Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Amat Baseball

Tonight, I watched the Home Run Derby. Or as I call it, The Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Long Home Run Derby. That "Bronx is Burning" show was supposed to start at 10, but it didn't get going until after 11. Any ESPN-made mini-series isn't going to be of the highest quality. But despite it's cheesy theme song, and the terrible jobs they did with the players' stirrups and the right field corner of Fenway Park, I guess it was pretty--well, I wouldn't say "good," but I made it through part one. Still deciding if I'll make a point to watch part two.

Seriously, those stirrups that I grew up with--are they such ancient history that it's a painstaking effort to even come close to capturing "the look" of them? It's as if there are no existing pictures of them, so they went to nursing homes to interview people to find out what these mysterious things looked like. First mistake: It looked like they were painted on. Second mistake: The white showing underneath was just too wide at the top. The stirrups were closer to upside-down digital U's than to, uh, upside-down non-digital U's. Third mistake: They were the exact same height on every player. I imagine some non-baseball fan costume designer studying just Reggie Jackson's uniform from one picture, and then making every single uniform to those exact specs. "Oh my god, there are these weird black lines painted onto white socks!" In reality, Mickey Rivers showed a lot of black below the pants, while other guys had only the sides of the stirrups showing. You did have the option to wear the stirrups how you wanted--they weren't surgically implanted....

I understand Reggie wasn't too pleased with how he was portrayed in the series. I guess the actor wasn't arrogant or pompous enough.

Oh right, the HR Derby. I always like watching this, but this year's wasn't nearly as good as some past derbies. I wanted to see balls flying out to the waiting kayakers in the cove. But only two or three balls went out there. After the first round, all the lefties were out anyway. Terrible. I also don't like the constant music. One of the best parts of baseball is the crowd reaction. Anticipation. The crack of the bat, the slightest pause, and then, with the realization that the ball is going a long way, an explosion of sound. And in a competition like this, those roars and buildups can carry a hitter. But if all you hear is music, it ruins the whole damn thing. If people won't go to the park if they don't get their stupid circus show, screw 'em. But a businessman would never say "screw 'em" to potential customers. (This is why they say the money is the root of all evil--because nothing's immune to its influence. i.e. It effs up everything that's sacred.)

There was one memorable moment, when Papi brought a new bat out for Vlad Guerrero while he was hitting--in a huge wooden case. Not exactly "Wonder Boy," but fun nonetheless.

I also accidentally caught some of the celebrity softball game, and saw a great moment. Dave Winfield hit a little foul pop straight back--and the catcher, Paul Giamatti, turned, took a step back, reached up, and caught it. A dream play if I ever saw one: A classic Yankee hitting an eight-foot high popup to the son of a Sox fan who isn't even a ballplayer. In softball.

I suspect that Reggie's biggest problem with The Bronx is Burning is that the actor playing him looked a lot more like Jackie Childs with a Fro than he looed like Reggie. I watched some of it, but man was it slow moving with a lame screenplay...you mentioned that you liked the book, which I imagine was much better. And the Son of Sam/NYC fiscal crisis stuff really felt tacked on, and made the whole production seem like a low-rent tv-movie version of Summer of Sam (which I also didn't like that much). I thought Turturro channeling Billy Martin was the only interesting part.
In viewing "The Bronx Is Flatulent", John Turturro looks like Billy Martin, while one guy really looks like Thurman Munson, but the guy playing Mr Dunbar, looks like a cross between John Candy & an Overweight Marv Albert:

It's a CHEAPIE Production
That was the danger, AJM, of it being on ESPN. That it would be about the Yanks, and then, cut to, guy kills people, newspaper says "blackout," then cut right back to the sports.

I'm hoping maybe they're setting us up for more non-baseball action. Probably, it will just be like part one the whole time.

Michael, let's remember, while Big Stein is the personification of Mr. Dunbar, the name refers to the Yanks as a whole.... that dude playing Stein was great in Bulworth.

Did anyone notice how Reggie and Billy's hats were two different tones of blue?
//Did anyone notice how Reggie and Billy's hats were two different tones of blue?//

jfJere: Yes. The mid-late 70's were about the time when the Yanks' caps and pinstripes went to a very, very dark navy. Reggie/Jackie Childs' cap looked too light; Jesus Quintana/Billy Martin's was more accurate.

Also, the guy playing Munson's voice was too high; in real life Thurman kinda growled.
That's right! Munson--I remember he looked about right, then he opened his mouth: hey reggie! Sounded like a little kid. That was funny.
By the way, Jere, last night the wife and I were back on the UES to have dinner with her old landlord. You may already know this, but Googie's on 2nd between 78th & 79th is no more...it's been replaced by Vynl, which appears to be a local casual Thai-American chain w/a retro-hipster kitschy-twist:

I took one of their take out menus...looks like they still sell veggie burgers, bbq tofu wraps and portobello sandwiches.
Yes, I did follow the Googie's saga. I saw it many times with the windows all painted over. So sad, particularly because I knew I couldn't get that hot fudge brownie sundae. Then, I think it was two visits to NYC ago, my girlfriend and I walked by, and saw Tyryble Jyb or whatever it's called. She thought it looked pretty cool, but just the fact that it wasn't Googie's made me not wanna like it. But let me know if you do try it.

Thanks for the Up(pereast)date!

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Location: Rhode Island, United States