Talkin’ Baseball…and elections

Regardless of your stance on players kneeling during the National Anthem, baseball is still the American pastime, rich with myths, legends and colorful language and imagery. The beloved poem, Casey at the Bat by Ernest Lawrence Thayer is the inspiration for my take on the circus surrounding the Presidential election results in Georgia.

Donnie at the Bat

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Trumpville mob that day:
The score stood three-oh-six to two-thirty-two, with but steal attempts to play,
And when Rudy dripped dye from his temples, and later farted without shame,
A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

The jubilant masses celebrated in the streets. The rest in kind
Clung to conspiracy theories which spring eternal in the misguided mind;
They thought, “If only Donnie could but get a whack at that—
We’d put up even our children’s lives, with Donnie at the bat.”

But Flynn took the fall for Donnie, as Melissa performed like a flake,
And the former was a hoodoo, while the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Donnie getting to the bat.

But Flynn received a pardon, to the wonderment of all,
And McConnell, the much despisèd, crumpled the Constitution into a ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and men saw what had occurred,
There was Graham double talking and Flynn a-hugging a-turd.

Then from five thousand throats and more there rose an unmasked yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled up from hell;
It pounded on the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Donnie, fascist Donnie, was advancing to the bat.

There was madness in Donnie’s manner as he overstepped his place;
There was false pride in Donnie’s bearing and a smirk crossed Donnie’s face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he doffed his MAGA hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ’twas Donnie at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on the GOP’s shirt;
Then while the wisened judge gripped the law and refused to flip,
Treason flashed in Donnie’s eye, a sneer curled Donnie’s lip.

And now the leather-covered tome came hurtling through the air,
And Donnie stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the Paunchy batsman the law unheeded sped—
“That’s all fake news” said Donnie. “Strike one!” the umpire said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore;
“Kill him! Kill the umpire!” shouted someone on the stand;
“Proud boys stand back and stand by,” Donnie responded as he raised his hand.

With the blessings of white Evangelicals, Donnie’s orange visage shone;
He stirred the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled recount to the judge, and once more the law sphere flew;
But Donnie still ignored it and the umpire said, “Strike two!”

“Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered “Fraud!”
With one approving look from Don the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his tiny fingers strain,
And they knew that Donnie wouldn’t let the truth go by again.

The sneer is gone from Donnie’s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate,
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate;
And the steadfast judge still holds the line, freeing the will of the people to flow,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Donnie’s blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,
But there is no joy in Trumpville—loser Donnie has struck out.

“Casey” Image courtesy of C.F. Payne

Casey at the Bat by Ernest Lawrence Thayer is in the public domain

WRVR New York – Hour of Jazz 9-24-2019

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Miracle Mets, who on this night in 1969 clinched the NL Eastern Division title, with some throwback ‘RVR sounds courtesy of Joe Bev.


WRVR 106.7 FM, commercial Jazz station in New York City, circa 1970s
Les Davis – WRVR Host
1978 Air Check (first 10 minutes)

Playlist:

Gil Scott Heron – The Bottle
Weather Report – River People
Steely Dan – Do It Again
Michael Franks – Chain Reaction
The Crusaders – Chain Reaction
Grover Washington Jr. – Mister Magic
Lonnie Liston Smith – It’s Changed
Roy Ayers – Everybody Loves the Sunshine
George Benson – Breezin’
Maynard Ferguson – Mister Mellow

This old radio broadcast is uploading for educational purposes only. The original copyright holders should get any monetization for this tiny piece of New York Jazz history.

One Catch & Two Cents

My two cents, because everyone has an opinion about the trade of Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns. OBJ’s famous catch against the Dallas Cowboys is a microcosm of his career with the Giants. It might be the single greatest athletic, physics-defying, impossible catch ever made on a football field, but in the end it is merely a footnote. It’s not “The Catch” in the back of the end zone by Dwight Clark that propelled the 49’ers to their first Super Bowl, or Franco Harris’ “Immaculate Reception” off a deflection against the Raiders in the AFC Championship game, or the balletic tip and layout by Lynn Swan against the Cowboys in Super Bowl X. It is not even the most exciting or famous catch in Giants history.

