Sunday, July 29, 2007

Tiger Stadium? Kiss it goodbye


Tough weekend for a couple legends.

First, the Detroit City Council finally agreed to demolish Tiger Stadium, which has been sitting neglected since the last game in 1999.

Then, Kiss co-founder Paul Stanley had what his is calling a "cardiac event" prior to a concert in California, forcing the band to play as a trio for only the second time.

Naturally, I have a story about both. I’ve spent many a night at Tiger Stadium, but the strangest had to be when Kiss kicked off its reunion tour there on June 28, 1996.

You know I’m loyal to a fault, and that extends to bands in addition to baseball teams. So I’ve been a Kiss fan since junior high school. Co-workers think this is odd.

The Journal’s music writer knew of my devotion and brought me along as a "consultant" since they throw you out of the critics club if you know too much about Kiss. That, and I might have begged for a week.

I had a feeling that things could get a little out of control. This was confirmed as we were walking across the dirt parking lot and a female concert-goer decided that would be a good place to stop walking, drop her pants and relieve herself. I think she might have been drinking.

Inside was your typical stadium concert set-up, with the stage running from centerfield into right, with the huge inflatable figures of Paul, Gene, Peter and Ace. The outfield was filled with what I thought were rather flimsy folding chairs, with the first 40 or so rows separated from the rest of the chairs on the field.

We watched opening acts Sponge and Stone Temple Pilots from the press box while Doug filed the first part of his story, then made our way to our seats: Dead center, row 27.

It seemed that security on the field was lax, and perhaps people who did not have field seats were getting onto the field. Thousands of them.

The infield started filling as it closer to show time. I looked back once and saw security guards standing arm-in-arm trying to make a human chain to keep people back, and they were already straining.

Doug, on crutches because of a softball injury, took a look at this and said he was heading back to the safety of the press box, but said I was welcome to stay. I started to go with him, then thought "I’m a big boy. What’s the worst thing that can happen? I’m not going to let a couple, well, a couple thousand, drunks ruin my chance to see the first show of the Kiss reunion tour from the 27th row."

Doug had no sooner escaped when the security line broke and waves of people rushed into the close seats toward the stage.

I looked behind me and saw a guy in a denim jacket and thigh-high Gene Simmons Destroyer-era dragon head boots, red eyes and all. I have no idea where someone can acquire such things.

I told the guy I was impressed. He made it clear that he was going to be closer to the stage, and that I was going to get out of his way. Quickly. Which I did, because you don’t mess with people wearing thigh-high Gene Simmons Destroyer-era dragon head boots, red eyes and all.

Finally, the lights went down, the curtain dropped and Kiss burst on stage playing "Deuce," then "King of the Night Time World."

I last saw the boys in full face-painted glory at my first concert, the 1979 Dynasty tour at Madison Square Garden. So this was like a rock and roll dream come true.

There was a lot of pushing and shoving, but nothing I couldn’t handle. Everyone was standing on the flimsy folding chairs, which had plastic seats and backrests. I could see heads bopping up and down, then they’d shoot down under the line of heads — after their seats broke.

These chairs were light, and somebody got the idea to throw their broken chair up in the air. Then, a lot of people seemed to think this was a good idea. You’d see chairs spinning up in their air like Frisbees, landing on hapless concert atendees several rows away.

This made me a little more concerned. But again, I was a big boy and had the advantage of not being drunk or stoned. Most of these people were too spaced to throw the chairs all that hard.

Occasionally, a person pushing through to get closer tried to camp in our row. One guy, there’s a chance he was drunk, pushed his way into the row in front of me, shoved someone off their chair, stood on it and began flailing his arms wildly, a strange response to "Firehouse" to be sure.

As you can imagine, this was ticking people off. He nearly hit me a couple times. And he was blocking my view of Ace.

Then, I did something terrible, totally out of character. I gave the guy a one-handed shove right between the shoulder blades, knocking him off his chair. He stood up in a daze — well, he had probably been in a daze since noon — and wandered off into another row.

