I hear voices late at night. Or rather a voice, working solo, issuing from California, channeled through my laptop and conveyed across the continent via MLB.TV, which lets me watch Los Angeles Dodger games in the dark, in Connecticut, so that the last voice I hear before slipping out of consciousness is Vin Scully's.
Chapter 11 will help the bankrupt Dodgers protect their assets from creditors, the largest of which -- in every sense of the word -- is Manny Ramirez, who is owed nearly $21 million in retirement. But which of the Dodgers' many assets are most worth protecting, not merely from Manny, but from the self-harming hands of owner Frank McCourt? Before the Dodgers disappear entirely in a pyre of acrimony and alimony, these priceless assets should be rescued from the flames, beginning with:
1. eBaum Nation, entertainment style Web site: The scrappy Rochester, N.Y.-based Web site outflanked Web giant TMZ by securing superior-quality footage of Jordan Crawford's much-talked-about but ultimately mundane flush over LeBron James. About two weeks before the release of the video, representatives of a local cameraman who had taken footage of the dunk at James' Nike camp in Akron, Ohio, contacted eBaum Nation (which offers humor-based viral videos, among other features). The site finalized the deal after learning that TMZ had lesser-quality video.
Jason Giambi launched a blast and later a game-winning bullet, rocking the aging house for what was surely the last Yankees-Red Sox game at this Yankee Stadium. The heroics by the lame-duck former star at the about-to-be-demolished ballpark salvaged a game, spared some more bad feelings and brought rare glee. Yet, they only temporarily put off thoughts of the storied club's inevitable elimination.
As one who lives within the gravitational pull of the San Francisco Giants, I know I commit blasphemy by praising anything Dodger. But the first time I set foot in Dodger Stadium, just two Aprils ago, I felt giddy, expectant -- as though I had just pushed through the turnstile into that other mid-century southern California landmark, Disneyland. It's hard to say why I got such a happy vibe from the place. Was is the Googie roofline on the outfield pavilions that zigzagged just like the roof at my elementary school (also early '60s vintage)? Was it the other mid-century modern details, like the hexagonal scoreboard in rightfield, the leftfield videoboard with the starlite-lounge sparkles adorning the "Welcome To Dodger Stadium" message, the flying-saucer planters in the parking lot? Was it the spectacular vistas of downtown LA and the San Gabriel mountains, clearly visible through hardly-hazy skies? Was it the fact that I had arrived for a night game unburdened by extra coats and
I was born in a town called Flushing. When you have something like that in your past, you feel a little silly pretending to be a man of great refinement. And so, I will freely admit to preferring a dive bar over a five-star restaurant, a worn-in pair of jeans over a tailored suit. I don't need fancy, I don't need trendy, I don't need scenic. Maybe you see where I'm going with this. Flushing. Plain. Basic.
Last week Richard Deitsch interviewed actor-comedian Artie Lange at the New York City studios of Sirius Satellite Radio. Lange joined the Howard Stern show in 2001 and serves as the show's de facto on-air sports voice. Here is their conversation:
By the time the 2006 season began, Barry Bonds was a pariah in every major league city but his own. The Giants opened on April 3 in San Diego. The Padres fans, usually so laid-back, were in no mood to celebrate Bonds as a future Hall of Famer about to pass the Immortal Babe Ruth on the list of all-time home run hitters. Rude signs were everywhere in Petco Park: "BARR-ROID," "Barry is a Cheater," "Asterisk," "Cheaters Never Prosper," "Bonds, 1st into the Hall of Shame."