Wednesday, May 27, 2009

(New) Yankee Stadium Review

Back home over the long weekend I took a few hours to check out the Big Ballyard in The Bronx 2.0.  They say you never get a chance to make a first impression, but in this situation, I think you do.  The first time I saw the ballpark was back in September after the final game at the old Yankee Stadium.  I got a pretty sweet tour thanks to by boy Alex and his pop, but it was incomplete and didn't have any grass or many seats installed, so it was tough to imagine what the final product would look like.  This second time around, the homer haven is obviously a completed product (at least until they make some adjustments to take out the home run derby effect this winter) and wows any fan from the get-go.  The short walk from the day-old 153rd/Yankee Stadium train station up to the park was a daunting one.  I felt like I was in ancient Rome or Greece and about to walk into a coliseum or a castle.  In fact, once we got in, I was disappointed there wasn't a lion's den or a throne where King Bloomberg could decide if the losing warrior lived or died with the flip of a thumb.  

After getting over the size of the facility, we spent a few (too many) minutes in line waiting to get into the Great Hall.  Everyone - at least those of us with sub $1,250 tickets - had to remove everything from our pockets and lift our hands up to make sure we didn't have anything that could explode on us(?).  Jim Caple has a nice take on the overdone security measures.  I heard from one of the local papers that you could bring bottled water to the game, but I saw two guys get their Poland Springs taken and tossed before they got their tickets scanned.

Getting into the ballpark was equally as incredible as seeing it outside.  The size of everything in there was like out of a movie - the jumbotron, the width of the hallways, the team shops, the seats themselves, it's all supersized.  The number of concessions stands has at least been tripled and if you told me the menu has as well, I wouldn't be surprised.  Jones and I had garlic fries with our dogs that I would have been happy with coming from a steakhouse for twice the price.  Normally, I'm more of a purist, sticking to beers and dogs, when I'm watching a game (or nine of each), but the novelty of getting something so nontraditional piqued my interest.  The dogs tasted the same, so did the $10 beers but there was a host of other menu choices that I plan on taking a bite of next time I get down there.

OK, on to the real reason we went there, to watch a game.  The matchup was among the best of the year for the Yanks, hosting the 2008 World Champion Phillies.  It was the rubber game of the series after the Bombers picked up a(nother) walk-off win the afternoon earlier, so the atmosphere should be hot.  I felt a little odd early on as quiet as it was, and I was in left field, not in between the bases in the corporate seats.  Things started to pick up as the game progressed but the fans around me were highly annoying.  

In front of us was a family of four- mom was a cutie, kids both had Jeter jerseys on and the dad threw me for a loop.  Our first encounter with poppa bear was when he snapped at an usher who was sitting in his seat, letting some other fans pass by, so we figured he was a jerk.  A couple innings later he flips it on us and makes me feel bad for him as the boys are knocked out and his lady asks how many innings there are in a game.  If I'm paying what those seats cost and my wife asks me an egregious question like that and my two kids are passed out, it's triple homicide time in my house.  Behind us was a guy in his 60s with his son and two tween grandkids.  They were fine for the first seven or eight innings, but when it was time for the crowd to rally and we stood to our feet he tapped my friend on the shoulder and told us to sit down so he could see.  COME ON!  The guys to our left weren't too bad aside from the fact one of them was into his 30s and had on a personalized jersey tee.  Grow up brah (I still gave him a high five when Melky tied it up in the bottom 9).  

The padded, wider seats are a huge advantage over the hard plastic seats of yesteryear, but let's just say they don't breathe well when its hot outside, which can get uncomfortable.  I thought the guys in the AV room could do a little better with their replay game, which is virtually nonexistent.  The change/upgrade that impressed me the most was one that many new stadiums have made over the last decade.  Virtually anywhere on the field level (centerfield, behind the batters eye obviously excluded), you can see the game.  No skinny vomitories to walk out of as you leave your seats as you feel the need to relieve or refresh yourself.  You can stand in line to get some grub and be watching the game live the entire time.  If the concourse traffic is heavy, don't worry, there are at least four HDTVs withing spitting distance.

