Friday, October 27, 2006

MOVIE REVIEW: The Departed - Take 2, The Bostonian Response

All of you who read this know that I’m from Boston. Seeing as every other contributor to this site is either living in New York and/or is a Yankee fan, I feel it is my duty to be the voice of my people in matters concerning popular culture and sports. The cities of Boston and New York have always maintained a prickly relationship. Die-hard residents of both cities believe that they live in the best place on earth, and each have good reasons. Boston is one of the world’s great centers for education, history, sports, and is probably the most European-feeling city in the USA. It is also escapable – in two hours you could be in Maine, Cape Cod, or the Berkshires. New York is… well… New York is New York – there’s no place like it. It has everything you could ask for (except maybe clean streets and fresh air) and more of it than you could possibly digest in a lifetime. Its hugeness and density is awesome and overwhelming.

To the people of Boston (especially Red Sox fans), New York is like that big loud kid down the block who has everything – more money, a bigger house, more toys – and will take every opportunity to remind you of it in as obnoxious a manner as possible. You kind of hate that kid, but he still throws the best parties. Bostonians, in comparison, fancy themselves to be smart kids up the street, with good grades, a smaller but more tasteful house, and yet still tough enough to kick your ass in a street fight – especially on St. Paddy’s Day. To put the Bostonian attitude simply – New York is Quantity, Boston is Quality. The people most obsessed with these attitudes and rivalries are usually the ones who have never left their home cities. It’s all kind of stupid and pointless, but it can be fun to watch.

Anyway, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with both cities. Boston is my home. With the possible exception of late February and March, it is beautiful in every season. You can walk almost everywhere. There are distinctive neighborhoods, gorgeous parks, fascinating architecture and interesting people all over the place. The sports fans are rabid, and Fenway Park is just awesome. After living in North Carolina and California, I actually appreciate the gruff, but honest attitude of Bostonians. Affection and respect must be earned! Now for the things I hate – that the T stops running at 1:30, that restaurants close even earlier, that moviemaking is considered something frivolous and stupid unless it’s a PBS documentary, that people who live on Beacon Hill live less than 5 miles from horrific poverty and violence in Roxbury and will never go down there to help out, the self-segregation of ethnic groups, and the hypocrisy of a city that prides itself on its liberal politics but can be so casually racist.

I have spent less time in New York, but there’s lots to love. Manhattan is just amazing. There’s a neighborhood for everyone. There are people and food from every corner of the globe. The excitement never stops, and the subway will take you anywhere. Central Park is fantastic. Show business and filmmaking are actually supported there. I love those New York moments when somebody does something bizarre on the street that would get you locked up in any other city, but New Yorkers casually pass by without a glance – they’ve seen it all. But at the same time, there’s just so much of everything that New York gets exhausting. It takes some serious time and effort to get out of the city and see some nature. And if you’re driving North, Co-op City is one of the most depressing sites your eyes will ever behold.

So, what does this all have to do with “The Departed?” Well, Boston has not been well served by the movies. It kind of sucks that anyone who makes a movie about Boston has to center its plot around one or more of the following – the Irish mob in Southie, the Kennedys, the Red Sox, and Harvard University. Sure, all of those have plenty of dramatic material to be mined, but there’s a lot more to Boston than those four subjects. 95% of the time, actors fuck up our accents and just don’t have the right vocabulary and body language. I was excited, apprehensively, by the prospect of Martin Scorsese pointing his lens at my home city. He’s made some of my absolute favorite movies, but how could a someone so fundamentally New York (and Italian-American New York, at that) nail a story about Irish-Americans in Boston, especially with someone as un-Bostonian, un-Irish and un-gangster as Leonardo DiCaprio in one of the lead roles? I knew that I could count on Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg to lend local authenticity, and that Jack Nicholson could read a phone book and make it entertaining, but seriously… Leo? Was Denis Leary not available?

I needn’t have worried. “The Departed” is by far the best movie I have seen this year.
GI Jeff already gave you a plot summary in his review, so I’ll just muse on the Bostonishness of it all. First off, I have never seen a movie that nails the Boston vernacular as accurately as this one. Huge points to screenwriter William Monahan for taking a Chinese story and somehow making it more Boston than any film I’ve ever seen (with the possible exception of “Good Will Hunting”). As a Massachusetts native, Monahan knows how my people talk – the men, the women, the cops, the crooks, the academics, the kids from the North Shore, the “Irish” from Southie, the Irish from Ireland, the Italians from Providence, the Blacks, and the bigots. There are subtle differences and intricacies between each, and Monahan knows them all. He particularly nails how Bostonians insult one another. Every line that pops out of Mark Wahlberg’s mouth is gem of Hub-style indignation.

