Friday, October 30, 2009

I Hate...and I'm Kinda Worried About...


Verizon Wireless. It only took these people a few years to totally eradicate two special places of my past. Anyone who went to St. John’s University knows that “the” bar was Gantry’s. A corner bar full of St. John’s sports memorabilia that was full of students even on Wednesday nights. Having done my undergrad work in the city, I had a bunch of restaurants and sushi places that I would frequent, but never an actual campus bar like most colleges in smaller college towns had. When I was in Law school I was the youngest student in my class, so I had never drank enough outside of my own family to have an actual bar that I was a regular in…until Gantry’s of course. I had my first cigar there. So many debates late into the night about who had the best slam dunk during a game in the history of the NBA. Could Muhammad Ali have beaten Mike Tyson? (Hell fucking yes) DiMaggio or Mantle? (DiMaggio of course, but Willie Mays was a better player than both of them) This was of course, all being played out in the early evening, as after 10 pm the undergrads turned it into Disney Party USA. But a good time was still managed to be had by all. After graduating, I have to admit that even I didn’t pass by the old place much. How could I? I was so busy with the life I had worked so hard for, the life I thought I really wanted. Besides, that place doesn’t need me, it gets a whole new class every year to hold its debates in one of those wooden booths. You can imagine my shock, horror and disappointment when driving up Utopia the other day I saw that corner bar replaced by a corner Verizon Wireless store. WTF??? How can you possibly erase a St. John’s institution with a Verizon Wireless store? The day of my last final…well you know what? I’m not ready to share that memory yet, but fuck, you gotta be kidding me. How worse can this get? How many generations of St. John’s students will never have seen that place? Well this is as bad as it’s going to get. Usually when you say that, something worse tends to happen…

When you are a child, one of the first ways you learn to find your way home is through landmarks. My first babysitter lived on a street just across a high traffic boulevard. On the corner of my street, that boulevard had a candy store with an old round Coca-Cola sign on top of the door; the type of sign that you probably would only be able to find in a junkyard now; a candy store that let you look at video game magazines, and always had plenty those Swedish fish candies in stock. In all my years of traveling and being away from home for extended periods of time (In the Army, not prison) I could always count on that old landmark leading me home. You can imagine my shock, horror and disappointment when driving to a turn on that very boulevard I saw that corner candy store replaced by a corner Verizon Wireless store. Ok is this personal? Why is this place and its corporate vultures sucking the life out of places that mean so much to the neighborhoods they are in? Have they run out of streets in Manhattan to dominate? This fungus is spreading faster than Starbucks.
Seriously, fuck these people and their greed and…Oh wait, I have to stop writing, Verizon just sent me an email giving me 3 free phones because I have been a valued customer for over a decade…sorry, gotta go!

How the NFL lists its Super Bowl champions one year behind. Explain that logic to me. How is it that the Pittsburg Steelers are the 2008 Super Bowl Champions when that game was played in February of 2009? Why confuse people? And worse, why ruin the symmetry of how I rate my years in sports? Let me explain that. See, 1996 was a great year for me for so many reasons. One of them being that two of my favorite teams won championships that year. The Yankees won the World Series and the Dallas Cowboys won the Super Bowl. So why the hell are the Cowboys considered champions of 1995? They didn’t win the Super Bowl in that year! Get it? Why must they destroy the memory of my year with such poisonous inaccuracy? The NBA gets it right, they add both years in which the season was played to their championship banners. For example, the LA Lakers are the 2008-2009 season champions, but when asked when they won the title, they don’t say 2008 they say 2009.


The Yankees. In the afore mentioned year of 1996, the Yankees, the greatest sports franchise in the history of the world, did lose the first two games at home and did come back to win that World Series in six games ( I know cuz I was there). This year, the bats were asleep in game one. Game two came down to good pitching once again, odd for the 1st and 2nd place offensive teams in baseball this year. The Yankee bats need to wake up in a hurry. Speaking of game two, that was one sick performance by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys.

My Generation. When a group of adults in their late 20’s/ early 30’s are watching Youtube videos of handicapped people falling, drunks taking 10 minutes to get off a convenience store floor while trying to open a refrigerator, Redneck morons dipping tobacco while shouting racial slurs in an indoor lawn chair, Indians electrocuted to death by a train wire, and PSAs where a house blows up because it was a meth lab, it really is time to re-examine this generation’s priorities.


  1. - What has happened to your old college watering hole is so common and prevalent these days that, sadly, I'm too tired to bitch about it and just shrug it off. (Although it took me a couple of years to go down to the intersection of Bleeker and Bowery and witness firsthand what it is now. And btw, have you seen NYU's handiwork around the Village?)

    DiMaggio or Mantle? The Mick, always! Baseball's first true rock star was no.7, man.

    - Not a football fan and know little or nothing about the sport, but I'm assuming the season is played during a particular calendar year and only the Super Bowl takes place in Feb. of the following one. (Don't the Oscars operate under the same principle?) So, I guess the reasoning is the Cowboys are the champions of the '95 season. (I know it's not the same but people will always refer to the post-season as October baseball, even though a good chunk of the World Series unfolds in November.) As for NBA basketball, doesn't their season actually overlap from October of one year to April of the next? In that case it makes sense to use the latter year as the designated one.

