602 and counting…

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A few weeks back, Mariano Rivera did what Mariano Rivera does best: he calmly jogged in while “Enter Sandman” was blasting from Yankee Stadium’s speakers and dispatched his opponents with a cool, ruthless efficiency to ensure that the Yankees won a game they were winning prior to him entering. He’s done this about 40 times a year for the past 15 years, which equals a little over 600 saves, and when he saved his 602nd game, he set the all-time record. “Gotta go to Mo’s” indeed.
For some reason, with all of the hub bub around this milestone, no one brought up the fact that this only happened because of divine intervention. The story goes that after his prior contract ran out (he currently is in year 3 of a 4 year deal), he thought about retiring. He is a deeply religious man and wanted to focus on the congregation using the church he built back in his native Panama. Then, while pondering this future plans, he heard from God who told him he was better off helping the world through pitching (and earning the money a NY Yankee star earns) than by retiring and ministering in his Panama. It’s a good thing that God is a Yankee fan.
Jason Stark in an ESPN blog post about Rivera’s greatness points out many ways that Rivera is great:

  1. That is he far and away better than any of his active peers. He now has saved 602 regular-season baseball games. The No. 2 active reliever in career saves is Francisco Cordero — who is 279 saves behind, with 323. This means that Rivera has an incomprehensible 86.4 percent more saves than the CLOSEST active reliever. No one has ever broken a record and been more than 60% ahead of his nearest active rival.
  2. Rivera has been pitching in the big leagues for 17 seasons now. And he’s done something that ought to be impossible in this day and age. He’s pitched in 1,209 innings and has allowed 1,207 baserunners (via hits and walks). That means his WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) is below 1. Only three people have done this EVER and the other two played in 1910 and 1917. Rivera played during the steriod era and still no one could touch him.

I won’t give it all away. Let’s just say there are 5 more reasons, and they all make a very compelling bar room argument that not only is Rivera the best reliever ever, he could be the best Yankee of his generation and he could be in the top 3 of all time. Yes, you read that correctly: Ruth, Gehrig, Rivera.
We’ll see what happens in the playoffs this year. 28th Championship or not, Rivera will be back on the mound again next year, making sure that potential wins turn into actual wins the same he’s done for the past two odd decades.


12,000-Faceted Diamond

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The NY Times has all sorts of specialty blogs devoted to different topics and their Lens Blog – which features photography, video and journalism – just had a great post which tells the story of the Yankees recent World Series victory in time lapse photography – 12,000 shots to be exact. Sick.
Mr. Caplin, who is just 26, said he wanted the montage to seem as if it had been made a hundred years ago — “You know when you look back at old movie footage and they were cranking it? And it was really jumpy and slightly faster than normal?” The game is played to Chopin’s Waltz No. 5, a score Mr. Caplin chose to complement the antique sensibility of the piece.
I love the punny way that diamond – baseball and jewels – has been used. I love the movie and itself. Hopefully you will too. Happy Friday.


Team of the Decade, Again

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When the Yankees played the Braves in 1999, the media hyped the event as a battle for the title “Team of the Decade.” The Yanks had made the playoffs five times in the ’90s – in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999 – and won the World Series twice: in 1996 and 1998. If the Braves had won, they would have had won the same amount of championships (2) but with more playoff appearances they would have taken the title. As we all know, the Yanks swept the series 4-0 and rightfully claimed the title of “Team of the Decade.”
The next year, the start of the Aughts (as this decade is commonly known) ushered in a Subway Series for the first time in over 40 years and NYC was in a flat out tizzy. The Yanks picked up right where they left off and beat the Mets (thank the good lord) in five games to complete their quest for a third title in three years.

