NEW YORK, NY – Nothing like being back in New York during the waning days of August, sitting at your keyboard with the last few drops of rum in a tumbler and zero ideas in your head. Paradise. How about just doing a “This Day in Sports History” column? That’s always an easy way out…
Let’s see what we got:
1950: Althea Gibson becomes first black person to compete in International tennis. (Not bad.)
1989: Nolan Ryan strikes out Rickey Henderson for his 5,000th K. (Meh.)
2007: Texas Rangers beat Baltimore Orioles 30-3 (Didn’t everyone that year?)
OK, clearly, we’re just gonna have to wing it. Here goes.
Number Two Has Hit the Fan. As much as it pains me, I finally have to admit that Derek Jeter is a great baseball player. I’ve been fighting this for years, coming up with every excuse in the book for why he wasn’t all that great. But, you know what? He is. Last year he reached the 3,000 hit plateau and the hits keep on coming. In fact, this year he’s leading the league. Monday night he had four hits against the White Sox, one of which was his 251st career home run. Last night while tweaking this, he hit #252. Not bad for a guy never thought of for his power. On this same night Jeter tied Eddie Murray for 11th on the career hits list and passed Craig Biggio to take over the 13 slot on the all-time runs scored list. At 38, the guy is having an MVP-type year. (Note: If he ever tests positive for anything, baseball might just want to put up the “Going Out of Business” sign.) He may not be the best at any one thing but he does just about everything extremely well and plays hard every single game… I gotta stop here before I throw up.
The Not-So-Ancient-Mariners. No one cares about Seattle here but me, so I’m gonna still go ahead and say that I like the way they’ve been playing lately. As I write this they go into Tuesday night’s game against the Indians looking to win their 7th straight with King Felix on the hill. They are still way out of it, but inching up towards .500 by making hay against some of the weaker teams. This is what the Mets did in the first half of the season but have failed miserably at in the second. Anyway, Ichiro’s gone but all of a sudden the future is looking brighter in perpetually cloudy Seattle. Among their roster of players is Jason Vargas, a southpaw they picked up in the J.J. Putz deal with the Mets, who now sports a respectable 13-8 record and 3.53 era on a team that hardly ever scores runs. It’s not too late to jump on the bandwagon, people.
The Iron Lady. Since Maggie Thatcher is moldering in a grave somewhere, I’m gonna take this opportunity to use her old nickname to talk about our own Cookie. For those of you who missed it, Cookie successfully completed a Half-Ironman up in New Hampshire this past Sunday. I, for one, think that they should come up with a designation other than “Half-Ironman.” It makes it sound like some sort of mini event, when it’s anything but. Look, I’ve never competed in one, and I never will, but there is nothing “half” about a 1.2 mile swim followed by a 56-mile bike ride followed by a 13.1 mile run. Cooks finished the whole Magila in 6:05:53. And she did the final run on a pretty bum wheel. I can’t even watch 6 straight hours of football on my couch without cramping up fer crissakes. I said it here a couple of days ago, but we need to start marketing Cookie as the breakout star of this site… at least until Lori Levine “accidentally” releases a sex tape.
Mail Bonding. I recently received a letter from “a concerned friend” that I should contemplate the role of all-time saves leader Jesus Christ (sorry Mariano) in my life. I am doing just that. In fact, every week I sit down to write one of these columns I scream his name out loud several times. I feel that I am well on the path to redemption. I’d like to thank the only “concerned friend” I have in the greater Baltimore area, the Public Prof, for turning me back on to JC.