Happy Birthday & Happy Re-Birth?
I must start out this latest edition of The Blob by wishing my sister, Jeanne, a very Happy Birthday. She’s turning 29 … AGAIN! Um, well, she’s actually celebrating an anniversary of her 29th birthday, let’s just leave it at that!
And here’s something I bet she never thought she’d get for her birthday: a correlation between her and Yankees pitcher Javier Vazquez. It was either I get her that or a new car, and gosh darn it, wouldn’t ya know, I had the PERFECT car picked out, but it didn’t have the PERFECT kind of cup holders I was looking for, so Jeanne gets what’s behind Door #2!
So the correlation between the two, in case you are wondering, is that they are front-page news in this particular Blob. But more than that, while Jeanne celebrates a birthday, it is my hope that, when Javier makes his next start, it’s the beginning of something good. So good, in fact, that he gets the chance to party like my sister! (And that girl knows how to paaar-tay!)
The news came down today that the Yankees will skip Javy’s scheduled start in Boston on Friday and push his next start to Monday vs. Detroit. People wonder aloud, especially on sports talk radio if this will forever crush Vazquez’s pride and spirit and confidence and ability and…whatever. That’s what I say…whatever.
First of all, it’s good to know that we all got our degrees in Dime Store Psychology from different schools. I didn’t realize so many fine institutions had those. But seriously, put yourself in his place. If your boss walked up to you and said, “Hey, we’re gonna give you a quick break, get your mind right and put you right back in there, we’re not gonna stop using you or make you disappear, just give you a chance to get yourself right” … wouldn’t you be more appreciative than crushed?
Now, it’s an entirely different story if they just removed Vazquez from the rotation and banished him to slop-duty in the bullpen, but that’s not the case. Even Al Leiter, during one of the weekend broadcasts, said he wouldn’t take offense to that if his team told him to sit one out to fix some things.
What I wonder is this: Delete the name Javier Vazquez from the No. 4 spot in the Yankees’ rotation and add the name Joba Chamberlain. If Joba were off to the same start, would people be clamoring for his removal and exile? In fact, if it were just about any other pitcher in the Majors?! But just because it’s Javier Vazquez, he gets NO fan support.
Here’s MY dime store psychology: I wish we lived in a world where we actually gave somebody a chance. Remember when new TV shows got at least 10-15 episodes for fans to warm up to them? Now, it’s one or two episodes before execs pull the plug, or they get such bad reviews from test audiences that they NEVER MAKE IT to air.
Same concept for Javy now. Five starts in, he’s 1-3, and people have given up on him. I find it remarkable that EVERYONE remembers his 4-5, 6.92 ERA second half in 2004 with the Yankees, but conveniently FORGET his 10-5, 3.56 ERA in the first half, which got him to the All-Star Game.
Bottom line, I’m not sugar-coating Javier’s start to the season. He’s got the ability to be far better than he is right now. But just give him a chance to breathe before jumping down his throat. Don’t let 5 starts make you stop rooting for a guy that’s on YOUR TEAM — let me repeat that, YOUR TEAM. Support all 25, not 24. That makes no sense.
And BELIEVE. His consistent numbers through the years are proof that folks should all believe in him more, and if fans do that, maybe Javy will start to believe in himself more.
And if THAT happens, maybe we’ll ALL be partying like my sister Jeanne is tonight!
(And tonight…and the next day…and…)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JEANNE & HAPPY RE-BIRTH JAVIER!
Bleary Bay Business
West Coast road trips are always interesting to work…and when I say “interesting”, I’m just being nice. I don’t mind ’em as much as most folks, I guess, because I’m kind of a night owl. But I must say that the prospect of a rain-delayed 6-hour game doesn’t exactly appeal to me!
For those of you who have ever spent an extended amount of time out West, you know that the world of sports appears vastly different out there…what I mean by that is that we are used to 7:00pm games when the Yankees are home. But when you live out West, that’s 4:00pm! The Yankees’ game is in the books, on average, by 7:00 or 7:30 every night…you can watch the game early then go out…dinner, cocktails, whatever.
