Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Torre, Turnpikes, And Taverns

As Joe Torre exited town two years ago, one of the lessons learned - or at least a memorable message he conveyed on his way out the door - was that the greater the expectation became to win year after year, and the greater the desperation became with each successive championshipless season, the less people appreciated the good things that did happen.

It's something I've tried to stay mindful of since Torre left. As badly as we as fans want our team to win, it's not a birthright, and it's not going to happen every year. Way back when, we began following baseball because we loved the game, because it entertained and amused us. It's easy to lose sight of that when the hunger to win becomes insatiable. But even a season like 2008 has something to take away from it. I suppose it's much easier to bang that drum in the aftermath of a World Series victory, but even without that 2009 was an extremely enjoyable year of Yankee baseball. I know I have my list of favorite moments, and I'm sure you have yours too.

While our health, and our families and friends are ceratinly the most important things to be thankful for this holiday, what brings us together here is Yankee baseball. And we have a lot to be thankful for in that regard too. Let's keep that in mind next time we're ready to go over the edge due to something Yankee related.


Today is simultaneously regarded as both the worst travel day of the year and the best bar night of the year. All the folks traveling home for the holidays clog up the highways and skyways, but they also load up the local watering holes. You never know who you're going to bump into on Thanksgiving eve. I'll be passing up both the parkways and the pubs tonight, electing instead to host a little party tonight and hit the road for Jersey in the morning.

Whichever your choice for tonight, driving or drinking, be safe. And please don't do both. We'll send you off into the night with this one. Chances are you'll be encountering either Traffic or John Barleycorn later on.

Q & A Round Up

When the flow of baseball news slows to a trickle over the offseason in the absence of game action, it becomes a challenge to maintain a stream of interesting content. After we baseball bloggers are done debating not whether the awards voting was poorly done but whether we should even care about it to begin with, we are left with a few means of filling content aside from playing whack-a-mole with an RSS reader until something intriguing finally materializes. One of those techniques is to keep hitting "refresh" over at MLBTR and pray the word "Yankees" appears (something we generally avoid), while another is to scroll through the newsblog over at BBTF and hope something strikes our fancy.

Of course, there's another common method of finding something to write about that doesn't require aggregators to deliver the typically baseless speculation of Ken Rosenthal or Jon Heyman, or the work of other columnists and bloggers. The more enterprising of us internet scribes go out and drum up interviews with well-respected writers and bloggers to carry us through the cold winter months.

Since we have yet to secure any interviews this offseason, we took the liberty of rounding up some of the better ones from around the baseball-related interwebz:

Happy Thanksgiving

Good morning Fackers. And Happy Thanksgiving to you. Of course, Thanksgiving isn't until tomorrow technically, but let's face it, you've already checked out mentally. If you're not off from work/school already, today is your last day before that sweet, sweet four day weekend. At worst you're completely non-functional this morning. At best you'll be counting the minutes until the whistle blows.

Though perhaps not as often as we do with music or vulgarity, we like to pepper our posts here with some American History. And the history of Thanksgiving is distinctively American. It's a tradition stemming from the earliest European settlers of our continent, who despite fleeing their homeland in search of religious freedom, spending months upon the Atlantic Ocean, landing hundreds of miles from their intended destination, surviving a harsh northern winter, and suffering the indignity of inhabiting what would become Red Sox Nation, took the time give thanks for a bountiful harvest, celebrating with their Native American neighbors - a situation that was far too rare in the nation's history.

The tradition was observed, sporadically at least, throughout the colonial days and into the early years of nationhood. Though it didn't become an official holiday until it was signed into law just weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, it had been unofficially celebrated anually since a proclamation from President Lincoln at the height of the Civil War. That the unofficial and official births of the holiday came during such dire times in American History speaks volumes as to how important it is to pause and be thankful for the good things, no matter how bad everything else may be.

Thanksgiving is easily, absolutely, positively, without doubt, indisputably, hands down my favorite holiday. There's no debate between religious and secular societies as to what the "true meaning" is. There's no pressure to find "the perfect gift". It hasn't been commandeered by furniture stores or car dealerships as an excuse to have a sale. It isn't something that can be claimed as holiday specifically for a particular nationality or culture. It isn't a holiday whose original intent has been obscured by becoming the "official" start of the summer, or the middle of the summer, or the end of the summer. It wasn't concocted by the greeting card, candy, floral, or jewelry industry. It's not a celebration of simply flipping the calendar or an excuse for those who can't handle their alcohol to binge drink.

It's so simple that its name says it all. It's a day to pause and reflect, put aside all the garbage that we bitch about and let bog us down all the other days of the year and just give thanks - to God, to Allah, to Buddha, to Ganesh, to random chance, to whatever - for all the good things that we do have in our lives. I know that's not something I do nearly often enough. A friend of mine is fond of saying "If everyone threw all their problems into one big pile, chances are everyone would want to take their own back". I think that's true, and I'm thankful we have this holiday to remind us of that. If that's not enough, we get to smother copious amounts of food in gravy, cap it off with pie, and nap off the tryptophan coma while watching football. It doesn't get much better than that.

So Happy Thanksgiving Fackers. We're thankful that you choose to visit this little corner of the internet and we hope that you and your families have a great holiday. I'll step down from my soap box now.