Mark Bavaro was everything that Beckham isn’t, an unselfish team-first warrior, aptly nicknamed “Rambo,” his own signature moment coming during an improbable comeback win against the 49’ers on Monday Night Football. Bavaro carried the entire 49’ers team on his back and willed the Giants to victory during their first championship season.

Then, there are the two greatest passes from the arm of Eli Manning, the sideline gem to Mario Manningham in Super Bowl 46 surpassed only by the great escape and “Helmet Catch” in Super Bowl XVII. Add in David Tyree’s TD catch earlier in the game, and you can argue that he surpassed Beckham’s entire five year career in a single day.


Somewhere along the way, in this stat-obsessed world of fantasy league sports, the NFL, and especially the New York Giants, forgot that football is a team game, and in the process, sold their soul and lost their identity. Unlike baseball, where individual statistics directly translate into victories–show me the back of a players’ baseball card and I can visualize their team’s level of success or failure–football is full of misleading individual statistics. Such is the case with OBJ; his most telling statistic? He has had four losing seasons out of five and had a key drop in his lone playoff game. He also has missed good parts of three seasons due to injury.

This obsession with statistics, removed from the flow of the game, was on full display in a recent article by James Koh:

OBJ has averaged 92.8 receiving yards per game in his career, the second-highest five-year average to start a career going all the way back to the 1970 merger per Pro Football Reference. More than Randy Moss, who averaged 84.3 yards per game over his first five years, and more than Jerry Rice, who averaged 83.7 yards per over his first five campaigns.
And since his rookie year in 2014, Odell has outpaced most of his contemporaries as well. He’s averaged more yards per game than DeAndre Hopkins, Mike Evans and A.J. Green. In fact only Julio Jones (103.8) and Antonio Brown (100.6) have averaged more yards per game than Beckham (92.8).
The Giants are also losing a guy that is a master tactician and a player that can create for himself.
According to Next Gen Stats, when lined up as an out wide receiver (as opposed to an inside slot man), Odell has averaged 2.8 yards of separation from his nearest defender since 2016. Among qualified outside wide receivers, that’s the best in the league. Davante Adams is fifth on this list, Antonio Brown sixth and Michael Thomas ninth.

Odell’s success rate versus man or press coverage never fell below the 98th percentile and last year, a perceived down year, he still scorched opposing defensive backs downfield as he scored an outrageously high 71.7 percent success rate on the nine route. You know those routes where you tell the receiver, just run downfield and catch it? He beat coverage 71.7 percent of the time. League average is around 54 percent.


WOW! And yet, Eli Manning, the man who threw Beckham all of those passes, is washed up. I know, I can’t have it both ways; Eli’s own statistics from this year are proof of how misleading individual stats are. Eli had a career high 66% completion percentage, throwing for 4,300 yards with 21 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions, but no one would argue that Eli had a good year.

This is my take on the decision made by GM Dave Gettleman and Giants ownership:

When OBJ was working for the new contract, he gave the impression that he had matured; showing up early for workouts, saying all the right things to the press, and quietly going about his business. Once he got the contract, he reverted back to form, which, I’m sure, enraged Giants owner John Mara who probably felt like he got played. This is why he was so vocal during the year in response to Beckham’s interviews and actions with the team. Then, OBJ sat out the last four games due to nagging quad pain. Add to that the Antonio Brown fiasco, where the Steelers got basically nothing, and I think they did a good job getting in front of the situation. They got a tough safety in Jabrill Peppers, 1st round and 3rd round draft picks, and 5-Mil in cap space which could potentially go to a fourth player. Now the picks need to be right.

I heard rumors that one of the first things OBJ is talking about is getting a new contract in Cleveland. I feel like I did back when the Giants made concessions to Jeremy Shockey. When Shockey got injured, I told my son it was a blessing in disguise. The Giants did just fine with Kevin Boss at TE in the Super Bowl run that came after Shockey went down, and I can see several guys stepping out from Beckham’s shadow, especially Evan Engram.