All in all it doesn't come close to the old Stadium because for all the amenities added, the history could not be replaced.  If I check my nostalgia at the door, it's clearly a significant upgrade from the old park.  Much easier to get to and get around in - it's the getting IN part that has suffered.  The new Metro North stop a five minute walk from the park changes everything for suburbians like me.  No longer do we have to drive and pay upwards of $40 to park or take the train to Grand Central and then take the subway to 161 and River.  It is a breeze driving to a local station and hopping on the train, BSing for 25-30 minutes and being at the park.

Here is my grade for Yankee Stadium part deux: A- (very upset after $1.5 B, that I had to flush my own toilet and pull my own paper towels out to dry my hands, the library has automatic flushes, get with it).

I'll let you know what I think of The Jake after the other Meatball (contrary to reports, he is still alive) and I take a visit to Cleveland for the Pinstripes vs. the Tribe this weekend.

Commercial of the week: Jetta meets Prius.  Jetta wins.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Yankee Stadium Review (coming tomorrow)

I was planning on doing a review/grading of the new Yankee Stadium tonight, but then I got convinced to go to a bar and watch the Cavs game.  We actually only were able to watch the first half since some bars in Hilliard apparently have last call at 9:45 p.m.  Really?

Anyway, here is what I had before I got to the bar for the game and the Yankee Stadium report will come out tomorrow.  STAY TUNED!

Hey kids, out to play in the park or head to the beach, but have no pockets?  Get a Cap Sac.  It's a fanny pack IN YOUR HAT.  What will they think of next?

TFLN of the Week: (973): Some broad at the bar just asked me how much money I make. I don't know whats worse, the question or the answer.
Word of the Week: cumbersome,I made the mistake of calling a cumberbund a cumbersome at Nana's house on Sunday.
Babygame of the week: Since she is preggers and will put on a few over the next several months, let's honor Adriana Lima today as the BGOTW


Thursday, May 21, 2009


Hey fans, the Meatballs are honored to have a guest blogger tonight.  Without further ado,  The Lube Tube and his thoughts on the Denver Nuggets:

Coming into the Western conference finals, I still wasn’t sure what to make of the season that Denver was/is having. Better said, I just didn’t see it coming. I’ve followed Denver for the better part of four years now, all thanks to a friend that was totally in love (as far as love goes between a man and a sports figure) with Carmelo during his Syracuse time. What’s worse is that Denver, the team people made fun of pretty much every year that I’ve followed for their lack of post-season success, is the only team of mine that’s relevant. I’m a Bengals fan, a Reds fan, and I don’t follow hockey or soccer. (No man should follow soccer if he lives in the States. If you’re from Europe, that’s fine, but come on America, you’re rooting for a sport that in our country was the first to give away trophies for just participating. That’s like trying to call karate a sport. Ask my friends, if you follow soccer, I like you less.) First round exits are what I would get excited about. So much like Carmelo and most of the other Nuggets, this is new for me too.


If you follow the NBA, which many of you don’t, you’ve heard tons of stories about Carmelo becoming a better player, about the impact of Chauncey bringing balance, and the “maturation” of JR Smith, and the energy of Chris “Birdman” Anderson. Since so many have written/spoken/blogged about that. I’ll try to delve deeper.


JR Smith is not mature. He will never be mature. That’s like saying that girls all around the country won’t drag their boyfriends/husbands/dads to the next Twilight movie. Poor bastards. He still shoots 3’s that make me wince and I feel like he doesn’t know what stage he’s playing on. And I’m totally fine with it. He’s too talented and makes too many 3’s for me to make him do anything different. The last thing you want to do is change his style of play, because in the end, that’s what sets him apart. He’s going to take bad shots at the wrong times, and yet, there’s still a good chance they go in. If Gasol is the factor for the Lakers to win the conference finals, then Smith is the Nuggets’ answer.


Birdman. Did you know that he has a tattoo of Mario eating a mushroom? Did you know below it, that there’s a tattoo of Mario stoned out of his mind? How is that NOT someone you want on your team? Say what you want about the energy he brings off the bench, or the shot blocking ability, but sober, Birdman is too much fun to be around. His hair style alone (one of them, titled the “Rooster Tail”, an amazing frohawk) makes my HD worth every penny.

(editor's note: here is a video of the Birdman discussing his tattoos.  Wow, they even have their own twitter page)


Chauncey has had so much written about him, and it’s all well deserved. He came to a city with dysfunctional players, made them a team, and knows exactly when he needs to inject his offense into the game. He’s everything you want in a point guard. Let’s just hope his future coaching career (which is inevitable, right?) doesn’t go the way of Isaiah.