Monahan also displays knowledge of the evolving racial politics in Boston. In an early flashback, we see the first encounter between Jack Nicholson’s character and the little boy who will grow up to be Matt Damon having lunch in an Irish-owned drug store in Southie. Clearly the place is really run by Nicholson, to whom the proprietor of the store all but offers up his teenage daughter. Flash forward 20 or so years, and that drug store is owned by an Indian man being harassed by Italian gangsters from Providence. Southie is no longer the uniformly Irish-American ghetto it once was.

The big surprise for me was Leo. He’s finally grown up. When he played Howard Hughes, I could never shake the fact that he looked and sounded like a 16 year old pretending to be a grownup. When he played an Irish street punk in “Gangs of New York,” he struck me as too fragile, too youthful and too damned Californian to be believable (say what you will about Colin Farrell, but he would have nailed that role), especially next to Daniel Day-Lewis. No worries anymore. In this movie, he actually seems like a complicated and interesting adult. That he seems a bit more polished than the gangsters he’s surrounded by is perfect – his character is supposed to be a kid from the North Shore who was trying to escape his family’s criminal roots in Southie, only to be thrown back in with them. His accent is good, too. It is not pitch-perfect Southie, and it shouldn’t be. He sounds like someone who never really had much of a Boston accent, but slips into it when he’s surrounded by those who do – something I do all the time when I’m home.

The only actors who never nail the accent are Jack Nicholson and Vera Farmiga, but neither bothered me much. Jack’s overwhelming presence transcends accents. When he first sits down at the bar next to Leo, all I could think of was what must have been going on DiCaprio’s head. I am guessing it was something along the lines of “Holy Shit! Jack Fucking Nicholson just sat next to me at a bar in a Martin Scorsese movie in which I am playing the lead and I better not fuck this up!” Vera Farmiga is gorgeous and has a tricky role. She tries the accent in some scenes and drops it in others, but at least she never overdoes it.

Most of the movie was shot in New York, but you’d never know it from the way Scorsese and production designer Kristi Zea use their Boston locations. I have stood in several of the actual spots where scenes take place (Broadway, South Station, the Common, Fort Point Channel, Chinatown, Long Wharf and more), which added much to my enjoyment.

Anyway, it’s a terrific movie and will no doubt serve as a brilliant, but bloody post card of my home city. It is great to see Scorsese back in fighting form and anytime that awesomely talented New Yorker wants to make another flick in Boston, it’s fine by me.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

MOVIE REVIEW: The Departed

It took me three weeks but I finally got to see The Departed last night and I am so glad that I did. When it comes to Martin Scorsese I am always biased. I love his movies plain and simple, even some of those that don't do very well. Yes, everyone I know loves the classics like Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Cape Fear, The Color of Money and Goodfellas, but I also love his not-so-classics as well, like Bringing Out the Dead, The King of Comedy, The Last Temptation of Christ and Casino. Now some of his later films have been so-so. I loved what he tried to do with Gangs of New York and The Aviator but I felt like both of those films, while well cast and extraordinarily filmed, left much to be desired. After the first ten minutes of The Departed I knew that this movie would be an instant classic. The film had a frantic energy as the two leads played by Leonardo Dicaprio and Matt Damon try to discover each other's identity in a cat-and-mouse game of cops and robbers, based on the Chinese flick Infernal Affairs.

The film begins with a classic Scorsese voiceover by homicidal gangster Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson). Frank C grooms a young kid to join the cops to snitch for him. The kid, Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon), graduates at the top of his class and is given cushy promotions thanks to the string-pulling from his Uncle Frank. On the other side of the tracks you have another young kid joining the police who has a string of losers and criminals in his family. Because of this history he is asked to quit the academy and become an undercover cop. So you can guess what this movie is about -- Rats.

