Winter having been dispatched, we turn our attention to the Yankees
Vicente Romo's Inside Pitch
Thank you to those who sent birthday greetings a couple of weeks ago. Even at age 73, still keeping the arm loose and dreaming of evening up the W-L record. Many of you will recall that when I first left beisbol, I was 31-31…and also 31 years old. The phone didn't ring in 1975. Or '76. Or from '77 through the strike season, 1981. But in May of 1982, I made my comeback where it all began -with the Dodgers -after spending spring training with the Cardinals. Had a good season, with a 3.03 ERA and a 1.093 WHIP. One HR in 35 innings. Today, they would back up the Brink's truck to my back door; all it got Vicente was a seat in the bullpen. Huevo's last game was July 27, 1982 -A-Rod's 7th birthday. Bad news was that I was 1-2, which made my career record 32-33. That's why I still dream of the comeback. But I digress….
Vicente's final game was against San Francisco. Same team that cut off the Panda's room service privileges on the road when he was on a ten-game hitting streak but still couldn't hit his weight....Loved Vin Scully eviscerating Ryan Howard when the Phillies' 1B overtook Joe DiMaggio in lifetime HR's. "But how about this: in 13 years Joe DiMaggio struck out 369 times. That's all. In 13 years Ryan Howard struck out 1,738 times. Yeah, he replaced Joe DiMaggio. While I think about that, we'll be right back." Yay, Vinny!....Not to pile on here, but Howard also has four (4) errors at 1B, and it's only April. The great Steve Garvey once made NO ERRORS over an entire season (1985)….Best meal you can have if you have to choose one -BREAKFAST. Best place to have it -Pershing Square across from Grand Central. Perfect omelettes….Biggest story in beisbol this season is -rookie IF Trevor Story of the Rockies. Already has 8 HR's. We like the uppercut swing. Not so much the 39% K rate…Could have told the Pirates "Don't sign Freese." Already has hit into 5 DP's. Guy who hits 70% ground balls on a team that gets on base a lot -not what Vicente calls a good fit….Met fans talk as though Syndergaard throwing 100 mph means they will be invited back to the World Series. Meanwhile, Washington Nats have righted the ship with Dusty, off to 10-3 start…Red Sox -um, not enough pitching for Vicente. Too many #4 and #5 guys….Nice guy, that Steven Wright. Sent Chris Colabello of Jays an expensive bottle of hooch for hitting him in the head with a pitch….Trainer for Sandoval speaks out, says that Pablo once gained 21 pounds during a 21-day trip to Venezuela. Not sure I'd admit to being Panda's trainer. Like being guitar teacher for the Ramones….Curt Schilling is at it again, saying bad things about transgender citizens. "I'm okay with my flaws," said Curt. "Um, you're fired," said ESPN…. Try David Chang's chicken sandwich when it comes soon to CitiField. Already at Madison Sq. Garden. Could be best chicken sandwich ever….Rico Petrocelli, one of five players to have a 40-HR season AND ten or more letters in his last name. Killebrew has the HR's but only nine letters....Cesar Geronimo -3000th strikeout victim of both Gibson and Nolan Ryan. "I was in the wrong place at the wrong time," he says….Does anyone actually go to Foxwoods anymore since they ditched the big band "Wonder of it All" commercials?…Speaking of commercials, does it get any worse than Kars-4-Kids? And according to Fox and NBC reports, it's a pretty awful charity, too….Say hello to old friend Dr. Charles Steinberg at McCoy Stadium should you ever be in the Pawtucket area….Need a sports bar in Napa? The outdoor bar at R&D in Yountville is quietly the best. TV in the shade, you're outside, and they'll show beisbol…unless Warriors are playing…Speaking of, Vicente making trip to Sox-Giants in June. Maybe they still have an old belt that fits Panda…Listen to Ed Randall on WFAN on Sundays 9-11 EDT. Only place you have a chance to hear Jackie Gutierrez talking about his 31 errors for the 1984 Red Sox. Good thing his manager Ralph Houk wasn't one for profanity….That's all for now. Brother Enrique also sends his best.
Not in this world - the fix was clearly in...
At a charity event held at the Bowery Poetry Club on Sunday afternoon, April 17th, a team of storytelling Yankee fans were judged to have defeated a pro-Sox entourage made of mainly of BLOHARDS. The only winner we could root for that day seems to have been the charity, Baseball as Good Medicine (baseballasgoodmedicine.org), which was the beneficiary of the highly enjoyable sold-out event.
