Friday, April 27, 2007

An open letter to the Yankees

Dear Yankees,

You’re pissing me off. I’m sorry that I had to start this letter so hostile but I feel that at this point in our relationship, we owe each other that honesty.

I understand these are rough times. I mean, there are times at my job when my team members aren’t performing well and I’m tempted to just phone it in. Like the other day, when the receptionist was out and we had a temp who didn’t know her ass from her elbow. My department could have left her to answer seven ringing lines by herself while simultaneously signing for packages and ordering lunch for our lazy VP, but we rallied around her and gave her some support. Don’t you think Hughes would have appreciated a similar gesture last night?

And I know Cairo isn’t your first choice at Short, but sometimes we don’t always get what we want. Do you think that when they ran out of mustard for the hot dogs, The Babe cashed in and called it a day? No way. He slapped some ketchup on that sucker, stuffed it down, and went out and hit some homeruns. Just think of Cairo as the ketchup to Jeter’s mustard. Just a suggestion. I’m only trying to help.

And seriously. You’re treating Arod like your fat, ugly ex-girlfriend who lost the weight and just won the lottery. You were ready to toss him out a year ago, and now he’s your best friend. Just because he’s got it all now doesn’t mean you can quit your job. What happens when he breaks up with you next year? Strap one on and get out there.

Yankees, you and I have been together for over 20 years. It’s the longest relationship I’ve ever had and I think we’ve got a future together. I’m willing to stick by you, but you’ve got to give me something to work with. Sitting in the rain just to watch you lose is getting old. And by God, it’s breaking my heart.

Sincerely,
Sports Girl

P.S. Andy - I spoke to Matsuzaka this morning. He said you throw like a girl. At least that’s what I think he said. I don’t know. I don’t speak Japanese.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Tri this

For obvious reasons, I need to take a break from discussing baseball for a little bit. It's just making me grumpy and nobody wants that.

Back in November I decided to register for the New York City Triathlon. I've done sprint distance triathlons before, but the NYC Tri is Olympic distance and a whole different ballgame. Now that the weather is getting warmer, the reality of training has set in along with a significant amount of panic. As motivation, I've decided to post a diary I wrote after completing my first triathlon. Enjoy...

September 17, 2006...
So today I competed in my first triathlon, the Danskin Women's Triathlon in Sandy Hook. For those who aren't familiar with the sport, this one was a .75K open water swim, followed by a 20K bike, finishing with a 5K run. It's dirty, it's physically exhausting, and it's mentally taxing. But crossing the finish line was the most incredible moment of my life.

Competing along with me were 1,280 of the most courageous women I've ever met. Sisters, mothers, grandmothers, friends, and almost 100 cancer survivors. And most importantly my mom, who saw me training and decided she wanted to do it too. I had the privilege of placing her medal on her as she finished and I've never been prouder. She's a strong woman and a total inspiration.

To you girls out there, I highly recommend you do this. I crossed the finish line a different woman than when I started. Besides, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Just for added motivation, I decided to recap a diary of my day:

4:00 am – Alarm goes off. It's still dark out. Am I nuts?

5:00 am – Arrive at the race site. Still dark. And cold. And I've become a mosquito buffet. I'm definitely nuts.

5:15 am – Get to the transition area to set up my bike and gear. Wet suit, check. Shorts, check. Shirt, check. Complete and total fear, check check check.

5:35 am – I have to pee.

5:40 am - Spend 10 minutes cramming my ass into the bottom half of my wetsuit. This alone is a workout. And I've only got it up to my waist.

6:00 am – Realize that I've been walking around with my wetsuit on backwards. Spend the next 12 minutes wrestling myself out of and back into it.

6:12 am – Whew. Wetsuit's on again.

6:13 am – I have to pee.

6:20 am – Go down to the water to check the water temperature (cold), swim distance (far), and water conditions (choppy). This is going to be great.

6:25 am – Choke down my first Power Bar. Actually they're not so bad. If you like cardboard.

6:30 am – 30 minutes until the first wave of women hit the water. Which means I also have 30 minutes to chicken out, pack up, and go home.

6:32 am – I'm terrified

6:33 am – I'm excited

6:34 am – I'm terrified

6:35 am – I'm excited

6:36 am – I'm terrified and I have to pee

7:00 am – All athletes are called to the starting area for the National Anthem. We also find out the event is running 15 minutes behind for water safety reasons. Water safety reasons? Will the water be safer in 15 minutes? And why isn't it safe now? AAAAAGGGGHHHH!!!!! Still terrified.

7:10 am – A backup singer for Springsteen sings the National Anthem. (well, it IS a Jersey event). The Anthem brings tears to my eyes. Partly because I'm patriotic. But mostly because I have to pee.

7:15 am – "3-2-1!!!!" The first wave of women enter the water. 45 minutes until my wave. Did I mention I'm in one of the last waves? Everyone will be home and napping by the time I cross the finish line.

7:40 am – I gather with my wave to prepare for our start. My dad says all of us together in our wetsuits make us look like a flock of penguins. Thanks dad.

7:45 am – It's finally my turn. "3-2-1" and we all hit the water. If you've never seen what this looks like, it's a 100 swimmer free-for-all with arms and legs flying. Like a flock of violent and panicky penguins.

7:46 am – I get kicked

7:47 am – I get kicked

7:48 am – I get kicked (see where this is going?)

7:50 am – I swallow my first gallon of salty sea water.

7:55 am – I pass a really cute lifeguard. I contemplate swimming over and getting his number, but then I realize I'm wearing a purple swim cap, dorky goggles, and I look like a penguin. Not my finest moment.

