Sunday, June 10, 2007

Yanks Show They Mean Business

This weekend had something in it for everybody: Boxing, Basketball, Tennis, Horse Racing, of course baseball, and that show about that thing of ours..

Here are my thoughts on the big 2 as far as I'm concerned:

Yankees: It is about F'n time that the Yankees started to play like, well, the Yankees. Winning 6 straight, 9 of the last 11 and gaining ground on the Sox at 9.5 back. The spark seemed to have happened either when Cairo was put on the field for what felt like his '07 debut, and when Melkey took over full time CF duties for Damon. The team looks to have a different feel to it with these guys in the lineup. Same thing happened last year as I re-call. Sheff goes down with an injury, Melkey steps in for full-time duty and provides a spark, Yanks close out the division (Torre then tinkers with the lineup and we all know what happened then... but I digress.). If the Yanks are still hot when Minky comes off of the DL, it'll be interesting to see what happens. The Bombers are only paying Mientkiwicz a buck, so who knows - maybe they'll just drop him. -- I like Cairo in the field, he waited patiently, and now he's taking advantage of his opportunities to play and help the team - very Yankee like.

On Roger Clemens - to me he looked like a pitcher making his first start of the season. He did OK, and at the OK level he is still a huge upgrade over Igawa, Karstens, Rassner, DeSalvo etc. I am glad he debuted against the Pirates though as he probably would have been taking down by a legit offensive team. He'll be better the next time out and the intangibles he brings are already present - yes he may only be playing once every five, but it ain't a bad thing to have Clippard, Henn and possibly Hughes to have some quality time with Rocket and will likely be paying dividends long after this season is done.

Abreu is clearly out of his slump and is deciding to be a man again - he was practically giggling in his post game interview about his performance versus the Pirates. The team wins when Abreu and Damon are doing their part. Not so surprisingly, with the re-surging Agreu, A-Rod is back to hitting great as well. A-Rod is currently pacing to hit 64 HRs and about 170 RBIs. Is a another MVP award waiting?

With the D-Backs on deck, we'll know for sure if this streak is legit or just a product of scheduling. D-Backs are a good team as the BoSox just found out. If we take 2 out of 3 from AZ, then I think we'll know that the ship has for sure been righted and we'll once again be on our way.

The Sopranos. About this show of ours - the finale is exactly what would drive me nuts about this series... and, it is what would keep me coming back for more as well. Only this time, there is no more. No closure - which is about right for a David Chase show. So what are we to believe? Tony stands trial because one of his guys gets popped and flips? Who is running NY? AJ finds his way with his underage girlfriend and the boys who produced Cleaver? etc. etc. etc - We are just left to guess. The one moment that gave me the most satisfaction was the elimination of Phil. I was very satisfied with how NY's boss was taken out: in front of family, head crushed slowly by an SUV so no open casket - a very justified end for him.

Anyway, the show is over, it's done. John from Cinci is no Tony Soprano and will be a short lived series is my prediction.


57 said...

'The Sopranos' ~ RIP 6/10/07. What a GREAT ending. After countless explanations and possibilites, David Chase has left us wanting more yet again and in a way that rivals any other finale in the history of the medium. If you are a die-hard Sopranos fan, then the last scene was filled with tension that you could not escape. Who was going to get clipped? Was Med going to get hit by a car? Was she too late in preventing the clear shot by that guy at the counter? Was it another throwback to Godfather with that guy walking into the bathroom? Was he going to get the gun hidden behind the toilet to come out and shoot Tony and the family? All of these things are going through your mind, but in the end...with a tremendous song that served as a metaphor for the viewers... the scene does not fade to black it haults to black. Someone was whacked. It was us; we the viewers got whacked...The Sopranos will live on, but we will never see them again for we're done. A fitting send off by David Chase. We all wanted someone to die, and in the end we died. Take out the 'A' in Cleaver and what do you have??... CLEVER ~ which is Mr. Chase. Remember what Tony told Bobby in the boat when they were fishing...'Everything just goes black' when talking about a hit. Well, that is what we got, although we were the ones who were hit. Tremendous writing!! Going to miss this show.

I hate the Yankees! Mets will sweep this weekend and I will be there to see one of the Mets victories!!

57 said...

Oh yeah, and way to go Agent Harris!! Hooking up with a fellow agent, and happy that Phil got popped. I guess his new 'beat' made him realize that what Tony and the gang is doing is not even close to as bad as terrorism around the world. At the end of the day, as much as the FBI wants to build a rico case on Tony Soprano, it saves his life. Great twist.

A-Rod is gay, not that there is anything wrong with it.

Anonymous said...