Chris Wertz led off for the BLOHARDS' team with a riveting tale about the life of Luis Tiant, the one-time ace Cuban righthander who started all three of the team's wins in the 1975 World Series for the Red Sox. Chris talked about how as a Latino, Tiant had suffered the indignities of racism from both white and from black players, who believed that Latino players had not paid their dues. Meanwhile, Tiant was making his way in a new country, unable yet to speak English and banned due to his color from accompanying his teammates to restaurants during spring training. In the face of these obstacles, Tiant managed to go 10-4 as a rookie for the sixth-place Indians.
Rabbi Jeff Sirkman, Senior Rabbi of Larchmont Temple and a local Westchester cable TV host, went next, and spoke about Russell Earl ("Bucky") Dent. We would go into more detail about his lovely talk, except that it still pains us to write about Mr. Dent, the pride of Hialeah HS and a man who hit a total of 40 HR's in his twelve MLB seasons and 5,026 plate appearances.
When noted speaker and author Bob Sullivan came to bat as the #3 batter for the Sox side there was more than a glimmer of hope for the Sox fans on hand, most of whom had congregated around the (fully-stocked) bar area just off the main room. But the judges did not find the charm that we did in Bob's partial tale of a visit with his family to a Lowell Spinners' game, an event that became their gateway to a lifelong love of the Red Sox.
The Yankees' stories placed a heavy emphasis on their championship season of 2009, the Yankees' only such honor in the past fifteen seasons. Congratulations to the winner, a well-dressed high school student from New Jersey.
No account of this event would be complete without mentioning the unfortunate choice of timekeeper - Scooter, the mascot for the Staten Island Yankees. His in-your-face approach to enforcing the five-minutes (or so) time limit for stories most definitely served as a distraction to the longer-winded, tangent-heavy style of our boys.
Special thanks to Annie Levy, Bergino's Baseball Clubhouse, Scooter the mascot -as well as Chris, Jeff, and Bob, who represented the Sox and the BLOHARDS with dignity and humor.
Bus Trip Satisfactory, Considering
Absence of frostbite, bus breakdown mitigate Sox loss
The Orioles' Chris Davis hit a 97 mph Craig Kimbrel fastball halfway to Logan Airport for a ninth inning three-run HR, as the O's spoiled David Ortiz's final home opener as a player and beat the Sox, 9-7.
Greeted by an agreeable game time temperature that nudged into the high 50's, over 160 BLOHARDS descended on Fenway Park, about 110 of whom had boarded two buses at the traditional meeting spot near the Westport CT train station. Those fortunate enough to be assigned seat locations with an unobstructed view of the pitcher's mound noted that David Price lacked the usual command they'd observed in the past when he pitched against the Red Sox. By the time he had finished just five innings of pitching, he had allowed five runs (all in the third inning) and run up an Al Leiter-ish pitch count of 104.
The atmosphere around the ballpark was festive, with jugglers, clowns, and Dixieland bands making the rounds…and that was just on BLOHARDS' Bus #1. To help Big Papi throw out the first pitch, the Sox enlisted a trio of Sox legends - Bill Russell, Bobby Orr, and Ty Law - although many BLOHARDS wondered aloud why the call didn't go out to old #15, Babe Parilli.
Still awaiting delivery of Rich Garces autographed belts from a memorabilia store in Fall River, Pablo Sandoval sat out the game, resulting in several innings of sunshine for the lower box seat occupants behind third base.
Following a Mookie Betts HR in the 9th vs. the O's closer Zach Britton, the Sox got Ortiz to the plate as the potential winning run with no outs. But Britton induced a replay-confirmed 4-6-3 DP grounder, and Hanley Ramirez went down swinging to end things.
To the wistful strains of the Fenway Park organ played by someone not named John Kiley, we soon vacated the 104-year-old bandbox of green and began the slow trudge back to our bus. It was officially a Red Sox loss in the books, but baseball was in the air again, the weather had cooperated, and we were together again at glorious Fenway Park for another Opening Day. All of this combined for a large "W" in the BLOHARDS' scorebook.
Scarcely two weeks remain until our May 6 lunch at Manhattan's centrally-located Yale Club, and the program is chock-a-block full of goodies. David Margolick interviewing Gordon Edes; John Pizzarelli singing from a new songbook of Sox-themed material; Bob Sullivan regaling us unharassed by Scooter the Mascot Cow; Ed Randall talking baseball and prostate health; Quinn with trivia; Flavin with poetry; and Ray Duffy with the Henry Berry Memorial Slideshow.
Tickets are an absolute must, and you'll want to get yours now.