I was terrible, stunned at my own behavior. Shoving people! I was filled with guilt and remorse. But then Ace roared into "Shock Me" and I felt better.

The historic concert finally ended in a storm of fireworks as the final power chords of "Rock and Roll All Nite" hung in the air. I made it intact.

Dodging chairs, dodging drunks...that’s rock and roll. And it’s one of the reasons I prefer going to see Christian rock bands these days. But it’s also one of the reasons I’ll be sad to see the wrecking ball taken to Tiger Stadium.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Stories about Mets and Muggles

Mr. Met warns students about books by Tom Verducci and Bob Klapisch.


The Mets have never had a Harry Potter, but they did have Harry Parker.

Parker displayed no magical abilities during his three-year stint with the team. Arriving in a deal with the Cardinals for Art Shamsky in 1973, he went 14-19 with 11 saves and a 3.77 ERA before we sold him back to Azkerban, err, the Cardinals in 1975.

But I spent the weekend immersed in the world of the teen-age wizard, finishing the book before accidentally stumbling on any spoilers in the media, be they articles or co-workers. We saw the movie on Saturday, too. You can read more about my adventures in obtaining the book at my work blog, Head of the Class

My wife is often amazed that I just don’t read fiction. I figure I’ve read 9 works of fiction in the last decade, seven of which are the Potter books. Ironically, I read one of the other two — “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” by Mark Haddon — earlier this month after a discussion about autism at work.

I’m not sure why I stick to non-fiction. Maybe it’s a reporter thing, because we like to stick to the facts. Maybe it’s because truth is sometimes even stranger than stuff anyone can make up. More likely it’s because I stick to my two main areas of interest — presidents and the Mets.

I haven’t read all the Mets books, but certainly a bunch of them. Here are some notables:


Best example of an author without a clue: “Amazin': The Miraculous History of New York's Most Beloved Baseball Team” by Peter Golenbock.

Golenbock’s MO is that he finds a couple old players, lets the tape recorder run and calls it an “oral history.” And indeed, some of the anecdotes in this book are interesting and amusing.

But I nearly tossed the tome when he got to 1967 and referred to someone called “Thomas George Seaver.” I have no idea who the hell that could be, because everyone knows that the only guy in Cooperstown with a Mets cap on his plaque is George Thomas Seaver, better known to all as Tom.

When kids ask me about my job, I tell them about the importance of getting things right. Because if one thing is incorrect, it makes people wonder what else in a story is inaccurate.

And frankly, if Golenbock can’t even get the name of the team’s all-time hero and best player right, well, it makes me take everything else with a grain of salt. After seeing this, I was looking for other screw-ups — and there were others — the rest of the way through.

Plus, there’s the subtitle. “New York’s Most Beloved Baseball Team” is a shameless attempt to lure us in by a guy who had previously published two fawning oral histories about the Dodgers and Yankees. I'm sure he got Derek Jeter's name right.


Most special book: “New York Mets, The First Quarter Century,” by Donald Honig

The writing here is nothing special — unless you count the parts that were added by hand. A Christmas gift from my folks in 1986, this book has accompanied me to nearly two decades of spring trainings, major and minor league stadiums and baseball card shows.

Whenever I meet a Met past or present, I ask him to sign the book. I think I’m up to about 200 signatures, from Hall of Famers Tom Seaver, Warren Spahn, Gary Carter and Richie Ashburn to short-timers Brent Mayne and Eric Cammack, from phenoms like Gregg Jefferies to flops like Marvelous Marv they’re all a part of our Mets history and in the book.

Jorge Sosa was the most recent signer, obtained at Comerica Park last month.

Personal glory aside, this is still a good book packed with photos from 1962 through 1986.


Best book with a bad cover: “New York Mets: The Whole Story,” by Leonard Koppett.

I have a soft spot in my heart for this tome — my first Mets history book! I knew every photo caption by heart. "McGraw arrives, McGraw delivers."