I think you're right in the interpretation - who got clipped at the end? Everyone was waiting to see, and it turned out to be us.

If I ever meet David Chase, I'm going to run him over with my car.

My Favorite Scene in the series happened in season 1, episode 1, Tony running a guy over with his car, and while punching him in the leg was asking him if he was OK.

old professor said...

I will try to keep my comments to baseball since I don't have to live vicariously through a television soap opera.

I agree with the analysis the Yankees seemed to pick it up with Melky going to center and Damon going to DH. More imporantly it got Giambi out of the everyday line up. The last month of his DH service was painful to watch.

Cairo will work well defensively and hopefully will hit the .250 they were thinking Minky could hit. More importantly, when Cairo does bat he works the pitcher and hits based on the situation. The problem is he has not shown the ability to sustain the effort over more than a few weeks.

Peter Gammons had a great comment about Clemens - "he did not pitch great, pitched okay, but people have to realize for Clemens it is like the last week of March". He will better and will serve as an excellent number three or four starter.

It was tough to see Clippard get knocked around by the Pirates. He may be given one more start and if it is as bad, Igwa may be back sooner than people thought he would. The reconstruction project on his delivery is almost complete and he has pitched well at Triple A.

The Scooter said...

I will comment on the Yankees a little later...but for now (Sorry Prof)here is my thesis on the Finale:

I am shocked and dismayed by the utter lack of insight of the mainstream media regarding the Sopranos Finale. Radio, the newspapers, and the television news are almost universally reporting the episode as a cop out and “resolution less” ending. I couldn’t disagree more.

Here is why it was perhaps the most brilliantly written piece in the history of Cable television.

Let’s get the business part out of the way first. I have been saying all season that there is no way that Chase would kill off Tony. Follow the money. Regardless of how burned out Chase and Gandolfini may be at this time, they are not stupid men, and their agents are not stupid men. You do not kill the Golden Goose. Who knows where either of their careers will be in two or three years? Leaving Tony and Silvio alive, leaves open the possibility of a blockbuster feature length motion picture. My best guess is summer 2009 or 2010.

Now on to the brilliance of the episode:

Simply stated; the episode had it all. Chase knew that the viewers would never accept anything less than a full resolution to the Phil/Tony plotline. He also knew that a good portion of the audience were interested in nothing but a blood and guts, bullets flying, end of the world conflict. By having Phil get whacked, Chase is telling us that Tony (our favorite anti-hero) wins the day. For the last eight years we have seen how resourceful the Boss of Jersey has been when things looked its bleakest, it would have been completely out of character for Tony to not have come out on top. I think Chase also answered (while at the same time cleverly mocking) the public’s thirst for someone’s head, with the cartoonish demise of Phil Leotardo. Chase was telling us “you want silly gratuitous violence? Well here it is.”

I will not drill down through every wonderful scene in the episode, but there is brilliance everywhere you look: From Tony and Carm’s meeting with AJ’s therapist in which Tony actually starts go into his own mental issues, as justification for all the violence he has caused in his life as well as the violence he is yet to cause. To me, this signified a confirmation of Melfi’s assertion that talk therapy empowers and encourages the “sociopath” to further sociapathic activities…….To the obvious humanization of Agent Harris, in that we find that he is less than the perfect G-Man we were led to believe. His quid pro quo with Tony regarding the whereabouts of Philly turns out to Tony’s saving grace. It is ironic that perhaps Tony’s greatest enemy; the enemy that will probably wind up getting him in the end….The FBI, is the one who is most responsible for his ultimate success.

This brings us to the single most deep and in my eyes satisfying scene ever written for the small screen: The final scene. If there was ever a more tense 7 or 8 minutes in television history, someone please tell me what it is. Every step, every breath, every word was brilliantly delivered. The two most important aspects were the song that Tony decided to play (Don’t Stop Believing) and AJ’s final words: “You always said to focus on the good times”. Chase is telling us that this is OUR Tony Soprano. It is us who have invested eight years of our lives in him. If we want to believe that the bathroom guy or the counter guys were hit men sent to take him out, so be it. If we want to believe that Tony gets indicted and spends the rest of his life in jail, so be it. And yes, if we want to believe that Tony and his family actually have a chance to make win….well then for God’s sake, “Don’t Stop Believing”. Focus on the good times. That’s how Chase wants us to remember the saga of Tony Soprano, and I for one will listen.

So you see, its not the “viewers” who got whacked…it was the critics. Chase knew that he would get killed by the media outlets that had their “Tony Soprano Sleeps with the Fishes” headlines all qued up and ready to go, but he didn’t care. He ended the series, for us…the fans..and I salute him.

Brilliance. Absolute Brilliance.

old professor said...