8:02 am – I come out of the water choking but glad the swim's over. I now have to run (run? really?) 200 yards to my bike, struggle out of my wetsuit, cram dirty sandy feet in my shoes, and hit the bike course.

8:09 am – I go the wrong way in the transition area and had to run my bike to the opposite end. This isn't so bad – my mom told me later that she put her helmet on backwards and the race volunteers had to stop her to fix it. And yes my dad has the pictures to prove it.

8:10 am – I'm on the bike course and feeling good. Until someone's Grandma blew by me from behind, ringing her bike bell. I make a mental note to have the race officials check her for HGH.

8:32 am – Halfway through the bike course. Can I die now?

9:08 am – Finished the bike after battling killer headwinds in the second half. I dump my helmet, grab my hat and set off for the run. Have you ever tried to run after biking 12 miles? It's like your legs are marshmallows. Painful, exhausted, marshmallow hell.

9:15 am – As I'm running, an annoyingly chipper volunteer yells "You're almost there!"

9:20 am – Annoyingly chipper volunteer #2 yells "You're almost there!"

9:25 am – Really annoyingly chipper volunteer #3 yells "You're almost there!" Ok screw you guys. I know you're lying.

9:35 am – I have to pee

9:45 am – OK, so it won't hurt if I walk a little. No sooner do I start to walk, than my female trainer (who is training for a body building competition) appears out of nowhere and yells "MOVE IT!!!". Fearing for my life, I start running again.

9:50 am – Finish line is in sight, people are yelling for me and I see my dad on the side cheering me on. Holy crap…I'm actually going to finish this thing

So roughly 2 hours after I started, I finished my first triathlon. I felt tired, I felt sweaty, I felt dirty – I felt great. And I can't wait to do it again.

I AM A TRIATHLETE!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Of Dice and Men

I woke up this morning hoping that what I saw last night was a dream. Praying that the Yankees didn’t give up an entire series to Boston. But alas, it was so.

While I don’t really want to dwell on the series (I’d need a bottle of tequila and prescription meds to handle that), I do think it’s worth mentioning that the supposed Yankee eater Daisuke Matsuzaka was not that impressive. Really. Eight hits, six runs, and an ERA of 4.00. Not to mention an ERA of 5.54 over the last few games. While those numbers would be ok for an average pitcher, this is the venerable Dice K. The $52 million man who was brought on to intimidate the opposition with 8 different pitches and steamroll the Yankees. What really happened is the Yankees steamrolled themselves.

And while this may qualify as the obvious statement of the year, it needs to be said: the Yankees need to work out their pitching issues quickly. When your best starter is pitching out of the bullpen, it’s not a good sign.

As far as Matsuzaka, as I listened to the announcers go on about how amazing this guy is while he’s in the middle of pitching an unimpressive game, I began to wonder: how long will the hype last? If he continues to pitch this way, how long will it be before the reality of Matsuzaka catches up with the myth of Dice K?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Not buying it...yet.

Arod. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one person cause so many people to jump on, then off, then on a band wagon. All of the “Arod sucks” grumbles of last season have turned into praises heralded from the rooftops. Yes, the man leads all of MLB in homeruns. The closest player to his 26 RBI’s is the Twins’ Michael Cuddyer with 14. But we’re only 14 games in. A lot can happen.

The concept of “team” is slipping, both within the team itself and among the fans, and no organization shows it more than the Yankees. Now before the hate mail starts flying, remember I’m a die hard Yankees fan. But part of being a fan is being able to understand your team’s dynamic. Let’s say Arod didn’t hit that walk-off to win the game. Would he get booed? Would the other 8 players in the line-up take responsibility for creating the need for a clutch hit? What about the Golden Boy, Jeter who went 1-5? Are we going to start booing Mientkiewicz, who’s batting .147? And where’s the praise for Posada with the team’s highest batting average? Win or lose, we’re always looking for that one hero or villain, and sometimes it’s the same guy either way.

As Yankees fans continue to flip flop their opinions, we need to keep a few things in mind: 1. We’re only 14 games in. 2. It’s Arod’s contract year. 3. We’re only 14 games in. Arod’s notorious for being a headcase. While I would love nothing more than for his streak to continue, I’m holding off on donning my “I heart Arod” t-shirt for a while. And should he end up having an MVP year, Yankees fans should fully expect him to go to the highest bidder while giving us the middle finger. And collectively we’d deserve it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Nature or Nurture?

As sports enthusiasts we become obsessed with our teams. It’s consuming, it’s unhealthy, and we love every minute of it. And every birth of a child inspires the “race to recruit”. Hell, I’ve been talking about the Yankees to my nephew since the day he was born. He’s two years old now and can’t say my name right, but he can say “Yankees” clear as day. And that’s perfectly ok with me.

But I often wonder (fear?) that all of that work will have the opposite effect. Will he eventually become a Red Sox fan, forcing me to denounce our DNA connection? When I do have children of my own, will they all turn out to be Eagles fans?

Take my dad for instance. He’s an old school Dodgers fan from back in their Brooklyn days. This, of course, makes him a natural Yankee hater. I live and die by my Yanks. How did that happen? And where did my parents go wrong with my brother, who is a Mets fan? Did they not love him enough as a child?

So is it nature or nurture that makes us choose our allegiance? Can we really influence the decision at an innocent age, or is it all a crap shoot?

If I could figure this out and sell the formula, I think I’d be very rich.

Welcome

As a female sports enthusiast, I often find myself in debates with my male counterparts over various sports issues, both real and superficial. Hopefully this blog will give me the forum to entertain you (hi Mom), piss you off (hi Red Sox fans), make you think, and possibly incite a riot or two.

Stay tuned...