The World According to Keitho

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Posts Tagged ‘New York Yankees’

Bring on the playoffs

Posted by keithosaunders on September 30, 2017

This was a terrible year to be a Mets fan.  The team suffered a barrage of injuries early on, unloading much of the 2015 World Series lineup by the trading deadline.  It appears that Matt Harvey, thanks to overuse during the 2015 post season, is all but washed up. Mea culpa:  I was one of those who supported pitching him during that post season, and I still believe it was the right thing to do.  You don’t get many shots at a World Series ring, especially if you’re a Met.

This was also a terrible year for pennant races.  The National League seemed all but decided by the All Star break, although the Brewers made a run for the Central, and at this writing are still alive for a wild card slot. (although the Rockie’s magic number is 1.) I really can’t get too excited about wild card races, however, especially when the Mets are not in it.

Much to my chagrin the Yankees are good again.  I’m hoping that the upstart Twins can take them out in the gimmicky one-game play-in, but who am I kidding – the Twins are the Yankee’s bitch.

In the junior circuit I’ll be pulling for either the Astros or Indians.  Houston has never won a World Series and has only played in one of them.  It would be nice to see them get through.

In the NL I’ll be rooting for the Dodgers.  I can’t stand the Cubs fans, who I find insufferable, so I’ll be content with their team bowing out.  The Cubs seem to be peaking at the right time, however, and I would be surprised if they do not make it back to the Series. The good thing about the Dodgers going deep into the post season would be to watch these idiot Giants fans up here suffer. (I live in the Bay Area)  Talk about front runners!

Well that’s it.  I don’t have a dog in this race so I’m hoping for some good games and a minimum of exposure to Joe Buck.

Let’s go!

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Let the intentional walking begin

Posted by keithosaunders on April 2, 2017

Baseball games are really going to fly by now.  Forget the fact that every single close play at first base warrants a three minutes review, intentional walks are now automatic!  Now that’s progress.

This year, rather than a normal baseball prediction post, I’m going to present a baseball soulful (wishful thinking) prediction post.

In the NL East the Mets, flush with pitching, Cespedes, and just enough hitting, will dominate and cruise to their third ever World Series victory.

In the NL Central the Cubs will revert to form and miss the playoffs – the first of 110 more years without a championship. The Pittsburgh Pirates will win the division with the Brewers taking the wild card.

In the NL West, having lost track of whether or not they’re supposed to win in an odd year, the Giants will begin 166 straight years of last place finishes.  The Dodgers will win the west, losing to the Mets in the NLCS.

Moving along to the junior circuit, in the AL West we have my dark horse prediction:  My East Bay homies, the Oakland As will shock the world!  You read it here first.

In the AL Central the Detroit Tigers will win the division, as well as the pennant before losing to the Mets in a 6 game World Series.

In the Al East the Yankees will go 6-156.  The Bluejays will win the division and Joey Batista will set an MLB record with double digit bat flips.  Baltimore gets the wild card.

There you have it:  Major League Baseball according to Keitho.

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Pledge week

Posted by keithosaunders on January 30, 2017

Let’s have a live look-in on NPR’s winter pledge drive!

—————-//———

This year why not take the plunge and become a gold member. You’ll receive 2 tickets to SF Jazz, our magazine – Boredom Weekly – and the brand new Keillor-Blocker.

This state of the art console attaches to your listening device to automatically block disturbing Saturday programming such as, A Prairie Home Companion, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, & Look Ma, No Hands.

In their place you can choose from among the following:

Game 6 of the 2003 World Series

Noam Chomsky reads The Pickwick Papers

&

Keitho sings A Love Supreme [in the shower]

Finally it is safe to drive a vehicle on a Saturday.

Hurry! There’s a limited supply.

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Happy Birthday, Dad

Posted by keithosaunders on January 15, 2017

dadrams

Dad

Today my father would have turned 90.  He died just 14th months ago at the age of 88.  He was born in 1927 in Brooklyn, New York.  He grew up during the depression, served in the army as a private first class at the end of World War 2, and went to college at a small school in upstate Plattsburgh near the Canadian border called Champlain College.

He was a huge Brooklyn Dodgers fan.  He endured the terrible teams of the 30s only to see them emerge as the dominant National League club of the 40s and 50s.  He suffered through the the ignominy of Bobby Thompson’s home run and five World Series losses to the Yankees, but experienced the exultation of Brooklyn’s first ever World Championship (against the Yankees) in 1955.

