Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Doris, Part III [Non-Sports]

[Here are parts I and II, in case you missed them]

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Delusional Doris Sign Sweepstakes earlier today! Mostly due to the length of the entries, there was no winner from the comment section. However, I did draw some inspiration from them and made two additions to our sign.

The top line now reads: "Did you write that letter w/your teeth?" (h/t: FY contributor Matt)

And the last two sentences read: "The difference is that when you did it, we laughed it off, and when we did, you called the cops. (and the new one) I bet they had a nice laugh when you hung up.
<3 115 xoxo"

I go to put it up, and to my horror, her door is open.

She wasn't outside, but just when you thought this woman couldn't be any creepier, she props her door open with a garbage can lid and a splintering 2x4. I don't know how that doorway connects to her apartment, but I can only assume the staircase is lined with with old newspapers, bird feathers she has collected from the roof, pre-1963 Playbills, and dead cats.

It's really awkward to ZipTie the signs on her side, from ours. I have to lean over the planter (which is right next to the railing) and around the chimney with both hands free to connect the tie. It makes it a whole lot more difficult when you have to keep an eye on that open door to make sure your crazy neighbor doesn't come flying out on her broomstick, causing you to lose your footing and fall 6 floors to your death.

If you look closely, you can see the two ties from the last sign, cinched much tighter than when I put them up. I can only assume that she had never seen a ZipTie before, and tried to remove them by yanking on the long end, only antagonizing her further.

This has been fun, but I really didn't think last night's post was going to be the 5th most popular post in the (somewhat brief) history of this blog. I'm not sure what that says about our sports commentary or more importantly, you sick puppies, but thanks for stopping by.

Whether she responds to this sign or not, rest assured there will be another Doris post at some point.

Happy Trails, Chase Wright

On the infamous night that Chase Wright gave up four consecutive home runs at Fenway Park, I was out with a couple of friends at Blondie's on 79th St. It was the same night when the Celtics gawt totally fackin' warked by David Staahrn in the 2007 NBA Draft Lottery and were given a pick three spots above where they were supposed to be.

The Yankees carried a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning. Wright retired Kevin "Fack" Youkilis and David Ortiz on fly balls, when Manny Ramirez stepped to the plate.

Manny smashes one into the Green Monster.

Whatever, it's one run.

Next up, J.D. Drew. He drills it into the Red Sox bullpen in right.

It's okay, we still have the lead.

Then Mike Lowell lofts one over the Green Monster.

Okay, fuck. But it's still tied.

Finally, Jason Varitek pulls one into left field, it's high...

/Smashes face into plate of wings.

Wright finished the inning by retiring Willy Mo Pena, but was replaced by Colter Bean in the top of the 4th. The Yanks actually rebounded to take the lead in the 6th inning, but Scott Proctor gave up three runs in the 7th that sealed the deal.

In a span of 13 pitches, Wright became only the second pitcher in MLB history to give up four round trippers in a row, while simultaneously washing his Yankee career down the drain. Wright is at the level where guys are just looking to get another shot at the bigs. When your second to last outing included giving up a historically incredible offensive feat to your arch rivals, it's hard to get that stink off of you. He had posted a 2.85ERA last year, primarily in Double-A, but wasn't called up when the rosters expanded.

Today the Yanks traded him to the Brewers for Eric Fryer. After a lackluster Rookie Ball showing, Fryer busted out last year for Single-A West Virginia batting .335/.407/.506 in 104 games, while playing LF, 1B and even catcher (39 games).

Chase, I'm guessing the NL Central is going to be a lot more kind to you than the AL East was. You're left handed and only entering your age 26 season, so your best days are probably ahead.

I ain't mad at cha, homey.

Baseball Is Your Pal, Football Is Your Gal

Early in the history of this blog, we established a tradition based on a quote from the 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli, who once said, "It is easier to be critical than right." It's relatively easy to eviscerate some one's stupid ideas. It's much more difficult to come up with original thoughts of your own.

Unlike Richard Justice stupidly contended, Baseball isn't better than football, nor is the inverse true. They are about as far apart as two sports can be, besides maybe golf and rugby. Just based on the duration of the season, I would consider myself more of a baseball fan right now, but I've been a die hard Giants fan since I was five or six years old.

One of my earliest memories is of the drive back upstate with my father from Giants Stadium after the GMen beat the Lions to improve to 11-0 back in 1990. My dad would rattle off uniform numbers, and I would respond with the corresponding player. "27 - Rodney Hampton, 85 - Stephen Baker "The Touchdown Maker", 56 - Lawrence Taylor, 70 - Leonard Marshall, 58 - Carl Banks, 11 - Phil Sims, 55 - Gary Reasons, 30 - Dave Meggett, 82 - Mark Ingram, 89 - Mark Bavaro, 76 - Jumbo Elliot". I probably watched Giants Among Men, and True Blue 50 times each.

We had a Super Bowl party that year and I can still remember Scott Norwood's kick sailing wide right and getting lost in the celebration in our family room. Conversely, when the Yanks won in 1996, my dad was away in Taiwan for business and I watched Charlie Hayes catch that pop-up by myself.

