Sunday, September 27, 2015

Division Champs.

       I hope this is the first a few celebratory posts I get to do in the next 6 weeks or so, but I am happily shouting from the rooftops today that...
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The 2015 New York Mets are National League East Division Champions!

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Yeah, I know, it's not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things, but for the Mets, it is a huge deal because of what they've gone through the last nine years - especially 8 and 7 years ago.  That team should have been three time champions, instead, well, it was horror show after horror show.

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But let's not dwell on the past but embrace what will hopefully be a grand future.  These are all the 2015 cards I could put together in any sort of cohesive presentation.  Plus...

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Let's start by celebrating the man who is, IMHO, responsible for bringing this whole team together...

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...and lastly give a huge batch of respect for the man who has brilliantly finished off all the games, including the clincher Saturday night. 

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There is no time to rest on this little laurel, though.  There is still the matter of wresting home field advantage in the NLDS away from the Dodgers and keeping everyone sharp for the playoffs.  Wow.  That's fun to say.  The Mets are in the playoffs.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Lawrence Peter Berra (1925-2015).

       Like most of you, I woke up to the terrible news that Yogi Berra had died last night.  I covered Yogi on his 90th birthday a few months ago and made a list of his famous Yogisms.  But we should not just remember him as the greatest philosopher in baseball history, we should also remember that he was a hell of a ballplayer.  Let's breakdown a few numbers:
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Rumor has it he also played for some other team in New York.

      6 - Yogi Berra turned the most double plays in a season by an American League catcher six times in his career (1949-1952, 1954 & 1956). He also caught the most games eight times (1950-1957), recorded the most putouts eight times (1950-1952, 1954-1957, 1959), had the most assists three times (1950-1952) and had the highest fielding average two times (1958-195).

    8 - Yogi Berra had his number (#8) retired in 1972 by the New York Yankees, jointly honoring Berra and Bill Dickey, his predecessor as the Yankees' star catcher.

    10 - Number of World Championships won as a player, the most in MLB history.  He played for 14 total pennant winners.

    15 - Yogi Berra, who won the league's MVP award three times (1951, 1954 and 1955), received Most Valuable Player Award votes in fifteen consecutive seasons, tied with Barry Bonds and second only to Hank Aaron's nineteen straight seasons.  He also was the first catcher in Major League history to win back-to-back MVP Awards.

    40 - Yogi Berra was ranked fortieth on The Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players in Major League history.

    75 - Yogi Berra played in seventy-five World Series games over the course of his career.

    117 - Yogi Berra caught both games of a doubleheader one-hundred seventeen times in his career and at least one-hundred games across ten seasons.

    305 - Home runs as a catcher, the most in history when he retired.  He is still one  of only four catchers to hit over 300 homers at the position.

    1972 - Yogi Berra was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972, receiving 85.61% of the votes on his second ballot.

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Oh yeah, those guys.

And let us not forget the most important thing of all, as indicated by the first card in the second scan: he was a 19-year old Second Class Seaman during World War II, one of a six-man crew on a U.S. Navy rocket boat, and took part in the Normandy Invasion on D-Day.  This was before he was the best catcher in American League and probably Major League history.  There will never be another quite like him.  Rest in peace.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Moses Malone (1955 - 2015).

       As one of the few folks of my generation named Max, I love my name and have pretty much made it an adjective for my unique personality among those who know me.  Like Madonna, Bono, or Cher - I am Max.  But most of you don't know that I have Moses Malone to thank for my name.
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See, my mother was all set to name me Moses because of her love of the film The Ten Commandments - and not Charlton Heston, mind you, but Anne Baxter's reaction to him.  That's right, I was gonna be a Moe not a Max (and subject to Three Stooges jokes instead of tampon jokes, but I digress).  And then Moses Malone decided to enter the NBA draft right out of high school and everyone lost their minds.  She heard the name over and over and over again and she got incredibly sick of it.  So she shifted gears and named me after her favorite uncle instead.

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So thank you Moses Malone fo' fo' fo' giving me my distinguishing moniker.  Rest in peace.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Football '15 Week 1: Here We Go Again.

       I was all ready to root for the Steelers to clean the Patriots clocks Thursday evening, because even as an unabashed Brady apologist, I would like to see a little karmic retribution for them.  Then I watch the pregame show and got reminded why I hate the Patriots haters in the first place.  They gave the softball lob to Tony Dungy to talk about all the "new" spygate evidence and he sits there and starts pontificating.  Now, Dungy likes to portray himself as this holy man of god above all reproach, even though his list of sins and failures is long and luxurious.  He's such a "man of god" he allowed his sons to become junkies through his absentee fatherism and one of them killed themselves.  His early-aught Colts teams were constantly out-hustled and out-muscled by the Patriots in ways that had nothing to do with stealing signs or game plans and all the Colts could ever do is whine about it and demand rules changes.  Oh, and one of those rules was for golden boy Peyton Manning to be able to handle and control his footballs before the game, you know, the rule that led to the entire Ballghazi debacle.  Not to mention those Colt teams pumped crowd noise into their moribund stadium all the time and only won their one Super Bowl because of that.  But oh no, Tony Dungy is such a good man and Bill Belichick is such a scumbag. 
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Two other teams were charged with major rules violations in the off season but because it was the Browns and the Falcons - two teams that have never won anything ever - no one even cares.  But because the Patriots win, everyone jumps on them and calls them out for every perceived infraction when every team and coach would look just as awful and devious if they were put under the microscope the way the Pats are.  Hell, after the game, the Steelers couldn't stop making fools of themselves, blaming New England for hacking their headphone communications and Big Ben  - another paragon of virtue if there ever was one - decided that a simple defensive shift was cheating.  Seriously, if it weren't for paranoia there would be no emotion for the Pats at all.

       It comes down to the fact that in a business where multiple billions of dollars are at stake, there are no rules except the ones you can get away with breaking.  So once again, fuck everyone and their short-sighted homerism and misguided misunderstanding of how pro football works (and has always worked).  I hope the Pats rip through the league again 16-0.   I hope Brady throws for 6000 yards and 60 touchdowns and every week Giselle brings her supermodel friends in for multiple post-game orgies.  Of course, I'd then like the Saints to beat them in the Super Bowl, but that goes without saying.  What it comes down to is, maybe everyone should look at their own team and wonder what they are or aren't doing to win and leave the damn Pats alone.