Last, we have the most important piece: Carmelo. Game 1 of the Lakers series already happened, and if you were lucky enough to watch, it was a great game. The best player on the court wasn’t Kobe, or Pau, or Chauncey. It was Anthony. There was just something about his game that night that was smooth, even for his standards. There was only one shot that I didn’t like, and when you put up 39 points, I’ll live with that. It wasn’t just this game though that has impressed me with Anthony. It isn’t that he didn’t care until now. Rather, I think he knew he just needed to save everything for this time of year. I noticed early in the year he was working on getting his touch back, so he was taking an alarming amount of jumpers. In shootarounds, he worked from three or four spots from the 3-point line and wouldn’t shoot from there for most of the game. To be honest, I didn’t know what the hell he was doing for the first 50 games. I chalked it up to his injury; stating, hoping, praying that he was just shaking off the rust and getting his legs back after the Olympics. I didn’t realize that he was quietly improving his game, bit by bit, until March. With about 20 games left in the season, I noticed he started driving to the basket more. He was working on his finishes around the basket. He reduced his number of jab-step jumpers that he would take from 18 feet away. I got giddy. I told friends that he was going to make a splash in the playoffs. He realized that no one can guard him. He’s too big, he’s too fast with his first step, and quietly, he’s too good of a 3-point shooter to leave open. 

When they came into the league Lebron was Sonny, D-Wade was Michael, and Melo was Fredo. Even during the Olympics, they rode him, giving him a hard time during the practices about his playoff exits. Did you happen to catch Kobe’s faces as he was guarding Carmelo in the post in Game 1? No smiles. Why? He was getting beat up. Carmelo wanted it, and when he had the ball, he could basically do no wrong. Even though they lost, you have to like that fire he showed in game 1. Does that fire carry them to the NBA finals? I have no idea, but you better believe I’m hoping and praying it does. That’s a nice change.


-The Lube Tube

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Back to full strength (almost)

Put some pants on sir.

A-Rod Says Peace to Kabbalah
How about A-Rod getting that free upgrade after two years.  He dropped the 67-year old Madonna for a 30-year old (and wayyyyyy hotter) Kate Hudson.  Maybe he can make all better life decisions from here on out - like not kissing himself in a mirror, or hanging out with his sketchball cousin.  I can dream, can't I?

Hot Women Do Not Make Good Decisions
Marissa Miller is married to this guy?  Speaking of hotties, Jessica Biel complained this week about being so hot.  She claims she doesn't get roles because she looks so 'modern' (whatever that means.  What did she do to try and be taken seriously as an actress and let  her skills rise above her looks?  Oh you know, took the lead role in a movie about a stripper.  These Hollywood people are so dumb.

News, I'm Gonna Start Watching it, Sort of
I don't watch the news, at all.  I rarely read the front page of the Dispatch or any other paper, so it normally takes me a while to find out about something.  Really unless a story impacts sports or is funny enough to show up on Best Week Ever or Yahoo headlines, I probably don't even know it happened.  My parents have been telling me for a while I need to watch the news, but I can never get motivated to do it.  I have been curious the past few weeks as to why gas has gone up a Curtis Jackson, so I thought the news might help me find out why.  Per the other Meatball's suggestion, I'm going to TRY to check out headlines on once a day.  Today I learned that a rapper I've never heard of (Dolla) was shot in California yesterday and that CNN doesn't do a good job of editing (it's probably been corrected by the time you click on it, but the headline neglected to put a C in California).  All these stories about Cali, what happened to East Coast Bias?

Mine That Bird Update
My boy impressed me again last week at the Preakness.  The horse in slot 1, Big Drama, earned his name by jumping around pre-race to the point where he bucked off the lilliputian riding him (you can see that at the 14-second mark of this video).  MTB was in the 2-hole, as cool as playoff baseball weather, a picture of tranquility as chaos erupted to his left.  He pulled the same move he did two weeks prior, getting pinched early and falling behind the pack.  This time around, however, the announcers noticed him, which may have led to his downfall as it was expected he would make a rally this time around.  

