September 2009

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Timeline to live by

May 12, 2009 – Yankees lose 5-1 to the first place Blue Jays – drop to 15 – 17 and 6.5 games out of first place.

May 21 – Yankees win their ninth straight game, 1.5 games out of first

May 29 – Yankees beat Indians 3-1 in Cleveland, take over first place by .5 game

June 11 – Yankees lose their eighth straight to the Red Sox, 2.5 games back

June 17-23 – Yankees go 1-5 and get shut out in the first game in Atlanta – five games back

June 24 – July 9 – Brian Cashman visits Atlanta and Yankees win 13 of next 15

July 10-12 – Yankees swept by Angels, three games back

July 17-27 – Yankees win 10 of 11, in first place by 2.5 games

July 28 – August 1 – Yankees lose four of five and their lead drops to five games over Boston

August 2-15 – Yankees win 12 of 13 including a four-game sweep of the Red Sox, 6.5 up

August 28 – September 9 – Yankees win 12 of 14 increase their lead to nine games

September 11-21 – Yankees lose 6 of 10 – lead down to five games

September 22-27 – Yankees win five straight – including another sweep of Boston, AL East Champs

Do me a favor, take this timeline and live by it. It perfectly illustrates the highs and lows of a very long baseball season. A little over six months to be exact. Time and time again this season, people on Twitter, people in the blogosphere, and people calling into radio shows, acted as if the sky was falling. These people hang on every pitch, of every inning, of every game, like it was the last pitch of the season. I give them all the credit in the world for being the kind of fan they are, but please whenever you doubt a Yankees team go back to this timeline and remember the end result. Print it out. Put it on your bulletin board, your fridge, your computer monitor, or your favorite Yankees poster. Let it be a nice little friendly reminder from yours truly, “The Lighthouse of Hope.”

Is winning the division nice? Of course it is. Is winning the division after dropping eight in a row, then winning 9 of 10 against the Red Sox, including the clincher at home nice? Absolutely! However, there is still some work to be done boys and girls. The Yankees haven’t been to an ALCS since 2004 and we all know what happened in that series. Joe Girardi established three goals in Spring Training: Make the playoffs. Win the AL East. Win the World Series. Two down, one to go.

The talk of the previous couple of weeks was of the Yankees magic number. In case you’re wondering, one still remains and it resides squarely on Girardi’s back – 27.

By the way, be the lookout Friday for an Off the Wall chat session here on with yours truly. See you then!

All gave some, some gave all

groundzero_300_091009.jpgNo matter how many years pass, I will never forget the morning of September 11, 2001. It started out as a normal day for me. I switched shifts with my buddy at MSNBC and instead of working the 8-4 shift, I took the early morning 6-2 shift. I drove in that day from Hoboken and it didn’t matter where I was driving to or from, when I saw that skyline I knew I was home. I saw it countless amounts of times, but every time I was near it, I had to look. It was awe inspiring. Almost got into countless amounts of accidents while looking at it.

Work started out as it usually did, trying to do the impossible. My producers wanted me to put together a Michael Jordan feature because he was coming out of retirement one more time. You’re thinking to yourselves, great project to work on, right? Yeah well, try doing it without a budget. My instructions were to use the internet to get my images, still scrolls of web pages, because video was too costly. After arguing my case for video to no avail, I went and started rolling on Web sites in the IMUS control room.

About 10 minutes later, our day, our world, and life as we know it, would change forever.

While I was cursing my producers for making me do a cheap piece on the greatest athlete of all time, the executive producer of the IMUS show at the time, a great guy named Tom Bowman, bellowed two words I will never forget as long as I live. “Holy ****!” Now Tom is a reserved guy, never heard him swear until that day, so I knew something had to be really wrong. I looked up at our monitor wall and saw the shot of the first tower with the smoking hole.

Instantly, I sprang to my feet and started running down our hall of edit rooms telling everyone to stop what they were doing. I got into the tape room, started rolling on Chopper 4, and tried to assess what was going on with my fellow co-workers. At that time we thought maybe pilot error. The last thing we were thinking was terrorism until a bit later. I was watching Chopper 4 like a hawk and at one point it was in between both towers and you can see over the water and I saw the second plane coming. I saw it hit the second tower live. No one in the control room believed me. They thought it was a bomb, until I took the feed out and scrolled it back and forth to show them. Now we knew we were under attack.

The rest of the day is a blur. I finally left the building at 8 p.m. and settled into the Sheraton right off the Meadowlands Parkway. The New Jersey Turnpike was closed, so was Route 17 and Route 3. There were blue and red flashing lights as far as you could see. I checked into my room, went downstairs to the bar, listened to President George W. Bush speak and that’s when my phone went off. My mom called me to tell me one of my friends from high school, Chris Dincuff, was in the first tower and no one had heard from him.

Chris died that day. He was just one of almost 3,000 people to perish on a day that was hell on earth, and it’s impact still reverberates today.

Never forget September 11, 2001. Never forget the brave firefighters and police officers that were running up those stairs when terrified employees were running down. Never forget the countless amounts of people from all over the country who pitched in to help in the rescue attempts after the towers crumbled to the ground. And also never forget how the world of sports deflected our attention from the atrocities that took place on that day eight years ago. Today is a day for remembrance. Today is a day for mourning. Today, and every year on this day, is a time that we should all never forget. The day all gave some and some gave all.

Never forget.

History is still the future

I went to the Rays-Yankees game last night hoping Derek Jeter would go 4-for-5 and break Lou Gehrig’s all-time franchise hit record. After he struck out his first three times at the plate, I knew the chances of anything happening were slim and none, and slim just went on vacation.

Such is life. I did see David Wells perfect game in person, so I have that going for me, which is nice. It’s not like receiving total consciousness on my deathbed, but still, nice.

Anyway, as the players kept coming up and I kept hearing their musical selections, it got me to thinking. What song would I come up to if I was a Major League player? I thought for a second and then it hit me:

Ah, AB Logic’s Hitman. It may be a little brash, or egotistical, like I am going to get a hit everytime I go to the plate, but isn’t that the idea?

Now I want to know what song you would come out to if you were striding to the plate at Yankee Stadium. I will mention the best responses in the “Off the Wall” podcast tomorrow!