Tagged: Carpinteria

The Nominees For The 2010 She-Fan Video Award/Best Yankee Fan Video Period Are…(WINNER UPDATE!)

This is the big finale – the showdown between such powerhouse video stars as Bill “Surf Dog” Connell and my own mother, the Grande Dame of She-Fans, along with a couple of surprise contenders. Who will win the golden fan in this major category?
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You’ll be the judge and it won’t be easy. Without further ado, here are the nominees for the 2010 She-Fan Video Award/Best Yankee Fan Video Period
(Drum roll)
1) Rachel, the Yankee Fan Nurse. In January, my husband Michael was a patient at Cottage Hospital here in Santa Barbara. I was understandably nervous when he was first admitted to his room, but when his nurse came in to take his history and I asked her if she was a baseball fan (I have no idea why I even brought up the subject, given the setting) AND out popped the fact that she and her husband were Yankee fans….Well, she became my new favorite person. She provided some much needed cheer and for that she deserves consideration this year.
2) Mom, the 93-year-old-soon-to-be-94-year-old Yankee fan. When I spent a month back east this summer, the trip afforded me lots of time with my mother, who was a runner up to Surf Dog Bill for last year’s She-Fan Video Award. This time the interview was so long that I had to split it into two parts. In Part 1, she discussed her affection for Mo (she uttered the memorable “Mo’s spit is different from A-Rod’s” line). In Part 2, shown here, she has a few words for readers of this blog.
3) Jane, the HOPE Week Yankee Fan. See what I mean about tough competition? I’m throwing Jane Lang and her lovable guide dog into the mix. Jane, as most Yankee fans know, was celebrated at the Stadium this summer. Although blind, she takes the train to the Bronx from NJ so she can “watch” her boys. When she was honored by Girardi and the players, she reached up and touched their faces, just as she did with mine after our interview – “to get a sense of you” is how she put it. How can Jane Lang not be a nominee?
4) Bill, the “Surf Dog” Yankee fan. Who can forget the guy with the hot dog stand here in Carpinteria, California? He singlehandedly turns even casual beach goers into diehards with his animated (OK, rabid) fandom. His cart sports a Yankees flag. He carries a Yankees wallet in his pocket. And he’ll talk about the Yankees to anybody who’ll listen – and I mean anybody. The 2009 champ, will he hold onto the golden fan? I interviewed him last month as the Yanks were still fighting for the division title. His predictions for them were a bit off, but they were spot on for the Giants!
So there you have it – four nominees that need your votes. (One vote to a customer.) Go ahead and pick a winner! You can do it!
UPDATE: WE HAVE A WINNER!

Yikes. It wasn’t even close this time. My mother won in a landslide and poor Surf Dog didn’t get a single vote. Nurse Rachel, on the other hand, was a better-than-expected contender and, of course, a couple of you championed Jane Lang. I can’t wait to tell Mom the good news. Thanks, everybody. I know it’ll make her day when I explain that she is now the holder of the golden fan.
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Well, It’s Not The Worst Thing To Be The Wild  Card

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I’ve made no secret about how much I wanted to win the division and secure home field advantage. And I thought it was doable. Seriously doable. But, as I said, the situation could be worse for the Yankees; at least we’re going to Minny as opposed to heading for the golf course or hunting lodge like some teams.

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And today wasn’t a total loss. It’s always fun to score off Papelbon. The bigger issue confronting us fans right now is the state of the Bombers. Moseley did a pretty good job, I thought. Just a couple of mistakes that my dearly departed grandmother could have hit out of the park. Robertson looked exhausted, Joba did his usual high-wire act, Logan was ineffective and I don’t think Ring has a prayer of making the postseason roster. And then there was the persistent problem of stranding runners. It was painful to watch Jorge hit that dribbler with bases loaded, for example. On the positive side, Gardner has been gaining confidence at the plate, in the field, on the bases. He’s ready to do battle. Lefties. Righties. Doesn’t matter. And Tex is hot at the right time. Plus no worries whatsoever about Cano, who is, quite simply, a beast.
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So today isn’t about doom and gloom. It’s about celebrating the achievement of getting back to the postseason. And how better to celebrate than to visit with our old pal Surf Dog Bill, the grand prize winner of last year’s She-Fan Video Awards.
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For newcomers to the blog (or those with short term memory loss), Bill Connell is a local icon here in the Santa Barbara area. A huge Yankee fan, he and his hot dog stand are must-stops both for the hot dogs and the conversation.

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Here’s a recent article from the Santa Barbara Independent that’ll give you an idea of just how passionate Surf Dog is.

Baseball Drama

When the L.A. Dodgers Play the S.F. Giants, Wackiness Ensues


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Whenever the Hot Dog Man, aka Bill Connell, visits Dodger Stadium, things seem to get stirred up. He was there late last month when the Dodgers took a 6-2 lead over the New York Yankees into the ninth inning. “All theL.A. fans went home,” said Connell, an ardent Yankee fan since his boyhood in New Jersey. “The Yankees scored four runs against [Jonathan] Broxton to tie it. In the 10th inning, Robinson Cano hit a home run to win it. The only people in the stadium were wearing Yankee caps.”