My first TV job out of college was in Eureka, CA, and doing the sports at around 6:20pm every night, I’d always show Yankees hilights in progress. Then, on the 11:00pm news, I’d show the Giants and A’s hilights.
But the best part of the night was our post-11pm show routine. Our studio featured a small set built into what was essentially a large steel shed building…(funny side note: during heavy rains in our area of coastal Northern California, you could actually hear the rain hitting the roof of our building ON THE AIR! The sound was picked up through our microphones.)
Anyway, post-show, our director, technical director and one of our cameramen, and me, would stick around…move the cameras to their furthest point away from the set…and break out the wiffleball equipment! The beauty of our set was that, on the left side (left field) was a weather board made of plexiglass, on which (prehistoric) our weather person actually wrote the temperatures of different cities in black eraseable pen! Centerfield was the center of the set, behind where the news anchor sat…and rightfield was behind the right side of the desk, where I sat to do the sports.
We teamed up…2 on 2…and played some of the craziest games of Wiffleball ever…rocketing, and I mean absolutely ROCKETING, line drives off that plexiglass wall in left! Sometimes, we’d just keep playing and playing, look up at the clock and it was, like, 5:00am! Amazingly, we never broke anything, nor did we leave dents in any of the walls (that would have looked nice on-air!)…the bosses never knew about our WiffleMarathons.
You know how people say that, upon reflection, some of the best times you’ll ever have are times when you’re at a small place, just starting out, making horrible money? Well, it’s true. And I hope that, whoever reads this, no matter what you do, you make the most out of all your experiences and enjoy the heck out of them! I sure did!
Here’s a pop quiz for you as we watch an airtight game tied at 4…which analyst keeps a scorebook while watching the game? A) John Flaherty, B) Jack Curry, C) Both, D) Neither.
Text your vote to…no, wait…don’t text your vote…just replay to this Blob and I’ll have the answer for you during the finale of tomorrow’s 3-game series, when both guys rejoin me in the studio for the pregame…
Meanwhile, we’ll all be lookin’ for you on the postgame tonight!
Post dinner…Flash hasn’t even glanced at the chocolates. Instead, I saw him reach into his little secret zip-up dinner bag and grab a few almonds…unsalted…dessert of champions.
Sidebar to the candy on my table…around Valentine’s Day, I bought some of those little hearts with sayings on ’em and put ’em out…I think MAYBE 8 were eaten…the rest remain… almost 2 months later…now, I’m not real worried about whether they are still good or not, because those little things could probably survive nuclear war with all the sugar and stuff in ’em…but 2 months later? I really need to update my stock!
Jack got a good laugh out of his fake quote, then started digging into a little Chicken Milanese from CPK…
Flash wanted it to be known to all of mankind that, in the 4 1/2 hours he’s been here, he has not TOUCHED a single piece of chocolate on my coffee table…I responded by saying “let’s see how you do AFTER dinner.” That’s another update…but to reinforce his point, Flash added this…”I’m on P90X! You can’t break me!”…Whatever Dude.
“I can’t tell you how pleased I am that The Blob has returned. When the calendar changed to 2010, I immediately began hounding Bob to begin writing again. Having worked for the New York Times for 22 years, I’ve seen great writing…award-winning writing…but I consider the quality of writing in The Blob to be the kind of stuff that could, and I don’t think this is a stretch, change the course of history. It’s THAT good.”
– Jack Curry, in a quote he never actually made but one that Bob wrote just to pump up his own blog.
Wow, thanks Jack! Haha…as most of you know by now, I’ll do whatever is within my means, without completely embarrassing my co-workers, to make sure that The Blob comes to life and gets the attention it so richly deserves. I’m not sure if I can win a Pulitzer, but at the very least, I wouldn’t mind being recognized by an important institution…like perhaps, the folks who hand out Nobel Prizes…or maybe the American Opthamology Association…I’d even settle for getting slimed on the Kids Choice Awards.