As for the QB situation, we will know a lot more in a few days when the Giants need to make a decision on Manning; they have until Sunday night to commit to the last year of his contract. I hear they are looking at Josh Rosen who might be available for a 3rd round pick, since the Cards are so high on drafting Murray. The Giants seem to have cooled on Dwayne Haskins from Ohio State, but that could be posturing by Gettleman. The next few months should be interesting…

QB

The Franchise

**** August 31st, 2020 is the day that will forever mark the end of my childhood, as it will for every other Mets fan of a certain age.

George Thomas Seaver, the greatest player in Mets history, passed away in his sleep Monday night after a long battle with the debilitating effects of Lyme’s Disease.

#41 will forever live in our hearts…


It’s April 8th, 1969 and Opening Day for perennial losers the New York Mets. An 11-year-old 6th-grader is playing sick, and is home from school on a Tuesday afternoon, when he stumbles upon the advertising for today’s baseball game on WOR-TV in New York. It will be the first full ballgame he will ever watch, and the home team features a hard throwing young ace named Tom Seaver. Seaver will pitch a rough 5 innings, giving up 4 runs on 6 hits, with 3 walks, and the Mets, following in the tradition established in their first year 1962, will go on to lose 11-10, giving up 4 runs in the top of the 8th, then falling just short with 4 runs of their own in the bottom of the ninth.

Mets-Expos

The ’69 Miracle Mets would chase the Chicago Cubs most of the season, then overtake them in spectacular fashion, closing a 9 game lead, and winning the division by the same margin. They were led by their 25-year-old emerging superstar righthander who quickly became my favorite player. Seaver would close out that season with 10 straight wins, along the way hurling his famous near-perfect game against the Cubs on July 9th, the win announcing to the world that the Mets were for real. I thought I was blessed…

near-perfect

And I was, even though Seaver and the Mets would never duplicate the magic of that season, I got to watch my boyhood hero excel, despite marginal run support. The greatest righthander in baseball history was brilliant in every way, displaying brains, power, and a tenacious will to win. Off the field I looked forward to his appearances on the post-game show, “Kiner’s Korner,” where you could count on his witty remarks, wise-cracks, and unique cackle. I emulated Seaver in every way possible, pitching complete games with a sponge ball against the courtyard wall of the neighborhood hospital.
I watched Tom Terrific strike out 10 Padres as the sun slowly set behind the 410 marker in centerfield of the old Shea Stadium, saw Leron Lee of the same Padres break up Seaver’s second bid at a no-hitter in the 9th inning, and proudly watched him collect three Cy Young awards on his way to a Hall Of Fame career. When he was traded to the Reds on June 15th, 1977, I was crushed, and did not watch my beloved team again until he was traded back to the Mets for the 1983 season.
That infamous trade to the Reds was nothing compared to the news today that George Thomas Seaver is suffering from dementia, slowly losing his decades long battle against the debilitating after effects of Lyme’s Disease.  This year will mark the 50th anniversary of the Miracle Mets championship, and I’m numbed by the realization that our shining hero, the greatest player to ever wear a Mets uniform, #41, will not be out on the field to share in the celebration.
Tom’s wife Nancy, and the rest of the Seaver family announced that he will withdraw from public life to battle his disease. I, along with other Mets fans, can only hope and pray, and root for our hero to somehow overcome the disease and find some peace and comfort tending to his second greatest endeavor, his vineyard.

Seaver Vineyards

Seaver Vineyards

ESPN 30 for 30 “The Dark Knight”

With the trade completed on Tuesday for Cincinnati Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco, the Matt Harvey era of the New York Mets officially came to an end. If there is comeback chapter to be written for Harvey it will be with the Reds or another team. Once again, the Mets fans are left with an unfulfilled dream. More likely, the final chapter will be the one I posted here nearly two years ago to the day…


Original post May 20, 2016. After Harvey’s disaster of a start against the Nats last night, I’ve joined the ranks of other Mets fans and the New York media and am officially in full panic mode. Will anyone be shocked if we see this on the T.V. schedule in the near future? 

Tuesday night, an ESPN original series. ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 presents, “The Dark Night”, the story of pitcher, Matt Harvey, and his meteoric rise and fall as ace of the New York Mets.

SANDY ALDERSON (V.O. voice over)

He was like a rock star…the New York stage was his. Matt was viewed as the savior of our franchise.