Not only were Connell's hot dogs a hit with the crowd--to the bewilderment of the gourmet chefs at the party--but Jacobs, impressed by the vendor's evident passion for baseball, gave him temporary custody of a genuine 2009 World Series championship ring, encrusted with 119 diamonds.

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Courtesy Photo

Not only were Connell’s hot dogs a hit with the crowd–to the bewilderment of the gourmet chefs at the party–but Jacobs, impressed by the vendor’s evident passion for baseball, gave him temporary custody of a genuine 2009 World Series championship ring, encrusted with 119 diamonds.

Connell recently wore quite another Yankee adornment. He was among the caterers at a party hosted by Jeff Jacobs, a Montecito denizen with lofty connections in entertainment and sports. Guests included Chris Bosh, the newly minted center of the Miami Heat, and Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges. Not only were Connell’s hot dogs a hit with the crowd–to the bewilderment of the gourmet chefs at the party–but Jacobs, impressed by the vendor’s evident passion for baseball, gave him temporary custody of a genuine 2009 World Series championship ring, encrusted with 119 diamonds. “There I was, handing out hot dogs, with this New York Yankee ring glittering on my finger,” Connell said. “Can you believe it?”

Only a couple days later, Connell hit the trifecta–another memorable trip to Dodger Stadium. This time, he took 50 people with him on a chartered bus from his Surf Dog stand in Carpinteria. We expected to see a low-scoring duel between two of the game’s best young pitchers, Tim Lincecum of the Giants and Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers. Instead, we were treated to an evening of wacky incidents that stoked up the L.A.-San Francisco rivalry.

Much to our surprise, the Dodgers got to Lincecum for five runs in the first three innings. Kershaw was in command until the fifth inning, when the Giants got a break, thanks to Xavier being Manny–rookie Xavier Paul, subbing for the injured Manny Ramirez (more slug than slugger these days) in left field, had a flyball drop out of his glove. Three runs later, the Giants trailed just 5-4.

In the bottom of the fifth, after brushing back Matt Kemp with a pitch, Lincecum nailed him with another. A smattering of boos was directed at the Giants hurler. When relief pitcher Denny Bautista threw a fastball under the chin of L.A.’s Russell Martin in the sixth inning, the natives grew even more restless. They rose to their feet–almost a third of them to boo, the rest to get more beer. The home plate umpire took offense to an animated scolding by Bob Schaefer, the Dodgers’ bench coach, and ejected him.

Kershaw’s first pitch leading off the seventh inning squarely hit the Giants’ Aaron Rowand. Next to “It’s not about the money,” the most laughable sentence in a ballplayer’s repertoire is when a pitcher says about a retaliatory delivery, “It just got away from me.” That was Kershaw’s unconvincing explanation for his last pitch of the game. After he was ejected, along with manager Joe Torre, reliever Hong-Chih Kuo retired the next six San Francisco batters, preserving the Dodgers’ one-run lead.

I could not understand why people were leaving the stadium in droves. I guess they got what they came for–a James Loney bobblehead–but they missed a deliciously bizarre scene in the ninth inning.

Broxton, L.A.’s massive closer, made his usual dramatic entrance to the thundering sound of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” and promptly loaded the bases. Then Don Mattingly, filling in as L.A.’s manager for the departed Torre, made an ill-fated visit to the mound, which technically became two visits when he stepped off and back on the dirt, which prompted Giants manager Bruce Bochy to remind the umpires that was a no-no. They ruled that Broxton, who had begun pitching to Andres Torres, must immediately be replaced (their interpretation was later called into question). Out of the bullpen came George Sherrill, whose first pitch was hammered by Torres to the wall in left field for a two-run double. The Giants went on to win, 7-5.

Connell and his busload, predominantly Dodger fans, stayed to the end. “We got our money’s worth,” the Hot Dog Man declared cheerfully.

Surf Dog is always “on” whenever I stop by his hot dog stand, and yesterday was no different. He took a few minutes to chat with me. Wait – let me amend that; he took a few minutes to deliver a monologue about the Yanks. Take a look.



OK, the Joba part about getting a start? I don’t think so. Otherwise, he’s been pretty accurate in his predictions. At least he was last year. I’ll be visiting him throughout the postseason (let’s hope it lasts awhile) and will pass along his pearls of wisdom. I wish I could pass along his hot dogs too. They’re really good.

