Tuesday, June 26, 2007

It's All In Your Classy Head

As I've noted many times, the Yankee "Universe" (I still have a daily laugh over that one) never loses. In their minds, that is. A loss is really just a win in disguise. They know that they have won, are winning, and will win every game. It's their birthright. 11 games back? Sure, but they'll find some way to turn it into the fact that they're better than you. That 2001 World Series? Not so much a huge choke in which the Great Mariano blew Game 7 as "a victory for New York." Besides, they'll always have the most championships...until another team has more, at which point they'll just say they've got better, classier championships.

So it came as no surprise to me when I saw a Daily News article last week about A-Rod called "Chasing Roger." In it, A-Rod is viewed as the soon-to-be "people's home run champion." What the hell do they mean, you ask? Well, according to the article, if A-Rod hits 62 home runs, he'll pass Roger Maris' AL-leading single-season mark, but, since Sosa and McGwire took steroids, he'll also be the "true single-season [major league] record holder."

Before we go crowning A-Rod, let's look at the facts.

1. He's not there yet. It's not even the All-Star break. Since this article was written, his pace has slowed to a total of about 61.3 homers. But plenty of players have been on pace to break, even shatter, records, early in seasons, only to fall short. This is why records are cherished--it's hard to play at such a pace, let alone keep it up for 162 games. Let's see how many games left he has when he reaches 50 home runs before we start coming with special names he'll be called upon breaking the record.

2. Since when have people cared about the individual league records when it comes to home runs? Quick, whose National League record did McGwire break for single-season homers in 1998? In fact, it wasn't even that big a deal when Sosa passed 61 after McGwire already had that year. But suddenly re-establishing the AL mark is a big deal? Sure, A-Rod, or anyone else, who hits 62 home runs will be the official AL home run single-season champ. But after the league record has been broken time after time, will a race to 62 capture America?

So basically, from a Yankee fan's perspective, the all-time single-season home run list looks like this:

1. A-Rod (trust us)
2. Roger Maris (we've simply moved his old asterisk to McGwire and Sosa)
3. Babe Ruth (whose curse still haunts the Red Sox, who haven't won a World Series since 1918, especially not in 2004, and definitely not after being the first team in history to come back from a 3-0 lead, against the Yanks mind you, in the ALCS)
4. Ruth again
5 through end. Other players

A new article is up at the Daily News site, about the upcoming mini-series The Bronx is Burning. What's the article called? "Bombers are Champs Again." Figures.

Yes, that would've been the perfect end to this post, but I do want to talk about that mini-series. When I was working as a proofreader years ago, I worked on a book called "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx is Burning." When you get a book you're interested in, believe me, you read it, even though you're just supposed to be proofing it. (It got to the point where if a book that even mentioned the Red Sox came through, my boss would say "I've got something for you...." (This was back in my days living in a crazy land where I was in the distinct minority as a Sox fan.))

I enjoyed what I read of the book, and I'm looking forward to the mini-series they've based on it. Let me tell you something about me. My favorite era and place for a book or movie to take place, if I had to choose, would be New York City in the late-70s. I love everything about it, with the exception of the fact that the Yanks were winning World Series'. Some of my favorite films are set in New York and either were made or take place in that time. I just love the way the city looked, the clothes, the hair, the music.... and none of it was done in a "retro" way. People were doing things that were crazy and new. Sure, everyone dresses and wears their hair in those 70s fashions now, but that's because they're imitating a look, not inventing one. While the modern age has allowed us to instantly find the air-date* of that Diff'rent Strokes episode where Gordon Jump plays a child molester, it's also made us into unoriginal, predictable clones of each other with no communication skills.

From one end of the spectrum to the other, people were taking risks, from the punks with spikes and leather, to the disco people in leisure suits. Love it or hate it, you have to admit, they were all doing something no generation before had attempted. And the way New York was back then was a reflection of it. It was dark and seedy and scary and exciting.

Anyway, it was a good book, and the mini-series starts July 9th on ES Urine N. You just have to close your eyes when the Yanks actually win (and remember, it's about '77, not '78, so there won't be any Bucky Dent bullshit). But it also shows all the scandals of the Yanks from back then. Maybe some taught-by-Fox, casual baseball fans will start to question the continual label of the Yankees as a "classy" organization after they see it. They've got a lot of rings, but I've been alive 31 years, living within 50 miles of the Bronx for most of them, and I'm still waiting for this "class" to show its face.

*February 5th and 12th, 1983. It was a two-parter.

Jere, another good piece on Yankee B.S. It never ceases to amaze me how full of s*#t they are. I am, like you, from Connecticut (Litchfield county) and have been putting up with it a little longer (47 years). Don't know if you heard it last night on the Hell No network, but at one point in the game Singleton said " the Orioles don't hit a lot of home runs anymore, that makes it tough to compete with the powers of the A.L. East like the Yankees, Red Sox and ....oh Toronto even". Total denial of the Yanks suckitude. Face it, you are not a "power" anymore. You are in third place behind.....oh Toronto. I laughed for about two innings after that, it was hard to keep track of all the weak ground ball double plays the MFY's hit into.
Thanks. I did have their game on mlb.tv last night, but it was actually the O's coverage for a change. So when I had the sound on, I got to hear that now-nightmarish voice of Gary Thorne....
I actually think it would be great if ARod broke the AL single-season HR record in a season where the Yanks miss the playoffs. I think it's pretty likely that he opts out of his contract to begin with, but an absolute certainty under that scenario...he'd be crazy not to. How great would it be to see him sign with, say, the Cubs or the Angels, while the Yank's offense falls off a cliff next year? If Yank fans think they hate him now, just wait for that....and then they'd always have to live with the fact that the most significant record held by a Yankee is by a guy they absolutely despise who brought them zero championships.

Agree with you on late-70's NYC, btw.
That is the key. He can break all the records he wants, as long as they don't win. It would be really funny if he hit number 62 in the last game, with them in last place, and no one in the stands. (And someone throws the ball back, and A-Rod takes the Cubs to the '08 Series.)

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