseball fans who aren’t “phans” know that practically none of these games will get televised. For Yankees faithful, a game against the Devil Rays is just as crucial as one against the Red Sox. Unfortunately, Philadelphia cable providers don’t feel the same way.

But there’s some hope. The Fox & Hound, located at 1501 Spruce Street, is a sports bar chain that prides itself in showing “national, regional and local sporting and other televised events.” Does that include Yankees games? “Oh yeah,” said a perky F&H employee. “I feel like whenever I’m here the Yankees are on. We definitely have a package or something.”

And if you want to stay on campus, College Sophomore Adam Mandelsberg insists that MLB.tv is reliable: “It freezes up sometimes, but AirPennNet has pretty good reception.” All I know is you want to stay away from it if you’re a Mac user.

As a last resort, Yankees fans can fashion a tinfoil antenna/helmet, go to the rooftop lounge of High Rise South, tune into 880 AM, and face whichever direction the Yanks are playing.

Through all that hissing static, you might just hear a little piece of home.

Death of Phil Rizzuto

August 14, 2007

I was about 9 years old when my grandfather gave me a baseball signed by Phil Rizzuto, some old guy who I hadn’t really heard of. Gramps had met “Scooter” at a charity golf tournament and, jokingly, asked him to sign a baseball for his grandfather. I guess he was looking for a laugh, but apparently Rizzuto didn’t get it, and just asked, “Sure thing! What’s your grandfather’s name?” Joke having sailed way over Scooter’s head, my 65 year-old Gramps dutifully responded, “Nick,” and so I got my ball.

rizzuto.jpg

I’d come to learn that this wasn’t Rizzuto’s only oblivious moment. During his Hall of Fame induction speech, he mentioned that he thought New Guinea was full of Italians. When keeping score during games, he coined the notation “WW” for plays where he wasn’t watching. Scooter’s scorecards must have been brimming with WWs, because some guys were able to make a poetry collection out of all his in-game musings. A few examples:

Two balls and a strike. You know what they had on TV today, White? “Bridge on the River Kwai.” Everybody should have gotten an Academy Award for that movie. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen it. About forty times. Alec Guinness! William Holden! Three and one the count. I just heard somebody whistle. You know that song? That’s what they whistle. Nobody out. And he pops it up.

Or,

The legs are so important.
In golf, they’re very,
People don’t realize
How important legs are in golf,
Or in baseball,
And football, definitely.
Track.
O, in track.
All-important.
Jumping.
Soccer.
Is there anything, what?
Is there anything where the legs
Are not the most important?

This guy was like Yogi Berra, minus the hidden insight. And like Berra, he’ll probably be remembered not for his on-field brilliance but for his off-the-field quirkiness. Not that I have a problem with that — it probably makes my ball more valuable. I’m accepting offers now at alphazeromail@gmail.com.