Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Giant Steps

Ok, maybe it wasn't a giant step. It was probably more of a baby step. Nevertheless, the Yankees have their first victory of 2009 at The Big A, and just their fifth there since the start of the 2006 season. They have a chance to take the rubber game of the series later this afternoon.

It certainly could have gone smoother last night. Eight Yankee runners were left on base and the Yanks went just 1 for 10 with RISP. There was some sloppy defense. Chad Gaudin flat ran out of gas with two outs in the fourth, Alfredo Aceves was a bit rusty thanks to inactivity, and Phil Hughes had a rare rough outing. Even the mighty Mo, coming off a blown save in his last outing, was having a rough go of it until the big strike him out, throw him out double play. And the Yankees benefited from a missed call on Brett Gardner's critical stolen base in the top of the ninth.

But the bottom line is the Yankees won, and won after the pesky Angels had clawed their way backed into the game. They officially clinched a post-season berth before the game was even over, and the victory reduced the magic number for both the AL East and homefield advantage to six with a week plus to go. Maybe it wasn't just a baby step after all.

John Coltrane would have turned 82 today. Giant Steps was one of his greatest works and was recorded during perhaps the most creative stage of his career. While he was recording the album Coltrane was still working with the other giant of post-bebop jazz, Miles Davis, and had just finished recording Davis' ingenious Kind of Blue. The work the two artists did in that time frame would influence musicians for years to come, jazz or otherwise. Unfortunately live recordings of Giant Steps' title track are hard to come by. But in the interests of shining the spotlight on Coltrane today, here's the John Coltrane Quartet performing "Naima", another track from Giant Steps that became a jazz standard.

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