Jack is actually sitting right in front of me, on the couch that’s to the right of my desk…he has no idea that I wrote what I wrote, but don’t worry…I’m gonna tell him. We’re watching the game with Flash (couch on the left) and studio director Mike Cooney, who’s opted for the right armrest on the couch on the left, for some reason….that can’t be comfy, can it? I mean, who sits on an armrest? Of course, it is a VERY comfy couch…a “sink into it, sleepy time” kinda couch. And as soon as I can find the doggone USB cable to connect my digital camera to my computer, I’ll take a picture and show it to you. Because, I mean, who DOESN’T want to see a picture of a couch…or sofa…or davenport…call it what you like.
OK, back to watching the game…I’ll let you know what Jack says when I tell him about his completely fake quote…
This Just In…
“Ladies and gentlemen, can I please have your attention. I’ve just been
handed an urgent and horrifying news story. I need all of you, to stop
what you’re doing and listen. Cannonball!”
Ahhhh yeah…I couldn’t resist bustin’ out of the gate with a little Anchorman reference!
While the Yankees were down in Tampa, practicing, taking numerous reps in the batting cage, etc….I was busy taking numerous reps flossing, grooming, and shellacking my TV hair… which can only mean one thing…The Blob is back!
With that in mind, the season-opener on YES is Sunday night…pregame at 7pm…Jack Curry joining me in studio…a full hour to set the table for Yankees-Red Sox…then postgame after, as always.
In fact, check out the YES Network sked Sunday from 3:30pm on…review last year’s championship season, then watch our 2010 season preview, followed by the 1st Joe Girardi Show of the spring, and then the Tri-State Ford Pregame!
I’ll either be wearing a hint of London Gentleman or Blackbeard’s Delight…haven’t decided yet. I’ll try to pass some of these tips along to Jack, though he was TV ready when he joined us.
Look forward to Blobbin’ with ya tomorrow!
Hello Blobbers! I realize it’s been a while since I’ve Blobbed…I’ve been taking a respite since the season ended, while converting my occasional musings to my Twitter account (where you can find incredible insight like what kind of burger I ordered from In ‘N Out…woo hoo!)
But Mark McGwire’s admission of steroid use compelled me back to the keyboard —
Look, right out of the gate, I’m happy he finally admitted it. I’m happy for fans, the game and for Mark…he’s a decent guy and shouldn’t have darts thrown at him his entire life…I imagine he feels a greater sense of relief today, after getting this dark secret out in the open.
However, what compels me to Blob is not the admission itself…I’m not here to pontificate on the evils of steroid use, nor am I going to wring my hands and say how it ruined the game….blah, blah, blah. What I don’t understand is this: why does it seem that with every mea culpa that comes out these days, from athletes to entertainers to politicians, they are always given with about 95% truth and conviction.
What I mean is, McGwire says he’s ashamed, apologizes, cleanses his soul…TERRIFIC…but he also says that he took it only for healing purposes and (get ready for the spin) that it never helped him hit a baseball. YEAH, WE ALL GET THAT! We have for years, ever since steroids came to light and we’ve all been educated/bombarded with detailed information of ‘roids and what they can do to one’s body.
But steroids DO increase your strength…maybe a little, maybe a lot…I rather doubt juiceheads at neighborhood gyms have, for decades, taken steroids NOT to get bigger or more muscular, but for healing purposes only….so I’ll put this in the simplest terms possible, so that any future athlete and their accompanying spin doctors can understand…
Yes, a player like Mark McGwire is blessed with “God given talent and abilities to hit a baseball”…and with “incredible hand/eye coordination”…BUT the non-steroid fly ball that travels 398-feet into the glove of an outfielder standing on the warning track, most likely flies 5 or 10 feet (or more) further coming off the bat of a steroid-enhanced hitter, enough so that maybe 20, 30 or even 50 such potential outs become homeruns instead. Steroids didn’t help you hit the ball. But it did help you hit it further.
I mean…I get that, you get that, a 5th-grader gets that! So, do us all a favor…steroid-using athletes of the past, present and future…stop insulting our intelligence. You’re using your great ability and talent to try and mask the obvious, and all that does is add a gray, murky area to what should have been 100% cleansing absolution.