Now, with their 27th Championship (I’m happily watching the City Hall “keys to the city” ceremony in the background as I write this post), the New York Yankees can be considered repeat winners of the “Team of the Decade” title. Over the past ten years, the Yankees won more regular season games than any other team, made the playoffs nine times, made the World Series four times (2000, 2001, 2003 and 2009) and won it all twice (2000 and 2009), winning in the first and last years of the decade. No other team made the playoffs has many times as the Yankees. No other team appeared in four World Series. No other team won more than two. Once again, the Yankees rightfully have claimed the title of “Team of the Decade.”
Let’s see what the next decade brings. With Hal and Hank leading the charge, the Baby Bosses are ready to keep fielding teams that not only have a chance year in and year to make the playoffs but to win it all. A “Team of the Decade” three-peat sounds pretty good to me…
UPDATE 1: I just called into NY1’s live broadcast from City Hall and basically talked about this post and how the Yanks are the team of the decade, again. The “Sports on 1” anchor Tom McDonald said to Pat Kiernan at the end of my comment,

“Aren’t you impressed Pat when people call up, Jeff had all of the numbers (Pat chuckles in the background) as to when the Yankees were doing this, when they were doing that, you know, and when you do what I do for a living, you think you know a lot and then you hear from your audience and you realize they know as much if not more…”

I’ve often said that I know more than the television announcers. Now a television announcer has confirmed this belief. Nice.
UPDATE 2: ESPN has a page up on its site about this very topic titled “The Decade of the Yankees?” The page basically is a lead in for a poll and comment thread and right now, 67% of the nation believes the Yankees are the team of the decade.


How To Redo 1978

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I just received an email which could be considered one of the greatest ways that Microsoft products have ever been utilized in daily life. The simple and complete email, minus signature, is as follows:
‘Nuff said.
Via Herzy


Damn Yankees: Onion Sports Style

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The Onion’s Sport Section has a great (and very true, at least for the past decade) little ditty about my beloved Bronx Bombers this week. To wet your appetite, I have provided the first 2 paragraphs (slightly edited for length):

Moments after the NY Yankees pulled within a once unfathomable four games of the first-place Red Sox…stunned and enraged baseball fans across America took a moment to shake their heads in disbelief and curse dejectedly at the relentless inevitability of Yankee glory.
“Fucking Yankees,” said Marshfield, MA resident and longtime Red Sox fan Lawrence Broberg, echoing the sentiments of thousands of men and woman across the nation. “Every year. Every goddamn year.”

Read the full and unedited article ether after the jump or at the Onion.
Fucking Yankees, Reports Nation
August 16, 2007 | Onion Sports
BOSTON — Moments after the New York Yankees continued a month-long stretch that has seen them climb from the bottom of the AL East to pull within a once unfathomable four games of the first-place Red Sox by defeating the Baltimore Orioles Monday night, stunned and enraged baseball fans across America took a moment to shake their heads in disbelief and curse dejectedly at the relentless inevitability of Yankee glory.
“Fucking Yankees,” said Marshfield, MA resident and longtime Red Sox fan Lawrence Broberg, echoing the sentiments of thousands of men and woman across the nation. “Every year. Every goddamn year.”
The Yankees, coming off a decisive three-game sweep of the Central-leading Indians, have won nine out of their last 10 games, catapulting them to the top of the wild-card standings, restoring the team’s infuriating confidence, and instilling a sinking sense of impending misery among all non-Yankee fans.
“It’s like they can’t lose,” said Connecticut resident Gerry DiCenzo, who could only watch helplessly as the Yankees overcame a late Orioles rally to win their fourth straight. “They literally cannot lose. Suddenly no one can beat the Yankees. The Red Sox suck. The Orioles suck. Everyone sucks. Everyone suddenly sucks when they play the Yankees.”
“Unbelievable,” DiCenzo added. “Un-fucking-believable.”
Sparked by the recent returns of phenom starter Phil Hughes and slugger Jason Giambi, the Yankees have their full roster healthy and together for the first time since April, which fans around the world have solemnly realized is perfect timing for the stretch run.
“It seems like every time the [sports] ticker comes up, they’re winning 10-1,” said Chicago resident Jeremy Killian. “You knew this was going to happen. You knew. Right when they got Clemens back, you fucking knew.”
“Every time,” Killian continued. “Every time with this fucking team. It’s the same damn thing every time. You just, they never go away. You can’t give them an inch. You cannot give them one inch.”
“And Jeter…” Killian added, watching as the Yankee shortstop drove home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth with a softly tapped ball that barely dribbled past the pitcher’s mound. “Fucking Jeter.”
As the Yankees remain hot in August, the team continues to rely on GM Brian Cashman’s strategy of stockpiling cheap, young pitching and assembling a group of talented role players to surround the team’s superstars. In recent weeks, rookie reliever Joba Chamberlain and newly acquired utility man Wilson Betemit have stepped up and delivered in clutch situations, much to the frustration of nearly everyone.
“You got fucking Abreu all of a sudden going 3 for 4 every night,” Boston citizen Mark Baker said of the Yankees’ recent surge. “Fucking Giambi’s back. A-Rod’s hitting 500 fucking home runs a night. Posada, that bastard. You got Matsui, who’s a Red Sox killer. Then there’s Shelley Duncan, who no one even heard of till three weeks ago. Guy never hit a home run in his life, he puts on pinstripes and suddenly he’s Babe fucking Ruth.”
“And this Melky Cabrera guy,” Baker added. “Where did this fucking guy come from? Him and Cano. They got guys coming out of the fucking woodwork.”
“Fucking Yankee fans must be loving this,” said New York resident and avid Mets fan Dave Julian, muting the Yankee broadcast to temporarily silence the grating sound of Yankee cheers. “The smug fucks. And those Yankee announcers. Why don’t they root a little harder? They make me sick. Michael Kay. Bet Steinbrenner’s laughing it up. Bought himself another fucking championship.”
Although the Yankees’ schedule becomes tougher in the coming month, with multiple series against the Tigers, Angels, Red Sox, and Mariners, most baseball fans have resigned themselves to the fact that the season is “pretty much fucking over.”
“What the fuck can you do?” said Detroit citizen Terry Grey. “Every call. The Yankees get every break, the bounces all go their way. It’s luck. They’re lucky. They’re so fucking lucky.”
“Stupid,” Grey added. “It’s all stupid. Why play the whole fucking season if this is what’s always going to happen?”
Despite the mixture of anger, resentment, and disbelief that has surfaced across the country during the Yankees’ recent hot streak, most fans have been able to take some solace in the fact that the Yankees will be eliminated by the Angels in the first round of the playoffs.