At the 2:21 mark of the video (1:11 into the race) he starts to do work and attempts a similar run to the one he made at Churchill Downs.  Unfortunately for him (and me), he just couldn't get to the inside and overtake the Filly, Rachael Alexandra.  By not being as far back as he was in the Derby, he didn't have his pick of what line to take approaching the leader and had to come outside.  Due to the extra work he put in gaining ground, he was only able to sniff the Filly's tail at the finish line.  

I swear on all of my reader's lives that if that race was another 20 feet, MTB would be heading to New York in search of the Triple Crown.  Not including the bets they placed on him, MTB has made his owners $1.8 million after being purchased for the measly sum of $9,500.  

Another reason I love this horse, he accomplished one of my lifetime goals: getting his own wikipedia page.  And he's only 3 years old, I'm 24, and what have I got to show?

Link of the week: Helen Keller Simulator.  Sort of in bad taste, but I mean she died like 60 years ago, so I think the statute of limitations applies.
Text From Last Night of the week(732): my mkouth tastes houw teh zoo smelllls
Word of the week: Rumba, meaning a group of rattlesnakes.  Here's more funny names of animal groupings.  My faves are Warren of Rabbits, Ostentation of Peacocks, Wisdom of Wombats, and Mob of Emus.
Baby game of the week: Hayden Panettiere (she's 20, it's cool)
Baby game of the week 2:  Kelly Brook looking wonderful.  I still have no idea who she is.
New Cut of the week: Kinda Like a Big Deal - Clipse ft. Kanye West


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Handicapped Meatball

Hurting my blog game severely

Now is the time for Pelle to be the Matt Cassell to my Tom Brady (you better believe I just compared myself to #12) because with my hand wrapped up I'm back to hunting and pecking like a 3rd grader.  This sentence is literally taking me five minutes to type and I'm a better hunter and pecker than the child of Daniel Boone and Pamela Anderson would be.  I need Mikey to step in my shoes for the next couple of weeks before I can blog ,y face off again.

Speaking of Tom Brady, 5-0 searched him almost a thousand times last year.  I can't blame them, I mean the The Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information system is like a more advanced facebook with more crucial info.  What do you think they'd see if my facebook history was exposed?  Probably something like this: ex, guy I went to HS with, cute girl I had class with five years ago, friend, hot friend of one of my friends who I met once, old roommate I haven't talked to since get the point.  Who knows the scope of people I'd look up if I had that kind of search engine!?

In other Boston sports heroes news, Man-Ram got pinched.  I am completely unfazed by this announcement.  Sad for baseball, but happy that it should silence some Sawx fans from chirping at A-Rod this summer, since the man that broke the curse was juiced as well.  At this point, if Jetes failed a test, or Ripken admitted using, or we saw a BALCO receipt with Craig Biggio's name on it, I won't be surprised at all.  Disappointed immensely, but not surprised at all, which is a depressing thing to say.

Courtesy of the McMeatball, Slevy, you can bet on LeBron's 2010 destination at Sportsbook.  Current lines are as follows:
Cleveland +150
New York +170
New Jersey + 350
Detroit + 550

There is no chance he goes to Motown.  It might be a ghost town by 2010 if I'm honest.  OK, hand is hurting, no more typing,  it's about to be Vicodin and The Office time!

Babygame of the week: Minka Kelly (be sure to click through the whole gallery)
A link for my friends who hate their jobs.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

What I Learned from the 135th Kentucky Derby

Mine That Bird winning daddy some money.

Yesterday's Kentucky Derby was amazing for many reasons.  First of all the party I was at had many women in sundresses/funny hats, which is sort of what I think heaven will be like.  Beyond that, the excitement of the big upset was why we all love sports and me winning some money for picking the winner (don't be impressed, I just pulled his name out of a hat) is also fairly exciting.  On a deeper level, this horse taught me a lot about life and created a great metaphor for what can be an everyday struggle to fulfill your destiny and live the dream.  Let's break it down step by step and I'll discuss what I learned from this inspirational, beautiful animal.

Pre-Race: Mine That Bird is in the 8-slot, at 51-1 odds, just about as long a shot as any of the other 19 horses.  For those of you I didn't see this weekend, I decided to trim my facial hair into a handlebar mustache for the weekend for kicks and gigs.  It looked terrible, but it also provided me with a link to my horse before the bell rang.  Mine that Bird's trainer Chip Woolley was also sporting a handlebar and I felt a winning connection with him as soon as they showed him hobbling around on crutches before the race.  No matter the odds in your life, you have to be confident in yourself

2 seconds: Right out of the gate, MTB gets squeezed by Papa Clem (7) and early leader Join in the Dance (9).  You might have had a tough early life, but there isn't anything that you can't overcome if you have determination, heart and a strong will.  Millions of people get squeezed right out of the gate, babies are born to ill-equipped parents, with diseases, with thousands of other problems that they can't help.  I always tell my friends that people are products of their environment and I believe that, but don't let your environment dictate what you become.  