In that regard, I give Alex Rodriguez credit for his 2009 Spring Training admission of using performance-enhancing drugs. He came clean, moved forward and found peace…and along the way, he re-discovered his love for the game.
As for McGwire, he’s going to be left to answer questions that come from the gray, murky area he failed to clean up…and those questions won’t go away, though that’s what he had hoped for.
So the next time any athlete has to make such an admission and come clean, I guess I have just one question for them and their lawyers, handlers and spin doctors…
“Are you smarter than a 5th grader?”
Bob and John Flaherty chat
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Good start for the Yankees in the ALCS…the Arctic League Championship Series…Guys are so bundled up with earflaps and face mufflers, I’m quite sure that, in a couple innings, we’ll see a player take the field wearing a Snuggie!
Ken Singleton in studio with me, saying that MLB should build a retractable roof stadium in Las Vegas…here’s his plan…during the course of every regular season or every other regular season, every team will host a series there, to make sure the stadium is in use. Ultimately, the World Series will be played there…every year. Also, the World Baseball Classic will play the finals there…college games, concerts…Vegas can handle it with hotel space, traffic, etc…(BY THE WAY, the weather in Vegas today is 89 and sunny, 64 for the low)…But what about gambling issues, you ask? Singy says all games played there would be off the board, no betting on ’em. Also, because the All-Star Game already determines who gets homefield advantage, it’s not a problem…that’s already decided anyway.
Now, here’s my question to Kenny…what about REAL homefield advantage? Taking fans from, say the Bronx, and making them travel 1,800 miles to the World Series, if the Yanks get there?
Kenny says when you get down to the 4 teams in the LCS, you offer tickets to the season ticket holders first…and then you offer them to the general public for sale. When a team is having a good year, Kenny says it won’t be a problem getting support to travel there. And the team or MLB could arrange deals with airlines…cheap tickets or even charters for season ticket holders.
Kenny admits this plan is not perfect…there would be a certain amount of lost revenue for each competing Major League city…but memorabilia from all 30 teams would be sold in the Vegas stadium.
So, there ya go, let me know what you think…back with more later.
PS We went Italian tonight for dinner…Kenny and I each went with the Caprese for an appetizer and a chunk of lasagna the size of ur head…and he had a regular Coke…that’s gotta be bubblin’ in his stomach right now…LOOK OUT!
ALDS Game 3 live chat
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The Captain Stands Alone
That was fun, wasn’t it?
Congratulations to Derek Jeter for career hit No. 2,722, placing him first on the Yankees’ all-time hits list. Watching any ballgame is great, but there’s something special about following every at-bat, making sure that you know when it’s coming…getting into the details of the game…Is Derek coming to bat this inning or next inning? Hey! Who’s at the plate right now, you say, as you hurry quickly to the kitchen to grab a snack. Because you do not want to miss it.
I’m willing to bet very few Yankees fans missed what happened tonight at 9:23 p.m….only if they had absolutely no way of getting in front of a television, or getting within earshot of a radio.
We didn’t want to miss Ripken’s historic game when he passed the Iron Horse for consecutive games played. We didn’t want to miss McGwire, at the time, when he stood poised to pass Maris for the single-season home run record. And we can’t help but keep checking when pitchers today are flirting with perfect games or no-hitters…into the seventh, then eighth, then ninth innings.
But this had a different feel…maybe because it’s not part of the everyday grind of a 162-game season. It is, quite possibly, a once in a lifetime happening. I mean, the record that Jeter broke tonight stood for 72 years! How many of us will be around when, or even if, Jeter’s new record is ever broken?
And, as Michael Kay put it so appropriately, this is just a signpost for Jeter. It’s not like he’s stopping at 2,722, one hit ahead of Lou Gehrig…there are plenty more to come. We’ll be celebrating hit No. 3,000 in almost no time, the way he hits…then 3,500…and, dare we say, 4,000? Or will he become baseball’s all-time hit king?
Guess I’m getting way ahead of myself. I’ll take the advice that Derek’s dad, Dr. Charles Jeter, gave him: I’m just going to enjoy the moment tonight…because the journey is far from over.
