La Russa would complain about strike zones and expect them to change. He would whine about other teams’ grievances and expect vengeance. He would reinvent the way relief pitchers are used and expect the world to follow. And it did. Because when Tony La Russa did something, almost all the time he did it right, and when something is done right in baseball it is prone to copy-catting.
For all the excessive machinations, the idiosyncrasies and the arrogance, Tony La Russa will be missed by baseball. He was one of its defining personalities and its great winners, a testament to intelligence and knowledge in a game that hasn’t valued either nearly as much as it ought until recent decades.
If a third World Series championship and a goodbye kiss from Passan wasn’t enough for La Genius to hang his hat on, Anheuser-Busch paid special tribute to the animal-loving skipper by naming one of the famed Clydesdales, “Drinky” “Tony La Russa”. Such a gesture is not unique for the brewery (former owners of the Cardinals) ; Bud marked the Cards’ 2006 title by naming a horse after Will Leitch’s former fiance dying a horse’s genitals a shade of nuclear raspberry, in honor of Scott Spiezio.
Calling George McCowan’s 1971 love story, “Face Off”, “second only to ‘Slap Shot’ as a classic hockey movie,”, the Globe & Mail’s David Shoalts herald’s the film’s reissue on DVD and Blu-Ray next month by also pronouncing it “nothing short of awful”. Sheesh, make up your mind!
Face Off is based on the equally hackneyed Scott Young novel and spares no cliché in telling the tale of a boy from Northern Ontario who grows up to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He falls for a hippie folk singer with tragic consequences when the hockey world collides with the psychedelic music world of the late 1960s-70s.
Face-Off stars Art Hindle and Trudy Young as star-crossed lovers Billy Duke and Sherri Lee Nelson. As Leafs coach Fred Wares, John Vernon steals many a scene with a preview of his Dean Wormer character in 1978’s Animal House. But the real stars are the dozens of players seen during actual NHL games along with footage from Toronto circa 1971 and, of course, the most hideous clothes ever made.
Most of the fun is picking out the various NHL players of the day aside from the big stars like Dave Keon, Jean Béliveau, Gordie Howe and a balding Bobby Hull. There are also a couple of sequences of Bobby Orr in his glorious prime. Keep an eye out for an impossibly young-looking Darryl Sittler. Leaf great George Armstrong had a speaking role and was not bad. The old NHL bad boy Derek Sanderson also did a nice turn as himself, the hip hockey star.
A couple of weeks ago, Mike Francesa said he didn’t know that Doc Gooden revealed last May on “Boomer & Cartoon” that he was getting high in a Long Island housing project during the Mets 1986 World Series parade (“I don’t listen to their show,” a dismmisive Pope said). Cartoon not only skewered His Holiness on the air, but WFAN sent audio of Cartoon’s comments to media outlets around the city.
In the past, this never would have happened. FAN suits would never do anything to cross Francesa let alone embarrass him publicly. This was telling. It was as if they were rewarding Cartoon for slashing the Pope Mobile’s tires.
With their personality and power established it’s reasonable to suggest the FANdroids know they’ve got a good thing going. Cartoon, whose roots are in radio, is not likely to jump ship. He’s often mentioned how he coveted the WFAN gig. Esiason? Well, that could be a whole other story.
The FANdroids created a successful morning team, how far will they go to keep it together?
The scripted drama “El Diez” premiered earlier tonight on ESPN Deportes, is not only the network’s first soap, but features, in the words of the New York Times’ Stuart Ellliot, “blue chip brands woven into the story line which is centered on a young professional fútbol (soccer) player in Mexico City.” If only they’d tried such a thing during “Playmakers”.
In one story line, the owner of a fútbol team “who woos Chava to play for his team gives him a Chevy Camaro,” Mr. Alfonso said. “It’s an underhanded tactic, but the kid falls in love with the car.”
There are also scenes depicting a late-night visit to Burger King, a shopping trip to Home Depot and a phone call to American Airlines by a character who may be leaving for Miami.
And, fútbol players being fútbol players, there are several opportunities to feature Coors Light cerveza (beer).
Viewers can also watch Chava visit a Web site about the Primera División, fanaticosdelfrio.com, that is sponsored by Coors Light. (The address translates to “fans of the cold,” and the Coors Light brand promise is centered on coldness.)
Chava “goes online to Fanáticos del Frío and checks his status,” Ms. Woodward said, in a commingling of art and life.
(not, we should stress, the MVP of the 2011 World Series)
OK, that’s not really how it went down. But upon Ilan Grapel’s release from incarceration in Egypt this week — the Queens native was part of a legal aid group working in that country after President Hosni Mubarak’s downfall — the 27 year-old’s first day of freedom was punctuated with a particularly bad joke. From the NY Post’s Andy Soltis ;
Grapel, expected to fly home to Queens today from Israel, was celebrating his release at a press conference in Tel Aviv, flanked by his mother Irene and Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Queens), when he was pranked.
“There’s so many people to thank,” he said, “and after being cut off for the past five months …”
Ackerman quickly interjected, “We told him the Mets won the World Series.”
Grapel, a sports fan, shot Ackerman a big smile — only to quickly feel the let-down most Mets fans are all too familiar with when he quickly figured out that the team had tanked — again.
When Grapel was arrested in Egypt on dubious spying charges on June 12, the Mets’ won-lost record was 32-33 and the Amazin’s still had dreams of playing in October.
I sincerely doubt Grapel believed Congressman Ackerman for even a moment. However, in Ackerman’s defense, “we told him the Mets re-signed Jose Reyes” would’ve been equally hard to swallow, while “we told him the Mets hired Bob Geren as bench coach” wouddn’t have had quite the same ring to it.