This flick has an all-star group: on top of Jack, Leo and Matt, you have Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, Mark Wahlberg and Anthony Anderson. They were all beautifully cast, especially Mark Walberg as the fast-talking sarcastic asshole, Dignam. This film was supposed to take place in Boston and unfortunately they were only allowed to shoot a few scenes there, but it seemed real enough to me. It also helped having Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg, who are natives, to bring an extra dose of realism. I hope my good friend and fellow blogger Mikey Moran agrees with me on that one. He can be kind of anal when filmmakers attempt to make movies in his home state. Trust me, I was there for the Thirteen Days incident with the unfortunate Kevin Costner. Costner of course tried to do a classic Jack/Bobby Kennedy impression; needless to say I heard a lot of grunting and groaning beside me. You know I still love you, Mikey.

There are twists, there are turns, there are those crazy crane shots that Scorsese loves. I did enjoy the beautiful Vera Farmiga, who played shrink and lover to both Leo and Matt. She provided a foil for them to show who they truly were while they flipped back and forth from cops to crooks. Although it did get a little hammy when she ended up in bed with both guys; it seemed a bit of a stretch. It also kind of made her seem easy. But that aside, I enjoyed every fast-paced unpredictable moment of this one. So if you were like me and unfortunately waited three frikin weeks to see this thing go and see it now before it's gone. Right now, today, go and see this movie. It's one of the best of the year so far and you get to see a great throw down between Matt and Leo. What could be better?

Grade: 5 Buckets

Friday, October 20, 2006

TV: Why does Everyone Hate Raymond?

I think I picked a couple winners although, I will admit there were a few dogs in my TV lineup. The only one so far to be cancelled is Smith starring Ray Liotta. I was surprised that it went down so quickly. Although I am not surprised that the regular network couldn't handle it. Honestly a show like that should be on cable, like FX or Spike TV. Also the show Standoff on Fox seems to be either cancelled or on hiatus. I haven't heard the word that it had been axed but I did hear it wasn't faring so well. It was on break during the Baseball playoffs and I haven't heard when it was coming back. The show wasn't bad but there are already too many C.S.I. Law and Order type shows so, again it wouldn't surprise me if they decided in the end to kill the show. So here is the wrap of the shows I have already talked about and a couple new shows that started late.

Man, Liotta can't catch a break. I hate starting a new show with all of the plot threads out there in the open and now I won't be able to connect them. That really sucks when you start to invest in a show and then the bastards at the network cancel the thing after three episodes. They must not have liked where this show was going, more than likely it was just too violent for network TV. The worst part is because they only aired three episodes this show doesn't even have a chance to be in the "Brilliant But Cancelled" category. They will feel the wrath of Liotta. The Gods demand it.

I still don't know what the deal is with this show. Is it cancelled or not? Who knows? I watched this show until the playoffs they were supposed to move it back once the World Series started and I haven't heard a thing. This show was fun only because of the cast; personally they should transplant this group with a new plot line and better dialogue. Try to avoid the C.S.I. clichés. But if it does return I'm sure it will still be in my DVR queue. So as I was writing this I double checked the re-aire date. Apparently they are giving this one a second chance as it gets it's Tuesday slot again at 8PM on FOX starting Oct. 31st. Excellent! More Gina Torres and Ron Livingston.

unbelievably this one has become a giant hit. I do enjoy most of the episodes but the dialogue is really shitty. Plus two or three of the main cast need major overhauls in their character development. Also they need to start defining what it is these people can do. Cause I'm confused about what powers Peter and his congressman brother possess. Also, does it have to be so doomsdayish as in -- THE END OF THE WORLD! Been there done that, can't they just be heroes and save people? Why does it have to be so friggin melodramatic? I want to see more Hiro (that guy is great) and I want to see more Greg Grunberg, the cop. They left that one dangling a little too long. The writers on this show need to learn pacing. I know I bitch a lot about this show but it does have a lot of potential, it just needs a good kick in the ass to make better.

Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip
What can I say? The show is great and it seems to be catching on. I love every episode. Matt Perry, Bradley Whitford, Amanda Peet, Sarah Paulson and Steven Weber are awesome, keep up the good work. Sorkin is a writing god. The only negative I have is that we don't get to see more of Nate Corddry and D.L. Hughley. Other than that -- Nuff said.

Six Degrees
I haven't heard one way or another if this show is a hit or a dud. ABC hasn't moved it yet so I'm assuming it is working to their liking. I enjoy the cast and they have a great little mystery brewing here, so don't friggin cancel this one, ABC. I want to know what’s in the box and you will not cancel this show until I know, get me?