He married my mother two months later after a whirlwind three month courtship and they stayed together for 45 years until my mother’s death.

Dad was as liberal as they come. He opposed nuclear weapons, working in the 50s to have them abolished.  He was against the McCarthy hearings and he helped form a local political group called AQI – Associated Queens Independents.  I am glad that he will not have to experience the Trump years.

My Dad hated pomposity.  He couldn’t stand John Robinson when he was coaching the Rams.  He called him ‘The Blowhard.’ He also loathed the Dallas Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones, who he referred to as ‘The Pipsqueak.’   (Nobody knows why he called him that. Jones isn’t that small)

My Dad’s favorite Brooklyn Dodger was Jackie Robinson.  When I was growing up he used to tell my brother and I how Jackie Robinson was the most exciting ball player he had ever seen.  His favorite move was The Bridge Over the River Kwai.  He had a top ten movie list.  Some of the other movies on the list were, The Lady Vanishes, The Best Years of Our Lives, and Fiddler on the Roof.  It used to confound me that Fiddler made the list.

My Dad was one of the funniest and personable people I have ever met.  When he was in a good mood there was nobody else you would rather spend time with.  He was smart, witty, passionate, liberal, and self effacing.

He was a self made man.  He moved his family to California – my brother and I were toddlers then – with no savings and no job.  He found work, an apartment, and sent for us.  He struggled for many years before finding great success as an independent rep for juvenile furniture lines.  He and my mother were able to travel all around the world once my brother and I were older and on our own.

Dad, we miss you!

 

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The Indians v the Cubs: Battle of the disgruntled senior citizens

Posted by keithosaunders on October 26, 2016

This World Series is sexy time for senior citizens.  Which disgruntled alte kaker fans will finally get to see their team win a championship?  Will it be old Grammy Ginny from Skokie, or Grandpa Mortie from Cuyahoga Heights?  Mortie was knee-high to a grasshopper the last time the Indians won a Series, the poor bastard.  Ginny wasn’t even a twinkle in Great Grammy Gertrude’s eyes back in aught-eight.

One thing is for certain, in addition to de rigueur shots of fans praying, it will be all seniors all the time at Fox.  This is the feel good series of the century.  Forget your corporate N.Y. Crankees, or the staid, tired Redsox Nation, this is the stuff that dreams are made of.

Myself, I’m on the Indians bandwagon bigtime.  I feel there has to be one team in sports that never wins, and that team should be the Cubs.   Right now the Cubs fans are still [somewhat] sympathetic.  I don’t want them to morph into the arrogant, insufferable mess that comprises the Boston Redsox and San Francisco Giants fan base.  Let there still be one bastion of humility.

Image result for old Cubs fanImage result for old Indians fan

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My first night in New York

Posted by keithosaunders on July 11, 2016

I arrived at JFK airports in New York City on April 10th, 1984.  I took the subway from the airport – read express A train to Manhattan –  but when it came time to change trains I discovered that the uptown IRT was out of service.  I emerged from the subway and immediately discovered the reason why:  a rain storm of biblical proportions. This was my introduction to the charm of New York weather.

I tried to hail a cab but this proved to be no easy task in midtown Manhattan during rush hour in the middle of a subway outage.  Finally I was able to share a cab with a couple of strangers and I was able to travel the mile and a half to 74th st and West End Ave in a mere 45 minutes.

My cousin, who I would be staying with until I found a place of my own, lived in the old Hotel Esplinade. I arrived, dropped my bags off and went in search of dinner. I walked a few blocks up Broadway until I came to The Pizza Joint.  There I ordered the best meatball hero I had ever tasted.  Of course this could have been me, fresh off the boat,  over-romanticizing New York.  Over the years, however, I would return to the Pizza Joint, as well as its cousin, The Burger Joint, and I’ll be damned if they didn’t make some of the best meatball heroes and burgers ever.

I returned to the Esplinade and my cousin still wasn’t home from work.  With nothing to do I sequestered myself in his bedroom and turned on his clock radio hoping to find a baseball game.  The Yankees had just finished and the Mets were off that night (Monday) so I was out of luck there.  Turning the dial I stumbled upon a Rangers/Islanders playoff game that was in overtime.  What luck!  Ten minutes later the game came to an end on an Islander goal.  All of a sudden, out of one of the adjoining bedrooms I heard this blood-curdling scream.  If I hadn’t have been listening to the game I’m sure I would have thought somebody was committing murder.  Later I would discover it was my cousin’s sullen roommate, Rothstein.