Koppett is a member of Baseball's Hall of Fame's Writers Wing and the book was written after the 1969 championship. I had the updated version that came out in 1974 after the World Series. And here’s where things get strange. The Mets team colors, as we know, are blue and orange. Don’t get me started on the addition of black. The team that beat them in the World Series was the Oakland Athletics, who wore green and yellow.

The cover of this book? That would be green and yellow.

Did this not strike anyone at the Macmillan Publishing Company back in 1974 as even a little odd? Had Yankee fans infiltrated?

This is proof that you can’t judge a book by its cover.

Best cover: “The Game of Baseball,” by Gil Hodges

Not sure about the book, but the cover is a classic old-school baseball photo of Gil — bow heads reverently — kneeling as if in the on-deck circle, with batting helmets posed neatly on either side.

It’s exactly the kind of old-school photo I used to hang on the bedroom wall. And speaking of old school, when was the last time you saw a player kneeling in the on-deck circle. I guess the idea was to not block the view of the paying customers. Now guys just stand there swinging.

Book most likely never read by its alleged author: “Nails,” by Lenny Dykstra.
Look, we all love Lenny. And he’s a successful businessman so he certainly isn’t a dummy.
But I just don’t see him being the kind of guy willing to seriously sit down and put pen to paper.


Best book about a single Mets game: “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” by Jerry Izenberg

Izenberg, then a columnist for the Newark Star-Ledger, gets points just for pissing off Yankee fans who no doubt erupt at the very idea that their pinstriped blowhards didn’t appear in something billed “the greatest game ever played.”

The book is a quick read and a fine look at Game 6 of the NLCS between the Mets and the Astros. Sure, he looks at the game in great detail, but also the personalities on both sides.

The game was on Oct. 15, 1986, and I was at the University of Missouri. I remember being glued to the TV, frustrated that I had to head off to class during the game. I rushed back to our apartment hoping to catch the score – this was before we could follow along on the Internet – and was amazed -- and thrilled -- that the game was still on.

The sixth game of that World Series gets a lot of the attention, but Izenberg wasn’t too far off. This was a game for the ages.

Book for Mets-haters by a Mets-hater: “The Worst Team Money Could Buy: The Collapse of the New York Mets” by Bob Klapisch

This is like me writing a book about Derek Jeter, Chipper Jones, Roger Clemens and everyone else whose middle initial has been replaced with an F.

Klapisch is known to despise all things Met and you can no-doubt hear him cackling with glee as he types every word about Bobby Bonilla, Vince Coleman and the other participants of what might be our darkest hour.

Then again, I have to assume that you can hear the Klap cackle, because I have never held this book in my hands, much less read it.

I'm not one of those book-burners, but this might be an exception. Heck, had Ray Bradbury not penned "Farenheit 451" prior to 1993, he would have had characters saying things like, "People, we can't go burning books. OK, you can burn that crap frm Klapisch. But nothing else!"

There you go! I'd love to hear what Mets books you've liked over years.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Unlike me, Ortiz is welcome in Hallmark.



The greeting card company unveiled its 2007 Christmas ornaments on Saturday, and I slipped into the store after snagging my wife’s Starbucks, worried that I’d find David Wright or Jose Reyes in boxes along with the other ornaments.

Because, as you know, there is a Hallmark Curse. Ask ARod.

So I was looking through the display and saw a football player, Ben Roethlisberger of the Steelers. Yes, that’s the guy who was in the motorcycle accident last year, making me wonder if the curse is expanding to other sports.

But there were no baseball players to be found.

It was actually hard to squeeze in to get close. There were people with checklists filling baskets with the ornaments, which I have to say are not cheap. The days of me spending $14.95 to hang Luke Skywaker on my son’s little Christmas tree have long passed.

But I digress.

Sometimes the baseball guys aren’t out early because Hallmark tends to release them in the fall. But there’s usually a photo of the player-to-be-cursed hanging in the spot where the ornament will go.

Finally a clerk came over and asked if I was looking for some thing in particular. I told her that I saw the football player, but couldn’t find the baseball player. She pulled out a catalog intended for people who take this very seriously.