Donnie Baseball moves up the Ladder

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Donnie Baseball is now one step closer to being the Yankee manager when Joe Torre resigns. Although “The Hitman” (a nickname I never really loved – it implies violence and Donnie is such a nice guy) is my favorite baseball player – or athlete for that matter – of all time, the Yanks never have won a championship when he has been in uniform (1983 – 1995 / 2004 – 2006) so I’m not sure this is a good thing… Read more after the jump.
Major League Notebook: Mattingly Moves Up Yankee Ladder by Tyler Kepner
ST. LOUIS, Oct. 26 — The line of succession for the Yankees’ managing job might have become clearer Thursday.
Don Mattingly has been promoted to bench coach for Manager Joe Torre, with Kevin Long replacing Mattingly as the hitting coach. The moves leave Lee Mazzilli without a job on the major league staff for 2007.
Mattingly has spent the past three seasons as the Yankees’ hitting coach and has long been viewed as a possible successor to Torre, 66, who is entering the final year of his contract. Torre has often said that Mattingly will be a successful manager, even though Mattingly has no managerial experience.
Long has spent the last three years as the hitting coach for the Yankees’ Class AAA affiliate after previously working in the Kansas City Royals’ organization.
Mattingly will be Torre’s fifth bench coach in five years. Don Zimmer left after the 2003 World Series, giving way to Willie Randolph, who became the Mets’ manager after the 2004 season.
Joe Girardi was the bench coach in 2005 before leaving to manage the Florida Marlins, who fired him after one season. (Girardi is likely to return to the Yankees as a broadcaster for YES.)
Mazzilli took the bench-coach job last year after a season and a half managing the Baltimore Orioles, and he may be offered another position in the Yankees’ organization.


