Archive for September, 2015

Yogi Berra

Posted in non-de Jesus related on September 27, 2015 by wechslerh66

Yogi Berra

Writer friend Rob from Iowa remembers:

Funny how the mind works. I was around twelve, late 1950’s, on the third base side middle deck Yankee Stadium, kind of bored I guess watching a ho hum game, lets say Yanks behind 4-1 in the 8th. There was a guy sitting behind me who, sensing my discontent, leaned over, poked me and said something like, “Eyes front, Yogi’s due for one.”

And sure enough after a pitch or two Berra squared into one, a towering fly down the right field line. We had awesome line of flight. The crowd roared and rose to its feet. It landed upper deck foul by the slimmest of margins. Huge groan in the Bronx.

I never forgot that moment.

My response:

I was in Cooperstown once, the Friday of Induction Weekend in 2006. I went not because it was Induction Weekend (I may not have known) but because my Dodger-obsessed friend from LA was in town and she had never been either. We made a day trip out of it, which, Cooperstown isn’t really a day trip from Philadelphia, but I was taking Adderall at the time, so it was a quicker drive than it probably should have been.

Anyway, we saw Yogi Berra sitting and signing autographs at a small foldout stand in front of a store on Main Street (which is actually called Main Street, because it’s America).

Embarrassing fact #1: I thought it was Phil Rizzuto at first. I only figured out it was Yogi Berra (only after walking away, I think–we didn’t get any autographs because everything started at $20 or so, which was more than the museum, if I remember correctly) because I realized Phil Rizzuto was dead.

Embarrassing fact #2: Phil Rizzuto wasn’t dead (in summer of 2006– he died the following year).

But I’m pretty sure it was Yogi Berra.

Your story’s better.

I wrote Dodger-obsessed friend Carol separately about our Berra sighting. Her response:

We did? I don’t remember.

RIP, Yogi Berra.

Photo courtesy of


Cubs 5, Phillies 1

Posted in 2015 Phillies on September 12, 2015 by wechslerh66

Cubs 000

Cubs 008

Cubs 017

Cubs 159

Box score

More photos

Opposing team jerseys in the stands: SANDBERG 23, GARCIAPARRA 5, CASTRO 13, RIZZO 44, SANTO 10, BRYANT 17, SORIANO 12, LEE 25, RAMIREZ 16, FUKUDOME 1, SOTO 18, BANKS 14, SOLER 68, DeROSA 7, HERRERA 19 (him), PINIELLA 41, GRACE 17, WOOD 34, SZCZUR 41 (a relative?–he’s from Cape May and went to Villanova), MADDON 70 (I originally thought this was a Maddux jersey, and I saw it twice plus a shirsey), FONTENOT 17, ZAMBRANO 38, RUSSELL 22

Fake opposing team jerseys in the stands: ENGLE 20, CUFFTOWER, COINER (not as I initially thought a Ron Coomer jersey–he was a Cub in 2001), HEATER 19

Other opposing team jerseys in the stands: ARRIETA 34 (an Orioles shirsey so it counts here), PEREZ 13 (Kansas City Royals red and black All-Star jersey), KOUFAX 32 (Dodgers shirsey), TROUT 27 (Angels jersey)

Other opposing team shirsey, wrong sport: KREJCI 46 (Boston Bruins)

Also, two women in Cubs RIZZO jerseys (see photo) cut down an aisle mid-inning during the top of the 5th (when the Cubs scored two runs) without showing the usher their tickets.

Usher (loudly): “I guess they don’t wait in Chicago!”

Me: “Either that or they’ve been waiting over 100 years in Chicago.”

Usher: “Ain’t that the truth!! You got that right.”

On Dellin Betances and WAR

Posted in post-de Jesus era with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2015 by wechslerh66

According to Brian McCann, he’s not the Yankees’ 2015 MVP despite 25 home runs (387 at-bats) nor is 40-year old ARod (28 HR in 444 AB) nor is Mark Teixeira (31 HR in 392 AB). It’s relief pitcher Dellin Betances (a 1.40 ERA and 13.9 K/9 but only 70.2 innings).

Surprisingly, he’s not wrong (maybe).

2015 New York Yankees by WAR
Teixeira 3.9
Gardner 3.3
Betances 3.3
McCann 3.0
ARod 2.9
Didi Gregorius 2.7

Joe Posnanski recently argued that despite its detractors, WAR has “changed the landscape” to the extent that the utterly ridiculous MVP has disappeared.

[R]ealistically, I just don’t see how anyone who isn’t at least near the top of the WAR chart can build enough of a consensus to win the MVP award these days. I just don’t think it’s possible now…I don’t think WAR is necessarily is picking more winners, but I do think it is eliminating more contenders. I think it’s narrowing the field. I just don’t think quirky and emotional choices like Willie Stargell will be winning MVP awards now. You can either celebrate or bemoan this, but I think it’s the new reality.

But I think there’s a corollary to this, and that’s how WAR can make what might appear utterly ridiculous (or maybe it wouldn’t; I don’t watch the Yankees regularly so maybe it’s obvious that Betances is a realistic MVP candidate for the team) plausible. Betances isn’t an AL MVP candidate (Donaldson and Trout, or Trout and Donaldson if you prefer–with all due respect to Dallas Keuchel and Kevin Kiermaier and Lorenzo Cain) and he isn’t even necessarily the Yankees MVP (.6 WAR difference isn’t trivial, and 70.2 innings vs. 462 plate appearances isn’t trivial either). But it’s not ridiculous.