Eventually, Talk of Tiger Woods Turns to the  Yankees

So there I was on Saturday night, having dinner at Sly’s Restaurant in Carpinteria, eating the best meal in Santa Barbara County, maybe even in the entire state of California. (Yes, it’s that good. If you’re ever in the area, do yourself a favor and order a steak, some mashed potatoes, their famous hot fudge sundae, anything on the menu. Chef James Sly and his wife Annie will make the experience a memorable one, trust me.)
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My husband and I were joined in our food and wine gluttony by literary agent Angela Rinaldi and Joseph Parent, the author of “Zen Golf,” “Zen Putting” and “Golf: The Art of the Mental Game.”
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Joseph is a pro golfer’s pro who’s worked with champions like Vijay Singh and many others. The truth is, I couldn’t care less about golf. I never play it, never watch it, never read about it…..except that I’ve been glued to the Tiger Woods story. Why was he leaving his house at 2:30 in the morning? What made him drive onto a neighbor’s property? How come his wife supposedly came running out with a golf club and smashed the car window? Inquiring minds want to know what was going on with those two.
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I tried to worm some information out of Joseph, but he was maddeningly discreet. I was about to give up on him as a dinner conversationalist when he said, “Oh, by the way, how about the Yankees?” I immediately reached into my handbag and whipped out the She-Fan Cam. (You never know when you’ll meet up with a Yankee fan, so it’s important to have it handy at all times.) I told Joseph to get ready for his close up and he put on his Mr. Magoo glasses and here’s our interview.

World Series Game 4: Damon Phlummoxes Phillies

Johnny Damon couldn’t throw me out, and I’m as klutzy as it gets.
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But he can still hit, steal and play heads up baseball. Not only was he 3-for-5 in tonight’s stunning 7-4 victory over the Phillies, but he had a nine-pitch at-bat in the top of the 9th against Lidge that resulted in a two-out single….
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….and then he stole second AND third when nobody was covering.
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Could the Yankees find a way to bring him home? Uh-huh. Tex was hit by a pitch, and A-Rod lined a double to left to lift the Bombers to a 5-4 lead in what was another wild, seesaw, come-from-behind battle. Jorge’s two-RBI single decided the game offensively, and Mo took care of the Phillies in the bottom of the frame for his 39th postseason save. Of all the games in this series, this one nearly put me in restraints.
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It was nerve-wracking, to say the least, but it had enough twists and turns to keep any fan riveted. For me the other key moments included:
CC’s gritty performance (short rest or no short rest).
Jeter’s two singles.
Swisher’s leadoff walk in the fifth.
Melky’s infield hit (hope his hamstring is OK).
Cano’s hit (finally).
Marte’s emergence as our premier lefty reliever.
Joba’s strikeouts of Werth and Ibanez.
Joba’s fat pitch to Louise Feliz.
A-Rod’s third plunking in two games.
That last item requires that I ask: Why would the umpires warn both benches when the Yankees hit nobody? I know. They wanted to keep things under control just in case.
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The main thing is that the Yankees are now up 3-1 in the series, which means that my lucky pizza worked again tonight. Here’s what it looked like before I ate it.
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Here’s what I looked like after I ate it.
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Talk about taking one for the team. I’ll be downing another pie tomorrow night. My other lucky ritual will be to pay another visit to Bill, also known in these parts as “Surf Dog.” I stopped by his hot dog cart this afternoon before the game to see if he had any words of wisdom. Here’s what he had to say. He was right on the money until he got to Joba and that last fastball.

Missing The Empire State

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I’ll focus on Yankees-Phillies in my next post, complete with an exclusive “She-Fan Scouting Report,” but today I was feeling mopey. People kept asking me if I was going to the World Series and I kept having to say no. Even my best friend from high school, a Red Sox fan, called to say, “So are you flying to New York?” I told her I was staying in California. I was so ashamed.
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If I hadn’t been so busy with work, I might have hopped on a plane so that I could be in attendance for at least one game. But I didn’t make any plans, so now I’ll just have to watch on TV and deal with it. Still, it’s times like this when New York seems far away and I miss it. I miss my family. I miss New York accents. I miss people walking fast and elbowing each other out of the way. And here’s what else I miss:
* Fall foliage in Central Park.
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* Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant.
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* Cheesecake.
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* The subway.
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And I miss everything having to do with Yankee Stadium:
* Freddy.
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* Frank Sinatra.
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* The fact that they’ve already painted the field with this.
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* The fans….
  Big ones…
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  Small ones…
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  And “artistic” ones.
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I was so down in the dumps this afternoon, wishing there were other Yankee fans in Santa Barbara, that I left my desk and went for a beach walk. It was a gorgeous day, and this was my view as I did my five miles.
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Nothing to complain about, right? I was starting to perk up until my Yankees cap began to attract some unfavorable attention. You could tell people wanted to shake their fists at me and demand, “Why aren’t you a Dodgers or Angels fan? What’s wrong with you?”
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And then a mirage….or so it seemed.
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No, it wasn’t a hot dog concession in the Bronx, but close. It was the Surf Dog cart owned for 16 years by Bill Connell – a local celebrity for having won a major case against the state of California last week.
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A 55-year-old disabled veteran, Bill fought for an exemption for street peddlers like himself who wer
e being forced to pay sales tax on their wares. It was a victory for disabled vets and it made him a hero. And – just my luck – Bill turned out to be a huge Yankee fan. When I told him I was a fan too, he not only handed me a free hot dog but let me interview him on the She-Fan Cam – a happy ending to my day.