ADAM RUBIN beat reporter (V.O)

His starts were  must-see events. The fans and the local media believed Matt Harvey was the second coming of Seaver.

DAVID WRIGHT, Mets 3rd baseman 2004-2018

When Matt took the mound, our team expected to win. We knew we held the advantage.

ESPN announcer: What happened? What changed after that fateful 9th inning of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series?

EVAN ROBERTS, WFAN radio host (V.O.)

I think it all comes back to Harvey’s agent, Scott Boras. At what point did he get in his client’s head and make it about the big contract, the superstar lifestyle, and worrying about innings limits after Tommy John surgery? I think that’s when Harvey lost his edge, that aura of invincibility. The joy of pitching and competing, the game itself, became secondary.

It’s July 26, 2012 and Matt Harvey is making his major league debut at Chase Field in Phoenix against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Fresh off an abbreviated stint with the Mets AAA affiliate, and joined by Buffalo Bisons teammate, catcher Rob Johnson, for the special occasion, Harvey is amped. His fastball is hissing and popping into Johnson’s  glove. The first batter he faces, Gerardo Parra, goes down swinging on a nasty slider. The Dark Knight has announced his arrival. Ten more batters will strike out, and Harvey will collect two hits, before the dream debut is complete after 5 1/3 innings.

TERRY COLLINS, Mets Manager 2011-2017

I haven’t seen 98 out of a starting pitcher in quite some time. He’s lived up to exactly what everybody’s talked about.

FADE IN

(high school team practicing on ball field)

Born in New London, and raised in nearby Mystic Connecticut, Matt Harvey is the only son and youngest of three children of Ed and Jackie Harvey, both teachers. Young Matt inherited his father’s athletic ability and competitive nature, and excelled at both basketball and baseball at Fitch Senior High School in Groton, Connecticut….

I’ve been wrong before, Sandy Alderson had me happily eating crow last year, but I pray I’m wrong this time.


Sadly, I think I was right…

Backup Quarterback

On Monday, New York Giants owner John Mara announced the firing of head coach Ben McAdoo and GM Jerry Reese. On the surface, the move seemed to be a direct response to the mishandled benching of QB Eli Manning and the resulting outrage expressed by the media, current and former teammates of Manning’s and especially the fans, but at the core of the poor decision was starting backup quarterback Geno Smith in place of Eli. Interim coach, Steve Spagnuolo has announced that Manning will rightfully resume his role as starter against the Cowboys on Sunday.

If we are to believe any of the explanation put forth by McAdoo to justify his decision, that he felt Geno was a better fit for his game plan, then it was further proof of his incompetence. Still, there are some individuals, including the local press and even a couple of current teammates who feel that Geno was not given a fair chance to win the starting job. I agree that he was made a scapegoat in the mess that was created by Mara, McAdoo and Reese, but there are some Geno apologists who have gone so far as to suggest that his poor performance, against a Raiders team that seemed to do everything they could to lose the game, earned him the right to get more playing time.

What has been mostly lost in this whole morass is the basic understanding of the role of the backup quarterback. The backup QB is the last resort, “break glass and pull lever in case of emergency” option if your starting QB goes down and can’t play. He is not your future…you do not create a game plan to suit him, and you certainly don’t bench your legendary, beloved two-time Super Bowl hero to give him a look. The evaluation process was completed in the preseason when Geno won the backup QB spot. The other crime is that the potential QB of the future, Davis Webb, has not been available to come into a game to date. However, when he is ready to start, it’s very simple: Webb is the starting QB and Geno Smith is the backup.

geno

For now, Eli is back where he belongs. I hope the Giants are motivated to defeat the hated Cowboys. After that, let’s take a look at Webb and find Geno a comfortable seat on the bench.

eli

Giants Co-owner Speaks Out About Team’s Playoff Outlook

Giants co-owner and part-time beet farmer, Dwight Kurt Schrute III, recently met with beat reporters, (pun intended), to discuss his team’s chances of sneaking into the playoffs as a wildcard entry.

“Bucs…Bears…blowin’ it for draft picks,” Schrute made his priorities clear to the team, his embattled coach Ben McAdoo, and anyone else in earshot of his satellite office in Scranton, PA.

