Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Boys with be Boys
2006-06-21 09:15
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

I really enjoyed the second season of HBO's "Entourage," mostly because when it comes down to it, the show is about the ties that bind guys together. We may not be living in an age where athletes are especially revealing or candid with the media, but all we have to do is watch the games, particularly the action in the dugout, and we can get an idea of how men get along with one another. You can get a better impression of Derek Jeter's personality by watching how he interacts with his teammates than you ever will from what he tells reporters. I was thinking about this last night after Mariano Rivera batted in the ninth inning. It reminded me of something Roger Angell once wrote (in his collection, "The Summer Game"):

"We (nonathletes) had never made it. We would never know the rich joke that doubled over three young pitchers in front of the dugout; we would never be part of that golden compnay on the field, which each of us, certainly for one moment of his life, had wanted more than anything else in the world to join."

We may never be entirely "in" on the joke, but we can enjoy watching the players be the insiders. Since we as fans are all drawn together by baseball, we make up our own "in" crowd. And just as many of us will never get to know what it's like for them on the inside, most players don't know what it is like to be an obsessive fan. However, we are all drawn together by a mutually shared experience. And companionship--or just plain ol' good comapany--is a beautiful thing.

2006-06-21 09:37:55
1.   bp1
Did you see Mo's face morph back into "Death to Batters" face after he put away the bat and helmet? Fun is fun - but fun was done and it was back to the stark reality that he had to go out there and knock off three batters with the emotionless efficiency of a serial killer. It was sort of fascinating. In some ways, "Death to Batters" Mo is like a comic book superhero. Genial and pleasant in the dugout and the clubhouse, but deadly serious on the mound.


2006-06-21 09:38:43
2.   Alex Belth
Yeah, I saw that. There was a moment to have fun and then it was back to business.
2006-06-21 09:43:02
3.   Nick from Washington Heights
There have been a lot of moments like that watching the Yanks this season. For me, I've really enjoyed the way Cano and teammates interact. I guess he's taken on an older brother role with Melky. Apparently they're together all the time and Cano (2nd year veteran that he is) counsels him on all types of things. The announcers were talking about that during a broadcast and the camera panned to Robbie with his arm around Melky's shoulder, and true to form, he was chirping away in his ear. Later in the game, Wang who had pitched a decent game, but had left a bit early and seemed dejected received a hug from Cano. That same game, Mariano's on the mound, doing his thing, closing out the game, and Robbie comes to the mound and pats him on the back yelling encouragement. Mariano didn't react. I projected that he was a bit confused, like he was thinking "I'm Mariano Rivera. I don't really need any encouragement, but ok." At the same time, most of the vets on the team still view him as a youngster, and it becomes apparent in the way Jeter and A-Rod are constantly laughing at him on the field.
2006-06-21 09:48:39
4.   bp1
4 Good mix of guys on the team this year. It's a fun team to watch play baseball, and not for the obvious reasons. I saw Melky and Cano give Mo the business after his at bat last night, but Mo would have none of it. I tell ya - the guy morphs into some sort of ice-in-the-veins superhero sometime around the 8th inning of each game. Come 10pm, he's one scary dude.

Then - woosh. Ballgame over. Scary Mo transforms back into Happy Mo and he's knocking knuckles and smiling again.

I'm so freaking glad he's a Yankee.

2006-06-21 09:49:35
5.   Alex Belth
The other thing is, if you've ever enjoyed playing sports, even if it was in little league, or whiffle ball in your backyard, you can relate to what makes jocks crack up, or just what guys do when they are hanging around.

Last night at Shea Stadium, Pedro Martinez was sitting by himself in the dugout. He hand a bat in his hand and to his right, he placed what looked like a peanut or a little rock on the seat. He then smacked the cushion so that the rock popped up, and then he quickly tried to hit it. He repeated this over and over, and couldn't ever get the rock to pop up properly so that he could swing it.

It was a mindless little schtick, done completely for his own entertainment. Virtually every baseball fan can relate to something like this, which is why we connect with ball players, even though we are also so removed from their reality.

2006-06-21 09:54:42
6.   Sliced Bread
I don't read lips very well, especially if the lips are speaking en Espanol, but after Jeter greeted Mo with a knuckle-knock, it looked to me like Posada ribbed Mariano asking "Was that a strike?" Mo waved off Posada as if to say "Why are you busting my balls?"

If I ran one of the NY rags I would have put the helmeted Mo in batting stance on the backpage today. "Mo Steps Up"

2006-06-21 09:54:51
7.   bp1
5 Pedro is the prototypical quirky starting pitcher, isn't he? When he was on the Sox, his games against the Yankees were "I don't care what's happening - I gotta watch" events. Now that he's moved to the Mets, I find myself still drawn to the guy's games. There doesn't seem to be anything mechanical about him. It's all feel and "heart", even when he was plunking guys and sending them to the hospital (b*stard!).

Whether or not his final career numbers are "hall worthy", he should a no doubter hall of fame. He's a one-name sorta guy. When baseball fans here "Pedro", there is only one guy that comes to mind.

2006-06-21 09:56:38
8.   bp1
6 And Posada laughed out loud. That core of guys will go to their graves as "buds". We'll be seeing them busting each other's balls in Old Timers Day games when I'm too old to make it to the park.
2006-06-21 10:14:52
9.   Chyll Will
Mo looked like a litle kid in his first T-ball game when he went out to bat. His eyes sparkled when he walked up to the plate, then afterwards he walked back with his head tilted down and his eyes up and a sheepish grin on his face. That was pure fun even watching it on TV. But then when you watched him change back into "The Tall Man" with his floating Phantasm globe, that was chilling.
2006-06-21 10:33:46
10.   Dimelo
Great connection with Entourage, Alex. It's funny how both watching the Yankees (real life) and Entourage (art) are both depicted with equal similarities and both share so many synergies. Who wouldn't want to be with the guys from Entourage and who wouldn't want to be on the Yankees when they are giving Mo crap? We love watching the games, but it's the camaraderie that also intrigues us.