New York equals Atlanta

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It seems that George Vescey and I are on the same page. I’ve been saying since the Yanks pathetically & meekly lost to the Tigers 3 – 1 that they are now they Atlanta Braves – a team that gets to the playoffs and then loses every year – and that I hate it. Sure enough, in the “Sports of the Times” article in Sunday’s paper, he starts his column with: “As of now, the Yankees are officially the Atlanta Braves. They have a nice little season. They qualify for the playoffs. And then bad stuff happens to them.” I am so pissed off and disappointed. They didn’t play like champs, they played like chumps.
As the Boss put it: “I am deeply disappointed at our being eliminated so early in the playoffs. This result is absolutely not acceptable to me, nor to our great and loyal Yankee fans. I want to congratulate the Detroit Tigers organization and wish them well. Rest assured, we will go back to work immediately and try to right this sad failure and provide a championship for the Yankees, as is our goal every year.”
The thing people need to realize is that the great Yankee teams from 1996 – 2001 had role players with heart as well as superstars. They need to go back to that model ASAP. Get SupercalafragalisticexpealaBrosious to play third. Get Chad Curtis to play the outfield. Bring back some hungry players, bring back Paulie to smash some helmets and yell. Get some better and younger pitchers.
Rodriguez and Teammates Fall Apart, and Yankees Fall Short Again
by George Vecsey
As of now, the Yankees are officially the Atlanta Braves. They have a nice little season. They qualify for the playoffs. And then bad stuff happens to them.
This pattern worked well in Atlanta for a long time, but I have the feeling that Yankee fans (and the Yankees’ principal owner) are not going to put up with this, not for one more year. This kind of showing is not why a gross amount of cable revenue is being paid to Alex Rodriguez, who just may need to move on.
At the moment, the city of Detroit is thrilled — orange-flag-waving, horn-honking, income-anticipating thrilled. It was fun to see the Tigers’ players touching hands with their fans at the edge of the field (and spraying them with Champagne) after their 8-3 drubbing of the Yankees yesterday, but the Bronx Bombers do not exist for the humanitarian purpose of providing a lift to a downtrodden city.
The Yankees have not won a World Series since 2000. In Yankees thinking, this is a very long time. Yesterday’s loss was one of the most humiliating for the Yanks in the 11 years of Joe Torre’s tenure as the manager.
After winning their opening game Tuesday, the Yanks watched the upstarts play crisp, aggressive ball while the Yankees panicked, all over the place. Rodriguez was a wreck. Even Derek Jeter was lunging at pitches yesterday. And Torre was juggling players and showing he had lost faith in Rodriguez, his most expensive player. Now begins the revolution.
Rodriguez is not a bad person. He works hard, but he is being paid $25.2 million a year over 10 years to win the World Series, and that is not happening. He went hitless again yesterday, batted .071 in this short series, and has lost more than a series, more than a season. He has lost his teammates.
It’s a foxhole thing. The players know that Rodriguez has come up tiny in big games over the years. Now, with all of New York watching, A-Rod has come undone. If the Yankees’ management brought him back next year, the players would only ask, what about October?
After the final game, Rodriguez deflected any talk of moving on. He stood and faced the waves of news media and said: “I’ve never run from problems. I’m 100 percent committed to being a Yankee. This is the only place I want to play.” He added that he might think differently “if they’re dying to get me out of here.”
There was no talk of that from Brian Cashman, the general manager, who said he was stunned at the reversal in three days. He called the attention to Rodriguez unfortunate, saying that other players “let us down at the same time.”
Cashman also said he had no thoughts of trying to trade Rodriguez, or of making any other personnel moves at that moment.
“I would like to figure it out and wrap my arms around anybody,” Cashman said. “I believe in working through adversity — ‘I got your back.’ I’m not giving up on anybody.”
As admirable as Cashman’s sentiments were, he has seen Rodriguez become identified as the main problem. Before this series began, Torre announced he was dropping Rodriguez to sixth, saying he had so many superstars he could basically pull a lineup out of his hat.
Some managers might have insulted everybody’s attention by pretending there was nothing wrong with Rodriguez, but Torre did the opposite: he confirmed A-Rod’s distress to the one person who might be trying to deny it — A-Rod himself.
A-Rod was subsequently moved back to fourth, and then yesterday was demoted to eighth. “We’re trying to win a ballgame,” Torre said.
That did not happen. Rodriguez was hitless and even made a throwing error at third base, which led to the Tigers’ fourth run. It was a terrible end to his third year with the Yankees.
Rodriguez would have to waive his no-trade clause, but it may be time to persuade him to do just that. The body language in the clubhouse is brutal, with Jeter, the captain, and most other key Yankees visibly abstract about Rodriguez. On some great teams, strong clubhouse personalities would have cleared the air, but Jeter’s team seems to lack the crusty resolve of great Yankees teams of the past.
Only Tuesday, many of us were speaking of the Yankees’ lineup as the best in baseball history — stars at every position, a modern Murderers’ Row. After this series, the 1927 Yankees of Ruth and Gehrig are safe for a while.
The George Steinbrenner we used to know and love would be staging a King Lear imitation right about now, attempting to regain the powers of his youth. It is not clear how much Steinbrenner has left, physically or psychologically, but in his demanding prime he would have been firing or threatening everybody — relatives, executives, coaches, scouts, players and, yes, the manager.
Seeing the Yankees go from Murderers’ Row to virtual Hitless Wonders in recent days makes me wonder if Torre has a feel for this club anymore. However, moving Rodriguez just may revive the energy of this club.
Something’s got to change. Steinbrenner never meant for his Yankees to become the Atlanta Braves.