51 seconds: "Well behind the rest of them is Mine That Bird."  MTB doesn't get a mention until the race is close to halfway over and it's more of an obligation than it is an excited proclamation.  In rare instances, you may find yourself the leader from wire to wire, but more often than not, our mettle is tested by having to fight for what we want.  I was a Speech Comm major, so I know all about how tone and body language are the key to discovering what a person is really saying.  I couldn't see what the announcer's posture was projecting at this point, but his dull tone said all you needed to know: that MTB was done.

1 minute, 12 seconds: After 3/4 of a mile (60% of the race) MTB is not on the screen.  It's 2009 and we have hundreds of cameras at every sporting event and there was not a lens wide enough to get my boy in the picture.  This is equivalent to your team being down nine runs in the 7th inning, or down five goals heading into the third period.  There is no chance on the planet that this horse will finish first.  His best bet is to step it up, sneak into the pack to save some embarrassment for his jockey and owner.  When we reach this point in our day, week, year, life, it's very simple to join the pack in mediocrity and become typical and average.  Things can seem bleak and hopeless at times, and sometimes the only person you can count on is yourself.  This may require some soul searching and if you find yourself in this situation, you will learn more about your makeup than any other time in your life.   

1 minute, 25 seconds: Finally, MTB wakes up and realizes it's time to get serious and win this race as he begins to make his move.  When you look at the replay, it looks like he's running past standing horses at one point as he puts it in a gear that no other horse can even come close to thinking about.  There's a point *(or points) in your life when you have to take stock of your situation and decide what to do next.  It may be easy to see all that lies ahead of you and just put it on cruise control, letting the world decide what happens to you.  But to grow as a person and advance your life, you'll need to sac up and focus on the obstacles in front of you.  You've got to find a way to get past them - probably not as easily as MTB passed 18 horses - and put yourself in the position you desire to be in.  

1 minute, 40 seconds: After all of that work getting back into contention, MTB gets pinched again at the rail but powers through and asserts himself as the best gosh darn racehorse in the entire Commonwealth.  Just as in life, sometimes you fight so hard to make up ground on your past shortcomings and mistakes, it's just too much to overcome at the end.  MTB showed me that there is no reason to ever give up.  If anything, when you've come that far and faced that much adversity and fallen that far behind your peers, this is the time when you give it everything you have to ensure you'll end up on top.  

1 minute, 48 seconds: MTB takes the lead during the only time that it matters, eventually winning by, I don't know, 15 lengths maybe.  The most important lesson of all was learned here: it's not about how you start, it's about how you finish.  This century old adage of the tortoise and hare, slow and steady wins the race, the last shall be first, blah blah blah.  MTB captured all that in the time it takes to heat a hot pocket.  He stayed back (like really really really far back) for most of the race and when it was time to do work, MTB got focused and caught up to the pack and then rifled past them before the announcers even knew what was going on.  From the 51-second mark, they didn't even say his name until he was a couple strides from the finish line.  Not only did he come from oblivion, where no one was talking about except out of courtesy, he made the announcers, the 150,000+ in attendance and millions at home know who he was.  People won't recognize you or know who you are unless you give them a reason to.  He went from ignored to adored in 45 seconds.

2 minutes, 2 seconds: I go crazy as MTB wins in the second biggest upset in Derby history and makes a small amount of people a large amount of money (including me and my business partner).  If you want something, go after it and you can get it.  Lesson learned thanks to Mine That Bird.


Video of the week: Pacman destroying the Hitman for those of you who didn't see it live.

Celebrity (?) of the week: On ESPN's celebrities at the Derby gallery: skinny guy from Boyz II Men.  Maybe he was a celeb at the 123rd Kentucky Derby but not at 135!

Babygame of the week:  Kentucky's favorite daughter, Ashley Judd.

Texts From Last Night of the week(917): My milkshake brings 85 to 90 percent of the boys to the yard