On our pregame show tonight, we opened with a sound bite from Nick Swisher, in which he basically said that they got a little angry losing 2 in a row and were out to change that last night. Well, they did it in a big way, with the offense coming to life in the 6th inning, while CC Sabathia got better and better as the game went on.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed the same thing, but this team is unlike others of the past few years in that, it seems very unaffected by anything negative…a 2-game losing streak? Big deal… whereas the past few seasons, it seemed like doubt would begin to creep in and the players would hear the whispers (and from some live-on-the-ledge fans…screams) that there is something wrong…they can’t hit, they can’t pitch, the sky is falling, trade everybody, fire the entire coaching staff…etc, etc, etc.
There may be some anger mixed in there, as Swisher alluded to, but there’s also a concrete confidence that hasn’t been around in a while…this team knows its good, but doesn’t have to go around beating its chest about it…the players just show up, wreak havoc for 3 hours, and go have a latenight bite to eat. In the case of last night’s game, I guess I’d feel that way, too, if I had a guy like Sabathia taking the mound…let’s see, give me CC or Harry Hittable in that spot… who would I feel more confident with?!
And I believe this confidence has trickled down to the fans…again, how many times have we heard or read quotes from Yankees fans in the past, like in Game 20 of the season, heralding the end of the world coming soon…not now…it’s all quiet on the Eastern front…while the Yankees are making plenty of noise on the Western front.
Allow Me A Quick “Reality” Rant
OK, I know that ever since reality shows started popping up on TV, they’ve become popular…and very cheap for networks to produce compared to scripted shows…and while some of them may be entertaining (while others are train wrecks)…the culture of them…the things that we see consistently, it seems, on all of them…have begun to infect us. Yes, I used the word “infect”:
“To taint or contaminate with something that affects quality, character, or condition unfavorably: Example: to infect the air with poison gas.”
Or, in the case of something I heard the other day on the radio, hot air the equivalent of poison gas…I heard the final part of an interview between Ryan Seacrest and “Speidi”…the reality TV knuckleheads Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag, who take shameless self-promotion to a beyond- shameless level…Ryan asked Spencer, who by the way, when he has a beard looks like an Ewok from Star Wars…about the fact that people feel Speidi is more than a bit overexposed (as in: we are sick and tired of seeing them…please disappear)….Spencer responded by comparing Spedi to Barack and Michelle and Brangelina…Uh, OK…said they are not going away, while in the same breath promoting the book the 2 of them are coming out with later this year, which will teach us all how to become famous like they are…can’t wait!…and here’s how the Ewok wrapped up the interview…”…blah, blah, blah, because everybody should be famous. Because we’re all humans.”
CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHAT ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH THAT EVEN MEANS?!!!!!!! Because we’re all humans??? Great observation, Spency…Thanks for the insight…because I was sure there were robots and aliens living among us…and they do not deserve to be famous…only us humans! By the way, after I looked up the word “infect” in the dictionary, I looked up the word “idiot”…guess who’s picture I saw next to it?
And one quick PS to the whole “reality TV has infected us” thing…it has no doubt bled into the reality of sports TV, as well…without getting into crazy rant details, I was watching one of the Little League Regional games the other night…and you can’t help but notice all the stuff the kids do to emulate pro athletes…from the Kevin Millar eye-black warpaint, to doing the sign of the cross during every at bat, to pointing up to the sky after a big moment in the game… it’s ridiculous. Sorry if you’re the parent of a kid who does any of those things, but it is…it’s not sincere, it really isn’t…it’s “Look at me, I’m just like a big leaguer”…I wonder if they’ve watched tapes of past LL game broadcasts to learn when the camera’s on them… and it seems like some of the things they do might as well come with thought bubble over their heads that says, “I’m going to try and do something that will get on SportsCenter”…as opposed to just focusing, playing the game hard and trying to win. I know I WORK in TV, but in watching some of these games, it’s a clear reminder that I grew up in a far different era, one very far away from the trappings of reality TV.