George Carlin of course has the seminal work in contrasting the two sports, and Joe Posnanski recently drilled further down into the differences in language between them, but I have a take that I haven't heard anywhere else.

It took me about a week after the Giants lost this year to realize it, but to me, baseball is like a good friend and football is like a girlfriend. After they were ousted I wore my blue and red Giants winter hat for three straight days and listened to Ben Folds on the walk to work. It was odd and pathetic sort of melancholy, almost like I got dumped.

Football is emotional, passionate and physical. Although baseball has the go-to sexual metaphor (rounding the bases), to me, "driving down the field","crossing the goal line", "settling for a field goal" or "having to punt" make more sense.

Brandon Jacobs running over LaRon Landry in the first quarter of Week 1 against the Redskins gave me a far greater sense of satisfaction than A-Rod hitting a home run against the Orioles in the second inning of a game in April ever could. Likewise, intimacy with a significant other can grant you satisfaction in a way a friend just can't. In football, the highs are higher and the lows are lower.

You hang out with baseball all summer long. On any given night, you can take it or leave it because you know it's going to be around the next day. Blow off football and you've gotta wait an entire week for the next game.

You don't put that much stock into every single baseball game. You don't analyze everything your friend says either, unlike how your lady picks apart the nuance in every word you use. The Yanks could roll into Kansas City next May, line up CC Sabathia against Brain Bannister and lose and still take the series. If your football team lays an egg against a team they should beat, it is literally 10 times more significant to their record.

Looking back at my Giants vs. Yankees posts, the former tend to be more fiery, and my "Fuck" To Other Word Ratio (FTOWR) is quite high. My stuff about the Yankees is more statistically grounded, objective and decidedly lacking in vitriol. Although, if Robinson Cano had done what Plaxico Burress did and Joba Chamberlain said what Brandon Jacobs said, that might not be the case.

And no, that's not my girlfriend. I would never date a girl with a tramp stamp! (It's this comely lass)

Number of Days Until Spring Training: Roger Maris (#9)

It wasn't supposed to be Roger Maris. He didn't come up through the Yankees system, as he was acquired in the trade that sent Don Larsen to the Kansas City A's in 1959. He didn't get along with the New York media, and was considered surly.

Even though Maris won the AL MVP in his first year with the Yankees, they were still considered Mickey Mantle's team in 1961. Maris was an outsider and not considered a True Yankee(TM). In a perfect world, Mantle would have been the one to break Babe Ruth's single season home run record. Fate did not agree and Mantle suffered a leg infection late in the season that hindered him from topping the mark. He ended up with 54HR.

Before the 1961 season, the AL expanded from eight to ten teams, adding the Los Angeles Angels and the Washington Senators by way of an expansion draft. Both teams selected Yankees with their first picks; the Angels took Eli Grba and the Senators claimed Bobby Shantz. The Yanks also lost Duke Maas, Dale Long, Bob Cerv, Ken Hunt, Bud Zipfel. The expansion draft weakened the overall talent pool in the league fairly significantly, but despite the pillaging, the Yankees were among the teams least affected.

That same season, the schedule was lengthened from 154 to 162 games. Commissioner Ford C. Frick, initially announced that in order to break Babe Ruth's record, it would have to be done in 154 games. He said:

Any player who hit more than sixty home runs during his club’s first 154 games would be recognized as having established a new record. However, if the player does not hit more than sixty until after his club has played 154 games, there would have to be some distinctive mark in the record books to show that Babe Ruth’s record was set under a 154 game schedule and the total of more than sixty was compiled while a 162 game schedule was in effect.
This was met with strong media backlash. The Sporting News placed it at #15 of the most shameful acts in baseball history and columnist Leonard Koppett called the decision "a remarkably foolish thing". The negative reaction was certainly magnified by the fact that this was occurring in the first year of the extended schedule and the first year after the expansion.

The prevailing wisdom at the time said the decision was prompted by Frick's loyalty to Ruth which could be traced back to Frick's days as a newspaper man. Frick had ghostwritten for Ruth in the past, allowing Ruth to "cover" every world series from 1921-1936 and wrote glowing columns about him in the New York Evening Journal.

[Ed. Note: I leaned pretty heavily on an artcile by John Carvalho called "Haunted by the Babe: Frick's Columns About Ruth". The above links don't do it justice, so you can access the PDF here.]

Personally, I can't understand why this was such a big deal. Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs in 154 games. The tag of "single season" is arbitrary. It should have to be broken in the same amount of games. I guess people at the time felt like by keeping two separate sets of records, baseball was divorcing itself from it's storied past.

The alternative they chose, however, diluted the Babe's most prized record, and allowed for it to be broken during a longer season against weaker competition.

Aside from his boorish persona, Maris just wasn't a truly great player (see to the right). He had an extremely sharp career peak, winning back to back AL MVPs with the Yankees, but only made two All-Star games outside of those two seasons. Legendary second baseman Rogers Hornsby said at the time, "It would be a disappointment if Ruth's home run record were bested by a .270 hitter."

Maris had 59 HR after 154 games and hit his 61st on the last day of the season in the home half of the fourth inning against the Red Sox.