Another customer, who was kind of a busy body, was listening to our conversation and paused from filling her basket.

"There’s one in there, I saw a picture," she said.

"But do you know who it is?" I asked.

"Beats me," she said. I don’t think she likes the sports ornaments.

Finally the clerk found the page, and showed me a photo of a chubby Red Sox player.

"Here it is, some guy named David Ortiz," she said. "But it won’t go on sale until October."

"Yes!" I said, pumping my fist.

"You like him?" she asked.

"Oh, he’s OK," I replied, truthfully.

"If you give them your name and address, they’ll put you on a list and call you when they come in," the nosy shopper said.

"Oh no, that’s OK," I replied nicely.

"You might not remember, and it’s good to have that little call to let you know to come in," she said, persistently.

Now, I’m in that strip mall just about every day — especially since the Starbucks opened — and I’m in that Hallmark frequently as my daughter looks for the elusive back kitty Webkinz.

But truth be told, I have no intention of buying a David Ortiz ornament since I’m rapidly running out of tree-space and limit new acquisitions to Mets items.

But I didn’t want to get into this in the middle of Hallmark with a busy body and a clerk who has no doubt suffered greatly already on Ornament Premiere Day even thought it was only 9:30 a.m.

"You’re not going to remember, let her put you on the list," the shopper again insisted.

Finally, I let the cat out of the bag.

"Ma’am, I just wanted to make sure the baseball ornament wasn’t a Met because who ever Hallmark picks is cursed and I want the Mets to win and I don’t want David Wright, Jose Reyes or Carlos Beltran dealing with a curse. They’re having enough issues right now."

At this point all activity surrounding the ornaments stopped and I noticed heads turned my way.

"A curse?" the clerk said, trying not to look alarmed.

"Yup. Something bad happens to every baseball player you guys pick. Look at Ortiz, it’s not even out yet, and he announced last night he has a torn meniscus. It’s not good."

"Well, if that gets out, nobody will want to be on an ornament," the clerk said, matter-of-factly.

"If they want to make Yankee ornaments, that’s OK with me," I said.

The nosy lady was too horrified to speak. It got pretty uncomfortable.

"Hey, is that a new Webkinz?" I said, then quickly made my way to the door.

Sometimes people don’t need to know the truth.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Mets magic, Yankee shame -- and other All-Star thoughts



The National League has not won an All-Star Game in my daughter’s lifetime. She’s going into fifth grade this fall.

My son, a high school sophomore, was 4 when the NL last won, back in 1996 in Philadelphia.

Sigh. We didn’t want home field advantage in the World Series anyway.

Nevertheless, I love the All-Star Game. It’s my favorite game of the year. And there were some pretty sweet moments during this year’s festivities in San Francisco.

Highlights:

The Jose Reyes coming out party! First he gets to catch the first pitch from Willie Mays. Then he goes 3 for 4 with a double and a run scored and a stolen base. I think he was the only player to stay in the entire game. Jose was denied his chance to play last year after getting spiked on the hand. I’d say he made up for lost time.

Carlos Beltran. Met-hater Tim McCarver was recounting Beltran’s unfortunate non-swing to end NLCS Game Seven just as our man Carlos launched a triple! Hush, Tim.

David Wright went one-for-three and had a great diving stop to send ARod weeping back to the dugout.

Note that the Mets wore their traditional – and beautiful – pinstripes and blue caps in the game for the first time in years.

Yankee suckage. The stench of Yankee shame was all over the game, from Jeter’s slapping into a double play to ARod’s fielding lapses.

ARod’s no Pete Rose. ARod can’t score from second on a single to deep right? Junior had him thrown out by about five feet. Now, Pete Rose has out by that much, too, but he wanted to win and slammed into Ray Fosse. But ARod’s no Charlie Hustle, stopping and nearly curling into the fetal position as Russ Martin tagged him. Oh, and you just know what was running through ARod’s mind: “Should I try to slap the ball out of his glove?” It’s not like dude doesn’t have a history of doing that.