Now for the two new shows I've been watching:

Friday Night Lights
This show is, so far, the best show I've seen dealing with sports. They capture the essence of the film (with the same name) brilliantly. It's been a critical success but they don't have the numbers so far to prove people are watching. At least NBC has recognized that this is a well written show with a great premise and should be given at the least a full season to grow. For some reason the viewing public would rather watch the extra lame Dancing With the Stars. Come on people, especially you sports-loving males out there who can't get enough Monday Night Football. Stop watching Dancing With The Stars! It may be amusing for a few seconds watching Emmett Smith glide across the floor with his giant frame but then reality has to set in. What the hell am I watching, you might say, yes, that's right you are watching people dance for an hour. There is something wrong with you. Take dancing lessons or something, just not on Tuesday nights. Tuesdays belong to the Dillon Panthers and the wacko citizens of this dusty Texas town. Will the residents of Dillon show Coach Taylor the boot? Watch and find out.

Friday Night Lights is on NBC -Tuesdays at 8PM.

The Nine
This show follows in the vein of Six Degrees and Lost, following nine victims of a 52 hour botched bank robbery/hostage crisis. One of them ends up dead and everyone comes out of the event changed -- for the better or the worst -- that is why we watch. It's an interesting take on an old plot device. You have your run of the mill bank robbery and hostage situation but this show begins when that kind of action movie ends. This is more about the trauma and emotional baggage of these nine characters (I guess technically it’s eight characters), as they try to get on with their lives afterward. It stars Tim Daly, John Billingsley (note: he played Doctor Flox on Enterprise), Jessica Collins, Dana Davis (from 24), Scott Wolf, Camille Guaty and Chi McBride. It can be overly melodramatic at times but it's a solid show with a great cast and a pretty cool premise to boot.

The Nine is on ABC- Wednesdays at
10 PM

Saturday, October 14, 2006

MOVIE REVIEW: Man of the Year

Hello all, for the first time in a few weeks I actually got a chance to see a movie on its opening weekend and because of my predilections for politics I chose to see Man of the Year starring Robin Williams. After I saw the movie I caught Lisa "Doesn't know her ass from her asshole" Schwarzbaum’s review in my Entertainment Weekly. Unfortunately for Schwarzbaum she read too much into the trailers for this film, I think she thought this was going to be some light hearted comedy like Dave. Instead it’s more along the lines of Good Morning Vietnam. She also doesn’t understand what a satire is either. She complains that Robin Williams is not believable as a president, well duh, that's kind of the point. In the beginning of the film Dobbs tries hard just to stay on the issues but discovers that no one wants to see a comedian get serious. How crazy is that I mean when I think of people like Bill Mahr and Jon Stewart, I think, these guys are just as smart or smarter then our president. These guys understand the issues as much or more than our President. Doesn’t that beg the question that if Bush could be elected then why not a comedian? I really liked the film and the message that goes with it. Sure they deal with the campaign stops and political barbs but if you look closely you will find that this film is mostly about technology and how it can corrupt a free society. Remember during the last presidential election? Everyone was talking about those Diebold voting machines and the fear of glitches in the system, of course if there was a glitch it would be tough to spot because the machine leaves no paper trail. Man of the Year explores this possibility and the dilemma that follows the discovery.

Comedian/Host of his own Politically Incorrect type show, Tom Dobbs (Robin Williams), decides he's going to run for President of the United States. He gets help from his very funny producer and friend Jack Menken (Christopher Walken) as well as his comedy writer/friend Eddie (Lewis Black). Dobbs runs as an Independent hitting Republicans and Democrats alike for being stiff ass shills for big business and lobbyists. The debate was hilarious as the two talking heads from the Democratic Party and the Republican Party thank their wives and kids and the moderator for being there. This part is so true during a debate I remember between W and Kerry both of them yapped on for at least five minutes thanking people instead of answering the damn question. Dobbs goes on a rant for a few minutes scaring the hell out of the debaters and the moderator allowing Robin Williams to do his frenetic jokes a second spiel. Brilliant I say it's been too long since I've seen him just go completely off book. It's nice to see him back in true comic form. Although it doesn't last through the entire movie he switches back and forth very well. Laura Linney was interesting as the computer programmer for the Diebold lite company. Hell her boss kind of looked like Steve Jobs. Oh and Jeff Goldblum was a creepy exec in this as well.

