Wednesday, March 27, 2013
On Saturday afternoon I was lucky enough to attend the Kings vs. Canucks game at Staples Center. My cousins were able to secure seats four rows from the ice. They know that I am a big hockey fan so they asked me to go. When I found out that our seats were that close to the ice, I made sure that I took my camera in order to get some good pictures. I had two lenses, my standard lens and a zoom lens. I was told that the Staples Center would not allow you to bring in a camera with a lens over 3 1/2 inches long so my standard lens would have to do. As you can see in the above picture of Drew Doughty, this was how we were seeing the game.
I have been to many a hockey game in my life. I have seen the Rangers in Madison Square Garden, the Devils in what was then called the Brendan Byrne Arena in the Meadowlands, the hated NY Islanders in the Nassau Mausoleum, the Anaheim Ducks in the Honda Center and the Los Angeles Kings in the Forum and in the Staples Center. These seats were the best seats that I have had at any professional hockey game.
Hockey is an extremely fast game but being this close puts a whole new meaning on how fast it is. Most of these hockey players are basically linebackers on skates. They move so fast and their reactions are so quick, all while traveling on a sheet of ice. Sitting this close you can really feel the teeth rattling checks that are dished out. I can see why the concussion issue is a topic in hockey now. These players crash into the boards so hard that their heads can't help banging violently into the plexiglass.
Since we were sitting to the left of the goalie, I got a great perspective on Quick and Schneider's reactions to shots. Some of the shots came at them with such quickness and speed, it was amazing on how fast these two guys reacted.
The Kings ended up losing 1-0 but it was an exciting game. I left the Staples Center with a new found fondness for the game that I grew up watching and playing.
Monday, March 25, 2013
To all my Jewish friends, Happy Passover!!!!! During the Seder, the four questions are asked. The first of the four questions is , "Why is this night different from all other nights?" and to really impress you, here it is in Hebrew (phonetically), Ma nishtanah halailah hazeh mikol haleilot? Well I'll tell you why this night is different from all other nights. It is because I am at the halfway point of my triathlon training!!!!
I have done a number of things in my life that I have looked back on and said, "That was fun but what made you want to do that?"
I was a disc jockey at Pace University in NYC, I was an ice hockey goalie and during one tournament I asked Gordie Howe to take a slap shot because I wanted to see what that looked like and he did. I stopped the shot, not because I saw it but because my shoulder just got in the way...boy did that hurt. I played in a pick-up ice hockey game with Marcel Dionne and Charlie Simmer, I played football and I have played rugby for Cal State Long Beach and I have run two NY Marathons. There have been other shenanigans that I have gotten into over the years, either on purpose or just by luck.
This triathlon training came about because of my workout partners and real good friends. My two workout partners are co-workers and stand-outs in our departments Women's Flag Football Team. Since I was one of the coaches, we became real good friends and training partners. We have done all kinds of workouts and they said to me, "You should try a triathlon, you would do fine." I said let me think about it.
I thought about it and the first thing that came to my mind was that I had not run any long distances since my third knee surgery nearly 10 years ago. I said that I would give a definite yes when I see how my knee holds up to some long runs. The other thing that was gnawing at me was the fact that one of the legs is a swim and the last time that I swam any distances was during the Carter administration. Really, it was the late 70s.
My workout partners kept telling me that I was making too much of it and I finally just said yes. I have been doing laps in the pool and I was pleasantly surprised that I had a lot more swimming stamina than I thought. I have been on the road for distance runs and my knee has held up, granted my times are a bit slower than when I was running marathons but I can live with it. My biking is probably going to be my strong event.
Needless to say, I am having fun training for this. The triathlon will be a few weeks after my 51st birthday, so that in itself will be an accomplishment. The other highlight will be that the triathlon is being run at my Alma mater Cal State Long Beach.
The triathlon is April 21st and I am very excited about it.
Sunday, March 10, 2013
The starting line-up on Opening Day in 1989 for the Yankees was
Rickey Henderson - LF (who would be traded later in the season for Luis Palonia)
Steve Sax - 2B
Tom Brookens - DH
Steve Balboni - 1B (filling in for injured Don Mattingly)
Gary Ward - LF
Mike Pagliarulo - 3B
Don Slaught - C
Alvaro Espinoza - SS (hard not to see Jeter's name not penciled in at short)
Roberto Kelly - CF
And the starting pitcher was Tommy John.
The reason I bring this 1989 team up is because the Yankees can start to look like this through it's rebuilding process. The Yankees appear to be sticking to their guns and not spending money to replace the injured. The only player they have went out and grabbed is Kevin Youkalis. He is not the Youkalis of years past but he still is a solid ballplayer.
The Yankees are injured and old but management is not opening up the checkbook. They are going the route of, "let's see what we got." The Yankees have done this a number of times and with success, to name a few, Derek Jeter (who took over for Tony Fernandez in spring training because of an injury), Bernie Williams, Andy Petitte, Mariano Rivera and the latest one is Robinson Cano.
After some great years as a team you have to rebuild. The Yankees have done this twice in my lifetime. The Yankees of the 1970s, retooled with homegrown talent, Ron Guidry, Roy White, Thurman Munson, smart trades for Chris Chambliss, Graig Nettles and the all-time steal Willie Randolph. They then filled in the gaps with some good free agents, Catfish Hunter, Reggie Jackson and Goose Gossage. After that run, the Yankees fell on hard times because of poor management of baseball operations and they ended up with a starting line-up that looked like the one above.
The Yankees then worked from within and brought up Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Andy Petitte, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada. They made some good trades that brought over Paul O'Neal, Tino Martinez, Jeff Nelson and Scott Brosius. They brought in free agents, David Cone, David Wells and Roger Clemons.
The Yankees are in that position again and they need to look within to see what they have. They need to see what they can get with some smart trades and then they need to fill in the blanks with free agents. If Cashman and his crew can not use this baseball model then the Yankees need to get a new crew who can follow this plan.