Willie Mays tribute. It was obvious that MLB was looking to recreate the warm and fuzzy moment with Ted Williams at Fenway in 1999 by asking Willie to walk in from centerfield fence with much fanfare. It worked.

Lowlights:

Taco Bell competition. What the heck was that? The West Michigan Whitecaps offer better contests between innings.

Jeanne Zelasko. Seriously, how does she stay employed? She says stupid things, flubs her lines and is pretty much an embarrassment to all of humanity.

Billy Wagner, who pretended he was Aaron Heilman and coughed up a two-run blast to Victor Martinez, which ended up being the difference in the game.

Steroids discussion. Tim McCarver, Joe Buck and Ken Rosenthal spent a half inning rationalizing away the black cloud that hovers over the National Pastime.

Jeter interviewing Willie Mays. My wife has a theory that Fox assigned Jeter to “interview” Mays, and that Mays, a good former Met, knows the face of evil when he sees it and refused to participate unless Junior Griffey joined him.

Bonds’ cheap shot at Hank Aaron. Bonds went on about how if ARod breaks the home run record, he’ll show up to watch. Obviously that was a blast to Hank, who has told all that he has no interest being part of the Bonds circus as he approaches the Hammer’s mark.

Paula Cole singing “God Bless America.” Talk about drama. Coles is famous for not shaving her armpits. When she came out in that off-the-shoulder blue dress, I was wondering if Fox was going to force a furry view our way. Pits were in view for just one close-up, and apparently Paula now shaves.

McCovey Cove. The graphics for the game and AT&T Park were based around balls splashing into the Cove. Yet the only ball to get wet was the one Eric Byrne tossed in so his swimming dog could retrieve it. The dog, sensing the shame of it all, swam away in the other direction. And can you blame him.

Next year the spectacle heads to the Bronx where there will be no kayaks and swimming dogs.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Enduring the Home Run Derby


Ryan Howard hit a bunch of homers last year to beat David Wright last year.


The Home Run Derby is the spectacular car crash of professional sports. It’s truly cringe-worthy, but you just have to watch.

Here are some observations and I endured this event with my daughter Monday night.

-- Counting Crows? Two years ago we had Alter Bridge playing with Mike Piazza and the traitor Damon running around the stage. Now we get the Counting Crows with enough pyro to make Kiss feel at home. And I can guess this is the first time Crows, flannel shirt types for sure, have played with columns of fire blasting up from behind the drum riser. How is baseball supposed to appear hip in 2007 when it hauls out a 1990s-era band playing a song from the Shrek 2 soundtrack?

-- I’m only a novice on the kayak. But even I could tell that Kenny Mayne was in trouble when they showed him floating out in McCovey Cove. Dude had so much gear on board – like his helmet cam -- that he was riding pretty low in the water. He looked like he was exceeding the kayak weight limit. Not that I’d know anything about that. I’m sure the smug people in canoes refused to wave to him.

-- All-Star jerseys are often ugly and easy to make fun of. But this year’s models are just brutal! Why do they show one bridge tower in the designs? I’m no architect or engineer, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a suspension bridge that hangs from one tower in the middle. Horrid! And this was the first year they made the players wear bad caps to go with the bad jerseys. Kudos to Vlad Guerrero for refusing to wear his.

-- I know some people like Chris Berman’s nicknames. But when he introduced Albert Pujols as Winnie-the-Pooh-jols, even my 10-year-old daughter looked over and made a face. “Why did he call him that?” she asked. I had no good answer. Some things just can’t be justified or explained.

-- Peter Gammons has to turn in his credentials as a journalist/Red Sox homer. I’m not saying I wanted to see him go all Jim Gray on Barry Bonds. But gee whiz. Don’t pretend to ask tough questions about steroids, then let him get away with comments like, “If people want to believe third-party statements” or something like that. Pretty weak. And then Bonds got loose with a line like “I don’t know what the commissioner does,” which was both lame and insulting, especially since the commissioner spends a lot of time cleaning up messes created by players like Bonds.

