Wednesday, December 29, 2010
We Can Dream
UPDATING A POST FROM APRIL 6, 2006: In light of the Phillies spending $170 million this year on just 19 of their players (including, of course, Cliff Lee), and the Red Sox giving $300 million in new contracts to just 2 players, the old complaints about the Evil Empire look a little silly (as if there was ever any doubt about that).
The Phillies are the New Yankees - until the Red Sox became the New Yankees.
THE YANKEES were losing 7 to 6 to the Royals in their home opener, with two men on in the 8th inning. If the Yanks lost, their record would be 2 and 5, hardly the way for the Greatest Offense Of All Time to start the season.
Captain Jeter watched 21-year-old fireballer Ambiorix Burgos strike out new Yankee leadoff hitter Johnny Damon on 3 pitches, including a hard splitter and maybe a third pitch. Jeter thought Burgos might try to get ahead with a first pitch fastball, and decided to jump on it. His game winning, three-run home-run swing is pictured above.
A lot of fans (from other cities) think of the Yankees as a bunch of mercenaries playing on the best team that money can buy. Red Sox fans in particular complain about this, even though they have former free agents Manny and Papi, and 6 new starting players this year alone (the Yankees have one, center fielder Johnny Damon, unloved in Boston).
I've complained about Steinbrenner's treatment of players as interchangeable cogs myself. But we've been through the wars now with Sheff, the Giambino, A-Rod and Matsui. These are Our Guys, and we look forward to another season with them. Is anyone more a Red Sock than Big Papi, who calls Fenway "My House"?
And then there are the home-grown players Jeter, Mo, Robbie, Jorgie and Bernie, who got four standing ovations for coming back for another season. At least two of those guys are future Hall of Famers, and will have their Yankee numbers retired. Without question, the Yankee Brain Trust knew what it was doing when it gave the rookie Derek Jeter number 2 -- on the Yankees, 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 10 have all been retired, for players with names like Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, DiMaggio and Berra. Berra's number was retired twice (once for Bill Dickey, who has 7 World Series rings, compared to Berra's 11).
This year's offense should come around and take care of itself, especially as they listen more to Torre and Mattingly about the occasional virtues of Small Ball. The pitching is another question. We need three good starters from Pavano, Wang, Wright and Chacon, and we should get that. And when we get to the playoffs, as we will, all we need are three good starters. Joe has all season to work out who that will be.
With the exception of A-Rod, Robbie and Chacon, our guys aren't young. This is their year.
I was there, on a beautiful sunny day. Cristina Polyzoides asks if I had hot dogs, beer and pretzels. Yes. Of course. Also Chocolate Carvel in a Yankee batting cap cup.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
I reckoned as an infant;
when I became [an adult],
I abolished the things of the infant.
For now we see through a mirror in an enigma, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know as also I was fully known.
But now remains
faith hope and love,
but the greatest of these is love.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Who knew that what the Yankees should have done to sign Cliff Lee was to take the Lees for a ride on the subway?
Kristen Lee wanted her husband to return to the Phillies because of "how easy it is to get from point A to point B" in Philadelphia, she was quoted as saying by the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The Phillies play three miles from City Hall. The stadium is a $1.85 ride from downtown on the Broad Street Line, plus a three-block walk.
Arlington has a train from Dallas and Fort Worth. Barely.
The Trinity Railway Express skirts the north edge of Arlington and stops six miles from the stadium.
So everybody drives. And waits in traffic.
"Even in Dallas," Kristen Lee was quoted, "[from] where we were staying, it was hard to get to the ballpark."
Arlington proudly calls itself the "Center of Everything."
But that means it's also a slow drive from everywhere.
Kristen Lee's fondness for transit isn't limited to commuter rail.
She's also happy to be a 11/2-hour train ride away from road games in New York or Washington.
Who knew that what the Yankees should have done to sign Cliff Lee was to take the Lees for a ride on the subway? If the Lees had moved to the Upper East Side near 86th Street, they could have taken the 4 or 5 subway and been at the Stadium in 4 stops, which only takes 10 minutes or less. And the new IRT cars beat Philadelphia's cars hands down. (To see the route on Google maps, with street views, click here.)
Monday, December 13, 2010
I'm a Communist and I'm okay
NEW URBANISTS ARE ALL COMMUNISTS. Even worse, we're United Nationtonians, secretly promoting the evil Agenda 21. That's what Tea Partiers hear from Exxon-Mobil, which funds many efforts to promote expanded auto use.
I've been around New Urbanism since the beginning, and I've watched the birth of many New Urban ideas, including the first mention of "Smart Growth." I was even once the Co-Chair of a New Urban delegation to a Habitat conference at the UN - where they paid very little attention to New Urbanism. The primary topic of the five days was abandoned land mines in Third World countries, and the only mention of what the UN calls "physical planning" was when we introduced a motion to have a Physical Planning Committee.
The idea that we've been following Agenda 21 for the New World Order: LOL.
But it's a sign of the times that Exxon-Mobil can successfully spread that self-serving propaganda.
After the jump, two quotes from the article:
And the Florida tea partiers are just getting started. The Tampa 912 project, which often works in tandem with tea party groups, organized members over the summer to attend project briefings on another transportation plan for high-speed rail in the state. After a July meeting, the group's chairman reported back on the powwow with great skepticism. She said supporters claimed that: "the high speed rail project will conserve 1 million acres of environmental lands and cause 44% less land to be consumed. How does a train running down the middle of I-4 do all that? The answer is by 'compact development' aka 'smart growth', aka 'New Urbanism', aka 'Traditional Neighborhood Design', aka 'Transit Oriented Development', aka 'Livable Communities', aka 'Sustainable Development.' These are all names meaning the same thing: they are anti-suburban, high-density dwelling design concepts that are part of the UN's Agenda 21 and will make single family home ownership for our posterity unattainable."
In Florida, the tea partiers have had some help in such fights from Ed Braddy, the executive director of the American Dream Coalition, which opposes smart growth and other standard components of modern land-use planning. Braddy, who has dubbed cars "personal mobility machines," has become a popular speaker on the tea party circuit. A former Gainesville city commissioner, he believes the rail fight in Florida, along with the involvement of the tea partiers on sustainable development issues, is the wave of the future.
"The tea party is receptive to our argument," he says. Regardless of whether people believe that Agenda 21 is a UN plot (he doesn't), tea partiers recognize the evils of sustainable development. "It's almost an instinctive thing," he says. "People know that living in a suburban development and driving to work is not an inherently bad thing. Living in tiny cramped apartment surrounded by noises, so you can hop a bus is not intrinsically superior."
When the tea partiers bring that perspective to local government, they have the potential to make a significant impact—far more than they might have on, say, a congressional health care bill where high-paid lobbyists dominate. It’s clear that they are starting to realize that, too.
The local planning fights reveal a little-understood characteristic of the tea party movement: its inherently suburban nature. Not only does the movement's agenda derive from a hostility to what it sees as elites, but it's also hostile to the places those elites live—namely, cities and more densely populated areas—which makes sustainable development a natural issue for activists. Call them the newest pro-sprawl lobby.