How all these personalities mesh and seem like one big happy family, we all would love to be a part of that. It's definitely something inate in all of us. As we get older we join slow pitch softball leagues, 30+ fast pitch leagues, flag football leagues, etc, etc. Some kids take it to another level and join gangs, but when you break it down we just all want to be a part of something. Sharing good memories with people with similar interests.

2006-06-21 10:45:27
11.   Chyll Will
5 I remember a moment like that in my former life as a Little Leaguer (actually, it was Senior league as I was in my teens, but you get the point), though it was a bit more complicated than Mo's at-bat.

We were playing a tough game and tension was high. The other team's pitcher just plunked one of our guys and benches emptied (!), but order was soon restored. I was up next, and I was in a bad mood, but I focused and worked out a walk after being down 1-2.

As I'm jogging to first, I see this pretty girl lounging on the top bleacher seat. She smiled and I smiled back, and as I got to first I see the first base coach in a fit of giggles. "What?" I asked, and he says out the side of his mouth, "Examine your zipper..."

Suddenly I felt a breeze and realized that I had more than my zipper to worry about. I looked around and everyone on the field, in the dugouts and on the bleachers is laughing their heads off. Man... The pitcher was laughing so hard he fell off the mound when he threw the ball. So I stole second. The umpire told me I was safe, but I was really out; I'm not making any of this up.

That certainly broke the ice. However, I'll bet no one was prouder of that moment than my father. He saw the whole thing sitting in his truck behind right field.

2006-06-21 11:00:49
12.   bp1
11 Great story, CW, but I gotsta ask. Did you get a date from the chick in the stands?
2006-06-21 11:23:15
13.   Chyll Will
12 Naw, her older brother was having none of it. But the opposing coach told his infielders to play back the next time I was up.
2006-06-21 11:26:58
14.   bp1
13 Heh heh heh .... nice. Maybe Jeter should try that next time he feels the need to lay down a bunt. Although by the way A-Rod is always grabbing his "package" and making all those weird faces, maybe he's the guy who should try the "hidden willy" trick.
2006-06-21 12:09:15
15.   Chyll Will
14 Shoot, Chacon and Proctor could use that trick... hell of a way to break out of a slump.
2006-06-21 12:33:01
16.   Paul in Boston
Related to boys and guy things, I think this is brilliant, but doubt many females would:


2006-06-21 12:40:05
17.   Shaun P
11-15 Talk about the kinds of things guys talk about when hanging out with each other. Nice story, Will - too bad you didn't get the girl.
2006-06-21 12:50:23
18.   Simone
Does anyone know if there a video clip of Mo's at bat anywhere on the Internet? I really want to see it now that I've read all the commentary. It wasn't on last time I checked.

Congrats to the Heat! South Florida is going wild.

2006-06-21 12:50:31
19.   Chyll Will
17 Forget about it Shaun, it's Chinatown.
2006-06-21 12:57:19
20.   bp1
19 Nice! Baseball, love, romance, and pop culture, rolled into one blog. Bravo. :-)
2006-06-21 13:08:24
21.   Schteeve
Watching Mariano's entire career unfold, is absolutely the best sports related story I have ever had the pleasure to witness. He is an amazing amazing pitcher, and I feel lucky to have seen him at work. THe guy rocks.
2006-06-21 14:21:46
22.   randym77
I've posted this link before, but what the heck, I'll post it again:

"A Winning Friendship: Four teammates and the bond that helped make them champions."

I can't help but think it helps to have played together in AA, AAA, etc. If only so you know your teammates, and know what to expect.

I was reminded of that awhile back, during one of those filler shots of the dugout during a game. Wang, Crosby, Reese, and Phillips were at the rail, elbow to elbow, just talking and joking around. The Columbus Clippers North.

2006-06-21 14:33:46
23.   Dimelo
22 That was so great. It really was great to read. Thanks! Boy....I'll miss these guys when they are no longer playing for the Yanks.
2006-06-21 14:46:37
24.   kdw
22 Missed your post first time around, thanks for putting it up again. That's the part of the game I love the most, the interaction among the guys. I always wonder what they say to each other on the bench and on the mound. And I still remember the little gesture that Damon made to Mo in 2004 ALCS when Mo walked to the bullpen just after landing from Panama. Had to give up my Sox-based dislike of Damon then and there with that simple acknowledgement.
2006-06-21 14:58:47
25.   Peter
22 You just reminded me of some postgame show when someone, I forget who, was being interviewed by their locker and in the background, the camera picked up some horseplay going on between Andy and Bubba.
2006-06-21 15:02:11
26.   randym77
Glad you liked it. I came across it last year, and after reading it, I knew Bernie would be back. :)

BTW, the lineup's been released. No Cano tonight. Cairo's at 2B. Jeter is at SS, sore knee and foot and all. Melky and Bernie are the corner OFers.

But Joe has apparently thought better of using Stinnett. Jorgie's catching.

Think that homer had something to do with it? They said Jorgie has now hit homers in 25 Major League parks - a Yankees record.

2006-06-21 15:30:35
27.   randym77
18 Simone - try here:

It's a RealMedia file, about 14 Mb.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.