“If I’ve learned anything in my many years as Assistant Regional Manager…”

“Assistant to the Regional Manager,” Jerry Reese perked his head up from behind his cubicle to correct his boss.

“I thought you don’t speak until the bye week,” Schrute countered with a scowl, then continued, “You can’t get your hopes up too high after one win. Let’s see if we are still playing ‘meaningful’ games in December. That’s my goal going into the season.”

“We need to prove ourselves every day. Competition is fierce from the Cowboys, the Eagles, the Falcons, the Packers and…”

“Don’t forget Staples and Office Depot,” Reese once again interjected.

“You really are a chatty fellow today, aren’t you? Anyway, my family is not a stranger to hardship. The Shrutes have always risen to the challenges before them and fought through the hardships of a violent league.”

When asked about the recent rash of injuries that have decimated the Giants’ receiving corps, Schrute was characteristically stoic and matter-of-fact with his response.

“Back in 1632, Frederick Tiberius Schrute shattered his leg falling from a stone outcropping while attempting to extract eggs from the nest of a Dodo bird. He managed to drag himself over to the nearby trees where he fashioned a cane and splint of small branches tied with vines he was able to gnaw through with his powerful jaws and teeth. Thus stabilized with his crude handiwork, F.T. Schrute navigated his way home and returned to the labors of beet farming.”

CBS Sports reporter Jim Rome rolled his eyes. “Mr. Schrute, this sounds a lot like the story you told us about your birth, when your father delivered you and your mother chewed through the umbilical cord. Aren’t we getting a bit off topic?”

“Well, it’s the truth…and the point is that we need to fight through our injuries and adversity. I fully expect Odell Beckham Jr. to be ready to play right after the bye week.”

Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News questioned the owner’s logic. “Isn’t that unrealistic Dwight?”

“Maybe Pat, but there is always Plan B,” Schrute conceded, “We tank and draft our quarterback of the future, Sam Darnold out of USC.”

Jerry Reese popped up out of his chair. His eyes surveyed the room like a bald-headed prairie dog.

“Hold on there, Dwight. I’m leaning toward the tight end out of Notre Dame. He’s a freak of nature!”

With that, the owner gestured with a dismissive backhand wave to his general manager and the reporters. “I think we’re done here.”

 

 

 

 

Giants and McAdoo at Crossroads

Giants coach Ben McAdoo is at the intersection of Route 74 and Nowhereville. His legacy will be defined by how he manages his floundering left tackle Ereck Flowers. Despite all of the drama contrived by the New York press this week, McAdoo’s negative comments about the performance of his QB Monday night will have no effect on how Eli plays. No amount of criticism can faze Manning. Don’t let the Opie Taylor appearance and demeanor fool you; Eli is tough as nails inside and out.

Still, the Giants have real problems as they teeter over the abyss, facing a must-win situation in Philly this weekend. McAdoo has already backed off some of his negative statements about Manning from earlier this week. There is talk of turning over the play calling to offensive coordinator, Mike Sullivan, but McAdoo is still noncommittal.

odell

While McAdoo’s reputation as an offensive innovator is questionable—as quarterbacks coach of the Green Bay Packers, he was the beneficiary of an offense that featured Aaron Rodgers at QB, and the play calling of head coach Mike McCarthy—Sullivan’s resume is interesting. Sullivan’s NFL career began in 2002 as former Giants head coach Tom Coughlin’s defensive quality control coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars, later assuming the role of offensive assistant. Following Coughlin to the Giants, Sullivan served six seasons as wide receivers coach, then two coaching Manning in the 2007 and 2011 Super Bowl championship seasons. As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offensive coordinator in 2012, Sullivan’s offense set franchise records with 5,820 yards and 389 points. The offense featured QB Josh Freeman and RB Doug Martin, hardly household names. The attack was balanced, ranking 10th in passing yards (248.9 per game), 15th in rushing (114.8) and ninth overall (363.8). Sullivan didn’t have Ereck Flowers at LT, but the results achieved with Freeman at QB were impressive. On the other hand, McAdoo’s early success as offensive coordinator with the Giants was inflated by the emergence of superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and a weak schedule.

flowers

Whoever calls the plays, all eyes will be on Flowers as he goes against the formidable Eagles pass rush of Vinny Curry at defensive end, and Fletcher Cox at tackle. Flowers has the commitment and full support of his head coach, usually a good thing, but there is a sense that McAdoo believes that with enough encouragement and praise he can talk Flowers into playing well. The reality is that Flowers seems ill-suited to the position and should probably be moved inside to tackle, or benched. With the injury to Hart, the line is already thin, so the latter is not an option.