Freddy Sez

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Freddy “Freddy Sez” Schulman, my favorite octogenarian Yankee fan, is in the NY Times today, which is great timing considering I went to the Yankee game last week and talked all about Freddy to my co-worker Tony, who was not familiar with him. To me, seeing Freddy is a rite of Spring. When I hear the “tap tap tap” of metal on metal when someone bangs a spoon on his pot either when I’m at the Stadium, I’m listening to the game over the radio or watching it on TV, I know that Freddy is not only at the game but that all is right with the world.


As my first game was in 1986 and his was 1988, I feel like he has always been there. My favorite Freddy story is how after the Yanks won the Subway Series in 2000, they brought the trophy to his hospital bed since he was too ill to attend the victory parade. Freddy’s down home charm allows the Yankees to remain a hometown team, even with a payroll that seems to be higher than a small nation’s GDP.
I sincerely hope that he lives forever, though at the age of 80, I know that he may not carrying his pot around the stadium for that much longer but one can hope for another 20 – 30 years, right? After the jump, feel free to read all about him. I found it very interesting, especially since I believe some of the urban legends about him which I now know aren’t true. The next time you hear a “tap tap tap” while watching a NYY game, you’ll know what I’m talking about…
Stirring Enthusiasm, With Élan and a Pan
Freddy Schuman has attended about 1,300 New York Yankees games. But he has seen very little of them. He spends most of his time at Yankee Stadium with his back to the diamond, his attention focused on the crowd. He approaches a fan, offers a spoon, holds up a frying pan and waits for the noise.
The banging creates music only a Yankee fan could love: an off-key, metal-to-metal clanging that sounds less like a rallying cry and more like a boxing-ring bell with a crack in it.
Some fans do not love the sound at all, and they plug their ears with their fingers when Mr. Schuman walks by. Others leave their seats in the middle of the game to ask Mr. Schuman, 80, for the spoon, which he bought for a quarter at a Salvation Army thrift shop.
These fans bang Mr. Schuman’s pan because their fathers banged Mr. Schuman’s pan, because they believe that a couple of smacks to a piece of kitchenware with a green four-leaf clover painted on it will bring the Yankees a win, or because they have had too much to drink and want to hit something.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has whacked the pan. So has the Yankees’ principal owner, George Steinbrenner. Yogi Berra hit it, and Hideki Matsui did, too. Bruce Egloff, 57, a doorman in Manhattan who greeted Mr. Schuman at a recent Yankee game, has struck it, as has Joe Cohen, 31, a police officer in New Jersey who has been going to games since he was 5. “You come to Yankee Stadium and there’s certain staples that you expect,” Mr. Cohen said. “Great hot dogs and Freddy. Where else is he going to go where 50,000 people know his name?”
Mr. Schuman, his spoon and his pan have become a quirky, treasured Yankee tradition, which he started 18 years ago when the team was in a slump and he wanted to inspire the fans.
He is a real-life mascot with one eye, one tooth and a raspy voice, the unpolished and unlikely cheerleader of a baseball empire with a nearly $200 million payroll.
He lost his teeth because he used to own a candy shop. He lost his right eye in a stickball game at East 178th Street and Clinton Avenue in the Bronx, where he was raised. He was 9, and sitting too close to the batter. He lost the candy shop, and a bicycle store, and a trucking business, and the nine-unit apartment building he used to own in the Bronx. He was even homeless for a time.
He had an uncle who used to celebrate the Fourth of July by riding a horse through Accord, N.Y., hollering and holding a broomstick he set on fire. Mr. Schuman feels that what his uncle did in Accord and what he does at Yankee Stadium are not so different.
He believes in miracles: A young man ran off with his pan one September day in 1996, when the Yankees were playing the Milwaukee Brewers, but a week later someone mailed it to The Daily News with no note and a fictitious return address. That pan is now at the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center at Montclair State University in Little Falls, N.J.
Mr. Schuman and his pan — he has about eight of them — have been regulars at Yankee Stadium since 1988. He estimated that he has missed no more than 15 of the 81 home games each season, and some years as few as 2. Sometimes he missed a game because he was sick. Sometimes he was just tired.