    - Fans may enjoy a pitching duel but it's the offense that puts people in the seats. (Which is why power pitchers can turn to finesse and still be well-regarded, but no one wants to see Jr. become Ichiro.) Especially w/these 2 teams. So, after 2 WS games of (mostly) great pitching, the natives got restless and were rewarded with some fire power in Game 3. Pretty cool.

    Worry not, my friend; the Bombers will be fine. But here's something I need to get off my chest:

    If one of those "arrogant, entitled" Yankees had been making predictions like Jimmy Rollins did, the haters--beginning w/ESPN--would have a field day.

  2. PS: I don't know how the Yankee powers that be let Jay-Z perform a song with this lyric:

    "I made the Yankee hat more famous then a Yankee can"

  3. Jay-Z & Alicia was hot. I got T Mobile so I dont know but I guess it sucks if you went to saint Johns and that place is gone.

    THe Yankees are gonna do it in 6 games thats truth.

    The Giants are in trouble and so are the Jets they both lost

  4. To say Mantle was better than DiMaggio is not total lunacy, just misinformed. Even without knowing that DiMaggio had a considerably better average, more RBIs (and Mantle was a homerun hitter), and more runs scored in a career whose four prime years were lost to World War II, all you have to do is watch film of both of them playing center field and compare. Not that Mantle wasn't great, and might have been better than he was if not for an injury to his knee that he got, ironically enough, when DiMaggio called him off a ball and he tripped on a drain pipe, he was never better than DiMaggio. As for fame, when Hemmingway mentions him in a book, Paul Simon mentions him in a song, he gets arrested with Frank Sinatra, or marries Marylin Monroe, then you can say Mantle was more of a "rock star."

    As for the NFL, the playoffs and Super Bowl are played in the first few weeks of the new year, so that is enough of the season to warrant the champion being called the champion of the year in which the actual game was played.

    Jay-Z was still great and I think that the Yankee powers that be were too busy staring at Alicia Keys' big ass to notice the lyric.

    I predicted the Yanks in 6 too, but they may close it out tonight if AJ Burnett pitches like he did in game 2.

    And yes, both NY football teams are in trouble, and they started out so well too.

  5. - Misinformed? You've got to be kidding me.

    I stated a preference for Mantle. If you re-read your own post you'll see it vaguely says "DiMaggio or Mantle?" leaving it open to interpretation of either talent, merit, or preference. (And yes, the Say Hey Kid was better than both of 'em.)

    DiMaggio was immortalized in other mediums, yes. BUT, Simon is on the record stating that he chose DiMaggio over Mantle for "Mrs. Robinson" only because of the former being a better lyrical fit, not for any other reason. Also, DiMaggio was a cuckold and frequently made a fool of by Monroe, warranting a talking to by Rat Packers Sinatra and Dino, who asked her to not make him look even worse than he did. That's not a "rock star".

    Furthermore, Mantle and his crew partied like rock stars every night of the week and owned this town, to the point that their shenanigans got Billy Martin traded after the Copacabana incident.

    And finally, Joe D was a prick, who was highly respected but never beloved. At least not even close to the way Mantle was. (The Mick isn't remembered as "A Great Teammate" for nothing.)

    From Bob Costas' eulogy:

    "[He was] a fragile hero to whom we had an emotional attachment so strong and lasting that it defied logic....In the last year of his life, Mickey Mantle, always so hard on himself, finally came to accept and appreciate the distinction between a role model and a hero. The first, he often was not. The second, he always will be."

    Of course, you KNOW all of this, so...

    Suffice to say, no.7 is my favorite all-time Yankee.

  6. DiMaggio was still a better player. That's what the debate was about. That's why when I mentioned Mays I said "better player" than both of them. Didn't need to re-read that.

    I have no idea what Marylin Monroe did, or who spoke to whom about what, but I do know he was arrested for the "wrong door" raid, still wild regardless of the reason. Paul Simon could have used anyone else that lyrically fit but chose DiMaggio, and once again...HEMMINGWAY!!!

    The Copa incident was not enough to make anyone a rock star. If getting into a fight at a club makes you a rock star I would be Keith Richards by now.

  7. OK, I'm not gonna dwell on the topic after this, so here goes:

    - You didn't make it clear in your post what the comparison was about. What it was in your head or whatever the discussion was for those who were is not enough. And your addition of Mays does not really clarify things.

    - Again, Simon used Joe D's name for lyrical flow; ie, he was a prop. So, basically what you have is just Hemingway.

    - The Copa incident was an EXAMPLE of what went down w/those guys on a regular basis. As someone who is well versed in the history of the Yankees and its players, you know this. So, why blow it off just to make a point?

  8. Didn't blow it off, just don't think it's the only criteria for Rock star status.

    As for the comparison, when you mention two names it certainly can be inferred that you are asking who is better. If not, then the statement "BETTER than both of them" at the end might be a clue.

    Lyrical flow or not, once again, he did use it. I can pick ten other names that would have flown just as well.