And that was my first of 9,490 nights in New York City.

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The baseball card collector from hell

Posted by keithosaunders on November 5, 2015

frank howard

Like a lot of kids I collected baseball cards. I remember having most of the 68-70 Topps series. This was the era when the players largely resembled marines.  Frank Howard’s card comes to mind because it was kind of scary –  he was this behemoth who for some reason wore frame-less glasses.  He looked like a combination intellectual and ax-murderer.  In a few years the hippie culture would catch up to baseball at which point long hair and fancy beards and mustaches would abound.  But in 1969, even though the rest of the world was turning on and tuning out, the average baseball players look was that of a buttoned down nerd automaton.  Kind of like today’s Yankees.

Did I save the cards?  Yes, but – and you knew there would be a ‘but’ –  they are far from mint condition.  In fact, is there a category below ‘poor’?  Well below?

You see, way back in 1945 during the war…what do you mean what war?  THE BIG ONE.  WW DEUCE.  Now where was I?  OK, my Dad was quarantined for two weeks after returning from Japan. Since Al Gore would not invent the internet for another 50 years, my Dad had nothing to do. All he had was a few back issues of Stars and Stripes and a deck of playing cards.  What did he do?  Why he invented the greatest card baseball game in the history of card baseball games!

Now we fast forward a few decades to 1970 at which point Dad taught the game to me.  Picture the Lion King without actual singing or drama.  I instantly loved the game.  I took to it like Lucas Duda to a called third strike.

So:  I had a card baseball game and actual baseball cards. What to do…

Here’s 10 year old Keitho:

Say, I bet I can use my baseball cards as my lineup for the card game!  Hmm…I but I don’t have enough infielders in my Braves deck. Think, Keitho, think…I’VE GOT IT!  I’ll write 3B in ink on this Hank Aaron card and voila – hours of unbound fun!

Suffice it to say that 80% of my remaining cards have been horribly defaced.

For years I would play entire seasons (there were card football and basketball games as well) and I still have my folder containing all of the season stats.  For some reason I remember that one of my World Series was the Dodgers vs the Bluejays, and this was when the Jays had only been around a few years and were still bad.

So there you have it.  I collected comics and baseball cards and all I ended up with were these lousy memories.  Just kidding — the memories are actually pretty good.  Prettyyyyyyy, prettyyyyy, good!

larrydavid

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Why getting it right is so wrong

Posted by keithosaunders on October 2, 2015

A few comments about how much baseball sucks today. That 1977 Phillies/Dodgers playoff game I watched the other night: How long do you suppose it took to play that game? Remember, this was a 6-5 game. The Phillies used 4 pitchers while the Dodgers used 6, which was a lot for those days.

It took 2 hours and 59 minutes.

Here’s another thing: In the 2nd inning there was a play at the plate. Burt Hooten hit a double and Steve Garvey tried to score from 2nd. Bob Boone, the Phillies catcher, blocked the plate because this was pre-pussy baseball before the neutering of the catchers and umpires.   Harry Wendelstedt, the home plate ump,  ruled that Garvey was safe. However…he was out. You could easily tell by the ONE REPLAY they showed that Garvey was not able to slide under the tag. Wendelstedt, got the call wrong. The announcers noted it and then moved on, never once mentioning it again.

And guess what? The world didn’t stop turning on its axis, and what ensued was one of the more memorable playoff comebacks. There was the technology, even in ‘1977, to institute booth reviews yet they didn’t. Why? Because they realized they had a great game and didn’t want to ruin it.

Think about this as you enjoy your 5 hour Yankees/Bluejays games.

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The Cardinals: The king of Game 7

Posted by keithosaunders on November 3, 2011

You’d better believe I’m in baseball withdrawal.  What a compelling, riveting Series we just experienced; it was one of the best I”ve ever seen.  Now comes the boring time of the year which is dominated by free agent signings and arbitration settlements.  Gee, will you look at that, Willie Bloomquist got a 2.5 million dollar extension…

Last week’s game seven Cardinals win got me thinking about how they had won more Series — 11–  than any National League team.  The runners-up are the Dodgers and Giants, each of whom have won 6 out of 18 Series appearances.  (the Cards have also played in 18 Series)

But I was more interested in the Series that went to a seventh game.  Off the top of my head it seemed the Cardinals had played in an inordinate amount of them.  Here is what I found:

The Cardinals have won eight World Series game sevens. 