“This is what keeps me going,” he said of the games. “This is why I’m doing it. Probably if I stopped, I’d probably be buried already.”
Mr. Schuman has given up more than his time for the Yankees. He has lost much of his hearing, he said. For holding onto a pan as dozens of fans before, during and after a game have struck it hard with a spoon two, three or four times, he has earned a pair of hearing aids, but he never wears them. He has no regrets. “It was a good cause,” he said.
Not given to idle boasting, he calls himself the Yankees’ No. 1 fan, but only because he feels that he has proof: A letter dated Nov. 4, 1993, from Richard M. Kraft Jr., then the team’s vice president for community relations, in which Mr. Kraft called him exactly that, ending the sentence with three exclamation points.
Over the years, Mr. Schuman has become an unofficial Yankee ambassador, taking his pan to New Year’s Eve celebrations at Times Square, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the Puerto Rican Day Parade and, in February 2005, the bar mitzvah of Josh Housman, whose father, Mark, a longtime Yankee fan, hired him to provide entertainment.
Many fans do not know Mr. Schuman’s last name. They know him simply as Freddy “Sez.” During a game, he walks to every corner of the stadium holding a two-sided sign at the top of which he has scrawled: “Freddy ‘Sez,’ ” followed by what he has to say for that particular game. Written in a curt, often-puzzling manner, like a Bronx haiku, the theme can be boiled down to two words: Go Yankees. One read: “Freddy ‘Sez’: Yanks quit? Hell no!!! Fight on!!!” The posterboard signs are stapled to the top of a piece of scrap wood, and below the signs he has bolted one of his welted, handleless pans, the bottom facing out.
Mr. Schuman, who lives with his fiancée and companion of 32 years, an accountant named Suzie Zakoian, on the Upper West Side, also gives away a newsletter to fans. Issues have featured his poetry (“I’m a believer, I got fever, pennant fever”), game analysis (“Can’t we bunt? Are home runs the only way Yankees know how to play?”), public service notices (“If you’re cooking, don’t wear loose clothing near open flames or you may be cooking yourself!”) and Ms. Zakoian’s recipe for leg of lamb stew (“Add one can beef broth, chop up some parsley, sprinkle over meat”). Last year, he published a book, a collection of five years’ worth of newsletters, that he sells for $25.
Mr. Schuman has taken his place in the history of New York’s madcap baseball fans. The Brooklyn Dodgers had Hilda Chester and her cowbell in the stands at Ebbets Field from the late 1930’s to the 1950’s. They also had Louis Soriano and his Sym-Phony band of out-of-tune musicians serenading the fans, players and umpires, to whom they dedicated “Three Blind Mice.” Ms. Chester was so revered that her cowbell is at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y. One of Mr. Schuman’s frying pans is there, too.
To many, Mr. Schuman has attained an almost mythic status. Some swear he has been going to games since the days of Joe DiMaggio. Others mistakenly believe he has never missed a home game. Some think he is Irish, because of the clover on his pans. (He is Jewish.) People bring him over to meet their grandchildren. They pose for photos with him, hand him dollar bills, call out his name in the stadium hallways. He never needs a ticket to see a game: he is let in free.
Chuck Frantz, the president of the Lehigh Valley Yankee Fan Club, in Pennsylvania, gave a party for Mr. Schuman’s 80th birthday, paid for the printing of Freddy “Sez” baseball cards and donated a copy of Mr. Schuman’s book to his local library (“The First Five Years,” NF 796.357, Northampton Area Public Library, Northampton, Pa.).
“He’s an embodiment of the die-hard Yankee fan,” said former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. “If Freddy isn’t there with his pan, it doesn’t feel right. It feels like there’s something missing.”
Mr. Giuliani said he believes, as many Yankee faithful do, that Mr. Schuman brings the team good luck. Mr. Schuman did not quite comprehend the extent of this belief, until the morning of Nov. 4, 2001, when he was asked to rush out of his apartment and board a plane bound for Phoenix also carrying, among others, Mayor Giuliani and Mitchell Modell, the chief executive of Modell’s Sporting Goods.
Mr. Schuman was urgently needed at Game 7 of the World Series. The Yankees were playing the Arizona Diamondbacks, and they had lost Game 6. “We all felt we needed to bring our lucky charm,” Mr. Modell said.
Mr. Schuman banged his pan in Phoenix, but the Yankees ultimately lost, 3-2. “Mayor Giuliani took it good, but not me,” he said.
He added, “I did my best.”