-- Thank goodness David Ortiz knows not to take this thing too seriously. Bringing out a special bat for Guerrero was the first sign of somebody actually having fun.

-- Prince Fielder knew it was supposed to be a home run competition, right? Watching him it, I thought his goal was to see if he could get the pre-teens roaming the outfield to trample each other chasing one of his weak-assed 10-bouncers.

-- Ryan Howard’s performance has to be the worst by a defending champion. And shame on him for not getting six homers and forcing us to add “swing off” to our lexicon!

-- What’s with all those glad-handers and free-loaders roaming the around the sidelines? What do they think it is, an NFL game? And who was that guy in the flea market air-brushed barber shop t-shirt running up to all the players?

-- Looks like the kayakers got bored and took off after the first round. How many balls even got wet? One? And it looked like people were standing there in the water. I didn’t realize McCovey Cove was only waist-deep.

-- I liked the ad with the guy getting all weepy talking about Aaron’s record-breaker and thinking about his Dad. I can’t imagine anybody feeling that way about Bonds when he breaks that record in the next couple weeks. But the All-Star Game ad with David Wright, Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes on the cable car was the best.

-- Pretty anticlimactic final round. When Alex Rios ran out of gas and popped just two in the stands, was there anybody who didn’t know Guerrero had it wrapped up?

And so much for the pile o’ Buffalo wings of sporting events. Some fun moments, but a lot of work, zero nutritional value and the guilt of knowing that you probably should have been eating something else.

But on the bright side, David Wright’s second half won’t be ruined!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Tough times for Yanks? Take this quiz and find out!


A decade ago, Queen Elizabeth closed the year by recalling the assorted misdeeds of her children and their spouses and declared it an annis horribilis, which I believe is Latin for “crappy year.”

As the baseball season rolls into its mid-year celebration, we can only assume Yankees owner George Steinbrenner is preparing to make a similar declaration.

Not that that’s a bad thing.

I won’t say that we here at Mets Guy openly rejoice when the tormentors in the Bronx stumble on hard times. But we do take of note of them – to reflect upon on those days when Kaz Bleeping Matsui goes 5-for-5 against his former team.

Now it is your turn to show how much you’ve been paying attention. Here is your Mid-Year Yankee Turmoil Quiz, and we can only hope it becomes an annual event.

1) The Yankees have spent the last decade or so declaring centerfielder Bernie Williams to be the second coming of Joe DiMaggio. Williams, known as “The Classy Yankee, if there can be such a thing,” appeared to have lost a step or two or five in the last couple seasons. The Yankees:

A) Told Williams they always have a place for their legends and welcomed him back with open arms and allow him to leave the game on his own terms.
B) Announced plans for “Bernie Williams Day” where they would unveil his plaque for Memorial Park and retire No. 51.
C) Announced his return in a dramatic seventh-inning appearance, where homer/announcer Suzyn Waldman shrieked “BERNIE WILLIAMS IS IN GEORGE STEINBRENNER’S BOX!!!”
D) Informed their legend that he was welcome to report to spring training -- but only with a minor league contract as a non-roster invitee and no guaranteed spot on the team.

2) Yankee captain/hype machine Derek F. Jeter was mum last year when fans were riding star/rival Alex Rodriguez, and when Jeter’s leadership was questioned he said, "The only thing I'm not going to do is tell the fans what to do. ... I don't think it's my job to tell fans to boo or not to boo." ARod in spring training gathered reporters together to say:

A) He respects Jeter's quiet leadership.
B) He’s sure Jeter supports him, but has trouble showing it.
C) Thinks Jeter is absolutely as wonderful as Tom Verducci says he is. Every day.
D) Announced that he and Jeter are no longer friends but will get along on the field.