1926 v Yankees

1931 v Athletics

1934 v Tigers

1946 v Redsox

1964 v Yankees

1967 v Redsox

1982 v Brewers

2011 v Rangers  

They lost game sevens to the Tigers in ’68, the Royals in 85, and the Twins in ’87. 

61% of the World Series that the Cardinals have appeared in have gone to a seventh game and their winning percentage in these games is 72%.

Now lets look at the Yankees who have won a staggering 27 Series.

Of those 27 Series ony ten have gone to a seventh game and they have won four of them, or 40%.  Three of those four wins were versus the Dodgers in ’47, ’52, and ’56, and they beat the Giants in ’62.  Admittedly the Yankees probably did not play that many game sevens because of their dominance, but still, for a team that has one 67% of the Series that they appeared in, (27/40) you would think they would have won more game sevens. 

The Dodgers are 2-3 in game sevens, (but I think 1955 should count for more than one win!) and the Giants are 1-2. 

The Philadelphia/Oakland Athletics have fourteen pennants to their name, but have only played in three game sevens, going 2-1.  The Tigers, on the other hand have played in ten Series, five of which have gone to a game seven.  Their record in those games is 2-3. 

What can we learn from this?  The Yankees are indisputably the most dominant team in baseball, but the Cardinals are the most clutch.  After coming from ten and a half games behind in the division, 3-2 down in the Series, and down to their last strike (twice!) who can deny it? 

Ol' bucket-head, Tim McCarver

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Tour de Bronx

Posted by keithosaunders on June 21, 2011

While I’m in New York City I’m staying at my friend Jeff’s house in the Bronx.  Some of my longtime readers may remember Jeff as an occasional guest poster.  He is a fellow sports fan and music aficionado.  It is a testament to our friendship that Jeff, the greatest Yankee fan of all time, could be best friends with the greatest Yankee hater of all time.  Believe me, I got the better part of the bargain.

The Bronx gets a bad rap.  When people think of the Bronx they think of an overhead shot of burning buildings in the South Bronx taken from the Goodyear Blimp during the 1977 World Series, with Howard Cosell’s overly dramatic intonation, “The Bronx is burning!”  Back then it was a dangerous place, but much of greater New York City was as well.  The city was broke, crime was rampant, and the real estate and stock market boom of the 80s was yet to arrive.

Today I helped Jeff run an errand to a part of the Bronx that Jeff was unfamiliar with.  We ended up taking a circuitous route, but this was right in my wheelhouse.  I love seeing different sections of New York, particularly in the outer boroughs.  It’s in these neighborhoods —  not chic, glossy, yupped out Manhattan —  where you can still get a whiff of old New York.

We set out from Jeff’s neighborhood, a verdant, tree-lined section of Pelham filled with old three-story red brick houses.  There are lots of flowering bushes, and by summertime the trees begin to form a shade canopy over the streets.

Pelham is in the East Bronx and we headed north and west via the Mosholu Parkway, cut over to Bedford Ave, and made a hard left onto the Grand Concourse and headed downtown.  The Concourse was designed and constructed in the late 1800s with the idea of providing access from Manhattan to the parkland in the northern Bronx.  It was lined with fashionable, deco-style apartments, most of which still exist today, although some are in ill repair.  I took a photo of one that I found particularly striking; a triangular building that reminded me of the Flat Iron building on 23rd street in Manhattan.

 

We passed 176th street, a mere ten blocks north of Yankee Stadium, and turned east onto Mount Eden Rd.  Here are some of the apartment buildings.

 

 

 

 

 

After a few more blocks we approached Crotona Park.  The Bronx is home to most parkland per capita in New York City.  Pelham Park, in the Northeast, is even larger than Central Park.  I was amazed to see this green oasis in the middle of a dense, urban area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a few more blocks I noticed a stand-alone, one-story house which was surrounded by pre-war apartment buildings.  Jeff then recalled that back in the ’70s Jimmy Carter had visited the Bronx, and decrying the urban blight, pushed for the construction of several affordable homes.  Sure enough we soon came to a block that had several of these homes. 

 

We reached our destination on 176th st, ran the errand, and turned north and east to go home.  We found ourselves on Boston Rd, which at this point, runs under the 2 train, which is part of the IRT subway line that runs express in Manhattan under 7th Ave, and continues into Brooklyn, ending in Flatbush.  For my final picture here is a shot under the el — a classic New York street scene if there ever was one.  

 

Now get out there and visit the Bronx!

 

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