Thank God there blog sites did not exist when the original superman series went off the air.

57 said...

Christopher Reeve played the best Superman. George Reeves was horrible; he wore shoulder pads for crying out loud. Also, this new Superman is a bit of a fruit-cake.

The Scooter said...

The original Superman??? Jeesh Prof, just how old are you???

Mid, is there any way to limit the Mets fan to one post per day?

Mid Relief said...

I"m hearing things, trade related things, multitude of deals.

The best Super was the first with Reeves, closely, and I mean closely follwed by Superman Returns.

while the new Superman (Brandon Ruth I believe) may in fact take a few for the team, I thought he was pretty good.

Mets will get swept this weekend.

57 said...

However, Lois Lane played by Margo Kidder was significantly trumped by the latest Lane...

57 said...

prof.. you started the Superman thing.

Batman anyone? By far, Christian Bale was the best, followed by Michael Keaton, Adam West, Val Kilmer and George Clooney (who was smoking crack when they picked Clooney, by the way)

I can beat up Spiderman and Wonder Woman was HOT!!! Linda Carter..nothing better.

Oh, A-Rod is still Gay.

Anonymous said...

pass along the interview with David Chase from the Star Ledger if anyone gets a copy of it.

old professor said...

Ah yes, interleague play is here an the Sopranos, superman and batman dominate the discussions. By the way 57, I do finally agree with something you said: Linda Carter was great as Wonder Woman.

Scooter, regarding my age, let's say I can remember listening to the 1956 World Series on the radio. (As a young kid).

Big series tonight in the Bronx - hopefully the yankees can continue to roll.

By the way, anyone notice that Phil Huges was moved to the 60 DL. The move eliminates him from coming back until after September 1, which would mean a comeback this year would be unlikely.

Anonymous said...

I don't like, no, hate interleague play. It was fun for the first few seasons - novelty has worn off - take a break for a few years, maybe make it a once every three seasons type thing.

On Hughes, I think we have a case of Yankee mgmt not wanting to rush back, and be overly careful on this kid's return. At the end of the day, the kid got a taste of the show, and I think is more important that he comes back next season, healthy, stronger, and as the ACE he's supposed to become.


Anonymous said...

One more thing for the day - if Clippard does not improve with his number of starts -

what is the chance of Proctor moving to a number 5. Good fastball, good curve, outside of endurance issues, I think it would be worth a shot.

The Scooter said...

Star Ledger article:

Prof, those were the days, my friend....Or so my granddad tells me.

I was always partial to a young Teri Hatcher as Lois Lane.

old professor said...

Mid - Proctor is having trouble recording the third out of any inning he has been called on in relief. He is not the answer to the Yankees rotation. Torre has also indicated there will be more roster moves before the Yankees begin their next roadtrip on June 19th.

It would appear the change will come in the pen as someone goes out and a position player is added. The team needs more depth on the bench.

As for Clippard, the kid is 22 and has only been in pro ball approximately three years, give him a break. He was not viewed as major league ready for another two years. The fact that for the most part he has kept the team in his games (except the Pittsburgh game) should give him another two or three starts. If he completely loses his confidence and becomes afraid of contact, don't be surprised to see the new and improved Kei Igwa back in the rotation. He has recorded 23 strikeouts in 19 innings and has a 3.23 ERA. Unfortunately, he is still averaging only 6.1 innings per start.

Scooter, your grandfather was right those were the days - the Edsel, 57 Chevy, the introduction of the Corvette and Thunderbird and the space race with the Russians.

Anonymous said...

Old Prof - you need to stop being sooooo dramatic - I know we've been talking a lot about shows the past few days, but enough of the drama.

I didn't say Proctor was the answer to the rotation or to give up on Clippard. Its like you read one sentence then stop and jump to conclusions inside your head instead paying to attention to the entirity of the context - VERY DEMOCRATlike.

old professor said...

57 regarding your comments on A-Rod, you don't have to look to close to the pictures in the NY Post to see that it was not a guy he was with. His judgement may be flawed, but he does seem to know how to pick his women.

Mid, I am not sure what trades or deals that you are talking about, but the Yankees seem to have hit a stride the last thing Cashman needs to do is to meddle in what is currently on the field. Abreu is hitting, A-Rod appears to be in another streak, Damon is hitting, Cabrera is hitting. Four of the starting five in the rotation are solid (depending what side of the bed Mussina gets up on)and most of the pen is okay. Vizciano and Farnsworth have to go. I don't think either of those two will bring the first baseman from Texas or any kind of quality relief pitcher.

Anonymous said...

The Incredible Hulk was a pretty good super-hero too...

57 said...


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