3) Losing to the rival Red Sox in the sweepstakes for Japanese sensation Daisuke Matsuzaka, the Yankees signed a Japanese pitcher of their own, Kei Igawa, to a 5-year, $20 million contract. Six weeks into the season, the Yankees:

A) Praised their scouts for plucking an unknown star from the Japan League.
B) Declared Igawa the team’s best signing since Carl Pavano
C) Shipped his greasy butt down to play for the Tampa Yankees for putrid performance, where Igawa became the highest-paid player in the history of Single-A baseball.

4) Back to ARod. Family man Mr. Rodriguez was captured by New York Post photographers in Totonto:

A) Stopping his limo by the side of the road to help an old lady change a flat tire, prompting the Post to declare him “Good SamRod.”
B) Stopping into Toronto Memorial Hospital to see if there was anyone in need of a kidney transplant because, gosh, he’s got two and Derek won’t be needing it, prompting the Post to declare him “SaintRod.”
C) Rushing to the Phanages Theater when he heard that both the lead and the understudy had called in sick, yelling “The show must go on!” and landing on stage just in time to sing “Music of the Night,” prompting the Post to declare him “Phantom of the OpRod.”
D) Appearing with a blonde who did not seem to be Mrs. Rodriguez entering an establishment where ladies seem to have a hard time staying dressed, prompting the Post to declare him “StrayRod.”

5) Slugger Jason Giambi, whose power numbers seem to decline after he lost a lot of weight and was the subject of leaked grand jury testimony in the infamous BALCO performance-enhancing drug case, decided to cleanse his soul to USA Today, where he said:

A) “I take full responsibility for my actions. I’m deeply sorry that I didn’t have more respect for the game and the fans."
B) "I don’t deserve the 7-year, $120 million contract the Yankees gave me because of my inflated statistics. I intend to use some of that money to help former players who have fallen on hard times and perhaps were squeezed from the game because they refused to use performance-enhancing drugs. And I will fully cooperate with Major League Baseball’s investigation into steroid use.”
C) "That stuff didn't help me hit home runs. I don't care what people say, nothing is going to give you that gift of hitting a baseball."

6) The Yankees lured Roger Clemens away from Houston with a $28 million contact and a strange announcement that as sullied the aforementioned Ms. Waldman’s reputation. “The Rocket” since returning:

A) Has generated nothing but warmth and compassion from fans in both Houston and Boston, the two teams with sentimental connections to Clemens.
B) Performed so well that the team doesn’t want to wait for his eventual retirement to add his plaque to Memorial Park in the spot once reserved for Bernie Williams.
C) Produced an unspectacular 2-3 record with a 4.26 ERA -- and a loss to the Mets -- becoming the most expensive middle-reliever ever and was ridiculed by people at the typically Yankee-loving Sports Illustrated by being branded one of the year’s “high-priced busts.”

7) Speaking of middle relievers, Scott Proctor decides to cleanse the team of its struggles by burning his equipment on the gravel near the field. Such equipment is often in demand from baseball card companies that slice it into pieces and attach them onto cards that are inserted into packs. In this case, card companies likely said:

A) What a shame. Yankee fans are denied a chance to own a slice of game-used memorabilia.
B) Too bad. Many teams auction game-used memorabilia and give the proceeds to charity.
C) Who is Scott Proctor?

8) Back to ARod again! Cynthia Rodriguez shows up in the section of the stands reserved for players’ wives, wear a shirt that says:
A) “I love Alex,” prompting the New York Post to declare him “Snuggle BunnyRod.”
B) “37 14 41 42” on the front and www.faithandfear.blogharbor.com on the back, prompting the Post to declare him “Well-ReadRod” and praising his wife for her fine taste in blogs and T-shirts.
C) “F--- You,” only without the dashes, apparently violating a Yankee Stadium policy about profanity, prompting the Post to declare him “F-Rod.”

Naturally, you realize that the final answer in each question is the correct one.

Wow. So it’s been a pretty eventual year in the Bronx. And the most beautiful thing? The season is only half-over!

In other words:

If you like funny baseball quizes, the friends at Yes, Joe. It's Toasted are the masters! Give them a read!