Even though I’ve lived in California for a long time, I still subscribe to New York magazine. Can’t help myself. I love their articles, and the recent one in which Will Leitch asked a panel of experts (including Al Leiter) whom they thought qualified as New York’s Greatest Athlete Ever was one of my faves. Among the candidates:
It’s a really interesting article and I urge people to read it if they haven’t already – and then weigh in. A case was certainly made for Jeter, Gehrig and Ruth but Mays had one very loyal supporter. If they had asked me, I’d have said “Mariano Rivera,” but I’m not objective when it comes to him.
Turning to present day events, it appears that Rafael Soriano will be officially introduced by the Yankees tomorrow. I’ve read so much about his temperament; how he refused to pitch more than one inning for the Rays and had hissy fits about this or that. We don’t need divas on this team, so if he pulls any crap I have no doubt that the aforementioned Mo will take him aside and gently but firmly explain the facts of life in Yankeeville.
So there I was this afternoon, working at my computer, when an email arrived from Bernadette, my Yankee fan buddy and the author of the MLBlog, This Fan’s Life.
“Michael Kay just spent five minutes talking about you and your book!” she wrote. “He was really upset that you said he had an ‘extremely large head.’ He went on and on about it. He even read part of the book on the air – the scene where you meet him and Al Leiter at the Toronto Airport. He said he was hurt because you said Al Leiter was handsome and he just had a large head.”
Was she kidding? Were my eyes deceiving me? Would Michael Kay, the play-by-play announcer for the YES Network and the host of his own show on ESPN Radio, actually get his knickers in a twist over my description of his head size and my comment that Leiter was cute?
I called Bern and asked her to repeat what she’d heard. “Yes,” she said. “It really happened!”
Joe Torre spoke to a huge media contingent about his book. Kobe Bryant scored a record 61 points against the Knicks. Manny rejected the Dodgers’ latest contract offer. And Michael Kay was talking about this?
Hey, I’m not complaining. Any publicity is good publicity, right? It’s just that I didn’t mean to insult Kay. I was merely being accurate. Judge for yourself.
Al Leiter’s head….
versus Michael Kay’s head.
But the truth is, I wasn’t looking so hot myself that night in Toronto. No makeup. Bad hair. And wine breath. I hate to fly so I tanked up before takeoff and drank more atrocious plane wine during the flight.
So Michael Kay wasn’t the only one with head issues by the time he and I met at baggage claim. Mine was pounding.
I’m hoping he’ll have me on the show so I can apologize for hurting his feelings. He does have nice teeth. I plan on telling him that.
There was baseball on my television at precisely 3 p.m. PCT here in California. No glitches with my cable company. No power outages caused by 49 million other homes watching at the same time. No problems whatsoever. The MLB Network appeared just as promised, and I settled in happily for the next, oh, six hours.
Here, in no particular order, are my first impressions.
1) Bud Selig’s welcome address.
Bud is serious, even grim, which is appropriate when you’re dealing with pushy owners and PED-using players. But on this occasion, which was not the same as testifying before Congress, I wish he’d smiled a little, acted like we were about to have fun. Instead, his welcome was about as warm as this guy’s would have been.
2) The sets.
Very snazzy. Lots of eye-popping stuff to look at in beautiful high-def. Good job.
I’ve read the comments from people who weren’t enamored of this trio, but I thought they worked together smoothly, especially considering this was Opening Night, and I look forward to more from them. My one complaint was their wardrobe.
What’s with the dark suits? Every guy in that studio looked like an undertaker. Lighten up, boys.
4) Jimmy Rollins-Josh Hamilton.
Loved Rollins’ mischievous response to his teammate, Cole Hamels, calling the Mets “choke artists.” He could have given the usual non-answer. But he stood by his pitcher.
Quite an admission by Hamilton that he cleaned toilets, did other menial jobs and slept on an air mattress in a room above the ballpark – anything to get back into professional baseball.
5) Larsen’s perfect game.
Sheer heaven being able to watch this game for the first time and have Larsen and Yogi there to provide interesting asides. I was amazed how fast games moved along in the good old days with no instant replays, no endless meetings on the mound, no stepping in and out of the batter’s box to adjust gloves, helmets, etc. And how could I not love those Gillette commercials – or Bob Costas comparing Sal Maglie’s five o’clock shadow to Richard Nixon’s?
6) Speaking of Costas, he had the line of the night.
After Larsen admitted that he came off the field after the celebration, not realizing he had pitched a perfect game, Costas said disbelievingly, “So you just thought it was an extra good no-hitter?” LOL.
6) The Mick.
I grew up worshipping Mantle. To see him hit a homer and make that fantastic running catch in left center made my night.
Bottom line on the debut of the MLB Network? There was plenty to enjoy. Congrats to everyone involved.
After I read the most recent article by our own Mark Newman about the January 1st launch of the MLB Network, I started counting the hours. Blogging day and night about baseball is fun, but watching baseball 24/7 is huge. Seriously. It’s frightening how excited I am.
For starters, I’m in love with two of their on-air analysts.
Sorry. I exaggerate. I like Harold Reynolds. He’s fair and balanced, as they say on another network.
And I like Al Leiter. He’s good at explaining the difference between a circle change and a knuckle curve. Or whatever.
And how about the Opening Night of programming on the MLB Network? They’re showing this for the first time in 52 years.
Yep, Don Larsen’s perfect game against the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1956 World Series. Yankee fan or no Yankee fan, I’m not about to miss that.
And now for the bad news.
It’s clear that MLB will ruin my life with this cable channel of theirs, because I’ll get hooked on it and lose the capacity to function responsibly in society.
I’ll turn into one of these.
I’ll never get any work done.
I’ll become a complete slacker around the house.
I won’t even bother to make the bed
or clean the windows
or water the lawn.
My husband will divorce me.
My friends will forget about me.
I’ll gain an incredible amount of weight.
And my mean next-door neighbor will pound on my door and yell this at me.
Will I still tune in for the debut of the MLB Network on January 1st, knowing the consequences?
Yes. I. Will.