Barry Levinson does a great job of pacing the film dealing with a guy determined to be different in a sea of repeating sound bytes and rhetoric. If you enjoy a good political satire go and check this one out. If you love Robin Williams when he's playing for laughs then you really should run to see this film cause he hasn't been this good since Good Morning Vietnam.

Grade: 4 Buckets

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

MOVIE REVIEW: The Black Dahlia

Well it's been a while but I finally got a chance to see a movie. Now I know this one has been out for a while but I had been on the fence about whether or not I really wanted to see this film. The Black Dahlia is unfortunately a true story about a woman named Elizabeth Short who was brutally killed in the 40's. This particular film was based on James Ellroy's novel of the same name. The film felt long and it wasn't sure where it wanted to go. It had all the cliché noir elements but it didn't really capture the essence of most Ellroy novels. I am a big fan of his books: American Tabloid, L.A. Confidential and Clandestine. I have not had the chance to read Black Dahlia, but I think I will now. Ellroy's books are very tough to scribe for films. Screenwriter Brian Helgeland and director Curtis Hanson did an incredible job adapting L.A. Confidential to the screen. Ellroy weaves a lot of characters and dead end tales that make his stories a briar patch of plot that would give any writer worth his salt massive headaches.

This film was no exception. Brian De Palma did a good job visually with this film, the sets were pretty and he had the star filter just perfect on Scarlett Johannson and Hilary Swank. He just couldn't quite navigate the story it was all over the place. The film focused on the two lead detectives in the case: Bucky Bleichert (Josh Hartnett) and Leland Blanchard (Aaron Eckhart ). They call themselves Fire and Ice as they appear to be good buddies even after Blanchard knocks out two of Bucky's teeth in a boxing match. Blanchard seems to take the Dahlia case very seriously and a little over the top if you ask me, but it's a Brian De Palma movie so I shouldn't have been surprised. Bleichert tries to keep his partner calm as he gets himself deeper into the case. The girl was cut in half with her mouth sliced ear to ear. Bucky gets a little too close to the Femme Fatale Madeleine Linscott (Hilary Swank), who had had a relationship with Elizabeth Short. Of course how can I forget the very beautiful and voluptuous Scarlett Johansson who plays the girlfriend of the erratic Blanchard. Mia Kirshner plays the tragic Elizabeth Short/Dahlia mostly in black and white audition tapes and a very creepy sex tape. They even go so far as to show the extent of the mutilation to this poor girl and it is pretty damn frightening.

Overall this film is just a giant mess. It doesn't focus enough on the actual murder of Elizabeth Short as it does the shortcomings of the lead Detectives investigating the case. Hartnett, Swank and Johansson are pretty faces who try to make this a gritty crime drama but it doesn't quite get there. I think this film is an improvement from such De Palma films like Bonfire of the Vanities or Snake Eyes but unfortunately that isn't saying very much. As a noir it's too cliché and as a thriller it's kind of boring. My suggestion go and see Hollywoodland. Hopefully if they decide to adapt American Tabloid they'll enlist Hanson and Helgeland again, otherwise my suggestion is to leave the damn thing alone.

Grade: 2 and 1/2 buckets

Monday, October 09, 2006

TV: The Season Premiere of Lost

The Lost premiere was last Wednesday but I needed some time to take it in before I made any comments on it. I liked the episode as Lost did, what it always seems to do, answer one question and then give you twenty more questions to ponder. Cody said he didn't like the episode too much. I think I can understand why, it didn't reveal a whole hell of a lot. Jack, Sawyer and Kate are now in captivity by the Others and they are asking questions and not getting any answers in return. It was a frustrating opener because they make Jack seem, a little well, nuts. Which Cody thinks they may make Jack a bad guy. I don't think that could happen, as it turns out the Others, we are supposed to discover, are not really bad at all. At least that's what the creators told us at the San Diego Comic-Con. In the first episode of season 3, "A Tale of Two Cities", we meet a few new Others like Juliet (Elizabeth Mitchell), Nikki (Kiele Sanchez) and Neil (Rodrigo Santuro). We also get to see some of the Others from last season like Henry Gale/Ben (Michael Emerson), Mr. Friendly/Zeke (M.C. Gainey) and we also get to see Ethan (William Mapother) from first season and Goodwin (Brett Cullen) who infiltrated the tailies in season 2. So Ben tells Kate that she better enjoy the good life now because the coming weeks are going to be unpleasant. Very mysterious, the mind begins to race. Sawyer gets locked in a zoo and has fun trying to figure out the food delivery button, not really. Jack is locked in a prison with a giant glass wall. He is being questioned by the very pretty Juliet who I believe is the new love interest for Jack this season.