New Yankee Stadium Only Has One More Hurdle

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Today, the New York City Planning Commission unanimous approved the plan for the privately financed $800 million project and now its up to the City Council, which must vote on final approval within two months, to say whether or not this will be a reality. I know there has been some back and forth about whether or not its a good thing for the Bronx. My opinion? The Yankees should give a little bit more back to the community but all in all, its a good deal for most. You can’t please all of the people all of the time.


Catch The Damn Ball!

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You know you are pretty bad when, as a fan, your ineptitude is so great that even the AP mentions it in their game recap: “Rob Marchese, a 41-year-old businessman from Queens sitting in a folding chair in the first row in the right-field stands, fumbled away both Rodriguez’s and Giambi’s homers.”

I was watching the Yankee game last night on the tele with my friend Dave.

In the first inning, A-Rod hit one that just cleared the right field fence, the kind of homer Donnie Baseball made famous. The ball went right through the hands of a middle aged guy wearing a gray tee shirt, hit him in his shoulder, then hit his chest, then went through his hands again and bounced onto the field. The second he dropped it he made the biggest commotion, slapping the wall and flailing about because he knew he blew it – he had an A-Rod homer in his hands and lost it. I have never been close enough to even try and catch a ball but I’m always aware of the ball when its hit. Catching a major league baseball is just one of many little things on my life’s to-do list that I hope to accomplish. You just don’t get a second chance on something like that.

Or maybe you do. Like the very next inning. Sure enough, in the bottom of the second Giambi hit one in the exact same place. Sure enough, the same gray tee-shirted guy was there, in the exact same spot. And yes, sure enough, it went through his hands, hit him in his chest, then his arm, and then bounced back onto the field. Again, he made a commotion except this time it was more rueful, as if he knew the Fates were conspiring against him so what are you gonna do, right?
If you’d like to see photo evidence, click here.

Rob: you have the privilege of being awarded 15 minutes of fame due to incredibly poor fielding skills. To that I say, “mazel tov.”

After the jump, you can read what the NY Times had to say about it. It seems that everyone is talking about Rob…

From the July 8th Edition of the NY Times:

It was Rodriguez’s 22nd of the season, and it seemed to delight all but one fan, who might have had the most exciting night of anyone at the game.

The ball hit the 41-year-old Robby Marchese in the chest and the hands, but it fell back to the field. Marchese was crestfallen, slumping his body on top of the wall, his head down, for several seconds.
“I didn’t get all of it, but I got enough,” Rodriguez said. “I think I hit it to the fan in the gray shirt who almost got two balls.”

Marchese’s next chance was just an inning away. Jason Giambi led off the second inning with a liner to right. Casey Blake chased after it, and the ball deflected off his glove – and onto Marchese’s chest. Again, he dropped the ball.

“It didn’t hit me where it was supposed to,” said Marchese, who had never sat in that seat before.

“I’m going to be on SportsCenter for the rest of the week.”