NFL: New York Giants-Ben McAdoo Press Conference

Which brings us to general manager Jerry Reece; much of the blame for the lack of talent on the offensive line falls to the patchwork that I’ve labeled Reece’s Pieces, a term Giants beat writer for the New York Daily News, Ralph Vacchiano, has used in the past as well. Flowers was chosen 9th overall in the draft three years ago, and any decision that McAdoo makes that doesn’t include Flowers at left tackle will place him firmly nose-to-nose with the man who hired him. McAdoo’s resolve to coach on his own terms, even if his philosophy flies in the face of his boss, will define McAdoo’s future as a head coach in the NFL.

Had My Phil – An Easter Story

Yeah, I know Easter was months ago…

He who took a bite out of the Big Apple, worshiped at the alter of a false god, the idol of Jordan, proclaimed “The Greatest of All Time,” he who conspired with the serpent, the Black Mamba, and the powerful giant Shaquille, hath been laid low. It was Thee who professed of the sanctity of an unholy trinity, praying  in the Egyptian house of worship, clinging to pyramids and triangles. Thy temple has been leveled by the army of Melo and Zingas! He who is unwilling to march in step with one’s troops is destined not to lead, but to serve.

desert

“Zeke, my Zeke, why have you forsaken me?”

James cried out in agony. His desperate call was returned with silence, save for the sound of four and twenty million dollars slowly draining from his account. He had been betrayed by the gangly, multi-ringed Judas who had promised salvation, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men,” but instead delivered high round draft picks and talent to his enemies.

He exhaled; why was it so difficult to breath? It was more than he could bear after carrying the weight alone. He opened his belt and unbuttoned the top of his trousers.

“Sigh! That’s a little better. I shouldn’t have ordered the cheesecake after finishing the prime rib.” Jimmy shifted his weight and looked out his office window. The bread and Merlot weren’t sitting well with him either.  He had shared his table while delivering the difficult words to his disciples.

Anthony, who was called Melo, was one of the twelve. He had witnessed the broken covenant, first between himself and Philip, and now, the final betrayal of James by Philip. If only he had honored the wishes of his beloved SaLaLaome who had called for the head of Philip. Instead, he himself had succumbed to temptation, his pride leading to isolation, adultery and missed baseline jumpers.

One by one they were taken down, bodies limp, their spirit drained. Fisher, Rambis, Noah, even the Rose could not mask the putrid stench of failure. The garden, this Mecca, would bear no fruit. Iscariot, the traitor, bereft of basketball wisdom had laid waste a once powerful kingdom. James had been blinded by the gold of the multi-ringed false prophet.

He remembered the words, “Before the cock crows, thou shalt deny me thrice.” This prophecy was realized as a 3-year record of 80-166, including the catastrophic 17-65 season in 2014-2015 A.D.. It was more than James could bear. He lowered his head and wept.

His tears became rain, then thunder, until behold, there was a great earthquake. The massive boulder that had obstructed his garden was thrown aside. James raised his eyes and beheld an image of hope. His countenance was like lightning and his raiment was of many colors.

clyde

“Isiah, is that you?” James’ vision was blurred by tears.

“Nah Jimmy, it’s me Clyde.”

“Clyde? Am I dead?”

“No man, just your team’s playoff chances. But, I’m here to tell you something…”

“What is it?” James face was as open and innocent as a child’s.

“Go forth quickly and tell your disciples, He is risen.”

Once again, James called out to his savior, “Isiah…Isiah?”

“What’s wrong with you Jimmy. I’m talkin’ about the Man?” Clyde slowly unrolled  an ancient scroll. “These are the sacred words He hath passed through the chain of prophets. I will share them with thee now.”