This Wednesday is the new episode so I hope they explain a bit more about what the hell is going on. This past week it was Jack's flashback episode. I suppose this week's will be about either Jin, Sun or Sayid. As of right now it seems that the Others are a society of former Dharma employees who have stayed voluntarily, at least that's what I think. It could be that they have as much control over their fate as the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. We'll see but I think they are going to have a hell of a time trying to convince me that the Others are saintly after all they have done so far. What do you guys think? Can this place still be Purgatory? How bout an Alien abduction made to look like an island? We were told at the Comic-Con that it will never be clones. So who the hell are these people? Hopefully we will find out very soon.

Lost aires Wednesday night at 9/8 Central on ABC.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

SPORTS: Post Season Over Before It Began

It's a sad day in New York for Yankee fans as the Detroit Tigers have choked the life out of the Bronx Bombers 8-3. The post season is over, and what can be said to improve the situation for next year? I've said it before I'll say it again, pitching. Damnit Brian Cashman, It's THE PITCHING!! After watching this train wreck over the last few days I've come to understand that the Yankees don't have any pitchers who can do what Verlander, Rogers and Bonderman just did to them in this playoff series. After the first spectacular game which I crowed about on Wednesday, the Yankees then went on a 20 inning slump where they scored nary a run. From Damon's three run homerun on Thursday till Matsui hit an RBI Fielder's Choice to put the Yankees on the board with a run in the seventh on Saturday. Pathetic, sad, frustrating. Yes this is certainly what I am feeling, and it didn't help that the Fox announcers were just bad. They lorded over the fact that the most powerful sluggers in baseball were getting their asses handed to them, yes thank-you ass hole for pointing that out. Also, I'm sure many Yankee fans would agree with me that comparing the Yankees to Globo-Gym from that stupid movie Dodge ball is worthy of a face stomping. I understand that if you are not a Yankee fan you more than likely hate them and think they are the evil empire or something. Okay fine but for an announcer to call my guys when they come up to bat the bad guys. That's it the gloves are off. Deep breath. In out. In out.

The season is over now what to do. Usually I have found that Steinbrenner overreacts to these situations and we end up getting rid of the wrong person. There is no question heads will roll but whose head will it be? There is no question in my mind that Sheffield is done. We just made Abreau feel very comfortable with a pay raise so it makes sense to me that we won't re-sign Sheff. Of course there is speculation after speculation about Joe Torre and A-Rod. The reporters smell blood in the water. Jon Heyman and John Donovan of Sports Illustrated are absolutely convinced that Steinbrenner is going to probably can Torre and Rodriguiez in favor of Lou Piniella and pitcher Barry Zito from Oakland or maybe nab Andy Petitte from Texas. That would be nice to pick up a great pitcher like that but I would be surprised if Oakland gave him up, especially now that they are in the ALCS. I love Lou Piniella, but this kind of talk is premature. Steinbrenner is unpredictable and he likes to give his favorite players and coaches’ second chances. It is fair to say though that Joe's job may be uncertain. The Yanks have lost consistently in the first or second round of the post season for three straight years now. He also made some very stupid batting rotation changes in this post season that seems to have everyone stumped, including myself. Personally if the Yankees were to entertain such an idea I hope they don't just up and fire him. Hopefully, if this happens he'll just resign or retire. I can't forget the 4 World Series Joe won for us a while ago.

The general manager, Brian Cashman, has not publicly stated the course of action for next year's season. Everything is up for grabs. The Yankees could end up trading Mussina and possibly some of the relief staff. Personally I think it's time we traded Mike Myers and Kyle Farnsworth. Farnsworth has a great arm and may do well somewhere else I don't see why we can't get a great to good pitcher for him. I think we can use Andy Phillips, Aaron Guile, Jaret Wright, Cory Lidle and maybe even Johnny Damon as trade bait to get more pitching. I think the Yanks need to decide now whether or not they want to make Melky Cabrera a full time member of this team cause I think it's time. He's got a better arm than Johnny and he wants to be in center so I don't see why it can't be an option. This in no way is a sleight on Damon, I think he's a good clutch player and he, like Posada and Jeter were the only ones to really come through in a pinch in this miserable series, but we have too many guns and not enough positions and someone will have to go. Johnny Damon is going to be 35 in November he ain't no spring chicken anymore. Melky is what, 23 or 24. This team has to get younger next year. I appreciate the veterans but they can't go on forever. Cabrera, Cano, Proctor and Karstans at this point are the future of this Yankee ball club. There has to be more young blood and soon, otherwise, I fear that my Yankees will suffer another humiliation in the post season next year.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