Due in no small way to the controversey surrounding his quest for 61, Maris was heckled and even had objects thrown at hit on the field. He said he received hate mail, death threats and claimed his hair fell out "in clumps" as the season progressed.

Despite breaking one of the most hallowed sports records of all time, Maris remained sour about the experience. During an interview at the 1980 All-Star game, he said:

They acted as though I was doing something wrong, poisoning the record books or something. Do you know what I have to show for 61 home runs? Nothing. Exactly nothing.

Maris was a victim of our casting. Despite the fact that sports are unscripted, we still expect the right characters to come out on top. Mickey Mantle was the former farmhand, Yankee legend, the Hall of Famer, the rags to riches story from Oklahoma. He partied with the rat pack, Joe D. and Marylin Monroe, and had the key to the city. Maris was the ostracized Kansas City transplant, but primarily on the strength on his 1961 season, Maris has his spot in Monument Park as well.

[Ed Note: 61* is a pretty good movie despite having Billy Crystal's annoying fingerprints all over it.]

Doris Follow-Up [Non-Sports]

[Here is part I in case you missed it]

It was a beautiful snowy day here in the city, and when I got home, I immediately checked to see if there had been recent activity on the terrace. I didn't see anything at first, then just barely caught a glimpse of the corner of our sign sticking out from the edge of the deck, under about two inches of fresh powder. I walked out, picked it up and saw that it had been ripped in half. Fair enough. But, if the snow melts and the pumpkin is back on our side, we've got problems.

She also tied a plastic bag with a letter inside to the a hook on our chimney. Here it goes.

The Envelope:"To: The guys who are no longer with their parents - or - at the Frat house. But Hey, guess what - In The Real World - with - Surprise of Surprises - OTHER RE(down arrow)AL PEOPLE!!!"

This took me a good 10 minutes to decode. Her lower case "t" looks like an "e" with a line above it which I thought was an accent or a tilde or something. (See the word "at" on the fourth line down, first in from the left). I was thinking to myself, "What the fuck is a froe house"?

Just a tip, when you're literally writing out an attempt at making fun of someone, you don't want to awkwardly try to insert another word into your punchline. You either leave it as is or get a new envelope.

Yes, we no longer live with our parents. Is that supposed to be an insult? Nice try, but neither of us ever lived in a frat house. "The Real World", huh? That's pretty rich coming from a fucking agoraphobic. Your "Real World" consists of 800 square feet. And of course, that last "sentence" contains four dashes and zero coherent thoughts.

And now the letter. You'd think by the envelope that it would be in pen in cursive or something. Not so much:
Front Side:

You love the dash, don't you Doris? I wonder who she thinks is the "side-kick"... Check out the comments on the last post, Doris, neither of us are nice. We are angry because you smashed our pumpkin on our terrace for no fucking reason.


Yes. Yes you did. You put some old grayed-out boards on there and moved our "Golf Carts" sign just this past week. You put a strange bamboo arch in there at some point over the summer and planted other odd looking plants without asking us.

There is no other explanation as to how that pumpkin ended up on our side. It did not commit suicide by jumping from the planter. The cat that stops by occasionally didn't roll it over the edge. Several pigeons did not combine forces and drop it there.

Perhaps there were some other hooligans on your roof who did it. But you blamed us for everything that happened on your terrace, period. Not sure if you've peered out through that giant pile of plastic bags you have in your apartment recently, but we aren't your only neighbors.


Being that today is Tuesday, I'm guessing you are referring to yesterday?


/Shakes in shoes.

Not all that scary, considering you just confessed to "RETURN[ing] THE FAVOR" in the same fucking sentence.

We took pictures too, except we didn't show them to the police. We posted them on a semi-vulgarly named sports blog and told a bunch of people on the intertubes about how crazy you are.

Back Side:

Sweet, a stray dash!

What she is referring to here is that fact that our neighbors who have two dachshunds were over here literally two and a half years ago and despite our best efforts the pups occasionally ventured onto her side of the terrace, maybe three times.


Angry because we wrote a sign with the F-word or have you been reading the blog? Entitlement because we don't think people should smash a rotting member of the squash family on our terrace? You want to try that one again?


There you go.


Stray dash, volume 2. Thanks for the advice, Grandma. "NEVER TOO YOUNG". Going all Benjamin Button on us, I see.


You said it.

As you may or may not be able to see, there were two different markers and even a pen used in this masterpiece. It contains sixteen dashes.

I just wish it wasn't snowing so I could hang up the new sign...
(sorry for the partial joke recycling)

"Doris -
You never touched our boxes? Who put those old boards across them last week? Fairies? What about the bamboo arch? Pigeons? The pumpkin was sitting in the box on Saturday, and on Sunday, it was smashed on our terrace. Were we supposed to assume the black cat did it? You are the one who used to sweep up every single thing on your shitty tar-pit and fling it all on our side. The difference is that when you did it, we laughed it off, and when we did, you called the cops."

As you can see, there is still enough room for about two lines. In 12 words or less, what should I close with? Leave your best shot in the comments, and your zinger just might meet Doris' crazy eyes tomorrow night.
[Update 2/5: Part III of this saga has now been written]