Bounding and Astounding

Dancing and Prancing

Dishing and Swishing

Huffing and Stuffing

Hustling and Bustling

Movin’ and Grovin’

Out-muscling and Out-hustling

Posting and Toasting

Shaking and Baking

Slicing and Dicing

Spinning and Winning

Styling and Profiling

Swooping and Hooping

Wheeling and Dealing

“Follow and honor these tenets, and you will enter the kingdom.” Clyde rolled up the scroll. “Simple as that Jimmy. Spread the word. I’ll be watching you.”

James rose to his feet and wiped away years of tears, sand, and eye snot.

“Don’t worry Clyde, I won’t let them down this time.”

With that, hope was restored to the faithful. What would free agency bring? Did we dare dream of unseating the rule of the State of Gold?

If Summer league comes, can Fall be far behind?

tombstone

 

Philin’ In – Act Four

The saga of James Dolan, Phil Jackson and Isiah Thomas will bring new meaning to the phrase Triangle Offense.

Jimmy’s thoughts drifted back to the beach. Isiah was standing to his left, facing the minister who stood under a bough of roses formed into a heart shaped arch. The minister was speaking directly to Jimmy.

“James, have you prepared your vows?”

“Actually, I had planned to write my own, but decided that a song by my hero Eric Clapton perfectly expresses my feelings.”

With that, Jimmy lifted his guitar from its stand next to the alter and played the opening riffs to Change The World. As he started singing, the crowd was startled by his odd high-pitched falsetto.

“‘If I could reach the stars
Pull one down for you,
Shine it on my heart
So you could see the truth:
That this love inside
Is everything it seems.
But for now I find
It’s only in my dreams.

And I can change the world,
I will be the sunlight in your universe.
You would think my love was really something good,
Baby if I could change the world.

If I could be king,
Even for a day,
I’d take you as my queen;
I’d have it no other way.
And our love would rule
This kingdom we had made.
’til then I’d be a fool,
Wishing for the day…

That I can change the world,
I would be the sunlight in your universe.
You would think my love was really something good,
Baby if I could change the world.'”

“Hey James, I need you to sign off on this. Are you on board with the trade for Rose?” Jackson was shaking Dolan with one hand while he waved a paper and pen in the other.

“Rose?” Dolan looked puzzled, but continued, “Yeah, rose is good. I like rose,” he agreed as he signed, then handed the paper back to Jackson.

“Great! Then it’s settled.” Jackson rolled up the paper and stuffed it into his pants pocket. “One more thing…let me run this by you for the press conference.”

“OK?”

A mischievous smile spread across Jackson’s face. “What’s the difference between the New York Mets and the Titanic?”

“Phil…I don’t see what this has to do with…,” Dolan tried to interject.

“The Titanic hit an iceberg before sinking, and the Mets can’t hit anything.” Spittle flew out of Jackson’s mouth as he cackled at his punch line. “That should deflect the focus from our personnel moves.”

“I’m glad somebody’s having a good time,” the owner shrugged.

Jimmy delicately held a single rose as he stood facing Isiah. The minister was nearly finished.

“If anyone objects to this union, or feels threatened by the expression of heterosexual man love, speak now, before the NBA February 18th trade deadline, or forever hold your peace.”

A bright-eyed woman with dark, short cropped hair, pushed aside the crowd.

“What’s going on here? Who agreed to this? Have you all lost your minds?” She addressed the minister directly, “You better end this right now before I get everybody arrested.”

“I beg your pardon, Ma’am,” the minister responded defensively. “Same sex marriage is legal in this state.”

“I’m not talking about that, you fools…” Isiah realized what was happening and bowed his head sheepishly. The woman was Lynn Kendall, Isiah’s beleaguered wife of over thirty years.

“Isiah is already married to me! Let’s go Zeke!” Isiah obediently followed behind his wife as Jimmy fought back tears. First Anucha Browne Sanders and her trumped up accusations of sexual harassment against Isiah, and now this. Another strong-willed woman ruining his chance at happiness.

“‘Baby if I could change the world…,'” Jimmy slowly retraced his steps across the beach as he dreamed, along with millions of Knicks fans, of what might have been.

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