SPORTS: Derek Jeter is MVP

Yesterday I went about my day focused on getting everything done before the start of the playoffs that evening at 8PM. I checked in on the earlier game between The Oakland A's and the Minnesota Twins. It was a pitcher's duel between the Twins' Santana, who has been unstoppable this year, and the very good Zito for the A's. So I was surprised when I saw that the A's won 3 to 2. For the Oakland A's to win in Minnesota against their best pitcher, that is impressive. So I went back to writing a bit and I was about to watch the Yankee pre-game show on YES when I got a phone call; My friend Ori frantically asks me what was I doing and if I wanted to go to Game 1, Detroit vs. Yankees. Are you high, of course I want to go! The only catch is that Ori has the tickets and he's driving in from New Jersey an hour before the game. That didn't bother me at all. I got ready called a few people to gloat about the game; and headed off for the Subway. It took him a long time to park but we got into the stadium after 2 and a half innings. Before I could make it to my seat Johnny Damon had already singled, Jeter hit a double and then Bobby Abreau had a two run double. I unfortunately missed that one as Ori and I were running to our seats. I also missed Sheffield's RBI single but I sure as shit didn't miss Jason Giambino's smash homerun driving in two more runs. It was incredible if you had to come late for a baseball game, and this is the first thing you see before you sit down, then you know its gonna be a great night. The Yanks, under the pitching expertise of Chien Ming Wang knocked the wind out of Detroit's sails 8-4.

Let me just say that I love Yankee Stadium and this year has been very special for me because I've been able to go there so frequently(14 games). The field looked so green and beautiful. They had the official ALDS 2006 logos on either side of home plate. The crowd was large and rowdy, there were a couple scuffles. Nothing major though. Ori revealed that not only was this his first time at Yankee Stadium but his first real baseball game. He was about to see something that was truly extraordinary in addition to the playoff game. You could hear it on and off throughout the game, of course mostly when he came up to bat, but when Derek Jeter came up to the plate in the eighth inning, you would not have been able to hear yourself think. Everyone was chanting MVP. It's not uncommon for fans in New York to chant this slogan to their hero; he's always been Captain Clutch, as Cody calls him. Especially this year as he has boasted a .342 batting average consistently all season. Tonight was the icing on the cake. By the eighth inning as everyone was chanting, Derek Jeter was 4 for 4 on the evening and coming up for his fifth at bat. He was perfect a couple of singles a couple of doubles you couldn't ask for more. Derek crushed a solo homerun in the eighth to put the final nail in Detroit's coffin. It was beautiful; this was what my Dad was always talking about when I was a kid about Mickey Mantle. That kind of heroism, that kind of play that lifts a team into the stratosphere of greatness that no matter what happens after that it can never be taken away. Derek Jeter is by far my generation's Mickey Mantle. If this statement wasn't true before it certainly was after last night. Derek Jeter is Mr. October he took it fair and square from Reggie Jackson and he ain't ready to relinquish it yet.

It was one of the greatest games I have ever seen and I got to see that amazing 9 run comeback earlier this year against the Rangers, so I know what I'm talking about. I have a charmed life, what can I say, I'm living in the greatest city in the world watching the greatest team ever assembled. Sure it took a lot of money, sure the Yankee detractors call them the Evil Empire, but these guys have a lot of heart. Guys like Jeter, Cabrera, Sheffield, Posada and Cano. They are the reason the Yankees, are well, the Yankees, they build on that tradition of excellence that has come before them. Ruth and Gehrig, Berra and DiMaggio, Mantle and Maris, Munson and Mattingly they won a hell of a lot but they were also very human with problems just like the rest of us. They were also larger than life and they provided great stories and greater legends to pass down to future generations of Yankees. And I can't wait to pass down the legends of Jeter, Cano, Rivera, Williams and Posada, and many more, to my kids. This is why I'm a Yankee fan, more than anything else they are apart of my family's history from my Grandfather to me and someday to my children and beyond--Go Yankees!

Game 2 is on tonight at 8PM on Fox.